From 25 April 2023, ferry travel is no longer included within the Highland Rover travel pass. Any ferry travel should be purchased separately and directly from www.calmac.co.uk
Four days of unlimited travel over eight days.
Enjoy the beauty of Scotland’s dramatic scenery by train and coach. Explore the far north and western isles, all for £95 with a Highland Rover travel pass.
In a nutshell
Highland Rover is great if you want to enjoy the scenery and adventure of Scotland’s west coast and the north highlands. Here’s what you get:
- Unlimited travel – for any four days in an eight-day period that starts with your first journey
- Travel any time – except on trains that arrive at Inverness or Aberdeen before 9am
- Hop on, hop off – there’s no need to book the train, and with almost 100 stops there’s plenty to see
- Free coach travel – from Oban and Fort William to Inverness, and from Thurso to Scrabster (you’ll need to book in advance), and Stagecoach services on the Isle of Skye
- 20% off seated standard Northlink Ferries to Orkney and Shetland purchased on the day of travel
- 10% off standard fares with the Strathspey Steam Railway
- 10% off standard fares with Keith & Dufftown Railway
What is a Highland Rover?
It’s a travel pass that gives you four days’ unlimited travel over an eight-day period. From Glasgow, you can travel north up Scotland’s west coast, stopping at Fort William, or Oban and Mallaig if you fancy a trip to Mull or Skye. Carry on heading north to reach Wick and Thurso, or travel east to Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, and onward to Aberdeen, and take the ferry to the Orkney or Shetland isles.
What about kids?
If they’re under five they travel for free. Tickets for five to fifteen-year olds are half the adult price.
Where to go and what to do
There’s a lot to see and do in just eight days.
You might want to take it easy and enjoy Scotland from a train window, stopping here and there to savour some local produce and highland hospitality. If you’re the adventurous sort, there are mountains to climb, rivers to cross and even sandcastles to build.
Stuck for ideas?
Here are a few of our favourites:
Oban and Mull
From Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, it’s a scenic three-hour train ride to Oban – the seafood capital of Scotland and the gateway to the west coast islands.
There you can visit McCaig’s Tower – a colosseum-like structure that looms over the town. It’s a steep uphill walk that takes around ten minutes (or you can grab a taxi for less than a fiver) but it’s well worth the effort. From the top, you’ll get panoramic views over Oban and out over the bay to Mull.
Head to the pier for some well-earned grub at the famous Oban Seafood Hut. Only the freshest catches are on offer here – opt for the seafood platter to try a bit of everything.
Take your chance to see Mull up-close by hopping on a CalMac ferry (not included in your pass). There’s loads to see here, so we recommend staying overnight and using one of your non-travel days to see the best of the island. Visit the iconic colourful houses of Tobermory, down a dram at the local distillery, and venture out to the Isle of Staffa to explore hidden caves and catch sight of puffins.
Use your pass to jump on the Scottish Citylink coach at Oban and you’ll be in Fort William – a must for adventurers – within 90 minutes. Book your coach journey in advance by calling 0871 266 3333.
The most committed explorers will want to climb Ben Nevis. It’s not easy but there’s a tourist route to the summit that takes four to five hours. Coming back down is much quicker – around two hours – an exhausting but rewarding day in the mountains.
Or get the views without the workout by taking a cable car at the Nevis Range Mountain Experience. A short ride of 15 minutes will take you over 2,000ft up to the north face of Aonach Mor, where you’ll get breath-taking views over the Great Glen and Ben Nevis.
You’ll find plenty going on in Fort William town centre – it’s the largest town in the Highlands – with plenty of pubs, restaurants, and shops to keep you busy.
Isle of Skye
Fairy pools, fine dining, and fly-fishing – Skye offers more than you might think. It’s one hour and twenty minutes on the train from Fort William to Mallaig, where your can catch a ferry (not included in your pass) to Skye.
From there you’re best to catch the bus north to Portree, the capital of the island and home to the best attractions – it’ll take just over an hour. It’s not covered by your pass but costs less than £10.
If you’re already smitten by the Scottish scenery, wait until you see the Quiraing – the largest landslip in Britain. Skye is also a wonderland for wildlife lovers: head further north to Rubha Hunish for the best seabird and whale watching opportunities in the UK.
And if fine dining is your thing, there are several options. Check in to the Three Chimneys for 5-star accommodation and fresh, seasonal Scottish food or book a table at Kinloch Lodge – it’s just 20 minutes outside Armadale, and the views are exceptional (even for Skye).
Inverness is the capital of the Highlands, and offers buzz and convenience without sacrificing scenery. Your pass covers coach travel from Fort William to Inverness, which takes around two hours. If you’re travelling via Skye you can catch the train at Kyle of Lochalsh.
Things to do? Join the hunt for Nessie with a visit to the iconic Loch. Trace the stories of soldiers among the iconic ruins at Urquhart Castle. Or take in a few rounds of golf at one of the stunning local courses.
Then enjoy some evening entertainment at Eden Court Theatre – Scotland’s biggest arts centre – home to two cinemas, two theatres, and a restaurant.
The far north – Thurso and Orkney
The Highland Rover travel pass carries you to the north of mainland Scotland and beyond. The train from Inverness to Thurso will take just under four hours. Once there, you can enjoy the stunning beach or head to Dunnet Head Nature Reserve to catch a glimpse of puffins, guillemots, fulmars, and more.
From Thurso, you can hop on the free bus to Scrabster and catch the ferry to Stromness, Orkney. With your pass, you’ll get a 20% discount off the standard ferry fare.
Make the most of your time on Orkney by hiring a bike and hitting the west mainland cycle route, which combines incredible scenery with rich history. Enjoy the white sand beaches and explore life from 5,000 years ago at Skara Brae – one of the best-preserved groups of prehistoric houses in Europe.
Seen something else with your own Highland Rover pass?
Tell us about your experience.