Explore are the experts in adventure travel. They have been running small group adventure holidays since 1981 and their Explore Scotland cruises are once-in-a-lifetime chances to discover the incredible Scottish islands.
Scottish wildlife cruises
Wild Scotland - M/V Polar Pioneer
If you love wildlife, Explore's Wild Scotland cruise offers you a special experience to see some incredible sights. The Scottish islands are renowned for their seabird colonies and birdwatchers will never forget the experience of seeing the spectacle of 1000s of birds flying overhead.
If mammals are more your thing, being on a ship is the best way to see seals, dolphins and, if you're really lucky, whales. You will also have the opportunity to get closer to the wildlife action in Zodiacs and kayaks.
Scotland's landscapes are just as amazing and you will be able to explore the remote Scottish islands of Shetland and the Hebrides with their ancient sites, huge monoliths and remote, picturesque villages.
This Scottish cruise departs from Oban where you will sail to the Isle of Skye, Barra, Rum and Iona
Depending on weather and sea conditions, you will be able to explore Saint Kilda, an incredibly atmospheric World Heritage Site. It's incredible to discover how the islanders used to live on this island before the living conditions became too difficult and they requested to be evacauated in 1930.
On Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, there's the chance to visit Carloway Broch, and stroll among a mini Stonehenge at Callanais.
Fair Isle is home to a world-famous bird observatory. The island lies on the intersection of major bird migration paths from Scandinavia, Iceland and Faroe which means rare birds often drop in. In summer, the cliffs teem with breeding fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins, and it is an excellent place to view seabirds at close range, especially puffins. There are more than 250 species of flowering plants on the Fair Isle too.
Scottish Highlights and Norwegian Fjords - Expedition
If you're also interested in crusing around the Norwegian fjords as well as Scotland's islands, Explore have a cruise for you. The cruise starts in Norway and you'll sail from Tromso along the Norwegian coastline, heading south to Britain's northern-most archipelagos, Orkney and Shetland. On land you can join a coach trip to discover historical UNESCO sites such as the mystical Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stennes and the 4,500 year old village of Skara Brae. Shetland is well-known for its birdlife and the expedition crew includes naturalist(s) to help you get the most out of your wildlife watching whether you're an avid birdwatcher or just have a general interest. The cruise ends by docking into the Port of Leith near Edinburgh.
There is also the option to take these cruise in the reverse direction starting in Edinburgh.
Visit Fort William and Lochaber
Visit Outer Hebrides
Holiday accommodation on the Outer Hebrides
Fully booked or not what you’re looking for?
We have more self-catering apartments, cottages and lodges plus B&Bs and hotels on the Outer Hebrides. Start your search right here:
Plan your trip to the Outer Hebrides
Destination guide to the Outer Hebrides
Take a look at our Outer Hebrides travel guide including how to get there and things to do on the Outer Hebrides.
- If you like walking, this is a great walk book – The Outer Hebrides: 40 Coast and Country Walks (Pocket Mountains) – this book covers Barra to Lewis and includes the Isle of Lewis. Read our review of our favourite walk books.
Outer Hebrides: The western isles of Scotland, from Lewis to Barra is the only full guide to the Outer Hebrides. You can buy it from Amazon.
As you can see from the photos, there are some breath-taking beaches on the Outer Hebrides and a few feature in our best beaches in Scotland: Highlands and Islands.
Local tips – get insider knowledge on what to do in the Outer Hebrides
Jean, designs and creates beautiful Harris Tweed bags and accessories. As a Bernera resident, she shared with us things to do on Bernera and Lewis.
Shona, lives on the Isle of Harris and works at the distillery. Check out her ideas for things to do in Harris.
Visit the Cairngorms
Holiday accommodation in the Cairngorms and Aviemore
Fully booked or not what you’re looking for?
We have more self-catering apartments, cottages and lodges plus B&Bs and hotels in the Cairngorms. Start your search right here:
Plan your trip to the Cairngorms
Destination guide to the Cairngorms
Take a look at our Cairngorms travel guide including how to get there and things to do.