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

Badge of ExcellenceEdinburgh, United Kingdom

From $64.03

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 12 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English
  • Good for avoiding crowds


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 Travelers Choose This Tour

This tour takes in the highlights of the Highlands and includes a picnic lunch with Scottish shortbread.

What's Included

  • Local guide
  • Picnic lunch - freshly made & locally sourced valued at £4.50
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Optional boat cruise on Loch Ness (from £16.50 for an adult) - can be purchased at check-in.

Departure & Return

Departure Point

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

Departure Time

8:00 AM

Return Details

  • Waterloo Place, Waterloo Pl, Edinburgh, UK

What To Expect

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.

Stirling Castle (Pass By)

Pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle and drive through the Trossachs National Park, Rob Roy country


Enjoy a comfort stop in Callander, a small highland town

30 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Minimum age is 5 years
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Not recommended for travellers with mobility difficulties
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 41 travelers
Operated by Highland Explorer Tours Ltd

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

about cancellations

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.

Q:What is the policy on sanitization during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh?

A:The policies on sanitization are:
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized

Q:What is the social distancing policy during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh?

A:The policies on social distancing are:
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons

Q:What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh?

A:The policy on staff health & safety is:
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands

Traveler Photos

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Traveler 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.
If you take the cruise, it may not offer a lot of time to walk around town and visit those cute shops.
Despite the great Scottish weather (it's the Highlands after all), this is a great day excursion if you're looking into learning a bit about Scotland history and admire the beautiful landscapes of the Highlands!
1,096 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 1,096 reviews
Was a wonderful day out ...
Stephen_M, May 2022
Was a wonderful day out Highly recommend it Money best spent ever staff was really good Stop was good
Great experience
Guillaume_G, Apr 2022
Great storytelling full of humor and history on the bus and the Loch Ness boat tour. Definitely recommend this tour for anyone wanting to see more of Scotland in a short timeframe.
Full day of Highlands, done right
Arvind_J, Apr 2022
It was an full day of seeing best of Scotland's Highlands. The tour was well planned and executed. Right from the pickup time to drop-off. Our guide Rich was informative, funny, and entertaining. We were given sufficient time at each stop. The included lunch was also good, sandwich options for all dietary requirements along with crisps and cookie. The only thing I wish we would have done is- our first in the national park was a view point for a quick photo stop overlooking the lakes and mountains. The parking lot was full with other tourist coaches and cars when we reached there (I understand its in no-one's control). I wish we possibly could have waited for a few min to get the parking spot and be able to take photos from there, it looked very scenic. Overall, I enjoyed, had a good time and would use this tour operator again
A must do
Ian_M, Apr 2022
Our driver, Rich, was great! Very engaging and great stories and history information thru out the trip. This was a great way to visit the Highlands, worry free and entertaining.
Valentina_F, Apr 2022
What an experience! We had a blast experiencing the stunning nature of Scotland. A special thank you to our tour guide/driver, who did a marvelous job on sharing so many stories and anecdotes about Scotland, its people and some of the most known places in the country. The tour will take approximately 12hrs from pick up to drop off, so, if you have the time, make sure to check it out, you won’t regret it!
Very enjoyable day!!
Sheral_W, Apr 2022
The drive alone was beautiful but it was nice to have a few stops along the way! Loch Ness was very cool and I recommend the boat cruise! Our tour guide was Thomas and he was amazing!! He was very informative and so hilarious! Made the long bus ride very enjoyable! Highly recommend!
A Very Enjoyable Day
Anita_W, Apr 2022
Thomas, our driver, was particularly entertaining! Dougie was too, but to think that Thomas was new & did such a phenomenal job is just AMAZING! Thomas was engaging with all the passengers, professional in his driving skills, and very knowledgeable, sharing wonderful stories & music throughout the entire 12 hour tour! And, due to my disability, he even let my husband & myself off right at our bus stop at the end of the tour, instead of sticking to protocol with me having to walk a long distance after a very taxi taxing day, we REALLY appreciated that thoughtfulness!
Great Highland trip
Marianne_W, Apr 2022
Driver entertaining. Scenery was beautiful. Good way to see the highlands. Informative on the area and the lochs.
Great trip.
Thomas_R, Apr 2022
Great bus tour lots of local information. Fun boat ride on Lich Ness. Our guide Calum did a great job.
Martin_K, Apr 2022
Me and my wife really enjoyed meal looking over the loch. We really enjoyed the walking also and listening to the drivers playlist, his historical stories had a lot of depth. My wife had a delicious 🥐 which she will remember forever.
Great trip, just know what to expect!
India_A, Mar 2022
I really enjoyed this tour! The Toms did a great job despite the mic issues and were very attentive and patient with everybody on board. Like others have said, think of this as a sort of land cruise and you’ll know what to expect. You will spend about 75% of the time in the car. We had amazing weather so the views were great and I spent most of the trip staring out of the windows and listening to the stories. There aren’t any bathrooms on the bus but we stopped often enough that I did really worry about it. Consider bringing extra water/snack but you’ll also be able to buy food at most of the stops. Post Covid, it seems like a lot of establishments are using tap to pay. The only time we needed physical money was for one of the bathrooms and it was one pound for two people and if I’m remembering correctly there was a free bathroom option at this stop but we choose to pay.
I made this trip with my...
Ana_A, Mar 2022
I made this trip with my husband and my youngest daughter who had her birthday that day. It was exciting!
Incredible Guide and Amazing Views
Erin_V, Mar 2022
We traveled with Rich as our guide and, wow, I could never have asked for anyone more energetic, enthusiastic, and so completely informed about all things Scotland. Could not have imagined this with any other guide. So impressed by the entire tour! Incredible value. The highlands were gorgeous and Loch Ness was unforgettable.
Coming back for more
MelanieHines_C, Mar 2022
Credits to Louise, our tour guide that day. She made sure that we had the best experience ever. Eventhou we only got few stops, still she managed to give us info and some stories about the places we passed by.
Great day out
Andy_E, Mar 2022
Great day out with a superb guide, who was very knowledgeable, visiting some absolutely stunning area. Would highly recommend this trip. The only criticism was there a no toilets on the bus.
Wonderful tour!
Jeanie_R, Mar 2022
What a lovely day with our guide/driver! Louise was just amazing and a fantastic driver. She was knowledgeable and funny, the weather was just perfect and we saw some majestic scenes of nature.
Great, we'll worth it
sandra_B, Mar 2022
The whole trip, the driver/tour guide was Brill, probably the best I have come across. Would advise anyone to do it well worth it.
Thank you the Louise
William_W, Mar 2022
Unfortunately the majority of the time you're stuck on the bus with little to no time to explore any stops that are made. Thankfully our tour guide made the experience for us but without her genuine passion we wouldn't recommend it. Also they supply water for the 10+hr journey.
A once in a lifetime trip. I'd recommend to all & would travel again with this tour company in future. They were great.
Imtiyaz_B, Feb 2022
Was a fantastic trip. Spectacular scenic views of mountains and lakes throughout the journey. Plenty of stops along the way at regular intervals to allow people to jump off and explore little towns along the route as well as taking photos at the most popular tourist spots. Also a free sandwich meal is provided as part of the package. The guides were very friendly, helpful and informative and the driver got us there and back in good time and was on schedule as per the trip itinerary. The main event is a cruise trip on Loch Ness which alone was worth the long drive to get there and every bit as good as it sounds. Only thing is with it being Scotland good weather isn't always guaranteed and you can be at mercy of the elements especially on the higher ground. That said whilst the weather wasn't the best on our trip it's not enough to bring the rating for the trip down as that can't be helped.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Amazing tour with Stephen...
Shant_M, Feb 2022
Amazing tour with Stephen our guide who was full of interesting stories and details. The scenery was stunning and the complimenrary sandwich quite tasty


Product code: 5211LOCHNESS