Minibus tours that operate out of Edinburgh (and Glasgow) and head off into the Highlands are popular with backpackers who want a quick taste of Scotland. Aimed at the youth market, they adopt an upbeat and irreverent approach to sightseeing, as well as offering a good opportunity to get to know fellow travellers.
The current leading operator, Haggis (t0131/557 9393, haggisadventures.com), has bright yellow minibuses setting off daily on whistle-stop tours lasting between one and six days, in the company of a live-wire guide.
Several other companies offer similar packages, including Macbackpackers (t0131/558 9900, macbackpackers.com), which runs tours linking up their own hostels round the country, and Wild in Scotland (t0131/478 6500, wild-in-scotland.com), which takes in the Outer Hebrides or Orkney. The popular Rabbie’s Trail Burners tours (t0131/226 3133, rabbies.com) don’t aim squarely at the backpacker market and have a rather more mellow outlook.