Oban & Dalmally (full day)
We head first to the port town of Oban. Nestled on the west coast and surrounded by stunning countryside and dramatic shores, Oban is also known as the Gateway to the Isles. Here we find small galleries, independent shops, a museum, pubs, cafés and restaurants – the town is also renowned for its seafood. Take a stroll along the seafront to the ruined Dunollie Castle and to the sandy beaches beyond.
Afterwards, we visit the small village of Dalmally (meaning Pebbled Valley), located along the Strath of Orchy. Surrounded by lochs, rivers, mountains and beautiful scenery, the village boasts attractive stone cottages and shops.
Treasures of the Earth, Fort William & Glencoe (full day)
The day starts at the award-winning Treasures of the Earth. Housed in an atmospheric simulation of caves, caverns and mining scenes is one of Europe’s finest private collections of priceless gemstones, crystals and fossils, some dating back millions of years. Marvel at towering amethyst geodes, examine fossilised remains trapped in amber, and watch crystals magically change colour and glow in the UV Cave.
Next stop is nearby Fort William, the largest town in the Highlands known for its breathtaking location on the shores of Loch Linnhe, in the shadow of Ben Nevis. Known as the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, the town is encircled by stunning mountain scenery. Within the town, there are beautiful centuries-old churches, a historic Old Fort plus many traditional pubs, shops and cafés.
We continue to Glencoe, a wonderfully picturesque village located at the foot of the towering Glencoe Mountains, between the banks of Loch Leven and the famous glen it is named after. This hauntingly scenic valley, the backdrop of many films including James Bond’s Skyfall, was carved out centuries ago by icy glaciers and volcanic explosions. The village itself has an interesting folk museum with traditional thatched roof and a selection of shops.
Loch Lomond Cruise, Luss & Inveraray (full day)
We make our way to the enchanting village of Balloch, situated on the south-west shores of Loch Lomond and enjoy a wonderful cruise. Being Britain’s largest expanse of fresh water, the loch offers stunning scenery set against a dramatic mountainous backdrop. After our cruise we make our way by coach to the conservation village of Luss for some time at leisure. The view of Ben Lomond from the end of the pier is not to be missed, and there are plenty of short walking trails which explore the village and follow the banks of Luss Water.
Afterwards, we rejoin the coach and travel to Inveraray, a traditional town overlooking the calm waters of Loch Fyne. Established by the 3rd Duke of Argyll in 1745, the town offers fine examples of Scottish Georgian architecture. There is plenty to explore during our time at leisure, including the neoclassical church and Inveraray jail and courthouse, now an award-winning museum which recounts prison conditions throughout the centuries.