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Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh

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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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icon12 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 7 more
Good for avoiding crowds

Keeping you safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
Face masks required for travellers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
Gear/equipment sanitised between use
Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised
Guides required to regularly wash hands
Regular temperature checks for staff
Temperature checks for travellers upon arrival
Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
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Overview

This full-day Scottish Highlands tour takes you on a scenic drive from Edinburgh to the fabled Loch Ness. The journey travels by coach across Rannoch Moor to Glen Coe and through the Great Glen to Fort Augustus, where you’re treated to a locally made picnic lunch. Take an optional boat ride on the legendary loch in search of ‘Nessie’ before the return trip over the Drumochter Pass and through the forests and rivers of Highland Perthshire, with views of the UNESCO-listed Forth Bridge.
  • Soak up the unspoiled scenery of the Great Glen and Rannoch Moor with your expert guide
  • Admire spectacular views of the Caledonian Canal, Perthshire, Glen Coe, and the Forth Bridge
  • Take an optional boat cruise on Loch Ness to catch a glimpse of the legendary monster Nessie
  • Enjoy a locally produced sandwich picnic lunch in the quaint village of Fort Augustus

Why Travellers Choose This Tour

This tour takes in the highlights of the Highlands and includes a picnic lunch with Scottish shortbread.
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Local guide
Picnic lunch - sandwiches, shortbread and bottled mineral water
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Food and drinks, unless specified
Optional boat cruise on Loch Ness (from £15 for an adult) - can be purchased at check-in.

Departure Point

Highland Explorer Tours, 60 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1TB, UK

Departure Time

8:00 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Tour the Scottish Highlands and enjoy an optional Loch Ness boat tour during this day trip, led by a knowledgeable guide who provides insightful commentary throughout the journey.

Start the excursion aboard your coach in central Edinburgh and travel north along the ramparts of Stirling Castle. Pass the Trossachs, cross Rannoch Moor and stop at Glen Coe—site of a legendary 17th-century massacre—before continuing on through the Great Glen via Fort William.

Arriving at the Highland village of Fort Augustus, situated on the banks of Loch Ness, you can opt for a leisurely walk or simply relax by the Caledonian Canal with your provided picnic lunch. Enjoy your choice of locally made sandwiches and shortbread washed down with bottled mineral water.

If you’d like, spend your free time aboard boat cruise on the loch (own expense). Go in search of the Loch Ness Monster named Nessie, a mythical creature said to inhabit these waters. The custom-built boat is equipped with underwater imaging technology, providing a fascinating view of the underwater terrain.

Afterward, re-board the coach for the return drive, passing Loch Laggan and motoring over Drumochter Pass, which connects the northern and southern Scottish Highlands. Your guide points out Perthshire and the lush forested landscapes of Big Tree Country. View the cantilever Forth Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before your day trip concludes in Edinburgh in the evening.
Itinerary
Pass By:  
Stirling Castle
Pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle and drive through the Trossachs National Park, Rob Roy country
Stop At:  
Callander
Enjoy a comfort stop in Callander, a small highland town
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Glencoe
We cross the wilds of Rannoch Moor before stopping at dramatic Glencoe, the scene of the infamous massacre in 1692.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Ben Nevis
We drive through Fort William passing Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, before entering the Great Glen.
Stop At:  
Loch Ness Region
Once in Fort Augustus on the banks of Loch Ness, you have the chance to take a boat cruise on the loch, go for a walk or just relax by the Caledonian Canal in this charming Highland village.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Cairngorms National Park
We journey past shimmering Loch Laggan before climbing over the wild and lonely Drumochter Pass in the Cairngorms National Park.
Stop At:  
Pitlochry
Heading south, we enter Perthshire, a land of forests, rivers and mountains. We enjoy a stop in Pitlochry, or a similar town in the area.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Forth Bridge
Pass by the infamous Forth Bridge on our way back in to Edinburgh.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 23 hours of travel. In this case confirmation will be received as soon as possible, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Minimum age is 5 years
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travellers can participate
  • Not recommended for travellers with mobility difficulties
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 41 travellers
  • OPERATED BY Highland Explorer Tours Ltd

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • This experience requires a minimum number of travellers. If it’s cancelled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh?
A:
The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travellers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Temperature checks for travellers upon arrival
See all safety measures taken by Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh?
A:
The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitised between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised
See all safety measures taken by Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh?
A:
The policies on social distancing are:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh?
A:
The policies on staff health & safety are:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
See all safety measures taken by Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh.
Q:
What is the maximum group size during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh?
A:
This activity will have a maximum of 41 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh.

Traveller Photos

Traveller Tips


  • "Even though it's a long drive to Loch Ness, the beauty of the highlands and the nice (and funny) information from the guide are worth it." See review
  • "If you take the cruise, it may not offer a lot of time to walk around town and visit those cute shops." See review
  • "It was a longish day, but it was worth it." See review

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
555 reviews
Reviews by Viator travellers
Showing 1-10 of 555 reviews
star-5
A bit of history while experiencing the Scottish highlands with Scott
Rumana_Rafique
, Sep 2020
It was very nice to listen to Scott narrating the history of Scotland and the Scottish highlands while driving. Loved his singing as well. It was a great experience. Many thanks for stopping by the beautiful spots for taking pictures. Five stars <3
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star-5
Amazing
Maria_F
, Aug 2020
Really first class guide, made the trip really enjoyable. Stunning views, great experience. I would choose them without doubting
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star-5
Amazing overview trip
CarolinePBoyd
, Nov 2019
Our guide Caitlin was very informative, and knew how to keep her group awake on a 12 hour tour. She played Scottish music for us, and told us fascinating tales of Scottish history while we drove around. Caitlin honestly made the trip for us!
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star-5
Excellent trip!
Jet65153435761
, Oct 2019
Our trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands was fantastic! Everything was so enjoyable and well planned. Our driver, Rich, was entertaining, knowledgeable and funny. The stops along the way let us really experience the different landscapes. We are so glad we chose this trip!
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star-5
Amazing!!
Anurag B
, Oct 2019
The tour was totally amazing and our guide, Aevon (not sure if the spelling is right) told us each and everything about those areas. Had a great time with friends!!
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star-5
Highly recommended Tour
marvinadebono
, Aug 2019
Excellent tour, fun and informative. Murray our guide was not only very knowledgable but also lots if fun with trivias, singing and his artistic accordion music
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star-5
Good tour operator.
vnk12345
, Jul 2019
Very nice places. The tour operators service was good. Driver was very good and tour guide was giving good information about places. Punctuality in time was well appreciated.
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star-5
Excellent Highland and Loch Ness trip!
FarAway33109947321
, Jul 2019
Duncan, our driver and tourist guide was marvellous, he provided detailed information throughout our trip, music was also good, he was humorous. It's great to travel with a good tourist guide! Thank you!
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star-5
Loch Ness day tour
adpeteo
, Jul 2019
Our guide was absolutely hilarious. Highly knowledgeable and very fun. We had such a great day and we highly recommend doing this trip with the Loch Ness cruise too!!
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star-3
It Really is a 12 Hour Trip on a Bus
matm1121
, Jul 2019
Well, they advertised a 12 hour bus trip through the Highlands and that's exactly what we got. We made 1, 30 minute stop in Callander, 15 minutes at a memorial for the Commados in Lochaber, 2 hours in Loch Ness and 30 minutes in Pitlochry. None of these (other than Loch Ness) was long enough to do more than empty your bladder (if there was a bathroom at all) and briefly walk around. There was not an accessible bathroom on the bus and pit stops were extremely few and far between - 2 of them with pay toilets. We also seemed to be competing with dozens of other tour buses for locales and parking spaces. Lunch was provided but was pretty bleak - your choice of sandwiches: Egg and Mayo, Cheese and Pickle, Ham and Tomato and Hummus with a bottle of water and packet of shortbread (the shortbread was good). The drive itself was beautiful, and the guide told us about the history of what we could see from the bus during the journey which was entertaining and nice. The bus itself had leg room akin to an airline and my back and legs are quite stiff today. If you take this tour: 1. Don't drink a lot of liquids 2. Bring some change for the pay toilets at 2 of the stops 3. Bring snacks and/or your own lunch. You really will see some beautiful sights from the bus and get an overview of the Highlands, but if you are expecting to be able to stop and have a leisurely walk around these towns and explore, this is not the trip for you.
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