Highlights of Scotland
from $3715
Duration: 8 Days
You only have to look around to see why Scotland is praised for its natural landscapes and historic buildings. Rolling hills, rocky cliffs and undulating valleys speckled in myriad colours, pristine lochs shimmering even on the coldest of days, and castles dotted throughout the countryside as if you’ve been transported back in time. With an 8-day exploration of Scotland’s Highlands, lochs and villages, you’ll experience the finest of nature with the warmest of hospitality. Discover the untouched Isle of Skye, the expansive landscapes of Cairngorms National Park, and hit both Scottish hubs of Glasgow and Edinburgh on your way through. With the right amount of small-group adventure, local knowledge and stunning scenery, let the Scottish Highlands enchant you.
  • Take one of the world’s most scenic train journeys as you travel to the Highlands on the world-famous West Highland Railway, crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct of Harry Potter fame.
  • Nothing beats getting to know a place on your own two feet, so get your walking shoes on for explorations of Portree Bay, Creag Bheag, and Fort William with views of the UK’s highest peak – Ben Nevis – in all its glory.
  • Take a ferry over the sea to the Isle of Skye, soak up the fresh sea air and mountain views and taste your way to an understanding of the local whisky.
  • Learn the legends of Loch Ness firsthand, then hike through the purple heather in Cairngorms National Park – smack bang in the Scottish Highlands.
  • On a walking tour of Edinburgh, you’ll not only get the insider insight of a specialist local guide, you’ll also help support a social enterprise that helps locals who have experienced homelessness become guides.
  • Fort William - Old Inverlochy Castle
  • Fort William - West Highland Railway Line
  • Isle of Skye - Leader-led Whisky Tasting at Local Pub
  • Glenfinnan - Railway Viaduct Crossing
  • Isle of Skye - Hike around Portree Bay
  • Fort Augustus - Loch Ness Boat Cruise
  • Eilean Donan - Castle Photo Stop
  • Highlands - Summit Hike to Creag Bheag
  • Edinburgh - Sightseeing & Scones with a Local Urban Adventure
  • Day 1 Location: Glasgow
    Glasgow is a city full of character, history and flair; a great start to a Scottish highlights tour. Meet with your group leader and fellow travellers at an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you do happen to arrive early, why not check out the Riverside Museum and get your hands on their interactive displays – these exhibitions highlight Glasgow’s transport history as being a major port city in the 18th and 19th centuries. Otherwise, have a stroll along the banks of the river Clyde and hang out at the Glasgow Green. After your important meeting, you could get your group together and become acquainted over dinner – Merchant City is a pretty cool area for a ‘fish supper’ or a pint tonight. Spend the night in Glasgow, before beginning your countryside travels tomorrow morning.
    Day 2 Location: Fort William
    Leave the city behind this morning as you take the train to Fort William. This is no ordinary ride so make sure you’ve got a good view out the window – the West Highland Line has some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland. The urban landscape is quickly replaced with a windswept panorama of the untouched Highlands as the line skirts the edge of Loch Lomond and ascends from Crianlarich to Upper Tyndrum and wild Rannoch Moor. You’ll arrive in the early afternoon with time to explore the town with your leader. Fort William's namesake old fort has a part in the dark history of the 17th-century Glencoe Massacre. Visit nearby Old Inverlochy Castle, on the banks of the river that feeds the loch. This is on the site of possibly the oldest castle in Scotland. Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the Isles, looms in the distance, and you can take a gondola to the top of one of the smaller peaks in the Nevis Range for incredible elevated views of this wild region. Enjoy a free evening to enjoy Highland hospitality and be sure to try some great local produce for dinner.
    Day 3 Location: Glenfinnan / Isle of Skye
    Complete your journey on one of the world’s most spectacular scenic railroad lines, soaking in the scenery as the train winds its way along the coastline and across the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct. The viaduct is one of the best-known in Scotland as it plays a part in the route of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express. The train line ends at the port town of Mallaig, and you’ll hop off the train and onto a ferry – as the Scottish song goes – over the sea to Skye. When you reach the isle – the largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago – you’ll take a private transfer along the winding roads past the Cuillin mountains to Portree, the capital of Skye that sits on the loch of the same name. Enjoy some free time to explore this colourful port, then join your leader in a local bar for a pre-dinner whisky tasting. You’ll get an inside insight into what makes this region the home of some of the best whisky in the world.
    Day 4 Location: Isle of Skye
    This morning, it’s time to get exploring the Isle of Skye, beginning with a hike around Portree Bay with your leader – there are few better ways to wake yourself up after an evening of whisky tasting than fresh sea air and mountain views. Then the rest of the day is yours to use as you like. Skye is perfect for those who are searching for rugged mountainous landscapes and some unique wildlife, so you might head out to the striking Old Man of Storr rock formation, take a local bus out west to Dunvegan Castle, or hire a taxi to visit Neist Point Lighthouse via Milovaig (one of the best places to see otters on the island) and on to the mystical Fairy Pools. But we also wouldn’t blame you if you just wanted to find the perfect pub to hole up in and chat with the locals.
    Day 5 Location: Loch Ness / Highlands / Cairngorms National Park
    This morning, travel from Portree to the famous Loch Ness, crossing the Skye Bridge to return to the mainland. On the way you’ll stop by the memorable sight of Eilean Donan Castle. This castle, first inhabited in the 6th century, is perched on an island where the three great sea lochs meet and is an iconic Scottish image. You’ll also stop in Fort Augustus on the shores of Loch Ness to check out the fantastic valley, and head out on an included boat cruise. There are few better ways to take in the legends of the famous long loch, and you’ll see Cherry Island, Fort Augustus Abbey and, maybe if the conditions are right (hint: they never are) the famous resident monster. Continue on to Kingussie, located deep in the heart of the Scottish Highlands in the Cairngorms National Park, and your base for the next two nights.
    Day 6 Location: Highlands / Cairngorms National Park
    This morning, venture into the countryside on a scenic hike to the peak of Creag Bheag (approximately 3-4 hours). Follow the trail to the peak, offering sweeping views across the national park. From above, you begin to understand how expansive, fertile and green the land is around as you peer over Loch Gynack and back towards the village. Once back down in Kingussie, you have the afternoon to explore at your own pace. There’s a number of galleries and craft shops to explore, plus a nearby golf course and horse-riding experiences. Otherwise, it’s also possible to head to the town of Aviemore – a popular historic hub deep in the Cairngorms region and only a short train ride away. Aviemore has plenty of outdoor activities on offer. Try your hand at archery or if it's a hot day you could head to nearby Loch Morlich to check out the highest altitude beach in Britain, a favourite hangout for locals.
    Day 7 Location: Edinburgh
    Today, you’ll board a local train to head from Kingussie to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. The journey will take around 3 hours. Edinburgh is a compact hilly city full of charm and character, with the imposing Castle guarding from above. This afternoon, set off on an Urban Adventures walking tour with an Edinburgh local. Your guide has been trained by Invisible Cities, an inspiring social enterprise who support and train locals who have experienced homelessness to become tour guides. See the top sights from a different angle, including the Scottish Parliament buildings, the Royal Mile and Canongate Cemetery, and give back to the community at the same time. Wind up in a local community café for a cup of tea and a scone. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure, so perhaps stroll around the Old Town, get acquainted with the fairy-tale Dean Village neighbourhood, or head out to portside Leith for eclectic shopping and some great restaurants. In the evening, why not get your group together for some dinner and spend the night sharing stories and memories of your adventures. Edinburgh knows how to have a good time, and a fun thing to do is begin in the Old Town, then cross North Bridge to party in the New Town.
    Day 8 Location: Edinburgh
    With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave any time after breakfast. If you wish to spend more time in enigmatic Edinburgh, we don’t blame you – with a history of over 10,000 years, there’s so much to see and do. We’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
    Dates
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    Departure Date:
    18JUN2021
    Return Date:
    25JUN2021
    3715NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    09JUL2021
    Return Date:
    16JUL2021
    3715NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    16JUL2021
    Return Date:
    23JUL2021
    3715NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    06AUG2021
    Return Date:
    13AUG2021
    3835NZD
    available
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    20AUG2021
    Return Date:
    27AUG2021
    3835NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    17SEP2021
    Return Date:
    24SEP2021
    3715NZD
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    Departure Date:
    24SEP2021
    Return Date:
    01OCT2021
    3715NZD
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    Departure Date:
    13MAY2022
    Return Date:
    20MAY2022
    3825NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    27MAY2022
    Return Date:
    03JUN2022
    3715NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    10JUN2022
    Return Date:
    17JUN2022
    3715NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    10 Apr 2021

    Trip title

    Highlights of Scotland

    Trip code

    BWSS

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2021 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    You only have to look around to see why Scotland is praised for its natural landscapes and historic buildings. Rolling hills, rocky cliffs and undulating valleys speckled in myriad colours, pristine lochs shimmering even on the coldest of days, and castles dotted throughout the countryside as if you’ve been transported back in time. With an 8-day exploration of Scotland’s Highlands, lochs and villages, you’ll experience the finest of nature with the warmest of hospitality. Discover the untouched Isle of Skye, the expansive landscapes of Cairngorms National Park, and hit both Scottish hubs of Glasgow and Edinburgh on your way through. With the right amount of small-group adventure, local knowledge and stunning scenery, let the Scottish Highlands enchant you.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Train,Private vehicle,Ferry,On foot

    Physical Rating

    2

    Physical preparation

    This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Some trips may have individual inclusions that may be of a higher physical rating compared to the overall rating of the trip. Please read the day-to-day itinerary carefully to find out more details on each day's activities, and whether they are suitable for you. Activities can be opted out of if you don't want to participate. HIKE TO CREAG BHEAG The included hike to the top of Creag Bheag will take the group around 3-4 hours (approx 7km return) with an overall elevation gain of about 300 metres. You’ll walk on a well-made path with some steep sections on the ascent and descent. Please make sure you bring appropriate footwear. If don't wish to participate in the hike you are free to opt out of this activity. EXPLORING EUROPEAN CITIES One of the pleasures of travelling in Europe is the ease at which cities can be explored on foot. Your leader will take you on frequent orientation walks, and you will be able to further explore in your own time. We recommend you pack comfortable walking shoes for this trip. Many of our customers are surprised at how much they end up walking, however this is entirely up to you, and public transport to take you back to our accommodation is never far away.

    Joining point

    Moxy Glasgow Merchant City

    210 High Street

    Glasgow

    SCOTLAND

    Phone: +44 1418460256

    Joining point description

    Moxy Glasgow Merchant City is centrally located and offers free Wi-Fi, a bar, 24-hour front desk and luggage storage. All rooms are non-smoking and have TV and private bathrooms.

    Joining point instructions

    From Glasgow Airport (airport code GLA) taxis are readily available. The ride to our hotel takes about 15 minutes. Alternatively, frequent bus 500 arrives at Queen Street Station (alight at the Cathedral Street bus stop), from where it is a 10-minute walk to the hotel.

    Finish point

    Bruntsfield Hotel

    69 Bruntsfield Place

    Edinburgh

    EH10 4HH

    UNITED KINGDOM

    Phone: +44 (131) 229 1393

    Finish point description

    The Bruntsfield Hotel is a townhouse hotel just a short walk from Edinburgh city centre, Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and Princes Street Gardens. It’s perfectly located for leisure breaks in the city and enjoys open views across Bruntsfield Links park and the Meadows park.The hotel has free Wi-Fi in all public areas and guest bedrooms. Room features include a room safe, television with international channels, a desk. tea and coffee making facilities and ensuite bathrooms.

    Finish point instructions

    If you are making your own way to the Edinburgh Airport (airport code EDI) the hostel's reception will be happy to organise a taxi or transfer for you. Alternatively you can catch tram T50 from Princes Street directly to the airport. The ride takes about 45 minutes.

    Group leader

    All Intrepid group trips in Europe are accompanied by one of our local European group leaders. ’Local’ in this context means a leader who is European or lives in Europe. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader takes care of logistics, will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we also aim to support local guides in the individual cities or locations we travel to. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend an optional local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. Visas for Scotland (which is part of the United Kingdom) are not required for passport holders of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. All other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities.

    Why we love it

    Take one of the world’s most scenic train journeys as you travel to the Highlands on the world-famous West Highland Railway, crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct of Harry Potter fame.

    Nothing beats getting to know a place on your own two feet, so get your walking shoes on for explorations of Portree Bay, Creag Bheag, and Fort William with views of the UK’s highest peak – Ben Nevis – in all its glory.

    Take a ferry over the sea to the Isle of Skye, soak up the fresh sea air and mountain views and taste your way to an understanding of the local whisky.

    Learn the legends of Loch Ness firsthand, then hike through the purple heather in Cairngorms National Park – smack bang in the Scottish Highlands.

    On a walking tour of Edinburgh, you’ll not only get the insider insight of a specialist local guide, you’ll also help support a social enterprise that helps locals who have experienced homelessness become guides.

    Is this trip right for you

    As this trip doesn’t spend much time in Glasgow and Edinburgh at the start and end of the trip, we recommend you arrive a day early and stay an additional night in either city before and after the trip. We are happy to organise additional accommodation for you, subject to availability. This trip includes moderate hikes on the Isle of Skye and in the Scottish Highlands. These activities can be opted out from should you wish not to partake. Your leader will be at hand to facilitate alternative arrangements for you.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. Below you can find some further information about health issues relevant to the destinations visited on this trip. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels Please check entry requirements for the destinations you are travelling to carefully to know whether you require a negative COVID-19 test before travelling. If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. BREAKFASTS There are some continental breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).

    Money matters

    CURRENCY The local currency in Scotland is the Scottish Pound (strictly speaking, this is Pound Sterling issued by Scottish banks), which is interchangeable with the British Pound (GBP). Please note that Scottish banknotes may not be accepted by businesses outside of Scotland. CASH The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money in Europe is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. You can withdraw local currencies easily at airports, major train stations and most city centres, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. We recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. BUDGET Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest GBP 375.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less. TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €4-€5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs.

    What to take

    PACKING On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

    WATER BOTTLE Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1-litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation or simply refill with tap water (your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination). When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

    WHITE NIGHTS The closer you travel to the second half of June, the shorter the nights are in this part of the world. As many of our accommodations may not have suitable curtains to block out light you may want to consider bringing an eye-mask, especially if you are a light sleeper. CLOTHING & CLIMATE The climate in this region is extremely varied. In shoulder season (April, May, September, October and beyond) you can expect temperatures to vary between single digits and warm sunny days, while from June until September temperatures can reach well above 30 C. It is always a good idea to bring a warm windproof jacket, a hat and waterproof footwear. No matter which time of year you decide to travel, it can get quite cool at night especially when in the countryside, so we recommend that you bring a warm jacket or fleece.

    Climate and seasonal

    The areas visited on this trip can be cold throughout the year, especially at the start and end of the season, and at night. Rain is possible at any time of year. Winter temperatures frequently drop below freezing, and snow fall is common. Summers on the other hand can be quite hot, and temperatures can reach up to 30 C. Please familiarize yourself with what climate to expect and bring appropriate clothing for adverse weather conditions, including base layers, hat, rain coat and anything else that you think may be applicable.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ If you have booked an arrival transfer, and you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly on the number listed in the joining point instructions in the section above. In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below: Intrepid's Local Operator: +44 (0)1479 420 020 or +44 (0)7766 794 640

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel DRESS CODE In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches, monasteries or other religious sites modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted, for both men and women.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. FACILITIES Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

    Transport notes

    PRIVATE VEHICLES The main mode of transportation on this trip is by private vehicle which allows us to stop frequently at places of interest inaccessible by public transport. Our vehicles are locally sourced and are air conditioned and comfortable, which makes travelling enjoyable. On some days we will be covering long distances, which will make these days feel longer, however spectacular views and interesting stops along the way make up for it.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. MUSEUM VISITS & OPENING TIMES Please note that many sights, attractions and museums are closed on Mondays (and sometimes even Tuesdays). We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where required/possible.

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    Hotel (4 nights),Guesthouse (3 nights)

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