Scotland is such a great country to explore. The natural reserves, towns, and historical establishments are all that you must see. But there’s also something wonderful you’ll find from going on a cruise in
Scotland and one of the best you’ll ever take is an Invergordon shore excursion.
From incredible islands and top-notch seafood to the romance of Scottish culture, there are several reasons why you need to set sail on Scotland’s spectacular coast. Here are some of them:
1. There’s tons of seriously epic scenery
The scenery really is jaw dropping anywhere in Scotland you may be. The heavily indented, sea loch-ravaged mainland coast is a rugged wonderland that goes on and on. Scotland boasts over 10% of
Europe’s total coastline. It’s more extensive than that of England, France, or Spain.
With hundreds of islands in the country, the scenery is very diverse. When you engage on boat tours like the famous Highland cruises, you’ll see sandy beaches, wildflower-rich ‘machair’ dunes, wild moorland and vaulting hills, and mountains too.
Most cruise ships aim to get guests ashore at least once a day to allow passengers the chance to explore the scenery on foot. This is how most Invergordon shore excursions work, making it one of the most in demand cruise tours in the country.
You can often bring your own bike too. A ship makes for an ideal base for appreciating Scotland’s scenery away from the crowds as you can sail into remote bays and coves inaccessible by road.
2. Some offer boat-fresh seafood
Scottish seafood is world class with a combination of the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and the cold Atlantic. This combo creates ideal living conditions for sea-life, allowing for a bountiful supply for of edible fishes and shellfishes.
Most private cruises include food on board. Highlights usually include scallops, juicy mussels, and delicious halibut, which all appear on fine dining tables across the UK. Many isles boast simple seafood restaurants, but the ships themselves serve it too.
3. Hundreds of islands to explore
There are over 800 islands off the mainland of Scotland that you can discover during a cruise. These islands are split into three main groups namely the Firth of Clyde: the northern archipelagos of Shetland and Orkney that encompass over 180 islands: and the Hebrides.
In Highland cruises alone, there are already 180 islands to discover, making it more exciting. Some would last a day, visiting 2 or more isles where tourists also get the opportunity to discover the land.
Some others are rented privately, and passengers can choose one isle where they can spend the whole day.
4. Fascinating ancient cultures
Eclectic cultures have left their indelible marks on Scotland. From the Picts to the Vikings and eventually the Romans, you will see a mark of these cultures anywhere in the country.
Their Celtic language very much lives on in the Hebrides and on the Highlands. You can feel the ancestry in folk music sessions in pubs to local cultural centers and festivals. The isles are alive with intriguing ancient structures too that sprinkle the coastlines like the prehistoric village at Skara Brae on Orkney.
5. For world-class wildlife
The land surrounding Scottish waters is alive with all manner of seabirds. There you’ll see puffins and Manx shearwaters as well as soaring sea eagles and diving gannets too.
Then, under the water, there are myriad porpoise and dolphin species. Basking sharks are also seen in late summer through the autumn. And year-round there’s a great chance of spotting whales.
6. Cruise ships offer a more personal tour in the Scottish isles
The majority of commercial ships cruising Scottish waters these days are relatively small and not like the bigger vessels you imagine. And these cruises usually last for hours only. This kind of cruise helps tourists discover more about one isle and private tours can be arranged so that you can control what happens in the cruise.
People visiting the Highlands love to embark on Invergordon shore excursions. As we mentioned earlier, there are over 180 islands to discover in the Highlands and Islands and you can visit some of the remarkable shores and coastlines from the Invergordon Cruise Port.
Invergordon Excursion Tip – All the Best You can Experience in an Invergordon Shore Excursion
The Best of Foods and Drinks – Inverness Stopover
Traditional Scottish dishes include the renowned haggis, which consists of a sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs. It is added with minced onion, oatmeal, and spices. The interesting part is this cuisine is cooked in a sheep’s stomach and traditionally served with a shot of whisky, tatties and neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips), black pudding (blood sausage with oatmeal), and an assortment of baked goods.
Invergordon is surrounded by rolling farmland where high quality ingredients used in their local cuisines. Some of the establishments you can visit during the onshore time is The Purple Turtle in High Street,
The Crazy Horse in High Street, and The Birch Tree in Invergordon.
Best Cocktail in Invergordon
When in Scotland, you definitely have to go for the Scotch! There are many whisky labels that never make it to other parts of the world, so sip and experiment. A pleasant spot to relax with a whisky is Tuckers Inn in Saltburn Road, which is to the right of the pier. Or visit one of the two local distilleries.
Best Things to Do During Your Highland Cruises
1. Loch Ness
You can’t visit the Highlands without trying to spot Nessie, the Loch Ness monster. Loch Ness is set amid beautiful scenery. The romantic ruin of Urquhart Castle at the loch’s edge makes a great viewpoint of the 23-mile long loch and photo op. The castle has 1,000 years of history. The visitor center tells you the castle’s great history and features a display of medieval artifacts. There’s also a restaurant and a large gift shop where you can buy an adorable stuffed version of the Nessie monster.
2. Cawdor Castle
Cawdor Castle is far from a ruin. In fact, the Cawdor family still lives there, and the stately home has evolved over 600 years. You can tour rooms with lavish furnishings and see the thorn tree that legend says the castle was built around. The castle also has a famous connection to the Shakespeare play “Macbeth”
3. Dunrobin Castle
The interior of Dunrobin Castle may not be impressive, but the garden and the exterior are another story. Reminiscent of a French chateau, the castle’s turrets and stonework were designed by Charles Barry, who also designed the British Parliament. If you’re willing to brave an imposing set of steps down to the garden, you can be treated to a birds-of-prey demonstration. The fascinating resident falconer provides a great commentary as hawks, falcons, and owls swoop low over the audience and pounce on lures.
4. Distillery Tours and Tastings:
If castles aren’t your thing, then how about a wee dram of Scotch whisky? You can tour and taste at the Dalmore Distillery located in Alness, just three miles from where you’re docked. Aficionados like the small-group tours there and praise the traditional techniques. The Glenmorangie Distillery also offers tours and tastings. It’s located 13 miles from Invergordon and just outside of Tain.
5. Invergordon Golf Club
For golfers, there’s a course a five-minute drive from the dock. Invergordon Golf Club offers a reasonable package that includes pickup from the quayside, club rental and cart, a round of golf, and even a dram of whisky before you return to your ship.
6. Invergordon Naval Museum and Heritage Centre
Here, displays highlight Invergordon’s history and three nearby castles. There are oil-rig model, a rescue lifeboat, and information about Polish soldiers who escaped the Germans and helped protect the area during WWII too.
7. Invergordon Church of Scotland
You’ll notice the steeple of the Invergordon Church of Scotland as you sail up the firth. The gray stone church has ministered to residents for more than 150 years and offers free tea and shortbread to cruise visitors.
You might enjoy browsing the mom and pop shops along High Street. We thought there were some real finds in the Caring & Sharing charity thrift shop, including elegant silver-plated candlesticks, antique jewelry, hand-built sailing ship models and a big bucket of used golf balls.
Book Your Cruises with IT Tours
DIY-ing a cruise tour may not be the best idea, most especially when it’s your first time to go on one or you first time to be on Scotland. Since the country is filled with islands and surrounded by volumes of water, there are a lot of cruises posted online and it may leave you confused which one is the best to book.
So to help you make the most of the cruise and avoid wasting precious money, we recommend booking your first Highland cruises with IT Tours.
At IT tours, we specialize in fixing land and cruise tours around the Highlands. Enjoy the scenic views from a ship and discover the different isles in the Highlands when you book your Invergordon shore excursions and tours with IT Tours.