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The Great Glen

The Great Glen: 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 the bus and listen to the guide’s entertaining commentary. Visit the Callander area for an introduction to the famous Highland Cows (depending on the time of year) and a cup of coffee. Next, travel up the road to Glencoe and enjoy a 10-minute photo stop in front of the unforgettable Highland views. Have lunch in the Fort William area, 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. Choose to 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.

From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye and The Highlands Tour

2. From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye and The Highlands Tour

Embark on a 3-day guided tour of the Scottish Highlands and visit highlights, including Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye. Learn the history of this lush region from your guide and spend two nights in Inverness. Day 1: Departing Edinburgh, we will take our first short drive heading north and stop at the mysterious Kelpies. Scotland’s largest piece of outdoor art depicting mythical creatures of Scotland’s folklore that your driver will tell you all about. We’ll then continue on our journey and pass Stirling Castle. Be inspired by tales from your guide of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Continuing north, into the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, admire the scenery as your tour guide explains the remarkable tribal clan history of the Highlands. Discover beautiful Glencoe, the most famous valley in Scotland, and hear of its tragic history. Admire the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct then head north and arrive on the southern banks of Loch Ness to get photos of the infamous monster Nessie! Stop for photos of Urquhart Castle before arriving in Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, where you'll stay for 2 nights, choosing from a local guesthouse, hostel, or hotel. Day 2: After breakfast, depart Inverness and drive across the Kessock Bridge to the Black Isle and marvel at the spectacular scenery of Achnasheen and Loch Carron. Arriving on the Isle of Skye, venture north to explore the highlights of the island, including; the Cuillin Mountains, Trotternish Peninsula, Portree, the Old Man Storr, Kilt Rock and the famous Quiraing. In late afternoon, stop for photographs of the most beautiful castle in Scotland, "Eilean Donan Castle." Backdrop to many famous films, such as 'Highlander' and 'Made of Honor', this castle is another must-see iconic landmark! A scenic drive through stunning Glen Shiel follows, returning to Inverness to stay your final night. In the evening, visit a local Highland Pub to drink some Scotch whisky or beer and eat some traditional Scottish food, whilst listening to some local musicians perform. Day 3: Visit Culloden Battlefield, site of the last Jacobite Rising, then 'Clava Cairns', incredible 4,000-year-old, Bronze-Age standing stones. Travelling south, stop at the Highland Folk Museum. Here you'll experience highland life in the 17th century. See the buildings, the clothes and weapons, and how people lived 300 years ago. Then, drive through the dramatic Cairngorm National Park. You will have the chance to experience a Scotch Whiskey tasting before you visit the historic village of Dunkeld on the banks of the mighty River Tay. Your journey back to Edinburgh takes you across the famous Forth Bridges. The expected arrival time back in Edinburgh is around 6:30 PM.

Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands Tour with Lunch

3. Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands Tour with Lunch

Embark on a full-day guided trip to Loch Ness from Edinburgh and tour the Scottish Highlands. See the UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, keep an eye out for Nessie on a boat cruise and enjoy a picnic lunch. Head north from Edinburgh and pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle. Skirt the Trossachs Rob Roy country, and cross the wilds of Rannoch Moor before stopping at dramatic Glen Coe; the scene of the infamous 1692 massacre.  Your journey takes you through Fort William. Pass Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, before entering the Great Glen. Arrive at the pretty Highland village of Fort Augustus on the banks of Loch Ness, and enjoy a lovely picnic with freshly made sandwiches, shortbread, and chips. If you fancy something more substantial, your guide will happily recommend some great local cafes.  Take an optional boat cruise on the loch, go for a scenic hike, or just relax by the Caledonian Canal. If you choose to sail along the waters of Loch Ness, it really is an unforgettable experience. Your boat is equipped with the latest hi-tech color, sonar, and underwater imaging system, giving you a fascinating view of the underwater terrain and life. You might even see Nessie! You can also relax with a coffee or beer in the onboard bar. Having seen the best of the Scottish Highlands, it's time to head back to Edinburgh via shimmering Loch Laggan and the wild and lonely Drumochter Pass. Head south and enter Perthshire, a land of forests, rivers, and mountains. See the spectacular Forth Bridge before arriving back in Edinburgh at around 20:00.

Dochgarroch: Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal 2-Hour Cruise

4. Dochgarroch: Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal 2-Hour Cruise

Join this cruise for a round-trip sail to Urquhart Castle from Dochgarroch Lock. Your cruise sails from Dochgarroch Loch on the Caledonian Canal and heads to the heart of the mystery, where you’ll learn the fascinating story of Loch Ness. You will sail through parts of the Caledonian Canal, see Aldourie Castle, and more while enjoying the selection of hot and cold Scottish snacks on board. There is also a bar if you fancy a wee dram, and for those of you who like to stay connected, there is free Wi-fi onboard.

Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and Highlands Tour with Cruise

5. Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and Highlands Tour with Cruise

You depart Glasgow and travel towards the Highlands along the “bonnie, bonnie” banks of Loch Lomond. This is Scotland's largest loch and it takes its name from the mountain, Ben Lomond, on the eastern shore. You cross the ancient natural fault line that runs across Scotland and venture into the majestic Highlands where the scenery changes dramatically. The flat plains of the Lowlands transform into shimmering lochs, rugged mountains, and forest-filled glens. The alluring beauty makes it easy to forget this was once a battleground of the fiercely territorial Highland clans. Travelling north through Breadalbane (meaning the 'High Country of Scotland'), you climb towards Rannoch Moor. This 1000ft plain is covered by heather, peat bogs, and dozens of lochs. You’ll love how it contrasts with the spectacular mountain scenery of Buachaille Etive Mor (meaning 'the great shepherd of Etive'). You then head down to Scotland's most famous valley, Glencoe, where you’ll be mesmerised by the beautiful cliff faces and steep slopes. After Glencoe, you enter a deep glacial valley, known as the Great Glen. Passing through the town of Fort William you travel under Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, before arriving at Fort Augustus on the shore of Loch Ness. Fort Augustus boasts the Caledonian Canal, which is a great spot to relax and watch the boats sail by. You stop here for one hour to give you time for lunch. After your lunch, you get the opportunity to take a five-star Cruise Loch Ness boat cruise from Fort Augustus*. Taking to the waters is the best chance you'll get to spot the monster and admire the beauty of this mysterious loch. You leave the scenic village and begin your journey back towards Glagsow, but not to worry, there are many lovely stops along the way for photos and views, including the quiant town of Pitlochry. You continue south through the forests of Perthshire before finally reaching Glasgow in the evening. *The Loch Ness boat cruise is weather dependent and may be cancelled without notice.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glenoce & The Highlands Day Tour

6. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glenoce & The Highlands Day Tour

Following pickup from central Edinburgh, you will head towards Stirling, catching views of the Castle and Wallace Monument as you venture to the Highlands. Visit Callander, and stop for morning coffee in this bustling town described as the gateway to the highlands. Head northwards over Rannoch Moor until you reach the dark, brooding Pass of Glencoe. Stop for lunch and free time nearby the Fort William area, then follow the Caledonian Canal up the Great Glen to Loch Ness. Here, you have some free time with the option to cruise on the Loch, or if you don't want to take the cruise you can relax in one of the bars or restaurants in the tranquil village or on the pier.  After Loch Ness you will head South East and take in magnificent views of Loch Laggan. On the way home, enjoy a refreshment stop in 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.

From Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Tour

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

Embark on a full-day guided bus tour of the Scottish Highlands from Glasgow. Marvel at the wild beauty of the Scottish countryside and visit highlights, including Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. Head north towards the Highlands and admire the lush pastures of the Scottish countryside from an air-conditioned bus. Stop for a cup of tea or coffee at a café on the shores of Loch Lomond before ascending into the Highlands. Traverse the desolate landscape of Rannoch Moor and the Black Mount to Glencoe, the site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald clan. Learn about the events and history of the area from your guide. After lunch in the Fort William area, pass beneath Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and into the Great Glen. At Loch Ness, opt for a sightseeing cruise on the loch or choose to admire the views from the shore. On your way back to Glasgow, cross the Grampian Mountains and admire the woodland scenery of Perthshire, including the Forest of Atholl.

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, and Highlands Tour with Lunch

8. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, and Highlands Tour with Lunch

Welcome adventurers! Embark on a journey through the heart of Scotland, where every turn reveals a tale of history and mystery while you take in the dramatic scenery. Departing from the vibrant city of Edinburgh, our tour takes you on awesome adventure through some of Scotland's most iconic landscapes! Catch a glimpse of the mighty Stirling Castle as we make our way north, and cruise through the untamed beauty of Rannoch Moor before arriving at the hauntingly dramatic Glen Coe to learn about the legend of The Three Sisters and the clan massacre that inspired “The Red Wedding” from Game of Thrones. The exploration continues! On our way to legendary Loch Ness we will pass the towering Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, and travel through the rugged Great Glen, before we stop at the charming Highland village of Fort Augustus. Here, you’ll have two choices: 1) Hop on a cruise of the infamous loch and go hunting for the elusive monster! Sonars and underwater imaging systems will reveal secrets of the loch, while the crew share mystic stories and legends of the area and Nessie. Grab a coffee or a beer from the onboard bar to stay sharp! 2) Experience a taste of Highland life while wandering through the local shops, imagining yourself centuries before, and take in the historic sights. Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of Nessie from the scenic shores? On our way back to Edinburgh we’ll trace Loch Laggan, see more of the rugged Scottish landscape, and stop at wee Highland villages while your epic guide shares tales of the land. As the day draws to an end, we savour one last glimpse of the iconic Fort Bridges before returning in the evening, filled with memories to last a lifetime!

Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise, Castle, and Outlander Tour

9. Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise, Castle, and Outlander Tour

Uncover the mystery of Loch Ness on a cruise to Urquhart Castle on this guided tour from Inverness. Immerse yourself in local history at Culloden Battlefield. Enter the world of the hit TV show Outlander at the standing stones at Clava Cairns. Depart central Inverness and journey to the world-famous Loch Ness. Glide over the lake's shimmering waters on a 30 min cruise to Urquhart Castle. Have free time to explore the 13th-century ruins on foot. Stop to purchase lunch in one of the charming local cafés in Beauly and explore Beauly Priory, which was featured in the Outlander novel series. Enjoy an optional Highland whisky distillery experience, where you can choose to sample a wee dram. Listen to tales of the Jacobite rebellions and the brutal Battle of Culloden, on a visit to Culloden Battlefield. Step into the world of Outlander at the burial chambers and standing stones at Clava Cairns. When you’ve heard the harrowing history that inspired the Outlander story, you might not want to travel back in time to meet Jamie Fraser after all. Return to Inverness in the early evening.

From Edinburgh: Isle of Skye 3-Day Tour with Accommodation

10. From Edinburgh: Isle of Skye 3-Day Tour with Accommodation

Day 1: You depart Edinburgh and travel west. This part of your journey is a history lover’s dream. You pass Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument, and Doune Castle, before stopping in Callander for refreshments. Next, we venture north through the splendid scenery surrounding Loch Lubnaig and up to the wild desolation of Rannoch Moor. You continue through the spectacular mountain pass of Glencoe, scene of the great massacre of the Clan MacDonald in 1692. And after lunch we pass Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and head into the Great Glen. Travelling west, you head past the Five Sisters of Kintail. You then stop at the famous Eilean Donan Castle*, one of Scotland’s most photographed castles. Crossing over the bridge to Skye, you follow the dramatic coastline, towards the island’s capital, Portree. And after all this breath-taking beauty, you’re dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening with enough time to go out and explore the town. Day 2: Today is a flexible day on Skye; and your driver-guide ensures you take a unique route that suits the weather, the local events, and your group's interests. You can travel north to the Trotternish Ridge and beyond. Here you find the geological wonders like Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, and the stunning mountain pass of the Quiraing. Or your guide may take you back in time and teach you about the legends and clan culture surrounding the 13th-century home of the Clan MacLeod, Dunvegan Castle. You return to Portree in the evening. Day 3: You travel south through the Cuillin Hills and back over to the mainland for stunning views over Loch Duich and the Five Sisters of Kintail. You visit Loch Ness for lunch and the chance to spot "Nessie"!* Heading south through the Grampian mountains along Loch Laggan, famous now as "Monarch of the Glen Country" before passing Dalwhinnie and onwards past Blair Castle. We stop for refreshments in one of the Perthshire villages before heading past Perth, over the Firth of Forth, and back to Edinburgh.

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What people are saying about The Great Glen

Overall rating

4.6
(9,656 reviews)

If you're looking for an unforgettable adventure through the majestic Scottish Highlands, look no further than William as your guide. He was an exceptional tour guide, and I can't sing his praises enough. It wasn't just his friendly nature that made him stand out—it was his unwavering dedication to ensuring every guest had the experience of a lifetime. William has an incredible wealth of knowledge about the Highlands' history and culture. With every twist and turn, he shared with us fascinating tales of Scottish lore, peppered with humor that kept us engaged and entertained throughout the journey. And let's not forget the fantastic music he curated for our listening pleasure, adding an extra layer of magic to an already enchanting experience. Thanks to his expertise and hospitality, my three days in the Highlands were nothing short of extraordinary. If you're lucky enough to join one of his tours, prepare to be amazed. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

We had an excellent trip. It felt like we were able to see all of Scotland in one day! Our guide did an excellent job sharing interesting information and stories as we saw the country. Plenty of stops for breaks, food, and photos. The addition of a castle tour and boat ride made the day even more fun. Our transportation was clean and new. Late in the trip the bus had a mechanical issue and they arranged for a new bus to continue the trip with little delay. Overall, well worth the time and money!

Really enjoyed the trip - we had a Scottish man named Peter who was very informative throughout the whole journey. The views were utterly beautiful too, a trip we will never forget. Thank you for an amazing experience.

The trip was so amazing. Our tour guide Anthony was superb! He made our trip memorable! He made our experience so unforgettable. Thanks Anthony!

Fantastic! Charlie was a great guide and the views where breathtaking!