FAQs

Do I need to print off my booking confirmation?

No, but please make a note of your booking number to show to reception staff.

Where do the tours leave from?

All tours depart from our hostels in the Old Town of Edinburgh: Castle Rock Hostel, 15 Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2PW Always check your email confirmation for exact departure location.

What time do the tours depart and return?

Extended Tours – Three and Five Day Tours
During the winter season (Standard Time - usually November to March) our tours depart at 8:00am and return between 4:30pm and 6:00pm.

Extended Tours – Two, Three, Five, Six and Seven Day Tours
During the summer season (Daylight Saving Time - usually April to October) our tours depart at 9:00am and return between 5:30pm and 7:00pm.

Always check your email confirmation for exact departure times. Please be aware that we can not be responsible for any onward travel arrangements that you may have

What should I bring with me?

It is important to come prepared for what we get up to on tour. We like to get out and about and get in about nature, and you need the right gear to do that - a flipflops won't see you through a hike.

 Therefore, we recommend:

  • Sturdy walking boots or trail shoes from a reputable brand
    • A good pair of walking shoes is the difference between a nice relaxing hike and being hugely uncomfortable - Nobody likes blisters and twisted ankles.
  • A lightweight waterproof outer layer
    • Scotland's weather can be changeable, and when clouds get trapped in the mountains that means rain. We recommend a shell-type waterproof outer layer for keeping the rain out that can be worn over your existing attire. Remember: Water resistant is not the same as waterproof.
  • Cold weather clothing
    • Nobody wants sniffles so be prepared to wrap up warm, especially in the winter months. It will be cold - This can be as simple as a hoodie or sweater. 
  • A small backpack 
    • Ideally with a waterproof lining or cover, this is for your daily adventures with enough room for the essentials like food, water, cameras, medicine, waterproofs, dry socks, warm gear, etc. 
  • Spending money
    • Be it whisky, food or souvenirs for people back home: you'll need spending money. When you go to your local Bureau de Change you may be issued with 'Bank of England' notes - Don't worry, these are perfectly acceptable. 
  • An open mind
    • Travelling is all about seeing new places, meeting new people and trying new things - Make the most of it.

Which days of the week do your tours leave?

The 2 Day Loch Ness Express departs on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

The 3 Day Isle of Skye tour departs on selected Mondays & Wednesdays and every Friday.
The 3 Day Loch Ness and Skye tour departs on Saturdays.
The 5 Day Skye and Highland Fling tour departs every Monday.
The 6 Day Orkney Stravaig departs on selected Mondays.
The 7 Day Best of the West departs on selected Mondays.

Do you organise accommodation in Edinburgh?

We do not currently organise accommodation in Edinburgh but if you would like to book accommodation in Edinburgh then please visit our hostel website to check availability and book www.scotlandstophostels.com.

What sort of accommodation do you offer in your hostels?

All of our hostels provide dormitory accommodation, in rooms of between 6 and 12 beds. A dorm bed will be held automatically for you for each night of your tour (not including Edinburgh).

Is accommodation included in the price of the tour?

Unless otherwise stated, eg. Christmas/Hogmanay Packages, accommodation is not included in the price of the tour, but is guaranteed for you whilst on tour. You will therefore be asked to pay on arrival at the hostels and the cost is between £18.00 and £24.00 per person per night.
You can pay for your accommodation with either cash or credit/debit card.

You also have the option to pre-pay for your accommodation on 2,3 & 5 day tours by utilising the Express Check-in option at the point of booking.

Is there an age restriction on the tours?

All passengers MUST be aged 18 and over.

MacBackpackers tours have been designed for 18 to 40 year old backpackers and therefore the nature and style of the tour reflects this. Certain levels of activity and the style of language used whilst on tour may not be suitable for passengers outside this age bracket.

We go on hikes where the weather and terrain can be difficult at times. Please be aware of this. A good level of physical fitness may be needed.

What are the people on the bus like?

We design our tours for 18 to 40 year olds. In the main, people are travelling on their own and are looking to meet new people and have fun on their trip. At the most there are only ever 29 people on the bus and we do our very best to ensure that everyone enjoys the tour.

Where do the tours go?

Each tour has an itinerary which you can find by choosing a tour on the website and then clicking on the ‘itinerary’ button which is just above the map. The tours are quite flexible and so your guide will take you to the most interesting, beautiful and inspiring places, giving you plenty of memories to take home with you.

How long do we spend off the bus?

As long as possible! For example, if you drove from Edinburgh directly to Inverness it would take about three hours but we do it in nine hours so at the very least half the day is spent off the bus visiting historic sites, going on walks through forests and climbing hills (where possible) and listening to dramatic stories about Scotland.

What are the buses like?

Our fleet of modern Mercedes Benz and MAN 16-29 seat mini-coaches have everything you would expect; heating, air conditioning, reclining seats, seat belts and plenty of Scottish music! They are safe and modern and are low emission Euro 5/6 compliant. PLease note there are no toilet facilities on the coaches, though we do make frequent rest room stops.

How much luggage can I bring?

The buses are small so that we can take you to the places that the big coaches can’t go. This means the storage is reduced too and so we would ask that you just bring what you need for the trip. If you have really big bags or large suitcases and you are staying at one of our 3 Edinburgh hostels before your tour then please ask the staff if you can leave it in the luggage store until you get back. If you are not staying in one of our hostels then please arrive slightly earlier for your tour and ask the staff in the hostel you depart from to keep it in the luggage store for you.

What about food?

The price of the tour doesn’t include food. However we make supermarket stops every day and each of the hostels has a well equipped kitchen for our guests to use. There will also be pubs and restaurants near each hostel if you feel like eating out in the evening.

What about the weather?

You should try to be prepared for all types of weather on our tours as it can be quite changeable. We would suggest that you bring warm clothes, a waterproof, sturdy boots/shoes and swimming gear!

What is the refund/cancellation policy?

For our standard Two, Three and Five Day tours; Up to 7 full days prior to departure there will be a 75% refund. Within 7 days – no refund applies.

For our 6 Day Orkney Stravaig and our 7 Day Best of the West tours; Up to 15 full days prior to departure there will be a 50% refund. Within 14 days – no refund applies.

Special conditions may apply to non standard departures (e.g. Christmas, New Year & Easter packages); Up to 15 full days prior to departure there will be a 50% refund. Within 14 days – no refund applies.

Deposits are non-refundable. Where part payment has been made the refundable amount will be the amount paid minus the initial deposit.

In the event that you cannot take the tour you’ve booked as a consequence of an act of God, eg. weather or natural disasters, refunds will be at the discretion of MacBackpackers. Travel insurance is always recommended.

Bookings may be transferred to another tour (of the same or lesser value or to a more expensive tour if the customer pays the difference) for an admin fee of £10 per change (first change free of charge). All the transfers must be requested at least 7 full days prior to departure and are subject to availability. Special conditions may apply to non-standard departures (e.g. Festive & Easter packages). To transfer your booking contact the booking office directly on +44 (0)131 558 9900.

Please also see our Terms & Conditions on our website for further information on refunds & cancellations.

Featured Reviews

5 Day Christmas Caper

Emma said...

I'm actually from Scotland but I booked the 3 day isle of Skye tour with my Canadian buddy. I've never visited Skye or many of the lochs and mountains on the way up to Skye.... It was amazing! The tour guide, Neil…
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  • Image for Happy International Tourist Guide Day! Let's all take a moment to appreciate all our present, past and future guides! You're all beyond amazing!
  • Image for Eilean Donan looking a bit majestic!
  • Image for Have you seen Nessie?
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#ibelieveinnessie #nessie #lochness #scotland #scotspirit #scotlandisnow #clouds #loch #lake #cloudporn #travelphotography #potd #fridayfeeling #sunset #scotlandsbeauty #beautifuldestinations #travelstoke #wheretonext #passionp
  • Image for Hairycoos are red,
Sky is blue,
We want to go travel
And explore Bonnie Scotland with you.
Happy Valentine's Day!
  • Image for Reposted from @scotlandstophostels -  It's our favorite day of the week! Happy #Coosday to everyone out there, hope you get to see one of these shaggy beasts today! We cannot recommend Skye enough, one of Scotland's (if not the world's) most beautiful are
  • Image for Thanks so much @imaginaryjillustration for sharing your amazing travel journal with us!
  • Image for Our freshest newsletter is here! Find out where to get the best travel deals this spring
  • Image for Throwback to summer. We love all our seasons - even when all four of them happen in one day.
  • Image for Happy Lunar New Year!
  • Image for Calm loch and beautiful winter sun. Who would believe that it was one of the coldest days we have had so far this year.☀️
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#winter #scotland #scotspirit #scotlandsbeauty #incredibleearth #loch #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #amazing #insta
  • Image for Duntulm Castle might not be featured in many tourist brochures for the Isle of Skye, but it is hard to imagine a more scenic and dramatic view than the ruins of Duntulm, standing on its sheer cliff of basalt, looking across The Minch to the Isle of Lewis
  • Image for Welcome to the Winter Wonderland!❄️
  • Image for @alexnielsenn: “Funny looking dogs over here in Scotland.”
  • Image for You can't but love these beautiful snowy days!❄️
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#storr #oldmanofstorr #snow #snowymountains #winter #january #travel #travelgram #travelgoals #travelstoke #passionpassport #scotland #scotlandsbeauty #scotlandisnow #scotspirit #scotlandsbeauty #hiki
  • Image for It's Burns Night! An evening for celebrating Scotland's most revered wordsmith.
Grab your neeps and tatties, boil that freshly caught Haggis and raise a glass to Rabbie Burns. 
If you need a wee bit help organising the legendary Burns Supper, look for 'Th
  • Image for Throwback to when @kilted_bearded_tour_guide showed how to make misty weather even more mysterious rocking the traditional féileadh-mór.
  • Image for Last week, @markmacb  and @kilted_bearded_tour_guide did a wee trip to the Outer Hebrides. We don't often see it during the winter months, but it was just as stunning as ever.
  • Image for Today is Blue Monday - apparently "the most depressing day of the year".
  • Image for Whisky gets better with age. But unlike wine, whisky does not mature in the bottle. So even if you keep a 12-year-old bottle for 100 years, it will always remain a 12-year-old whisky. And the same goes for us. In the last 10 years , nothing has really cha
  • Image for Everyone's talking about the snow here in the UK atm. Unfortunately Edinburgh hasn't seen the snow yet but the Highlands most certainly have. Here's a wee throwback to a stunning winter wonderland from 2015.❄️
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#tbt #throwback #throwbackthursday #uks
  • Image for Happy coosday peeps!
  • Image for A bit of balance testing. We can't wait for the first 5 Day Skye and Highland Fling tour on 28th of January!
  • Image for Check out my antler's folks.
  • Image for Here’s throwback to last year’s Christmas Caper. Yea, that’s right, we got Santa involved too!
  • Image for We love to see your happy faces on tour!
  • Image for New Year, new adventures!
  • Image for What a way to finish 2018! 
The first Hogmanay tour was well busy, so, with the two buses on the road, Mark and Neil got even time for some cheeky selfies together.
  • Image for 2018 has been a fantastic year! Thanks, heaps everyone who came to explore Scotland with us. We look forward to seeing what adventures will 2019 bring.
  • Image for Merry Christmas everyone!
  • Image for One more sleeps to Christmas. If you haven't got presents yet, we have a great idea for you Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you, and those you care about, richer. Give the gift of travel this Christmas to someone who means the world to you.
  • Image for We know it's almost Christmas but Saturdays are just perfect for making travel plans. Who wants to visit Glencoe next year?
  • Image for Loch Ness is simply awe-inspiring.
  • Image for Today marks the winter solstice - the shortest day of the year. The northern parts of Scotland see daylight less than 6 hours. .
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#wintersolstice #christmascountdown #sunset #travelphotography #photography #tour #gotouring #christmascountdown #travelst
  • Image for Our 20th year celebrations are soon coming to an end so, here's a throwback to 2011, some serious tartan, bravery, swimming and whisky.
  • Image for Recently Lonely Planet picks Scotland’s Highlands and Islands amongst Best in Travel 2019. Not long after Airbnb released their must-visit list for 2019 and the Outer Hebrides made it in top 10. We couldn't agree more! Amazing beaches, historic sites, stu
  • Image for Only two weeks left until the end of 2018. And what a year has it been!
  • Image for Christmas eve is in one week! Did you know that during this week the Isle of Skye only sees a bit over 6.5 hours of daylight every day? While the days might be short, we make most of them!
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#adventcalendar #skye #sunset #sunsetlovers #countdowntochri
  • Image for Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you, and those you care about, richer. Give the gift of travel this Christmas to someone who means the world to you.
  • Image for The days are still getting shorter and shorter as we get closer to Christmas. But for us that's just another great opportunity to take brilliant photos during dawn and dusk.
  • Image for It's the tenth day of our 20-day countdown to Christmas! We can't say how many times we have visited the bonnie Eilean Donan castle during the past 20 years, we have explored Scotland, but it must be thousands!
  • Image for Only 12 days left before Christmas. Here's a throwback to summer, sunset and beautiful Orkney.
  • Image for Every now and then we get this close to Scottish wildlife on our tours, and it's incredible.
  • Image for These days most of us associate kilt to the modern version, known as a small kilt or a walking kilt. But before those became popular, Scottish use to wear Feileadh Mòr, our guide Stewart is rocking in this picture.
  • Image for Our countdown to Christmas continues. Did you know that it is estimated that there're at least 31,460 lochs in Scotland? So when you come to visit, you'll never be short of stunning views like this!
  • Image for Nothing quite as dreamy than these soft clouds and snowy mountains. Less than two weeks to go and our Christmas tour will be exploring the beautiful - and hopefully snowy - Highlands.
  • Image for Hiking above the clouds.
  • Image for Only two weeks before the winter officially starts in the Northern Hemisphere!
  • Image for It's the second day of countdown to Christmas to finish our brilliant 20-year celebrations. Here's throwback to last winter. Did you know that most of Scottish gritters have names? And they are real gems, like Ready Spready Go, Plougher O'Scotland and Wil
  • Image for Only 20 sleeps 'til Christmas and our 20th Birthday year is coming to an end. So, instead of an advent calendar, we'll do a wee 20 days countdown to Christmas with all the wonderful memories we have from the past years. Here's the first photo of one of th
  • Image for Happy  #Coosday everyone! It was a frosty morning here in Scotland today. Who can't wait for snow season?❄
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#coosday #hairycoo #coo #highlandcattle #highlandcow #snow #frosty #frozen #tistheseason #scotland #scotlandisnow #scotspirit #festivespirit #
  • Image for Happy St Andrew’s Day everyone!
  • Image for There are times in life where you just want to drop everything and get lost in the wilderness where happiness lies in the simplest of things.

That's the feeling I had on my trip to the Highlands of Scotland last year. Hiking, getting lost, climbing, walk
  • Image for Join us to visit the beautiful Scottish Castles.
  • Image for Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you, and those you care about, richer. Give the gift of travel this Christmas to someone who means the world to you.
  • Image for Have you ever wanted to explore the spectacular Scottish Highlands and islands?
  • Image for TGI Black Friday!
  • Image for We have some exciting news! In 2019 our 3 Day Loch Ness and Skye tour will be departing on Wednesdays instead of Saturdays. All the dates for next year are online now!
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#lochness #tour #skye #nessie #waves #loch #scotland #scotlandisnow #scotspirit #
  • Image for Loch Ness is showing off a wee bit.
  • Image for Keep up-to-date with the newest member of our clan, Stewart. Check out his Insta, @kilted_bearded_tour_guide!
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#scottish #scotland #kilted #kilt #feileadhmhor  #macbackpackers #scotlandisnow #scotspirit #tourguide #tourguidelife #gotouring #Scottishe
  • Image for We are absolutely delighted about this superb recognition!
  • Image for Throwback to summer and white sandy beaches. It's still long time to go but next year our 7 Day Best of the West will depart every Monday!
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#tbt #throwback #throwbackthursday #scotland #scottishbeaches #scotspirit #scotlandisnow #summer #travel #trav
  • Image for Happy #coosday!
  • Image for Throwback to last winter and the snowy old man.
  • Image for We’ve had celebrations across the country all weekend already, but there will be more tonight, the official Guy Fawkes Night.
  • Image for Stay spooky and stay safe on this eeriest of evenings. Oidhche Shamhna shona dhuibh uile! Read from our blog about origins and traditions of Halloween.
  • Image for Thanks, everyone who came to Y Travel Show last weekend. Massive congrats to all our skilful winners!
  • Image for Now that the clocks have turned back, just a reminder that our tours will be departing at 8 am again starting tomorrow. It was also snowing here in Scotland this weekend. What a great way to start the winter season.
  • Image for Here’re some of our lucky winners! Just look at those happy faces. We are still giving away some fantastic prizes today!
  • Image for We’re at Y Travel Show today! Come to have a wee blether with us and you could win a free tour of Scotland!
  • Image for Lonely Planet named the Scottish Highlands and Islands one of the top regions in the world for travellers in 2019!
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#scotland #scottishhighlands #highlandsandislands #scotlandisnow #scotspirit #scotshots #skye #wheretonext #travelgoal #travelgoals201
  • Image for We're stoked to go to the Y Travel Show next Saturday!
It's the perfect fix for all your travel needs, so if you're in London on the 27th, whack this on in your diaries.
  • Image for @Natpackertravel  shared some interesting myths, legends and stories with us. Read why you should be wary of horses by the lake in Scotland and where the Five Sisters got their name from our blog. .
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#kelpies #scotland #scotlandisnow #scotspirit #statu
  • Image for Don't get too excited, we don't have this much snow yet! Just a throwback to snowy Highlands a few years ago. ❄️ Our Christmas and Hogmanay tours are selling out extremely fast this year. So, be quick if you want to secure your ticket to our best festive
  • Image for Sunset in Oban.
  • Image for Our favourite thing about autumn is definitely all the beautiful and vibrant colours!
  • Image for Happy World Tourism Day!

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