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Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands

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


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.
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.
Pass By:  
Stirling Castle
Pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle and drive through the Trossachs National Park, Rob Roy country
Stop At:  
Enjoy a comfort stop in Callander, a small highland town
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
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:  
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.

Traveler Photos


529 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
Amazing overview trip
, 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!
Excellent trip!
, 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!
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!!
Highly recommended Tour
, 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
Good tour operator.
, 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.
Excellent Highland and Loch Ness trip!
, 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!
Loch Ness day tour
, 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!!
It Really is a 12 Hour Trip on a Bus
, 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.
Highland Day Tour
, Jul 2019
Would really recommend this tour. There are a couple of shorter and longer stops to break up the journey and to grab some photographs of the surroudning area. It stopped for some beautiful views at Glen Coe and also Lough Ness.
Great guide and breathtaking Highlands!
, Jul 2019
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. We got lucky with great subby weather as well as a wonderful guide like Fiona. I will definitely recommend this tour to anyone.
icon Response from Host , Jul 2019
Thanks for your 5-star review! It is wonderful to hear you had such a great time with Fiona and even got some good weather. Hopefully we see you back in Scotland again soon! Kind regards, Emma

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Product code: 5211LOCHNESS

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