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Getting to Loch Ness from Inverness

Hi All,

I will be in Edinburgh for one week and taking the train up to Inverness to stay for another week. I have already booked day trips with tour companies to take me out to Culloden and surrounding area and another for a 12 hour long day trip out to the Isle of Skye. I would also like to go to Loch Ness and see Urquhart Castle and perhaps a couple of the small villages further down the loch. My question is whether you would suggest I sign up for a guided tour that leaves from downtown Inverness and shuttles us all the way around the loch with places to stop and get out for exploration and photos, or if Loch Ness can be done easily via public transportation. Keeping in mind that I would like to take a boat tour on the loch, visit the castle, and general exploring. Is the loch easy to get to from Inverness or are the public transit buses a bit of a headache? Also if public transit is easy enough to get there, is it easy to get from one point to the next around the loch? Also, I read one time and with no website for additional info, that there is a boat that leaves from Inverness and travels down the river via the canal to Loch Ness. Has anyone done this? Is it even real?

I'm also having the same struggle with Cairngorms and the Funicular. There is no tour that goes there and public transit out there seems to be a bit of a headache. Anyone have experiences otherwise or advice? Thanks!!


  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hey @PulfordL, I have done a Loch Ness boat tour by public transport, the Citylink / local transport buses drop you off at the Clansman hotel which is the departure spot for the Jacobite boat tour (which offers a combined Urquhart castle + loch tour). Checkout Traveline Scotland for accurate public transport info.

    My experience was mixed, the bus to reach Loch Ness connected fairly ok with my train to Inverness and we reached well in time for our boat tour. Unfortunately our bus back was late by an hour which was quite frustrating. The village of Drumnadrochit is not walkably close by the Clansman either and with the low frequency of buses was not possible for us to go to. In hindsight, I would have taken an organized tour. With Rural Scotland public transport in general, you do have to say a prayer sometimes, the schedules "are for guidance".

    I had a much better public transport experience in Aviemore and although I did not visit the Funicular, I did catch the local bus to Grantown and all the buses were running like clockwork. There is a once an hour bus to the ski centre from the rail station (bus 31) which takes 30 minutes and I'd recommend you go for it based on my local transport experience.

    I have seen a large part of Scotland exclusively by public transport and blog about my Scotland (& worldwide trips) here: Each post has public transport logistics & even costs sometimes to help the non-driving traveller :smile: 
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • PulfordLPulfordL Member
    Thanks! This is very much in line with what I was thinking. Will plan to take a guided tour so I can ensure I can see everything even if it's a bit more rushed than if I were on my own. Appreciate the response!
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