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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.

Inverness: 2-day Isle of Skye, Fairy Pools & Castles Tour

6. Inverness: 2-day Isle of Skye, Fairy Pools & Castles Tour

Experience the Scottish Highlands on a tour from Inverness. Visit the Isle of Skye, Dunvegan Castle, The Fairy Pools, and many more highlights on a tour escorted by a driver guide. Depart from Inverness and journey towards the Isle of Skye. Stop at Achnasheen for a quick break. Head to Loch Carron for a quick photo stop and then take a short break at Kyle of Lochalsh. Head to the 13th-century Dunvegan Castle, operated by the same family for over 800 years. Explore the castle or head into Dunvegan village to grab some lunch and explore the village. Then, it’s off to the imposing and dramatic Quiraing Mountain Range. See 3 more of Skye’s most iconic landmarks, Kilt Rock, Lealt Falls, and the Old Man of Storr, and head to Portree for an overnight stay. Enjoy breakfast in the morning and head to one of the most magical places in Scotland, the Fairy Pools. Stop at Sligachan and Sconser and head to Broadford to enjoy lunch. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including otters, seals, and even killer whales. Visit Eilean Donan, situated on its own island at the head of Loch Duich. Return to Inverness via the scenic town of Fort Augustus at the foot of Loch Ness. Enjoy views of the massive loch, home to Nessie, on the way back to your meeting point.

From Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Tour

7. 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: Isle of Skye & Highlands 3-Day Guided Tour

8. From Edinburgh: Isle of Skye & Highlands 3-Day Guided Tour

Tour the Scottish Highlands and explore the Isle of Skye on a 3-day guided tour from Edinburgh. You’ll see castles, craggy mountains, picturesque towns, and maybe even a monster on this excursion. Stay overnight in a bed and breakfast accommodation. Day 1: A Spectacular Route North Depart Edinburgh and travel north through the Trossachs National Park. Visit a lovely village and take in views of the UK’s largest expanse of freshwater, Loch Lomond. Continue across the brooding expanse of Rannoch Moor, and through Glen Coe. Learn the brutal story of the MacDonald Clan massacre and take in the weeping waterfalls that inhabit this incredible glen. The highland town of Fort William marks the end of Scotland’s oldest and most popular long-distance walks, The West Highland Way. Stay overnight in Inverness. Day 2: A Full Day on Skye You'll have the full day to explore the Isle of Skye. Highlights include the craggy Cuillin Mountains, the dramatic hills of the Quiraing, and the stunning Trotternish Peninsula.  You might see seals out in the waves as you walk along the coast, or a stag standing on a hillside. Visit the capital of Skye, Portree for lunch. Return to Inverness for your overnight stay. Day 3: Monster Spotting on Loch Ness Drive along the banks of Loch Ness where you can take a boat tour to Urquhart Castle or do a bit of monster hunting from the shore. Please note that during the winter months it may not be possible to take a cruise and visit the castle, but you will still get the opportunity to take in views of the loch, and see if you can spot the Loch Ness Monster. At the Culloden battlefield, the site of the defeat of the Jacobites, there is the option of taking a tour. Continue on through the stunning Cairngorm Mountains and stop to explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry as you make your way back to Edinburgh.

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 Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Tour

10. 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.

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

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

Hands down the greatest tour I’ve been on in my life. Aside from the beautiful nature of the Highlands, the comfortable van and the easy-to-go reservation, me and my husband absolutely loved our guide Andy S.: fun, very kind and so so so good at explaining everything. If he ever decide to do an audio-book about the History of the Highlands we will buy it for sure. The stories he told us (legends and historical facts) were so fun and so well explained that you’ll feel like you’re in the medieval times surrounded by faeries and knights. An absolute gem, Andy S. We’ll book again next year for sure, we left our hearts in the Highlands.

The tour is wonderful! Kev was our guide and he shared A LOT of his vast knowledge. He thought of every detail, the scenarios we would visit (since the castle was closed and there would be time left ) and every traditional song he played. Very attentive and cheerful! We'd thought about doing the same car tour, but we'd never been able to tackle the Isle of Skye as well as Kev. Also, we wouldn't be able to understand so well about the island without Kev's information. The van is a perfect size and Kev drove very well and very safely.

Andy was a really good tour guide, the whole tour was planned really well. Well during the off peak season, pros and cons added to it, Pro-not much rush, easy access and a small group, safe. Con-weather didn’t quite permit us to visit all the places included however we did detour a bit, visited other places in the highlands. On the whole, it was a really good experience.

Wow!!! Andy S was such a great tour guide and went above and beyond for us!!! The mini bus was great, didn’t feel rushed, Andy was wonderful and we just had a fab time! Great value for money and saw such amazing sites! Definitely recommend!

mazing tour. Visited several Neolithic sites in Orkney. Guided by very kind Scottish man. The view of highland Scotland and John o' Groats was also beautiful. It worths to join.