Your 3-day Isle of Skye, Inverness and the Highlands Tour, lead by your expert Local Ness Bus Tour Guide! You will visit all of the must-see highlights of Scotland, including the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Glencoe, Outlander and Harry Potter film locations, Eilean Donan Castle, Culloden Battlefield, 2 x National Parks, a Scotch Whisky-Distillery, and many more!
During your unforgettable tour, you will spend two nights in the Capital of Highlands, beautiful Inverness. This tour allows you to experience more of Scotland in just 3 days, than with any other company!
Departing from Edinburgh, travel in comfort across the dramatic Highlands in one of our Air-Conditioned Minicoaches. You can relax watching the views from your window, while our Local Guides entertain you with their stories, and Scotland’s history.
With small group tours, and a 100% Satisfaction guarantee (or your money back), you can rely on Ness Bus Tours for the highest quality experience.
Our Company is owned and run by experienced Scottish Tour Guides, and has been showing thousands of people Scotland’s favourite sites since 2010.
Our award-winning Scottish guides are dedicated to show you the very best of Scotland, all year round. Book now to guarantee your seats!
Please watch our Tour video below, which shows you what a day on tour with us is like for our guests:
This tour departs Edinburgh from the bus stop @ ‘Deacon’s House Cafe, Lawnmarket, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2PS at 8.30am on DAY 1, and returns on Day 3 at around 6.00-6.30pm.
8.30AM – Departing Edinburgh, we travel up the Forth Valley towards the historic city of Stirling, where you’ll catch a glimpse of Stirling Castle and The Wallace Monument (weather permitting!). Be inspired by tales from your guide of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. We make our way North, before arriving at Doune Castle.
This 14th Century Castle has been a setting on Outlander (Castle Leoch), Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Game of Thrones. If you venture inside, you’ll see one of the best-preserved medieval Great Halls in Scotland.
Continuing north, into the ‘Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park‘, it’s time to meet a few of the locals, by meeting some of our famous Scottish Highland Cows (Hairy Coos)!!!! Native to Scotland, these magnificent yak-like creatures love to pose for your photos!
Enjoy your first taste of the Highlands as we drive along the banks of picturesque Loch Lubnaig and further in to the rugged Highlands. Admire the scenery as your tour guide explains the remarkable tribal ‘Clan’ history of the Highlands, and you hear about the most famous Highlander of them all, ‘Rob Rob MacGregor’.
After lunch, follow in the footsteps of James Bond (Skyfall) and Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban), as you discover the beautiful and haunting ‘Glencoe’, the most magnificent and famous valley in Scotland. The spectacular scenery will stay with you forever. Your guide will recount the tale of the infamous ‘Massacre of Glencoe’ that took place here in 1692, a tragic story of murder and intrigue, politics and tribal-hatred. Here you’ll go for a short nature walk, take some photos, and soak up the eerie atmosphere.
You’ll follow the beautiful ‘Road to the Isles‘ to watch as the Hogwarts’ Express (Jacobite Steam Train) crossing the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct. Historically this stunning viewpoint also marks the spot where Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) landed in Scotland and raised his standard prior to the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Go to the top of the monument for the best views of the Glen, as your guide entertains you with the dramatic story of how this event changed the course of European history.
We travel north to the Southern banks of Loch Ness, in the charming village of Fort Augustus. Get your cameras ready to get some pictures of the infamous ‘Nessie’ Monster! We drive the full length of Loch Ness, stopping to take in the views of Urquhart Castle, then we arrive in Inverness, the Capital of the Scottish Highlands, where your guide will drop you at your accommodation where you’ll stay for 2 nights. We arrive in the city at approximately 6:30pm.
The evening is your own to explore the city. Meet up with your fellow travellers and enjoy a meal in a local restaurant or traditional Highland pub. Inverness has a huge variety of establishments to choose from, whether you’d like to try our national dish of Haggis, Neeps & Tatties, washed down with a wee dram of Scotch Whisky or a Local Beer. After dinner, head to the world famous Hootenanny’s bar which has traditional Scottish musicians playing every night.
If local beer and whisky aren’t your scene, you can enjoy an evening stroll along the banks of the famous River Ness, where you’ll find Inverness Castle, and Inverness Cathedral.
The magical Isle of Skye! Today is all about exploring this breathtaking landscape, known once by the Vikings as the ‘Winged Isle’ or by Scots, romantically, as ‘The Misty Isle’, it was voted 4th best island in the world to visit by National Geographic Magazine! We believe the Isle of Skye is THE BEST island in the World, and we’re sure you’ll agree on this tour.
After breakfast at your accommodation, you’ll depart Inverness. The tour will cross the Kessock Bridge and begin our journey to Skye, via The Black Isle. Travelling through some of the most remote communities of mainland Britain, you will marvel at the spectacular scenery of Achnasheen and Loch Carron.* (summer only)
We stop for photographs of the famous Skye Bridge. Opened in 1995, this bridge has a remarkable history. With views of Skye’s Cuillin Mountain range in the distance, it’s a beautiful backdrop.
The Sligachan River flows majestically from the Black Cuillin Mountains, a truly magical location for your guide to introduce you to the local folklore of the island’s Faeries and Giants!
Enjoy lunch in the picturesque harbour town of Portree, the largest town on Skye. It has interesting pubs, restaurants and bakeries for you to try Fish and Chips (and other local foods) to give you enough energy for an afternoon exploring the rest of the island.
We explore the dramatic Trotternish Peninsula, with iconic rock formations which have made this area the perfect backdrop for recent movies such as B.F.G, Prometheus and Stardust. Highlights this afternoon will include the Fairy waterfalls, the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, The Quiraing and Uig.
Having explored Skye, we head back towards the mainland, arriving at Eilean Donan Castle, which is thought to be the most beautiful castle in Scotland! Built upon a rocky island at the head of three Sea Lochs (similar to Fjords), you will be struck by this iconic Scottish landmark and the beautiful mountains and glistening waters that surround it. Your guide will show you the best spot to get that ‘postcard-perfect’ photograph! Our journey continues passed the Five Sisters of Kintail before arriving back into Inverness at approx. 7:30pm.
***If you prefer not to travel to the Isle of Skye, you have the option of a ‘free day’ in Inverness on day 2, where you can explore the city further, take a boat cruise on Loch Ness, visit attractions or do some souvenir shopping. Just let your Tour Guide know if you’d prefer to explore Inverness alone on Day 2 at the end of Day 1***
You depart Inverness to begin your journey south, and on this day you’ll see waterfalls, visit the site of one of the most important battles in Scotland’s history, neolithic standing-stones, visit an authentic Scotch Whisky-Distillery, and journey through the stunning Cairngorms’ National Park.
Your guide shows you the fields of Culloden Moor/Battlefield, and you’ll hear the story of this infamous battle, which in 1746 was the last battle to be fought on British soil. This marked the end of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hopes of becoming King. This battle changed Scotland, Britain and Europe forever. Walking on the site where many thousands of Highlanders died, One of the most sombre sites in the country, for many Scots, this is where “…the old Scotland died”.
Its then a short journey to Clava Cairns, where Diana Gabaldon found inspiration for ‘Craig Na Dun’ in the Outlander series. These fascinating Bronze-Age Standing-Stones, and burial chambers, are thought to be over 4,000 years’ old! Walk between the stones, and hear from your guide about who built this intriguing place, and why.
You’ll then experience Highland life in the 18th century, and visit authentic Highland blackhouses, at the ‘Highland Folk Museum’ (free entry) in Newtonmore. You’ll see the homes people lived in 300 years ago, the clothes they wore, and how they went about their daily lives. The folk museum also has an on-site cafe where you can have lunch during our 90-minute visit. Also used as a filming-location for Outlander, this place give you a unique insight to the lives and struggles of the Highland people.**
You’ll then travel south to the Dalwhinnie Whisky-Distillery. Set almost 1,200ft above sea-level, this picturesque distillery in beautiful surroundings produces one of the Classic Single-Malt Whiskies of Scotland. You’ll have the option of taking a 45-minute tour around this working distillery, followed by a short whisky-tasting experience.
Our final stop on our 3-day adventure is in the Highland village of Dunkeld, which sits on the longest river in Scotland, the River Tay. You’ll take a short walk to the town’s beautiful Dunkeld Cathedral. This cathedral, with a history stretching back over 1,200 years provides a final chance for photographs, before we depart for Edinburgh, arriving back in the city-centre around 6.00pm.
*Between the months of September-April we travel to and from the Isle of Skye via Loch Ness and Glenshiel, not Achnasheen and Loch Carron.
** The Highland Folk Museum is closed between late October and early April and as such will not be included in the tour. As an alternative we lunch in Aviemore and visit Ruthven Barracks.
Please note, overnight accommodation is NOT included in our tour prices.
You can choose from Backpacker / Youth Hostel, Guesthouse / Bed & Breakfast, or Hotel Accommodation in Inverness, and we will pre-book your accommodation for you. You’ll pay for your accommodation on arrival in Inverness. Please CLICK HERE to visit our dedicated accommodation page for full details and pricing information.
If you’d prefer, book your own accommodation in Inverness, and meet up with the tour at a central location each morning. More information here.
This tour departs the bus stop at the ‘Deacons House Cafe’, 304 Lawnmarket, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2PS @ 8.30am on Day 1.
We ask guests to arrive at LEAST 15 minutes before departure in order that we can load up your luggage/travel bags onto our bus. A map of the departure point is below:
PLEASE NOTE: Due to our busy tour schedule, and our responsibilities to other customers, we are not able to wait for passengers whom are late.
Any passengers who miss the departure from Edinburgh will be responsible for making their own way to Inverness by public transport to meet the tour. Refunds are not available for missed departures.
LOOK OUT FOR YOUR BUS!:
For operational reasons, occasionally our ‘Ness Bus’ is covered by ORANGE or WHITE ‘Hairy Coo’ branded buses, both of which are to the same high standard as our ‘Ness Bus’. In the event of a ‘Hairy Coo’ bus being used a ‘Ness Bus’ poster/sign will be visible on the front windows next to the passenger door. Please LOOK OUT for any of the buses below showing up at the stops:
As we want to fill the tour with lots of great sights, the bus will depart at the designated times and CANNOT wait or return for guests – please be at your chosen departure point AT LEAST 5 MINUTES beforehand to check-in with your guide.
PLEASE NOTE, due to roadworks/road closures, the departure point locations/addresses may change at short notice, so please check this page again a few days before you go on tour to make sure the departure points are at the same locations.
What should you bring on the day of the Tour?
Cash – A lot of remote towns and villages have only 1 ATM – and it may not always be in service, so please bring enough cash for a full day out – including optional attraction entrance prices, food, drinks etc., we normally recommend a minimum of £30 per person.
A Camera – For pictures of the beautiful scenery, and in case you see Nessie! Wet-weather clothing (including a rainproof jacket), and comfortable shoes/footwear.
At the end of your tour/trip, if you feel your Driver/guide has added to your experience, feel free to tip them whatever you feel their performance was worth to you. Tips/Gratuities aren’t expected, but are of course Accepted!
Tour Return Time/Location:
The tour will return to Edinburgh on Day 3 at approximately 6:00-6:30pm, and will drop off at the ‘Lawnmarket’ in Edinburgh city centre (The same place it departed from on Day 1). Please note that during the month of August, the Lawnmarket is not accessible to vehicle and as such we will drop off at a nearby location.
Our ‘Easy-To-Cancel’ policy means that if your plans change, no problem, email us your booking details at least 7 days before the tour departs, and we’ll cancel your booking and refund your money.
You can do this by emailing us at: email@example.com with full details of your booking, and a refund will be issued as soon as possible by our accounts department.
If you cancel your booking within 7 days of the tour departure time, a refund will only be issued if your booking/seats are resold. No refunds will be issued for any missed tour departures.
Please note that if you cancel within 7 days of the tour departure date, or you miss the tour for any other reason, and you have asked us to book accommodation on your behalf, then you may still be liable for any costs that we incur as a result of this late cancellation.