June is an ideal month to visit Scotland, with birds breeding well underway, there are plenty of opportunities for avian enthusiasts. Photographers are in their glory amid the gorgeous scenery and small-group tutorials can help shutterbugs capture the experience at its finest. Board the Ocean Endeavour and enjoy 11 days of contemporary comforts as you explore your way out from Glasgow, through the western isles and the Pentland Firth to Orkney and Shetland. Abundant ecology and spectacular geology beckon adventurers for a closer look!
Marvel at western Europe's largest collection of megalithic structures
Appreciate Scotland's picturesque shorelines and maritime heritage
Climb Mousa Broch, an almost-perfectly intact Iron Age fortification
View the largest seabird colony in the United Kingdom at St. Kilda
After meeting in Glasgow we’ll depart via coach, and travel onward to Greenock. Greenock has a rich maritime history and was a major shipbuilding and import center. Here, we'll embark and start our journey.
Day 2: Islay
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore the renowned Loch Finlaggan Historic Site, tucked away in the enchanting Islay, also known as the Queen of the Hebrides. Immerse yourself in the rich history and heritage of the region. Indulge in the stories of Scottish nobility at the ancient seat of the Lord of the Isles and Clan Donald in the Finlagglan Castle. Delve into its captivating past and marvel at the artifacts on display in the site's museum.
If you’re a Scotch lover (and who isn’t?), take the opportunity to enhance your journey with an optional excursion to the world-renowned whisky distilleries that the island is famous for.
Visit Iona, where St. Columba established his monastery—the burial place of kings. Admire the beautifully restored Iona Abbey complex, which preserves two outstanding crosses dating as far back as the eighth century.
Take a Zodiac cruise at the Isle of Staffa, famed for basaltic formations and numerous caves, the best-known being Fingal’s Cave. See for yourself why it is originally known in Gaelic as “the melodious cave” and provided the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s overture, The Hebrides.
Whether you’re a hiker, photographer, or birder, you will love a visit to Skye. Cruise the southwestern shore of this large island keeping a keen eye out for species like common sandpiper, oystercatcher, gannets, and razorbills. Delight in the opportunity to witness these remarkable creatures in their natural environment and add unique sightings to your birdwatching list.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Skye's mountainous landscapes and choose the level of activity that suits you best for a walk, hike, or trek among the awe-inspiring Cuillin Hills, one of Britain's finest mountaincapes.
The archipelago known as St. Kilda was inhabited until 1930. Today, St. Kilda is a World Heritage Site, protecting fascinating ruins as well as natural heritage features.
Seabirds thrive on the island of Hirta—notably, puffins, fulmars, and the largest gannet colony in Britain (and the second-largest in the world). Hirta is also home to feral sheep left by the departing islanders. Enormous cliffs offer dramatic ocean views for our hikers!
Visit Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, a Gaelic stronghold and the capital of the largest of the Hebrides. Browse charming shops to purchase the island’s famous tweed.
Meander through one of Britain’s most important Stone Age sites, Callanish’s standing stones, which are said to be giants who were punished by St. Kieran for refusing to convert to Christianity.
Experience the living history at Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, where you can learn about a typical crofting township of the last century. Explore the blackhouses and traditional activities, including the weaving of the famous Harris Tweed.
Discover Dun Carloway Broch, a uniquely Scottish site perched on a rocky mound. See this ancient structure, standing at an impressive nine meters tall.
Explore the rugged coastline and spot flourishing marine and bird life among Papa Stour’s cliffs, caves, sea stacks, and blowholes on a Zodiac cruise. Call in at sweet and petite Foula, twenty-three kilometers west of the Shetland Islands, home to just a few dozen folks, many of whom preserve traditional methods of agriculture and subsistence.
Keep an eye out for the Arctic terns, red-throated divers, and great skuas that may be found here.
Day 9: Fair Isle
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Journey to charming Fair Isle, once a Viking hub and now an idyllic island colony of artists and shepherds. Keep your binoculars handy to spot some of the 350 bird species that the island boasts, including puffins and great skuas in substantial numbers.
Take a tour of the local museum, dedicated to preserving the island's heritage.
Day 10: Kirkwall, Orkney
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wander through the stone walls of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll find the 4,000-year-old Ring of Brodgar. Tour the Hall of Clestrain, the childhood home of Arctic explorer John Rae. In Kirkwall, let yourself be captivated by the city’s sights, dominated by the massive St. Magnus Cathedral dating back to 1137.
Experience its lively pubs, vibrant music scene, fabulous shopping opportunities, and thriving artisan community. Step back 5,000 years to the Neolithic village of Skara Brae. Considered one of the most important Neolithic ruins in Europe today, wander the well-preserved stone houses and learn what daily life was like here.
Day 11: Aberdeen, Scotland | Disembark
Complete your journey by disembarking in Aberdeen. Many of the historic stone buildings here are made of locally quarried granite; high in mica, they can sparkle like silver. The city is also famed for its forty-five parks, gardens, and floral displays.
Say your farewells in this modern city that retains its old-world charm.
Deck seven. Forward-facing picture windows, unobstructed view, matrimonial bed, private bath with full tub, refrigerator - approx. 310 sq. ft.
- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. Request the Twin Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the double occupancy rate.
This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).