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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

The Orkneys, off the northern tip of Scotland, are well and truly alive with histories and mysteries to discover by land and sea. Spend five days experiencing the best of the Orkney Islands, departing from the highland hub of Inverness, and using Kirkwall as your base. Admire the Neolithic town of Skara Brae that predates Stonehenge, get well off the tourist trail on a leisurely coastal walk on Shapinsay Island, and bookend your days with plenty of local history and perhaps some whisky tastings at local pubs along the way. With a local leader full of knowledge and a group as eager to learn as you, this slice of European history has never been so enticing.

Countries Visited

England

Cities Visited

Inverness , Kirkwall , Orkney Islands

  1. Day 1
    Inverness / Kirkwall / Orkney Islands
    Welcome to Scotland! Meet your local leader and fellow travellers at Inverness Railway Station.From here, take a train to Thurso, where you’ll jump in a taxi for a brief transfer to the nearby port of Scrabster to board the the ferry over to Stromness, Orkney. The ferry journey is a scenic adventure in itself, so keep your eyes peeled for the Old Man of Hoy – the tallest sea stack in the UK. Disembark in Stromness, and catch a local bus with your group to the quaint accommodation on the fringes of Kirkwall. After a long day of travelling, it’s time to unpack and settle into your accommodation, then perhaps head into Kirkwall to a cosy pub for food and drinks. Your group leader will be happy to recommend some options.
  2. Day 2
    Kirkwall / Orkney Islands
    Stretch your legs this morning and explore on a walking tour of Kirkwall – the beating heart of Orkney. Your local leader will fill you in on the town’ s history and Viking culture plus some of the hotspots, including 12th-century architecture of St Magnus Cathedral, the ‘Peedie Sea’ birdwatching area and the narrow maze of streets in the centre of town. These streets are home to the traditional ‘Ba’ game each year – a unique sporting spectacle that your leader can tell you about. This afternoon, you have free time to explore at your own pace. Perhaps retrace your steps, stopping by the craft shop, museum or other historic sites that piqued your interest. Otherwise, there’s a whole range of craft and jewellery shops, pubs and even the acclaimed Highland Park whisky distillery to visit. It’s totally up to you, but plan early as these are popular activities!
    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Mainland / Kirkwall / Orkney Islands
    It’s time to explore Orkney in more detail today. Head off with your travel crew in a private vehicle towards some of the islands’ most historic sites. Begin heading south to the Italian Chapel – comprised of two Nissen huts converted into a stunning chapel by Italian prisoners of war.Cross the remarkable Churchill Barriers – built in WWII to keep enemy U-boats out of the waterways of Scapa Flow. These barriers are now an important connection for the smaller islands to Orkneys mainland, and dotted in the sea are a number of shipwrecks nearby. After, continue west to perhaps Orkey’s most famous site – the prehistoric village of Skara Brae. It’s northern Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village predating Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, and forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage listed 'Heart of Neolithic Orkney'. By now, you'll have worked up an appetite, so your group will pop into an old schoolhouse building for a picnic lunch of local Orkney produce (and perhaps meet the producers), then begin your return journey to Kirkwall. On the way back, you’ll stop by at the renowned Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones, another UNESCO World Heritage listed site, dating back over 5000 years.When you arrive in Kirkwall, maybe join the rest of your group for dinner and chat about the fascinating sights of the day.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  4. Day 4
    Shapinsay Island / Kirkwall / Orkney Islands
    Enjoy breakfast this morning, then walk down to the harbour to board a ferry bound for the island of Shapinsay. Although a short 30 minutes from Kirkwall, this island feels a world away from where you’ve been, and sees much fewer tourists than other hotspots in Orkney. You’ll spot the grand 18th-century Balfour Castle as you approach Shapinsay Island – the most regal of all private homes in the Orkneys. When you arrive, set off on a coastal walk past Balfour Castle and along the western coastline. Along the way, keep an eye out for seals! Today’s walk returns to the village of Balfour, where you can stop in at the local café and heritage centre, plus check out the unusual saltwater toilets. In the early afternoon, head back on the ferry to Kirkwall, where you’ll have a free afternoon to relax, or enjoy some other suggested activities. Tonight, maybe get back together with your group and leader for one last evening in a local pub and maybe enjoy some whisky tastings, including local Orkney whiskys and others from around Scotland. You’re only in the Orkneys once!
    Meals:   Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    Kirkwall / Inverness
    After breakfast this morning, begin your journey back to Inverness with your group, arriving in the late afternoon. With no activities planned in Inverness, you are free to leave the group upon arrival at the railway station. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you would like to spend more time in this northern UK hub, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Kirkwall - Leader-led Walking Tour
  • Orkney Islands - Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones
  • Orkney Islands - Italian Chapel
  • Orkney Islands - Orkney Mainland Day Tour
  • Orkney Islands - Picnic lunch with Local Orkney Produce in an old schoolhouse
  • Orkney Islands - Churchill Barriers & Scapa Flow
  • Orkney Islands - Skara Brae Prehistoric Village Visit
  • Shapinsay Island - Coastal Walk
  • Shapinsay Island - Day Trip

Meals
4 Breakfast(s) Included
1 Lunch(es) Included

Style: Original

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Accommodations

Guesthouse (4 nights)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.8

Ratings based off 206 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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