A large freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands, Loch Ness can be explored on a number of guided tours – though none can promise a sighting of the fabled creature said to lurk beneath the water.
For many who grew up in Scotland, the image of the Loch Ness Monster – or ‘Nessie’ as she is affectionately known – is synonymous with the mystery and traditions of the Highlands. Despite knowing better, both locals and tourists flock here in hope of a glimpse of the fantasy sea creature. Tours to the famous landmark from Edinburgh offer the opportunity to drive through the dramatic scenery of the region on your way north. Here are three great Loch Ness tours that start in the Scottish capital.
Loch Ness, Glencoe and The Highlands Day Trip
Take this tour operated by Timberbush Tours for the very best that the Scottish Highlands have to offer. Departing from Edinburgh by coach bound for Loch Ness, you’ll pass by famous historic landmarks including Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument and Linlithgow Palace on your way to scenic Glen Coe and Fort Augustus. On arrival at Loch Ness, guests are given the option of taking a one-hour boat ride on the Loch. Following this, the tour will head on to the Cairngorms National Park for views of towering mountain ranges and Loch Laggan. Finally, you’ll stop off in the Victorian town of Pitlochry for a leisurely look around before returning to Edinburgh. From £52 per person.
Loch Ness Day Tour with 3-Course Lunch
Try and spot the Loch Ness Monster from the banks of the infamous Loch and sit down to a 3-course lunch during this full-day tour. Accompanied by a local guide, the trip starts with a drive by air-conditioned coach north from Edinburgh, taking you through the Trossachs National Park and Rob Roy country, crossing the wilds of Rannoch Moor before stopping at Glencoe, site of the infamous massacre in 1692. You’ll continue on through Fort William and Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak, before arriving at the banks of the Loch. Here you’ll tuck into a lunch featuring Scottish specialities like smoked salmon, haggis, wild game and whisky. After lunch you can go Nessie hunting on a short walk to the shoreline or just relax by the Caledonian Canal before your scenic return journey.
2-Day Highlands and Loch Ness Tour
This tour allows two days to immerse tyourself in the beauty of the Highlands. Departing Edinburgh by coach, you’ll head west through Glasgow before reaching Loch Lomond and the sandy beaches of Luss, glimpsing the towering peaks of Ben Lomond. The drive will then navigate the narrow roads north, passing Glen Coe, to arrive at Fort William, with Ben Nevis neighbouring this small town. Here you’ll spend the rest of the afternoon and night in the town. The next day is dedicated to exploring Loch Ness, where guests can opt to cruise the Loch and visit Urquhart Castle – though neither are included in the tour price. The next stop is the local whisky distillery, where guest are invited to learn how to make the perfect dram, sample the barrels, and purchase their own. Finally, you’ll stop off in Perth and Kinross, before returning to Edinburgh early evening. From £165 per person.