Things to do in
The Great Glen

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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 your group’s 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 Fort William, 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 with personal touches. 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.

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From Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Tour

2. From Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Tour

From Glasgow, travel north towards the Scottish highlands. Our first stop is for a cup of tea or coffee at a café on the shores of Loch Lomond. We then climb up into the Highlands over the unique, desolate landscape of Rannoch Moor and the Black Mount to Glencoe, site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald clan. After lunch in the Fort William area, we continue beneath Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis and into the Great Glen. At Loch Ness, take a 1-hour cruise on the loch or enjoy the beautiful views at its shores. Begin your return journey from Inverness, Capital of the Highlands. Before arriving back in Glasgow, we will cross the Grampian Mountains and the woodland scenery of Perthshire, including the Forest of Atholl.

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From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Highlands Full-Day Trip

3. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Highlands Full-Day Trip

Explore the beauty of Scotland’s Highlands on a 12-hour scenic driving tour by comfortable coach. See historic sights and unforgettable landscapes on this guided day trip from Edinburgh. Following a hotel pick-up in central Edinburgh, you will head towards Stirling, catching views of the Castle and Wallace Monument. Continue towards Callander, and stop for morning coffee, and the chance to meet “Hamish the Hairy Coo.” Head northwards over Rannoch Moor, and reach the dark, brooding Pass of Glencoe. Stop to learn the story of the massacre of 1692, before crossing Loch Leven. Stop for lunch in Fort William, then follow the Caledonian Canal up the Great Glen to Loch Ness. Here, you have the option to cruise on the Loch for approximately 1 hour, or relax in the tranquil village on its banks. After Loch Ness you will head South East and take in magnificent views of Loch Laggan. Marvel at the magnificent Blair Castle, home of the Dukes of Atholl for over 700 years, before moving onto 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.

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Loch Ness, Glencoe & Highlands Small-Group Tour from Glasgow

4. Loch Ness, Glencoe & Highlands Small-Group Tour from Glasgow

Depart Glasgow at 8:00 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 which 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. Of course, the loch is best known for the legendary sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie. Fort Augustus is a pretty little town in its own right, the Caledonian Canal which links the lochs of the Great Glen dominates the town and makes for a great place to relax and watch the boats sail by. You will stop here for lunch before travelling north the full length of the loch with opportunities to see the ancient stronghold of Urquhart Castle while taking a 5-Star Jacobite boat cruise on the loch. From Loch Ness you continue north through Inverness before traveling south through the mountains of the Cairngorms National Park. Your route takes you over the Drumochter Pass, 1500 feet above sea level, and past the 13th century Blair Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Atholl. Your next stop is the Highland resort town of Pitlochry, built on Victorian tourism and nestled amongst the mountains of Highland Perthshire. Transportation by top of the range Mercedes minicoaches for a more personal service.

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From Edinburgh: Outlander Experience 2-Day Tour

5. From Edinburgh: Outlander Experience 2-Day Tour

Day 1 Your first visit will be Blackness Castle overlooking the Firth of Forth. The castle was used as the backdrop for Fort William and then Wentworth Prison (or as it in known, Linlithgow Palace). Onwards to Doune Castle, better known as Castle Leoch, home to Colum Mackenzie. The castle has also made appearances in the Monty Python and the Holy Grail film. Stop for lunch and a taste of whisky at the charming little distillery of Deanston. Next, into the Highlands and through Glen Coe with a quick stop at Loch Ness before arriving at your overnight in Inverness. Day 2 Step back in time 4000 years ago at Clava Cairns, the inspiration for Craigh na Dun. Then, continue to Culloden Battlefield, the scene of the last battle fought on British soil. Discover a living history at the Highland Folk Museum and its various time period scenes. Relive one of the first scenes when Jamie's ghost looks up in Claire's room at Outlander's Inverness: Falkland Village. Finally, explore the outside of Lallybroch at Midhope Castle. There will be a quick photo stop before arriving back in Edinburgh.

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Isle of Skye, Loch Ness & The Highlands 5-Day Tour

6. Isle of Skye, Loch Ness & The Highlands 5-Day Tour

Day One: Head north to Stirling and the towering Wallace Monument, with stunning views of the Castle. Enter the Highlands heading through wild Rannoch Moor and Glencoe and on to the fishing port of Oban, where you'll stay overnight. Day Two: Take the steam train from Fort William, crossing the viaduct featured in the Harry Potter movies, where a monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s campaign now stands. You'll take the ferry to Skye where you can explore the Clan Donald Skye, former home of the MacDonalds, before driving north to your overnight destination. Then stay overnight in the Isle of Skye. Day Three: Explore more of the mysterious island that's full of awe-inspiring mountains, myths and legends before returning to the mainland to view Eilean Donan Castle and wind your way along the Great Glen to infamous Loch Ness. Stay overnight in Inverness. Day Four: Hunt for the elusive monster with a cruise on Loch Ness before turning northward and the stunning beauty of the north west Highlands. Take in the beautiful town of Beauly with its Priory dating back to 1230, then visit the rugged and isolated mountains that secure Scotland's place as one of the last great wilderness in Europe. Stay overnight in Inverness. Day Five: Explore Culloden Battlefield on Drumossie Moor, scene of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s defeat back in 1746. Then head onward to Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park, south to Pitlochry, and take the chance to visit a whisky distillery before your return to Edinburgh. 

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Edinburgh: Loch Ness and Scottish Highlands Full-Day Tour

7. Edinburgh: Loch Ness and Scottish Highlands Full-Day Tour

Head north from Edinburgh and pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle. Skirt the Trossachs Rob Roy country, and cross the wilds of Rannoch Moor before stopping at dramatic Glencoe; the scene of the infamous 1692 massacre.  Your journey takes you through Fort William. Pass Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, before entering the Great Glen. Arrive at the pretty Highland village of Fort Augustus on the banks of Loch Ness, and enjoy a lovely picnic with freshly made sandwiches, fresh fruit, shortbread and Scottish mineral water. If you fancy something more substantial, your guide will happily recommend some great local cafes.  Take an optional boat cruise on the loch, go for a scenic hike, or just relax by the Caledonian Canal. If you choose to sail along the waters of Loch Ness, it really is an unforgettable experience. Your boat is eqipped with the latest hi-tech color, sonar, and underwater imaging system, giving you a fascinating view of the underwater terrain and life. You might even see Nessie! You can also relax with a coffee or beer in the on board bar. Having seen the best of the Scottish Highlands, it's time to head back to Edinburgh via shimmering Loch Laggan and the wild and lonely Drumochter Pass. Head south and enter Perthshire, a land of forests, rivers and mountains. See the spectacular Forth Bridge before arriving back in Edinburgh at around 20:00.

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From Inverness: Glen Affric, Culloden and Clava Cairns Tour

8. 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.

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From Edinburgh: Speyside Whisky Trail 3-Day Small Group Tour

9. From Edinburgh: Speyside Whisky Trail 3-Day Small Group Tour

A warm welcome awaits you in Speyside, home to more than half of Scotland's malt whiskey distilleries. You’ll have a chance to sample the whiskey and enjoy the magnificent scenery of Cairngorm, Speyside and Royal Deeside. Day 1: Head north through the Kingdom of Fife to Lindores Abbey Distillery. This modern Scottish distillery is built on the site of the first-ever recorded distillery in the country. After lunch in Pitlochry, sample the delights of Scotland's highest distillery at Dalwhinnie, near the source of the River Spey. Once you’ve warmed with this dram of “the gentle spirit”, continue through the Cairngorms National Park before reaching Grantown on Spey - your base for 2 nights. Day 2: Enjoy a whole day exploring Scotland’s most famous whiskey region. After a scenic drive towards the coast, make your first stop of the day at the family-owned Benromach Distillery. Travel back up the Spey River to Craigellachie for a visit to the Speyside Cooperage*, where you see another aspect of the whiskey-making process. After lunch in nearby Aberlour, visit Cardhu Distillery, which is the first distillery pioneered by a woman, Helen Cumming. Today, Cardhu is the most important whisky in Johnnie Walker Black Label. From here, travel back to Grantown on Spey. *Speyside Cooperage is only visited on Monday and Wednesday departures. Day 3: In the morning visit Glenlivet, which is both a distillery and a beautiful glen with serene walks and wonderful wildlife. Then, enjoy the majesty of Royal Deeside. Pass by Balmoral Castle, and stop in the village of Braemar in the heart of the National Park. From here, the route south passes over Scotland’s highest mountain pass, through Perthshire, and back to Edinburgh.

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Isle of Skye Small Group 3-Day Tour from Edinburgh

10. Isle of Skye Small Group 3-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Enjoy a full 3 days exploring the dramatic scenery of the Scottish Highlands and the romance of the island of Skye in a small group that offers maximum personal service. You can choose your accommodation to suit your own budget and you will get a Rabbies Discount Card to receive discounts at local restaurants and shops. Day 1: Depart Edinburgh by luxury Mercedes minibus at 08.30 and travel west, passing Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. Continue towards Stirling with its imposing castle and views of the Wallace Monument. You will pass Doune Castle, movie location for scenes from Monty Python's infamous "Holy Grail," before stopping at the edge of the Highlands for refreshments. As you drive into the Highlands you will pass Loch Luibnaig, Loch Earn, Crianlarich and Tyndrum, stopping for lunch along the way. Drive north through Glencoe, scene of the great massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. Continue to Fort William and up to the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, offering magnificent views over Ben Nevis. Next you will take the "Road to the Isles," through the splendor of the 5 Sisters of Kintail, the mountains that guard the pass to the Isle of Skye. Stop to visit the famous Eilean Donan Castle, used in the film "Highlander" and located at the junction of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. Crossing over the bridge to Skye, you head north to Portree where you will be dropped off at your accommodation. Enjoy an evening and dinner at leisure, exploring the town’s Gaelic attractions and harborside. Day 2: You will spend the day on the Isle of Skye with flexible arrangements. There are many possibilities, depending on the weather, and the dynamics of your group. Your driver/ guide's local knowledge will come to the fore to arrange the best day for everyone. You could travel north to explore the Trotternish Peninsula with its stunning Quiraing mountain pass and some of Skye's extraordinary geological scenery. Or head to Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns that are reminiscent of the pleats in a kilt. Enjoy the magic of the waterfall, cascading over cliffs and down into the sea below. Take a short break for lunch, before continuing to explore this most dramatic of islands. Head in a westerly direction to Dunvegan castle, the ancestral home of Clan Macleod, or enjoy spectacular views at Neist Point, the most westerly point of Skye. Return you to your accommodation in Portree in the early evening to enjoy dinner and the rest of the evening at leisure. Day 3: Your driver will collect your from your accommodation and head south through the Cuillin Hills, back over to the mainland for stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters of Kintail. Move on to Loch Ness for lunch. Look out for "Nessie," the mysterious monster that has haunted and confounded visitors since the 1950s. Head south through the Grampian Mountains along Loch Laggan, famous as the location for the TV miniseries "Monarch of the Glen," before passing Dalwhinnie, home to Scotland's highest whisky Distillery. You will pause for refreshments at Blair Castle, before heading back to Edinburgh via Perth and over the extraordinary Forth Road Bridge.

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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

4.5 / 5

based on 2,773 reviews

Our travel guide and at the same time coach driver Stuart was brilliant. He was very accomdating, knowledgeable and funny. He made sure that we are enjoying our trip. The trip itself was long but worth it. The highlands was beautifu.

Gary did a great job guiding us on our tour. He was very informative and gave us a good amount of time to explore the different places. I hope everyone gets Gary as a tour guide.

It was a amaizing experience, impressed about the knowledge of the driver, it doesn't have price. Thank you so much.

If you have limited times to explore scotland, get this tour. The view was magnificent and really blow my mind.

Best tourguide/bus driver Stewart. You are a legend. Walking/driving encyclopedia. -kristle & ernest (PH)