Curious about touring holidays in Scotland? Of course you are! Scotland tours are what dreams are made of! This article will explain some of the different types of Scotland tours that are out there, allowing you to settle in and explore Scotland with experienced guides, plus lots of free time to do things at your own pace.
On a tour of Scotland you’ll meet like-minded people, find hidden gems, and visit those Scottish places you’ve always wanted to see. Longer tours are a great way to travel sustainably, rather than experiencing the country at a glance, and Scotland’s walking tours are a great way to get outdoors and explore our stunning landscapes.
If you are already thinking about booking a tour, check out our Scottish Tours.
1. Landscape & Nature Scottish Highland Tours
If you ask people what it is they find special about Scotland, many would say it’s the landscapes that keep them coming back. Of course, most tours will have a landscape element, but here we’re talking mountains, glens, rivers and coastlines. This type of tour offers you the chance to go hiking in Scotland’s wild places with someone who knows what they are doing!
For example, starting from Inverness you could spend a day in the Untamed North West. Uncover a world of gorges, waterfalls and caves, beautiful barren countryside and remote fishing villages all on the best hikes in the Scottish Highlands.
Those wanting to spend longer in Scotland might be interested in a Big Highland Tour, which offers a blend of hiking and sightseeing over two weeks, and even presents the chance to ascend Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest Munro. Accommodation will be varied on this type of tour, from B&Bs to small hotels – handpicked to ensure maximum comfort. These are also up there with some of the best wildlife tours in Scotland, where you can see our native species thrive in their natural habitats.
What about an Agritourism holiday? There are many experiences and farm tours in Scotland where you can meet the animals on a guided tour. For example, you could take the family along to Kitchen Coos and Ewes and see Highland Cattle. These iconic creatures are beautiful to look at, and the way they graze is really good for the environment too. Farm tours are also available at Lennox of Lomond, where you can experience a day in the life of a farmer, lambing, or even an exciting quad bike tour! Lambs, goats, Highland cows, pigs, chickens and ducks are all waiting to meet you at Jacksons at Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. Take a farm walk, feed the animals and then settle down for a picnic. A great day out.
Discover more about our Landscapes & Nature .
2. Island Hopping & Boat Tours in Scotland
Island hopping tours might sound like something you would do in Greece or the Caribbean but take a minute to consider what Scotland has to offer. Scotland’s coast is studded with islands big and small, each offering their share of history, natural beauty and activities for a fun-filled holiday. Moving from one island to the next feels like a real adventure on the high seas with all the promise of a warm island welcome.
This is the kind of holiday you could very well organise by yourself using VisitScotland’s many resources. Why not start by looking at these great ferry journeys to pick up some inspiration?
There are many guided tours of Shetland and the Orkney islands available – it all depends on what you want to see. If the ancient heritage and stunning landscapes has inspired you, why not try one of these Orkney tours or Shetland experiences? Check out Orkney Islands Tours, Shetland Seas Adventures or Go Shetland tours.
Perhaps you have always wanted to visit the Hebrides, on Scotland’s west coast. Hebridean Island Hopping is eminently possible with a mixture of ferry travel, driving and walking. Take a look at this Scottish Island Hopscotch tour if you are interested in the world of whisky, and for a journey over four islands, you may be interested in a Scottish Island Hopping Odyssey.
Find out more with our guide to islands and island hopping or enjoy one of our 12 scenic boat trips.
3. Food Tours in Scotland
You might be wondering what’s on the menu when you come to Scotland. If you’ve never visited before you’ll probably want to try things like haggis, whisky and fish and chips. But there’s much more to Scottish cuisine than these famous staples. Scotland is a country of creative chefs and sustainable local producers, with all kinds of mouth-watering wonders to share.
Why not spice up your Scottish city break with a unique culinary experience? You could try an Edinburgh Food Tour and visit a number of different restaurants in an afternoon. Or you could meet up with a local guide in Glasgow and embark on a Glasgow Food and Drink Tour. Perhaps you are visiting St Andrews, the home of golf – in your downtime you could try a walking food tour around the town.
If you are heading to the islands of Orkney in search of ancient culture, JP Orkney Tours offer a variety of tours including the Spirit of Orkney tour. You’ll meet skilful local producers who’ll share stories of how their products are made, along with top foodie tips. Similarly, if you were to travel to Shetland you could hop on a tour with Taste of Shetland.
There are tasting experiences wherever you travel in Scotland. Find more about Scotland’s famous food and drink.
4. History & Culture Tours in Scotland
You’ve read the history books and seen the TV documentaries, but nothing quite brings Scottish history to life like actually visiting! From castles and monuments to stories of real people down the centuries, our fantastic local tour guides will lead you on a journey of discovery, whichever part of Scotland you choose to visit.
Dumfries & Galloway in south Scotland is rich in history and local heritage. Iron Age people, Romans, Vikings, writers and many more have left their mark on the area. Secret Solway Tours will give you a deeper insight into their stories.
If the lush countryside of Perthshire takes your fancy, or you have ancestral connections in the region, you could consider this Perthshire history tour, which is fully accessible too. Seeing 5000 years of Scottish history in a day might sound ambitious but with this Perthshire tour you’ll be surprised at what you can fit in!
Some history tours focus in on a particular subject, like Scotland’s History on Film Tour, which will take you to the filming locations of popular movies and TV shows like Outlander. And if you’re a mega Outlander fan you could tour six locations from the series in this Outlander Extravaganza!
Discover the history of Scotland.
5. Coach & Bus Tours in Scotland
Touring by coach is a classic way to see Scotland and the variety of tours is quite staggering. From luxury minibuses to standard coaches you will have the benefit of comfortable transport without the need to hire or bring a car. On a coach tour, everything is taken care of!
Delve into the magical scenery on a trip around the NC 500 and an Isle of Skye tour, or enjoy a historical tour of the Scottish Borders – your tour can be tailored to specific interests or destinations. And it goes without saying that a coach tour is fantastic way to meet other travellers.
Day tours around Scotland’s cities are popular too! With Glasgow’s open top bus tour, Edinburgh bus tours, and a hop-on, hop-off format, it allows you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Once you have seen the city, you could book a coach trip to explore the surrounding countryside and be back in time for dinner.
Take a look at more Scottish coach tours.
6. Walking Tours in Scotland’s City Centres
Arriving in a Scottish city is an exciting feeling – so many things to see and do! For many travellers, a blend of organised touring and unguided exploration is the perfect mix. Scotland’s seven cities all have an extensive list of local tour providers ready to show you something special.
Visiting the fair city of Perth? Take a look at Perth City Tours, who provide everything from guided history walks to river kayak tours and wildlife safaris. If you find yourself in the west, Glasgow walking tours make the most of the city’s famous cultural side, as well as a tour exploring Glasgow’s Music Mile.
Showstopping sights are round every corner in Edinburgh, but there’s nothing like having an experienced tour guide to reveal local tales and secrets. Edinburgh’s walking tours are exciting and varied, and include Edinburgh Castle and city tour which will definitely give you something to write home about. Similarly, you could explore Dundee with Dundee City Walking Tours and in Aberdeen, you’ll learn more about the city on a free walking tour.
Walking tours of Scotland’s cities are widely available, such as this walking tour of Stirling which takes you round the main sites of the city.
Find out more with these 9 city tour ideas.
7. Walking Tours in Scotland’s Highlands
If it’s fresh air you seek, then what could be better than a walking holiday in Scotland? This is a particularly good way to explore Scotland’s stunning sights and ticking off famous landmarks along the way. Rambles in the Scottish countryside are brilliant fun with dedicated tour companies who can bring the landscape to life.
For example, make the most of your journey to Loch Ness with a 360 Loch Ness tour. More than just a walking holiday, you’ll be provided with a personalised itinerary, fantastic accommodation options and baggage transfer.
Travelling to Speyside? Consider exploring the Speyside Way or Moray Coast Trail with a local tour guide before relaxing back at your accommodation with a whisky.
Find out more about some of the best Highland tours in Scotland.
8. Ghost Tours in Edinburgh
One of the most popular types of short tours on offer in Scotland are ghost tours. Get to grips with some of the enduring mysteries behind your favourite Scottish places and hear stories that might just give you goosebumps!
Usher a bit of paranormal activity into your capital city holiday with a haunted Edinburgh tour. Scotland’s capital is bursting at the seams with spooky stories, unexplained paranormal events, and hundreds of tales about characters that have died or were involved in turbulent times across the city. Edinburgh underground ghost tours are a great place to start, exploring the ancient vaults and cobbled streets haunted by times gone by.
Mercat Tours also offer a range of ghost tours all year round, as well as special Halloween tours, where you’ll be led round by a knowledgeable guide, donned in spooky fancy dress, with all the best tales and stories that bring Edinburgh’s streets to life.
Edinburgh isn’t the only place you can uncover spooky tales of the past. Join Mostly Ghostly Tours in Dumfries & Galloway or, if you’re brave enough, venture on an award-winning ghost tour in St Andrews.
Check out some of the country’s most haunted places on Scotland’s Ghost Trail.
9. Golf Tours in St Andrews
If you play golf, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a round in Scotland. Known as ‘the Home of Golf’, players from around the world will tell you that it is their dream to visit Scotland and test their game. As you can imagine, there are many tour providers that offer golfing breaks, with transport between courses and accommodation included.
For those who don’t play golf but are interested in the history of the game, there is a tour for you! The St Andrews Golf History Tour provides a fascinating insight into the sport. You can also join in on St Andrews old course walking tour.
Elsewhere in Scotland, embark on a Scottish Highland Golf Tour and see some of the best scenery in the country while you enjoy a selection of great courses. Or if it’s the famous links courses along Scotland’s east coast that attract you, look at this East Coast Challenge.
Interested in golf? Find out more about Golf in Scotland .
10. Best Whisky & Distillery Tours in Scotland
Another fascinating type of tour you can take in Scotland is a whisky tour. This could either be a day tour of a single distillery or a longer trip where you visit multiple distilleries. It depends on how much you love Scotland’s national drink!
No whisky connoisseur should miss out on a trip to Islay, a beautiful island on Scotland’s west coast and a whisky producing region in its own right. Islay and The West Coast Whisky Trail is a self-drive tour that blends incredible scenery with wonderful single malt whisky for a truly unforgettable holiday.
If you love the golden whiskies of Speyside, then check out Speyside Whisky Tours, which offer tailormade itineraries around this beautiful part of Scotland. Nearby, there are several Inverness whisky tour operators which offer trips out to surrounding distilleries from the Highland capital.
In the capital, don’t miss a whisky distillery tour in Edinburgh at the Scotch Whisky Experience, and for those visiting Aberdeenshire, don’t miss out on a Royal Deeside Whisky Tour. Or head west and embark on a Glasgow distillery tour at either The Clydeside Distillery or The Glasgow Distillery.
Discover the history of Scotch whisky with our Whisky: Explained video.
There are many options for a Scottish touring holiday, depending on your interests. Which tour will you choose? We look forward to welcoming you in the near future.