Best of the Great Glen Way & Edinburgh

9 Days & 8 Nights
  • Wander the purple heather-clad landscape of Scotland’s renowned Great Glen
  • Delight in “ceud mìle fàilte” (a hundred thousand welcomes) from the hosts at our hand-selected accommodations
  • 13th century ruins of Urquhart Castle perched on the shores of Loch Ness
  • Cruise Loch Ness and unravel stories of the loch’s legendary monster—“Nessie”
  • Stay in Edinburgh’s old town and feast on delicious Scottish cuisine just minutes from the capital’s iconic castle
On this self-guided walking tour immerse yourself in the best of Scotland’s Great Glen Way trail. Traverse Scotland’s Highland landscape brimming with deep lochs and glens between Fort William, the outdoor capital of the west, and Inverness—Scotland’s northernmost city. Begin in Glasgow, a city renowned for its eclectic cuisine, before hopping on the train and winding your way north through the Highlands and through seemingly infinite glens to reach Fort William at the base of Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and the start point of the trail. By day relish tranquil hiking as you roam a landscape strewn with ruined castles and remote villages nestled among impressive mountains. At night retire to our hand-selected accommodations and settle down by the fire to reflect on a day well spent away from the distractions of modern living. The trip concludes in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, with a night in the city’s old town just a short walk from Edinburgh Castle.
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What To Expect

This is the ideal itinerary for you if are seeking the perfect balance of hiking, scenery and culture. Revel in the lush green landscape and ancient forests of the Scottish Highlands on this 9 day easy to moderate highlight itinerary combining the finest walks and hand-selected accommodations that the Great Glen Way has to offer. Not only will you hike the best of an internationally renowned trail, discover the secrets of the illusive Loch Ness monster, but enjoy a day exploring the winding cobbled streets of Edinbugh’s old town.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travelers, First Timers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Wine, Whiskey & More...
  • Historical Journeys

Inspiration:

  • Most Popular
  • New
  • Classic

Activity Level & Terrain

We have created this “best of” itinerary to showcase the best walks and create the perfect balance of walking and sightseeing. While the walks are less challenging than if you were to walk the entire Great Glen Way, they offer magnificent views and you will really get a sense of Scotland’s dramatic Highland scenery. Any limited road walking tends to be scenic and mostly along quiet lanes, however from time to time there are some busier stretches where you will need to look out for traffic. This itinerary is rated easy to moderate. On most days you will be walking on wellwaymarked terrain that may include forest tracks, rocky trails, and occasionally back country roads. On the whole most days have minimal ascent/descent as you’ll be following the Caledonian Canal most of the way. The most challenging walk from Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit includes up to 1700-1900 ft /520-580 m (depending on whether you choose the high or low route option) of ascent so if you’re not a frequent hiker we suggest you do a little training so you find this day as enjoyable as possible.

Navigation

This route is well way-marked and follows the internationally recognised Great Glen Way making navigation straightforward. We recommend you navigate using our Macs Adventure smartphone app—simply download your daily routes for offline use and follow the GPS tracks of the trail with the assurance that you will not get lost.

Accommodations

One of the highlights of this tour is the standard of accommodations. We have hand-selected the hotels to make sure you love every minute of your stay. All offer a warm Scottish welcome to walkers. We usually use the following hotels but occasionally may use well-loved alternatives if these are not available. You can also choose to upgrade your final nights’ accommodation in Edinburgh if you wish.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested—a single supplement applies. This trip is also available to solo walkers, and a supplement is again payable (as some costs are not shared). Please note that depending on availability single rooms may not always be of the same standard as twins/doubles.

Meals

A Scottish cooked breakfast is served each morning. These typically range from eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, cheese, yoghurt and coffee/tea with traditional Scottish favorites such as black pudding and smoked fish. Lunch, snacks and some dinners are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. A 3-course evening meal at the secluded Glengarry Castle Hotel is included in the trip cost. Most of your accommodations will be able to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively, you can buy lunch at local shops or stop in a café if available. 

Included
  • 8 Nights in hand-selected 3-5* accommodations
  • 8 Breakfasts
  • 1 Dinner
  • Luggage transfers
  • Transfers to walks as listed in the itinerary
  • Trains from Glasgow to Fort William & Inverness to Edinburgh
  • Guided half day group tour of Loch Ness
  • Information pack, GPX tracks, and access to the Macs Adventure smartphone app
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our office
Excluded
  • Travel to and from Glasgow/Edinburgh accommodation
  • Lunches, dinners (except 1), drinks & snacks
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
Extras
  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Upgraded accommodation in Edinburgh

When To Go

This walking tour is best enjoyed between April and the beginning of October. Scotland’s weather is changeable so no matter what month you decide to travel you could experience spring, summer and fall all in one day! April is a wonderful time to travel in Scotland, the daffodils in the villages are blooming and the countryside is alive with wildlife. May is particularly popular among walkers as it tends to be the driest month of the year. However, for slightly warmer weather (just an average of 65°F) we recommend travelling in July or August. For cooler temperatures, and to experience the beautiful autumnal colours on the trees September is a also a great month for walking. You can start on any date that suits your travel plans and you will find availability on our website. The Great Glen Way is popular so it’s best to book as far in advance as you are able.

Getting to the Start

The trip begins at your accommodation in Glasgow—easily accessible from the UK via rail and motorway links. If you’re travelling from Europe, North America or further afield we recommend flying into Glasgow Airport just a short taxi journey from the city centre (20 mins). The airport has plenty of European links and if flying from North America there are direct flights available from New York, Orlando, Toronto and Halifax. Otherwise, you can easily connect from other North American airports via Iceland, London or Amsterdam using British Airways, KLM, or a multitude of low budget airlines such as Ryanair or Easyjet. 

Luggage Transfer

Your luggage will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 40lbs/18kg per person, and on the rail journeys that you bring your luggage with you.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance helps protect your travel investment, your belongings and most importantly you, from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Glasgow and overnight Day 2 West Highland Line train to Fort William Day 3 Walk to Gairlochy 10 miles / 16 km Day 4 Walk to Fort Augustus 9 miles / 14.5 km Day 5 Walk to Drumnadrochit 15 miles / 24 km Day 6 Walk to Inverness 9 miles / 14 km Day 7 Free day in Inverness and Loch Ness tour and cruise Day 8 Train to Edinburgh Day 9 Onward travel

The Macs Way

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