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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 Kilmahog 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: Loch Ness, Glenoce & The Highlands Day Tour

2. 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 Highlands Tour

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

Embark on a guided tour to Loch Lomond National Park, Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, the Great Glen, Loch Ness, and Pitlochry from Glasgow. Learn the history behind each turn from your guide. Depart Glasgow 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 that 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. Keep an eye out for legendary sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie. Take in views of the charming town of Fort Augustus and the Caledonian Canal which links the lochs of the Great Glen. Spend some time here where you can purchase a nice lunch before traveling north up the full length of the loch. Have the opportunity to see the ancient stronghold of Urquhart Castle while taking a 5-Star Jacobite boat cruise on the loch. Continue north through Inverness before traveling south in the stunning the mountains of Cairngorms National Park. Drive over the Drumochter Pass, at 1500 feet above sea level and past the 13th century Blair Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Atholl. Finally, stretch your legs at the Highland resort town of Pitlochry which is built for Victorian tourism and nestled amongst the mountains of Highland Perthshire. Return to your starting point in Glasgow at the end of your tour.

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 pass by The Great Glen, 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.

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

5. 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

6. 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.

Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise, Outlander & Whisky Tour

7. Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise, Outlander & Whisky Tour

Uncover the mystery of Loch Ness on a cruise 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 1-hour cruise to Urquhart Castle. Have free time to explore the13th-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. Next, stop at an ancient pine forest to see waterfalls. Visit a Highland whisky distillery, where you have the option of sampling 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.

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, and Scottish Highlands Tour

8. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, and Scottish Highlands Tour

Head north from Edinburgh and pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle. Skirt the Trossachs (Rob Roy country) before crossing the wilds of Rannoch Moor and moving on to dramatic Glencoe, the site of the massacre of the McDonald clan in 1692.  The tour takes you past Fort William and Britain's highest mountain, the mighty Ben Nevis, before following the Great Glen and stopping in the village of Fort Augustus by the shores of mysterious Loch Ness. You then have the option to take a boat trip on mysterious Loch Ness and hunt for Nessie, explore the shores of the loch, or simply relax and enjoy your free locally produced picnic lunch.  A typical lunch includes a bottle of Scottish mineral water, a choice of freshly made sandwiches, and shortbread. Your return journey passes south along Loch Laggan stopping at one of the quaint Highland villages along the way.  After one last look at the spectacular Forth Bridges, arrive back in the capital at around 8:00 PM. Loch Ness Cruise option: A cruise on Loch Ness is an unforgettable experience, where you might just catch a glimpse of Nessie. Locally owned custom-built boats are used, designed with sonar and underwater imaging systems, giving you a fascinating view of the terrain and life underwater.  Enjoy the views with a coffee or beer from the onboard bar.  Purchase your cruise ticket from our office on the day of the tour. Tickets cost £16.50* and allow you to board the boat immediately on arrival in the village without having to queue. The Loch Ness Cruise is subject to availability during winter months. *Prices may vary slightly when purchased during the tour

Edinburgh: Isle of Skye & Jacobite Train 3-Day Highland Tour

9. Edinburgh: Isle of Skye & Jacobite Train 3-Day Highland Tour

Explore the Highlands of Scotland and the magical Isle of Skye on a 3-day sightseeing tour. Discover an area of outstanding natural beauty, full of Viking history and ancient myths and legends. Take a journey packed with Scotland's most iconic sights and scenery. Then ride on one of the great train journeys of the world on the charming Jacobite Steam Train. Day 1:Depart Edinburgh and drive past stunning views of the Forth Bridge to enter the Highlands through Perthshire. Admire a land of ancient forests, rivers, and mountains. Visit the quaint village of Dunkeld, with its historic cathedral on the banks of the River Tay. Continue north into the Highlands before you enter the Great Glen. At Fort Augustus, explore the shores of Loch Ness. Cross to the famous Isle of Skye, passing Eilean Donan Castle en route. Marvel at Scotland’s most famous icons. Your home for the night is Portree, capital of the “Winged Isle.” Day 2:Today you will spend a full day exploring the dramatic Isle of Skye, with its amazing scenery and fantastic myths and legends. Hear tales of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape against the backdrop of the jagged Cuillin Mountains. Highlights include the spectacular cliffs of Quiraing, the mysterious rock formation of Old Man of Storr, the cascading waterfalls of Kilt Rock, and imposing Dunvegan Castle. Spend overnight on the Isle of Skye. Day 3:Explore the south of the island, known as the “Garden of Skye,” before taking the ferry to the west coast fishing village of Mallaig. Here you will have the option to board the Jacobite Steam Train to Fort William, one of the most spectacular railway journeys in the world. Cross the Glenfinnan viaduct and see a monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s campaign. Head south through the dramatic scenery of Glencoe and Rannoch Moor, before riding through the heart of Rob Roy country to arrive back in Edinburgh in the early evening.

Loch Ness and the Highlands 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

10. Loch Ness and the Highlands 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

Your tour departs Aberdeen and heads straight for the ‘Whisky Capital of the World’, Dufftown. Unfortunately it's too early in the morning to taste the whisky at the Glenfiddich Distillery, but you have time to take a photo of the iconic site and grab a coffee. Venture through the heart of Speyside and arrive at Loch Ness for an optional boat trip which is bookable via your guide on the day of the trip. Onboard the ship, you travel over the widest and deepest part of the loch and get a fine view of Urquhart Castle. Upon your return back on dry land, it’s time to travel deep into the past at Clava Cairns. This spot is situated in a gorgeous green grove and boasts well-preserved ancient burial tombs. They even say this spot was the inspiration for Outlander’s Craigh na Dun. Follow this up with a trip to Culloden Battlefield, the location of the final Jacobite Rising. It’s an eerie, flat, tragic landscape that can put the history of Scotland into perspective. The interactive exhibition center here really brings it all to life. Have a comfort break within the gorgeous Cairngorms National Park before you reach Aberdeen 8:00 PM.

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Other Sightseeing Options in The Great Glen

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What people are saying about The Great Glen

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,887 reviews

We thoroughly enjoyed this tour! Our guide John was very entertaining and had lots of great information to tell us about Scotland and the landmarks that we passed on the drive. He played us some Scottish songs too! I will say there was a lot of time spent on the bus, since Loch Ness is a far drive, but the scenery was beautiful the whole time. There were several stops along the way, so we were never on the bus for too long. Loch Ness is beautiful, and we opted to do the boat cruise which was well worth it. Overall a great tour, and I would recommend it to see the Scottish Highlands!

It was my best excursion ever! Full of emotions, laugh’s, great explanation about every single detail, PAUL SANTA made it epic, this guy know the job like nobody else! Epic amazing !!! Amazing Scotland, and Amazing guide wich made everything perfect ..! I will be back and book again but, only with Paul SantA!!!

Astor was our guide and the tour was simply amazing. He’s so nice and friendly and knows lots about Scotland. The landscapes are BEAUTIFUL and we were lucky enough to get a sunny day at Loch Ness. I recommend this tour to everyone ❤️

Unique experience with great stops in the Highlands! Our guide John kept telling exciting stories about Scotland and the Highlands during the trip. It was great fun and a lot of fun - would definitely recommend!

Great experience. The guide Cameron was super enthusiastic and helpful. Amazing views and itinerary.