Scotland is a land filled with dramatic landscapes, ancient castles, and warm-hearted people. It’s a world where you can immerse yourself in food, culture, and history while letting time slip through your fingers. With so much to see and experience, a single week simply won’t do. That’s why we highly recommend combining our Scottish Highlands and Central Scotland UnTours for two weeks of immersive, slow travel.
Explore the Scottish Highlands
You’ve never seen landscapes as dramatic as these! It’s rugged and remote and geographically diverse with lochs, glens, mountains, and islands all waiting for you to explore.
Spend some quality time in Inverness, the closest thing this region has to a “big city.” Nestled on the banks of the River Ness, this charming town boasts shops, pubs, and excellent restaurants. You’ll find you can spend a peaceful day taking in the old-world architecture, natural beauty, and historical sites here. But when evening comes, the city is transformed with a lively pub culture, music, and night-life.
Surrounding Inverness are landscapes so incredible you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an epic tale. Consider taking a boat ride from the city to the famous Loch Ness with its mysterious depths and the ruins of Urquhart Castle on its shore. Or visit Chanonry Point where you can watch a pod of bottlenose dolphins feed on migrating salmon. Or you might enjoy a trip to Highland Wildlife Park, a drive-through experience of native animals, such as wolves, and non-natives like Polar Bears and other species.
The natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands is surpassed only by the hospitality of her people. You’ll find the locals truly enjoy welcoming you and sharing their culture and traditions. A spectacular example is the famed Highland Games, where everyone is welcome. These largely community-based events are held throughout the region in the warmer months (May through September). They showcase competitions of strength and skill like pole tossing, stone lifting, and bag piping. There’s also plenty of music, food, dancing, and crafts.
Take a Scenic Road Trip from Inverness to Stirling
The drive on the A9 from Inverness to Stirling traverses some of the most beautiful countryside you’ve ever seen. Emerald green fields spread out before you, dotted with charming herds of sheep and cattle.
The A9 takes you through the Cairngorms National Park, home to four of the five highest mountains in the UK, where you’ll find a vast array of wildlife. Consider a stop in Aviemore, a pleasant resort town popular with hikers and skiers.
Another spot worth stopping at is Pitlochry where you can see the scenic River Tummel and enjoy a cup of tea. Or visit the nearby Blair Castle in Blair Atholl, an impressive building with an interesting tour of thirty rooms fitted with 16th century furnishings.
Finally, Perth’s Scone Palace is well worth seeing along your way. The location of the coronation of generations of Scottish kings, it’s arguably one of Scotland’s most important sites.
Tour Central Scotland
While not quite as mythic as the highlands, Central Scotland boasts shopping districts, art centers, parks, cozy cafes, and pubs to enjoy. You’ll find everything from quaint medieval castles to bustling urban centers with activities for every taste and interest.
Get to know the city of Stirling, a treasure trove of historic buildings and cobbled streets winding up to the imposing Stirling Castle. The castle is quite possibly Scotland’s best—vividly restored, it’s a piece of living history. Wend your way from the captivating Old Town to the lower, newer part of the city where you’ll find excellent shopping. And perhaps end your day with a visit to the historic Old Settle Inn for a pint and some traditional music.
Just 5 miles northwest of Stirling you’ll find a fairytale of a town called Dunblane. It’s rural and charming with a great sense of community. Dunblane’s star feature is its Gothic cathedral, which was the seat of the bishops of Dunblane until the Scottish Reformation. And while you’re here be sure to check out the very popular Tilly’s Tea Room where locals and visitors alike flock for delectable sweets, lunches, and local charm.
From Stirling and Dunblane, it’s an easy train ride to either of Scotland’s two biggest cities. Edinburgh is a majestic, regal city of dramatic topography, convivial street life, and stunning architecture. It’s dominated by history and the academic life of its universities. Glasgow, by contrast, is a jolt of urban life where you can shake off the castle cobwebs for a modern city center filled with office buildings, traffic, commerce and art. From world-class museums to leafy parks & gardens to artisan restaurants, there’s plenty to do here.
Of course, Central Scotland is not without lush, lovely countryside with magnificent views. Green fields and farmland abound. For a taste of local offerings you can stop at a local farm shop where you’ll find a bounty of artisanal cheeses, baked shortbread, farm fresh eggs, and gourmet snacks.
An UnTour Lets You Explore It All at Your Own Pace
We could go on and on about the people, places, history, and culture of Scotland. But you really must experience it for yourself.
The great thing about an UnTour is that you can explore at your own pace. Choose to wake each morning and visit the same cafe, getting to know the shopkeeper and making new friends. Or fill every day with a new and exciting adventure, seeing as much of this great country as you possibly can. An UnTour provides you with everything you need—a centrally located apartment, maps, orientation, transportation, and local support—but the rest is entirely up to you.