Loch Ness
Off the beaten track

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Our most recommended Loch Ness Off the beaten track

From Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Tour

1. 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 Inverness: Loch Ness Day Trip

2. From Inverness: Loch Ness Day Trip

Explore the Scottish Highlands on a bus tour from Inverness. Take scenic nature walks, surrounded by violet heather, rolling hills, and forests. Lookout for the Loch Ness monster on the shores of the deepest loch in all of Scotland or embark on a boat cruise on the loch at your own expense. 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 (not included). Venture on with a gentle drive to Invermoriston, to take a stroll by 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. Journey back towards Inverness, stopping for short walks and coffee breaks at the charming villages of Foyers and Dores before arriving back in Inverness.

Loch Ness and the Highlands 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

3. 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.

From Inverness: Glen Affric, Culloden and Clava Cairns Tour

4. From Inverness: Glen Affric, Culloden and Clava Cairns Tour

Leaving Inverness in the morning, this full-day tour begins with a trip to the ancient burial site of Clava Cairns. This Bronze-Age graveyard has survived four millennia, and is a great spot to take atmospheric photos. The location was perhaps the inspiration for the Craigh na Dun time portal in the Outlander books. Afterwards, you’ll head to Culloden, one of the most important sites in Scottish history. It was here that a 60-year series of uprisings finally ended in a tumultuous battle in 1745. Explore the visitor center and pay tribute to those who lost their lives at the last ever battle fought on British soil. Continue to Glen Affric and stop to walk among the indigenous Caledonian pine trees. Enjoy views over Loch Affric and the mountains beyond, with your expert guide taking you to the best waterfalls and photo spots. Afterwards, explore the historic ruins of Beauly Priory, a monastery dating back to the 13th century. To cap things off, you’ll head to the shores of Loch Ness, before ending up back in the center of Inverness in the early evening.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness and Highlands Tour in Spanish

5. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness and Highlands Tour in Spanish

Depart from Edinburgh city center and head towards the Scottish Highlands. Pass by Stirling and catch a view of the incredible Stirling Castle. Travel to Trossachs National Park and stop in Callander, where you can enjoy a drink and a light snack. Continue up to Glen Coe and take as many photos as you want. Journey past the village of Fort William and arrive at Fort Augustus. Explore the area and view Loch Ness. Make the most of free time to grab lunch, cruise on the waters of the loch, relax in the village or walk alongside Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal.  Stop at the Commando Memorial and listen to stories from the Second World War. See Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom. Visit Loch Laggan and Dalwhinnie distillery before you cross the Grampian Mountains. Finish your tour at the town of Pitlochry and relax with a drink in one of its pubs.

Isle of Skye 3-Day Small Group Tour from Glasgow

6. Isle of Skye 3-Day Small Group Tour from Glasgow

Spend 3 days exploring some of the most dramatic and beautiful places in the Highlands and the romantic island of Skye. Highlights also include Glencoe, Loch Ness, Eilean Donan Castle and the 5 Sisters of Kintail. Itinerary Day 1: Depart Glasgow at 9.00 AM and travel north 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. 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. From Loch Lomond the tour travels north over the wild and remote Rannoch Moor into Glencoe. This haunting glen was the scene of a great massacre in 1692 that left many of the Clan Macdonald slaughtered. The tour stops at this imposing mountain pass so you can enjoy the spectacular views. From here you travel past Fort William and up to the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge with great views over Ben Nevis. On the "Road to the Isles" you will pass through the splendor of the Five Sisters of Kintail, the mountains guarding the pass on the way to the Isle of Skye. Stop to visit the famous Eilean Donan Castle. Featured in the film "Highlander," the castle is set at the junction of 3 lochs and once provided protection against Viking raiders. Crossing over the bridge to Skye, the tour heads north to Portree. You are dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening where you are free to go out and explore the town. Day 2: This is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and the wants of the group. Your driver/ guide's knowledge will come to the fore in arranging the best day for everyone. For example: Travel north to explore the Trotternish peninsula with its stunning Quiraing mountain pass and some of Skye's extraordinary geological scenery. See Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns (reminiscent of the pleats in a kilt) with its waterfall cascading over the cliffs and down into the sea below. Take a short break for lunch before continuing to enjoy this most dramatic of islands. Heading in a westerly direction you will find Dunvegan castle, the ancestral home of Clan Macleod. You could also enjoy spectacular views at Neist Point, the westernmost point on Skye. You return you to your accommodation in Portree in the early evening and enjoy a free night in Portree. Day 3: You will be collected from your accommodation and will travel south through the Cuillin Hills and back over to the mainland for stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters of Kintail. Head to Loch Ness for lunch and the possibility of spotting "Nessie." Continue south through the Grampian Mountains along Loch Laggan, famous now as "Monarch of the Glen Country" before passing Dalwhinnie, home to Scotland's highest whisky Distillery. The tour then proceeds past Blair Castle stopping for refreshments before heading back to Glasgow. Arrive back in Glascow at approximately 7:30 PM.

From Glasgow: 2-Day Eilean Donan, Loch Ness & Highlands Tour

7. From Glasgow: 2-Day Eilean Donan, Loch Ness & Highlands Tour

Day 1 This tour begins in Edinburgh and heads west to collect the Glasgow passengers. Journey via Stirling, catching a glimpse of its majestic Castle. Visit the Wallace Monument, the towering stone testimonial to the Scottish legend William Wallace. Afterwards pass Doune Castle, location for the film, Monty Python & The Holy Grail. After lunch, time permitting, a brief stop at Rob Roy’s Grave and then onwards to the pretty village of Killin for photos. The journey continues north via Tyndrum across the atmospheric Rannoch Moor. Next stop is Glencoe, a site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald Clan, for a brief walk and photos. Continue to the stunning Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by the Harry Potter films, yet another photo opportunity (Apr-Oct). The final stop for the first day is the Highland town of Fort William, where you can check into your chosen accommodation. Day 2 Day 2 begins by going north into the Great Glen, a geographical fault line characterised by a chain of impressive lochs, including Loch Ness. Enjoy a photo stop at Glen Garry, before arriving at one of the most iconic castles in Scotland, Eilean Donan Castle (interior closed in winter) to explore the castle and its beautiful setting. The journey continues with a stop for lunch and views of Loch Ness in the pretty lochside village of Fort Augustus. After lunch begins the return journey, enjoying a photo stop to admire Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, at 1,344 meters. Travel via The Hermitage, stopping for a gentle forest walk in idyllic Scottish woodland, before crossing the Forth Bridges, back to Edinburgh where you will be dropped off outside Edinburgh Waverley Train Station. Passengers that began the tour in Glasgow will be provided with a free train ticket to return to Glasgow. 

Loch Ness, Inverness, & Highlands 2-Day Tour from Edinburgh

8. Loch Ness, Inverness, & Highlands 2-Day Tour from Edinburgh

See the beauty of the famous Loch Ness and stay in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, on this 2-day small group tour. Detailed Itinerary: Day 1: Depart Edinburgh and head north across the River Forth towards the Highlands. A short stop in Dunkeld is followed by a walk along the River Tay, or perhaps at the nearby Hermitage, before you head for the holiday town of Pitlochry for lunch. There will also be the option to visit the local whisky distillery. From here the tour now takes you past Blair Castle into the Cairngorm National Park, where you will spend some time taking in the majesty of this amazing area, deep within the ancient Caledonian Pine Forests of the Rothiemurchus Estate. You then continue north and arrive at your destination of Inverness, where you will be dropped off at your accommodation. The evening is free for you to explore the capital of the Highlands. Day 2: After a leisurely breakfast you will be picked up from your accommodation in Inverness and explore the surrounding countryside en route to Loch Ness. Here you have the chance to take a boat trip along the loch with great views of Urquhart Castle, or to stay on shore and visit the impressive ruins of the castle, overlooking the loch. You will spend your lunchtime on the southern shore of the loch in the charming village of Fort Augustus. The Caledonian Canal, which links the lochs of the Great Glen, dominates the town and makes a great place to relax and watch the boats sail by. You now continue south past Ben Nevis and Fort William to Glencoe. This haunting glen was the scene of a terrible massacre in 1692, where many of the Clan Macdonald were slaughtered. The return journey continues over the wild and remote Rannoch Moor and into the countryside around Stirling, before finally reaching our starting point of Edinburgh.

Scotland: Orkney and Northern Coast 5-Day Tour

9. Scotland: Orkney and Northern Coast 5-Day Tour

Drive to the top of Scotland on a scenic 5-day tour, and learn the history of the Highlands at sites such as the battlefield of the Macdonald clan massacre, and Stirling Castle. Spend the day on the Orkney Isles, and travel the northenmost coast of mainland Scotland. The tour is by luxury 16-seat Mercedes minibus for a more intimate experience, while bed and breakfast accommodation is provided in Inverness, the lovely town of Kirkwall, and the whitewashed fishing village of Ullapool at the mouth of Loch Broom. Day 1: Depart Edinburgh, heading west towards Stirling. Pass Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument, and continue to Doune Castle, used for location shoots in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail.” Stop in the small town of Callander for refreshments. Then, marvel at the splendor of Loch Luibnaig, Loch Earn, Glen Ogle, and Glen Dochart on a scenic drive over the wild and remote Rannoch Moor. The views of the extinct volcano will take your breath away, and were also the scene of the infamous Clan Macdonald massacre of 1692. Continue north up the Great Glen to mysterious Loch Ness, with plenty of time to try and spot “Nessie” the Loch Ness Monster. The evening will be spent in Inverness, with free time to explore the “Capital of the Highlands.” Day 2: Depart Inverness early to cross over the Black Isle and past Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Castle. From here, drive the northeast coastline, traveling into some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery. Enjoy the views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes, and the chance to spot wildlife such as golden eagle and red deer. Close to Scotland’s most northerly mainland village, John O’ Groats, board the ferry to cross the Pentland Firth to the Orkney archipelago. It is a short drive on arrival to the famous Italian Chapel, where you will stop for a quick visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, your home for the next 2 nights. Look inside Kirkwall’s magnificent Viking cathedral, and wander the winding streets of the historic town center. Day 3: Explore the ancient island of Orkney, and discover a land of contrasts, where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands, and washed by the waters of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Highlights include a visit to Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar, the standing stones of Stenness, and Maeshowe, where Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions in the 12th century. Day 4: It’s time to leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here, travel across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains, following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of the northern coastline. Go to the far northwest of the Highlands, and admire the grandeur of the wild Assynt mountains. Stop to view the 15th-century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. Continue to Ullapool at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you will spend your last night. Day 5: Your morning includes visits to Corrieshalloch Gorge, and the ancient Clava Cairns, as well as exploring the more recent bloody history of the Culloden battlefield. Return south through the magnificent Cairngorm National Park, driving past the ancient Caledonian pine forests of Highland Perthshire, before your drop off in Edinburgh.

Isle of Skye and the Highlands 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

10. Isle of Skye and the Highlands 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Experience the dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye on a 5-day tour from Edinburgh. Visit historic sites and discover remote sandy beaches. Marvel at stunning seascapes and enjoy exploring picturesque villages. Travel in comfort in a small group, enjoying personalized attention and accommodation in guesthouses and B&Bs. Detailed Itinerary Day 1 Head north over the Forth Road Bridge to the charming highland village of Dunkeld on the banks of the river Tay, and then into the Cairngorm National Park and to the ancient pine forests of the Rothiemurchus Estate. After lunch you’ll spend time on the shores of Loch Insh and then take a short forest walk to the ruins of Loch an Eilean castle. Panoramic views of Loch Ness follow as you travel down to the banks of the famous loch to village of Dores where you can do some Nessie spotting! Overnight in Ullapool. Day 2 Visit the highlands of the far north-west and marvel the grandeur and expanse of the Mountains of Assynt. This was the first crofting area to be bought by local crofters – the Assynt Crofters’ Trust. See the ruins of the 15th-century Ardvreck Castle, once the stronghold of the MacLeods of Assynt. See some of Europe’s oldest landscapes, from the stunning white sand beach at Achmelvich Bay to the traditional fishing village of Lochinver. Be on the lookout for wildlife throughout the day. Overnight in Ullapool. Day 3 You’ll head south from Ullapool to take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60 meters down into the Corrieshalloch Gorge. Travel past the mountains of the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and along the picturesque coastline of Loch Torridon. The tranquil setting of Applecross is your destination for lunch. Experience a drive on one of the highest roads in Scotland, Bealach nam Bo, known for its jaw-dropping views, hairpin bends, and precipitous cliffs. In the afternoon you’ll stop in Plockton, where you can see palm trees growing alongside Loch Carron. Then it’s over the sea to Skye and the delightful harbor town of Portree. Day 4 Enjoy a flexible day on Skye. Depending on the prevailing conditions you might travel north to the stunning Quiraing mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk through some of Skye’s extraordinary geological scenery. You might visit the Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns, with water cascading over the cliffs and down into the sea below. After lunch you might travel to Neist Point for a walk out to the lighthouse at the most westerly point on Skye. Alternatively your driver/guide might choose a visit to Dunvegan Castle, the ancient ancestral seat of the Clan McLeod. Return to Portree for a free evening and to your overnight accommodation. Day 5 Travel south from Skye, making a stop at the famed Eilean Donan Castle, situated at the head of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. The stronghold was used in the filming of the movie Highlander. Continue eastward through the rugged mountains of Kintail, past Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. You’ll stop in Fort William for lunch. In the afternoon you’ll explore spectacular Glencoe, scene of the massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692, before stopping in Killin for refreshments beside the Falls of Dochart.

Frequently asked questions about Loch Ness Off the beaten track

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What people are saying about Loch Ness

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 19 reviews

Emily ( I think her name was) was brilliant, she really made the trip interesting and was just so friendly and welcoming. The trip took us to smaller places that would typically be off the usual beating track but so beautiful. There was enough time in each spot and Emily told us the detail and the history before we got there which gave you that little bit of a connection and understanding. The whole day was brilliant.

We love Helen, our tour guide! She is an excellent driver. We adore her stories. Clearly a Scottish lady who is proud of her country. Definitely coming back to explore more areas with this tour provider.

The tour guide Neil was fantastic. Good detailed tour with rest stops as well. Would highly recommend

Helen our guide was fantastic! She knew so much and had lots of great stories and music.

Excellent tour very knowledgeable guide who had a wonderful way a of telling a story.