Things to do in
Loch Ness

See if you can spot Nessie as you discover the breathtaking beauty of the Scottish Highlands' most famous loch.

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Loch Ness: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

1. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

Head for the Highlands, whether in search of the Loch Ness Monster or just a scenic day trip from Edinburgh. After pickup, relax on your group’s bus and listen to the guide’s entertaining commentary. Visit Kilmahog for an introduction to the famous Highland Cows and a cup of coffee. Discover what a ‘hairy coo’ really is. Next, travel up the road to Glencoe and enjoy a 10-minute photo stop in front of the unforgettable Highland views. Have lunch in Fort William, where your guide can advise you on where to eat. If you're interested in the mysteries of the kilt, you can even get a ‘wee’ kilt introduction here. Then be whisked to Loch Ness itself. Customize your experience at Loch Ness with personal touches. Visit the majestic Urquhart Castle, and hop on a boat in search of ‘Nessie’, as the locals call it. Or simply hang out on the pier and grab a coffee with gorgeous views. On the way home, make a short snack stop in Pitlochry, a beautiful village in the heart of the country, before returning to Edinburgh.

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From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

2. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

Depart Edinburgh on an air-conditioned luxury coach (max 34 seats). Pass Stirling Castle and hear your tour guide tell tales of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and the bloody battles fought out on these lands. First, arrive at Callander town, nestled at the foot of the Trossachs. Next, drive through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Your Scottish guide will tell you about Rob Roy MacGregor, the infamous Highlander. Follow in the footsteps of James Bond ("Skyfall") and Harry Potter ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban") as you travel to the stunning Highland valley of Glencoe. Hear the eerie story of the Clan MacDonald massacre of 1692. Travel through Fort William, home to Ben Nevis, which at 4,409 feet is the highest mountain of the British Isles. Arrive on the south bank of Loch Ness in the charming village of Fort Augustus, where lots of cafes, shops, and restaurants offer a relaxing lunch. Stroll along the banks of the Caledonian Canal, then experience Loch Ness on an optional 1-hour boat cruise. Try to catch a glimpse of "Nessie," the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Admire the impressive Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge with views of the Nevis Range. Enter the Cairngorms National Park and discover "Monarch of the Glen" country. Drive along Loch Laggan before the roads climb above the Grampian Mountains. Travel over the Pass of Drumochter, linking the northern and southern Central Highlands. Experience the majesty of a mountain pass created by glacial activity during successive Ice Ages. Finally, stop briefly in the beautiful Victorian town of Pitlochry before heading back to Edinburgh city center, arriving at approximately 8:30 PM.

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From Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Tour

3. From Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Tour

From Glasgow, travel north towards the Scottish highlands. Our first stop is for a cup of tea or coffee at a café on the shores of Loch Lomond. We then climb up into the Highlands over the unique, desolate landscape of Rannoch Moor and the Black Mount to Glencoe, site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald clan. After lunch in the Fort William area, we continue beneath Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis and into the Great Glen. At Loch Ness, take a 1-hour cruise on the loch or enjoy the beautiful views at its shores. Begin your return journey from Inverness, Capital of the Highlands. Before arriving back in Glasgow, we will cross the Grampian Mountains and the woodland scenery of Perthshire, including the Forest of Atholl.

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From Inverness: Complete Loch Ness 1-Day Experience

4. From Inverness: Complete Loch Ness 1-Day Experience

Depart Inverness and journey to the deep freshwater lake of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, where, on arrival, you will head to the Clansman Hotel for an optional boat trip across the water. Cruise around the loch for stunning views of the surrounding scenery, and get the chance to see Urquhart Castle from a different perspective. Look for the legendary Loch Ness Monster to work up an appetite, and then enjoy a delicious lunch at a nearby restaurant. Venture on with a gentle drive to Invermoriston, where you can go on a scenic stroll that showcases flowing rivers, an ancient summerhouse and the ruins of a picturesque stone bridge. Continue to the wee village of Fort Augustus, nestled between Loch Ness and the 60-mile Caledonian Canal. Journet back towards Inverness, stopping for short walks and coffee breaks at the scenic villages of Foyers and Dores before your estimated arrival in Inverness at 5:00 PM.

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From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, & the Highlands Day Tour

5. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, & the Highlands Day Tour

Immerse yourself in the history of Scotland on this day tour that takes you to all of the most important sites in Scotland. Visit the Highlands, Cairngorms National Park, Loch Ness and more. Your day begins on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, where a coach will pick you up for your day of adventure. As you head towards the Highlands, you will see the amazing Forth Bridges. Then try some delicious home baking in the beautiful Highland town of Pitlochry. From there, continue on through the Cairngorms National Park, where you will enjoy stunning scenery amidst the unique wilderness of the National Park. Take a break at Loch Ness, which is famous all over the world for its beauty and mystery. From here, you will have the chance to take a 'monster spotting' cruise and visit Urquhart Castle (optional extra ticket) and look for the famous monster for yourself. Next, visit Glen Coe, a broodingly beautiful spot that is steeped in history. As you stand at the mouth of the glen, you'll feel the past come to life as your guide tells you about the terrible massacre of the Clan. On your way home, you pass by the beautiful city of Stirling, where you can see its stunning castle and learn more about the exploits of William Wallace that were dramatized in the film Braveheart.

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From Inverness: Jacobite Steam Train and Highlands Tour

6. From Inverness: Jacobite Steam Train and Highlands Tour

Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Scottish Highlands and board the Jacobite Steam Train. Cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct for a scenic tour of Loch Ness and stop for lunch in a local fishing town. Begin your journey along the world-famous Loch Ness, stopping for photos above the ruins of Urquhart Castle. Continue south and visit the Commando Memorial, overlooking the Nevis Range — home to the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. Next, set your sights on the Jacobite Steam Train and hop on board at Fort William. Your journey through magnificent landscapes will end in the fishing port of Mallaig, where you can try fresh seafood for lunch or explore the town. Take the scenic ‘Road to the Isles’ to Glenfinnan viaduct for stunning views. Admire beautiful scenery as you ride to Fort Augustus, the Caledonian Canal, and Loch Ness. Finish your tour at Falls of Foyers and Dores Beach on the banks of Loch Ness.

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From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Highlands Full-Day Trip

7. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Highlands Full-Day Trip

Explore the beauty of Scotland’s Highlands on a 12-hour scenic driving tour by comfortable coach. See historic sights and unforgettable landscapes on this guided day trip from Edinburgh. Following a hotel pick-up in central Edinburgh, you will head towards Stirling, catching views of the Castle and Wallace Monument. Continue towards Callander, and stop for morning coffee, and the chance to meet “Hamish the Hairy Coo.” Head northwards over Rannoch Moor, and reach the dark, brooding Pass of Glencoe. Stop to learn the story of the massacre of 1692, before crossing Loch Leven. Stop for lunch in Fort William, then follow the Caledonian Canal up the Great Glen to Loch Ness. Here, you have the option to cruise on the Loch for approximately 1 hour, or relax in the tranquil village on its banks. After Loch Ness you will head South East and take in magnificent views of Loch Laggan. Marvel at the magnificent Blair Castle, home of the Dukes of Atholl for over 700 years, before moving onto Pitlochry, a delightful Victorian resort town. Then, head south through Fife, and cross the Forth next to the amazing Forth Bridge, before arriving back in Edinburgh.

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From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye, Highlands & Loch Ness

8. From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye, Highlands & Loch Ness

Day 1 From Edinburgh you will head west where your first stop will be at the picturesque conservation village of Luss, on the ‘Bonny, Bonny’ banks of Loch Lomond. Travelling north via Tyndrum you will pass over the atmospheric Rannoch Moor before enjoying time to walk and admire the dramatic Glencoe valley, site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald Clan. After lunch in the Fort William area, your tour will pause for photos at Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, then stop to admire Glen Garry and the stunning Five Sisters of Kintail mountain range. Your first day ends in the charming village of Portree, on the Isle of Skye. Day 2 After breakfast your will depart Portree for a full day’s touring - options include Dunvegan Castle, or a trip to Uig and a visit to Flora MacDonald’s grave and the unique Black Houses, ancient dwellings of the Scottish Highlanders. Other options include viewing Duntulum Castle, enjoying breathtaking views of Kilt Rock or perhaps a bracing walk at the Lealt Falls. The day will end with the opportunity to admire the Old Man of Storr, before returning to Portree. Day 3 You will commence your final day of the tour via the much-admired Eilean Donan Castle, backdrop for the movie, ‘Highlander’; (interior closed in winter) then move on to the pretty loch-side village of Fort Augustus for lunch and views of Loch Ness. The tour continues south over Laggan and the Grampian mountains with the last stop, for refreshments, in the Victorian resort town of Pitlochry, before returning to Edinburgh, where the tour will end.

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From Inverness: Isle of Skye Scenery Tour with Fairy Pools

9. From Inverness: Isle of Skye Scenery Tour with Fairy Pools

Depart from a central meeting point in Inverness, where you will meet your guide and board the mini-bus. First, stop at Eilean Donan Castle and take plenty of photos as you admire the majestic beauty of this iconic sight in its wonderful coastal location. Upon arrival in Portree, make your way to the harbor viewpoint where you can see the pretty pastel-colored houses. Enjoy a short stop here, where you can also purchase a light lunch. Next, stop at a loch-side viewpoint, and discover the unique rock formation of the Old Man of Storr. See the 50-meter high pinnacle that juts out from the Trotternish Ridge and is recognizable from blockbuster films including Ronin 47, Snow White & The Huntsman, Prometheus, and The BFG. Continue to Kilt Rock, an exposed sea cliff that resembles the traditional Highland kilt. Be amazed by the imposing waterfall that cascades 60ft (180m) into the Sound of Raasay below. Visit the Quiraing landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach. On a clear day, see the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish mainland, framed by pinnacles, cliffs, and great buttresses. Enjoy some time for a short hike at this scenic location. Continue to the Fairy Pools, a series of crystal clear waterfalls and pools surrounded by the stunning backdrop of the Cuillin Mountain. Finally, stop for some photos of Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness. Admire the sight of the castle on a distinctive peninsula jutting out onto the mysterious Loch Ness, before heading back to Inverness.

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Loch Ness, Glencoe & Highlands Small-Group Tour from Glasgow

10. Loch Ness, Glencoe & Highlands Small-Group Tour from Glasgow

Depart Glasgow at 8:00 and travel north towards the Highlands along the “bonnie, bonnie” banks of Loch Lomond. Crossing the ancient natural fault line that runs across Scotland you travel into the majestic Highlands where the scenery changes quickly and dramatically – the flat fertile plains of the Lowlands give way to shimmering lochs, rugged mountain tops and forest-filled glens. Traveling north through Breadalbane, meaning the 'High Country of Scotland,' you climb towards the wild desolation of Rannoch Moor and down into Scotland's most famous valley, Glencoe. Glencoe is infamous as the site of the Glencoe massacre in 1692. Beyond Glencoe you will enter the Great Glen, a deep glacial valley which follows a geological fault line. Passing through the town of Fort William you drive under Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, before arriving at Fort Augustus on the southern shore of Loch Ness. Of course, the loch is best known for the legendary sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie. Fort Augustus is a pretty little town in its own right, the Caledonian Canal which links the lochs of the Great Glen dominates the town and makes for a great place to relax and watch the boats sail by. You will stop here for lunch before travelling north the full length of the loch with opportunities to see the ancient stronghold of Urquhart Castle while taking a 5-Star Jacobite boat cruise on the loch. From Loch Ness you continue north through Inverness before traveling south through the mountains of the Cairngorms National Park. Your route takes you over the Drumochter Pass, 1500 feet above sea level, and past the 13th century Blair Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Atholl. Your next stop is the Highland resort town of Pitlochry, built on Victorian tourism and nestled amongst the mountains of Highland Perthshire. Transportation by top of the range Mercedes minicoaches for a more personal service.

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Planning Your Visit

  • Getting to Loch Ness

    If you're renting a car, take the A82 highway to reach the visitors' center in Drumnadrochit, which is on the northwest shore of Loch Ness. If you're relying on bus service, there are daily departures from Inverness (30 minutes) and Fort Williams (1 1/2 hours).

  • Loch Ness activities

    The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition in Drumnadrochit exhibits the history of the region and the hunt for Nessie. The biggest attraction is, of course, a one-hour cruise on Loch Ness, complete with sonar equipment and underwater cameras just in case. Apart from the monster-mania, Urquhart Castle is nearby and worth a visit. Though blown to bits in 1692 and left in ruins, it provides amazing views of Loch Ness from its elevated location.

  • When to go

    Scotland's weather is variable. You could wake up to grey and rain, but then bask in sunshine by lunchtime. May and June are recommendable months to visit, as the weather is generally fine, and the days are long. Consider September, as well, when the crowds are less and fall is in the air.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Hours will depend largely on your means of transportation. Tours of the loch will have limited times.
  • Is it expensive?
    Prices vary by tour or mode of transportation, as well as the activities you plan to do there.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It's not necessary, but for a short visit, a guide can point out the best locations to see.
  • How to get there
    Loch Ness is reachable by car or bus, with many tours passing through from major cities.
  • Additional information
    Be prepared for rain while visiting and pack accordingly! Pay attention to transportation times when planning your visit!

Other Sightseeing Options in Loch Ness

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What people are saying about Loch Ness

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 10,319 reviews

Our tour guide John, from the hairy coo company, was not only incredibly knowledgable and passionate about Scotland but also hilarious; a great sense of humour! The sites were breathtaking, despite the clouds. We highly recommend!

Gary did a great job guiding us on our tour. He was very informative and gave us a good amount of time to explore the different places. I hope everyone gets Gary as a tour guide.

our guide Neil is great , his introduction of every points is wonderful ! travel time management is good , isle of skye is beautiful, I would come again!

If you have limited times to explore scotland, get this tour. The view was magnificent and really blow my mind.

Best tourguide/bus driver Stewart. You are a legend. Walking/driving encyclopedia. -kristle & ernest (PH)