Can’t quite decide on where to go? If you’ve been thinking about visiting Ireland, Scotland, England or Iceland, there’s no reason not to consider a trip that will allow you to indulge your interest in several different destinations.
Here’s a guide to our most popular combo tours:
Scotland and Ireland
A tour exploring both of these beautiful countries is a wonderful way to explore the historic and cultural ties between them. They have much in common: magnificent landscapes, ancient castles, quaint towns and exciting cities – plus a legacy of migration that means for millions of descendants around the world, a visit to Ireland and Scotland is a special kind of homecoming.
When you take one of our combined Scotland and Ireland guided vacations, you’ll arrive in one country and depart from the other, taking a ferry between Northern Ireland (either Belfast or nearby Larne) and the southernmost tip of Scotland at Cairnryan. (The ferry duration depends on the exact route you’ll be taking and the time of year, but at its fastest it’s about 2 hours and 15 minutes.)
If you’re most interested in exploring the lands of your ancestors and exploring the histories of these neighboring countries, you might consider the Scots Irish Tour, a fast-paced tour that delves into the history and scenery of Scotland and Ireland North and South. Special highlights include visits to the Royal Yacht Britannia, Blair Castle, the Isle of Sky, Robert Burns’ birthplace, Giants’ Causeway, Glenveagh National Park, and the Arigna Mining Centre.
Scotland and Ireland have much in common, but each has its own special charm. Our favorite Scottish beauty spots include:
No Scottish wedding or New Year’s celebration is complete without the song named after this lake, Britain’s largest. (You know the tune: “Oh, ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road…”) This melancholy tune is believed to date back to the tragic aftermath of the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, in which Scottish supporters of the House of Stuart lost their bid to regain the British Throne.
The sight of this majestic building looming over the city from its perch atop an extinct volcano is thrilling. The castle, the oldest parts of which date back to the 12th Century, houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland, as well as the Stone of Destiny andthe National War Museum.
Eilean Donan Castle
This 13th-century castle on a little island surrounded by three lochs was abandoned for centuries. Restored 100 years ago as a family home, it’s now one of Scotland’s most iconic sights, and visitors can tour the luxurious rooms to see period furniture, fine art and displays of historical weapons.
Ireland’s beauty is famously wondrous. Some of our favorite highlights:
The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren:
The cliffs tower dramatically over the churning Atlantic below, while the flat limestone landscape of the Burren intrigues with its hardy little flowers peeking among the unique rock formations.
Set precariously on seaside cliffs in beautiful County Antrim, this 16th-century castle notoriously lost its kitchen one stormy night in 1639, when it fell into the sea.
The Ring of Kerry
This narrow winding road route offers magnificent views of mountains, valleys, lakes and coasts, as well as charming villages. It’s Ireland in all its emerald glory.
There’s lots of quirky history to explore in both countries:
- You probably sing Auld Lang Syne every New Year’s Eve, but did you know it was written by Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns? You can visit his birthplace, which is now a museum.
- Ireland has buildings older than the pyramids! Visit the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre to learn about the Neolithic people who built passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, mysterious marvels constructed 5,000 years ago.
- The Titanic was built in Belfast, and there’s a fascinating, high-tech museum telling the whole story about the ill-fated oceanliner, the thriving industrial city where it was crafted, the excitement of its launch, and the hundreds of years of maritime history.
- Take a walking tour of Derry’s famous 17th – century walls, the only completely intact walled city in Ireland and one of the finest in all of Europe.
There’s so much to see in Ireland and Scotland – and CIE Tours can take you there.
Ireland and Britain
A journey through Britain and Ireland will take you through the history and timeless beauty of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Our favorite picks of the best experiences on offer in Ireland and Britain include:
- The excitement of London: Tour the heart of London and see Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben. View Kensington Palace, the Tower of London, and the Houses of Parliament. Then cruise along the River Thames for an entirely different perspective of the city.
- The many charms of Dublin: Dublin is a lively city known for its poetry and wit. Delight in the many Georgian squares and graceful landmark buildings, as well as the striking modern architecture of this vibrant city. Have a pint in a pub frequented by James Joyce, listen to buskers as you shop on Grafton Street, or check out the many museums in this storied place.
- The Inishowen Peninsula: This area of Donegal is remote and visited by relatively few people – but the rugged coastal scenery is gorgeous and well worth exploring. One particularly noteworthy point is the Amazing Grace viewing point – it looks out to sea at the point where slave-trader John Newton endured the storm that would change his life: as he nearly died, he turned to God for mercy, eventually converting back to Christianity, renouncing his work and becoming an abolitionist. He is most remembered for, of course, the song Amazing Grace.
- The Beatles’ Liverpool: Fans of the Fab Four can make a pilgrimage to their hometown: tour sites associated with the world’s most influential rock band, Go on to explore pop music history at the British Music Experience, which tells the story of British music through costumes, instruments, performance and memorabilia. Top it off with an evening of live music at the world famous Cavern Club.
- St. Andrews: This seaside town northeast of Edinburgh is home to the oldest golf course in the world. As golfer Bobby Jones once stated, “I could take out of my life everything but my experiences here in St. Andrews and I would still have had a rich and full life.” Learn the history of golf at the British Golf Museum, or just stroll the town and soak in the atmosphere.
Iceland and Ireland
Combine two great destinations on our Taste of Iceland and Ireland guided vacation! We’ll bring the familiar CIE Tours magic: all the local knowledge you crave, tour directors committed to your comfort and with a knack for storytelling, and an all-inclusive policy that means you’ll have all your visits included in the price. Plus, that signature warm welcome that only CIE Tours can deliver.