• Edinburgh Castle
  • The Hermitage Woodlands
  • Scottish Whisky Tasting
  • Sheep Dog Demonstration
  • Cawdor Castle near Inverness
  • Glencoe
  • Castle Stalker near Oban

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of Scotland in 10 Days Tour

On this bonnie journey that starts and ends in royal Edinburgh, your Rick Steves guide will immerse you in the rich culture and history of Scotland. You'll walk the Royal Mile; study the fairways at St. Andrews; shake paws with a sheep dog; try a wee dram at a whisky distillery; explore the Highlands; ponder Lochs Ness, Garry and Lomond; wander over the Isle of Iona; and time-travel about the craggy castles of Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart. Join us for the Best of Scotland in 10 Days!

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Scotland come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 20 group sightseeing events • Walking tour of Edinburgh's Royal Mile • National Museum of Scotland • Edinburgh Castle tour • Culross Manor tour • St. Andrews visit • Dunkeld visit • Hermitage visit • Whisky distillery tour and tasting • Scottish Crannog Centre tour • Pitlochry visit • Sheep dog demonstration • Culloden Battlefield tour • Clava Cairns tour • Cawdor Castle tour • Urquhart Castle visit • Loch Ness visit • Glencoe visit • Isle of Iona visit • Iona Abbey tour • Stirling Castle tour...and more
  • All group transportation from Edinburgh to Edinburgh
  • 9 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels and B&Bs
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves' Great Britain guidebook, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2014
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Scotland

We'll meet around 5 p.m. at our hotel in Edinburgh for a "Welcome to Scotland" get-together. We'll then take a short neighborhood walk and enjoy getting acquainted over dinner. Sleep in Edinburgh (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Conquering Edinburgh Castle

Today we'll see the best of Edinburgh on foot, starting with a walking tour of the Royal Mile and its wealth of historic buildings, quaint shops, narrow lanes and hidden courtyards. Next we'll start the "hike" through the history of this land at the impressive National Museum of Scotland. Then we're off to tour the birthplace of the city, the massive and imposing Edinburgh Castle to soak up its dramatic views. The rest of the day is free for your own explorations. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Culross and St. Andrews

We cross the famous Firth of Forth this morning as we head into the Scottish countryside. Our first stop is in the picturesque burgh of Culross, where we'll learn about long-ago lifestyles as we tour a 17th-century cottage "palace." Then we're off to St. Andrews, Scotland's oldest university town and mecca for golfers worldwide. You'll have time to explore the ruins of St. Andrews' medieval cathedral, watch duffers playing The Old Course, and enjoy lunch. Tonight we'll sleep in or near the village of Kenmore (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Whisky and Waterfalls

This morning we'll learn about Scottish Romanticism amidst the Black Linn Falls and towering forest of the Hermitage. We'll also visit the charming town of Dunkeld and its medieval cathedral. After lunch we'll tour a whisky distillery, learn about this iconic Scottish industry and enjoy a wee dram of single malt. Then it's back to Kenmore via Sma Glen, a picturesque glen that contains all the scenery of the Highlands rising from the banks of the River Almond. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: Crannogs and the Highlands

This morning we'll tour a reconstruction of Scotland's unique crannogs: prehistoric, defensive homesteads built on piers out over the lochs. We'll also learn about the first people to farm in this part of the world, millennia ago. After lunch in the town of Pitlochry, talented sheep dogs will entertain us with a demonstration at a working sheep farm, where we'll learn the nitty-gritty of Scotland's wool industry. We'll end the day in the Highland city of Inverness. Sleep in Inverness (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 6: Culloden Battlefield and Cawdor Castle

Today we'll tour evocative Culloden Battlefield where, in 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie's defeat ended decades of Scottish rebellion against the English government. We'll also stop for a look at the Clava Cairns, an impressive collection of prehistoric burial chambers. On our way back to Inverness, we'll tour the turreted Cawdor Castle and its magnificent gardens. The remainder of the afternoon is yours to explore Inverness or stroll along the banks of the river before dinner together. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Loch Ness and Glencoe

We'll begin our day with a panoramic view from the ruins of Urquhart Castle, perched atop a rock overlooking Loch Ness (monster sightings possible). After lunch in the canal-side village of Fort Augustus, it's on to haunting Glencoe, site of Scotland's most infamous massacre (Campbells and MacDonalds, keep your daggers on the bus). We'll end our day in the scenic coastal town of Oban, where we'll sleep (2 nights, group may be split between two B&Bs). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: Inspiring Isle of Iona

Today we'll board a ferry and hop on a local bus for an entertaining ride across the island of Mull to our destination: the windswept Isle of Iona, the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland. We'll tour the 800-year-old abbey, where monks created the remarkable Book of Kells, one of the sparks of creativity that pulled Europe out of the Dark Ages. We'll then set you free to explore or find a spot to meditate on this tiny, spiritually-charged island. We'll return to Oban, and our own century, in time for dinner. Boat: 2 hrs. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 9: Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle

We'll drive along the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond and through central Scotland on our way back to Edinburgh. En route we'll visit the famous castle of the Stuart Kings, Stirling, including the newly restored Renaissance Palace. Tonight we'll share memories of Scotland and toast new friends at our final dinner together. Sláinte! Sleep in Edinburgh (1 night). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 10: Tour Over After Breakfast

Edinburgh's airport and train station are easy connections from our neighborhood. Glasgow is one hour away by train; London is 90 minutes by air. For those tempted to continue their trip, Edinburgh is a great jumping off point to Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam and many other exciting destinations. Cheerio!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Scotland in 10 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
  5. Walk up steep hills in Edinburgh and at Urquhart Castle.

Reviews

Norma

Torrance, CA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Ann is very knowledgeable on the history of Scotland, very pleasant, beautiful personality and went out of her way to make our trip even more special. Roddy our driver is an amazing driver and has a good sense of humor. Roddy was very patient with all of us and was a good sport taking care of our luggage. I would be very happy to travel with Ann and Roddy again in the near future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time in Kenmore was special, the demonstration of how people lived in the past. Also, the drive through the area where Harry Potter and Skyfall were filmed was incredible. Our stay in Oban, it is beautiful there and would be happy to go back to visit. All of my trip was a WOW moment"

Grant

Granger, WA

Tour: 06/23/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

1. it was very nice not to have to drive any where in the UK. 2. so nice not to have to try and decide what to see or where to go. Our guide was GREAT. The bus was brand new! Clean windows every day. The rooms were very nice. The people on the street were very friendly. I would do another tour. We already started looking in the catalog.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I liked the battle fields, Caulodon? the history,"

Kumud

Staten Island, NY

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

hotels were quaint and very comfortable. Guide was funny and very knowledgeable. The tour fuflfilled my scotland viewing expectations. there was a house that we had to tour and the local guide was sick- I felt that the local museum should have let us tour the house with a museum chaperone but without the guide.

Connie

Kearney, NE

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We learned so much about the history of Scotland and saw a wide variety of sights. Our guide (Martin) was knowledgable and interspersed straight information with humor and interesting tidbits. It was amazing! I liked the combination of planned and unplanned time, group meals and on your own meals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Stirling Castle when we saw weavers weaving tapestries that will hang in the Queen's Hall "for the next 500 years"!"

Palmer

Santa Barbara, CA

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I thought the trip was great. I think our tour leader, Martin, was flat-out EXCELLENT. My only complaint about Martin was that he was almost always narrating for us on the bus rides and I think sometimes we just wanted to tune out. But he sure knows a lot and I did enjoy what he had to say. The bus driver was great (Roddie?)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many favorite moments, but I particularly enjoyed the visit to the sheep farm. I also liked the day where we visited Culodden, Clava Cairns and Cawdor castle. Kenmore is a beautiful town and I enjoyed the Crannog visit."

Richard

Braintree, MA

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall I was very pleased. The attractions visited were very representative of the best of Scotland. The hotels were clean, comfortable, with excellent service. The food was very good, and the coach provided for transportation was clean and comfortable. I feel the group got along well and fitting with Rick's philosophy there was little complaining. Martin, our guide, was informed, friendly, and always in good humor, as was our driver Roddy. I missed having a pub partner not your fault.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I believe my "wow" moment was the first view of Edinburgh Castle upon reaching the city and the wonderful city tour we took. There were many 'wows' to be had all around Scotland, but the first views of downtown Edinburgh -- its parks, monuments and history -- was my favorite."

Brian

Apo Ae, AE

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was a bit shorter than other Rick Steves' tours we have taken. As a result I don't think the group bonded as well as they have on other tours. Still it was a very amiable group and everyone got along. The best thing about Scotland is Scotland. The historical sites don't really match up to other places in Europe, but the countryside is a very beautiful in June and the people are wonderful. Edinburgh is a world class city and worth spending more time in.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment would have to be the village of Kenmore. The lights of the houses seen from across the lake made me feel as if I had stepped into a Thomas Kincade painting."

Judy

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Iona was my favorite stop on our tour. I loved exploring the island but would have loved more time there. Was a beautiful and tranquil place. I will go back and visit the Iona."

Jane

Fort Woarth, TX

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I was pleasantly surprised Scotland was so pretty. I had no expectations of what it was like other than similar to England and Ireland, but it can hold its own with both countries...for beauty, people, and history. One hidden gem of a country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Other than the Border Collie puppies, I would say the Isle of Mull. A beautiful day didn't hurt any either. There was just peace and something mystical about that island. Just to wander around on it on a nice day was a "Wow." Inverness also held a "special" memory for me."

Laurel

Chuluota, FL

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Robert and Margaret went out of their way to make us feel welcome, safe and always informed. They were very experienced and organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day we went to Mull and Iona was our special day. The weather was perfect. I did not expect the water to be as blue as the Bahamas..The Isle Of Iona was so pleasant, breezy, with ruins everywhere, sheep in pasture, and the hairy coos traffic jam on the way back made us all go crazy!Highland cows are so adorable. As a photographer,I appreciated the stops for photos.Loved the crannogs.Very cool, medieval and different from all the stone castles.Loved Gilly,the lady bagpiper.What personality."

Stan

Sunriver, OR

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

During the tour our guide, Robert, told us his father had told him he was playing with the tour participants dreams. He told him to be careful not to ruin their dreams. Robert was great and we had the best time on our tour. Our dreams were not ruined and in fact were improved as Robert is a gem. We were very surprised with the weather also, as we only had a couple of rainy times on the whole tour. Also, our bus driver for the tour, Scott, was very good and a real character as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Isle of Iona was amazing. It was dry there as well. We later toured Dublin and saw the book of Kells to complete the Iona experience. Endinburgh was also very nice as were the days from Inverness to Oban"

Harold

Beaufort, SC

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour! Good hotels, outstanding food & a terrific selection of sites to see. Our guide was fabulous both with management of the tour and knowledge of the country. Will be back for another RS tour soon.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The time spent on the Isle of Iona. What a beautiful place."

Jan

Lawrenceville, GA

Tour: 06/09/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the sights and all the people. I felt the number of people on the tour was perfect. Just enough and not too many. Scotland is beautiful and I enjoyed seeing the all the different parts of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the sheep dog presentation and the visit to Oban and Iona."

Kathleen

Mesa, AZ

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Thoroughly enjoyable, learned much history, saw much natural beauty, great group, wonderful guide, good driver, mostly good weather .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Border collie sheep herding demonstration a real treat, Neal such an interesting character, the dogs were incredible, 5, 7-week old pups, baby lambs, you'd have to be a stone to not love every second of it. The day we did Culowden Battlefield, Clava Cairns and Cawdor Castle was also great, finally got close to some hairy coos; the gardens were lovely. The Carrog center also a real eye-opener."

Phil

Carmichael, CA

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Liz, was outstanding, which made the experience very enjoyable. I'd like to make 2 suggestions: Iona should include an overnight stay (Preferred Option) or be replaced in the itinerary (Option B). As it is, it's roughly 3hrs to get there & 3hrs back, & rushed 2hrs there. Feeling rushed defeats the Iona experience and travel to experience is much too high. Would have loved a day devoted to nature. Scotland is so beautiful. Maybe a slow day & hiking in the Oban area.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many Wow moments to pick one. Scotland is beautiful vistas day after day. It's amazingly beautiful."

Deirdre

Stillwater, MN

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guide was terrific and made our experiences so deep and lasting because of her knowledge and personality! We loved Scotland and the tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The night we all went to a pub for beer and music was the best. We loved the music and the whole scene. It felt like real Scotland."

Jack

Yuma, AZ

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very nice. Very good guide. Very good accommodations, food and sights. Well thought-out itinerary. One opportunity for improvement (see below).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Glen Coe; my favorite part of Scotland."

Frank

Whiting, IN

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Liz was a great guide ! I was disappointed by the Parliament House Hotel. Very small lobby, no bar, and food was very average at best. Bus was clean and the driver was very helpful. I would have liked more time at the Islands, traveled all day for a 3 hour visit. I learned a great deal about Scotland and had a really good time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mountains and islands, very beautiful"

Christine

Nampa, ID

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful tour. I really like castles and the ones in the tour were a good variety of renovated, ruins, and lived in castles. The walk in Kenmore to the old Tay Castle on our own time was fun. The walking tours by our guide in Edinburgh were great. Loved the village of Culross. The ruins of the huge abbey in St. Andrews. Picnic at Clava Cairns. The music in Inverness. Ferry ride to Mull was very scenic. Iona is pretty on a sunny day! Learned about the upcoming vote.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of the countryside from Stirling Castle was amazing."

Danny

Nampa, ID

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide , great intro to Edinburgh from Canton hill. Good pace . Excellent history. If you want to experience Scotland, this is the tour to go on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Iona. It would be a better experience to stay overnight in Iona. The island can't be explored in two hours."

Donna

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Scotland tour was well organized, informative, educational and interesting. The accommodations were well located and comfortable. Staying in each location at least 2 days made it possible to venture out and experience the area. Our travel companions were all lovely people, and we enjoyed sharing our travel experience with them. We appreciated that we were not "herded" around to sites, but were given the time and opportunity to explore on our own. We could not have had a better experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments that it is difficult to choose just one! Hiking in the Highlands was breathtaking and watching the demonstration of sheep dogs at work was fascinating."

Jeffrey

Lake Osewgo, OR

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've travelled extensively throughout Europe for almost 40 years, much of which was independent travel. We've taken 3-4 guided tours, generally with mixed results. This tour (guided by Elizabeth) was quite simply, one of our 2 or 3 best adventures. Our tour was exceptionally well organized with no surprises but pleasant ones! Points of interest, lots of walking and a wealth of knowledge from Liz. She made the decided difference between average and excellence!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1-St. Andrews 2-Kenmore area 3-40th Anniversary surprise (organized by Liz and our fun and expert coach driver, Roddy!"

Mary

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a beautiful country! And what welcoming, helpful, friendly people!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As usual on one of these tours I was saying "wow!" almost non-stop, but I suppose my favorite moments were at the sheep farm (puppies!), and in the gardens at Cawdor Castle. Also, there was a lovely evening at the Kenmore Hotel when a trio of folk music musicians were playing in the bar."

Wes

Stillwater, MN

Tour: 06/02/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was simply excellent. From the first evening's climb up Calton Hill to orient us to Edinburgh and explain some of the geology of the area and why the city and castle are located where they are, to each succeeding day's tour, coach travel, meals, and lodging everything was well planned and thought out, extremely organized, and went off so smoothly that it seemed fairly effortless to those of us taking the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My absolute favorite 'wow' moment was when our tour guide strongly recommended that we attend, with her, several of the local pubs in Inverness that would be having live, contemporary, Scottish folk music that evening performed by her favorite band. By the time we got to the second pub and had 'had a few pints' it was easy to talk to the locals, dance a time or two, and for a few hours forget that you were a tourist and could feel like you belonged in that space with those people at that time."

Terry

Lagrange, GA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful trip. Beautiful country, mountains and people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The areas of Glencoe and Iona."

Pamela

Lagrange, GA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Roy, Nigel, and Rody (our bus driver) were great! I loved Scotland! I really enjoyed the touring and liked not having to plan it myself and miss out on somethimg I didnt even know I wanted to see

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every place had their own little wows. I loved seeing things and going to places that have been here for so long."

John

Choctaw, OK

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Generally a great time. The group meals were good, the hotels comfortable, and our tour group got along well. Under the heading of not R-S Tours fault it rained often during the tour. The day spent traveling to Iona and Mull, which was possibly the best sight seeing opportunity of the tour, was lost in the fog and rain, and William and Kate's royal visit preempted our distillery tour. On the positive side we brought good rain gear and R-S Tours found us another distillery to visit.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sheep dog demonstration was great. Watching such highly trained dogs work was a real pleasure. The museum and self guided tour of the Culloden Battlefield was the best presentation of this type of material I have seen. Watching Roddy pilot our bus through spots I probably couldn't drive my car was also great fun."

Trudy

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Risk Steves' tour. It was the best tour of several companies we have tried, and our best trip to the United Kingdom.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Iona, the Argyll Hotel has a well tended, organic garden. The menu takes pride in it's organic offerings. After we finished lunch on our own, my husband discovered a healthy slug crawling out from under his plate, towards his beer. How much more organic can you get? We thought it was hilarious. We deposited the slug outside. To others, this moment might not be memorable or funny. The point is that the tour allowed ample private discovery along with the benefits of 28 fellow travelers."

Carol

Maple Valley, WA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned so much about Scotland: its history, geography, and archeology that I don't think I would ahve gotten in any other tour. I also enjoyed the free time to explore what I was interested in. And when I had a health emergency the tour guide, Roy, was extremely helpful and supportive. I will highly recommend anyone taking a Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning and visiting about ancient burial grounds of peoplke about 4,000 years ago. I learned so much about their creativity, and their how their spiritual jo9urney was so wrapped into their lives. The other Wow event was visting the Abbey on the Island of Iona. I have read a lot about this place and it was very "holy" moment to worship there at a prayer service around peace and justice."

Judy

Choctaw, OK

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Another great trip with interesting sites and commentary. Tour guide Roy was extremely knowledgeable, bus driver Roddy was always extremely competent with driving and had a terrific sense of humor. Tour assistant Nigel was also extremely helpful. Disappointments included the re-arrangment of the tour due to Will and Kate's visit to the distillery, but Dewar's tour was a nice second choice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Growing up on a small farm with border collies, I have always loved border collies, their beauty, intelligence and physical abilities. At the sheep farm in the highland, I loved seeing so many well trained dogs work together. It was an amazing combination of intellect, physical capability and exceptional training--man and dog working together to achieve a goal."

Kenneth

Beverly, MA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent overall. Roy was very knowledgeable about Scotland and its deep history. Nigel was a very positive addition to the group. Roddy not only expertly and safely drove our bus/coach, he contributed greatly to our tour experience with his vast knowledge of current and historical Scottish events and was a gracious and fun tour "member".

Ron

Del Rio, TX

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour guides were great, but the hotel in Inverness was terrible. Customer service was lacking and the facility itself was subpar. I could not take a shower one morning due to an excess of hot water...it would not cool off. The tour itself was very evenly paced and did a good job displaying the beauty of Scotland. I would recommend it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was watching the Border Collies work the sheep. Very impressive."

Alan

Gainesville, GA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Anne did a great job and explained geology,history and genealogy! She was great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Edinburgh!"

Ronald

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Oban and the islands of Mull & Iona Stirling Castle"

Karen

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful! Everything we saw and did were all great experiences and we learned a whopping lot of Scottish history. The scenery was beautiful since the "bluebells of Scotland" were all in bloom and there were pheasants everywhere (in addition to the sheep) of course.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going to Iona was probably the most spectacular - very special place to go. Oban was my favorite city - we had great seafood two nights in a row when we were on our own for dinner."

Rosanne

Granbury, TX

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great mix of activities. Anne was really organized and seemed to care greatly that tour members had the best experience. She surely went out of her way to help in any way possible. She even went out of her way to organize a picnic featuring Scottish food and drink. The schedule was a little too packed for my taste. I would have enjoyed more free time.I only recall two free afternoons and I had to spend one doing laundry.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the sheep dog farm. I'm an animal lover so. . . I also loved the scenery of Glencoe."

Joanna

Worthington, OH

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the small group size. The tour members were all friendly but happy to spend time exploring on their own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the crannog. The guide was excellent and it was interesting to imagine people living there thousands of years ago"

Randi

San Luis Obispo, CA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great tour, fantastic guide and wonderful group of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Glencoe,plus an amazing bus driver on the Isle of Mull."

James

Los Alamos, NM

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 5th tour with RS and have enjoyed all of them. I could not say any one was better than the other. They were all really really great! A very enjoyable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I very much liked the visit to the Cranog on the loch near Kenmore."

Peter

Fredericton, NB

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall tour experience was excellent. As usual, we had an interesting and fun group of fellow travelers from all over the U.S.. My wife and I again were the token Canadians. Our guide Anne, was very hard working and resourceful, and was determined have us all make the most of our tour. Anne has a warm sparkling personality and a great knowledge of Scottish history, which she shared with us in a clear and concise way, making the attractions all the more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many such moments. While visiting the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards museum in Edinburgh Castle you see the Eagle and Standard taken from Napoleon's troops at Waterloo. I'd heard of this since school and there they were! The view from the various castles was spectacular, and I can imagine trying to attack one. The visit to the crannog demonstrated how tough, intelligent and resourceful these ancient ancestors of us were, especially in view of the rugged terrain and the weather."

Daniel

Napa, CA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized, thoughtful itinerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. The sheepdog exhibition will probably stick with me the longest."

Steve

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was my second Rick Steves tour and it was again a great experience. The tour had just the right amount of touring, group dinners and free time. Our guide Ann was very knowledgeable concerning all aspects of the tour and Scotland. She was one of the tour highlights. I enjoyed the accommodations which all had character. Perhaps most of all I enjoyed my travel companions. These tours seem to attract like minded people who take the "no grump" pledge seriously.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wow moments and we saw some great sights. However the wow moment for me was our last dinner together. Ann presented each of us with a handwritten note , we each presented our buddies with a small gift, and we all laughed and cried about our wonderful times and new friends. I have to say experiencing Scotland with Ann and our group was an un parrelled experience."

Catherine

Napa, CA

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Anne was a wonderful tour guide! She is an amazing ambassador for Scotland. We covered a great variety of territory with the least amount of stress. For anyone who would like to visit Scotland, I highly recommend this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The town of Oban and the Isles of Mull and Iona."

Cheryl

Warsaw, MO

Tour: 05/19/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had such a wonderful time in Scotland! Wonderful travel companions, excellent travel guide and driver, breathtaking scenery, great hotels and breakfasts, and a perfect itinerary sampling all that Scotland has to offer. Couldn't ask for more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Couldn't possibly give one. Every day was a new "10"."

Lois

St Michael, MN

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour and I was somewhat apprehensive about the idea, but it was great - comfortable, easy, efficient, wonderful! The little activities used to quickly learn names and get acquainted with others were beneficial and fun, even if a bit "corny". The lodging choices were excellent. The tour meals were excellent. Our guide, apprentice, driver and assistant were knowledgeable, friendly and they made the tour a true success.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Glencoe area - amazing panoramic scenery. Breathtaking and awe inspiring. Also loved the Sterling Castle."

William

Mesquite, NV

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having traveled quite a bit on our own, my wife and I were somewhat apprehensive about traveling with a group. We needn't have been. We found that travel on this tour was relaxing and well paced at the same time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The bagpipe demo with Gillie. Her enthusiasm for her instrument was contagious. I have discovered a love for bagpipe music I didn't know I had."

Diana

Mesquite, NV

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

very pleasant,informative,enjoyable.would take another rick steves tour. liz,helen, roddy, richard, and savannah were outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"almost impossible to answer,but the countryside, the town of oban, and gillie, the bagpiper."

Jim

Hartford, WI

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour schedule was perfect. Just enough time at each stop, so we never felt rushed. The introduction night really set the pace, as we were breifed on the importance of being on time, and listening to the guides if there were any schedule changes. The tour was far more than a "sightseeing " bus ride through Scotlands scenic beauty. The guides really excelled at informing the group about so much more than just the topography. I learned so much about the country's history, politics and customs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The ride up into the Glencoe overlook. The weather was very moody, and created a perfect backdrop in a surreal setting. When Liz played the soundtrack from Skyfall, it was the perfect combination of sight and sound."

Linda

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely amazing...outstanding in every way! I think I picked the perfect time to visit with all the bluebells in bloom and gorse covering the hills every where you looked.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's very hard to pick a "wow" moment but the sheep dog demo and the baby lambs and puppies...what was NOT to love! Now that I think of it...Glencoe with water streaming down as though the hills were crying."

Richard

Salem, OR

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Liz was an excellent tour guide providing not only exceptional historic information, but also information regarding the geology, botany, and disasters like the Tay bridge failure near Dundee. Helpful hints for independent travel like we received on previous Rick Steve ETBD tours, however, was lacking. Accommodations, especially location-wise, were wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Isle of Iona and its significance in shaping the history of Scotland."

Cristy

Greenwood Village, CO

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour group was fortunate as we had Liz who had been leading groups in the past and had Rick Steves in her tour last year. Plus we had Helen who was training to lead tours. The two of them were full of information. Of course, not to be left out with important dates was the bus driver, Roddy. He was a quiet Scot to be valued when he did speak. I learned to value his contribution even more so when I took to the road on my own for a few days after the tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We have used the Rick Steves books for travel but I underestimated the impact of a tour experience. The fact that we were learning the history of the country while driving down the roads in Scotland was a wow for me. Liz & Helen are so knowledgeable that we never stumped them with a question. I must say that I came back more a fan of Rick Steves tours than I expected. The trip was a great value from so many perspectives that I have no doubt we will be participating in more tours in the future!"

Lillianne

Hartford, WI

Tour: 05/12/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It started off from the moment we booked! Rick Steves' did a wonderful job of preparing us for the trip. Plenty of materials to help us in planning and it was so nice to be able to read up on the places we would visit and the hotels we would stay in before we got there. We got plenty of time to ourselves which was lovely. The meals were super and everything was so very organized; it allowed us to really take in all the wonders of Scotland without the worries!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Ah - this is a hard one to answer!! There were so many. I think the battlefield of Culloden was quite stirring. The views as we traveled the Highlands were incomparable. Maybe the picnic at Clava Cairn was the over the top moment for me. Such an unusual place to visit! Gosh - I almost forgot our evening walk to Taymouth Castle....... through the woods along the river and then .... there it was!"

Linda

San Jose, CA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'm a new traveler. this was my first trip abroad. I had a wonderful time. Our guides were well informed and personable. the coach was very comfortable and bathroom stops were often and appreciated. I LOVED the sheep dog demonstration the most. What fun! the nature walk in the Hermitage-beautiful. Top of the list for best accommodations was Glenburnie Hotel. Loved the bagpipe demo too. great fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"sheepdog demo"

Suzanne

Lombard, IL

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the moment I landed in Edinburgh - I fell in love with the sights and sounds of Scotland I arrived on Friday morning - so I was ready to hit the ground running ?? I enjoyed the tours and locations ( not a big fan of Inverness ). Anne was so knowledgeable - her love of her homeland shines through - it was great having Colin & Robert on board as well And Roddy behind the wheel - was an asset !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The highlands - the scenery was breathtaking - the waterfalls out of the rock, the lochs, munros, quaint villages - I cannot just pick one ?? I left a piece of me amongst the beauty of the land - so I will be back ! I am still wowed about my trip"

Jean

Reedley, CA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I didn't think any tour could top my RS Ireland tour, but Scotland did! I thoroughly enjoyed the city of Edinburgh and then the many wee towns we visited and stayed in. There was just the right amount of castles and churches. Anne was a warm and knowledgeable guide who made everyone feel so "at home" in this wonderful country. The Scottish people are so welcoming and engaging and showed us great hospitality. This has been my most favorite Rick Steves tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After watching the movie at Urquhart Castle, the curtains opened and there was a 180 degree panoramic view through the windows of the Castle in all her glory! That view just took my breath away! Another "wow" moment was visiting the Crannog just outside Kenmore. That's a must to keep on the tour because it is so unique . Sitting in the crannog and trying to imagine these prehistoric peoples living in one of these "homes" made history come alive!"

Barbara

Lacey, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All were WOW PLUS!! Loved the tiny Kenmore and River Tay, hike to Hermitage, Culloden, Isle of Iona, the Highlands, Gillie and her bagpipes, the group we travelled with, the crannogs, and mostly lovely Anne and awesome Roddie."

Tore

Olympia, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the Border Collies"

Linda

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Anne was an excellent tour guide, a good source of information, history, stories and personal life stories, which added to the overall understanding of Scotland. Robert was not interactive with the group. I was disappointed in the low activity level, not very much walking. I wish Anne would have talked more about current politics and current state of affairs. Please do away with the buddy introductions and "gifts," they seem superfluous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On the bus, going through the Scottish highlands with music playing and the sun shining!"

Mike

Jackson, ME

Tour: 05/05/14

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

A little slow. Sort of geezer pacing. WE're in our late 60's but sometimes felt we were on vacation... from vacation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hmmm..."

Carolyn

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great! Group was congenial, people generally on time for coach departures, group meals just fine our guide's procedure of calling the restaurant in the morning, then gathering our meal requests so the restaurant could be prepared for a large group meant meals were served promptly. Could not think of any suggestions...everything went smoothly. Staying in each hotel for 2 nights was great...the first night we had a group meal so that the following night when we were having dinner on our own works

Sandra

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Edenburgh was fantastic. Museum, swedish cider, reataurants, vat refunded without all the bother at the airport or any fees on the credit card. The Zoo was highly unusual being it was on a steep hill. Princes street park beautiful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Unique Crannogs. The guide was excellant. Showing how the prehistoric man made a lathe making furniture & drilling holes in stones. Island of Iona"

Robin

Chagrin Falls, OH

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a wonderful tour experience. I am glad that this time we arrived a day early and extended our stay by a few days in London. Our guide was delightful, her knowledge and her entertaining of us while on the bus extraordinary. The variety of music she played, including requests from the group, her treats along the way, our picnic in a graveyard, the extra little stops because it was a beautiful day. They were things she knew we would enjoy, or things we should know about (Commando Memorial).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Glen Coe is the first wow that comes to mind. I loved everything about the Highlands, and the fact that we went on the distillery tour of my favorite scotch whisky of the past 40 years (The Famous Grouse), WOW! The most unexpected wow was the Commando Memorial. I am so thankful that she found time for us to stop."

Elizabeth

Nashville, TN

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Too much to tell. The tour was excellent in all ways, well organized, informative but not too informative, people great, food great, hotels good, tours well executed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The highland scenery and the border collie/sheep demonstration."

Marion

Stonington, CT

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was better than expected mostly due to our wonderful guide. I feel it gave me a good understanding and appreciation of the Scottish culture, history and landscape. We also had amazing weather- which didn't hurt! Our group was quite diverse in age, which we really liked, and most everyone was fun, involved and well traveled.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was taking a brisk walk following the shoreline and passing through a sheep pasture to access the white sands and turquoise waters of the Isle of Iona as the sun was breaking through the clouds. It was breathtaking."

Catherine

Hillsboro, OR

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Scotland took my breath away. Beautiful country, delicious food, warm, friendly people who were eager to share the history of their country with us. This was my first tour ever, and also the first time I had traveled overseas alone, so I was a bit apprehensive, but the group was great, and gathered me in and made me feel very much a part of the fun. I'm already planning my next Rick Steve's tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was so much spectacular scenery in Scotland that "wow" happened over and over, but one of my favorite experiences was a little break we took to stretch during a long bus day. We stopped next to a field with "Heilan Coos" and we fed them bits of apple. I also loved the peaceful, spiritual Clava Cairns and the picnic we shared after wandering through the cairns."

Catherine

Annapolis, MD

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Scotland trip was wonderful! My only disappointment was that it ended too soon. From Edinburgh to the Highlands and Iona, a working farm and Stirling Castle, all of the points on our itinerary were so enjoyable. We learned so much from our own guide and those at the sites. Our guide and bus driver were always accommodating and working hard to meet the needs of the group. We have told everyone we know to go visit Scotland, if they can, via a Rick tour of course!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to single just one out, but the Holy Isle of Iona and Stirling castle were two biggies."

Patricia

Springfield, MO

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

lots of bussing. lots of b&b's. I was definitely not someone who mixed well with this group, but that was not your fault. fortunately I have been with a rick steves tour where I thoroughly enjoyed the others in the group. I wish we could have skipped one of the castles and had a little more time to explore the small towns. please think about making this a fourteen day tour and giving us another day in Edinburgh and two days in Glasgow. i'll return to iona fot at least one full day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"iona. definitely. but after the t0ur, in a churchyard(maybe st.giles?)Ifound a gravestone for a lieutenant who was 'killed in cabul(sic) on November 2, 1941.( look up 'british in Kabul") and thought of the pete seegar song 'where have all the flowers gone""

Richard

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great...our guide added so much

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't say there was a favorite. All were good."

Connie

Plano, TX

Tour: 09/23/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband & I loved the pace of this tour. Ten days was just long enough to see everything. We liked having some time off to ourselves to explore on our own. Our guide and our driver Roddie were a FABULOUS team for us! Our assistant, who joined us later, was helpful with info on Glasgow (which we took the train to on our own when the tour ended.) We loved the natural scenery! We loved the history! We loved the architecture! We loved the stories & songs! We will miss SCOTLAND!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Researching my family history as a STEWART! We really loved Stirling castle! Every room was an art exhibit from the tapestries on the walls to the painted ceilings, to the ornate fireplaces! The view from the top wasn't bad either!"

Janet

Pottsville, PA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I absolutely loved this tour of Scotland. She was an awesome tour guide, and we learned so much about Scotland. The towns we visited were everything I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Glencoe was definitely my favorite "wow" moment. Absolutely over the top experience."

Maureen

Riverton, IL

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned so much history, geography, and a deeper understanding of the huge political decision that Scots must make in deciding whether or not to seek independence from Great Britain.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The natural beauty of Scotland was beyond my expectations."

Richard

Amarillo, TX

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was very prepared. Roddy, driver, was the friendliest, most helpful driver. The tour included sites which gave a rounded, "non-politically correct" impression of Scotland, the good and the less than good. I had taken over thirty semester hours of British history in undergraduate studies, yet our guide gave me another viewpoint. History is written by the winners, but remembered by those who might not have won.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Iona. Without a doubt a place of personal satisfaction. Wish we had had more time there, but would not wanted to give up anything from the tour for that wish."

Sandra

Mandeville, LA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I truly loved Scotland and its people. The scenery was awesome.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to say but probably the drive thru the Glencoe region. I would have liked to spend more time there. The mountains were majestic."

Stephen

Fallbrook, CA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything worked well, meals were excellent, free time was well balanced, and the coach accommodations very nice. Roddy is a true professional and he kept us on time and organized through a very bus week. There were a few more people on this tour (additional tour guide was added) which made for some venues very crowded.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day on Iona. very unique experience, and a memorable one. It is a lot of travel for the day, but it was well placed with the stay in Oban so it worked well. I would have liked one less day in Inverness (didn't like the Best Western) & an extra day in a more lay-back area such as Oban or Kenmore."

Dianne Kane

Fallbrook, CA

Tour: 09/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were immersed in Scotland throughout the tour: its culture, geology, history, foods, music, & politics through the ages. Every stop was memorable; every sight impressive. The schedule was full but not over-taxing, & we were well prepared with a foundational knowledge before we arrived at our sites. Our guides assured that all events went off without a hitch, and we were able to appreciate every aspect of the itinerary because of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The day on Iona was wonderful, and relaxing. A unique experience, and falling mid-tour it was the right time for this kind of an environment. Glencoe was another amazing site where I would have liked to spend more time, espcially hiking."

Patricienne

San Diego, CA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first guided tour with any company and just loved the experience. Chose Rick Steve's because of his PBS programs and all seemed well organized. A neighbor has taken 3 Rick Steve's tours and highly recommenced it. I liked the idea of someone saying when to show up for meals,etc. and then wheels up for departure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Could not fit this below but would have liked more time in St. Andrews. What a beautiful town and very vibrant. Maybe a full day and night."

Ed

Yamhill, OR

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 5th tour and, other than stretching the group size limit, didn't disappoint.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing Edinburgh Castle towering over the city."

Floyd

Woodland, CA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall, I enjoyed the Scotland tour and thought it was a good experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed visiting the golf course at St. Andrews and the golf history museum. There was a lot of history and tradition tied to that place and it permeated the town and surrounding area. I am not a golfer but I appreciated it anyway. I also enjoyed the sheep dog demonstration and the distilleries where scotch is made."

Linda

Yamhill, OR

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 5th RS tour so we pretty much knew it would be a great value for our travel dollar. Having seen the "greats" of Europe, it was ,as expected, more of a laid back visit of spectacular beauty and rich the rich history of a people who know how to value their freedoms.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was driving across the countryside and seeing Stirling Castle rising up above the landscape."

Linda

Fairport, NY

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and actually my first visit to Europe. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I was very pleased with how much time my husband and I had to just explore on our own, with suggestions and guidance from our guide. I think it was a good mix of group time and on our own time - both in sightseeing and meals. I was also pleased that the hotels were all centrally located and within walking distance of most things available in the area.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several "WOW" moments. My favorite is when our bus entered the Glencoe area. I already knew the story of the massacre and seen pictures of the area, but it was nothing like seeing it in person and having our guide tell us the story. It was so haunting and atmospheric. It was really stunning to stand there and have it all around you. My husband and I love to hike, and I would really love to return to do some hiking."

Jackie

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This was our 7th tour. It was not as varied as some of the others. There was a tendency to see too many castles as other points of interest were ignored. Had trouble thinking of "wow" moment on this one. There just wasn't much that stood out.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After much thought the only "wow" moment was St. Andrews and being able to walk on the course and take a picture on the bridge that goes between the 17th and 18th holes. If we had not been golfers, I don't think the appeal would have been so great. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only "wow" moment for me."

Wesley

The Woodlands, TX

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I found this to be well organized with "doable" schedules. There was a good balance of free time with organized time. The hotels were all great, very unique with a charm. Very clean as well. The coach was great for getting a good view or sitting back and tacking a nap. The meals were all top notch. The areas we visited were great and included those areas of Scotland that you would travel to visit. We were also treated to some very interesting sites that I would have missed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sheep dogs were great, but I really enjoyed our time with the bagpipe shop."

Heather

London, ON

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first organized tour, We were hesitant about spending 10 days with strangers and being tied into a busy schedule. We worried about being the only Canadians (which we were) on a predominantly American tour. We went into the experience with an open mind but also convinced that we would not attend all of the group dinners. This tour more than exceeding our expectations in every way we attended every event, loved all the people and will be booking a tour every year.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Isle of Iona. Our weather was perfect and having history, religion and scenery all meld together in one location was magical. I also absolutely loved the sheep dogs."

Lisa

Mount Vernon, WA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

28 new, wonderful, kind friends. It was sunny every day except one morning when the rain matched the mood visiting the site of Cullodon (massacre). Flexibility was important as was punctuality, both of which were demonstrated. Freedom was appreciated, with as much guidance as required or requested.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Alexander McPhee, the very talented musician in Oban, Scotland. He played the accordian, flute type instrument, and wonderful drum while we dined. He had us singing and swaying. I wish I had a card with words to songs to better participate (you take the high road and I'll take the low, My Bonnie lies over the ocean, etc) I loved the border collie demonstration at the working farm. Richard, the bus driver on Isle of Mull was hilarious. The bagpipe repairman was very interesting in Stirling."

Kristin

Wilmington, DE

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fifth RS tour. It was as outstanding as our other four RS tours. We have come to expect that. Our guide was a wonderful, very knowledgable guide who was very accessible for planning free time or just talking. Roddy, our bus driver, was equally fun and helpful and did have to take the reigns briefly when our guide was left behind on Iona due to ferry boat problem. Our group was the usual friendly, courteous bunch of people that we have come to expect on these tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the special tour of Taymouth Castle tour (a surprise!), our guest musician during a group dinner in Oban, sheep dog demonstration, etc. etc."

Cynthia

Crescent City, CA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of Scotland exceeded my expectations. Historical, cultural, and city sites visited were interesting and varied, as were the visits to a working sheep farm and bagpipe maker. In fact, several of the sites visited were quite unique, not at all your everyday tourist stops. However, our guide was absolutely exceptional! He brought Scottish history and culture to to life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our Scotland experience was full of "wow" moments, including beautiful Kenmore with Taymouth Castle and the Crannogs, the Culloden Battlefield, and the gorgeous seaside town of Oban. However, the best part of the Scotland experience was the opportunity to meet and become friends with all the other enthusiastic members of the tour."

Kathleen

Presque Isle, MI

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband usually plans our European trips following RS's Europe Through the Backdoor travel books. He has proven to be a wonderful tour guide so, when he suggested that we take a RS Guided Tour, I was quite reluctant. Visions of 50-60 people packed onto a coach, long lines at the rest stops, rigid Guides, up-at-dawn regimented daily schedules dampened my enthusiasm. As usual, my husband did his homework and assured me that RS Guided Tours are not like that. And he was right!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When you rate a 10-day tour "Outstanding", how do you choose a favorite "WOW" moment?!?!?! The sheepdog show was incredible, the bagpipe-maker was phenomenal, the castles were spectacular, the weather was unseasonably warm and sunny. Judging by the number of photos I took, Oban/Iona were my "WOW". Breathtaking scenery en route and on the islands."

Timothy

Presque Isle, MI

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, was extraordinary. He should donate his brain to medical science upon his passing, so they could determine how it is inhumanly possible for him to retain so much information! From the first meeting onward, we were constantly amazed by his knowledge of Scotland's history. And Roddy, our coach driver, was wonderful as well, adding to many stories with his own knowledge of his homeland Scotland. We loved the city of Oban, the mountains of Mull, and the lovely isle of Iona.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pulling up into an older farm, parking the coach, stepping out, and seeing not one, not five, not ten, but fourteen Scottish sheepdogs racing toward us from around the old barn. This followed by a wonderful demonstration of their herding skills, and their cooperation with Neil's(?) commands."

Teresa

The Woodlands, TX

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The tour guide, coach driver, and participates were outstanding. I feel that the tour is heavily laden with history. I am not a history buff, so by the second day, I was overwhelmed by it. So, for me, the tour was too much history. I would have liked to hear more about the people, their jobs, crops grown, etc.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sheep farm with the Border Collies rounding up the sheep at Neal's command."

Chuck

Edgewood, WA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Scotland tour was as fantastic as we had hoped – scenery, history, food, tour members, guide, bus and bus driver, and overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was no single "wow" moment. It was all "wow". We especially liked the western coast and the outstanding weather given that it was almost Fall."

Bill

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Wonderful tour. Leader's emphasis on the people and what their lives were like 500 yrs ago was very meaningful. The scenery is great but the history makes it different from just another beautiful place. Interesting to learn about the architecture and marvel at the building techniques.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Three things stand out. Edinburgh Castle is amazing. The battlefield at Culloden was a very moving experience. The city of Oban was very beautiful but we didn't really have enough time to fully explore there. Iona was very moving and would have even been better without the drive across Mull."

John

Louisville, CO

Tour: 09/02/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great People, Great Weather, Great Country and a well organized tour. Martin L. was fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The highlands."

Carol

Westbank, BC

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded our expectations. We were blessed with great weather and a fun tour group...no 'grumps'. The pace of the tour was good. 2 nights in each hotel is a 'must' for us aging folk. Gave us time to do 'laundry' and enjoy the free time provided in the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole tour was great, but the time at Culloden was, for me, special. The Culloden Information Centre was exceptional. It is relatively 'new' but provided so much information without having to follow a guide (except on the actual battle field). Tho' not on the tour, we really enjoyed the visit to the yacht 'Britannia' . The sheep dog demonstration was great. Even tried 'haggis' and found it to be surprisingly good!"

Carolyn

Houston, TX

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very impressed with our guide. She is professional and thorough but doesn't "baby" her charges. And her wealth of knowledge was amazing! I liked the mix of adventures we had; there was always the requisite history, which is one of the reasons I travel, but because I was with a group , I did things I would never have thought to do-sheepherding demonstration, a visit to a crannog. I also liked the ratio of group time and individual time. And Scotland was awesome!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Highlands in general stole my heart. I usually travel to cities for culture, museums, history, etc. but I simply fell in love with the beauty of the Highlands. I felt as if I belonged there."

Marina

Washington, DC

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful. The itinerary was very varied and interesting, I was very happy with the hotels (great breakfasts) and meals, and our driver Roddie and our guide were fantastic! My tour buddies were great too, very witty and fun, and always on time. I had been on 3 Rick Steves tours before so I sort of knew what to expect, and I was very happy!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me the "wow" was just being in Scotland! I had read about Scotland's history and art and learnt about it with books and DVDs and was fascinated by it, and to be there in the midst of the wonderful landscape passing by as we drove, seeing the locations where important events happened, events I had been learning about for a long time.. it was truly wonderful. I especially loved visiting the castles, or seeing some from the road. The other "wow" was our guide: she made the trip magical for me"

Ron

Davidson, NC

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was wonderful! She gave a 110 percent of herself and used much of her personal time with us to make sure we each had a perfect experience. The pace of our daily activities was just right. Her understanding of what her tour members expect from the tour is what makes a RS tour different such a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Edinburgh was my wow moment. What a wonderful city. I really enjoyed the vibe of the city, it's walk ability the easy o use public transportation."

Larry

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, a true Scott, was intent on sharing the history and significance of the places we visited, as well as enjoying the scenery and company - she was very knowledgeable, and lent a personal interest to the last 800 years of history. The hotels selected were superb, and the food excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour included a visit to a sheepdog trainer, that was a hit! Little did I know that each dog had a unique set of commands; so Rover would have a short whistle to crowd the sheep tightly, with Rover2 had a short shout to accomplish the same maneuver. Who knew? There was a lively discussion of how he trained the dogs: never rewarding good behavior, only punishing bad behavior. It sure paid off in results, but the suggestion to apply this to raising children caused a lot of discussion."

Clair

Glendale, AZ

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

We had taken the Italy in 17 days tour last year. Although this tour was very good it was not as good as the Italy tour. Perhaps some of this was due to the larger group and the problems it presented for dinner venues in Scotland. The most notable were at the Room 9 restaurant in Oban and the final dinner in Edinburgh.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The two moments that stood out most were the sheep herding demonstration outside Inverness, and the opportunity to have a special tour of Taymouth Castle and its spectacular renovations. The playing of Highland Cathedral on the coach was also very special."

Gerald

O'fallon, IL

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

When compared to any other company's tours, this is an outstanding tour. But, because we have been spoiled by Rick Steves tours, this one was a little short of outstanding-primarily because we had more people than the tour could accomodate (28 great people-but still, 28). Overall, everything was outstanding-our tour guide, our bus driver, the hotels, and sites. But our group dinners in both Edinbourgh and Oban were too large for the venues-too crowded, overloaded staff, sub-par food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our entire journey was a series of "twists and turns" as we went from big city (Edinbourgh) to the Hermitage in the highlands, to Loch Lomand, to Sterling Castle and monuments to Braveheart and Robert the Bruce. We got to appreciate the many varied dimensions of Scotland."

Jack

Houston, TX

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Greetings there Rick Steves' and Europe Through The Back Door. Many thanks again for another excellent tour experience! Nothing could have gone better. Top notch tour guide, coach driver, and tour group really jelled together to help everything run very smoothly. As you know, this is me fifth Europe Through The Back Door tour. Enjoyed myself alot better on last two. Much better mind set and left all my problems at home.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gee whiz! Too many to pick out just one. Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile, Loch Ness, and seeing the original WWII Nazi flag in the King's Old Building @ Stirling Castle were definitley some of the highlights. Visited St. Giles Cathedral before ETBD tour began and that was a big moment for me too. I really enjoy to scale every possible castle, tower, and cathedral in Europe. Helps keep me very trim and fit!"

Russ

Westbank, BC

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Just a wonderful experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Cullodon grabbed my heart....the visitors centre and the description of the battle is so well done Loved the Cottswolds...and the Lake Country.... Edinburgh is a wonderful place"

Kelvin

Houston, TX

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour was well done due to our guide We had visited places we would never found on our own without her. She made the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Discovering how advanced our iron age cousins were."

Bobbie

Huntersville, NC

Tour: 08/05/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fabulous! I enjoyed every moment, learned so much, and made wonderful friends! I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Iona - bar none! What a beautiful place; the trip was MUCH enhanced by our visit there."

Jan

Niwot, CO

Tour: 08/05/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of Scotland was all we have come to expect of a Rick Steves tour: knowledgeable, efficient, and welcoming tour guides, a lot of touring for our travel dollars, time to explore on our own, no shopping, and like-minded travel companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For my husband, the iconic bridge at St. Andrews golf course was the high point. For me, the ferry ride back from Iona was amazing. Iona itself is unique. In that indescribable Iona state of mind, I sat on the ferry's upper deck and watched the beauty of the islands and the hills recede before me, the shifting sunlight, the clouds, the mist moving and altering the light and shadows. It was hypnotic; I had to sit and collect my thoughts before heading back to the B and B."

William

Bedford, TX

Tour: 08/05/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was incredible. It was very well organized and covered more sites and places of interest than we could have planned, even with a great deal of research. No time was wasted unless we chose to just relax. The bus trips were sprinkled with stops at fantastic places so that the trips didn't seem long at all. The other people on the trip also contributed to the success. We met some great people and hope to maintain friendships with them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard one. There were so many. I think that it may have been at Loch Tay where we saw the reproduction of a Crannog, which is a bronze age or stone age house built over the water. Also, the battle field at Culloden was a wow moment. Such a "small" battle had such an impact on history. This is especially significant if you are of Scots descent and live outside Scotland."

Peter

State College, PA

Tour: 08/05/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized and [INVALID]d. A good mix of "big" attractions [INVALID] castles, museums, cathedrals [INVALID] and visits to villages and towns and free time to explore on our own. Good mix of accommodations from big city hotel to small village inn to B&B. Nice introduction to the highlands of Scotland,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most unusual was the visit to the Crannog -- the iron age housing site on Loch Tay."

Dotty

Tempe, AZ

Tour: 08/05/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was perfectly planned and executed so that we were able to experience the best of the country; scenery, people, food, castles and history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the sheep dog demonstration was the top of the list. Neil was truly an expert with his 28 dogs."

Thomas

Santa Barbara, CA

Tour: 07/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved that we weren't shuttled to ten sightseeing destinations a day with only 20 minutes to look around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was a wow moment. But most of all the tour guide and fellow travelers.Great bunch!"

Michelle

Denver, CO

Tour: 07/29/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall, it was a great trip - Scotland and its people are beautiful. This was my second RS Tour and this one had a much tighter schedule than the Greek one. You do see a lot, but overall it could really benefit from a built-in day off (maybe in Oban to relax by the sea or Inverness to get more practical things done). The time spent on the bus was not well balanced with the time spent at sites.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Its hard to choose, so we'll go with 3: 1. As a Diana Gabaldon fan, it was great to see all the places Jamie & Claire visited. 2. The people: Our fellow tourmates, guide and driver, and the Scots made for a great trip. 3. The sheer beauty and history of Scotland itself."

MaryAnn

Cowiche, WA

Tour: 07/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was looking forward to a good historical background information on Scotland and its people. Our guide, Liz, was well informed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two stops that were extremely interesting and different from what you would expect in Scotland. First the prehistoric home over the loch and the very unusual stop at Culross. Fascinating mining in the tunnel under the ocean. The guide thru the house was very good describing life at that time period."

Terence

Dallas, TX

Tour: 07/22/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves Tour and perhaps it was too much to expect the Scotland tour to live up to the experience on our previous two (which were outstanding) but somehow this trip just struck me as good, but not outstanding. The days seemed more rushed, there seemed to be less interpersonal interaction and some of the stops seemed short when compared to the travel time involved in getting there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was amazed at the topography of the Scottish Highlands, a volcanic landmass, and the similarity (if you stipped the vegetation and replaced it with lush tropical flora) to my favorite non-European volcanic landmass--Hawaii. Driving in the Highlands reminded me of the Road-to-Hana trip in Maui."

James

Stillwater, MN

Tour: 07/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a fantastic way to see and experience a country. From our guide and coachman, to the hotels and B&Bs which all were very comfortable and had character, and the wonderful food (wouldn't have guessed that one) and beverages, I can't imagine experiencing Scotland any better way. We were steeped in the history and culture of the land at every turn by our most able guides, and had time left over to interact with some of the warm and welcoming Scots.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love history, and have had the good fortune to experience some great battlefield sites, but many of the sites could learn from the National Trust for Scotland site at Culloden. This very important battle was vividly brought to life with an amazing visitor center/museum, followed by an expert and engaging audio tour of the battlefield that literally let you feel what the battle was like. Wow!"

Linda

San Anselmo, CA

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Scotland tour was outstanding in every way. I loved the beautiful countryside and the cities which we visited as well. The accommodations were wonderful, as was the food and our guide was superb. Her command of the history, her wonderful sense of humor and her keen sensitivity to all members made the trip simply excellent in every way. What a magnificent country and we were really blessed to be with an amazing group of folks as well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is so difficult to speak about one "wow" moment but I loved Kenmore, the surroundings and the charming hotel. I thought the area was magical. I was also overwhelmed with the beauty of Glencoe."

Patricia

Montreal, QC

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every moment was a delight! The people, the places, the weather -- just perfect!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visit to the sheep farm to see Neil shearing a sheep, holding the newborn puppies, and feeding the lambs from a baby bottle of milk! Also, visit to Culloden. The most well-organized and interesting tour I have ever seen."

Stewart

Montreal, QC

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very enjoyable tour. Edinburgh is a beautiful city, the Highlands and Western Isles are stunning, the pubs are exceptional, and the guide was wonderful. I learned a lot about the country including the fact that haggis is delicious and that the sun always shines in Scotland. Who knew?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but I particularly enjoyed the visit to the sheep farm where I got to shear a sheep (for a few seconds anyway) and hold a border collie puppy as well as the stop at the Culloden Battlefield visitors' centre. I knew a lot about the battle beforehand, but the excellent displays and demonstrations made it much more real for me. It was, in fact, very moving."

Diana

Powell, OH

Tour: 07/01/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Scotland has everything. Wonderful landscape with mountains, castles, palaces, lochs, friendly people who like to have a good time. It's also quite an educational experience learning the history of the country. i loved everything about the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially like the trip to Iona. From the Ferry ride to get there, to the walk through a pasture to get to the beautiful beach and touring the Abbey. Also the working sheep farm demonstration was pretty exciting."

Kathy

Ottawa, ON

Tour: 06/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved every day of this trip. She was a fantastic guide. We had a great group of people. The landscape was lovely - at times breathtaking. I found the history, and all the historical sites we visited quite fascinating. Accommodation was very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the whole experience of being at Culloden. The battle really came to life for me ... and sparked my interest in learning more about the Jacobite rebellion specifically and Scottish history in general."

Kathleen

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 06/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great!! Suggestion: The tour guide established a limit of 2 pounds for a buddy gift at the end. Some tour members exceeded this limit of say 5 pounds. This was embarrassing to those who gave a gift of 2 pounds.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Scotland was fantastic!"

Carolyn

Canton, NC

Tour: 06/24/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First off the tour guide was excellent. She was steeped in history and always researching for more details relating to any questions brought up by any in the group. She was extremely patient and kind. All the places we visited were of interest; the hotels and inns were great; the food was very good; all aspects of the tour were well thought out. I liked having two days in a location so there was a greater comfort level for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The kindness and welcoming of the people was one of my favorite wow moments. I always felt as though the people were glad that I was there in their beautiful country."

Linda

Riverview, FL

Tour: 06/17/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Reflecting on my experience as a first timer, we saw so many places & had such a variety of experiences that I think, "Did we really do all of those things?" It was fun to be on a tour on a great bus w/ great driver, and a fantastic guide who was practical & experienced. We didn't have to worry about getting to places, & we saw so much & learned a great deal. Info provided was very good. The food was memorable and delicious and lodging was fun. Walks were strenuous but worth the "ow" moments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I couldn't pinpoint just one, it was fantastic. From crannogs to cairns to castles, there was artwork, crafts and skills to learn about and the confirmation in my mind, that past people were intelligent, creative and resourceful. Forests were beautiful, countryside was calming, and there were structures everywhere with history all their own. A wow was "how did they build that" when it came to castles, cathedrals, other structures. Loved the variety in each day."

Mary

Spokane, WA

Tour: 05/20/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was great from start to finish. Our guide was fun, knowledgable, informative and easy going. Roddy, our coach driver was a wonderful compliment and they made a great team. I thought there was plenty of time to get away from the group for those who need more quiet time alone. Doing the "group tour" is hard for some.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time spent at Glen Coe. So beautiful, moody and spiritual. And I loved the Crannog's at Kenmore."

Carolyn

Durham, NC

Tour: 05/06/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I enjoyed our tour of Sotland from beginning to end Our tour guide, Anne, was excellent. I will be forever grateful to Roddy, our driver, for manuevering that large bus along narrow country roads so well. Having had motion sickness problems all my life, his driving expertise was a godsend for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard question ; there were so many "wow" moments. I guess my very favorite time was at the sheep farm where we got to watch the border collies herd the sheep. The intensity and focus of the dogs is amazing. I also enjoyed holding a tiny puppy and having him snuggle up against my neck. That was special. Cawdor Castle was very interesting. Actually seeing how someone lives in a castle today is amazing. Our tour was so fortunate to see the highlanders marching through the entrance."

Weather

Scotland / Edinburgh

Edinburgh Weather

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Edinburgh before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Great Britain guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are a few suggestions for sightseeing in Edinburgh that we will not do as a group: National Gallery, Scottish Parliament Building, Palace of Holyrood House, Royal Yacht Britannia, St. Giles' Cathedral, Rosslyn Chapel. Your guidebook also has plenty of ideas for any extra time you may have before or after your tour and your guide will be happy to help you with post-tour plans.

Transportation

Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

Edinburgh is a major transportation hub, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy. The most direct route is to fly into and out of Edinburgh. 

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips and decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Trip Resources

Learn more about Scotland: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Packing

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.