Scotland Vacations by Umfulana: Customized Scotland Tours to Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands - Great Britain
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Where Spirits Roam: The Scottish Highlands

11 days | from EUR 1,419.00 pp in dbl-room*
Aberdeenhire – Cairngorms National Park – Speyside – Isle of Skye – Oban – Edinburgh

From the urban cityscape of Edinburgh to the vast wilderness of the Highlands, this package offers an ideal blend of city, nature and adventure. Stops include the idyllic Isle of Skye and ever-mysterious Loch Ness.

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Day 1–3: Aberdeenshire

Uninhabited mountains with a coastline both gentle and craggy
This region in eastern Scot­land offers a variety of landscapes ranging from the pris­tine and largely uninhabited world of the Cairngorm mountains to the storm-tossed coast­lines of the North Sea and the Mora Firth. Alternating between craggy and gentle, these coasts among the most spectac­ular in the world. This is also the site of Buchan Ness, a rocky island with a small light­house repre­senting Scot­land's most east­erly point. Apart from its four small cities, Aber­deen­shire has a rural flair. Some of its towns, such as the beau­tiful village of Crovie, have less than two dozen build­ings, and Collie­ston is consid­ered Great Britain's most beau­tiful fishing village.

Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Enterprise
Vehicle: Ford Focus or similar (CDMR)

Numerous Victorian mansions and medieval castles lie along the route between Edinburgh and Aberdeen. A few of the most important are Dunotar Castle near Stonehaven, the House of Dun and Scone Palace in Perth.

Forth Road Bridge

2,5 km long suspen­sion bridge

The motorway bridge over the Firth of Forth was built as a suspen­sion bridge between 1958 and 1964 and was the largest of its kind in Europe at the time. It is a good 2.5 kilome­tres long and consists of a total of almost 47,000 tons of steel. Together, the wire ropes are almost 50,000 kilome­ters long. The Forth Road Bridge has been listed since April 2001. However, a new bridge is being planned. The existing bridge is to remain pass­able for buses, taxis and cyclists. Parallel runs the Forth Rail Bridge, a steel bridge dating from 1890, which Alfred Hitchcock made world famous with a scary scene in his spy thriller, The Thirty-nine Steps.

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Hopetoun House

Geor­gian country castle and film set

The castle in the Scottish Lowlands was built at the beginning of the 17th century for the Earl of Hopetoun. To this day, the Geor­gian country house is inhabited by its descen­dants. In the first construc­tion phase, the central building with a repre­senta­tive staircase and numerous ceiling paint­ings was built, in the second construc­tion phase the current facade, the colonnades the pavil­ions in the south and north. At the beginning of the 19th century the inte­rior of the castle was rede­signed. The State Dining Room was created as a master­piece of inte­rior design. The current head of the Hope Clan, the fourth Marquess of Linithgow, has opened his domicile to visitors. Parts of the series “Outlander” were shot on loca­tion.

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Fife

Picturesque castles in graceful landscape

The peninsula between Edinburgh and Perth is char­ac­terised by its graceful landscape, picturesque castles and historic villages. Partic­u­larly beau­tiful is Culross, a picture-book town dating from between 1600 and 1800. From St. Monans, a former fishing village with a Gothic church, an artists' village has devel­oped. Loch Leven is also remark­able. On an island stands Loch Leven Castle, where Mary Stuart was held for a year. Sir Walter Scott describes the dramatic circum­stances of her night­time escape in his romantic novel “The Abbot”. In 2008 Loch Leven Heritage Trail was founded, a hiking trail around the lake and through the nature reserve.

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Accommodation: A historic farm house

This listed farm house was built in 1762 by the ancestors of the present owner. Forest with deer, birds chirping and tranquillity surround the rural idyll. more ...

Those who enter the prestigious stone house will be met by the stern glances of the ancestors of the McCombie family in the impressive galleried entrance hall. All the more friendly are the hosts who make every effort to make their guests happy. Veronica is a trained Cordon Bleu chef, which is reflected in both breakfast and dinner. The house in the heart of Aberdeenshire is ideally located for exploring the surrounding castles, gardens, and whiskey distilleries.

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Cairngorms National Park

Lakes and marshes and heather in Britain's largest natural park

The largest national park in Great Britain is located in the central high­lands and dominated by the peaks of the Grampian Mountains. The wild landscape with its heather-covered hills and the deep black lakes, inac­ces­sible moors and green forests form a unique natural setting. Some 25,000 red deer roam the forests and heaths of the park. Large parts of the area are not devel­oped for traffic. The largest towns are Ballater in the east and Kingussie and Aviemore in the west. Highest point is Ben Macdui with 1,310 m. Although two roads follow the border from west to east or to the south, there is no road access to the national park's center. The area can therefore be reached only on foot. South­east near Braemar stands a popular tourist attrac­tion: Balmoral Castle.

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Montrose and surround­ings

Bizarre cliffs and a long sandy beach

Two of the main attrac­tions of the town between Aberdeen and Dundee are fascinating cliff forma­tions and a long strip of coast­line with an excel­lent beach. About 6 km from the coast stands the House of Dun, built in 1730. Farther south is Arbroath, famous for its 12th century abbey and a smoked haddock dish called “smokies.” The picturesque Glamis Castle near Forfair is home to King Macbeth in Shake­s­peare's play of the same name. Numerous legends are connected with the ancient estate.

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Craigievar Castle

A dist­inctly vertical Scottish tower house

This castle on the River Dee is a typical Scottish tower house. In contrast to conven­tional castles, tower houses are higher than they are wide. This castle consists of three floors crowded over a small L-shaped foun­da­tion. The main tower, however, has a fourth floor. The chinks below the battle­ments between the towers, known as machico­la­tions, are purely deco­ra­tive and did not serve a defen­sive func­tion in this case.

Included in:
Scottish Heritage Pass

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Ben Rinnes

Scenic mountain in whisky country

There are count­less whisky distil­leries all around the River Spey – more than anywhere else in the world. One of them is Benrinnes, which is named after the scenic mountain to the south. If you need some fresh air to clear your head between whisky tast­ings, we recom­mend climbing the mountain. (3 hrs, 6.8 km, eleva­tion change: 440 m)

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Stonehaven

Coastal hike to Dunnottar Castle

The walk leads from the idyllic harbor town of Stonehaven via a spectac­ular coastal landscape to one of Aber­deen­shire's most beau­tiful towns. Behind Stonehaven, the road climbs steeply. At the top you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view across the sea. In the distance Dunnottar Castle is already beckoning, which we approach over the cliffs and without further climbs. After a visit to the twelve ruins of Dunnottar Castle, we return the same way. (Roundtrip: 4.8 kilome­ters, 1:30 hours, up and down: 166 meters)

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Day 3–5: Moray Firth

Where whales and dolphins romp about
The bay on the North Sea is consid­ered the greatest Firth of Britain. The large funnel between Kinnairds Head near Fraserburgh in Aber­deen­shire and Duncansby Head near Wick is 120 kilome­ters wide at the opening. Counting all the bays, the Firth has a coast­line of about 800 kilome­ters, including rocky cliffs and tidal flats. The highest peak close to the shore is Ben Wyvis: With its 1048 meters it is mostly shrouded in fog and snowcapped even during summer. Frolicking dolphins and whales are best seen from Chanonry Point.

The route largely follows the Malt Whisky Trail. The distilleries near Dufftown are open to the public for tours and purchases. Before reaching the Glen Grant distillery near Rothes the route touches the Castle Trail, which leads to several imposing structures built over a period of 700 years.

Glenlivet Distillery

First legal distillery

The distillery of 1823 was the first legal one in the area, which is why the founder caused resent­ment in the whole region. Illegal distilling of whisky had a long tradi­tion in this area. In 1880, the Smiths acquired exclu­sive rights to the name “The Glenlivet”. In 1977 the distillery was sold to the Amer­ican alcohol company Seagram, which in 2001 went to Pernod Ricard. The distillery has a visitor center, visits are free of charge.

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Spey­side Cooperage

Whisky cooperage on the Malt Whisky Trail

Spey­side Cooperage is the only Scottish cooperage that makes and repairs whisky barrels. Approx­i­mately 150,000 oak barrels are currently produced annu­ally. Only a very small propor­tion of these are new, the predom­inant busi­ness being the refurbish­ment of used barrels. Old whisky barrels, the wood of which no longer gives off any aromas after being used several times, are prepared for reuse by sanding and charring. The cooperage has its own visitor center. The work on the barrels can be observed from a visitor gallery.

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Accommodation: A traditional Scottish country house

Host Rosemarie has been running the elegant B&B for over 16 years. The secluded property is situated on rich farmland east of Inverness just a few miles from the sea. more ...

The rooms are decorated with antique furniture handed down in Rosemariefamily through generations. The excellent meals are made using fresh herbs and vegetables grown on the farm. All room overlook the lovely grounds and Moray landscape beyond.

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Easter Ross

Green hills, mild climate

Easter Ross is the east­ernmost part of Ross-shire, which in the west reaches to the Atlantic Ocean and includes a Hebridean island. The region on the North Sea is shielded by the high mountains to the west and therefore has a milder climate than the Western High­lands. The green hills reach up to the Cromart Fjord, where some­times dolphins can be spotted. Amongst all this are small villages and manor houses.

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Pluscarden Abbey

Bene­dic­tine Monastery in the Blackburn Valley

In the remote Blackburn valley lies a monastery founded by the Scottish King in 1230. It joined the Bene­dic­tine Order 200 years later. With the Scottish Reforma­tion in the 16th century and its best days behind it, it was abandoned and by the 17th century lay in ruins. In 1948 Pluscarden was revived when Bene­dictines from Montecassino, Italy, were overwhelmed by the spir­itual power of the place in the north of the Grampian Mountains. They revived the monastery. Today the build­ings have been restored to their former glory.

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Dallas-Dhu-Destillery

Whisky museum in an old distillery

This former whisky distillery near Forres is now a museum in a listed historic building. The name “Dallas” comes from the Gaelic words for valley and water. “Dhu” means black. There is no visitor center, but the Historic Scot­land orga­ni­za­tion has done a great job restoring the distillery. The old ware­house is now a museum about the history of Spey­side Whisky in Scot­land. The museum also includes a tour of the entire distilla­tion and the matu­ra­tion process. The whole building complex is open all year round.    

Included in:
Historic Scot­land Explorer Pass

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Day 5–7: Isle of Skye

Caves, glens and waterfalls
More than anything else, the largest island in the Inner Hebrides offers 639 square miles of pris­tine nature: rugged mountains, green valleys, caves, glens, crystal clear waterfalls and out-of-the-way beaches. Otters and seals feed on the salmon and trout that popu­late the island's unpol­luted waters. The over 200 species of birds native to the area include endan­gered species like the golden eagle and the northern gannet. Skye is also known as the source of one of Scot­land's finest malt whiskies. The island has not always been a peaceful place. Under Bonnie Prince Charles, a descent of Maria Stuart, it was the focal point of a power struggle between the Scots and the English. A bridge connecting Skye to the main­land was constructed in 1995. Those who desire even greater remote­ness can take a ferry from Uig to the Outer Hebrides, where they will find nothing but sheep, cliffs and wind.

The crossing of the northern Highlands from east to west is one of the greatest experiences during a trip to Scotland. From Inverness you head inland along large and small lakes passing through an increasingly lonely landscape.

Cawdor Castle

Where King Macbeth committed murder

According to Shake­s­peare, this castle with its massive keep was the crime scene where King Macbeth murdered Duncan. Histo­rians have their doubts, however, because the castle was was not built until the 14th century and because Duncan actu­ally died in the Battle of Elgin. Never­the­less, Cawdor Castle, which now belongs to the Dukes of Argyll, is still worth a visit. One of the very few “Royal” whisky distil­leries, the Royal Brackla Distillery, is next door.

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Culloden

Blood­bath and the end of a Scottish dream

In the swamps of Culloden, the dream of the High­lan­ders of rule over Great Britain came to an end on 16 April 1746. The Battle of Culloden is a turning point in the history of Scot­land. Not only did it put an end to the Stuarts' final attempt to assert their claim to the throne, it also marked the demise of tradi­tional Scottish culture and the powerful special posi­tion of clan leaders and sealed the integra­tion of the formerly inde­pen­dent country into an English-dominated Great Britain. Today only a lonely tower and a museum remind of the blood­bath.

Included in:
Scottish Heritage Pass (Culloden Battlefield)

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Beauly Priory

Mystical ruins on the River Beauly

During the 13th century, French monks built an abbey on a spot along the River Beauly just before it empties into the firth. They called it the “beau lieu” due to its partic­u­larly beau­tiful loca­tion. The monastery was abandoned during the Reforma­tion and became a ruin. The cloister, dormitory and the abbot's resi­dence disap­peared and the roof of the church caved in. Never­the­less, the ruin exudes a very unique charm.

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Corrie­shalloch Gorge

A waterfall and bridge in a spectac­ular gorge

Several kilome­ters before the River Abhainn Droma flows into the sea near Ullapool, it passes through a ravine that is too deep to have been carved out by the river itself. Corrie­shalloch Gorge was actu­ally formed by glaciers during the last ice age. Ferns grow at the bottom of the gorge and there is a stunning vertical waterfall. The bridge in front of the waterfall is a great spot for taking spectac­ular pictures.

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Accommodation: A B&B near Portree

This B&B lies at the edge of the port town of Portree. The Cuillin Mountains are visible to the south and the Old Man of Storr, a beautiful hiking area with gorgeous nooks and crannies, rises to the north. more ...

The custom-designed rooms receive plenty of light. The living room has a fireplace and is replete with books and maps all about the Isle of Skye. Rick and Georgie also happy to give advice on where to go for day trips. Pubs, restaurants and shops can be found on the other side of Loch Portree. 

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Old Man of Storr

Legendary rock needle made of black basalt

The almost 50 meter high rock needle made of black basalt is visible from afar and a landmark of the Trotter­nish peninsula. All around there are smaller upright rocks, which in old stories are called his family. His wife, the second largest rock needle, unfortunately collapsed years ago. Legend has it that they were looking for a runaway cow in the area. Then they met giants and fled. When they looked back, they were turned into stone.

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Talisker Whisky

Only whisky distillery on Skye

The only whisky distillery on Skye is the Talisker distillery, founded in 1830. It is known for its double distilled single malt whisky, which is consid­ered to be one of the best. Guided tours and whisky tast­ings are on offer.

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Cuillin Hills

An alpinist's paradise

This basalt massif on the Isle of Skye is a paradise for Alpin­ists. The mountain range is home to twelve Munros, as Scottish mountains higher than 3,000 feet are called. The highest is the Sgurr Alasdair at 992 meters. The Glen Sligachan mountain hotel is the starting point for hiking trails with every level of diffi­culty. Most of the trails are unmarked as they cross screes, rocks and gullies worn into the mountain­side. The views here are overwhelming on clear days. You can see as far as the main­land to the east and all the way to the Outer Hebrides as well.

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Day 7–9: Argyll

Remote peninsula in western Scotland
This former county in western Scot­land is known by the Gaelic name of Earra-Ghàidheal, which means “Coasts of the Gaels.” Yet the pres­ence of numerous standing stones attest to the fact that other cultures were here long before the Gaels. Inverary is the region's main town and is still the resi­dence of the Duke of Argyll, the head of the Camp­bell clan. With a popu­la­tion density of 20 people per square kilometer, most inhab­i­tants live in the towns of Oban, Cambeltown and Inverary. The rest of the region is virtu­ally uninhabited and work must be found else­where. These remote islands and peninsulas are ideal if you are looking for the soli­tude and quiet­ness of the open country.

The ferry crosses from the Inner Hebrides to the main­land.

Arisaig

Picturesque village on Scot­land's west coast

Today – because of its picturesque loca­tion – Arisaig lives mainly off tourism. The village is easy to reach for tourists trav­elling through Scot­land: by car via the pano­ramic ‘Road to the Isles’ and by West High­land Line trains from Fort William. Arisaig station is the west­ernmost station in Great Britain. From the small harbor of the village there are ferries to the offshore islands of Eigg, Muck and Rùm. However, ferry traffic plays only a minor role, as all larger ferries call at the port of nearby Mallaig.

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Armadale Castle

Romantic ruins and exotic garden

The former manor house of the MacDonald Clan lies between Ardvasar and Kilmore on the Sleat promontory in the extreme south of the Isle of Skye. Orig­inally, the clan chiefs had lived there in simple farm­houses. It was only after they had come to money that they had a repre­senta­tive castle built in 1790. After a few decades it was added to at a huge expense, only to burn down shortly after. To this day, the romantic prop­erty is largely dilap­i­dated. Worth seeing are the restored 17th century garden with exotic plants and the Museum of the Isles.

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Mallaig

Fishing port on the wild west­coast

The fishing port on Scot­land's west coast was founded in 1840 and connected to the British railway network via the West High­land Railway. That way the fresh fish could be trans­ported easily and quickly. Today the local fish­ermen are special­ized in shrimp and lobster. Mallaig is also the end of the Road to the Isles, which for most part runs parallel to the railway-line Fort William-Mallaig and is one of the most scenic roads in Scot­land.

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Accommodation: A designer B&B overlooking Loch Linnhe

The designer guest house located between Appin and Oban on the west coast affords unparalleled views of Loch Linnhe. more ...

The eight, individually decorated rooms have jacuzzi baths, underfloor heating and large panoramic-view windows. The day starts out with a healthy, hearty breakfast: smoked fish or sweet pancakes provide a delicious alternative to the usual ham and eggs fare. Excursions can be arranged to the islands of Iona and Staffa, once a source of inspiration for the German composer Felix Mendelssohn.
For dinner the hosts recommend the Eriska Hotel which also features a golf course and a spa. Reservations need to be made at the time of booking. 

The host Sean O'Byrne is world champion in traditional longbowarchery. Anyone who wants to try this historic discipline of the ScottishHighlands can book a lesson through Umfulana (35, – GBP per person – advancebooking required).

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Oban

Base for the Western High­lands

Oban is an ideal base for trav­elers wishing to explore the Western High­lands. The little town south of Fort William boasts a harbor and a yacht club. Most of the shops and restau­rants are clus­tered around the small train station. Ganavan Sands is the best place to swim. The Oban whisky distillery, built in 1794, is known for its malt Scotch. Boat trips can be taken to the Hebrides west of Orban, while the sparsely popu­lated country east of the city offers spectac­ular mountain landscapes. Some of the most beau­tiful lakes in Scot­land, such as Loch Tay, Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond, are all within an hours' drive.

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Isle of Kerrera

Hebridean island with castle ruins and 30 inhab­i­tants

The island in the south of the Inner Hebrides has a good twelve square kilome­ters, a thou­sand-year history and currently less than 30 inhab­i­tants. Since the 12th century it belongs to the Mac Dougalls clan. The Scottish King Alexander II gathered his fleet in the south of the island to take the Hebrides from there. In the 16th century the clan estab­lished its ances­tral seat, Gylen Castle, on the island. A hundred years later, the castle was conquered and all its inhab­i­tants killed. Since then the gloomy building has remained uninhabited. Kerrera is not in any travel guide, which is why only a few visitors come. The best way to explore the car-free island is by bicycle. During summer ferries leave Oban every half hour.

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West Loch­aber

Uninhabited wilder­ness at the end of the world

The peninsula south of the road from Fort William to Mallaig is sepa­rated from the rest of Scot­land by Loch Linnhe and the Sound of Mull. Two more miles of holes divide the land mass into more peninsulas, making the area diffi­cult to access. The popu­la­tion is corre­spond­ingly thin. On the Morvern peninsula, which covers 650 square kilome­tres, live less than 320 people! There are hardly any sights here, but endless grass­lands, some­times dry, some­times humid, occa­sion­ally a few afforested woods, wide views, deep clouds; but above all silence and lone­li­ness, as they can only be found at the edges of Europe. Water is never far away. There are also only a few hiking trails. But you can walk cross-country to your heart's content.

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Glencoe

Hiking across the “Valley of Tears”

The “Valley of Tears” has a bloody history: In 1691 the English King William III pardoned all High­land clans who had fought against him. The condi­tion, however, was that they had to swear alle­giance to him. Those who refused were sentenced to death. After the Clan MacDonald had agreed only reluc­tantly, his boss went erro­neously to Inver­lochy and he reached Inver­aray only after the dead­line. Thus the whole clan was denied the pardon. The royal soldiers carried out the massacre at Glencoe, in which the inhab­i­tants of the valley died. Today one of the most beau­tiful hiking trails in Scot­land begins there. (10 kilome­ters, 6 hours, up and down: 1,070 meters)

Included in the:
Scottish Heritage Pass (Glencoe Visitor Centre)

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Kinlochleven

Wilder­ness hike in the misty Valley

Moss, stones, wind and stormy forests: Above Kinlochleven, a settle­ment of miners with almost 1000 inhab­i­tants, there is a wild and lonely high moor­land, which is suit­able for a circular hike. The barren heath landscape offers wide sweeping views across Loch Leven, which get lost in the twil­ight of the clouds. On the way back you cross an exposed ridge between two river valleys. (Return: 9 kilome­ters, 3:30 hours, up and down 385 meters)

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Day 9–11: Edinburgh

Scotland's proud capital in the shadow of the fortress
Scot­land's capital is consid­ered one of the most beau­tiful cities in the world. A burgh is said to have stood on Castle Rock – which offers the best view of the city – since the 7th century. Walls were erected around the town in the shadow of the fortress following bloody and disas­trous clashes with England. The medieval plan and narrow winding streets of the Old Town once protected by those walls have been preserved. The area called New Town was created in the 18th century to relieve crowding in the rapidly growing city. With its rigidly ordered grid New Town was consid­ered the epitome of rational urban devel­op­ment during the period of Enlight­en­ment. The main shopping street today is Princess Street, which is lined with shops, galleries and museums. The cultural capital of Scot­land is often referred to as the Athens of the North. The city's polit­ical history was defined by the rivalry with England. Edinburgh is now once again the seat of the Scottish Parlia­ment.

Along the way you will pass Loch Etive and Loch Awe and drive through the rugged landscapes of the Trossachs. You will then enter the heavily populated region between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Doune Castle

Late medieval fortress and popular filming loca­tion

The late medieval castle stands on a rocky spur above the River Teith, where it is protected on three sides by steep slopes. In the background, the southern Scottish Tros­sach mountains rise. There prob­ably was already a prede­cessor castle before the Duke of Albany had the fortress built in 1390. In the 16th century it served the Scottish monarchs, including Mary Stuart, as a summer resi­dence. Never­the­less, the building was never completed, which contributes to its myste­r­ious appear­ance. Anyway, Doune Castle is a popular movie set. Scenes from the TV series “Game of Thrones” and the movie “Knight of the Coconut” by Monthy Python were shot here.

Included in:
Historic Scot­land Explorer Pass
Scottish Heritage Pass

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Stirling

Haunted town in the shadow of the castle

Centuries ago, the city between Edinburgh and Glasgow used to be the Scottish capital. The medieval old town devel­oped around the great castle (Stirling Castle), which still dominates the place. Stirling is often called the “gateway to the High­lands”, because here is where the flat hills of the Scottish lowlands meet the steep slopes of the high­lands. Maybe that's the reason why the city is haunted by count­less spirits. Most famous are the “Green Lady” who was seen in the castle several times, and a soldier. But nowhere appear as many ghosts as in the tavern “Settle Inn”.

Included in:
Historic Scot­land Explorer Pass

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Bannockburn

Worst defeat of the English army

On 23 and 24 June 1314 the Scottish army under Robert The Bruce won a deci­sive victory over the much larger English army under Eduard II in the marsh­lands of Bannockburn. The battle is consid­ered one of the worst defeats ever suffered by an English army. Thou­sands of English foot soldiers were killed on the run. The entire English baggage fell into the hands of the Scots. Today a highly modern exhi­bi­tion centre commem­o­rates the battle. Every year the Scottish National Party orga­nizes a march from Stirling to the field of Bannockburn, where a wreath is laid at the statue of Robert Bruce.

Included in:
Scottish Heritage Pass (Bannockburn Heritage Centre)

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Accommodation: A Victorian residence in downtown Edinburgh

The hosts' first Blène, a former teacher, and Erland, a journalist with a wry British sense of humour, have created a guest suite in their new home in Cambridge Street. more ...

The suite is located on the ground floor of a stately Victorian mansion and is itself beautifully furnished in Victorian style. The couples' candlelight breakfasts are unparalleled: Choices include Pommes Rimbaut, Mushroom Taleggio, Asparagus Apocalypse and Oeufs à la Brioche. Although many of Edinburgh's most important sights are only minutes away, the rooms face a quiet garden.

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Services: 2 Nights | Bed & Breakfast

Edinburgh Castle

A castle built over an extinct volcano

This fortress towers high over Edinburgh from its perch on Castle Rock, an extinct volcano. A previous fortifica­tion prob­ably stood here as early as the 7th century. The current royal castle was first mentioned in 1093 in refer­ence to the sieges and havoc wreaked by the English. Mary Stuart, who lived here until she was impris­oned and beheaded, was the castle's most famous resi­dent. The area in front of the castle, known as the “esplanade,” provides the best view over the rooftops of Edinburgh's Old Town. The esplanade is also where the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held every year. 

Included in:
Historic Scot­land Explorer Pass
Scottish Heritage Pass

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Dean Village

Romantic mill village near Edinburgh

The small village in a deep gorge was the granary of Edinburgh. No fewer than eleven grain mills were in oper­a­tion at the best times of the 19th century. The river  Water of Leith, which had a steep gradient here, provided the neces­sary driving power. In 1833 a spectac­ular bridge over the valley was built, but then the decline began. Electric and steam mills replaced the water mills. Poverty and unemploy­ment moved into Dean. In the 1970s, Edinburgh city dwellers discov­ered cheap housing in the tranquil surround­ings. Today Dean is a hip suburb of the Scottish capital.

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Royal Mile of Edinburgh

Heart of the Old Town between High Street and Castlehill

The heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, known as the Royal Mile, is situ­ated between Canongate, High Street and Castlehill. It really does measure a Scottish mile in length (1.8 kilome­ters). Here you will find the High­land Tolbooth Church, the People's Story Museum, the Museum of Edinburgh, the John Knox House and the Scottish Parlia­ment building. Small, steep alleyways known as “closes,” “courts,” or “wynds” run perpen­dic­ular to the Royal Mile in a herringbone pattern. The Old Town also features several large market squares.

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Water of Leith Walkway

Contempla­tive prom­enade through Edinburgh

The small river Water of Leith flows through a valley, across Edinburgh and into the North Sea near Leith. On its bank there is a hiking trail, which starts at the school of Balerno and partly leads over disused tracks. Although you walk through the middle of the city, you hardly ever walk over tar and still pass some important sights, for example the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art or the Dean Gallery. The trail ends at the mouth of the river Leith. (One way: 20 kilome­ters, 5 hours, up: 60 meters, down: 210 meters)

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Day 11: Edinburgh

Additional Services

In order to compensate part of the CO2 emissions caused by your travels, we raise a voluntary donation, which is being transfered in its entirety to the Klima-Kollekte GmbH in Berlin or Wildlands South Africa. 

With your donation CO2-saving projects are supported; one example being solar cookers for Lesotho. Further information can be found at www.umfulana.com/about-umfulana/projects/climate-compensation
www.klima-kollekte.de and www.wildlands.co.za

If you wish to opt out of the Umfulana climate initiative, please note this on your booking form. 

Services

The cost is per person based on two people sharing a double room and includes accommodation and meals per itinerary.from USD 1,559.00*

(from EUR 1,419.00)*


You can start this tour on any date.
Best Travel Time:
April–Oct.

Upon booking this tour you will receive:
» the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each accommodation
» Your vouchers
» detailed directions to each accommodation

Please call us if you would like to request a customized itinerary, book a tour or just ask quesitons about our range of services.

Request a custom itinerary

Your Consultants
Your Consultants

Melissa Nußbaum
Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-57

Your Consultants
Your Consultants

Jessica Parkin
Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-23

Your Consultants
Your Consultants

Leslie Jalowiecki
Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-67

Booking Process

1. Your Tour Specifications
Request a tailor-made tour proposal. Indicate your interests, desired destinations, travel period and budget.

2. Consulting + Itinerary
Our experienced staff will provide professional consulting and prepare a tailor-made proposal based on your specifications.

3. Booking
To book a tour, simply fill out and submit the form. We will make all tour arrangements for you.

4. Payment + Travel Documents
After completion of the booking process, you will receive a confirmed itinerary. The complete travel documents will be forwarded to you on receipt of the remaining balance following payment of the deposit.

5. Tour
We wish you a relaxing and memorable trip. Enjoy your holiday!

6. Your Feedback
We appreciate any feedback you wish to provide after completion of your tour. This helps us to continually improve our products and services.


*) The price is per person based on two people sharing a double room. Prices may vary by season and due to differences in available services.
All tours are sold in euros.
Prices indicated in other currencies are for informational purposes only and may vary in accordance with changes in exchange rates.