Scotland is an exceptional destination for culinary enthusiasts, nature lovers, and urban adventurers. Tours of Scotland deliver all this, plus a mix of sights like the Scottish Highlands, islands, cities, and coast. Whatever your specific travel needs and wants, there’s sure to be a great tour to fit your needs. Here are my favorite Scotland tours for 2024.
10 Great Scotland Tours for 2024
These 10 great Scotland tours hit the highlights in as many as a few days or up to a few weeks. All accommodations, activities, transport, and most meals are handled on these tours, all with a local guide to lead the way. Simply show up with an open mind and get set to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer visitors.
Brendan Vacations: Best of Scotland
Brendan Vacation’s Best of Scotland (offered in both summer and winter) itinerary is a year-round offering, but is especially lovely in sweet summertime. Travelers looking to hit many of Scotland’s rugged, beautiful highlights in a short amount of time will appreciate this compact seven-day trip.
Your first nights are in the walkable capital city of Edinburgh, exploring its famed castle and Royal Mile. If dates coincide properly, enjoy a Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo performance as well. On day three, venture north to the Scottish Highlands, stopping at the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews, along the way.
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From Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, explore Loch Ness, Culloden, and the Isle of Skye on a day trip. Then, journey back south to spend two additional nights in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow. A few sights and stops along the way, including the tragic and scenic “Glen of Weeping”, the UK’s highest peak (Ben Nevis), and a wildlife cruise on Loch Lomond help break up the journey.
A classic distillery tour, a visit to stunning Stirling Castle, and a local farm farewell dinner (complete with traditional music and storytelling) round out this great itinerary. For a discounted price, consider the best of Scotland winter timeframe, for November through March departures.
- Length: 7 Days
- Starting price: $2,246
- Group size: Custom tour for your group
CIE Tours: Scottish Daytripper
CIE Tours’ specialty is Ireland (the company is partially owned by the Irish government’s national transport company), but it also has some great tours of Scotland, including the company’s Scottish Daytripper tour. The tour is unique because it uses a single city—Glasgow—as the home base so you only have to unpack once.
And though you sleep in the same hotel (the Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel) every night during the six-day, five-night tour, you get to see a lot of Scotland on day trips to spots including the Isle of Arran, Loch Lomond, Edinburgh, and in the Scottish Borders region.
- Length: 6 Days
- Starting price: $1,695
- Group size: Usually around 35 people
Abercrombie & Kent: Cruising the British Isles
Abercrombie and Kent’s luxury expedition cruise Cruising the British Isles is an autumnal offering that features the best of Scotland, as well as Ireland and England, all in a two-week window. Begin this all-inclusive voyage in storied Edinburgh with a stay at the luxurious, centrally-located Balmoral Hotel.
You’ll then board Le Dumont d’Urville for a sail through the Firth of Forth with views of Bass Rock, home to the world’s largest gannet (seabird) colony. Then, enjoy perfectly-tailored excursions in the Scottish Highlands before exploring a pair of famed archipelagos: the Orkneys and the Hebrides. Think sea caves, the highest cliffs in Britain, Stone Age settlements, and windswept beaches. The rest of the itinerary offers highlights of Ireland and England before adjourning in London.
Pro Tip: book early to save $2,000 per person on all stateroom categories and suites. Additionally, for even more time in Scotland, there’s a pre-trip add-on for four extra nights in Edinburgh.
- Length: 14 Days
- Starting price: $19,495
- Group size: limited to 148 passengers
Contiki’s six-day Scotland adventure is a popular trip for younger travelers that starts in Edinburgh and ends in Glasgow, and includes a day in the Scottish Highlands. Begin with two nights in Edinburgh, and a visit to the castle, before spending one night in Inverness and two additional nights in Glasgow.
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Travelers get to explore the birthplace of golf, hunt for Nessie on a Loch Ness cruise, see the William Wallace Monument, and sip their way through a whisky tasting. Other highlights include the Glenfinnan Viaduct (yer a wizard, Harry), a curling lesson, live music, and local food experiences. Winter departures are the most affordable.
- Length: 6 Days
- Starting price: $972
- Group size: Average of 38 people
Bonus: Contiki also offers an end-of-year trip over Scotland’s Hogmanay also known as New Year’s Eve, from Dec. 29 to Jan 2. Travelers can revel for four days in Edinburgh to celebrate the new year. Highlights include a night street party, bagpipe performance, tour of the castle, and whisky tasting.
Intrepid: Scotland’s Orkney Islands
This cool tour from Intrepid offers something special: A chance to go beyond the highlights of Scotland and dig a little deeper into the Orkney Islands. This northern archipelago is teeming with Viking history, Stone Age relics, and natural beauty.
Activities include a coastal walking tour, a trip to a small town pub, and a refined whisky tasting as you island hop. Begin by meeting your group in Inverness before taking a train north to Thurso and then hopping on a ferry to the Orkneys.
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On the ferry ride, don’t miss the Old Man of Hoy, the UK’s tallest sea stack. Get settled, then explore highlights like prehistoric Skara Brae, northern Europe’s best preserved Neolithic village. Check out the Ring of Brodgar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a few days of touring, head back to Inverness with your group. Please note, this itinerary is only offered from April through October.
- Length: 5 days
- Starting price: $2,265
- Group size: Minimum 1, Maximum 12
Costsaver: Majestic Scotland
Costsaver’s Majestic Scotland itinerary kicks off in Glasgow with a feast for the senses as you experience the city’s food and drink scene. Your time in Glasgow also includes a walking tour to learn about the history of the area.
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Then, head north to the Highlands, with optional add-ons like a Loch Lomond cruise and farm experience. Check out Culloden battlefield, Loch Ness, Eileen Donan Castle, and the Isle of Skye on the action-packed tour. Finish in Edinburgh, the stately capital city of Scotland, where you’ll visit Georgian New Town and the Palace of Holyroodhouse before departing.
- Length: 7 days
- Starting price: $1,695
- Group size: Private tours for up to 12; group trips average 40 or 45
Brendan Vacations: Highland Trail inspired by Outlander
This 13-day itinerary embraces a major recent driver for Scottish tourism, the television series Outlander. The Highland Trail trip will be offered with select departures in May, June, July, August, and September of 2024.
Centered around famous filming locations for the show, this itinerary also offers a great look at major Scottish highlights from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Begin with three nights in the capital city of Edinburgh before spending nights in Dundee, Inverness, and Thurso, stopping at historic sites and walking in Claire and Jamie’s footsteps.
Next, go “over the Sea to Skye” for a night on the island before overnighting in Pitlochry and Glasgow for two nights each. The TV settings for Fort William, Cranesmuir, the standing stones, Castle Leoch, 1940s Inverness, and the moors of Culloden are just some of the amazing filming locations covered on this sweeping itinerary.
- Length: 13 days
- Starting price: $4,332
- Group size: Custom tour for your group
Insight Vacations: Country Roads of Scotland
On Insight Vacations’ curated nine-day Country Roads of Scotland tour, visitors grow to love Scotland as they visit the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Thurso, along with the wilds of the Scottish Highlands. Begin with a castle tour in the capital city of Edinburgh before heading to St. Andrews and Inverness for golf and Loch Ness lore. Learn about fishing traditions and sample whisky in Thurso before taking a ferry to the Orkney Islands.
From there, the tour guide brings guests to the Isle of Skye for an overnight complete with views of the rugged Cuillin Hills. The tour ends with a journey south to Glasgow, with a stop at Loch Lomond on the way. Insight Vacations’ Country Roads label promises hidden adventures, local flavor, and unexpected retreats.
- Length: 9 days
- Starting price: $3,803
- Group size: Classic group tours average 33 guests
Trafalgar: Amazing Britain
While not strictly a Scotland tour, Trafalgar’s Amazing Britain tour spends a lot of quality time in Scotland, and includes England and Wales as well on the whirlwind 10-day itinerary. It’s a good fit for travelers who want to get an overview of Britain and go deep on Scottish destinations including major cities, lochs and castles, and the Scottish Highlands, and who want to have plenty of good times along the way.
The tour begins and ends in London (which offers the benefit of plenty of flight options, a boon if you’re booking your own flights), but spends half of the tour days in Scotland. The itinerary includes two nights in Edinburgh, a night in the Scottish Highlands, and a overnight in Glasgow. Activities are a mix of included outings like city tours of Edinburgh and Glasgow (the perfect places to get hands-on lessons about the history of Scotland) plus optional paid add-ons like a Loch Lomond boat trip and a trip to a small village for a tour and dinner.
The trip’s non-Scotland stops include the Lake District, Liverpool, York, Bristol, and Stratford-upon-Avon.
- Length: 10 days
- Starting price: $2,895
- Group size: Average of 40 to 45 guests
Windstar: Gaelic Explorers
With two summer 2024 departures (July 5th or August 22nd) a small ship cruise around Scotland with Windstar offers the best of Scotland’s land and waters. This journey from Dublin to Edinburgh is described as “the land of good golf and great Scotch” and includes stops in Tobermory, Portree (on the Isle of Skye), Kirkwall, Invergordon, and Leith (the port of Edinburgh).
Highlights of this highly recommended tour include Dunvegan Castle on Skye, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland; and a Royal Mile tour in Edinburgh. Optional excursions in every port help guests perfectly tailor this luxe cruise for a land-meets-the-sea look at Scotland.
- Length: 7 days
- Starting price: $4,499
- Group size: 312 guests onboard