1. From Aberdeen: Loch Ness, Inverness and the Highlands Tour
Make an early start in Aberdeen and head north to just outside Inverness for your first stop at Cawdor Castle. Dating from the late 14th century, the castle was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor and consists of an ancient medieval tower around the legendary holly tree. Visit the extraordinary castle itself and explore the three gardens. Next, make a quick outside stop at the site of the last major battle on British soil, Culloden Moor, the resting place of 1,500 Jacobite and 50 government soldiers who fought and died here in 1746. Time for lunch on the shores of Loch Ness at the Dores Inn. On a cold day, relax by the cozy log fire and savor lunch from a varied menu of home-cooked food. On a nice day, eat out on the sun terrace or enjoy a drink or two from the ‘The OutDores Inn’ bar soaking up the rays in the large beer garden. After lunch, head to Inverness, the Gateway to the Highlands, and enjoy some free time to explore. Wander through the city, peruse the shops and the best used book store, and stroll along the river taking in the views of Inverness Castle. On the journey back to Aberdeen, stop at Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands nestled at a height of 1164 feet (355 meters) on the northern slopes of the Cairngorm Mountains.