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Destination Guide to the Scottish Islands

Pure, clean air, complete peace and tranquillity, remote and untamed landscapes and thriving natural wildlife are all to be discovered on your escape to the Scottish Islands.

Scattered primarily off the west coast and far north of Scotland’s mainland, there are nearly 800 Scottish Islands, 130 of which are currently inhabited. From Shetland, almost 100 miles from the mainland, and the Orkney Islands in the north, the Scottish Islands also include the Inner and Outer Hebrides (or Western Isles) in the West, from the renowned isles of Lewis, Harris, Skye and Mull to the lesser known Islay, Colonsay, Uists and Benbecula.

The Western Isles were named Havbredey by the Vikings, meaning literally, “Islands at the edge of the Earth”. It’s a fitting description for these wild and untamed landscapes whose remote geographical location leaves them sparsely populated and largely untouched by large-scale modern development. The vistas are glorious; single-track roads wind across wild and windswept moorlands, alongside glassy lochs and between towering mountains where roaming wild ponies, highland cows and horned sheep roam the desolate hillsides. The coastlines alternate between deserted, sweeping, golden beaches and dramatic cliff faces and craggy rock formations. Rare sea birds cluster the cliff-tops and off the coastlines seals, whales and dolphins can be spotted cruising lazily in the chilly waters. The fresh, clean air and rare tranquillity of the islands make them an ideal retreat from the hectic pace of everyday life and is sure to reinvigorate and refresh.

But when unwinding in the great outdoors becomes all too much, you can still soak up some culture and history. The closer islands provide Scotland with some of her more distinct single malts, such as Talisker, and are scattered with historic castles and baronial manors such as Dunvegan Castle on Skye and Torosay Castle on Mull. The more far-flung isles see ancient settlements and neolithic stone-circles punctuate the barren hillsides some of which predate the pyramids and Stonehenge; Not to be missed are the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis and UNESCO world heritage site at Skara Bay on Orkney.

The modern residents of the islands live mainly in small crofting and fishing communities of quaint squat cottages and bungalows. The population here speak with distinct accents, similar to Scandinavian in the north from the historic Viking influences, and a sing-song celtic in the Western Isles. The people are welcoming and the little towns provide a treasure trove of inns, family hotels and guest houses in which to stay.

Experience the ultimate escape to tranquillity, nature in its rawest forms and a truly enchanting history and culture – the Scottish Islands make for a unique holiday experience.

Relevant Tours

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Scotland Tours Loch Awe

One of our best Scotland Driving Tours – Scotland Explorer offers a comprehensive itinerary taking you on a journey to the corners of this beautiful nation; see Scotland from the bustling cultural and historic cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh to the expansive wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. From the rugged beauty of the West coast and Isle of Skye to the cultural sites of the East Coast and Aberdeenshire. Along the way see sparkling lochs, towering mountain ranges, ancient castle ruins, and whisky distilleries – a truly Scottish experience.

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Tours of Scotland

A Scotland Car Tour – Journey from Edinburgh or Glasgow to the furthest reaches of Northern Scotland. Experience the enigmatic scenery of Glencoe Valley, Scotland’s West Coast and the majestic isle of Skye before travelling deep in to the Highlands and along the world-famous NC500 route. Along the way you’ll enjoy some of Europe’s oldest and most awe-inspiring landscapes from towering mountain passes, cascading waterfalls and craggy coastlines. Then on to the enchanting island of Orkney to explore it’s host of ancient prehistoric sites and weather-beaten landscapes. A breath-taking and unique Scotland driving tour experience.

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Tours of Scotland - Glenfinnan Viaduct

A small group tour of Britain – Discover what makes Britain Great on this small group journey through the diverse cultures and landscapes of England, Scotland and Wales. This comprehensive itinerary takes you from the peaceful coasts and mountains of Wales, through rustic landscapes of rural England and north in to remote wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. We’ll see iconic landmarks and hidden gems, visit Britain’s quaint villages and heritage cities and enjoy a host of local experiences from steam train rides through the English countryside to whisky tasting in the Highlands.  In the company of your local guides, the Great British Journey is the ultimate way to explore Britain.

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Scotland Rail Tours Glenfinnan

Scotland Rail Tour – Experience some of Britain’s most spectacular and scenic rail journeys as you explore Scotland and the Scottish Highlands by train.  Your epic Scottish rail trip will take you from the vibrant cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow to Scotland’s scenic West Coast, through the dramatic Scottish Highlands and over the sea to the remote Isle of Skye. A hand-picked selection of small-group day tours will allow you to discover the remote landscapes and sites of the Highlands and Skye which cannot be reached by rail alone.

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Britain Tours - Lake District

A Small Group Tour of England and Scotland – From the southernmost tip of the Cornish Peninsular to the remote wilderness of the Isle of Skye, Britain Coast to Mountain takes you on an epic small-group journey through the diverse cultures and landscapes of England and Scotland. Discover the quaint fishing towns of Cornwall, the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, the rustic dales of Yorkshire and the barren moorlands of the Scottish Highlands. Along the way we’ll visit the heritage cities of Bath, York, Chester and Edinburgh and experience regional food, drink and hospitality. Britain Coast to Mountain is the perfect immerse yourself in culture and panoramas of England and Scotland.

Tours of Scotland

A Driving Tour to Skye – Our Skye and the Highlands tour does what it says on the tin offering an itinerary which takes you away from the bustling cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow to the remote wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. Experience the enigmatic scenery of Glencoe Valley, Scotland’s West Coast and the majestic isle of Skye. Then onwards along the Great Glen to the capital of the Highlands itself! Along the way you’ll see sparkling lochs and ancient castles, the perfect Highland escape.

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Scottish Islands Tour

A Scottish Islands Driving Tour - Escape to an enchanting wilderness as you explore the frontiers of the Scottish nation and her remote outer islands.  Experience the raw natural beauty of Glencoe, Scotland’s West Coast and the isles of Skye, Lewis and Harris on our Hebridean Highlights tour. The tranquillity of the Western Isles provides visitors with a peaceful retreat from modern life to a back-drop of dramatic natural landscapes. On your journey you’ll see sparkling lochs, barren moorlands, deserted golden beaches, fascinating historic sites and wildlife in abundance.

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Scotland Tours - Ben Nevis

A Comprehensive Scotland Tour – This elegant escorted coach tour of Scotland goes beyond the nation’s tartan façade to explore over 8,000 years of history and a rich cultural heritage. Venturing to the farthest Northern reaches of the Scottish Highlands, the natural drama, wilderness and variety of  geological features of this region never fail to impress. From the Northern Highlands we’ll cross to the remote Isles of Orkney and Skye, a feast for the senses. The Country Roads of Scotland Tour is well-paced and offers two-night stays in both Edinburgh and Thurso.

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Scotlands Tours - Isle of Skye

A Private Tour of Scotland - Immerse yourselves in the raw natural beauty and history of Scotland in the company of a local private driver. Your experienced chauffeur will  share their local knowledge and insight as they guide you from Scotland’s principal city Edinburgh in to the majestic scenery of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Enjoy elegant or boutique accommodations each night and inclusive sightseeing and a selection of unique local experiences by day. An exclusive tour of Scotland worthy of this very special destination.

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A Scottish small group tour – Enjoy this comprehensive tour of Scotland, a captivating land of contrasts which is both aesthetically beautiful and historically fascinating. From Edinburgh to the remote islands of Skye and Mull, enjoy dramatic coastlines, towering mountains, shimmering lochs and heather covered highlands all richly peppered with castles, abbeys and ancient sites which tell the tale of Scotland’s intriguing and often turbulent history.

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Scotland Tours - Isle of Skye

A small group tour of Britain – Beauty of Britain is an epic journey exploring the history, heritage and natural landscapes of England and Scotland. We’ll pass from the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, through the rustic landscapes Yorkshire and the Lake District to the barren wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. Our journey is punctuated with visits to Britain’s heritage cities such as Bath, Oxford, York and Edinburgh and we’ll enjoy a host of local experiences including countryside steam train rides, ancient castle visits, traditional afternoon tea, loch cruises and a whisky distillery tour. The true beauty of Britain is waiting to be discovered.

Scotland Tours Loch Awe

A Highlands Coach Tour -  Enjoy a journey through majestic Highland scenery and explore Scotland's remote islands on this comprehensive tour of Scotland. Experience the tranquillity of the Isle of Skye, the undiscovered wilderness of the Isle of Bute, the dramatic landscapes of the Northern Highlands and the ancient pre-history of the Isle of Orkney, not to mention the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

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Scotland Tours - Stirling Castle

A small group tour of Scotland – Secrets of Scotland takes you on an epic journey through Scotland’s dramatic landscapes. We’ll discover the history, heritage and natural beauty of this enchanting nation as we pass from historic Stirling in to the remote wilderness of the Scottish Highlands; along the way we’ll spot unique wildlife, ancient castle ruins, shimmering lochs and deep glens. With highlights including Royal Deeside, Inverness, Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye and Glencoe you’ll come away having uncovered the many secrets of Scotland.

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Scotland Tours - Isle of Skye

A Scottish Isles Driving Tour – Take the road to the isles along Scotland’s stunning West Coast to explore the beautiful inner Hebridean islands of Skye and Mull.  On these secluded Scottish islands, you’ll enjoy spectacular natural beauty - pass dramatic mountain ranges, see sparkling lochs and experience an abundance of wildlife on land and in the coastal waters. Skye and Mull are also peppered with unique archaeological features and intriguing historic sites just waiting to be explored.

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Coach Tours of Scotland

Scottish Castles Coach Tour - Enjoy this leisurely trip of Scotland which focuses on the spectacular history, culture and scenery of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Discover a host of iconic and lesser known Scottish castles, the seats of royalty and ancient clans, cruise on misty lochs and visit a remote Highland farm. The leisurely pace offers stays of a minimum of two nights in each location.

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