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Black Isle

Black Isle: 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. The evening is free for you to do as you wish. 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 Pitlochry. Your journey back to Edinburgh takes you across the famous Forth Bridges. The expected arrival time back in Edinburgh is around 6:30 PM.

Applecross, Loch Carron & Wild Highlands Tour from Inverness

2. Applecross, Loch Carron & Wild Highlands Tour from Inverness

Depart Inverness early in the morning and begin your tour crossing the beautifully scenic Black Isle and stopping in the village of Lochcarron. Enjoy the views across Loch Carron and perhaps pick up a bite to eat, before you continue on to Achintraid. The small village enjoys views over Loch Kishorn and a breathtaking mountain range on the opposite shore. Continue your journey, climbing upwards through dramatic landscape over the Bealach na Ba (Gaelic for Pass of the Cattle). Pause for photos at the summit of the third highest road in Britain at over 2000 feet, so be ready for those breathtaking views across Raasay and the Isle of Skye. Begin your descent to Applecross village, located on a beautiful bay and full of natural wildlife, perfect for nature lovers. Look out for otters, red kites, deer and perhaps pine martens. Stop here and enjoy plenty of time to explore the village. Begin your return journey to Inverness, driving along the banks of Loch Torridon, through the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve. This nature reserve is one of the oldest in Britain and is home to plenty of wildlife; you may even spot a golden eagle. Travel on through Shieldaig and Kinlochewe and homeward bound to Inverness.

From Inverness: 3-Day Orkney Explorer

3. From Inverness: 3-Day Orkney Explorer

Day 1: From here, you drive along the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery. Onwards through Scotland's most northerly mainland village, John o' Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, and cross the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago. It’s a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where you stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, capital of Orkney. Here you can visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking Cathedral and enjoy its historic winding streets in the evening. Day 2: 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 the Atlantic Ocean. You visit the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness. Then you explore the cairn of Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions. Then it’s back to Kirkwall for your second night after what is sure to be a memorable day. Day 3: You'll 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, you travel through the history-soaked regions of Caithness and Sutherland. You’ll 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. We arrive back in Inverness early evening.

Inverness: Loch Ness, Skye, & Eilean Donan Castle Tour

4. Inverness: Loch Ness, Skye, & Eilean Donan Castle Tour

Travel from Inverness to Skye on a day tour exploring the countryside and seeing the main sights. Your day starts with a bit of monster spotting as you drive along the shore of Loch Ness. Stop at the little village of Invermoriston, where you can take in the views and see a delightful ruined bridge. Your journey winds through Glen Moriston and Glen Shiel and on past the 5 Sisters, a stunning range of mountains that dominates the surrounding landscape. Continue to Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland’s most picturesque castles, perched on its own island at the head of Loch Duich. Next cross over the bridge to Skye and start your island adventure. Highlights include the craggy Cuillin Mountains, the dramatic hills of the Quiraing, and the stunning Trotternish Peninsular. Have the chance to explore the capital of Skye, Portree. You will be treated to even more stunning views and scenery as you make your way back to Inverness.

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.

From Inverness: Dunrobin Castle and Easter Ross Day Trip

6. From Inverness: Dunrobin Castle and Easter Ross Day Trip

Travel from Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, across the Black Isle to Dunrobin Castle on this guided day trip. First, stop at Dunrobin Castle, a stately home in Sutherland, one of Britain's oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s. Explore the French château with its fantastic gardens, 189 rooms, museums, ancient wardrobes, and clan artifacts, admiring the architecture from various angles. Get plenty of time to roam the grounds and soak up the history of this historic site. Then, stop for lunch in Dornoch, a Highland town popular with golfers and is home to an impressive cathedral. With a full belly, it's time to journey along the coast, where you'll take a jaunt out to Tarbat Ness Lighthouse. At the tip of the peninsula, be treated to an incredible view. Continuing your coastal adventure, you may just spot a bronze mermaid and a Pictish stone, so keep your eyes peeled and your driver will stop when they can for further exploration. With a small group, get more time off the bus and on the back roads. Arrive back in Inverness in the early evening.

Scotland: Orkney and Northern Coast 5-Day Tour

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

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 continuing past Dunrobin 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.

Northwest Highlands: Private Tour with Hike

8. Northwest Highlands: Private Tour with Hike

If you like wide-open spaces, lonely glens to hike up, and dramatic mountian scenery, this tour has it all. After getting picked up, your guide will explain the course of the day and make any adjustments that you may require. Leaving Inverness and heading northwest over the Black Isle, you will be entertained with stories and legends of the area before stopping off at the beautiful, old Silver Bridge. Follow the Black Water river to the huge Aultguish Dam and onto Wester Ross. At Corrieshalloch Gorge, you’ll take a 30-minute walk and learn about the traces left from the ice age that formed the landscape. Take in the breathtaking views of this spectacular ravine. The fishing village Ullapool is the next stop, where you can take time to wander the streets and have a light refreshment. Then you’ll venture into one of the last wildernesses in Europe. Stop and take in the peculiar yet stunning Stac Pollaidh, Suilven, and An Tealach mountains. After traveling through some of the oldest mountains in the world, you’ll stop at the tiny fishing village of Lochinver for lunch. Depending on the weather, your lunch will be served in the restaurant or on a sandy beach under the shadow of Ardvreck Castle before you head into a lonely glen for your main 2-hour hike of the day: the Bone Caves of Inchnadamph. From here continue on through Sutherland and onto the east coast of Ross and Cromarty where the landscape changes again to flatter and greener farmland. Journey through the beautiful Strath Okyel and onto the Kyle of Sutherland, where a spectacular view awaits. From there you’ll return to Inverness, taking in the old navy port of Invergordon and a curious monument on top of Fyrish Hill.

From Invergordon: Private Northern Highlands Shore Excursion

9. From Invergordon: Private Northern Highlands Shore Excursion

Embark on a private shore excursion in modern luxury vehicle to the Northern Scottish Highlands departing from the port in Invergordon. Visit historic and scenic landmarks such as Struie Viewpoint, Dunrobin Castle (option)and the Loch Fleet Nature Reserve with a flexible itinerary to suit your interests. Start with pickup from the Port of Invergordon. Hop into the vehicle and travel north to Struie Viewpoint where a brief photo stop is made. Spot a number of natural landmarks including the Kyle of Sutherland along Dornoch Firth. Travel further and pass through the villages of Ardgay and Bonar Bridge to the next stop at Achany and Falls of Shin Waterfall where migrating salmon can often be seen jumping the falls as they migrate further upstream. Pass through the village of Lairg and onwards to Dunrobin Castle. Upon (optional) entry to the Castle explore the beautiful gardens, the fascinating museum, and the magnificent falconry display. Next, you may take an optional visit to Clynelish Distillery and, if desired, taste some whisky samples and browse in the shop on site. Set off southward with a drive along the shores of Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve with a photo stop. Stop in the medieval town of Dornoch where you can browse the shops for bespoke, locally-crafted items. Golfing enthusiasts can also visit the pro shop at the world-famous Royal Dornoch Golf Course. After some time in Dornoch, travel back towards the port in Invergordon to your cruise ship.

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What people are saying about Black Isle

Overall rating

4.7
(504 reviews)

If you're looking for an unforgettable adventure through the majestic Scottish Highlands, look no further than William as your guide. He was an exceptional tour guide, and I can't sing his praises enough. It wasn't just his friendly nature that made him stand out—it was his unwavering dedication to ensuring every guest had the experience of a lifetime. William has an incredible wealth of knowledge about the Highlands' history and culture. With every twist and turn, he shared with us fascinating tales of Scottish lore, peppered with humor that kept us engaged and entertained throughout the journey. And let's not forget the fantastic music he curated for our listening pleasure, adding an extra layer of magic to an already enchanting experience. Thanks to his expertise and hospitality, my three days in the Highlands were nothing short of extraordinary. If you're lucky enough to join one of his tours, prepare to be amazed. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Highly recommended! I decided to book this tour as a 30th birthday present for my partner. To say we both thoroughly enjoyed it is an understatement! Scotland is such a beautiful place filled with picturesque landscapes and fascinating history, and this tour enabled us to explore the best of it and fall in love with the country. Our tour guide, Stephen, was super knowledgeable, funny, and very well-organized (not to mention his Spotify playlist - Red Hot Chili Pipers are on repeat for me 😄). We will be back for a 5-day tour soon!

Fraser's tour of the Scottish Highlands is an immersive journey through history and nature's majesty. With Fraser's expert guidance, each stop reveals the rich tapestry of Scotland's past, from ancient clans to breathtaking landscapes. His passion and knowledge breathe life into every moment, making this tour an unforgettable adventure. Prepare to be captivated and inspired by the magic of Scotland with Fraser as your guide.

Michael was a brilliant tour guide. The tourist spots covered were really beautiful. The stay was in inverness for 2 days which led to comparatively less time spend in each spot in Isle of Skye as it was a longer travel back. The tour can be split into one day stay in Inverness and one in Portree to give more time in the most beautiful isle of skye on the 2nd day of the tour.

Fraser was an excellent tour guide. He kept us entertained and taught us a lot about the history of Scotland. Isle of Skye was amazing!