Loch Ness is the largest lake in Scotland by volume. Surrounded by craggy mountains, woodlands and picturesque glens, the loch is hauntingly beautiful. Of course, its fame stems not from its natural scenery but from the infamous Loch Ness Monster, also known as Nessie. Walk along one of the many wonderful trails around the loch, take a boat tour on its waters and learn more about its fabled resident.
Numerous cruises cross the loch, which is 23 miles (37 kilometers) long and more than 700 feet (215 meters) deep. Tours depart from Fort Augustus and Inverness. Many boats include sonar equipment and underwater cameras, ready to catch a glimpse of Nessie.
Walk along the shore of the lake or follow one of the challenging surrounding trails. The 79-mile-long (127-kilometer) Great Glen Way stretches from Inverness to Fort William, passing some of the country’s loveliest scenery along the way. The South Loch Ness Trail traverses the loch’s less explored south shore. Hike or cycle along this 28-mile (45-kilometer) trail, while enjoying sweeping views of the loch.
You may not be able to glimpse the elusive Loch Ness Monster during your visit, but you can learn more about her at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. Stop at the center for a general overview of the loch with a focus on the legend of its monster. Sightings of the monster from A.D. 565 to the present are documented through photos, audio and video.
Check out the views of the loch from the top of Urquhart Castle’s five-story tower house. The castle’s location on a promontory overlooking the loch makes it a popular Nessie-watching spot. Destroyed and rebuilt numerous times over the centuries, most of the ruins date back to the 16th century. See displays of medieval artifacts recovered from the castle and watch a movie about its history in the video theater.
To get here, take the bus from Inverness to Fort William, which includes several stops along the shores of Loch Ness. No visit to Scotland is complete without a trip to this iconic loch.