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Things to do in Inverness

Things to do in  Inverness

Welcome to Inverness

Nestled on the banks of the River Ness in northern Scotland, Inverness is the last city stop on the way up to the remote Shetland Islands. Slightly more subdued than major Scottish cities such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, Inverness lies within reach of top attractions including the Great Glen and Loch Ness—attracting year-round travelers eager to admire the spectacular scenery and rugged landscapes for which Scotland is famous. Within the city itself, visitors can take hop-on hop-off bus tours to sites of interest including Abertarff House, the Caledonian Canal, Inverness Castle, and the Merkinch Local Nature Reserve—and gain insight from tour guides into centuries of Scottish history. Looking farther afield, you’ll find whisky-tasting tours to the Highland and Speyside regions, home to famous distilleries including Glenfiddich and Glenlivet; early-morning canoe trips through the mighty Aigas Gorge; full-day tours to Loch Ness and Glen Affric; and day trips to diverse destinations including Applecross, Eilean Donan, and Torridon, where life ticks by at a wonderfully relaxing pace. And if time isn’t pressing, two- to five-day adventures take in far-flung corners of the Scottish shoreline such as the Isle of Skye, Orkney Islands, and Hebrides, where the natural beauty of Scotland’s rugged Atlantic Coast reveals itself in full.

Top 10 attractions in Inverness

#1
Loch Ness

Loch Ness

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While visitors flock to Loch Ness hoping to catch a glimpse of its elusive and eponymous monster, Loch Ness—a lake in the Scottish Highlands—is worth the trip even if you don’t believe the rumors. Vast and surrounded by magnificent Scottish scenery, Loch Ness is a popular boating and sightseeing spot.More
#2
Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus

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A village on the shores of Loch Ness, Fort Augustus is a popular destination in the Scottish Highlands. Once a garrison in the 18th century, the scenic village today attracts cyclists, hikers, and travelers in search of the Loch Ness monster. It’s also a gateway to the Great Glen Way, a 73-mile trail that runs from Inverness to Fort William.More
#3
Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

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Scotland's largest island, the Isle of Skye is a pocket of wilderness jutting off the coast of the West Highlands. The area is a treat for nature lovers, with its dramatic sea cliffs, windswept valleys, and glittering lochs.More
#4
Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield

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The Culloden Battlefield was the site of one of the last battles to take place on British soil. On April 16, 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army of 5,000 Jacobite Highlanders faced off against the Duke of Cumberland and 9,000 Hanoverian government troops. Though the Jacobites fought valiantly, they were ultimately defeated, resulting in the elimination of the Scottish clan system and the suppression of Highland culture. Today, the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre retells the events of that fateful day through interactive exhibits that put travelers in the thick of the action.More
#5
Urquhart Castle (Caisteal na Sròine)

Urquhart Castle (Caisteal na Sròine)

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Set on the shore of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle (Caisteal na Sròine) attracts many visitors that come here in hopes of glimpsing Nessie, the loch’s fabled aquatic monster. The ruined medieval fortress, which was destroyed in 1762 to prevent it from becoming a Jacobite stronghold, now houses a visitor center that exhibits objects found amid the ruins.More
#6
Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle

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Perched atop a hill by the River Ness, this Victorian-era red sandstone castle—built to replace the medieval fortress blown up by the Jacobites in 1746—is one of Inverness’ most prominent historic structures. Access to the castle, now occupied by government offices and law courts, is restricted but the grounds are open to the public.More
#7
Caledonian Canal

Caledonian Canal

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Pleasure boats float along Caledonian Canal, a scenic 60-mile (97-kilometer) waterway that runs through Scotland's Great Glen, connecting Fort William in the southwest to Inverness in the northeast. The canal, which links Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Dochfour, and Loch Ness, is popular with walkers and cyclists, who follow towpath trails.More
#8
Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns

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The Clava Cairns—or the Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Balnuaran of Clava—are all that remains of what was once a much larger Bronze Age burial complex. Dating back 4,000 years, the evocative cemetery site retains original features, including passage graves, standing stones, and ring cairns (stone circles).More
#9
Glen Ord Distillery

Glen Ord Distillery

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Founded in 1838, Glen Ord Distillery is one of the oldest in Scotland. Here, at the only remaining malt whisky distillery on the remote Black Isle, it’s possible to go on a behind-the-scenes tour to see and understand the process of making a single malt from start to finish. You’ll get to check out the barley maltings as well as the fermentation and distillation methods, wandering among the barrels and huge copper stills as you go.As is tradition, at the end of the hour-long tour you’ll get to enjoy a single malt tasting or two. As you sip, you’ll learn how to compare and identify the flavors in whisky. And be sure to make the most of your swig; you won’t be able to buy and enjoy Glen Ord whisky anywhere else in the country, as outside the distillery’s whisky store, the single malt is only sold in Asia.More
#10
Inverness Cathedral (St. Andrew's Cathedral)

Inverness Cathedral (St. Andrew's Cathedral)

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With its imposing pink sandstone turrets presiding over the River Ness, Inverness Cathedral (St. Andrew's Cathedral or, less commonly, the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew) is one of the most striking of the city’s many churches. The 19th-century Gothic-style structure is conspicuously spire-free. Though architect Alexander Ross put them in his original design, they had to be scrapped due to lack of funds.More

Trip ideas

Scottish Island Tours from Inverness

Scottish Island Tours from Inverness

How to Spend 1 Day in Inverness

How to Spend 1 Day in Inverness

How to Spend 3 Days in Inverness

How to Spend 3 Days in Inverness

Top activities in Inverness

Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
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Full-Day Outlander Experience in the Scottish Highlands from Inverness
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Isle of Skye Full Day 8-Seater Bus Tour from Inverness
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Highlander Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield 8 Seater Tour from Inverness
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John O'Groats, Dunrobin Castle & the Far North from Inverness
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The Complete Loch Ness Experience Small-Group Day Tour from Inverness
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Private Bespoke Skye Tour

Private Bespoke Skye Tour

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Loch Ness & The Highlands from Inverness
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Loch Ness and Outlander Day Tour from Inverness
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Isle of Skye Day Tour

Isle of Skye Day Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Inverness

star-5
An hour well spent
Epj, Jul 2021
Inverness City Sightseeing - Red Route
We had never visited Inverness before and it helped us to see the whole city.
star-5
The best way to see the beautiful parts of Inverness
Catriona_M, Jul 2021
Inverness Bike Tour a 2 hours guided bike tour around the Waterways of Inverness
Cycling is the way to see the most beautiful, otherwise relatively hidden parts of Inverness, for tourists.
star-5
Cycle tour - Inverness
Priv_C, Jun 2021
Inverness Bike Tour a 2 hours guided bike tour around the Waterways of Inverness
Also pointed out activities and places of interest beyond what's available online.
star-5
Highlands with Culloden, Clava Cairns, and more
Ann W, Aug 2018
Highlander Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield 8 Seater Tour from Inverness
He knows the history and all the special places to visit in the Inverness area.
star-5
Very good tour. You don't get to see...
Keith H, May 2016
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
You don't get to see all of the Isle of Skye but what you see is well worth going for.
star-5
Had a wonderful time in Inverness...
Justine G, Jul 2016
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
Had a wonderful time in Inverness the tours I went on with the Highland experience and our driver and was very informative even though it rained most of the time we still got to see a lot of things my Jacobite tour of Loch Ness was beautiful
star-5
Fantastic tour with a fantastic guide
Patrick_G, Oct 2020
The Ultimate Isle of Skye Day Tour from Inverness
Got to see pretty much everything on my list and then some which I probably wouldn't have gotten to on my own.
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Day tour of Loch Ness
Janice_B, Sep 2020
Loch Ness & The Highlands from Inverness
The tour was excellent, we were only in Inverness for a day and wanted to see the area and learn a little of it's history.
star-5
Tailored and warm experience
James_H, Mar 2020
Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
Mike was a warm, knowledgeable, and energetic guide who always knew the best way to see each site.
star-5
Our highlander guide Jim was a highlight
BrooklynJetset, Oct 2019
BMW X5 SUV Cruise Loch Ness, Visit Urquhart + Cawdor Castle, Culloden + Clava
The fall colors were gorgeous as we drove through the countryside to see the famous railway viaduct from the Harry Potter movies.
star-5
Best Tour of our Entire Stay
Denise D, Oct 2019
The Isle of Skye & Eilean Donan Castle from Inverness
I'm definitely interested in visiting the Isle of Skye again to see more, but if you're visiting and want to make the most of a day from Inverness - this is the tour for you.
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Scotland Andy
Ambassador82716, Sep 2019
Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Day Tour from Inverness
The weather went from sunshine to steady rain, which lended for outstanding photo opts of numerous waterfalls rolling from the mountians and a rainbow over the bay.
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Recommended trip with a lot to see
Erton, Apr 2019
Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Small-Group Day Tour from Inverness
There's a lot to see along the route and a dozen stops was included in the schedule.
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Gordon driver/guide was lively and full...
Jeff F, Aug 2018
Isle of Skye Full Day 8-Seater Bus Tour from Inverness
We managed to see a lot as we dodged the showers here and there.
star-5
Great overview of a surprisingly...
LaleiG, Aug 2013
City Sightseeing Inverness Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
The bus also gave a very interesting and comprehensive overview of what there is to see in the city.
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My niece and I took this tour on a...
Walter B, Aug 2018
Isle of Skye Full Day 8-Seater Bus Tour from Inverness
This was a small tour with only 8 people, which added to the pleasure of the tour because everyone complied with instructions and we were able to see everything on the agenda.
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It was a great way to see the...
Vaughn K, Oct 2015
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
It was a great way to see the Highlands without the bother of driving.
star-5
Excellent Day Trip to Isle of Skye
kellycalvo, Jul 2018
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
I would highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to visit Isle of Skye for the day.
star-5
As first time travelers to Scotland...
Patricia H, Oct 2016
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
Kevin made many stops on the trip allowing for photo opportunities and to see to our comforts.
star-4
The stop at Eilean Donan Castle was...
Jeniffer A, May 2016
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
The town of Portree was a cute little town, but if you're hoping to see the cliffs at the Isle of Skye, this is not the trip for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
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