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Loch Ness Tourism And Travel Guide
1.9° C / 35.5° F
April to September
1 to 2 Days
Inverness Airport (35 kms)
Inverness Railway Station (22 kms)
Loch Ness is a large freshwater lake in the Scottish Highlands, situated between Inverness in the north and Fort William in the south, extending for almost 37 km. It is the second-largest and second-deepest lake in Scotland and connects to River Oich at its southern end. Most known for being the home of the Loch Ness monster – a famous mythical creature many believe to be living within the depths of the lake – the Loch Ness region has consistently grown famous over the years and is widely regarded as a mecca for conspiracy theorists.
Alleged sightings of the Loch Ness monster, affectionately referred to as Nessie by the locals, draws tourism from all over the world to this region. While the many stories about Nessie’s sightings are what truly drive tourism in the region, the local attractions are not just limited to the lake area. Plan your trip to the Loch Ness region soon with the help of this travel guide.
How to Reach
The Inverness Airport is the nearest air connection to Loch Ness. It is located around 35 km away and operates only short distance flights like from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Amsterdam etc. Flying into Glasgow International Airport or Edinburgh Airport is a better option if you are looking for a long-haul flight or are travelling from outside Europe. Buses and taxis can be availed from all terminals to reach Loch Ness. While Inverness is only a 40-minute drive away, travellers from Glasgow and Edinburgh often choose to stay overnight in Inverness before going ahead to Loch Ness.
The closest railway line from the Loch Ness region is the Inverness Railway Station, which runs trains from London, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Perth etc. There is also a railway station in Fort William, which is located 80 km from Loch Ness and runs trains to London and Glasgow apart from a number of smaller towns around the region. Buses can be availed from both stations to Loch Ness.
Reaching Loch Ness via road involves first reaching either Inverness from the north or Fort William via Fort Augustus from the south. The A96 main trunk road connects Inverness to Edinburgh, London and several other places. Buses run every hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow passing through Perth and Aviemore. Fort William also has buses from Glasgow and Edinburgh etc.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Summer (June – September):
Summers are the best time to explore Loch Ness but also the busiest. Temperatures average around 20⁰C and the weather is generally warm and sunny – perfect for enjoying all that the region has to offer. One of the highlights of visiting in summers is the number of daylight hours in a day; with the sun being out for over 18 hours a day, travellers can make the most out of their trip in even a single day. The only downside to summers is the large tourist crowds and the pricey hotel rates.
Spring (March – May):
Spring is a great time to visit the Loch Ness region as well; some may even enjoy a trip during this season even more than the summers since the hotels aren’t yet packed with the peak season crowds. The weather is mild and consistently grows warmer as summers approach, with April and May also being the driest months of the year.
Winter (October – February):
Winters are not the best time to visit the Loch Ness region since the temperature can dip down to freezing levels or occasionally even colder than that. The weather can be unpredictable as well, with snowfall that can occur in the hills as early as October with alternating milder climate. The daylight hours are limited to just around six hours a day, making this an unsuitable time to explore the Loch Ness.
Things to Do
Cruise on the Loch Ness:
The best way to enjoy the Loch Ness is from a cruise on the lake itself. Numerous cruise companies in the region offer boat rides on the Loch Ness that will allow visitors to enjoy the beauty of the lake and admire the stunning scenery that surrounds them. Cruises leave from various points around the lake like Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus etc. Companies offer fun packages like Loch Ness monster hunting trips and evening cruises to enjoy the beautiful sunsets.
Visit the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition:
Everything you want to learn about the Loch Ness monster can be done so at the Loch Ness Centre. It showcases all the latest news about the mythical creature and the developments that have been made towards the search for its existence. The main highlight of the centre is the Deepscan vessel that was used in Operation Deepscan in 1987. Visitors can take a trip of the Loch Ness on the vessel and enjoy the magnificence of the surroundings themselves.
Water Sports at the Caledonian Canal:
The Caledonian Canal is a 96-km long stretch of water body that is made up of several lakes; the largest part being contributed by the Loch Ness. While it was used for transportation purposes in the earlier 20th century, it is mostly used for leisure activities by tourists now. Visitors to the region can take part in canoeing, white water rafting, river kayaking and rented boat rides on the canal.
Where to Eat
There are several restaurants and cafes in the villages and towns around Loch Ness where visitors can enjoy great local food within the serene ambience of the Scottish Highlands. Dores Inn is the top choice in the region for indulging in delicious Scottish comfort food, while Lock Inn located in Fort Augustus is where you’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of bar meals accompanied with exquisite malt whiskies. Orkney salmon, Highland venison, fish and chips and daily seafood specials are some of the best-loved items here. Fiddler’s Coffee Shop & Restaurant in Drumnadrochit is where you’ll find traditional Scottish fare like haggis and venison that can be coupled with Scottish beers.