- Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation Type
- 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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You can't leave the Scottish Highlands without visiting the infamous Loch Ness, Scotland's largest loch (by volume). Loch Ness is known worldwide for housing the mythical, dinosaur-like monster, Nessie. The loch spans 23 miles in length and is 700 feet at its deepest, making the Nessie conspiracy all the more plausible. Aside from the Nessie legend, Loch Ness offers stunning scenery, with forest-filled mountains flanking either side of the serene loch. Most travelers choose enjoy Loch Ness by cruise. Sailings depart from various towns along the loch, including Fort Augustus, Drumnadrochit and Inverness.
There are also multiple points of interest and hikes worth exploring offshore. One of the most popular attractions is the thousand-year-old Urquhart Castle, which sits in ruins at the edge of Loch Ness in Drumnadrochit. Drumnadrochit is also home to the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, perfect for those wanting to learn more about the legend of Nessie. For hiking, you'll find plenty of trails in and around Loch Ness. The Fall of Foyers trail, which is close to 3 miles in length, takes travelers to the popular Fall of Foyers, the shores of Loch Ness and atop hills overlooking the loch as well. For more of a trek, try the highest hill in Loch Ness, Meall Fuar-mhonaidh. This nearly 6-mile trek takes travelers to the top of the hill, offering expansive views of both Loch Ness and the general Great Glen area (which spans from Inverness to Fort William).
The best way to get around Loch Ness is by car. The A82 highway runs right along the northern side of the loch, connecting visitors directly from Inverness to Fort Augustus. Visitors say there are multiple lookout areas and points of interest along the way, including Urquhart Castle, though some say the road can get crowded. To avoid crowds, some travelers suggested driving along the southern side of the lake via General Wade's Military Road. It doesn't snake along the loch for as long as the A82 does, but offers hilltop vantage points that you won't find on the flatter A82. If you aren't renting a car, you can get to Inverness via ScotRail and Citylink coach bus. You can also get to Fort Augustus, Invermoriston and Foyers via Stagecoach. For more information on Loch Ness, visit the tourism board's website.