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Cairngorm National Park

Cairngorm National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye and The Highlands Tour

1. From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye and The Highlands Tour

Embark on a 3-day guided tour of the Scottish Highlands and visit highlights, including Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye. Learn the history of this lush region from your guide and spend two nights in Inverness. Day 1: Departing Edinburgh, we will take our first short drive heading north and stop at the mysterious Kelpies. Scotland’s largest piece of outdoor art depicting mythical creatures of Scotland’s folklore that your driver will tell you all about. We’ll then continue on our journey and pass Stirling Castle. Be inspired by tales from your guide of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Continuing north, into the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, admire the scenery as your tour guide explains the remarkable tribal clan history of the Highlands. Discover beautiful Glencoe, the most famous valley in Scotland, and hear of its tragic history. Admire the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct then head north and arrive on the southern banks of Loch Ness to get photos of the infamous monster Nessie! Stop for photos of Urquhart Castle before arriving in Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, where you'll stay for 2 nights, choosing from a local guesthouse, hostel, or hotel. Day 2: After breakfast, depart Inverness and drive across the Kessock Bridge to the Black Isle and marvel at the spectacular scenery of Achnasheen and Loch Carron. Arriving on the Isle of Skye, venture north to explore the highlights of the island, including; the Cuillin Mountains, Trotternish Peninsula, Portree, the Old Man Storr, Kilt Rock and the famous Quiraing. In late afternoon, stop for photographs of the most beautiful castle in Scotland, "Eilean Donan Castle." Backdrop to many famous films, such as 'Highlander' and 'Made of Honor', this castle is another must-see iconic landmark! A scenic drive through stunning Glen Shiel follows, returning to Inverness to stay your final night. In the evening, visit a local Highland Pub to drink some Scotch whisky or beer and eat some traditional Scottish food, whilst listening to some local musicians perform. Day 3: Visit Culloden Battlefield, site of the last Jacobite Rising, then 'Clava Cairns', incredible 4,000-year-old, Bronze-Age standing stones. Travelling south, stop at the Highland Folk Museum. Here you'll experience highland life in the 17th century. See the buildings, the clothes and weapons, and how people lived 300 years ago. Then, drive through the dramatic Cairngorm National Park. You will have the chance to experience a Scotch Whiskey tasting before you visit the historic village of Dunkeld on the banks of the mighty River Tay. Your journey back to Edinburgh takes you across the famous Forth Bridges. The expected arrival time back in Edinburgh is around 6:30 PM.

From Edinburgh: Isle of Skye & The Highlands 3-Day Tour

2. From Edinburgh: Isle of Skye & The Highlands 3-Day Tour

This 3-day tour takes you on a discovery of the beautiful mountain scenery and fascinating sights of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Visit numerous glens, lochs and castles in some the most dramatic landscapes in the country, including Eilean Donan Castle, the Fairy Glen, Loch Ness and Glen Coe. You will be transported from Edinburgh through the highlands and the Isle of Skye in a comfortable minibus. Learn about the long and violent history of the Scottish Highlands with your tour guide, from the bloody massacre of the Macdonalds at Glen Coe to Scotland’s great patriot William Wallace, whose name has resounded through British history for 700 years. Detailed itinerary Day 1 The tour first stops off at the delightful village of Dunkeld where you can explore the ancient cathedral grounds and walk through the mature woodland alongside the mighty River Tay. Continue north to the wild mountain scenery and misty locks of the Pass of Killiecrankie, Cairngorm National Park and Laggan. Admire Scotland’s highest mountain Ben Nevis along the Great Glen to Invergarry before travelling onwards through the stunning Glen Shiel (Five Sisters of Kintail) to Eilean Donan Castle. Enjoy the great views from the Skye Bridge as you drive onto the island under the shadow of the Cuillin Mountains to Portree where you will be dropped off at your accommodation. Please let the tour provider know your preferred accommodation choices when booking. The accommodation is reserved for you and should be paid for on arrival. Day 2 Today is spent touring the Isle of Skye, a flexible itinerary at the discretion of your driver/guide * (see below). Enjoy a half-day scenic drive along the dramatic Trotternish Ridge with its spectacular cliffs and rock formations. Stops can include Lealt Waterfall, Kilt Rock sea cliffs, the Old Man of Storr rock pinnacle and a walk at the Quiraing mountain pass. Another popular stop is the Fairy Glen, a delightful miniature Highland landscape and legendary home of the 'wee people'! The second half of the day explores the stunning southern part of the island which includes well-known sights and some hidden gems discovered over the years. Nestled under the Cuillin mountains is beautiful Glen Brittle. Rugged scenery surrounds you and there are several fantastic options for this section of the tour, including a short walk in the iconic mountain landscape. Another popular excursion is the drive to Neist Point lighthouse for spectacular views to the Western Isles. The 13th century home of the famous Clan McLeod, Dunvegan Castle offers guided tours, a useful wet-weather option because of Skye's famously changeable weather. It's not called the 'Misty Isle' for nothing! Day 3 After returning to the mainland you drive past the Five Sisters of Kintail before stopping at the world-famous Loch Ness. Enjoy lunch in Fort Augustus at the southerly tip of Loch Ness before continuing on through Fort William to Glencoe. Learn about the bloody history of the famous glen and admire the wild scenery before heading on to Tyndrum for a break. Return through the Lowlands and Stirling to Edinburgh in the evening.

Isle of Skye and the Highlands 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

3. Isle of Skye and the Highlands 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Experience the dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye on a 5-day tour from Edinburgh. Visit historic sites and discover remote sandy beaches. Marvel at stunning seascapes and enjoy exploring picturesque villages. Travel in comfort in a small group, enjoying personalized attention and accommodation in guesthouses and B&Bs. Detailed Itinerary Day 1 Head north over the Forth Road Bridge to the charming highland village of Dunkeld on the banks of the river Tay, and then into the Cairngorm National Park and to the ancient pine forests of the Rothiemurchus Estate. After lunch you’ll spend time on the shores of Loch Insh and then take a short forest walk to the ruins of Loch an Eilean castle. Panoramic views of Loch Ness follow as you travel down to the banks of the famous loch to village of Dores where you can do some Nessie spotting! Overnight in Ullapool. Day 2 Visit the highlands of the far north-west and marvel the grandeur and expanse of the Mountains of Assynt. This was the first crofting area to be bought by local crofters – the Assynt Crofters’ Trust. See the ruins of the 15th-century Ardvreck Castle, once the stronghold of the MacLeods of Assynt. See some of Europe’s oldest landscapes, from the stunning white sand beach at Achmelvich Bay to the traditional fishing village of Lochinver. Be on the lookout for wildlife throughout the day. Overnight in Ullapool. Day 3 You’ll head south from Ullapool to take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60 meters down into the Corrieshalloch Gorge. Travel past the mountains of the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and along the picturesque coastline of Loch Torridon. The tranquil setting of Applecross is your destination for lunch. Experience a drive on one of the highest roads in Scotland, Bealach nam Bo, known for its jaw-dropping views, hairpin bends, and precipitous cliffs. In the afternoon you’ll stop in Plockton, where you can see palm trees growing alongside Loch Carron. Then it’s over the sea to Skye and the delightful harbor town of Portree. Day 4 Enjoy a flexible day on Skye. Depending on the prevailing conditions you might travel north to the stunning Quiraing mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk through some of Skye’s extraordinary geological scenery. You might visit the Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns, with water cascading over the cliffs and down into the sea below. After lunch you might travel to Neist Point for a walk out to the lighthouse at the most westerly point on Skye. Alternatively your driver/guide might choose a visit to Dunvegan Castle, the ancient ancestral seat of the Clan McLeod. Return to Portree for a free evening and to your overnight accommodation. Day 5 Travel south from Skye, making a stop at the famed Eilean Donan Castle, situated at the head of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. The stronghold was used in the filming of the movie Highlander. Continue eastward through the rugged mountains of Kintail, past Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. You’ll stop in Fort William for lunch. In the afternoon you’ll explore spectacular Glencoe, scene of the massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692, before stopping in Killin for refreshments beside the Falls of Dochart.

Other Sightseeing Options in Cairngorm National Park

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What people are saying about Cairngorm National Park

This tour was nothing short of magical! James was an amazing tour guide and a wonderful story teller. You can feel the love of Scotland he has in every story he tells. Tours can be tough and sometimes feel rushed but this did not at all. We had adequate time in each location, spending the most in Skye which is exactly what I’d hope for. Cannot recommend this tour enough and if you’re lucky enough to have James as your guide, you’re in for a treat!

A little girl's dream come true... set foot in Scotland, thanks to our guide Steve, a really great guide, friendly, funny, passionate and proud of his origins! It was a pleasure to be with him and the whole group. The group was really great thanks to them, great atmosphere. Sublime places, a road trip worthy of Scotland which is a summary in 3 days of this magnificent country. Thank you and see you soon, I highly recommend it! #thehairycoo

The tour guide Scott was very friendly and accommodating. He knew everything about the places we visited. He also took good care of everyone and kept us entertained throughout the three days. Unfortunately, we only saw some of the stations on photo stops, but we also visited many extraordinary places that you probably don't normally see.

Amazing experience : the itinerary was evocative and we have discovered incredible and hidden coins of highlands. Thanks to our special guide : available, nice and proactive, he made the experience truly magical with his stories and accurate explanations.

better than expected, splendid nature and super guide, Brian Smith, well prepared, funny and caring, made us fall in love with Scotland