The Best of Scotland and Ireland
Experience a double bill of celtic discovery. Take the stress out of traveling and discover the rich heritage and stunning landscapes of Scotland and Ireland on our intimate escorted tour.
“The trip was really great. You did a fabulous job of picking the properties. Scotland is beautiful! It was a great trip. You scored again! Can’t wait for our next adventure.”– Libby McGriff
On this award winning escorted tour of Scotland and Ireland you will travel in a Deluxe Mini Coach with no more than 16 fellow travelers, along with an expert Driver Guide ensuring a highly personalized experience. You will encounter the diverse and many treasures of these two great Celtic lands visiting Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands, Dublin, and rural Southern Ireland. This intimate professionally guided tour takes you off the beaten path and encompasses Loch Lomond National Park, Eilean Donan Castle, Glencoe, Edinburgh City, Dublin City, Kilbeggan Distillery, Cliffs of Moher, The Dingle Peninsula, Cork, and much, much more.
To customize this itinerary, talk to one of our destination experts on 800.832.1848 or 212.757.5797.
- Arrive in Edinburgh and explore the city
- Enjoy an exclusive escorted tour of Scotland
- Explore the island of Iona, the Isle of Mull with an optional boat trip to the isle of Staffa.
- Visit the wilderness of Glencoe, Fort William, & Eilean Donan Castle
- Get off the beaten path on the beautiful Isle of Skye
- Explore Loch Ness, and return to Edinburgh city for an overnight stay.
- Fly to Dublin, Ireland and explore the city
- Enjoy an exclusive escorted tour of Ireland
- Visit Galway city
- Tour the wilderness of the Burren and the stunning Cliffs of Moher
- Discover the Dingle Peninsula
- Tour the famous Ring of Kerry
- Visit Blarney Castle in Cork
- See the Rock of Cashel.
- Visit Kilkenny city
- Return to Dublin City
Included in This Tour
- 4-Private Airport Transfers as specified in your itinerary.
- 12-Nights deluxe hotel accommodations with full breakfast daily.
- 5-Day professionally guided small group tour in Scotland – with no more than 16 passengers!
- 5-Day professionally guided small group tour in Ireland – with no more than 16 passengers!
- Touring Maps & List of recommended pubs, restaurants and places of interest.
- Deluxe portfolio of travel Documents & Personalized Itinerary.
- 24/7 Concierge service in Ireland while travelling.
- Discount admissions booklet for area attractions.
- Arrive: Edinburgh (EDI)
- Depart: Dublin (DUB)
Take the hassle out of booking flights. Ask about our best available Economy Fares as well as our Preferred Business and First Class Offers. Our air department experts can help with competitive rates. Just let us know your preferred dates and U.S. Departure City. We will do the rest.
- Breakfast Daily
Day 1: Edinburgh
Arriving in Edinburgh airport enjoy your private transfer to the City Center for an overnight stay in your centrally located city hotel. Edinburgh is the awe-inspiring capital of Scotland, where centuries of history converge with a vibrant, cosmopolitan city in an unforgettable setting. Discover stunning scenery, beautiful architecture, rich culture and fine food
Day 2: Tour of Scotland
This morning, join your small escorted group tour of Scotland. Highlights include Loch Lomond National Park, and Inveraray, seat of the Campbell clan and the heart of the ancient Scots kingdom of Dalriada, before staying in the beautiful harbor town of Oban for 2-nights.
Day 3: Isle of Mull, Iona & Isle of Staffa
Today is an island adventure exploring the dramatic southern coastlines of the Hebridean Isle of Mull and the tranquility of the island of Iona, birthplace of Celtic Christianity and traditional burial ground of Scottish Kings. It also gives you the option to take a boat trip to the isle of Staffa.
Day 4: Glencoe, Fort William & Eilean Donan Castle
Today takes you north along the west coast, passing the impregnable Castle Stalker and visiting Glencoe. Then you travel on to Fort William sitting in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain. From here we continue along the Great Glen and onwards to the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. We end our tour today in the picturesque fishing village of Plockton where we stay for 2-nights.
Day 5: Isle of Skye
Today we focus on exploring the legendary Isle of Skye. Your guide will help you choose the best itinerary to suit the weather and local conditions, and provide the opportunity to get off the beaten track. You may visit Elgol for views into the Cuillin Mountains, Glenbrittle with its waterfalls and wild scenery or perhaps Dunvegan Castle.
Day 6: Loch Ness & The Central Highlands
Today you return through the dramatic mountain scenery of The Five Sisters of Kintail and Glen Garry, on to eerie Loch Ness, the Central Highlands, Highland Perthshire and finally back to Edinburgh. Enjoy an overnight stay in your Edinburgh City Center Hotel
Day 7: Dublin
This morning, enjoy your private transfer to Edinburgh Airport and board your short flight to Dublin, Ireland. Explore Dublin City this afternoon and evening at your leisure. The best restaurants and pubs will be on the doorstep of your city center hotel. Stay overnight in Dublin.
Day 8: Kilbeggan, Clonmacnoise & Galway
Join your small group tour this morning. Your tour departs Dublin and travels west, stopping at Locke’s Distillery in Kilbeggan. Try the local whiskey before continuing to Clonmacnoise on the banks of the Shannon River to explore one of the most important early Christian sites in Ireland. Afterwards visit a traditional village pub before arriving in Galway City for your overnight stay.
Day 9: Clare & Kerry
Today we explore County Clare driving to The Burren, one of Ireland’s great natural treasures. This is a land of limestone pavements, barren hillsides, rare flora, early Christian settlements and ancient stone monuments. The afternoon we will spend at the breath-taking Cliffs of Moher, over 700 feet high! Afterwards we cross the Shannon estuary by ferry to arrive in Killarney, County Kerry for the next 3 nights stay.
Day 10: Dingle Peninsula
Today takes you to the Dingle Peninsula, an area famous for its stunning scenery and Gaelic Culture. You will see ancient forts, early religious sites, Slea Head, Inch Beach and Dingle itself, surrounded by views to offshore islands and the mountains of Kerry.
Day 11: Ring of Kerry
Today you will travel the famous Ring of Kerry, one of the world’s classic touring routes. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage and breath-taking scenery from ancient ring forts and historic houses to small fishing villages and beautiful beaches. This is a day packed full of interest and photo opportunities.
Day 12: West Cork, Blarney & Kilkenny
Today continues east through the West Cork mountains to Blarney. Here you can visit the castle and gardens as well as explore the village. Afternoon stops include the Rock of Cashel and Kilkenny City before arriving back in Dublin. Enjoy an overnight stay in your Dublin City Center hotel.
Day 13: Depart from Dublin
Enjoy your private transfer to Dublin Airport and prepare for your return flight home to the United States.
The Bonham Hotel, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Bonham is a luxury four star boutique hotel situated in the West End of Edinburgh. The relaxed ambience within the hotel promises that you will leave feeling refreshed and relaxed. Set in a quiet leafy crescent, a stones throw away from the main attractions and surrounded by the stunning backdrop of this magnificent Scottish capital city, The Bonham is without a doubt one of the most stylish hotels in Edinburgh, plus they have complimentary car parking! At The Bonham hotel in Edinburgh, they have used bold color, rich texture and contemporary art and photography to build an environment that is fun, upbeat yet relaxing, welcoming and with the unmistakable buzz of being part of a great Scottish city.
Buswells Hotel, Dublin City Centre
Buswells Hotel is renowned for its friendly staff and great location. Situated in the heart of Dublin City Centre, Buswells Hotel provides a unique and relaxing atmosphere just a stone’s throw from St. Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, Temple Bar and many more visitor attractions. As one of the oldest hotels in the city, Buswells has been in operation since 1882 growing from 1 townhouse to its current size of 5 townhouses. Whilst maintaining some of the original features of the Georgian era, you will find your surroundings comfortable and relaxed. A friendly welcome (Cead Mile Fáilte), attentive customer service and lovely accommodations in the heart of the city brings guests back time and time again.
Earls Court House Hotel, Killarney
A very warm Irish welcome and a special experience awaits you at this 4 star Killarney Hotel. Set in its own grounds, in a great location, Earls Court Killarney is just a 7 minute gentle stroll to Killarney’s bustling town Centre, and near Killarney National Park and lakes. It is one of the few Killarney Hotels that is family run and owner managed. Earls Court Hotel is unique among Killarney Hotels for its splendid collection of antiques, period furniture, works of art and its many awards. We offer you old world tradition and a relaxed atmosphere.
The Oban Bay Hotel and Spa, Oban, Scotland
Set on the edge of Oban's picturesque Esplanade, Oban Bay Hotel & Spa is the ideal base from which to explore Scotland’s west coast. Their spacious sun lounge offers a panoramic view of the bay, the island of Kerrera and the mountains of Mull. The modern bedrooms and luxurious suites are appointed to a very high standard. The Rannachan Restaurant both has a table d’hôte and à la carte menu featuring fresh, local seafood and our stylish bar serves meals throughout the day.
The Plockton Hotel, Plockton, Scotland
The award-winning Plockton Hotel offers excellent accommodation, stunning views and delicious dining in one of the most scenic areas of the Scottish Highlands! The West Highlands of Scotland in a bygone age enjoyed a reputation for a warm welcome and caring hospitality. Today in an age of changing values, the Plockton Hotel still maintains these much sought after but often now rare qualities. Family owned and run by the Pearson family (Dorothy, Tom, Alan & Ann-Mags) for the last twenty years, the hotel is the sort of place difficult to leave & easy to return to. This is the Highlands — land of Clans and Castles, bitter rivalries and breathtaking scenery.
With stunning vistas at every turn one could perhaps expect that journey’s end might be something of a let down — not Plockton! As one descends the main street a surprising and unique panorama opens up — sheltered by watchful mountains and fanned by the warm air of the Gulf Stream, the deep blue sea loch, Loch Carron, laps at the very edge of a sweep of white-washed Highland cottages overshadowed by, of all things, palm trees!
The Harbour Hotel, Galway
Make the most of their waterfront location in the heart of Galway, where just a 3 minute stroll from the hotel will take you to Eyre Square and the City Centre, including Shop Street and the bustling bars & cafés of Quay Street. Meander along the cultured streets and enjoy the pace of life unique to the West of Ireland. You are assured of a very warm welcome upon arrival. The hotel staff will welcome you to this modern, comfortable, family owned hotel and take excellent care of you throughout your stay.
Travel Tips & FAQs
Passports & Visas
To enter the Republic or Northern Ireland, you need a valid passport. While e-passports are commonly used now, they are not a necessity to enter Ireland. UK citizens do not require a passport to enter Ireland, but carriers by air or sea require some form of identification with a photograph (usually either a passport or driving license with photo).
Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Republic or Northern Ireland.
What to Pack
Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella. The weather is changeable so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes.
February to April: Highest temperatures range from 46 to 54°F
May to July: Highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F
August to October: Highest temperatures hit between 64 and 57°F.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 46°F, while the coldest months are January and February.
April & September are considered the most pleasant and temperate months.
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro (€). One euro consists of 100 cent. In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency (£). One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.
Gratuities and tips are discretionary and are not usually included in a bill. The general custom is to give 10% to serving staff in restaurants. Cafes might have a collection box at the till and bar staff are not tipped but you are free to offer “have one for yourself”.
Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Republic of Ireland, Telephone: 112 or 999
Northern Ireland, Telephone: 999
Plugs in Ireland are three-pronged, the same as in the UK and the electricity supply is also 230v. Adapters are widely available and its a good idea to bring a couple for your various gadgets.
Republic of Ireland: Bus Eireann
Northern Ireland: Translink
Leap Visitor Card is a prepaid pass that allows you to travel on all Dublin Bus, Airlink 747 buses as well as the Luas Light Railway Tram and DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) for up to 3 days.
Republic of Ireland: Irish Rail
Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Railways
The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) covers Dublin’s coast and city area from Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in south County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow.
Luas light rail/tram service travels across the south and west of Dublin city including the city center areas.
Ireland functions on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer it becomes GMT+1, that’s Irish Standard Time (IST) in the Republic and British Summer Time (BST) in Northern Ireland.
For example, New York is Irish Time -5 hours & Los Angeles is Irish Time -8 hours.
English is commonly used throughout Ireland although Irish is the official language and there are Irish speaking areas called the Gaeltacht where it is the predominant language.
You will need either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit. Cars in Ireland drive on the left-hand side of the road and both driver and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times by law. Signposts in Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas are written in Irish (Gaelic) so familiarise yourself with both English and Irish spellings before you set off for those parts. Northern Ireland uses miles per hour, while the Republic of Ireland uses kilometers for signage and speed limits.
There are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland.
Passports & Visas
To enter Scotland (Great Britain), you need a valid passport. Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Scotland.
If only one parent is traveling with a child under 17 year of age and that child’s last name differs from the parent, a signed notarised letter from the parent with the same last name as the child’s authorizing permission to allow that child to travel.
For more passport information contact the U.S. Department of State (877/487–2778).
What to Pack
Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella. The weather is changeable so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes. And if you are planing to do a lot of walking, comfortable walking shoes. Travel light and save yourself the burden of handling large and heavy luggage. In Scotland wearing casual clothes is acceptable with less emphasis on formal dress codes.
The climate in Scotland is moderate with rarely extremes in temperature.
January and February are the coldest months with an average temperature of 42.8°F.
July and August are the warmest months with an average temperature of 66.2°F.
There are variations from region to region. for example the Western Highlands experience some of the wettest weather in Europe due to the prevailing wind coming in from the Atlantic. In contrast, the Eastern part of Scotland has far less rainfall.
In Scotland the official currency is the pound sterling(£). One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.
Gratuities and tips are lower in Scotland than in the United States and some restaurants include these as a service charge on the bill. When tipping in restaurants you should pay 10 to 15 % and similarly with taxis, hairdressers and barbers.
Police, Fire, Ambulance: Telephone: 999
24 hour medical treatment is available in UK hospitals under the National Health service and you should expect to be billed but it is nowhere as expensive as it is in the United States.
The electrical current in Great Britain is 220–240 volts and the plugs are three-pronged. Adapters are widely available and it is a good idea to bring a couple for your various gadgets.
Traveline provides information on all public transportation in Scotland including timetables.
Most stations and bus terminals in Scotland will accept credit and debit cards for payment of tickets and other services.
The train service in Scotland is efficient, clean and comfortable with long distance journeys including buffet and refreshment cars. First Class, as well as standard class coaches are available on most scheduled services, with wider seats. Fares are much higher in First Class but on weekends you can upgrade for as little as £10 in some cases. Reserving tickets in advance is recommended.
Save online with The Trainline.
Travelling by Taxi
You can hail the typical black hackney taxis, like those in London on the street or book by phone with an additional 80p charge. Private taxi hire is with regular cars but all taxis must display the taxi license and a driver ID and are metered. Metering starts at £2 with increased intervals charged at 25p.
Scotland functions on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the summer it becomes GMT+1. For example, New York is Greenwich Mean Time -5 hours & Los Angeles is Greenwich Mean Time -8 hours.
English is commonly used throughout Scotland but in parts of the Outer Hebrides and Scottish Highlands Scots Gaelic may be spoken. Expect to see signposting in both English and Gaelic.
You will need either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit (IDP). You can acquire an IDP from the American Automobile Association or from Automobile Association or Royal Automobile Club in the UK. IDPs are only valid with your regular driver’s licence. They are not mandatory but having one can prevent issues when dealing with local authorities.
Cars in Scotland drive on the left-hand side of the road and both driver and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times by law. Signposts will be presented with place names in English and Scots Gaelic.
You will pay a lot more for gasoline (petrol) in the UK, about £4 per gallon. The imperial gallon is 20% more in volume than the US Gallon and is dispensed at the pump by the litre (4.5 litres to the gallon).
On street parking is available in most urban areas in Scotland. It costs around £1 per hour where fees apply. Pay and display machines, which dispense tickets, are marked with a large P. Tickets should be placed on your dashboard for viewing by traffic wardens who inspect paid-for-parking zones regularly. Parking regulations are enforced with fines of £25 for cars parked illegally.
You will also find privately run parking lots.
There are no vaccinations required to visit Scotland.
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– Tim Dudich
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– Herb Bennett
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“Trip was great – accommodations excellent.”
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“This note is to praise Destinations Ireland and our driver, James Finn, who truly made our trip a pleasure!”
– Donna Long
“The trip was really great. You did a fabulous job of picking the properties. Scotland is beautiful! It was a great trip. You scored again! Can’t wait for our next adventure.”
– Libby McGriff
“I wanted to let you know that the accommodations were fabulous throughout our trip. We were completely blown away, what a magnificent find. The house is simply breathtaking. A word on the drivers. I could not have asked for more accommodating or entertaining gentleman to escort us around. They were full of information, great stories, and advice. Really, really just wonderful guys all around.”
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– Janet Jenrick
“We had a wonderful time in Ireland and I appreciate all the reservations you made and the guidance your gave us.”
– Monica Kobasic
“I wanted to thank you for arranging a great trip to Scotland. The Channings, Culloden House, and Roxburghe House were fantastic…the best of accommodations, food, and customer service”
– Trina Girimont
“I wanted to thank you and Destinations Ireland and Beyond. We had an amazing experience. We loved all the hotels that you set us up with. Thank you for being so insightful, quickly giving us a speed course of Ireland and helping us decide where to go and what to see. I would highly recommend Destinations Ireland and Beyond as the best travel agency!”
– Donna and Ira Spector
“A lot of beautiful memories. THANK YOU for all of your planning and attention to detail,”
– Kathy Ross
“I just wanted to send you a thank you for all you did to make our trip the best! It was beyond our expectations! We loved all of our accommodations. I can’t say that I have a favorite because it all was perfect. We were not ready to come home and all look forward to visiting Ireland again.”
– Peg Cozzolino
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– P.J. “Paul” Nicholson
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– Jenny Popp
“Thank you for the great job you did arranging our trip to Ireland. Everything went wonderfully and the accommodations were the best.”
– Elizabeth Zechman
Booking Enquiry for The Best of Scotland and Ireland
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