Things to do in Scottish Highlands

Welcome to a nature lover’s paradise, peppered with wooded glens, rocky peaks, stunning lochs, and more.

Our most recommended things to do in Scottish Highlands

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 and a cup of coffee. Discover what a ‘hairy coo’ really is. 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.

Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Day Trip

2. 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.

Loch Lomond: Scottish Highlands Sightseeing Cruise

3. Loch Lomond: Scottish Highlands Sightseeing Cruise

Depart from Balloch village and set sail beyond the stately homes of historic Scottish industrialists within view of Ben Lomond, Scotland's most southerly Munro. Continue towards Inchmurrin Island, the largest inland island in Great Britain and home to the ruins of the 12th century Lennox Castle. Learn the history and legend of Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas while enjoying some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery. Enjoy a cruise commentary by famed historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver, best known from BBC's "Coast" and "A History of Scotland." 

From Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

4. 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.

Dochgarroch: Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal 2-Hour Cruise

5. 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 Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and Highlands Tour

6. 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.

Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Fort William, and Glencoe Day Tour

7. Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Fort William, and Glencoe Day Tour

Try a Glenfinnan, Glencoe, and Fort William adventure, beginning in the heart of Edinburgh city center from Royal Mile. Take in the scenery of classic modern Hollywood films. Depart Edinburgh's bustling streets, pass some of its most iconic sights like Edinburgh Castle on your way out, and begin your journey north into the rugged Scottish Highlands. Stop for refreshments at the gateway to the Highlands in Callander before continuing to Glencoe. Drive through the land where James Bonds' Skyfall was filmed. See the backdrop to some scenes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Pause here for photos and to learn all about the history of Glencoe, including the massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. From the atmospheric Glencoe, travel further along the banks of Loch Linnhe to the Highland town of Fort William, which sits at the foot of Britain's tallest mountain - Ben Nevis. Stop here to stretch your legs and have an early lunch break. Next, continue on to Glenfinnan Viaduct, the location of many Harry Potter scenes, encased by the shores of Loch Shiel. See the location of the Jacobite Steam Train, and of “Black Lake”. Take in the setting for the Triwizard Tournament, and the loch on which Hogwarts sits. Continue on to Glenfinnan Monument, which symbolizes one of the most important events in Scottish history; the 1745 Jacobite uprising. Next, departing Glenfinnan, you’ll begin your return journey to Edinburgh, stopping for refreshments at the small village of Pitlochry.

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 Inverness: Loch Ness and The Highlands Day Tour

9. 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, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

10. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

Depart Edinburgh on an air-conditioned luxury coach (max 57 seats). Pass Stirling Castle and hear your tour guide tell tales of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and the bloody battles fought out on these lands. First, arrive at Callander town, nestled at the foot of the Trossachs. Next, drive through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Your Scottish guide will tell you about Rob Roy MacGregor, the infamous Highlander. Follow in the footsteps of James Bond ("Skyfall") and Harry Potter ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban") as you travel to the stunning Highland valley of Glencoe. Hear the eerie story of the Clan MacDonald massacre of 1692. Travel through Fort William, home to Ben Nevis, which at 4,409 feet is the highest mountain of the British Isles. Arrive on the south bank of Loch Ness in the charming village of Fort Augustus, where lots of cafes, shops, and restaurants offer a relaxing lunch. Stroll along the banks of the Caledonian Canal, then experience Loch Ness on an optional 1-hour boat cruise. Try to catch a glimpse of "Nessie," the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Admire the impressive Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge with views of the Nevis Range. Enter the Cairngorms National Park and discover "Monarch of the Glen" country. Drive along Loch Laggan before the roads climb above the Grampian Mountains. Travel over the Pass of Drumochter, linking the northern and southern Central Highlands. Experience the majesty of a mountain pass created by glacial activity during successive Ice Ages. Finally, stop briefly in the beautiful Victorian town of Pitlochry before heading back to Edinburgh city center, arriving at approximately 8:30 PM.

Frequently asked questions about Scottish Highlands

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What people are saying about Scottish Highlands

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 29,517 reviews

Excellent tour planned meticulously to so much details that the tour guides's commentary and Playlist matched the places being visited / passed by. Steve, our tour guide/driver had the whackiest and wittiest quotes to entertain us all along. Short November end days did made us loose a bit of the itenairy but whatever we saw was worth it. Sadly, we had to miss out the main day of Isle of Skye visit as our son fell sick. We'll surely plan another trip in summers sometime to make it up.

Absolutely worth it. Recommended 100%. Our guide from Inverness was Andy S. Top guide. He told us plenty of stories about the places we visited and made the journey very pleasant. We even stopped to feed some highlander coos. A very complete, interesting and exciting trip.

I’m so glad I booked this tour. It would have been really difficult to see the whole island the way we wanted to otherwise, since we were traveling without a car. So much fun.

It was great fun! There were explanations and you could buy snacks and drinks when on the cruise. A very cool way to see the are around Loch Lomond we strongly recommended it.

This is a must-do while in Inverness. Gorgeous sights and an amazing crew.