Ciener – The Highlands & Islands

July 2024

Duration: 15 Days / 14 Nights


Overview

Embark on a captivating journey through Scotland’s diverse landscapes and rich heritage. Begin in Glasgow, a vibrant city brimming with history and culture. Explore the wild beauty of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, then sail to the Isle of Mull to discover ancient castles and rugged coastlines. Hike through lush forests in the Cairngorms National Park and watch for distinctive wildlife. End your adventure in Edinburgh, where medieval streets and majestic castles await. Throughout your trip, immerse yourself in Scotland’s natural wonders, from misty mountains to tranquil lochs, creating unforgettable memories in this land of ancient legends.

Highlights

  • Step back in time as you explore the storied halls and regal chambers of Edinburgh Castle, an iconic fortress perched atop an ancient volcanic rock, offering breathtaking views of the city below and insights into Scotland's rich and turbulent history.
  • Embark on a boat trip off the shores of Mull, where you can spot playful seals, majestic sea eagles, and potentially even dolphins in the crystal-clear waters, providing unforgettable encounters with Scotland's diverse and captivating wildlife.
  • Traverse the rugged landscapes of the Cairngorms National Park with an expert local guide, where ancient forests, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic vistas await.

Day by Day

Day 1 - Arrive in Glasgow

Arriving in Glasgow on the first day sets the tone for an exciting adventure. After settling into your hotel, take a leisurely stroll through the vibrant streets, absorbing the city’s unique energy. Whether you’re drawn to its historic architecture, bustling markets, or lively pubs, Glasgow offers something for every traveller. As you find your feet in this dynamic city, you’ll uncover its hidden gems and charming corners, setting the stage for the journey ahead.

Overnight: Glasgow
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 2 - Self Guided Explorations

Today you have a full free day to continue explorations at your own pace and there is plenty to keep you discovering more. Maybe spend a relaxed few hours exploring the magnificent halls and collections of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, visit the Modern Art Gallery or find a local pub with live music sessions. Whatever you choose, you are sure to be inspired.

Overnight: Glasgow
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Up the Coast to Oban

Meet your Wilderness guide in Glasgow and head up the coast, passing through the enchanting landscapes of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park towards the serene town of Oban. Stop off for a leg stretch in Luss, a picturesque village within the National Park where time seems to stand still. Arrive in Oban and breathe in the fresh sea air before checking in to your hand-picked accommodation and winding down for the evening.

Overnight: Oban
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 4 - Kilmartin Glen and the Knapdale Beavers

Rise to a hearty breakfast and discuss the day’s plans with your guide. Visit Knapdale, where beavers were reintroduced to Scotland in 2009 after a 400-year absence. Learn about their reintroduction and spot evidence of their presence – from gnawed trees to pawprints in the sand. Continue your journey with a leisurely wander around Kilmartin Glen, a historical and archaeological treasure trove. Explore ancient standing stones, burial cairns, and rock carvings that offer glimpses into Scotland’s ancient past. Delve into the rich history and folklore of the area as you soak in the mystical ambience of this sacred landscape.

Overnight: Oban
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 5 - Into the Blue

Embark on a boat tour from Oban’s harbour, cruising the Firth of Lorn for panoramic views of the Inner Hebrides. Keep an eye out for seals, dolphins, and seabirds as you sail. Enjoy a charming al fresco lunch on a remote island’s beach before exploring its coves and ruins. Return to Oban for a dinner by the waterfront, savouring the view as the sun sets over the harbour before returning to your accommodation, satisfied by the day’s adventure.

Overnight: Oban
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 6 - Exploring Mull

Board a midmorning ferry bound for the Isle of Mull, where a day of exploration awaits. Upon arrival, immerse yourself in the island’s rugged beauty and rich history, starting with a visit to the majestic Duart Castle, a captivating fortress steeped in centuries of Scottish heritage. Marvel at its imposing towers and breathtaking views overlooking the Sound of Mull. Afterwards, journey along the picturesque coastline, taking in the dramatic cliffs and secluded beaches that define Mull’s scenic landscape. Continue your adventure to the colourful harbour town of Tobermory, famed for its vibrant buildings and quaint charm. Stroll along the waterfront, pausing to explore artisan shops and sample local delicacies. With its blend of natural splendour and historical intrigue, Mull promises a day of unforgettable discovery amidst the wonders of the Scottish Isles.

Overnight: Isle of Mull
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 7 - Hiking up Ben More

Today is dedicated to conquering Ben More, the magnificent Munro towering over the Isle of Mull. As you lace up your hiking boots and set out on the trail, prepare for a challenging yet rewarding ascent that promises breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. Navigate rugged terrain and lush moorlands as you approach the summit, where panoramic vistas of Mull and beyond await. Feel the exhilaration of reaching the peak, surrounded by the untamed beauty of Scotland’s wild landscapes.

Overnight: Isle of Mull
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 8 - Discover the Isle of Iona

Today, join your guide to explore the historic Isle of Iona. Discover its beautiful coastline scattered with rocky outcrops and hidden bays, as well as its rich history that dates back to the Iron Age. Visit Iona Abbey, the Nunnery (one of Britain’s best-preserved medieval nunneries), and St. Oran’s Chapel, considered the final resting place of 48 kings of Scotland. Spend time soaking up the stunning views and enjoying the undiluted sense of well-being that comes from spending time by the sea. Return to your hotel this evening and savour a warm dinner as you discuss the day’s events.

Overnight: Isle of Mull
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 9 - Glencoe

Return to the mainland via ferry and head to Glencoe, a renowned valley where history and nature intertwine. Begin your exploration with a visit to the Glencoe Visitor Centre, where you can learn about the area’s history and natural features. Take a leisurely stroll along one of the nearby trails, immersing yourself in the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands and the tales of clans and landscapes that define this storied region. Enjoy the tranquillity of the landscape and the fresh mountain air as you unwind amidst nature’s beauty.

Overnight: Glencoe
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 10 - Hiking in Glencoe

Some of the best views in Glencoe are from a rarely climbed peak that will be our target today. Following a faint trail, we hike up the flanks of the open hillside. The views open up quickly as we gain height. Reaching the summit, the views are simply sensational, as we gaze directly across the valley at the north face of Buachaille Etive Mor, the most iconic sight in Glencoe.

Overnight: Glencoe
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 11 - East to the Cairngorms National Park

Embark on a scenic drive towards the Cairngorms, pausing along the way to explore the fascinating exhibits at the Highland Folk Museum, offering insights into Scotland’s rich cultural heritage. Upon reaching Aviemore, stop for lunch at a local cafe before considering an afternoon hike amidst the breathtaking landscapes. Opt for a leisurely stroll around Loch an Eilein or venture to the tranquil Green Loch, where serenity and natural beauty abound. Admire the tranquil surroundings, allowing the crisp mountain air to invigorate your senses and the scenic vistas to captivate your soul.

Overnight: Cairngorms
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 12 - Hill of the Shepherd

Several peaks overlooking the wild Abernethy Forest are at the northern reach of the Cairngorms. We choose one of these hills today – Meall a Buachaille  (Hill of the Shepherd). We start our walk by passing through a steep sided pass and the beautiful ‘Fairy Lochan’. Beyond the pass, we turn left at an old bothy and start a steady ascent up a good trail that leads us directly to the summit. On the way down we enjoy the fabulous views of bigger hills to the south and Loch Morlich.

Overnight: Cairngorms
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 13 - Back to City Life

After one last breakfast with your guide, head down to Edinburgh, with a refreshing stop at the Hermitage along the way. Stretch your legs amidst the tranquil beauty of this enchanting woodland, where the rushing waters of the River Braan and the historic Ossian’s Hall create an idyllic setting for relaxation and exploration. Take in the majestic sights of towering trees and cascading waterfalls as you meander through the forest paths. After a rejuvenating break, continue your travels to Edinburgh, where your guide will drop you off at your hotel and you’ll say goodbye before continuing your city exploration.

Overnight: Edinburgh
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 14 - Exploring Edinburgh

Head out for a day spent exploring the beautiful cobblestone streets of the city. Full of history, the capital is very accessible by foot. Wander up the Royal Mile, stopping to visit the architecturally stunning St Giles Cathedral, and enjoy panoramic views from Edinburgh Castle. Pick up a coffee and a pastry from one of the wee artisan shops, dipping into local galleries, cheesemongers and bookshops. If you fancy an afternoon with a twist, head to the Surgeons’ Hall Museums, which holds one of the largest collections of surgical pathology in the world. This evening enjoy dinner under the twinkling lights of the city.

Overnight: Edinburgh
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 15 - One Last Day in Scotland

Conclude your Scottish journey with a leisurely day of exploration in Edinburgh, beginning with a visit to the picturesque Dean Village. Tucked away along the Water of Leith, this hidden gem offers a peaceful escape from the bustle of the city. Wander along the charming cobbled streets, framed by quaint cottages and historic buildings, and soak in the tranquil ambience of this idyllic oasis. As you stroll along the riverside path, admire the lush greenery and scenic views, and take a moment to pause at the iconic Dean Bridge for panoramic vistas of the village below. With its timeless beauty and serene atmosphere, Dean Village provides the perfect setting to reflect on the memories of your Scottish adventure before bidding farewell to this enchanting city.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • All accommodation from Day 1 to Day 15
  • All meals included in the itinerary
  • Services of an experienced guide from Day 3 to Day 13
  • Ground transportation from Day 3 to Day 13
  • Ferry tickets
  • All guided hikes and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personalised trip design and delivery
  • 24 hour in-country support
Exclusions Read More
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for the main driver guide

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