Welcome to Inverness & the Great Glen


The Great Glen is a geological fault running in a line across Scotland from Fort William to Inverness. The glaciers of the last ice age eroded a deep trough along the fault line, which is now filled by four lochs – Linnhe, Lochy, Oich and Ness. The glen has always been an important communication route – General George Wade built a military road along the southern side of Loch Ness in the early 18th century, and in 1822 the various lochs were linked by the Caledonian Canal to create a cross-country waterway. The A82 road along the glen was completed in 1933 – a date that coincides neatly with the first modern sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.


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Inverness & the Great Glen activities

$93.65 Day Trips & Excursions

Orkney Islands Day Trip from Inverness

Leaving Inverness behind, this day trip of the Orkney Islands departs every summer morning. Settle back and enjoy the spectacular drive through Scotland's Far North Highlands, before arriving at famous John O'Groats - the end of the line, the northern most point of Scotland. Cross the Pentland Firth to the Islands in just 40 minutes, looking out for puffins, seals, gannets, porpoise and even the occasional whale along the way. Island hop across the Churchill Barriers which thread together five islands to form the Eastern boundary of Scapa Flow. Visit the capital town, Kirkwall, home to the magnificent Viking cathedral of St Magnus and step back 3,000 years as you enter the stoneage village of Skara Brae. The village was hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved, until uncovered 150 years ago during a winter storm.

$68.23 Tours & Sightseeing

Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness

Leave Inverness and head southwest to Loch Ness, the legendary freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands. As you travel by minibus along the shore-side road, your expert guide will talk you through the myth of ‘Nessie’ – the fabled Loch Ness Monster. Stop at the wee village of Invermoriston to stretch your legs and see the delightful Thomas Telford Bridge.Continue traveling through pretty glens like Glen Moriston, and then pass alongside the Five Sisters mountain range. Stop outside Eilean Donan Castle to admire its incredibly picturesque ruins sprawled across the banks of three spectacular lochs.At the Kyle of Lochalsh, cross the famous Skye Bridge to reach the Isle of Skye itself. First stop is at the island’s second-largest settlement, Broadford, where you’ll visit a charming local inn for lunch (own expense). Then your tour of this beautiful island begins! Following the coastal road to Glen Suardal, pass the iconic Red Cuillin Hills and enjoy sweeping views of pretty Bla Bheinn (Blaven Mountain) from the village of Torrin. Take a stroll with your guide around the banks of Loch Slappin – one of Scotland’s most photographed lochs. As you amble around this picturesque spot, your guide will indulge you in the local pastime of beachcombing – scouting the shores for interesting rocks and fossils. After walking along the shores, enjoy a steep walk up Strathaird Peninsula to reach the tiny village of Egol. Spend time at leisure here, soaking up the stunning sea views across to Rum.Your journey back passes the little island of Eilean Ban, home to a large colony of otters and a wealth of wildlife. The famous British writer Gavin Maxwell calls Eilean Ban home, and the wildlife here influenced his best-selling novel, Ring of Bright Water. Head back to Inverness via the village of Achnasheen and the dramatic Black Isle, arriving in the early evening.

$80.27 Day Trips & Excursions

Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats

Leaving John O'Groats, this day trip to the Orkney Islands departs every summer morning. Cross the Pentland Firth to the Islands by ferry in just 40 minutes. The Firth is rich in marine wild life and the many isolated islands provide secure breeding places for thousands of sea birds. Look out for seals and whales along the way. Island hop across the Churchill Barriers which thread together five islands to form the Eastern boundary of Scapa Flow. Visit the capital town, Kirkwall, home to the magnificent Viking cathedral of St Magnus, and the lovely little village of Stromness, last port of call for sailing ships on their way to the Americas. Then step back 5,000 years as you enter the Neolithic village of Skara Brae. This Village was hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved, until uncovered 150 years ago during a winter storm. On your way back to the ferry in the evening there will be a stop at the Italian Chapel. Beautifully constructed inside two "nissen" huts using only basic raw materials, the beauty of the Chapel must be seen to be appreciated.

$46.83 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Loch Ness Cruise with Centre and Urquhart Castle Admission

Meet your expert guide at the bus station in central Inverness to begin your tour. Then, leave the city by air-conditioned coach and travel southwest to Clansman Harbor. As you travel, listen to your guide sharing interesting stories and details about Inverness and Loch Ness.Set on the north shores of what is perhaps the most mysterious stretch of water in the world, Loch Ness’ Clansman Harbor lies at the foot of rambling hills, just a stone’s throw from Inverness’ city center. Here, switch your coach for a cruise boat and take in the stunning natural vistas as you slip away from shore toward the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle. Keep looking out for a glimpse of the fabled Loch Ness Monster as you glide!Enjoy a 1-hour tour of the dilapidated castle that, in its 500 years as a medieval fortress, has a particularly dark and bloody past. Learn about King Edward I’s invasion in the 13th century, its importance during the Scots’ struggle for independence in the 14th century and the raids from MacDonald Lord of the Isles during the 15th and 16th centuries.After exploring the ruins, reboard your coach and head to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. Opened over 30 years ago, the multimedia exhibition center boasts seven themed areas that are crammed with over 500 million years of history, mystery and legends of Loch Ness and its famous monster, Nessie.Following your 1-hour independent visit of the center, enjoy a scenic coach ride back to central Inverness, where your tour concludes.

$107.03 Tours & Sightseeing

Isle of Skye Full Day 8-Seater Bus Tour from Inverness

Leave the Columba Hotel on Ness Walk in Inverness at 8:30am with your host, a driver-guide known as “the man in the kilt.” Your bus seats up to eight people, and has heating and air-conditioning, but no Wi-Fi or bathroom. Regular stops are included on the route. Travel along scenic roads, stopping to see famous Scottish landmarks such as the mysterious Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle as you go. You’ll immerse yourself into the history of Glen Shiel, a glen remembered as the site of a Jacobite battle, then stop to explore the peaks of the Five Sisters of Kintail and Eilean Donan Castle. Deer, wild goats, ospreys, and eagles are among the wildlife you might see along the way. Say hello to Morag, Mhairi and other Highland cows. Then, you’ll cross the sea to the Isle of Skye. Pass over the elegant Skye Bridge, which opened in 1995, and gaze at the scenery and landscapes that have captivated visitors for centuries. Travel through the Cuillin mountain range, and take in the dramatic and ever-changing backdrop. Continue to the picturesque harbor town of Portree, and perhaps enjoy a seafood lunch at your own expense, or a stroll along the Thomas Telford–designed pier. After lunch, you’ll learn about historical volcanic activity that left natural landmarks such as the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing. Explore the pillars and waterfall at Kilt Rock, and admire the views toward the Torridon hills on the mainland. Stop at the Kyle of Lochalsh, then return to Inverness. Your day trip ends around 7:30pm (or 5:30pm in low season due to daylight hours).

$37.46 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle from Inverness Sightseeing Tour

Make your own way to the bus station in central Inverness to meet your guide. Then, leave the city by air-conditioned coach and relax on the scenic journey to Clansman Harbour during winter months, or Dochgarroch during summer months. As you travel, listen to your guide sharing interesting stories and details about Inverness and Loch Ness.Swap your coach for a cruise boat and take in the sweeping natural panoramas as you cross the still waters toward the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle. Stay on the lookout for Nessie, the fabled Loch Ness Monster, as you glide.Enjoy around an hour of free time to tour the crumbled castle that, in its 500 years as a medieval fortress, has a dark and bloody past. Learn about King Edward I’s invasion in the 13th century, its importance during the Scots’ struggle for independence in the 14th century and the raids from MacDonald Lord of the Isles during the 15th and 16th centuries.Head to the visitor center to find out more about the noble families who held the castle and to browse the impressive collection of medieval artifacts housed there. Should you wish, refuel with a drink and a snack in the cafe and visit the shop to pick up a memento of your day. You can also head onto the center’s veranda for postcard-perfect views of the loch.After exploring the ruins and visitor center, enjoy a guided panoramic tour of the area by coach on your way back to central Inverness, where your tour concludes.

Inverness & the Great Glen in detail