Tours

TRAVEL TIPS

Tours

General-Interest Tours

Many companies offer fully guided tours in Scotland, from basic to luxury. Most of these are full packages including hotels, all food, and transportation costs in one flat fee. Because each tour company has different specialties, do a bit of research—either on your own or through a travel agent—before booking. You'll want to know about the hotels you'll be staying in, how big your group is likely to be, precisely how your days will be structured, and who the other people are likely to be.

CIE Tours. They offer all-inclusive tours of Scotland with various themes from distillery tours, to cruises to Home of Golf and St. Andrews packages. 0800/680–0611; www.cietours.com. From £550 for a 5-day Taste of Scotland tour.

Globus. Covering Scotland and Great Britain, Globus offers many packages including a 7-day Bonnie Scotland tour from Glasgow to Edinburgh, and a 14-day one that also delves into the Highlands and Islands. 866/755–8581; www.globusjourneys.com. From $1828 excluding airfare for 7-day Bonnie Scotland.

Heart of Scotland Tours. Offered here are small-group (16 maximum) minibus tours that aim to take you off the beaten track. 0131/228–2888; www.heartofscotlandtours.co.uk. From £45 for a Best of Scotland in a Day excursion.

Rabbie's Trail Burners. These minibus guided tours include handy day trips for small groups (16 maximum) and depart from Edinburgh and Glasgow. The company has won numerous awards including the Scottish Thistle award for sustainable tourism. 0131/226–3133; www.rabbies.com. From £31 for day trips (Rosslyn Chapel & Scots Borders); 2-day Loch Ness & Inverness trip starts at £71.

Special-Interest Tours

You can find tours for many special interests from whisky and vegetarian-friendly to cultural, historic, and wildlife-themed packages.

Celtic Dream Tours. This outfit specializes in extended Celtic-inspired luxury excursions and custom tours, as well as vegetarian-/vegan-friendly and Burns literary adventures. 813/317–6039; www.celticdreamtours.com. From $4295 (double occupancy) for the Hebridean Journey and Burns & Beyond.

The Wayfarers. Enjoy walking tours through the countryside and scenic towns, exploring natural and historic sights. 800/249–4620; www.thewayfarers.com. From $4295 per person (double occupancy) for Edinburgh & Central Highlands 6-night tour.

Golf Tours

Scotland has fabulous golf courses; a tour can help enthusiasts make the most of their time. VisitScotland has a dedicated golf website with a list of tour companies.

Golf Scotland. This company has provided luxury golf tours, including tournament specials and the Gleneagles Experience tour, since 1988. 866/875–4653; www.golfscotland.com. From $1350 per person for the Gleneagles Experience.

Scotland for Golf. Established by St. Andrews pros in 1999, this is the company to consider for those seeking to tour Fife's finest fairways, including the Old Course. 01334/611466; www.scotlandforgolf.co.uk. From $500 per person for His & Her 1-night break playing on the Old Course.

Thistle Golf. Tailored tours taking in a selection of Scotland's Championship courses are offered here, including an eight-day package that takes in Royal Dornoch, Carnoustie, the Old Course, Royal Troon, plus historic sights on the way. 0141/942–4043; www.thistlegolf.co.uk.

Private Guides

Scottish Tourist Guides Association. The association has members throughout Scotland who are fully qualified professional guides able to conduct walking tours in the major cities, half- or full-day tours or extended tours throughout Scotland, driving tours, and special study tours. Fees are negotiable. 01786/447784; www.stga.co.uk.

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