Best of the Great Glen Way & Edinburgh Getaway6 Days & 5 Nights
- Wander the purple heather-clad landscape of Scotland’s renowned Great Glen
- Stay in Edinburgh’s old town just minutes from the capital’s iconic castle
- Unravel the stories of the legendry monster of Loch Ness—“Nessie” and 13th century Urquhart Castle
- Feast on delicious Scottish cuisine and sample a local ale or two
- Delight in “ceud mìle fàilte” (a hundred thousand welcomes) at our hand-selected accommodations
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent tour.
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
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 12 Years
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Wine, Whiskey & More...
- Historical Journeys
- Most Popular
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.
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.
One of the highlights of this tour is the standard of accommodation. 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 listed hotels but occasionally may use alternatives of the same standard if these are not available. You can choose to upgrade your final nights’ accommodation in Edinburgh if you wish.
- 5 Nights in hand-selected accommodations
- 5 Breakfasts
- 1 Dinner
- Luggage transfers
- Transfers to walks as listed
- Trains from Glasgow to Fort William & Inverness to Edinburgh
- Information pack, GPX tracks and access to the Macs Adventure smartphone app
- 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK office
- 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)
- 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.
Getting from the End
Your hotel in Edinburgh is located within a short walk of Waverley Train Station, from where it’s less than an hour on the train to Glasgow (check the Scotrail website for timetables and tickets) for your return flight or onward travel. Alternatively, if you are extending your travels in Europe via Edinburgh airport it’s a 30 min taxi from the city centre to the airport, which is also easily reachable using the tram or Citylink bus networks.
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.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 - the temptation cruise guided tour of Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle is no longer operating till March 2021 - you will be refunded the cost of this as it is included in the trip.
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.
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.
Your hotel in Edinburgh is located within a short walk of Waverley Train Station, from where it’s less than an hour on the train to Glasgow (check the Scotrail website for timetables and tickets) for your return flight or onward travel.
Alternatively, if you are extending your travels in Europe via Edinburgh airport it’s a 30 min taxi from the city centre to the airport, which is also easily reachable using the tram or Citylink bus networks.
ItineraryDay 1 Train to Fort Willam and transfer to Glengarry
The West Highland Line from Glasgow to Fort William is said to be Scotland’s most scenic train line; take your seat for the journey north (3 hr 45 min) through mountain ranges and around sea lochs.
As the outdoor capital of the west coast, active enthusiasts of all kinds gather in Fort William to make the most the surrounding landscape. A private transfer will meet you at Fort William train station for the scenic drive (40 min) to Glengarry Castle Hotel situated in an idyllic lochside spot along the Great Glen. As you leave Fort William keep an eye out for Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain!
Glengarry Castle Hotel is a comfortable country house hotel located on the shores of Loch Oich, between Loch Ness and Loch Lochy. All 26 bedrooms are individually furnished and have private bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities and free Wi-Fi is available in all bedrooms, Library and Lounge.
From the tranquil, lochside location of Glengarry stroll through the little village of Invergarry, complete with castle ruins. Walk a more remote section of the Great Glen Way with wonderful views over little Loch Oich through rich woodlands. Follow the canal and river that link Loch Oich to the iconic Loch Ness, Scotland’s deepest loch. Soon you’ll reach Fort Augustus—here the canal passes directly through the heart of the village—on the shores of Loch ness. Why not sample delicious local cuisine in The Brasserie restaurant at the Lovat Hotel before a relaxing evening in your accommodation? Perched on the southern end of Loch Ness among dramatic peaks this secluded location is a fabulous setting for a good night’s sleep.
The Lovat, Loch Ness is a landmark Victorian hotel overlooking the loch side village of Fort Augustus. This exceptional Highland hotel is surrounded by stunning scenery as it sits at the southern tip of the mysterious deep waters of Loch Ness. It is an eco-conscious Loch Ness hotel, with a character & class of its own. Its grace & charm is complimented by natural décor, modernism & a genuine, warm hospitality offered by a devoted & passionate team.
After being dropped off in the little village of Invermoriston on the banks of Loch Ness you’re presented with a choice of walks—a high and low variation of the Great Glen Way. The low route hugs the shores of Loch Ness initially and soon joins the high route. Alternatively, the more challenging, but firm favourite among our guests, is the high route— a little extra ascent and rugged terrain is rewarded by some of the best views of the glen! The routes join again and you’ll ascend to be greeted by stunning views over the 13-16th century ruins of Urqhuart Castle that was once a stronghold of Robert the Bruce. Descend into Drumnadrochit village, the hub for all things Loch Ness. The quaint Loch Ness Inn offers a relaxed atmosphere for walkers and travellers. Unwind in the cosy restaurant serving home-cooked dishes made with local ingredients.
Originally built in 1847 as a local brewery, the 160-year-old building used to trade as The Lewiston Arms Hotel and has been sympathetically restored. The rooms are all individually designed and styled using inspiration from Lochs and Glens of the Highlands. Dining in the restaurant is a great experience – they source all their produce locally and serve their award-winning Michelin dishes all day. You can also enjoy a great selection of Scottish whiskey and real ales in their Brewery bar.
Take a private transfer to Loch Laide (15 mins) for the final day of hiking on the itinerary. Savour the peace and tranquility of the dramatic highland landscape as you follow the Caledonian Canal past quaint cottages, and along lush river paths into the bustling city of Inverness. The River Ness passes through the heart of the city; lined with historic townhouses and punctuated by the imposing hilltop castle. The canal now heads out to sea on Scotland’s east coast marking the end of the Great Glen Way. Dine at one of the many eateries alongside the river and enjoy the best of locally sourced Highland cuisine. The staff at your handselected accommodation will have some great restaurant recommendations for you.
Kingsmills Hotel & Spa is a four-star hotel in Inverness. With a rich and diverse heritage dating back to the 18th century, it is the perfect retreat and a world-class destination in its own right. The hotel has 2 on-site restaurants and 6 unique types of rooms – all designed with your comfort and relaxation in mind. You’ll also have access to an indoor pool, and a fully equipped gym.
The Glen Mhor Hotel is situated in a tranquil location on the south bank of the River Ness, a 3-minute walk from Inverness city centre. Accommodation is divided between 4 charming Victorian townhouses - many rooms have wonderful views across the river to the cathedral and Eden Court Theatre. Nico's Bistro and Bar offers an informal atmosphere and dining inspired by French cuisine. A range of drinks are served in the bar, including an extensive whiskey collection, and there are cosy log-burning fires. Laundry facilities are available (cost dependent upon load) but drying facilities are available at no extra cost.
Train to Edinburgh Hop on the train to Edinburgh (3hr 40mins) and gaze out of the window as the rugged landscape of the Cairngorm National Park and the agricultural wealth of Perthshire fly past. Keep a look out for the iconic Edinburgh Castle—perched atop an ancient volcanic dome that provided an ideal defensive position for the castle’s inhabitants throughout history. Stop by your hotel to drop off your luggage before heading out to explore Scotland’s capital. Stroll among the narrow cobbled streets and wind your way up the Royal Mile towards Edinburgh Castle. Linger here simply to soak in this singular city-scape from above— the view is rivaled only by those from Carlton Hill and Arthur’s Seat. Come evening take your pick of the city’s many delightful eateries—up-scale, charming or traditional—the sheer variety is evidence of Edinburgh’s diverse foodie scene!
Set a 2-minute walk from the National Museum of Scotland, this 1743 boutique hotel, is also a 13-minute walk from the 11th-century Edinburgh Castle and 4 miles from Edinburgh Zoo. Offering free Wi-Fi, the warm refined rooms and suites also have flat-screen TVs and Egyptian cotton linens. Upgraded rooms and suites add distinctive touches such as custom-made sleigh beds and free-standing baths. Some add sofabeds, balconies and sitting areas. The hotel serves English breakfast Other amenities include an elegant informal Restaurant serving French cuisine, 2 bars serving food, plus a courtyard dining area.
End your trip after a delicious breakfast and make your onward journey from this internationally connected city.
The Macs Way
- Custom-made Adventures
- Book with Confidence
- Positive Impact
- Flexible itineraries built around you
- Knowledgeable and helpful specialist trip planners
- Customize your trip to suit your interests
- Start on any date that suits you
- Choose your ideal trip length and difficulty
- Range of accommodation comfort levels
- Choice of trip styles
- Choose your own travel companions
- Walk, cycle and explore at your own pace
- Make your own decisions
- Choose your own path
- Indulge your passions
- 14,000+ unbiased trip & service reviews
- Feefo Gold Award 2019
- 25,000+ travelers trust us each year
- As featured in the Guardian, Times, Nat Geo Traveler
- Founder owned & operated since 2003
- 100+ passionate team members across the US, UK & Europe
- Carefully planned adventures
- Quality, hand-picked accommodations
- Seamless and reliable arrangements
- Comprehensive trip information & insider tips
- Detailed maps, route notes and mobile GPS app
- Helpful 24/7 support should you need it
- Travel responsibly
- Explore off the beaten track
- Support locally owned businesses
- Engage with local communities
- Minimize your impact
- Maximize the benefit of your travel
- Challenge yourself & grow