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Our most recommended Orkney Eco-certified

From Inverness: 3-Day Orkney Explorer

1. From Inverness: 3-Day Orkney Explorer

Day 1: Explore Orkney’s ancient capital, Kirkwall After an early start leaving Inverness at 08:00, travel north through the Black Isle, past the imposing Dunrobin Castle, before crossing the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Isles. Stay in Kirkwall, the modern day capital of Orkney for 2 nights. Here, you can visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking cathedral and its historic winding streets. Day 2: Follow in the footsteps of the Vikings as you travel through Orkney Today is your chance to explore the modern and ancient wonders of this fantastic island; a land of contrasts, where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Highlights include a visit to Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar, the standing stones of Stenness and Maeshowe, where in the 12th-century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions. Day 3: Travel through the history soaked regions of Caithness and Sutherland Have your last chance to grab some gifts for friends and family, and visit the local cathedral in Kirkwall. And after a ferry back to the mainland, travel through the history soaked regions of Caithness and Sutherland. Find out about the highland clearances, a world-changing period in Scotland’s dark history, and get a glimpse of some of Scotland’s most remote fishing villages. The tour will arrive back in Inverness early evening at approximitely 19:00.

From Edinburgh: Orkney and The Far North 5-Day Tour

2. From Edinburgh: Orkney and The Far North 5-Day Tour

The 5-day tour from Edinburgh takes you on a discovery of the Scottish Highlands and the Orkney Islands. Heading north from Scotland’s capital city, you can admire the breathtaking scenery of the Scottish Highlands and explore the history of the Orkney Islands. On day 1, travel north to Loch Ness. The spectacular tour starts by heading west through the beautiful scenery of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The route then takes you through the haunting landscape of Glen Coe, the scene of the terrible massacre of the MacDonald Clan, and on through Fort William and the Great Glen to arrive at the fabled shores of Loch Ness. Stay overnight in Inverness. On day 2, head north via Inverness and the spectacular coastal scenery of the Moray and Cromarty Firths. Then, board the ferry for a memorable trip to the mysterious and magical Orkney Islands. Once you arrive, take in the stunning scenery and start exploring. Visit the beautiful Italian Chapel, which was built by Italian prisoners of war, as well as the famous Churchill Barriers – causeways that were constructed to protect the British naval fleet from submarines. Stay overnight at Kirkwall. On day 3, explore the ancient history of the islands. From your base in Kirkwall, which boasts many craft and gift shops to explore, spend the whole day exploring the islands. This is a land full of ancient history and you will be able to take in prehistoric marvels such as the Maeshowe chambered cairn, the world-famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae, and the brooding stone circles of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. The day will finish with a visit to the beautiful St Magnus Cathedral. Stay overnight at Kirkwall. On day 4, start with a ferry ride back to the mainland. Then you will get the chance to take in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. Stay overnight in Inverness. On day 5, head back to Edinburgh. On the way, visit the battlefield of Culloden, the site of the defeat of the Jacobite forces. You will also pass the stunning Cairngorm Mountains and explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry.

Scotland: Orkney and Northern Coast 5-Day Tour

3. Scotland: Orkney and Northern Coast 5-Day Tour

Drive to the top of Scotland on a scenic 5-day tour, and learn the history of the Highlands at sites such as the battlefield of the Macdonald clan massacre, and Stirling Castle. Spend the day on the Orkney Isles, and travel the northenmost coast of mainland Scotland. The tour is by luxury 16-seat Mercedes minibus for a more intimate experience, while bed and breakfast accommodation is provided in Inverness, the lovely town of Kirkwall, and the whitewashed fishing village of Ullapool at the mouth of Loch Broom. Day 1: Depart Edinburgh, heading west towards Stirling. Pass Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument, and continue to Doune Castle, used for location shoots in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail.” Stop in the small town of Callander for refreshments. Then, marvel at the splendor of Loch Luibnaig, Loch Earn, Glen Ogle, and Glen Dochart on a scenic drive over the wild and remote Rannoch Moor. The views of the extinct volcano will take your breath away, and were also the scene of the infamous Clan Macdonald massacre of 1692. Continue north up the Great Glen to mysterious Loch Ness, with plenty of time to try and spot “Nessie” the Loch Ness Monster. The evening will be spent in Inverness, with free time to explore the “Capital of the Highlands.” Day 2: Depart Inverness early to cross over the Black Isle and past Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Castle. From here, drive the northeast coastline, traveling into some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery. Enjoy the views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes, and the chance to spot wildlife such as golden eagle and red deer. Close to Scotland’s most northerly mainland village, John O’ Groats, board the ferry to cross the Pentland Firth to the Orkney archipelago. It is a short drive on arrival to the famous Italian Chapel, where you will stop for a quick visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, your home for the next 2 nights. Look inside Kirkwall’s magnificent Viking cathedral, and wander the winding streets of the historic town center. Day 3: Explore the ancient island of Orkney, and discover a land of contrasts, where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands, and washed by the waters of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Highlights include a visit to Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar, the standing stones of Stenness, and Maeshowe, where Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions in the 12th century. Day 4: It’s time to leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here, travel across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains, following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of the northern coastline. Go to the far northwest of the Highlands, and admire the grandeur of the wild Assynt mountains. Stop to view the 15th-century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. Continue to Ullapool at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you will spend your last night. Day 5: Your morning includes visits to Corrieshalloch Gorge, and the ancient Clava Cairns, as well as exploring the more recent bloody history of the Culloden battlefield. Return south through the magnificent Cairngorm National Park, driving past the ancient Caledonian pine forests of Highland Perthshire, before your drop off in Edinburgh.

From Edinburgh: Orkney, Skye and the Far North 8 Day Tour

4. From Edinburgh: Orkney, Skye and the Far North 8 Day Tour

On day 1, travel through the Trossachs to Oban. This wide-ranging Highland and Islands tour starts by heading west through the beautiful scenery of Loch, Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to Kilmartin Glen. Explore Scotland’s ancient past; with over 5,000 years of history laid out before you, you’ll be able to walk in the footsteps of the first Scots at Dunadd Hill Fort and the Temple Wood Stone Circle. Then stay overnight in Oban. On day 2, enjoy a day of high hills and history. Discover the haunting landscape of Glen Coe, past Ben Nevis - Britain’s tallest peak, and make a stop at Fort William. If traveling between May and September you will board the Jacobite Train from Fort William to Mallaig. Crossing over the sea to the Isle of Skye by ferry for your second night, staying overnight in Skye. On day 3, enjoy a whole day to explore Skye’s beautiful landscape. Here the mountains and beaches beckon, so lose yourself amongst the spectacular scenery of the Cuillin Mountains, the slanting hills of Quiraing, and the incredible Trotternish peninsula. Stay overnight in Skye. On day 4, discover castles and mountains and then head to Loch Ness. Once you leave Skye the first stop is a visit to the idyllic Eilean Donan Castle. You will then continue onwards to the fabled shores of Loch Ness, where you have the option (extra cost) to visit Urquhart Castle and take a cruise on the loch. Enjoy an overnight stay in Inverness. On day 5, head over the sea to the Orkney Isles. Travel north via Inverness and the spectacular coastal scenery of the Moray and Cromarty Firths. Then board the ferry for the memorable trip to the mysterious and magical Orkney Isles. Once you arrive, you can take in the stunning scenery and start exploring. Visit the beautiful Italian Chapel, which was built by Italian prisoners of war. You’ll also see the famous Churchill Barriers – causeways that were constructed to protect the British naval fleet from submarines. Stay overnight in Kirkwall. On day 6, explore the ancient history of the Isles. From your base in Kirkwall, which boasts many craft and gift shops to enjoy, you’ll spend the whole of day six exploring the islands. This is a land full of ancient history and you’ll be able to take in prehistoric marvels such as the Maeshowe chambered cairn, the world-famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae and the brooding stone circles of Stenness and the Ring o’Brodgar. The day will finish with a visit to the beautiful St Magnus Cathedral. Stay overnight in Kirkwall. On day 7, head back to the mainland again and start your journey south. You will be treated to some fantastic scenery, and may have the chance to visit Dunrobin Castle as you make your way back to Inverness. Stay overnight in Inverness. On day 8, as you head home, you’ll be able to visit the battlefield of Culloden, the site of the defeat of the Jacobite forces. You’ll also pass the stunning Cairngorm mountains and explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry.

Orkney Islands and Highlands: 3-Day Tour from Inverness

5. Orkney Islands and Highlands: 3-Day Tour from Inverness

Day 1 We begin our journey north, passing through the stunning scenery of the Black Isle on our way to Orkney. There will be a short stop in Golspie where you will have the opportunity to buy some lunch to have on the ferry. After this, we will have a short stop at the Helmsdale Clearance to take photos of the Emigrants Statue. We continue to Gills Bay to catch the ferry to Orkney before arriving at St Margaret's Hope shortly after. We head to our first landmark on the islands, the Italian Chapel, here you can choose to enter for a small fee, or simply enjoy it as a photo stop. From there, and before your arrival at Kirkwall, we could enjoy a couple of different activities depending on weather and time available. We could head onwards to Inganess Beach, marked by the wreck of the Juniata, a World War 2 blockship, or visit St Magnus Cathedral and have a short tour of Kirkwall. There could also be the opportunity for a visit to Scapa Distillery for a tour and tasting*. After this, we will arrive in Kirkwall where you will check in to your accommodation for the evening. Kirkwall is the capital of Orkney where you will stay for both nights of our tour. Orkney has a fascinating Viking history which you will learn about from your Driver-Guide throughout the tour! Day 2 After an island breakfast, we will depart Kirkwall and head to the Cuween Hill Chambered Cairn, a Neolithic tomb that gives us a glimpse into the lives of some of Scotland's earliest agricultural communities. From there, we continue on to Skara Brae, Europe's best-preserved Neolithic village. After this, we head to the seaside town of Stromness for a lunch stop, where you can enjoy views over the marina, before we begin our journey to the Stones of Stenness, four standing stones that are potentially some of the oldest in the country. They, along with Skara Brae, are part of the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" and have World Heritage Site status. We get an insightful glimpse at Orkney's military history at our next stop, the HMS Tern, an airfield set up by the Royal Navy during WWII. After this, we journey towards the Broch of Gurness, an amazingly preserved "broch" village from the Iron Age. We then return to Kirkwall for your second night stay. Day 3 We get ready to leave Kirkwall and head back to St Margaret's Hope for the short crossing to Gills Bay. We head to John O'Groats for lunch, the most northerly point on mainland Britain. A range of wildlife can usually be seen here such as Atlantic puffins, seals, a variety of birds and possibly even an orca! Take photos of the iconic sign post and the colourful buildings before we continue to Castle Sinclair Girnigoe dramatically situated on a cliff's edge. Should the weather not be on our side, we will instead continue onwards to Wick. After this, we will start our homeward journey back to Inverness, with comfort stops at Dunbeath Harbour and Golspie on the way.

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What people are saying about Orkney

What a great trip! Robert, our guide, was exceptional. He was very knowledgeable and made adjustments based on the small group's needs. We had plenty of time at each stop and he even added in a few extra stops. The lodging booked for us was superb. The rooms were very comfortable and the breakfasts were tasty and plentiful. We saw all the sites on Orkney and a lot along the way. This is a great 5 day trip and we'd highly recommend it.

Guide Gail was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Despite some unavoidable changes ( ferry crash) she adapted program to meet everyone’s needs. Gail is a credit to Rabbie tours.

Unique experience. Our guild Shauna was really knowledgeable. One of the best parts of our time in Scotland, for sure.

Great info from Jodi. So enthusiastic and thorough. Would love to comeback some day.

Ask for Emily as your guide! So knowledgeable and passionate about the history.