Author Archives: CoolJason

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Holiday Whisky

10 Ways You Can Enjoy Your Whisky Better This Holidays

Category:Tours

Dreaming of a dram of whisky this Christmas? Then there’s nothing more satisfying than embarking on a whisky tour in Inverness – the home of true single malt and Scott whisky. This is the ultimate destination for any whisky lover. But this holiday, most of the distilleries are closed and you won’t be able to indulge yourself in a bottle or to your heart’s desire.

Most whisky tours in Inverness and the rest of Scotland are available before Christmas and the next will already be after New Year. So while there’s still time before the biggest festive season of the year, book for an Inverness whisky tour with IT Tours so you can rather grab a bottle you can enjoy at home during the Christmas Eve. There are special promos and exclusive, limited edition drinks offered during the holidays in some distilleries. Check with us at IT Tours and we’ll help you find them.

10 Ways to Enjoy Your Whisky at Home this Holiday

There’s no need to frown when you can’t go at the distillery on Christmas itself. Even the makers of your favorite drink need a break and celebrate the holidays with their families too. But as we said, you can score their holiday exclusives before they go on vacation and just enjoy your whisky at home. Besides, whisky tastes best when shared with your loved ones over dinner and stories this coming holiday.

Whisky is practically impossible to mess up. You can mix it with other drinks but nothing beats its original taste. So here we have 10 must-try suggestions on how you can boost the experience of whisky drinking at home.

1. Original and Neat

If it’s your first time tasting a certain brand, then we suggest drinking it neatly at first so you’ll have an idea of how it tastes and think of something good to blend it with. Most whiskies are smooth, warm, and slightly sweet when drawn straight from the bottle.

2. Add a bit of water

If you are not a whisky drinker and you find the drink to be too strong, you can try adding a few drops of water to your whisky to make it lighter. But don’t worry that you are destroying the taste. Water dilutes whisky, making its real flavor profile shine through. And if you mistakenly added too much water, you can always add more whisky until you get the right taste that you want.

3. Whisky and cola

This is a classic and is probably everyone’s favorite mix. It’s the best sellers in bars. Mix one part of whisky and two parts of cola, add ice and stir. Then have your favorite fried finger foods to make the experience more pleasurable!

4. Whisky on the rocks

It’s almost the same as drinking your whisky neat. But instead of a warm drink, you’ll get an ice-cold one, which is the favorite of most gentlemen. Fill two-thirds of your glass with ice before filling it with whisky. Make the spherical pieces because they melt slower so you can enjoy the taste of your whisky even longer.

5. Old-fashioned Cocktail

Whisky can be used for making cocktails just like any other liquors! In the 1800s, people started mixing cocktails with whisky as the base. Try placing half teaspoon of sugar on a glass and add club soda or a splash of water. Place three dashes of Angostura bitters too and mix all ingredients. Rotate the glass so the mixture covers it all. Add a couple of ice cubes and pour in two ounces of whisky. Serve with a stirring rod, and enjoy.

6. Southern Cucumber

If you want to feel cooler this holiday, the Southern Cucumber mix is the right drink to try. Stay refreshed with a cool cucumber drink mixed with your whisky. Simply mix cucumber and syrup with the whisky. Add lemon or lime juices too until a highball glass is filled. Shake well then serve with a ginger ale and the cucumber spear.

7. Whisky plus citrus-flavored soda

Did you know that citrus soda was especially invented for mixing with whisky? You just have to add 2 parts of citrus soda and one part of whisky together just like what you usually do with the whisky cola mix. Add ice cubes too and stir. Surprisingly, the soda and whisky will remain separated even after stirring.

8. Mint Julep

Feeling like you’re catching cough or colds, but you still want to indulge into a glass of whisky? This mix is perfect to satisfy your craving while relieving your colds. Place a teaspoon of sugar into a glass and crush them together. Fill it with cracked ice and pour three ounces of whisky. Stir briskly and add some mint on top before serving.

9. Whisky sour

Fill your cocktail shaker with two parts of whisky, one part lemon juice, half part of sugar syrup, and half part of egg white. Mix all together and shake hard until everything’s well-mixed and becomes cold. Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish the glass with a cherry and an orange slice.

10. Whisky and Coffee

This mix will taste like Baileys. Pour hot coffee into warmed glass until it’s ¾ fill and add brown sugar. Stir until they are completely dissolved. Blend in the whiskey and top the drink with a collar of the whipped cream. Serve hot or serve with ice.

Final Words

For the ultimate whisky experience this holiday, be sure to score a limited edition since they are uniquely flavored compared to the distillery’s regular products. If not, they come with special treats like holiday edition of whisky bottles or free distillery tour-exclusive items like whisky glasses.

But if you are on a budget, you can go with the classic drinks like Strathisla distillery’s Chivas Regal. With ingredients such as orange marmalade and maple syrup, it’s the perfect whisky blend for the discerning your palate.


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Christmas Market, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Christmas Getaway – How Package Tours are Better than DIYs

Category:Tours

There’s nothing wrong with DIY-ing your vacations, most especially when you are an experienced traveler. Longtime DIY vacationers amazingly have that killer research skill and they do come up with a really enjoyable itinerary. Besides, there’s now a lot of resources on the internet where people who go on vacation share a blog of their trip with their full itinerary and quotes.

But even the most seasoned DIYer can miss some important details. A travel blog can’t recount everything like city council rules or common problems in the area, but someone from the place you want the visitors will know all of these.

If you try to search for travel blogs or sample itineraries for Inverness highlands tours, you will find very limited articles. You wouldn’t know then where to get cheaper tickets for tours, best restaurants to dine in, affordable shopping centers, were not to cross, where to get transportation service, and so much more.

A DIYer only knows what he experienced so when it comes to really guide you in your travel, he can’t suggest much.

This is why some DIY vacations are bound to fail.

And this 2019, as we near Christmas Day, more people are being recorded to come to Inverness City to experience the unique traditions of the Scotts. There are so many attractions to admire too like the castles covered with snow that give a feeling of magic this time of the year.

There are newly opened spots too that you shouldn’t miss, and we’re sure that you can only learn about them from locals of Inverness.

So who do you trust?

The local or the first time vacationer in Inverness?

We’d say a travel expert could get you better accommodations and itinerary. However, places in Scotland are a bit complex destinations that require many hours of research to understand.

Benefits of Buying Pre Arranged Tours

It makes sense to bring in experts for complex areas for our lives, like an accountant or financial planner, and booking an excellent custom vacation is no different. Travel experts, in many cases, book hundreds of tours a year and know the countries, cities, and tour options cold. They have most likely been to the actual hotel or on the excursions they suggest.

Pre-arranged day tours from Inverness can be great for some travelers that are looking for a specific price point and seeing certain cities for the first time. There is nothing better than a meticulously planned customized tour.

Don’t waste time trying to figure it out a destination like Italy on your own. You will most likely not save money booking online since tour operators get wholesale rates. It makes sense to work with an experienced travel expert like the IT Tours to plan a great vacation like a completely customized experience to Inverness. Again, the Highlands can be a challenging destination, it won’t cost you more, and you’ll save a ton of time and stress. Not to mention, if something goes wrong on your trip, you will have someone to support you.

If you book your vacation yourself and don’t like the hotel or room, you’re in trouble. Booking with a tour operator sends hundreds of people to the property or destination a year can usually make adjustments on the fly. Quite possibly, a modification that can be the difference between a good vacation and a great one.

Here are three more advantages of booking Inverness custom tours with an experienced travel expert like us at the IT Tours:

1. You can visit specific places that may not be in the itineraries of most travel blogs posted on the internet.

Let’s admit it – most travel blogs by DIYers focus only on most popular cities or tourist spots. It would put some travelers at a disadvantage. For example, those who want to reconnect with distant relatives residing in a small Italian town may not find a package meant for them. Those who wish to visit or stay in a lesser-known town for peace and quiet may also not be able to get the right tour.

That’s where Inverness custom tours come in. With the help of our travel experts, we can help you create an itinerary that’s truly off the beaten path.

2. You have more freedom to adjust your schedule.

There are some city tours where you are given blocks of free time to do whatever you want. However, there’s still a limit to the number of customizations that you can request. After all, these packages are designed to maximize your time in Italy and value for your money. It sometimes translates to packed itineraries for these packages, with travelers barely spending more than a few hours in each town. Also, many escorted tours depart for the day at 8 am, so sleeping in is not an option.

With a customized tour, you can opt to go for a more leisurely pace. You can decide to extend your stay at a specific place if you wish. You can also have more activities thrown in. These include whisky tastings at the Inverness whisky distilleries, road trips at NC 500, castle walk tours, or the Loch Ness 360 trip.

3. You get all the perks of going on a DIY tour but without the hassles.

Planning a DIY tour can take a lot of time. After all, you’ll need to research which hotels have the best prices for a specific location. At the end of the day, if you’re pressed for time, you may end up getting the first deal that pops up. It happens even if there are better offers out there. It’s no fun to be pushed into a decision due to a lack of suitable choices.

That’s why getting an Inverness custom tour is a better option. By having a travel expert onboard—someone who knows how to create the perfect experience for you—plus, you’ll save lots of time, effort, and stress.

If you want to learn more, get a FREE consultation with one of the travel experts at IT Tours. You can give us the things you want to do in your Scotland vacation and we can customize them for you.


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Christmas Edinburgh

Christmas Tour in Scotland – Package Trip or DIY

Category:Tours

It’s almost Christmas and wherever in the world you may want to travel to celebrate the most wonderful season of the year, we recommend that you take away the stresses and focus on enjoying the moment. Besides, the main reason why you are traveling this holiday is to shake off all the stresses from your work and other affairs back home. So make the most of it and let a travel organizer do the entire job for you.

While most people think of the Americas as their first option for a Christmas getaway, spending Christmas in Scotland, most especially in Inverness, will let you experience something more magical. It’s even unique and you will only experience it here in Europe.

The Northern Lights is best viewed in December. We also have snow so what’s there to not love about a Scottish Christmas celebration? And did you know that in Scotland, there are also what we call the top spots to view the Northern Lights? Their view’s the best at Moray Coast and the Skye.

Scotland Tours Packages vs DIY Tours

And that is why you should take the Package Tour route instead of DIY-ing. Nobody knows Scotland like its locals; all you need to do is to find the right Scotland Tour organizer to hire.

In Scotland, you can find a lot of package deals that offer convenient and extensive Scotland tours that involve visits to different towns and tourist attractions. On the other hand, many also prefer to plan a trip on their own.

Both are good options, depending on the town you’re headed, your budget, and the kind of traveler that you are. If you’re currently planning on your next trip and can’t decide whether you’re taking a package tour or going DIY, we’ve listed down the differences between the two to make it easier for you to make a choice.

Package tours

  1. Scotland tour packages are more convenient than DIY travel.

Having it all planned out for you–the accommodation, the car service, and the agenda–is more convenient than having to browse several sites for the cheapest plane tickets, waiting out hotel vacancy or deciding on which places to visit. Package tours basically save you most of the stress associated with planning your own trip.

  1. Your budget is controlled.

 

Since you’re paying for the whole package, it’s all up to your Scotland tour organizers now to portion out your money for your room, meals, transportation, and admission to some tourist spots. If you are bad at making budgets or tend to be an unconscious spender, then a vacation package would be ideal for you.

  1. You can join a group and make new friends.

If you are traveling solo, many vacation package providers group solo travelers and small groups together to work out the required minimum group size and also to let the participants save on costs. This way, you can not only save but also meet new faces, which is also an exciting part of traveling in a new place.

But at IT Tours, we serve clients separately to make them feel more comfortable and safe during their trips.

  1. You can get around far-flung towns more easily.

There are some beautiful parts of the Scottish Highlands that are difficult to arrange transportation to if you’re going on your own. This is especially true if you’re traveling to an unspoiled beach or a not so popular tourist town. Travel agencies will have arranged accommodation and transportation, that you would otherwise have difficulty finding on your own.

Types Scotland Tour Packages

Many people skip the pre-organize tour packages because they think that they won’t be given the power to customize their trips and choose what they want. But that’s just a myth.

At IT Tours, we always ask for our client’s opinion so we can come up with the best itinerary that will give them the most enjoyable trip of their lives. Tourists can choose from the following types of tour packages:

  1. Full package tours

Full package tours take you through several places in a region. It’s usually all-inclusive from hotels, transportation, food, and activities.

You will hit all the popular tourist attractions and your food experiences will be safe. Best of all, you get a tour and local guide, who assist with any travel upsets from lost baggage to getting sick to interpreting the culture.

  1. Day Tours

Day tours are similar to full package tours but on a city level.  They range anywhere from half day to full day, allowing you to see a city’s most popular tourist attractions in a compressed time.

Day tours are mostly all-inclusive (excluding lunch/dinner), exposing you to a city’s highlights. Some tour fees only cover admission to main landmarks on the itinerary, while additional stopovers or activities are your responsibility to pay for if you want.

  1. Specialty Tours

Specialty tours are focused around specialized activities or interests. They last anywhere from half day to several days.

Here, you can customize where you want to go and what you want to do.

Final Words

Whichever path you choose – a DIY vacation to the Scottish Highlands or Scotland Tour Packages, the right decision all boils down to the kind of experience you seek to have. If you want a happy-go-lucky type of adventure this Christmas, then you may opt for a DIY travel. But if you’re traveling with family or want something already planned out and secure, then booking Scotland tour packages would be ideal.

In the end, all we all want is a happy trip.

Let us help you tailor your happiest trip. At IT Tours, we have expert tour organizers who can come up with the ideal itinerary you’ll love. You can also do your homework and tell us where and what you want to experience and we will arrange a package according to your wishes. So book with us today and let us build your merriest Christmas trip.


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Loch Ness Tourist

SCOTLAND IN 4 DAYS – SAMPLE ITINERARY OF HIGHLAND TOUR

Category:Tours

Scotland might be small, but when you get here, there are actually a lot of destinations on your average Scotland travel bucket list.

So how will you visit Inverness, Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye in a mere 4 days?

Here is a classic Inverness Scotland tour itinerary sample to give you an idea of how to see the major touristy spots in Scotland without having to sweat it!

Scotland is the kind of place where you could travel around for weeks and weeks and you still haven’t seen it all. So when tourists come to the region, we always recommend seeing the famous spots so they can tell their friends they’ve experienced them too. And when they get the chance to come the second time around, then it would be nice if they’d discover Inverness like an adventurous backpacker who’s searching for the hidden jewels that aren’t published online.

There is no denying that you don’t always have months to spare to travel a place, so finding a way of squeezing as much of Inverness as possible in less than a week becomes a skill for many people planning a trip to Scotland. But for first timers, this can be very challenging.

And this is why we are here.

The IT Tours will help you find the best places to see on your first visit in Scotland. To give you an idea, here is a sample of Inverness Scotland tours itinerary for 4 days:

DAY 1 ITINERARY SAMPLE – The Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye requires more than a day of touring, especially if you want to visit such iconic places like the Dunvegan Castle or the lighthouse at Neist Point. This tour will be long so we advise you to start early if you can.

First Stop: Trotternish Peninsula

The Trotternish Peninsula alone could take up a whole day because this is where some of Skye’s most popular landmarks are located. It lies north of Portree and here you will find the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, Mealt Falls and the moon-like landscape of the Quiraing.

Next Stop: Dunvegan Castle

Most tours leave out Dunvegan Castle but if you are into landscape gardening and wildlife watching, this is the right spot to be. There are two things you must not miss while you’re visiting this castle: wandering the beautiful castle gardens and seeing everything in full bloom, and joining an official guided boat tour to the local seal colony! If you’re into wildlife tours like this, you might also enjoy this post.

Last Stop: Neist Point

Scottish lighthouses are there to impress and Neist Point lighthouse is no exception. It would be perfect if you’d see this lighthouse on a clear and dry day than on wet days.

Day 2-3 Itinerary Sample – Loch Ness & Inverness

Leaving Skye behind early in the morning and making your way off the island across the bridge, you come past the gorgeous Eilean Donan Castle before you finally reach the capital of the Highlands.

First making your way to the east, there you’ll see Scotland’s most legendary places: Loch Ness. Hardly any other place has had scientists and wannabe-scientists wonder about the local wildlife as much as this lake – and who could resist the myth of the Monster Nessie.

Drumnadrochit have museums you can visit to feed your imagination with the supposed look of the mythical creature. You can go on a cruise or hang out at the castles while waiting for her to come put. Then you can visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle before you hop on to the famous “Outlander” shooting location.

There’s just so much in the Highlands that one day isn’t enough so let’s allot 2 days for this stop.

Don’t forget to book with your IT Tours so we can send you your designated driver from our partner Inverness Taxis to take you around these spots:

Day 1 Inverness and Nearby towns Tour

Stop 1 – Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Moor is where the Jacobites were finally defeated by government soldiers in 1746, the last battle to be fought on British soil. You will have time to walk on the battlefield and learn more about this tragic event that killed 700 Highland clansmen in three minutes.

Stop 2 – Clava Cairns and Cairngorms National Park

From there you should visit one of Scotland’s most evocative and sacred prehistoric sites, the nearby 4000 year old stone circles and burial mounds at Clava Cairns. As you drive south through the Cairngorms National Park, you’ll hear about the flora and fauna of this wonderful wilderness which was officially protected in 2003 and is the largest national park in the British Isles.

Stop 3 – Villages and National Parks and optional distillery visit

Head on to the lively Highland town of Pitlochry with an elegant main street packed with shops and restaurants. You have the option to visit the Blair Athol Distillery where you can take a guided tour of the distillery and of course sample the ‘water of life’ for yourself.

Alternatives include a short walk to the famous hydroelectric dam and salmon ladder or Black Spout waterfall. Our final stop is a gentle riverside walk through Big Tree Country at Dunkeld, a beautiful way to finish the tour all seasons of the year.

 

 

Side Trip that you shouldn’t Miss:

The Stirling Castle is over 2 hours from Inverness. Protecting the gateway to the Highlands is the medieval castle that has recently been seen as Castle Leoch in Outlander and Winterfell in Game of Thrones. But it is probably most famous for featuring in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

As we continue north the mountains and lochs provide a dramatic backdrop for our journey to Glen Coe, perhaps the most famous of all Scotland’s glens.

Then there’s the Glenfinnan Viaduct which famously features in several Harry Potter movies as the Hogwarts Express train crosses the bridge.

Historically this stunning viewpoint also marks the spot where Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) landed on mainland Scotland and raised his standard prior to the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.

Day 2 – Inverness Tour – Castle Trips and 1 Distillery

Stop 1 – Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle in Inverness is one the best tourist destinations. It’s located on a cliff near the city center, so you can easily admire it from afar too, but climbing up the cliff will give you another level of excitement as the views over the river are really pretty magnificent.

Stop 2 – Glen Ord Distillery

Nestled on the outskirts of Muir of Ord, Glen Ord Distillery is one of the Highland’s hidden treasures producing liquid gold all year round. With a welcome as warm as the whisky, you’ll be sure to leave satisfied after experiencing the world-famous Scottish hospitality at this 5 star visitor attraction. Open all year, Glen Ord offers a range of tours to suit everyone; from the whisky novice to the connoisseur.

Stop 3 – Urquhart Castle

The castle has a distinctly Highland heritage and the site has witnessed some of the most dramatic chapters in our nation’s history. This is where St Columba is said to have worked miracles in the 6th century, where acts of chivalry and defiance provided inspiration during the Wars of Independence and where the MacDonald Lords of the Isles struggled with the Crown for power.

Enjoy stunning views over Loch Ness from the ruins of the greatest castle in the Highlands. Climb the Grant Tower that watches over the iconic loch, peer into a miserable prison cell, said to have held the legendary Gaelic bard Domhnall Donn, and imagine the splendid banquets staged in the great hall. A more comfortable view of the iconic ruins, against a backdrop of Loch Ness and the hills of the Great Glen, can be enjoyed from the café.

Day 4 Sample Itinerary – Shopping and Goodbye Scotland

Use the last day for shopping souvenirs you can take home. The Eastgate Shopping Centre is one of the most popular shopping centers locals and tourists frequent. It is located in the heart of the Highlands, providing over 60 shops and services to Inverness and beyond. With a wide variety of stores, everyone will be able to find something to suit their tastes! Be sure to take home some Scotland-original products like the kilt.

There’s so much more to do in the Highlands. Four days is indeed too short for an Inverness Scotland Tour. The next time, you should check the night life in the city too. Take a cruise or join in the Loch Ness 360 Marathon.

Book your Scotland Tours with IT Tours so we can help you arrange an itinerary that you really enjoy. We will help you book your taxi services and accommodations too so you can make the most of your Scotland Tour.

 

 


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Aberdeen Christmas

5+ WAYS TO ENJOY A SCOTLAND TOUR DURING CHRISTMAS

Category:Tours

It may not often be the top choice of people to visit during the festive season, but Scotland has so much to offer to tourists looking for one magical holiday. And we feel sad for others who aren’t aware about the unique fun they can experience only here in the country. The one place you must visit on Christmas should you decide to go on a Scotland Tour? Inverness!

As the year draws to a close, things get pretty magical in the Highland capital. Plan a visit this winter and experience wonderful shopping options, bags of merry entertainment, and a very warm welcome!

Celebrating Christmas the Scottish Way

Although Christmas hasn’t been celebrated in the country for 400 years, sometime in the past, and could probably be the reason why it isn’t the most popular Winter Holiday destination, Scotland’s traditions already changed.

Many of Scotland’s seasonal customs at Christmas and Hogmanay are traditional in the truest sense. Not only are they very old, but they are, in the main, rather unorthodox.

Take the long-standing custom of fireball swinging in Stonehaven, the transformation of Kirkwall into a football-related battlefield, or the aptly-titled Loony Dook in the Firth of Forth (which, to be fair, isn’t actually that old, having only been set up in 1987): odd rituals such as these reveal an abundance of the sort of festive spirit that can make Hogmanay in Scotland for visitors and locals alike so enjoyable.

Scottish christmas

Scottish christmas

Hogmanay poems and songs

These never grow old in the Scotland Christmas scene. We’re sure you’ve hear the Auld Land Syne on your radios or tv sets every New Year’s celebration.

Well, a fan fact is that Auld Lang Syne, partially written by Robert Burns in 1788, is one of the bard’s most well-known and oft-recited verses. It’s a staple of Hogmanay parties across the country, and there’ll be very few who don’t know at least a verse or two.

We have more other Christmas traditions that would convince you to book a plane right away and have one or two Christmas Scotland tour packages organized. And here are some of the things you can expect in Inverness and the rest of the Highlands as we get closer and closer to Christmas:

  • Inverness’ winter festivities begin with the Christmas Lights Switch On, usually held late November.
  • The Whin Park is where the family should be for some festive frolics at the Winter Wonderland in December. Santa and his reindeers are there so your kids can get a chance for a meet and greet with them. Walk among the beautifully lit trees and enjoy the thrills of the fairground rides too. And when the snow falls in, the scenes around the park turns as magical as how White Christmas is described in books.
  • Panto is a traditional performance of rib-tickling family entertainment or Christmas show at Eden Court Theatre. You can also attend one of the carol singing services held at various venues across Inverness to enjoy a serene night that, in a way, makes you look back to the days of Jesus. And after the shows, there might just be mulled wine and mince pies you can indulge on too!

But you can celebrate your Christmas Scotland Tour in a more conventional way by:

Golfing Holiday

Scotland is the historic and original home of golf. And in honor of these origins, the country has lots of golf courses which you can visit. In the Highlands there are public golf courses which your Scotland Tour organizer can book for. Championship golf courses are the best ones to visit. You can see eve see castles in golf courses like that in the Castle Stuart Golf Links. Even if you’re not a golfer, you can walk the courses and enjoy their usually spectacular settings.

Castle Tours

Scotland’s landscapes come smattered with castles and at last count there are around 2,000 of them! When you go on a Scotland Tour, don’t miss Eilean Donan on Skye; the Dunnottar Castle perched on a dramatic headland over the North Sea; or the medieval fortress of Urquhart Castle near the mythical Loch Ness.

Speyside Whiskey

Speyside Whiskey

 

Shopping and Whisky Tasting!

The Inverness City Centre is ideal for stocking up for Christmas, thanks to its great travel links, compact main streets, and central shopping centers. There are also holiday craft fairs opening up soon. From top fashions to state-of-the-art electronics, browse over 60 stores in the Eastgate Shopping Centre.

And after shopping for a day, you should go on a whisky tour the next day! Whisky distilleries offer exclusive gift items during the holidays so you shouldn’t miss those when you go on a Christmas Scotland tour.

And if you think all these are too overwhelming, we can help arrange your Scotland tours for you. At IT Tours, we organize the best itineraries from the fine line of castles, to out of the city tours, there’s so much we can suggest so you can make the most of your Christmas holiday 2019. Book with us today!


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NORTH COAST 500

A BREATHTAKING TRIP THROUGH NORTH COAST 500

Category:Tours

In a 516-mile circular route in the north Highlands of Scotland that begins and ends at Inverness, you will find North Coast 500. A breath taking 200ft drop that is so precipitous and steep that you could barely see the roaring water below. It is spectacular! The kind of drop that makes you cling to your sides and takes your breath away. The circular route was launched in 2015 by Prince Charles to captivate and fascinate more tourists in this seldom-visited island reaches of the North Highlands.

There are an immense number of reasons to visit and drive along the North Coast 500. Mainly because you will have a chance to enjoy the road trips that will surely glorify your eye with an array of attractions, activities and remarkable landscapes. Aside from the magnificent castles, world-class golf courses, picture-perfect waterfalls, freshly harvested local seafood — you can also sail into the glassy rivers, traverse into Iron Age historical sites, lay in clear sandy beaches, be stunned in a 3 billion-year-old rocks and mesmerized in the warmth local Scottish hospitality and so much more! These are some reasons that will drive you to plan a visit to NC500. There is something for everyone along the NC500, no matter what piques your interest or what kind of journey you enjoy. It will also spark your enthusiasm to visit the place over and over again.

 

The Picturesque Scenery is one of the topmost reasons for people to drive and visit North Coast 500. The Scottish Highlands is known for its scenery and this northern part is no exception! These diversified landscapes along the routes include craggy coastline, wetlands, farmland, rivers. Apart from the magnificent bodies of water you can challenge yourself into the forests to see wildlife, sandy beaches and mingling with the mountains buried in snow. Aside from the landscape, you can also visit wildlife, numerous castles left behind by historic royalties, beautiful villages, bridges, islands, waterfalls, harbour, and other spectacular sites. The view of instagrammable places like Dunrobin Castle, Duncansby Head, Achmelvich Beach, Ben Hope, Suilven, Ullapool harbour, Corrieshalloch Gorge, and Rogie Falls will surely take your breath away and sky rocket your Instagram posts to the top of the discover page.

Wide Arrays of Outdoor Activities. Love and enjoy outdoor activities? Scotland’s North Coast 500 will surely get you covered. Activities include bird-watching, hiking, mountaineering, fishing, kayaking, golfing, zip-lining, boating, fishing, stalking, canoeing, wildlife spotting, camping and geocaching. North Coast 500 is also a gateway to many of Scotland’s Northern Islands that can be reached by ferry like the Orkney Islands, Summer Isles and the Outer Hebrides. Boredom has no place here in NC500 as it will let you stretch your legs and stay active. Whether you like outdoor pursuits like climbing mountains or gearing off at a championship golf course, you will find plenty to do here.

Fan of Whisky and Beer? Around the world, Scotland is known for its whisky — you can find a lot of it here. In North Coast 500 you will easily find a local whisky whether in a local pub, a restaurant or a whisky bar or mostly in the distillery itself, because most of the whisky distilleries can be found in northeastern parts of the route.

 

 

Lovely and Friendly Locals These are common behaviours of the people here in NC500. You will have the opportunity to meet all kinds of hospitable people. They are easy to talk to and happy people who are willing to share and give advice. While travelling, please have time to stop, meet and chat with local people. Learn from their stories and cultures. As they say, you can only appreciate the place when you talk to the locals residing there. Rest assured that the locals here will give you honest output in North Coast 500.

I hope that this will appeal to you to drive and prepare for your journey to travel to North Coast 500. Write your own travels and let your trip be a journey that creates memories of a lifetime.


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chanory point

Travel to Chanonry Point

Category:Tours

Would you reveal a truth to someone no matter how painful or inconvenient that truth may be? At what cost would it be to reveal this troublesome truth? These very quandaries were what Kenneth Mackenzie, otherwise known as Coinneach Odhar or the Brahan Seer, had to face. As a Brahan Seer Coinneach was tasked with foretelling and providing psychic assistance for the local town’s folk and in around 1675 Isabella, 3rd Countess of Seaforth, sought the seer out for his services. Seeking information as to why her husband had not arrived home on time, the countess pressed Coinneach until he ultimately professed that her husband was too busy canoodling in Paris with another woman whom he states was far more physically attractive than the countess herself. The countess did not like what she was hearing and was completely displeased with the seer’s prophesying. Because of this Coinneach Odhar was ordered to be burned to death in a barrel of tar at Chanonry Point. A stone memorial was erected in remembrance of his horrific death. The tale of Coinneach Odhar is only one of the numerous features and qualities that make Chanonry Point so fascinating to the droves of people that continue to flock there proliferating Chanonry Point’s popularity. Located at the end of Chanonry Ness, ness of course being the Scottish terminology for headland point or promontory, Chanonry Point boasts an astounding view of the coast that shows off the stunning and vast expanse of the Moray Firth. The gritty, grey, and foreboding walls of Fort George can be seen from the point as well, with its 18th century partitions still functional to this day. If a structure erected specifically for warfare is far too grim and bleak for your liking then perhaps the fact that Chanonry Point is known as the best place in Sctoland to view dolphins swimming gleefully and gracefully along the sea is exactly what you need to know. Around 200 dolphins call the Moray Firth home, and you and your family and friends can watch these cheerful sea creatures fish and play along the blustery waves of the Moray. The best part is that the viewing area to watch the dolphins is easily accessible even for those on a wheelchair. It just goes to show that everyone deserves to feel the childlike joy of dolphin watching.

Chanory Fishing

Chanonry Point is jam packed with remarkable locations and landmarks that add an indelible and evocative character and sense of personality to Chanonry. These places emphasize the aspects and facets of the point that make it so uniquely special. You can find two caravan/camping sites perfect for vacationing, or a couple’s getaway, or even for long overdue family get-togethers. Close by the camp sites is the extravagant Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club which was founded way back in 1888. There’s a ferry pier in Chanonry Point with a rich history that dates all the way back to the 1700’s. Last but not least there’s an absolutely ominous and breathtakingly gorgeous lighthouse designed by famed Scottish civil engineer Alan Stevenson. The lighthouse was first lit 1846 and to this day it is a shining beacon signifying the opulent legacy of Chanonry Point.


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Inverness Castle

Touring Around Scottish Highlands – Why Visit Inverness Castle?

Category:Tours

Inverness is often referred as the “Gateway to the Highlands” since it has the biggest international airport in the Scottish Highlands. For that reason, it serves as the start off point of any tour to the North and towns near the city like the world famous Loch Ness.

But did you know that Inverness has a lot of jewels it can boast about? Among the Scottish castles, there’s one architectural piece that holds a precious record of the country’s history. This is the Inverness Castle.

Talk about a medieval castle that’s still standing firm after being obliterated, then rebuilt, and now beaming with pride from its centuries of survival. A tour at this historic site will give you chills and shivers as you walk down through the castle grounds where a lot of important Scottish history went down.

Touring the Inverness Castle

The Inverness castle is perched atop a hill by the River Ness. There, you’ll get one of the best views of the famed river as well as the whole of Highlands.

The castle is strategically located in Inverness city center so anyone can reach it easily on foot if they don’t want to join bus tours. Enjoy spectacular views of Inverness from the lawn of this famous castle.

This Victorian-era red sandstone castle is not the original as the first structure was blown up by the Jacobites in 1746. The castle that you see today was designed by Architect William Burn and was built over the ruins of the first building in 1836.

Today, the Inverness castle serves as the Sheriff’s Court and is not open to the public. Tourists can, however, wander around the grounds and there’s the Castle Viewpoint too that accommodates guests who want to see the Highlands from a gorgeous angle.

Things to See and Do at the Inverness Castle

Whether they come in groups or solo, most tourists explore the castle grounds independently. One of the striking features of the castle that will welcome you is the statue of Flora MacDonald who’s probably the most romantic character in Scottish history.

For those who’s not familiar with Flora, she was the one who helped Prince Charles Edward Stuart escape from the Scotland after defeat of Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden. But her adventures didn’t stop there as she was witness to some more fights and during her death, the celebrated poet and critic  Samuel Johnson engraved on her bronze memorial:

“Flora Macdonald. Preserver of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Her name will be mentioned in history and if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour.”

There are also informational plaques on the castle grounds, detailing the historical events that happened on the site. It’s definitely a good starting point of a historical day tour before you head on to nearby sites with Jacobite connections like the Culloden Battlefield and Urquhart Castle.

The guided tours to the Inverness castle usually include the viewing of the castle exterior and photo ops with the River Ness as backdrop. Apart from that, there’s nothing really much to do at the Inverness Castle so you can finish the tour for an hour or two. It will be a great addition to a whole day Inverness city tour or a historical tour like I mentioned earlier.

The castle also serves as the starting point for an enjoyable walk along the banks of the River Ness (more famously known as the Loch Ness 360), the Caledonian Canal, and the Beauly Firth coastline.

Take a leisurely stroll past St. Andrew’s Cathedral and the Ness Islands, where you may spot anglers standing in the river and fishing for Atlantic salmon.

Inverness Castle Viewpoint

Can’t get enough of the view from the castle grounds? Wait ‘til you reach the Castle Viewpoint!

This side of the Inverness Castle boasts a glass viewpoint where you’ll get a fabulous 360 degree view of the Highland Capital and the surrounding scenery. The view highlights many interesting landmarks but what’s more interesting is the intriguing myths and legends you’ll learn as you climb up this tower.

Discover the tale of the Brahan Seer, the legendary 17th century Highland mystic who made many a prediction that came to pass, and learn how St. Columba met and banished the monster Loch Ness through this interesting 94-step climb to the viewdeck.

Things to Know Before Visiting the Inverness Castle

  • The castle grounds are quite vast so you might want to wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes.
  • Bring cameras to capture the scenic views and limitless photos ops.
  • The castle grounds are wheelchair accessible but not the viewpoint.

How to Get to Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle is located on the east side of the River Ness in Inverness city center. The castle is a 15-minute walk from Inverness rail station. Local buses stop at nearby Castle Street and on Castle Road. You can also hire a taxi service at Inverness Taxis to reach the castle without any hassles. Get a chance to explore the nearby tourist spots too when you hire the Inverness Taxis for a whole day tour.

When to Visit Inverness Castle

You’ll enjoy your visit at the Inverness Castle best on a clear, sunny day. So if you are planning to see this famous castle, summer is the perfect timing. The Castle Viewpoint is also open during the months of April to October from 11am to 6pm which is much longer than the rainy season where it is only open from 11:30am to 4:00pm.

The grounds are busiest during warm summer weather, but even then, crowds are rare. The setting is romantic at sunset, when the sun’s soft rays hit the surface of the River Ness.


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Highlands

Our Guide to The Highlands

Category:Tours

our beautiful scenery, renowned hospitality and iconic attractions such as the mesmerizing Loch Ness and it’s illusive lady, Nessie.

 

So you’ve booked your once in a lifetime holiday to the Highlands, but how do you make sure you don’t miss anything? Well we’re here to share with you our top attractions to visit to make sure your trip is one to remember!

 

  • The Isle of Skye (Linked to Tour) is a hub of rural landscapes and hidden gems, it’s no surprise that visitors can’t get enough of its magic. Make sure to drift off the beaten path to explore all this beautiful island has to offer.

 

  • Cawdor Castle (Linked to Tour) is full of culture and patriotic heritage. The estate covers an impressive 42000 acres, dating from the 14th century, this medieval tower is definitely not one to miss!

 

  • Loch Ness (Link to Tour) – Of course we couldn’t miss out Loch Ness! Approximately 37 miles long with more fresh water than all of the lakes in England and Wales combined! The banks are the perfect location for taking mesmerising photos that last a lifetime!

 

  • Chanonry Point (Link to tour) – Another spectacular sight, with views across the beautiful landscapes of Moray Firth and Fort George. Make sure to take your camera as Chanonry point is considered the best location in Britain for dolphin spotting!

 

  • Clava Cairns (Link to Tour) – A bucket list destination for all Outlander fans! If you haven’t seen the Patriotic series however, with Clava Cairns’ incredible insight into our ancestors, the site is still a must-see for any history lovers!

 

Remember we also provide Bespoke tours for those who are looking for a more personalised experience. Click here (Link to Bespoke Tours) for more information on how you can create your own tour with us!

 

Click here (Link to TripAdvisor) to see what others have to say on our TripAdvisor listing!


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Speyside Whiskey

Speyside Whisky Trail Tour – Because Every Malt Tastes Different

Category:Tours

Scotch whisky – who hasn’t taken a zip of it at least once in their lives?

It’s strong but it’s smooth. Scotch whisky has the perfect blend of booze that kicks but gives you one pleasurable time. People get engrossed with whisky that they need to get a glass at least once a day. And why not when it has a couple of amazing benefits to the body?

whiskey

whiskey

It keeps you sexier and protected from diabetes. It reduces stress and the risks of cancer!

So for the true whisky enthusiasts, they even go to Scotland to taste the original Scotch Whisky.

Whiskies in Scotland taste very differently, and even the single malts from different parts of the country are distinctive from one another. So every taste becomes a holy grail searched in a long, exciting trail.

And if you want to experience the unique whisky-tasting that only Scotland offers, the Speyside Whisky Trail is the most popular of them all.

Speyside Whisky Trail – Things to See and Do

Scotch whisky is a national brand worth toasting and going on a whisky trail is definitely worth boasting. If you’d like to take off on a whisky-filled adventure but you don’t know where to drive to, check the IT Tours service and find the vehicle that’ll best suit your number.

The Speyside region has a lot of scenic spots that’ll make your eyes full. You have the Millbuies Country Park to discover, the ruins of Dufus Castle to keep you in awe, and there’s the Spey Bay and Dolphin Center too where you can watch dolphins leaping playfully.

But more than these landscapes, the region is more popular for being densely populated with single malt distilleries.

Distilleries can be an hour to over an hour far from each other and some of the best might not be along the way. There are 49 distilleries in the Speyside region alone and you know that you can’t visit them all in just one day. So a well-planned itinerary can lead you the best distilleries instead.

IT Tours has no fixed itinerary to choose from since the service is rented per hour so you can enjoy every stop without having to hurry. We recommend visiting 2-3 distilleries in a day. But to give you a clue on what you might want to really see in your Speyside Whisky Trail, here’s a sample itinerary of a whisky distillery tour:

  1. GLENLIVET, CARDHU, SPEYSIDE COOPERAGE

You can start your whisky pilgrimage at The Glenlivet Distillery located at the heart of Speyside. Then later, you can drive through the River Spey to Knockando to visit Cardhu Distillery. Then end the day by heading west to Craigellachie and see how single malt is made traditionally at the Speyside Cooperage.

Stop 1 – THE GLENLIVET DISTILLERY

Enjoy a dram drawn straight from the cask at The Glenlivet Distillery in Banffshire. Your guides can give you an insight into the intriguing history of this spectacular single malt too.

Stop 2 – CARDHU DISTILLERY

13 miles from the Glenlivet Distillery, north to Knockandu is the Cardhu Distillery. This is the only malt whisky distillery pioneered by a woman. They offer here a dedicated tasting and nosing session. You can even take home a complimentary whisky glass.

Stop 3 – SPEYSIDE COOPERAGE

9 miles from Cardhu is the so-called heart of the Speyside whisky region. Here, you’ll discover the spectacular Speyside Cooperage. Here, you’ll have the unique opportunity to witness the ancient art of creating whisky barrels using traditional tools and methods. You can even make your own mini-cask.

  1. GLENFIDDICH, GLEN GRANT, STRATHISLA

Another itinerary you can check is the Dufftown distilleries. You can start at the Glenfiddich, drive a little to the Glen Grant and end the tour at the Strathisla Distillery.

Stop 1 – GLENFIDDICH DISTILLERY

Start your trip at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown. This was built by William Grant and his family over a period of 18 months. The first drops of whisky flowed from the stills on Christmas Day of 1887.

Stop 2 – GLEN GRANT DISTILLERY

In Rothes, you will see the Glen Grant Distillery. This is the only Scotch whisky distillery that is named after its founding owners. Apart from the whisky, you can explore the beautiful Victorian Garden. Of course, there will be a private tasting session to find out more about the distinctive dram.

Stop 3 – STRATHISLA DISTILLERY

About 20 minutes-drive from the Glen Grant Distillery is Keith where you’ll see the Strathisla Distillery. This is the oldest operating distillery in the Highlands which dates back to 1786. The tour can give you an insight to the art of blending as the distillery produces a range of Chivas Regal premium blended whiskies and single malt Strathisla 12-Year-Old.

  1. GLEN MORAY, BENROMACH, DALLAS DHU

 

Your third option of Speyside Whisky Trail can begin at the charming town of Elgin. Start at the Glen Moray Distillery, head west to Forres and tour Benromach Distillery, then end the tour with Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery visit.

Stop 1 – GLEN MORAY DISTILLERY

Embark on your first hour of the trail with a visit to Glen Moray Distillery in Elgin, where a warm welcome awaits you. Watch their team craft the single malt or be oriented by their very own Distillery Manager about their process of whisky-making.

Stop 2 – BENROMACH DISTILLERY

20 minutes to Forres, you’ll see the Benromach Distillery which is home to the world’s first fully certified organic single malt. Watch how Benromach create their malts with an Exclusive Manager’s Tour. You can also do hands-on bottling of their whisky.

Stop 3 – DALLAS DHU HISTORIC DISTILLERY

And in just 10 minutes of driving, you can reach the Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery. This is owned by the entrepreneur Alexander Edward. It closed production in 1983 but it’s still fascinating to look at its chequered past.

Take one or two or all of these itineraries with IT Tours and indulge in the world-renowned Scotch whisky and single malt.

Book you tours today with us!