Embrace mountain hikes and leisurely coastal walks in the Hebrides and Highlands. Step back in time as you walk up to ancient standing stones and iconic castles, meet weavers and distillers and take in breathtaking landscapes from the Isle of Lewis and Harris and the Isle of Skye to Loch Ness and the Cairngorms.

Starting at: $6,995 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question
 Hiking in Scotland  The Standing Stones of Callanish, Isle of Lewis and Harris  Beach on the western coast of Isle of Harris and Lewis  Traveler meeting a weaver, Isle of Harris  Weaver in his workshop  Black House Village, Isle of Lewis and Harris  The Black Cuillan Hills with Sligachan Bridge, Isle of Skye  Highland cattle, Isle of Skye  The iconic Eilean Donan Castle, the Highlands  Landscape of the Cairngorms National Park  Packhorse Bridge, dating to 1717, Carrbridge, the Cairngorms  Landscape of Cairngorm National Park  Red stag deer of Scotland  Traditional whisky distillery   Traditional Scotch whisky

Hiking Scotland’s Hebrides and Highlands

10 days from $6,995

Embrace mountain hikes and leisurely coastal walks in the Hebrides and Highlands. Step back in time as you walk up to ancient standing stones and iconic castles, meet weavers and distillers and take in breathtaking landscapes from the Isle of Lewis and Harris and the Isle of Skye to Loch Ness and the Cairngorms.

Overview

Embrace mountain hikes and leisurely coastal walks in the Hebrides and Highlands amid landscapes that evoke poignant stories and clan history. Step back in time as you walk up to ancient standing stones and iconic castles, meet weavers and distillers and take in breathtaking views of the Isle of Lewis and Harris, the Isle of Skye, and the Cairngorm Mountains.

Highlights Include

  • The Hebrides: On the Isle of Lewis and Harris, travel a historic coast-to-coast trail from the rocky east to the sandy western beaches and enjoy glorious coastal views in all directions. Along the way, meet a local weaver of Harris tweed, learn about the island’s cultural history, and watch for golden eagles, otters, seals, and whales. On the Isle of Skye, experience the dramatic Red and Black Cuillin mountain ranges up close during a hike through Glen Sligachan.
  • The Highlands: Take in the romantic Eilean Donan Castle and sip some Scotch at a historic distillery. Later, enjoy a leisurely cruise of Loch Ness. In Cairngorms National Park, hike a variety of trails that take you through ancient Caledonian pinewood forests and offer views of castles and wildlife. During your rambles, you’ll also discover historic sites and an outdoor folk museum that traces Highland life through the centuries.

Limited to 16 Smithsonian Journeys guests. Daily hikes from 1 to 5 miles.

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 – Depart the U.S. for Scotland

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Inverness, Scotland. You will gather at Inverness Airport in the early afternoon where you will be greeted by your guide and have a chance to get acquainted with your fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers. Travel north by private coach and make a late day stop at a traditional whisky distillery for a tasting. Afterward, transfer to the Coul House Hotel located in the charming village of Contin, Ross-shire. After check in, gather for a welcome orientation and an overview of the trip, then enjoy a festive welcome dinner in the hotel. (D)

Day 3 – The Outer Hebrides, Callanish Standing Stones

After an early breakfast, continue on to Ullapool and board a local ferry to the Outer Hebrides, arriving in the village of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in time for lunch. In the afternoon, take a coastal walk from a traditional Blackhouse village to a headland with sweeping ocean views. Then drive south to visit the Callanish Standing Stones, an extraordinary cross-shaped setting of stones erected during the Neolithic period over 5,000 years ago, before Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids. Continue on to your hotel for check-in followed by a group dinner. (B,L,D)

Hike: 2 miles, 200 feet of ascent, well-groomed trails - 1 hour

Day 4 – Hike Harris and Harris Tweed Weavers

Depart the hotel for a coast-to-coast hike across the Isle of Harris. Called “The Coffin Route” this path had for generations been used by funeral parties. It is a walk of extremes, from wild barren rock in the west to smooth white sand beaches on the east side of the island. Later visit a local Harris Tweed weaver and learn more about this world-renowned fabric. (B,L)

Hike: 5 miles, approx. 500 feet gradual ascent, well-groomed trails - 3 hours

Day 5 – Scarista Beach

Enjoy a morning hike on the wide-open expanse of Scarista Beach. Then follow a path through flowering meadows to Rubh' an Teampaill, a medieval chapel, now in ruins, which dates back to the 15th century. Afterward, stop at a small local museum to learn more about the human history of these islands. Continue with a drive along the Golden Road on the east coast. Look for Pied Wagtails, Stonechats, and other coastal birds as you trek. The road twists and turns with views of sparkling lochs and hidden inlets where you may see seals basking on the rocks. (B,L,D)

Hike: 4 miles, 100 feet ascent, well-groomed trails - 2 hours

Day 6 – Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan Castle

Travel aboard a local ferry to the Isle of Skye. Hike in Glen Sligachan, which dramatically splits the Red Cuillin and Black Cuillin mountain ranges. View sparkling waterfalls and the River Sligachan which meanders through the valley connecting a number of small lochs. Later in the day depart the Isle of Skye. Then tour Eilean Donan Castle, which sits on a picturesque island surrounded by majestic scenery. Continue on to the Inch Hotel with dramatic views over the southern end of Loch Ness. (B,L,D)

Hike: 2 miles, 150 feet ascent, some rough and rocky terrain and trails, 1-2 hours

Day 7 – Loch Ness to Cairngorms National Park, Aviemore

After breakfast, depart on a scenic cruise of Loch Ness. Then arrive at Cairngorms National Park, located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. This is the United Kingdom’s largest National Park featuring five of the six highest peaks in the country. Gather for a short hike through the Caledonian Pinewood forests around the village of Carrbridge, finishing at Packhorse Bridge, a stone arch style span which dates back to 1717. Continue on to the Cairngorms Hotel in the village of Aviemore. Once settled in gather for a group dinner. (B,L,D)

Hike: 3 miles, 100 feet ascent, well-groomed trails, hikes from 2 hours

Day 8 – Cairngorms National Park, Uath Lochans, Highland Folk Museum

Take a short hike to Uath Lochans, featuring a magical mixture of woodlands and sparkling lochs, all nestled beneath the towering mountains of the Cairngorm plateau. In the afternoon, visit the Highland Folk Museum, a vast outdoor museum that traces the social and rural way of life in the Scottish Highlands throughout the centuries. See reconstructs of buildings of trade, wares of local tradespeople, plus explore collections dedicated to local sport and agriculture. Return to Aviemore and the hotel for an evening at leisure. (B,L)

Hike: 3-4 miles, 300 feet ascent, well-groomed trails, hikes from 2-3 hours

Day 9 – Reindeer reintroduction program, Loch an Eilean

Take a short hike to visit a reindeer reintroduction program. After disappearing from Scotland 800 years ago, one family reintroduced a herd here in the 1950s since the Cairngorms provided an ideal climate. Join a ranger for a closer look at the herd and learn more about conservation efforts. After lunch, drive to a trailhead within Cairngorms and just above the tree-line, offering  views towards Cairngorm Mountain. Hike along a trail that winds through ancient forest to Loch an Eilean, There, rising from a small island in the middle of the loch is the ruins of a former castle. Look for Golden Eye Ducks and maybe an Osprey overhead as your amble through this picturesque landscape. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon to relax, then gather in the lobby and walk to a local restaurant for a farewell celebration and dinner. (B,L,D)

Hike: 4-5 miles, minimal ascent, well-groomed trails, hikes from, 3-4 hours

Day 10 – Depart for Home

After breakfast, depart the hotel in Aviemore and transfer to Inverness Airport for flights home to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)