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Things to do in Inverness

Explore the medieval streets of this gateway to the Scottish Highlands and look out for the Loch Ness Monster.

Our most recommended things to do in Inverness

Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Day Trip

1. Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Day Trip

Take in some of the most dramatic and stunning landscapes Scotland has to offer on an eco-certified tour from Inverness. Discover the Isle of Skye, including its capital Portree, Kilt Rock, Lealt Falls, and the Old Man of Storr. See Loch Ness from Invermoriston, Loch Carron, and Eilean Donan Castle. Meet your guide at Inverness Bus Station, where your group will board an air-conditioned coach. Head south out of the city. Then, follow the shores of Loch Ness to Invermoriston, where you will stop for a short break. Grab a coffee, take scenic photos, and try and spot Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. Then, continue to Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland's most photographed castles, set on its own island at the head of Loch Duich. You will have time to visit the castle and learn about its history if you like (admission fees apply) or just admire the picturesque castle and its scenic surroundings. Next, journey to the Isle of Skye. Stop at Portree, a small colorful town fringed by cliffs and rolling hills. Take in these beautiful surroundings while enjoying lunch and the views of the boats in the harbor. Once your appetite has been sated, move on to tour the rest of the island. Head to the Old Man of Storr, an iconic rock formation, before visiting Kilt Rock, a sea-weathered cliff with amazing coastal views. Next, take a walk at Lealt Falls to admire the beautiful waterfall and gorge. Finally, head back to Inverness via the panoramic Strome Viewpoint over Loch Carron.

From Inverness: Jacobite Steam Train and Highlands Tour

2. From Inverness: Jacobite Steam Train and Highlands Tour

Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Scottish Highlands and board the Jacobite Steam Train on a day trip from Inverness. Cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct for a scenic tour of Loch Ness and in the fishing town of Mallaig. Begin your journey by bus and drive 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 (at your expense) 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.

Loch Ness: Urquhart Castle Round-Trip Cruise

3. Loch Ness: Urquhart Castle Round-Trip Cruise

Climb aboard a small cruise boat for a truly inspiring tour of Loch Ness, departing from Clansman Harbour, just south of Inverness, and sailing as far as Urquhart Castle and back. Once on board, you will sail to the heart of Loch Ness, famous around the world for its mysterious - and elusive - monster. A selection of Scottish produce, as well as hot and cold snacks are available to purchase from the bar, if you fancy a wee dram as you cruise. Boats also have free WiFi for your convenience. Soak up the stunning mountain views as you cruise to the remains of Urquhart Castle, the envy of Scotland’s romantic ruins. Once you reach the blunt peninsula of Urquhart Bay, the boat will turn around and sail at back to Clansman Harbour.

From Edinburgh: Magical Highlands Tour with Hogwarts Express

4. From Edinburgh: Magical Highlands Tour with Hogwarts Express

Get first-hand experiences at some of the sets in the Harry Potter film series with your guide. Travel through Scotland on a bus to these locations, and conclude your tour with a visit to Glenfinnan Visitor Center. Pass some of the key film locations from all 8 Harry Potter movies as you lose yourself in the wilderness of Rannoch Moor. Discover the volcanic glen from "The Prisoner of Azkaban" en route to Fort William, where you will board the Hogwarts Express steam train. Cross the Victorian-era Glenfinnan Viaduct and get views of Loch Shiel from the "Chamber of Secrets." See the site of the Triwizard Tournament from "The Goblet of Fire" and continue to the fishing village of Mallaig to get some time for lunch.  You will board the coach from Mallaig where we will have a stop at the Glenfinnan Visitor Center for an excellent chance to photograph the steam train returning across the viaduct before you return to Edinburgh.

From Inverness: Loch Ness and The Highlands Day Tour

5. From Inverness: Loch Ness and The Highlands Day Tour

Try to catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster on this day trip from Inverness. Board an airconditioned coach and travel to iconic Highlands locations like Fort Augustus, the Caledonian Canal, and Invermoriston. Leave Inverness in the morning and follow the beautiful Caledonian Canal to its source at Loch Ness. The loch is home to the famous Loch Ness monster, affectionately known as Nessie. You'll spend most of the morning at Loch Ness, allowing plenty of time to look for Nessie. Choose to take a 5-star cruise across the loch to Urquhart Castle. If you’d rather see the loch from the shore, then stay on board the bus and your driver will take you to Urquhart Castle. Explore the ruins of the castle, enjoy the visitor center, and soak up the atmosphere of Scotland’s most famous Loch. Your tour continues to Invermoriston, where you'll pause to take photos of the bridge and Columbus Well. Afterwards, journey to Fort Augustus, the furthermost point of your full-day Highlands tour. Fort Augustus is a small town of only 650 people and a perfect spot to watch boats passing through the Caledonian Canal while you enjoy your lunch. After lunch you'll begin the journey back to Inverness, stopping at the Falls of Foyers. The waterfall was a favorite retreat for poet Rabbie Burns, and is truly breathtaking. Enjoy plenty of time here to appreciate the landscape before continuing on to Dores to see Dores Beach. Spend a short while wandering the sandy shoreline before boarding the bus for the final time and returning to Inverness.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Inverness Tour in Spanish

6. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Inverness Tour in Spanish

The tour will depart from Edinburgh at 07:45 and return to the original departure point at approximately 20:00. Following the river Tay Perthshire, you will stop in the county of Perthshire to have your first coffee, to buy some souvenirs and if you are lucky, to spot the well-known Highland cattle. On your journey to Inverness, you will see the mouth of the river Ness, the Moray Firth, the Cathedral of Saint Andrews, its castle and the university. On this stop, have the possibility to have lunch. After Inverness, you will head to Urquhart Castle, one of the gems of the Highlands with its superb views of Loch Ness. It is also the place from where more sightings of Nessie have been reported. Before undertaking the trip back to Edinburgh, you will visit the Commando Memorial, a monument dedicated to the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II. This stop will give you the chance to make out the highest mountain of the United Kingdom, the Ben Nevis. On your way back, cross the Cairngorms National Park, and later on, you will do a last stop at Pitlochry, a Victorian town well-known for its beautiful High Street.

From Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

7. From Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

Cruise on Loch Ness and visit Urquhart Castle on this coach and boat tour that transports you directly from Inverness city center to the legendary Loch Ness. You’ll learn everything there is to know about the stirring past of these famous shores as you relax on a guided coach tour. After departing from Inverness by coach, you will drive to Loch Ness. Once you arrive, hop on board a boat to cruise across the Loch’s world-famous waters. Keep an eye on the sonars for a blip that could be Nessie. There is a fully stocked bar on board and a selection of Scottish snacks. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are also served, should you require a little warming up. Once you are back on shore, explore the historic ruins of the once-mighty stronghold of Urquhart Castle. After you have seen the castle, relax on the coach as you make the return drive to Inverness city center.

From Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Tour

8. From Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Tour

Leave Inverness and head on a trip to explore the Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle. Learn the history and culture of Scotland from your guide as you explore the sites. Keep an eye out in Loch Ness, as you might even spot the Lochness monster if you're lucky. Travel in style in a Mercedes mini coach and hear about Scotland's turbulent past from your knowledgeable guide. Marvel at the views of the mountains of Wester Ross on the drive to Eilean Donan Castle. Visit the castle before traveling over the bridge to Skye. Head through the mountainous heart of the island before arriving in the harbor town of Portree for lunch. After lunch, the drive takes you around the Trotternish Peninsula. The guide will point out landmarks, including the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, and Quiraing. Make your way back through majestic Glen Shiel, along the shores of Loch Clunie. The final part of the trip takes you along the banks of mighty Loch Ness.

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

9. 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.

From Inverness: Isle of Skye Full-Day Trip

10. From Inverness: Isle of Skye Full-Day Trip

Depart Inverness and travel via Loch Ness to the Isle of Skye. Loch Ness is the largest Loch by volume in the British Isles, and one of the deepest ones too. Famous worldwide for its elusive monster, it hosts one of the most iconic castles of Scotland: Urquhart Castle. Visit the Fairy Pools. Walk the trail that takes you to the pools and enjoy a swim with the fairies. Next, stop at Talisker Single Malt Scotch Distillery based in Carbost. You'll go through the Visitor Centre (not on the tour) and, if available, sample one of the fine whiskeys produced here. Continue your journey to the Isle of Skye, and see the small village of Portree for an afternoon break. Portree is a small harbor village, and the capital of Skye.  Before you travel back to Inverness, enjoy sights of the mighty Eilean Donan Castle, which is situated on its own island, and is one of Scotland’s most photographed castles. Continue homeward bound to Inverness, where your tour ends.

Available activities

  • Loch Ness & the Highlands
  • Exploring Scottish islands
  • Scottish castles
  • Scotch whisky experiences
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Frequently asked questions about Inverness

What are the best day trips and excursions from Inverness?

The best day trips and excursions from Inverness are:

Loch Ness

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Other Sightseeing Options in Inverness

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What people are saying about Inverness

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 7,637 reviews

I want to thank our guide/driver Liam (hope I spelled it correctly). He told stories on the way and information on the passing by places. I was worried about the tour duration (approx 12 hrs), but he made regular stops, which made the journey relaxing. I had tour in a bigger groups in bus, but this tour is more interactive and engaging than a monolog from the guide, which normally happens in big groups. Overall, a memorable experience.

John (aka the king of the north) was amazing. He made us all laugh, kept us entertained, engaged, and happy throughout the whole trip. Even though some places were shut due to weather he managed to take us to other points of interest to make up for it

It was an excellent trip and James was very entertaining through out. He even recommended us some great restaurants and dishes to dine on. Great for those who want to cover major places in little time

Willie was a wonderful guide, we saw beautiful sights and went on a very informative whiskey tour.

Guide was very informative about Lochness and everything about the Loch very relaxing as well