After landing and clearing customs, claim your bags and meet your driver who will transfer you to your hotel. You have the rest of the day to see Edinburgh on your own. Edinburgh is an eminently walkable city, so drop your bags and go for a walk!
Today you'll have two authentic Scottish experiences. Begin by visiting Edinburgh Castle, the historic fortress that dominates the city's skyline. There has been human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633. Be sure to see the spectacular Great Hall, completed in 1511 for King James IV.
After finishing your visit to the Castle, walk partway down the Royal Mile to the Scotch Whisky Experience, where you will learn about the making of Scotland's most famous product. This one-hour tour will introduce you to the aromas present in whisky; you'll taste a dram of whisky and view the world's largest collection of Scotch whisky. A souvenir crystal tasting glass is yours to take home.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Edinburgh)
Today, beginning at 9 a.m. you will depart in an air-conditioned coach for a full-day tour to St. Andrews. We leave Edinburgh, crossing the iconic Forth Bridge, into the ancient "Kingdom of Fife". We enjoy a photo stop at Aberdour before continuing into the East Nook of Fife. We stop in the town of Anstruther, home of the Scottish Fisheries Museum, then we travel through the villages of Pittenweem, Crail, and St. Monans, once thriving fishing centers which were made prosperous by trade with the continent. We arrive in the beautiful medieval town of St. Andrews in time for lunch (not included). Here you can enjoy a walk around the town, where Prince William met Kate, home to the oldest university in Scotland, famous Cathedral, and golf course. Enjoy approximately three hours of free time to explore its medieval buildings and wonderful cobbled streets in the center, and have lunch and refreshments. Heading homewards we travel across the Lomond hills to Falkland for a photo stop. The village was used as the setting for 1960s Inverness in the Outlander series. Then, descending to Loch Leven and on to the picturesque village of South Queensferry, where we enjoy our final stop before returning to Edinburgh.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Edinburgh))
This morning make your way to Waverly Rail Station, in the heart of downtown Edinburgh, for the 4-hour train ride to Inverness, the largest city and cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. After arrival, find your hotel, then enjoy a walk around the historic city center.
(Breakfast, Edinburgh; Accommodations, Inverness)
Today you can get to know Inverness' main attractions by taking a Hop On/Off City Tour. Hop-on at Stop 1, the Visitor Information Centre, and begin your journey exploring the beautiful capital of the Highlands of Scotland. Start the tour with beautiful panoramic views of the River Ness. The tour will then continue to Castle Street where passengers can hop-off for a spot to eat and choose from a selection of lovely bars, cafes, and restaurants. The bus will also pass by the Town House, which was rebuilt in the late 19th century after the Old Town House was demolished in 1878 due to flood damage. Nearby, passengers can also hop-off and take a short walk over to the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery and admire a selection of artworks and pieces from centuries ago. The Inverness Castle, also nearby, is a popular tourist attraction — after being built in 1836, it stands very well-preserved today and is surrounded by beautiful grounds that the public is welcome to visit. Towards the south of the castle stands a bronze statue; a famous monument built in Flora MacDonald's honor. On the way to Stop 9, Tomnahurich Bridge, several attractions will be passed including Queen's Park, Torvean Golf Course, and miles of Invernesses stunning countryside. The complete tour circuit takes one hour without hop-offs; but take as much time as you like to become more familiar with the "capital of the Highlands."
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Inverness)
Today make your way to Dochgarroch Loch to enjoy some of the best of highland scenery with a Tour of Loch Ness, including a boat cruise on the beautiful Loch. If time allows visit Urquhart Castle, a scenic ruin perched on a promontory overlooking the Loch or the one-hour visit to the Loch Ness Monster Exhibition, where you can learn all about "Nessie." Return to Inverness in the afternoon and have the rest of the day at leisure.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Inverness)
Today you return to Edinburgh by train. Upon arrival in Edinburgh the rest of the day is yours to explore the city on your own. You could walk the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood House; visit historic St. Giles Cathedral, the principal place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh; visit the National Gallery of Art, one of the best collections of fine art in the world; or walk along Princes Street to visit the elegant shops.
(Breakfast, Inverness; Accommodations, Edinburgh)
You will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight home or continue on to your next Avanti adventure!