Lindblad Expeditions - vacations and travel

Heart of the Highlands + the Orkneys

Heart of the Highlands + the Orkneys North America Highlands, Scotland

Contact provider for price 17 Days June, July
Luxury accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Lindblad Expeditions 24 people max
  • Inverness, scotland, united kingdom
  • Boats, Barges & Small Ship Cruises trips
After your time exploring the mountains, glens and lochs of the Scottish Highlands aboard Lord of the Glens, explore the rugged, wild outer islands of Orkney. For years our expedition ship National Geographic Endeavour visited these islands. Now you’ll have an opportunity to spend five days exploring this dramatic part of Scotland. You’ll experience the remarkable Stone Age sites of Orkney: the Ring of Brodgar and the village of Skara Brae, with stone-slab beds, dressers and hearths that will forever change the way you think of “primitive” cultures. Explore a kaleidoscope of history: Pictish brochs, Viking villages and churches—and have a two-night stay at Balfour Castle. Visit the islands of Shapinsay and Westray, with its dramatic seabird cliffs. Sample a bounty of fresh Orkney seafood and hear Orcadian music to be accompanied by scotch whisky from the world’s northern-most distillery and enjoyed with the friendly Orcadian folk.

Locations visited/nearby

Heart of the Highlands + the Orkneys North America Highlands, Scotland

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.
  • May accommodate certain types of disabilities. Contact the operator for more information.


DAY 1 — U.S./Fly overnight to Inverness, Scotland

DAY 2 — Inverness/Embark Lord of the Glens
Arrive in Scotland and embark our ship in Inverness, capital of the Highlands.(D)

DAY 3 — Culloden/Loch Ness/Fort Augustus
Highland history comes alive at legendary Culloden Battlefield, where Bonnie Prince Charlie fought. See the ancient standing stones of Clava Cairns. Explore Loch Ness, past the ruins of Urquhart Castle, and moor at Fort Augustus. (B,L,D)

DAY 4 — Caledonian Canal/Laggan Locks
This morning is at leisure to explore Fort Augustus. After lunch, we sail scenic Loch Oich along tree-lined Laggan Avenue, where golden eagles are often spotted. Join a guided walk in this natural area of Scotland. Moor at Laggan Locks. (B,L,D)

DAY 5 — Glencoe/Banavie
Sail scenic Loch Oich this morning to Banavie, in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Greeat Britain. Explore rugged Glencove, some of the finest walking country in the highlands rich with flora and fauna, and hear tales of the infamous MacDonald massacre of 1692. Moor at Banavie. (B,L,D)

DAY 6 — Neptune’s Staircase/Oban
Our day begins with everyone on deck as the Lord of the Glens descends Neptune’s Staircase, a series of eight locks that lowers our ship to sea level. Sail to Oban, where we have a guided walk, including a whisky distillery and McCraig’s Folly. Moor Oban. (B,L,D)

DAY 7 — Inner Hebrides: Isle of Mull/Tobermory
Sail across magnificent Loch Linnhe to the Isle of Mull, where Highland cattle dot the wild landscape. Visit photogenic Duart Castle, an impressive fortress (with a dungeon!) and the ancestral home of Clan MacLean where we have a lovely mid-morning tea. Continue to Tobermory, an attractive town with pastel houses and a unique clock tower. Moor Tobermory. (B,L,D)

DAY 8 — Inner Hebrides: Iona/Tobermory
Today we explore Iona, the heart of Celtic Christianity. Walk through the ancient nunnery and along the stone walls to 12th-century Iona Abbey, where sixty kings lay buried including Duncan and Macbeth. Visit Torosay Castle with its magnificent gardens. Moor Tobermory. (B,L,D)

DAY 9 — Inner Hebrides: Isle of Eigg
Observe the local marine and birdlife of this remote island community: Atlantic seals, minke whales, dolphins, porpoises and a variety of seabirds. Overnight Eigg. (B,L,D)

DAY 10 — Inner Hebrides: Isle of Skye/Inverie
Sail into the Sound of Sleat to Armadale on the rugged Hebridean Isle of Skye, legendary for its snowcapped Cuillin Mountains. Go on a nature hike or take a scenic drive to Dunvegan Castle. Cruise scenic Loch Nevis and moor at Inverie, a remote community with no roads in or out. (B,L,D)

DAY 11 — Inner Hebrides: Kyle of Lochalsh/Inverewe Gardens
Sail along the Sleat Peninsula, known as the Garden of Skye, to arrive at Kyle of Lochalsh. Visit famed Inverewe Gardens. Tempered by the Gulf Stream, the delightful gardens are an anomaly of subtropical color—grown at the same latitude as St. Petersburg! Moor at Kyle of Lochalsh. (B,L,D)

DAY 12 — Kyle of Lochalsh/Disembark/Orkney (Balfour Castle)
Arrive in Kirkwall and ferry to Balfour Castle, set on the shores of Shapinsay Island and exclusively reserved for Lindblad guests (two nights). This evening, gather for cocktails, dinner and a talk on Orkney history. (B,L,D)

DAY 13 — Kirkwall/Balfour Castle
Few places in the world have the impact of the Stone Age sites of Orkney: the Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae and the Maes Howe tomb. See 12th-century St. Magnus cathedral and have a tasting at a Highland Distillery. Dinner at Balfour Castle. (B,L,.D)

DAY 14 — Isle of Westray
By boat, search for wildlife and seals at Holm of Foray. Continue by coach to Castle O’Burriaen to look for the endearing Atlantic puffins (through early July). Visit the Heritage Centre to browse for Orkney crafts. (B,L,D)

DAY 15 — Noup Head Reserve, Westray/Kirkwall
Explore the dramatic cliffs of Noup Head, a spectacular setting for thousands of breeding seabirds: fulmars, kittiwakes, razorbills and Arctic terns. (B,L,D)

DAY 16 — Westray/Rousay/Kirkwall
Explore more of the Orkneys’ remarkable archaeological sites: the Pictish Broch of Gurness, Blackhammar Chambered Cairn and Midhowe Cairn and Broch. (B,L,D)

DAY 17 — Kirkwall/Home (B)

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