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Inverness, Scotland – capital of the Highlands – sits in the midst of the region’s most astounding landscapes. Absolutely charming, steeped in history and boasting incredible nature, Inverness has wide appeal and attracts visitors from all corners of the world. The best things to do in Inverness, Scotland cover a broad range of activities – and we are highlighting them for you!
For many, Inverness is just a quick stop while visiting the Scottish Highlands, but we decided to make it our base for an extended stay. Our lengthy visit allowed us plenty of time to discover the top Inverness attractions – as well as a few hidden gems!
From walking trails to interesting architecture to the cozy pubs serving up wee drams of Scottish whisky, we are sharing our personal tips for what to do in Inverness, Scotland so that fellow travelers can easily plan their trip.
Top Things To Do in Inverness FAQs
Before we get to our list of things to do in Inverness, Scottish Highlands, we want to answer a few of the frequently asked questions about visiting Inverness.
Where is Inverness, Scotland?
Before setting off for Inverness, it is wise to know where it is! Located in northern Scotland among the dramatic landscapes of the Highlands, Inverness sits on the banks of the River Ness.
Nearly an oasis amongst the barren landscapes, many visitors are surprised to learn that Inverness is well connected to big cities in Scotland (like Edinburgh and Glasgow), as well as regional destinations (like London and Bristol). The ease of getting to and from Inverness makes it an excellent location for exploring the Highlands.
To help visitors get acquainted with the layout of the city, we include an Inverness attractions map later in the article. Additionally, we provide tips regarding how to get to Inverness.
Are there Inverness Things To Do for Free?
Definitely! While Scotland is not known as a budget destination, Inverness can be quite affordable with the added benefit of several cheap and free activities. In fact, some of the free things to do in Inverness, Scotland are the very best things to do in the city.
Are there Things To Do for Kids in Inverness?
Absolutely! There are many things to do in Inverness for kids. While our list is not specific to family travel, we do include several kid-friendly attractions.
What about Outdoor Activities in Inverness?
Inverness is a haven for nature enthusiasts! The ample outdoor attractions in Inverness are one of the things that most appealed to us. In our list of things to do, we share heaps of nature activities, including the top green spaces and best walks in Inverness.
Are there Things To Do in Inverness in the Rain?
While outdoor activities are abundant, there are plenty of things to do indoors in Inverness, too. During our trip to Inverness, it was unseasonably soggy, so we spent time seeking out quite a few indoor things to do in Inverness – and we’ve included many of them below.
Are there Things To Do in Inverness without a Car?
Yes! Many visitors think that a car is necessary to visit Inverness and the Highlands – and it’s simply not true. We did not have a car for our trip – and we can happily report that there are an incredible number of things to do and see in Inverness without driving a car.
We share advice for getting around without a car in the Inverness Travel Tips section at the end of the article.
How Many Days in Inverness, Scotland?
Many may wonder how many days to spend in Inverness. Is one day in Inverness enough? Is staying in Inverness for three days too much? We understand the conundrum…but unfortunately, there is no definitive answer.
How long to stay in Inverness will depend on your interests, budget and overall trip plans. That said, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Inverness and highly recommend spending at least a few days here. Later in the article, we outline an Inverness Itinerary – including tips for breezing through in just a few hours (perhaps on an organized tour) and a trip itinerary of what to see in Inverness in 3 days.
How To Plan a Trip to Inverness, Scotland
Planning an Inverness Trip is inclusive of a bit more than just figuring out what to see and do. Travelers who plan on visiting Inverness, Scotland also need to figure out how to get there, how to get around, where to stay and what to eat.
Don’t fret! We share advice that covers all the necessary details. We include top tips on everything from the best restaurants in Inverness to what to pack for your trip to Scotland.
Visitors planning a complete Scotland Itinerary can use these detailed guides to the best destinations around the country.
- How To Spend 3 Days in Edinburgh
- The Best Scottish Food
- Top Things Do To in Skye
- Things To Do in Portree
- A Day Trip to Dunbar from Edinburgh
- Advice For Walking The West Highland Way
- Tips For Visiting Plockton
- What To Do in Glasgow in One Day
- Travelers visiting from abroad will also find it helpful to read our Top Tips for Planning a European Trip.
Organize Sightseeing in Inverness
As you begin to make plans, staying organized is essential! We recommend using a trip planner – like our Printable Travel Planner – to keep track of all the details of your vacation to Scotland.
51 BEST THINGS TO DO IN INVERNESS
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to get to our list of the Best Things To Do Inverness, Scotland.
We have segmented our list of Inverness, Scotland Things To Do into two categories: Places To Visit in Inverness City Center and Regional Inverness, Scotland Attractions. Stay tuned until the end, where we share our top Inverness restaurant and bar recommendations, too!
City of Inverness Things To Do
We were pleasantly surprised by the ample number of things to do in Inverness City Centre. Actually quite attractive, the city boasts an abundance of fun and interesting sights – and we are highlighting the ones that can’t be missed!
#1 Stroll along the River Ness
Taking a stroll along the Ness River tops our list of Things To Do Inverness, UK. The river pleasantly curves past landmark sights and historic buildings. Fisherman in waders often stand in the middle of the stream, casting their lines in hopes of catching salmon. Paths line both banks of the river and several bridges span the waterway.
The Ness Bridge is the main bridge in Inverness; it only dates to the 1960s, but a bridge has crossed the river at the same point since the 17th century. The two pedestrian bridges (Greig Street Bridge to the north and Infirmary Bridge to the south) are beautiful suspension bridges that date to the late 1800s.
Travel Tip: Friars Bridge is the best bridge to cross for a picture-perfect Inverness skyline view.
#2 Navigate the Ness Islands
One of the best things to see in Inverness, Scotland is the Ness Islands. The cluster of islands sit in the middle of River Ness on the south end of the historic city center. The forested isles feature walking paths, uniquely carved benches and soaring pine trees.
The characteristic islands are a nature retreat for visitors and locals alike. The Ness Islands can be accessed by the Victorian Generals Well Footbridge from the west bank or a smaller footbridge on the east bank (both of which are also part of the Great Glen Way).
Travel Tip: Near the islands, on the west side of the river, is the Pier Ness Viewpoint and Gathering Place. A bit odd (and loathed by many locals), the pier provides an interesting vantage point over the river. Be sure to give the carved sculpture of the Golden Labrador a pat on the head as you pass by; he is named Breac, which is Gaelic for fish.
#3 Admire the Architecture at The Victorian Market
Visiting The Victorian Market is definitely one of the Top Things To Do in Inverness. The old-fashioned market hosts an array of family-run shops – many of which have been around for decades. The top shops to see are the butcher and fishmonger, the jewelry stores and souvenir stands.
The market itself first opened its doors in 1870, but was destroyed by a fire in 1889. The only part of the market to survive was the original Academy Street entrance. The market was rebuilt in 1891, complete with high, cast-iron arches and glass windows to let in natural light.
Travel Tip: After a recent renovation, the market hall has been enhanced with a fabulous food court that features local Inverness eats and entertainment on select nights.
#4 Step inside the Inverness Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew
Dating to 1869, the Inverness Cathedral ranks as one of the top attractions in Inverness, Scotland.
Sitting on the west bank of the River Ness, the Episcopal church features a bold red stone exterior and two soaring bell towers. The 10 bells that hang in the towers chime out beautifully on Sunday mornings.
Travel Tip: While visiting the cathedral is technically one of the things to do in Inverness for free, they do request donations of £2 per person.
#5 Learn Scottish History at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
The Inverness Museum and Art Gallery – located in the center of Downtown Inverness – is a wonderful place to learn about the history of the Highlands
Starting at the very beginning – with an explanation of how the landmass formed hundreds of millions of years ago – right up to modern times, the museum exhibits are clear, engaging and some are interactive. (You can even try on a kilt!)
There is no ticket required; visiting the museum is one of the top free things to do in Inverness.
Travel Tip: When you exit the museum, pause for a moment to take in the beauty of the Inverness Town House that is right next door. An architectural gem, the Gothic-style town hall was built in the late 1800s.
#6 Browse the Bookshelves at Leakey’s Bookshop
With creaking floorboards, a roaring fire in the wood stove and the smell of old books hanging heavy in the air, Leakey’s Bookshop is an intriguing place to visit in Inverness. Housed in an old Gaelic Church, the family-run, second-hand bookstore is a warm and inviting space – and browsing the shelves is one of the fun things to do in Inverness.
Visitors can find dusty volumes of classic Shakespeare, poetry by Scotland’s famed writer Sir Walter Scott, 100-year-old maps and modern-day mysteries.
Travel Tip: Like many attractions in Inverness, Leakey’s is closed in the evenings and on Sundays – so plan accordingly.
#7 Get a Glimpse of the Oldest House in Inverness
The Abertarff House on Church Street was built in the year 1593 – making it the oldest house in the city. The architecturally rich home was built for the prominent Frasers of Lovat.
The residence was completely renovated in the 1960s – and today it houses a small, one-room exhibition on the history of the dwelling. The Abertarff House is another one of the free Inverness attractions!
Travel Tip: The 18th century Balnain House is another historic residence that is worth getting a glimpse of while touring Inverness. Built by a wealthy merchant in 1726, Balnain House was used as a hospital for wounded Hanoverian soldiers after the Battle of Culloden. The house is located on Huntly Street near the west end of Greig Street Bridge.
#8 Visit the Old High Church and Cemetery
The Old High St. Stephen’s Church is an Inverness must-see sight! Standing on a small hill that overlooks the River Ness, the grounds have been used as a place of worship since St. Columba introduced Christianity to the city in the year 565 AD.
The oldest church in Inverness, it was built in the 18th century – but the base of the tower can be traced back to the 14th century (which makes it the oldest structure in Inverness).
The church yard, which is dotted with dilapidated tombstones, has a significant history, too. It served as an execution site for Jacobite soldiers who were captured during the Battle of Culloden. Pockmarks made from the bullets can still be seen on the tower base.
Travel Tip: Outlander fans might recognize the Old High Church – as it is mentioned several times throughout the series!
#9 Stand in Awe of the Inverness Castle
One of the best things to see in Inverness (and one that you can hardly miss!) is the magnificent Inverness Castle. Sitting on a grassy bluff above the River Ness, the castle was built in 1836, featuring a Victorian, castellated design.
It is not the first castle in Inverness; several castles have stood on the hilltop – dating back to the year 1057. The ancient Inverness Castle even makes an appearance in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Today, the landmark castle serves as the local Sheriff’s Court. A tower is open to the public as the Inverness Castle Viewpoint, but it was closed during our visit due to renovation.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss the Flora MacDonald statue that sits on the castle grounds. A strong character in Scotland’s history, she is credited with facilitating the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie after his loss at the Battle of Culloden.
#10 Peruse the Wool-Woven Plaids
Plaid apparel is a Scottish Highland specialty…and it’s fun to pick out something for yourself as a souvenir.
Kilts – which are knee-length, wrap-around skirts for men – are the most distinct clothing of the Highlands. Men of the Scottish Highlands have been wearing tartan plaid kilts since the 16th century and they are still worn today as formal dress and by bagpipers. The plaid design itself is significant, as each tartan represents a specific family clan.
Many stores in Inverness carry an array of tartan goods – not only kilts, but scarves, neckties, vests, purses and even material-covered flasks.
Travel Tip: At the Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Center guests can watch the kiltmakers at work sewing custom tailored kilts. There is a small fee to enter the workspace, but it’s one of the fun and cheap things to do in Inverness!
#11 Join a Sightseeing Tour of Inverness City Center
For a personal introduction visitors should join a local guide for a tour of Inverness. The professional guides lead the way to the top landmarks, while sharing interesting information about the city’s past.
Taking a tour is one of the top activities in Inverness for travelers who are short on time. To get the best tour of Inverness city, make sure to book ahead!
Travel Tip: Want to see more? Join a guided bike tour to see the top sights beyond the center!
#12 Enjoy an Eden Court Inverness Production
A modern venue that hosts programs both indoors and out, Eden Court is the best performing arts center in Inverness.
Featuring on-stage theatrical performances, music on the lawn ‘under the canvas’ and two cinemas that show current films, there is almost always something going on at Eden Court!
Travel Tip: The theater promotes a variety of shows that appeal to guests of all ages. Attending an event can be a nice date night or one of the fun things to do in Inverness with kids.
#13 Stop to Smell the Flowers at the Botanic Garden Inverness
Stopping by the Botanic Garden is a must; it’s one of the Best Outdoor Activities Inverness! With meticulously planned gardens, bright flowers and a greenhouse, the garden is an absolute delight during the summertime.
In addition to wandering the grounds (follow the trails to the best gardens), visitors can see the fish in the koi pond (inside the conservatory) and enjoy tea at the on-site café.
Travel Tip: There is no fee to visit the Inverness Botanic Garden. It’s one of the top Free Things To Do Inverness, Scotland!
#14 Paddle a Boat at Whin Park
Whin Park is an enchanting little slice of man-made nature – and a top pick for things for kids to do in Inverness, Scotland.
The best feature of the riverside park is the boats that you can rent for a leisurely paddle around the ponds. Additionally, there are kids’ play areas, walking paths and the miniature Ness Islands Railway that kids can ride as it chugs through the trees.
Travel Tip: At the far west end of the park is another point of interest, the Hydro Ness station. The riverside attraction is a contemporary sustainability project that creates renewable energy from the flowing Ness River water.
#15 Trek Up to Tomnahurich Cemetery Hill
Visiting a cemetery is, perhaps, one of the unusual things to do in Inverness, Scotland. However, the Tomnahurich Cemetery is not just an average graveyard….it also happens to be an excellent viewpoint.
For centuries, people have climbed the hill to appreciate the panoramic views of Ness Valley and Moray Firth. It wasn’t until 1864 that the hill became a burial ground. Trails leads through the lower cemetery up the hill, past eroding and moss-covered tombstones to lookouts offering grand vistas.
Travel Tip: Some of the grave markers are works of art. Keep an eye out for the elaborate stone statues and memorials throughout the grounds.
#16 Stretch Your Legs on the Caledonian Canal Walk
Without a doubt, one of the Fun Things To Do Inverness is to set off on a long walk along the Caledonian Canal. Old towpaths line both sides of the canal that stretches 3.5 miles from Inverness to Dochgarroch (and then beyond Dochgarroch all the way to Fort William). The multi-use paths (which are used by walkers, joggers and cyclists) are flat and easy to tread along – and the entire route is highlighted by astounding natural beauty.
Another reason to head out to the canal is to watch the boats as that glide up and down the waterway. It’s fascinating to witness the boats maneuver through the locks and past swing bridges. The Clachnaharry Railway Swing Bridge at the north end of the path is particularly interesting!
Travel Tip: There are amenities in Dochgarroch – including a café, an ice cream shop and toilets – plus it is the departure point for some of the Loch Ness cruises. Visitors can also catch a bus back to the city from Dochgarroch.
#17 Hike Up Craig Phadraig
Hiking is one of the best activities to do in Inverness – and Craig Phadraig is one of the best places to do it! Both beautiful and historic, trails weave through the dense woodland to the site of an ancient fort.
It is believed that the summit of Criag Phadraig was the site of a fortress as far back as 300 BC – and that a Pictish king used it as his headquarters during the early Middle Ages. Although nothing remains of the actual fort today, the space where it once stood offers nice views through the surrounding trees.
Travel Tip: Craig Phadraig is on the outskirts of Inverness. While we walked to the trailhead, there is a parking lot and local buses stop near the hill, as well.
#18 Look for Inverness Dolphins at Carnarc Point
Dolphins, seals and otters play and feed in the Beauly Firth – and Carnarc Point offers an exceptional vantage point for viewing the sea creatures. An activity that is truly suitable for anyone, looking for marine animals from the point is one of the fun things to do in Inverness for families, couples, friends and solo travelers.
Just a short walk from the city center, Carnarc Point is marked by a short lighthouse and offers a grand view of the cable-stayed Kessock Bridge. There are a couple of tables at the point, too, making it a great picnicking spot.
The best time to see dolphins in Inverness is during the rising tide. As the tides come in, the dolphins chase fish into the firth from the open sea.
Wildlife is also often spotted from the nearby Merkinch Local Nature Reserve.
Travel Tip: For a better chance of spotting wildlife, the Dolphin Spirit Inverness boat company runs dolphin-spotting tours from Inverness.
#19 Pay Respects at the Inverness War Memorial
One of the Inverness points of interest, the War Memorial is marked by a high Celtic cross, plaques and sculptures. Dedicated to Inverness soldiers who never returned from war, the poignant memorial sits in an open green space – called Cavell Gardens – on the east bank of the River Ness along the walkway.
Travel Tip: The War Memorial Gardens are named in honor of Nurse Edith Cavell, who is a celebrated figure from World War One. She courageously treated victims on both sides of the conflict and is attributed for helping more than a hundred Allied prisoners of war escape.
#20 Rent a Bicycle and Pedal around Inverness
Riding a bike is one of the fun outdoor activities in Inverness, Scotland – as the city is extremely cycle-friendly! In addition to the paths along the river and canal, cyclists have dedicated lanes on streets throughout the city center.
Travel Tip: There are numerous bikes shops in Inverness, Scotland where visitors can rent a bike for a couple of hours, an entire day or for multiday adventures. The Ticket To Ride bike rental company at Bellfield Park gets rave reviews.
#21 Sip Local at Uilebheist Distillery and Brewery
For whisky and craft beer enthusiasts, Uilebheist is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Inverness. Established in 2023, it is shockingly the first Inverness distillery to open since 1892!
Dedicated to creating sustainable craft beer and artisan whiskies, the distillery-slash-brewery is located right along the River Ness in the heart of Inverness. The property features a fabulous beer garden for enjoying beverages outdoors on sunny summer days.
Travel Tip: Uilebheist offers guided tours of the facilities as well as tastings of other Scottish Whiskies (until their first offering is ready in 2026).
#22 Eat Inverness Street Food
The Highland Food and Drink Trail is an Inverness street food experience. Local food trucks line the Ness Walk on the west bank of the river, just outside the Cathedral, providing tasty fare for lunch and dinner. The offer includes everything from fish-and-chips to pork pies to wood-fired pizzas.
Travel Tip: Guests can eat at the picnic tables in the church side yard – or find a bench along the river and dine with a view!
#23 Listen to Live Scottish Music
Listening to traditional Scottish music is one of the top things to do in Inverness at night (and sometimes during the day) – and there are several Inverness bars that host live performances.
Scottish folk music has been part of the culture in the Highlands for thousands of years. Performances range from a solo singer on stage with a guitar to a band playing fiddles to an entire group jamming during a Sunday session. While bagpipes are not necessarily common in the Inverness bars, occasionally one will hop up on stage to entertain the crowds.
Travel Tip: There are several places in Inverness that boast a regular lineup of musicians – and we feature the best venues for live music later in our Inverness Bars section.
#24 Savor Afternoon Tea in Inverness, Scotland
The age-old tradition of afternoon tea is a must when visiting the United Kingdom – and it’s one of the best things to do in Inverness, Scotland.
The mid-afternoon meal of finger sandwiches, scones and cakes is offered at a few select restaurants in the city. The elegant Torrish Restaurant at the Ness Walk Hotel serves a Heavenly Afternoon Tea, which is ideal for couples looking for romantic things to do in Inverness.
The afternoon tea at The Waterside Restaurant on the east bank of the River Ness is a classic affair, complete with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
Travel Tip: The 5-star Ness Walk Hotel is also a fabulous place to stay in Inverness! We share tips for finding accommodations for your stay later in the article.
#25 Cheer on Competitors at the Inverness Highland Games
The Highland Games celebrate the uniqueness of the Scottish Highlands with competitions and challenges of strength and endurance. Experiencing the games as a spectator is one of the cool things to do in Inverness.
Although the games only take place one day a year (usually a Saturday in July), it’s absolutely filled to the brim with fun and excitement. In addition to classic contests – like the Hammer Throw, Caber Toss, Stone Put and Weight Over Bar challenges – the festivities also includes bagpipes, track events, local eats, whisky tastings along with music and dancing in the beer tent.
Travel Tip: Communities across the Highlands host Highland Games competitions throughout the spring and summer. Check online for events that are happening during your Highlands trip!
#26 Spend Time Shopping in Inverness
Shopping is one of the fun things to do in Inverness, Scotland – especially when it is wet and rainy. The best shops in Inverness City Centre are the ones that sell local products.
Our personal favorites are the family run Highland Whisky Shop (where they also do tastings), the Isle of Skye Candle Company (with signature scents, like Bog Myrtle with Fresh Mint) and The Merchant (one of the best antique shops in Inverness, Scotland).
Travel Tip: Inverness is also a great place to go shopping for outdoor apparel – as several shops carry specialized gear for hiking and biking in the Highlands.
#27 Dive in for a Swim at the Inverness Leisure Center
After checking off your list of Inverness things to see, spend some time kicking back and relaxing at the Inverness Leisure Center. Complete with a wave pool and spa, the Inverness Leisure Center is a great place to stretch out or soak after a long day of active adventures.
Travel Tip: Spending time at the Leisure Center is one of the top things to do for families visiting Inverness but check the schedule to make sure the water activities are open.
#28 Trace Your Scottish Roots at the Highland Archive Center
Raise your hand if you have Scottish roots! Travelers interested in tracing their Scottish ancestry can find a trove of information at the Highland Archive Center in Inverness.
The center houses historic records detailing births, marriages and deaths going back more than 300 years.
Travel Tip: It is best to contact the center in advance so ensure they will have the type of documents you are searching for. Visitors can also book a timeslot in the Family History Room in advance online.
Things To Do Inverness Region
We have outlined what to see in Inverness City Center, but there are heaps of things to do near Inverness, Scotland, too! Travelers staying in Inverness for a few days can explore on their own or join one of the Inverness, Scotland tours to the region’s best sights.
#29 Search for Hairy Highland Coos
The hairy Highland cows – or coos – are a symbol of Scotland. The Highland cattle breed has a double coat; long hair to keep the wind and rain at bay and a shorter undercoat to help keep them warm.
The massive beasts are truly a sight – and seeking them out is one of the fun things to do in Inverness, Scotland.
The best place close to Inverness to find hairy cows is at the paddock next to the shops at Dochgarroch Locks on the Caledonian Canal.
That said, a much larger herd of Highland cattle are found outside the village of Foyers near Camerons Tea Rooms and Farm Shop. If the cows are not right behind Camerons, make your way down the one-lane road that runs above it and you will likely find the cows out at pasture.
Getting There: Visitors without a car can visit Foyers by using the Highlands Council public bus 302. The Foyers bus stop is just a short walk from Camerons Tea Rooms.
Travel Tip: The trip to Foyers should be combined with a waterfall hike! We share the details for the Falls of Foyers later in the article.
#30 Trek through Cairngorms National Park
Trekking is one of the top activities near Inverness – and Cairngorms NP is a magnificent place to hit the trails. Ranking as the largest park in the United Kingdom, Cairngorms National Park features hundreds of miles of hiking routes – as well as five of the six highest mountains in the UK. From short paths for easy jaunts and longer trails for challenging treks, pristine nature abounds on the park’s best trails.
That said, Cairngorms NP has a lot more to offer than hiking trails! Visitors can swim at Loch Morlich (which features an unusual sandy beach), drive the Snowroads Scenic Route through rugged landscapes, interact with the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, ride the Cairngorm Mountain Railway to the Ptarmigan Restaurant and even get a glimpse of the famous Balmoral Castle.
Getting There: Driving a car is the best way to discover the natural gems of Cairngorms NP, but visitors can use public transit (both trains and buses) to get around, as well. Additionally, there are organized tours – like this one – that transport guests to the best spots and scenic viewpoints.
Travel Tip: Need help planning what to do in Cairngorms NP? Use the official website for the best activities and up-to-date information.
#31 Ride the Rails from Aviemore
A quaint resort town nestled within Cairngorms National Park, Aviemore is a fun destination when exploring the Highlands. Well-known as a top Scottish ski resort, Aviemore is nice to visit in the summertime, too.
The historic Strathspey Railway steam train, which departs from Aviemore Station, is one of the top attractions near Inverness…and it offers a full dose of nostalgia. The locomotive transports passengers through the Cairngorm Mountain Range. The Aviemore to Broomhill train ride can be enhanced with a light lunch or afternoon tea.
Other attractions in Aviemore are The Cairngorm Brewery, the Aviemore Ring Cairn and Stone Circle and the Craigellachie National Nature Reserve.
Getting There: The Aviemore to Inverness distance is just 30 miles. Travelers without a car can take the Aviemore to Inverness train or bus. The train and bus times for Aviemore to Inverness can be found online and at the stations.
Travel Tip: Looking for a place to eat in Aviemore? We enjoyed The Winking Owl, but the Cairngorm Hotel restaurant gets top reviews, as well.
#32 Search for Nessie on Loch Ness
No question about it, one of the best things to do around Inverness, Scotland is to go to Loch Ness. Famous around the world as the home of the elusive Loch Ness Monster, the 23-mile-long freshwater lake is one of the deepest and voluminous lakes in the United Kingdom.
Loch Ness is a haven of recreational activities – from boating to fishing to shoreline hiking. Of course, many travelers go to the lake in search of the Loch Ness Monster!
The mythical Loch Ness Monster, named Nessie, is known to live in the great depths of the lake, but the sea creature rarely makes an appearance. Visitors can learn more about the legendary Nessie at the Loch Ness Centre in Drumnadrochit.
Getting There: Loch Ness can be reached by car, bus or boat. Before hopping on a bus to Loch Ness from Inverness, decide what part of the lake you want to visit (as several bus lines can be used to travel to the Loch Ness shore).
Travel Tip: Take a cruise on Loch Ness! The Jacobite Boat Trips Inverness Tour Company offers several options – including boat trips on Loch Ness from Inverness (departing from Dochgarroch Lock on the Caledonian Canal) and Loch Ness bus trips that are combined with a boat cruise and visiting the Urquhart Castle (which we detail next on our list of Inverness Things To Do). Alternatively, visitors can join this cruise that departs from Clansman Harbour.
#33 Revel in the History of Urquhart Castle
A stunning castle on the shore of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle dates to the 13th century, when it was built as a Medieval fort. In subsequent years, the fortress was transformed into a royal castle – and now the crumbling remains are recognized as a national monument.
Visiting the Urquhart Castle is one of the fun things to do around Inverness. Guests are invited to tour the ruins, climb up Grant Tower, take in the lake views and learn more about the past through the collection of artifacts on display.
Getting There: Urquhart Castle can be reached by car, bus or boat (via organized Jacobite Boat Tours). There is a parking lot at the entrance – and CityLink buses stop right in front of the castle.
Travel Tip: Urquhart Castle is just a little over 2 miles from the town of Drumnadrochit, where visitors will find restaurants (try Fiddlers Highland), the Loch Ness Center, the Great Glen Distillery, gift shops and accommodations.
#34 Take in the View of Falls of Foyers
The cascading flow of the Falls of Foyers can be an impressive sight after heavy rains – and we think it is one of the best places to visit near Inverness. Part of the River Foyers, the water spills over rocky ledges in two long streams before it pours into Loch Ness.
A woodland trail and viewing platforms allow visitors to take in the waterfall from different perspectives. In fact, visitors can use the path that follows the streaming falls to trek all the way to the edge of Loch Ness.
Getting There: Travelers can reach the small village of Foyers by car or public bus. There is a large parking lot just across from the trailhead. The official bus stop is a bit further down the road (which is not tagged correctly on Google Maps), but drivers may stop right at the trailhead if requested. Additionally, there is a bus stop in Lower Foyers, allowing you to begin along Loch Ness and then hike to the waterfalls and end at Upper Foyers.
Travel Tip: After visiting the waterfall in Foyers, walk south along the road to Camerons Tea Rooms and Farm Shop. In addition to their delicious baked goods, don’t forget to spot the Highland coos!
#35 Meet the Alpacas on the Shores of Loch Ness
Travelers seeking out unusual things to do near Inverness can meet the alpacas that live on the Loch Ness shore. The amusing herd of cuddly creatures are available for meet-and-greets and shoreline treks.
Although alpacas are not native to the United Kingdom (their family roots are in Peru), there are more than 70,000 alpacas that live in the UK. The adorable alpacas are great trekkers, which make them quite suitable to Scotland.
Getting There: The Loch Ness Alpacas are located in Dores, a small town on the northeastern end of Loch Ness. Visitors can drive or use the public bus.
Travel Tip: Pre-booking your alpaca visit is essential! Make your reservation through the official website.
#36 Go Wildlife Spotting at Chanonry Point
One of the cool things to see near Inverness is Chanonry Point – a small spit of land that stretches into the Moray Firth between the towns of Rosemarkie and Fortrose. A lighthouse, which dates to 1846, sits on the point, but the reason most visitors trek out to the promontory is to look for wildlife.
Chanonry Point is a popular place to spot bottlenose dolphins – as well as porpoises, grey seals and otters. For the best chance of seeing dolphins, go during the rising tide. Bring a pair of binoculars for better viewing and a good travel camera with a zoom lens for snapping photos.
Getting There: Chanonry Point can be reached by car or bus and a bit of walking. There is a parking lot for Chanonry Point, but it is best to park in Fortrose or Rosemarkie and walk along the coastline to the point. There are bus stops in both towns (and public toilets near the stop in Rosemarkie).
Travel Tip: While Chanonry Point is a main attraction in the area, there are a few reasons to stay a bit longer. Travelers can complete a looping walk that mostly sticks to the seaside. The ruins of the Fortrose Cathedral are an interesting sight and The Union Tavern is an excellent local watering hole. In Rosemarkie, Crofters Café fronts the sea and is a good option for coffee, cakes, lunch or a beer. There are also waterfalls in Rosemarkie, which we detail next on our list of things to do around Inverness!
#37 Immerse Yourself in Nature at Fairy Glen Falls
Chasing waterfalls is one of the top things to do in the Scottish Highlands – and Fairy Glen Falls in Rosemarkie is one of the best. Fairy Glen Falls is actually comprised of two separate waterfalls that spill over rocky outcrops (make sure to keep trekking past the first falls to find the second!).
The waterfalls are nestled in a gorgeous glen of thick foliage and are reached via a relatively easy 1.5-mile trail that follows the stream through the forest. There are a few stairs and it can get rather slippery, so it’s best to wear good trail shoes.
Getting There: Rosemarkie is easy to reach from Inverness by car or public bus. There is a parking lot at the Fairy Glen Falls trailhead – and the bus stops there, as well. Public restrooms are just down the street across from The Plough Inn.
Travel Tip: Fairy Glen Falls was once the site of a “well dressing” – a local custom in which children brought flowers to the falls as an offering to the fairies to help keep the water supply clean.
#38 Set Off on The Great Glen Way
Hiking the Great Glen Way tops many active travelers’ lists of things to do in and around Inverness. The long-distance trail extends nearly 80 miles from Fort William to Inverness – and typically takes 5 days to complete.
Following the shores of lochs, delving deep into moss-covered forests and rising high along mountain ridges, the path features some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the Highlands.
The trail ranks as one of the best hikes near Inverness because visitors can opt to hike the entire route – or complete shorter distances while using Inverness as a base. The Great Glen Way trail starts (or ends) at Inverness Castle, but you can use buses to other points on the route.
Many trekkers enjoy the walk between Laggan and Fort Augustus, but we opted to hike a 7-mile section of the Great Glen Way from Invermoriston to Fort Augustus, which features dense forests and fantastic Loch Ness views.
Getting There: The Great Glen Way weaves through Inverness making it easy to walk along the route from the city center. Visitors who want to complete day hikes on other sections of the trail can use CityLink buses, which make stops at several access points between Inverness and Fort William.
Travel Tip: Two other popular long-distance trails in Inverness are South Loch Ness Trail and the John O’Groats Trail. The West Highland Way is another multiday hiking trail in the Highlands – but it ends in Fort William, where the Great Glen Way begins.
#39 Visit the Village of Fort Augustus
An idyllic lakeside village on the southern end of Loch Ness, Fort Augustus is one of the best places to see near Inverness. The town is spliced by three waterways: River Oich, River Tarff and the Caledonian Canal. The small-town center straddles the stairstep canal locks, with cafes and restaurants offering visitors front row seats to the fascinating spectacle.
Beyond the Fort Augustus Locks, other Fort Augustus attractions are the Loch Ness Viewpoints, the former Fort Augustus Abbey and locally owned shops.
Many trails crisscross through Fort Augustus – making it extremely popular with walkers. Both the Great Glen Way and the South Loch Ness Trail are well-trodden trails in the region. The South Loch Ness Trail runs 35 miles from Inverness to Fort Augustus along the east side of Loch Ness.
Getting There: From Inverness, Fort Augustus can be reached by car or bus. In the busy summer season, it is best to book tickets for the bus online in advance to ensure you get a seat.
Travel Tip: The Legion near the top of the locks is the best place in Fort Augustus for a drink. While they don’t serve food, patrons are permitted to bring in takeaway from neighboring restaurants. The bar itself is basic, but the beer is inexpensive and the views from their outdoor tables are perfect. Need a sweet treat? Pop into Cobbs Café for a Millionaire’s Shortbread (a Scotland specialty!).
#40 Embark on a Train Journey in the Highlands
The vast, rugged landscapes of the Highlands are stunning – and a fantastic way to experience the sublime scenery is by embarking on a train journey. It’s one of the best things to do around Inverness – and there are two exceptionally scenic train routes that depart from the city: the Kyle Line and the Far North Line.
The Kyle Line showcases the picturesque terrain between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh (via the village of Plockton). The route rambles through open countryside, along blue lochs and past hulking mountains.
The Far North Line connects Inverness to some of the most remote destinations in Scotland. The mesmerizing journey follows the coastline, passing both castles and peat bogs along the way.
Getting There: Trains for the Kyle and Far North lines depart from the main train station in Inverness.
Travel Tip: The West Highland Line is another epic train journey that connects Glasgow to the Highland coastal towns of Oban and Mallaig. The most extraordinary section of the ride is between Fort William and Mallaig, which features the Glenfinnan Viaduct (well-known from Harry Potter films).
#41 Spend a Day in Plockton Village
A quintessential Highlands town, the village of Plockton sits on the shore of Loch Carron. Often called The Jewel of the Highlands, the particularly pretty location is simply breathtaking.
There are also many great things to do in Plockton, besides just ogling it’s beauty! Start by wandering past the rows of cottages on Harbour Street and Frithard Road. Then, climb up to the Carn na Frith-aird Viewpoint, which offers panoramic views – all the way to Isle of Skye. Visitors can also walk out to Coral Beach and take boat trips to see seals.
Plockton only has a few dining options – but they are all good choices! Our top picks are The Harbour Fish Bar for classic fish-and-chips and Off The Croft for tasty takeaway burgers. For an afternoon tipple, there is no better place than the waterfront beer garden at The Plockton Hotel.
Getting There: The best way to reach Plockton from Inverness is by train (via the Kyle Line).
Travel Tip: If taking the train to Plockton, request to disembark at Duncraig Station – one stop before Plockton. Walk up the street to see the grandiose Duncraig Castle – then hop on the trail that follows the coastline, offering phenomenal views along the route.
#42 Swirl, Sniff and Sip Scottish Whisky
Whisky distilleries are top places to visit around Inverness – and there are many to choose from. We already mentioned the Uilebheist Distillery in the city center of Inverness, but there are several distilleries in the beautiful Highlands where visitors can join a tour.
The top distilleries near Inverness are Tomatin Distillery, Glen Moray Distillery, Singleton of Glen Ord, Glen Wyvis Distillery and the Great Glen Distillery.
Getting There: Most distilleries are a bit off the beaten track, making them difficult to reach with public transit. Rather than driving, we recommend joining one of the highly rated whisky tours from Inverness – like this one – that makes stops at two Speyside distilleries.
Travel Tip: We visited Tomatin Distillery, where we joined a tour of the facilities and a guided tasting of three whiskies. (This was part of a full day tour to Caringorms NP).
#43 Dive Deep into Jacobite History in Culloden
Culloden is touted as one of the best things to see around Inverness, Scotland – especially for visitors who want to learn more about the Jacobite Rising of 1745.
In a fight for the crown, the Highlander-backed Jacobites met British forces in the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The gruesome battle lasted less than an hour – and the outnumbered Jacobites were left decimated, with more than a thousand soldiers slain. Culloden was the last pitched battle on British soil, ending the Jacobite Rising.
The haunting Culloden battlefield remains a significant site to this day and the informative visitor’s center helps explain the story of the bloody battle.
Getting There: The Culloden Battlefield and Center can be reached by bus or car. The Inverness to Culloden bus takes about 30 minutes. For a more in-depth experience, visitors can join one of the tours that includes Culloden Battlefield as a stop.
Travel Tip: The Culloden House is another reason to see the town. Dating to the 16th century, the Georgian mansion is a classic country house of its day. Today, the Culloden House is a hotel with a fine dining restaurant, where they also serve an excellent afternoon tea.
#44 Discover Fort George
Dominating a promontory that extends into the Moray Firth, Fort George is an impressive garrison and one of the mightiest in all of Britain. Built in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden and still used as an army barracks today, it ranks as one of the top tourist attractions near Inverness.
The fortifications feature thick stone walls, bastions and bunkers – and little has changed since it was constructed in 1748.
With a ticket, visitors can explore the expansive grounds and interesting exhibits at the on-site museum. A free audio guide can be used to enhance the experience.
Getting There: The best way to reach Fort George is by car. There is a bus that runs from Inverness to the town of Church – but it is about a 40-minute walk to the fort. Some tours – like this one – include a stop at Fort George.
Travel Tip: The fort provides fantastic views over the Moray Firth. Bring binoculars to see if you can spot any dolphins swimming in the sea!
#45 Marvel at the Mystical Clava Cairns
An ancient Bronze Age cemetery set on a hill, Clava Cairns is a fascinating mystical site. The burial grounds are surrounded by standing stones – and situated to align during the winter solstice, naturally brightening the burial chamber.
The historical value of 4000-year-old Clava Cairns makes it one of the top things to see near Inverness, Scotland. That said, fans of the Outlander series are particularly drawn to the site, as it served as inspiration for ancient stone circle in the fictious Craigh Na Dun where Claire travels through time.
Getting There: The best way to get to Clava Cairns from Inverness is by car. Travelers without a car can take a bus to Culloden Moor Inn and then walk about 25 minutes to the site. Several Inverness tours include Clava Cairns on their itinerary – like this one – that also visits the Culloden Battlefield, Glen Ord Whisky and Loch Ness.
Travel Tip: Clava Cairns is a free, public space! Visiting is one of the best free things to do near Inverness.
#46 Sink Your Feet in the Sand at Nairn Beach
A superb sandy stretch of beach along the Moray Firth, Nairn Beach is one of the top places to see near Inverness. In addition to the powdery soft sand, the beach features low sand dunes, a promenade and coastal walking paths.
The beach is an ideal destination for families visiting Inverness – as there is a playground, splash pad and miniature golf course.
Getting There: Nairn Beach can be reached by car, train or bus.
Travel Tip: From Central Beach it is just a short walk to West Beach, where there are rock pools that are fun to explore at low tide!
#47 Experience the Splendor of Cawdor Castle
Cawdor Castle looks as if it was plucked straight out of a fairytale – and visiting the splendid 600-year-old castle ranks as one of the best things to do around Inverness, Scotland.
The private, family-owned property is open to visitors for self-guided tours; audio guides help explain the history of the castle rooms. In addition to the interior, visitors are welcome to explore the manicured gardens and use the walking paths to discover the expansive grounds. A ticket is required to visit Cawdor Castle.
Getting There: Visitors can get to Cawdor Castle by car or on a private tour.
Travel Tip: The Cawdor Castle was mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth – as the main character was made the ‘Thane of Cawdor.”
#48 Play a Round of Golf in the Highlands
As the birthplace of the game of golf, one of the fun things to do in Scotland is to play a round! The game developed in Scotland in the Middle Ages – and golf is still one of the top activities around Inverness.
The best golf courses in the Highlands are backdropped by sensational scenery. Among the many 18-hole courses, the Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club ranks supreme. The challenging course boasts a tremendous layout – and the location along the Moray Firth can’t be beat!
Getting There: The Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club can be reached by car or bus.
Travel Tip: Other top-rated golf courses near Inverness are Castle Stuart Golf Links and Nairn Golf Course.
#49 Explore the Fishing Village of Ullapool
Traveling to Ullapool for the day is one of the fun things to do from Inverness. The quaint fishing village sits along Loch Broom in Northern Scotland – and it’s a popular stop on the North Coast 500 driving route.
Top attractions in Ullapool are hiking trails, amazing vistas, wildlife cruises and the Ullapool Museum. Experiences not to be missed are trekking up Ullapool Hill, seeking out Puffins on Handa Island and walking along the Ullapool Sea Front.
Getting There: Travelers can reach Ullapool by car or bus. While the bus only takes about 1.5 hours, the Inverness to Ullapool bus times are quite limited, with only 2 buses making the journey there and back each day.
Travel Tip: When visiting Ullapool, getting a taste of the locally caught fish is a must! The Seafood Shack is the best place for fresh-caught fish in Ullapool.
#50 Appreciate the Beauty of Isle of Skye
Visiting the captivating Isle of Skye is one of the best things to do near Inverness. Skye is the largest island of the Inner Hebrides and its landscapes are both striking and charming. With a jagged coastline and dramatic mountains, nature is the main attraction for visitors to Skye.
Getting There: Travelers can get to the Isle of Sky by car or bus. That said, taking a day trip from Inverness to Skye is best done by joining a full day tour that includes the highlights – as well as Highlands attractions enroute, like the Eilean Donan Castle.
Travel Tip: We share top tips and advice for the Misty Isle in our article, Ultimate Isle of Skye Itinerary!
#51 Adventure into the Far North of Scotland
Traveling into the far northern reaches of Scotland is an adventure. Although the area is relatively remote, there are castles and small villages on the northernmost peninsula. Adventuring to the north ranks as one of the top things to do near Inverness, UK.
Popular attractions in the area north of Inverness are the Dunrobin Castle, the town of Wick, the expansive coastline and Scotland’s northernmost village, John O’Groats.
Getting There: Driving a car allows the most freedom when adventuring into the far north – but there are buses and trains that get you there, as well. Alternatively, guests can join an organized full-day tour that features the all top spots.
Travel Tip: The area north of Inverness is fantastic for spotting wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, puffin, eagles – and, of course, hairy coos!
Where To Eat and Drink in Inverness, Scotland
Planning Inverness things to do and see is important…but it is also imperative to know where to eat and drink. We have rounded up our list of the best restaurants in Inverness, Scotland – and share our top picks for the best bars, too!
Best Restaurants Inverness, Scotland
Our list of the best places to eat in Inverness is based on our personal experiences, as well as top recommendations from both locals and fellow tourists.
The Mustard Seed Restaurant
Housed in a former church along the River Ness, The Mustard Seed is regularly ranked as one of the best Inverness restaurants. The rotating menu is upscale and features locally sourced products.
McBain’s By the River
The family-run McBain’s exudes a warm, yet classy atmosphere. Highlights of the menu are local Highlands favorites, like venison, salmon and steak.
Urquhart’s Restaurant Inverness
Homecooked fare in a refined space, Urquhart’s is a family-owned establishment and a top restaurant in Inverness. They excel at Scottish dishes – and it’s a great place to eat haggis in Inverness.
Rendezvous Café in Inverness
Highly rated for serving the best breakfast in Inverness, the Rendezvous Café is quirky and fun. Decorated with movie star memorabilia, what really shines is the excellent offerings. We recommend ordering the Full Scottish for a filling first meal of the day.
Black Isle Bar
Casual and hip, the Black Isle Bar is well known for their delicious wood-fired pizzas that feature local ingredients. Of course, the pizzas taste even better with one of their own craft beers!
Victorian Market Food Hall
A perfect place to stop for a quick lunch, the Victorian Market Food Hall has numerous vendors selling both local eats and international fare.
Best Bars in Inverness, Scotland
There is no shortage of bars in Inverness! We have already shared a few of our favorite places for a drink, but we have a few more tips for where travelers can find live traditional Scottish music, a dram of whisky or a proper pint of beer.
Unlike many Scottish pubs, MacGregor’s is bright and modern…and nearly always full of locals, laughter and live music. In fact, it’s our favorite spot for a traditional Sunday Session – but we like it any day of the week for the craft beer and pub eats.
Open since 1841, Gellions Bar is as classic as they come. This traditional boozer features a regular line up of live music and a nice variety of beers on tap. Our favorite act to watch at Gellions is the local duo, Schiehallion, performing on most weekends from about five-thirty.
Long known as having the best live music in Inverness, Hootananny has two stages; one for traditional music and the upstairs stage for a variety of acts (from indie rock to hip hop).
Highlander Bar Inverness
A fantastic venue for everything Scottish – from food to drinks to music – Highlander is always hopping and has live music on stage every night.
Casual and fun, Johnny Foxes is a favorite riverside spot for locals with friendly bar staff and live tunes throughout the night.
The Castle Tavern
A traditional real ale tavern, the Castle is a classic place for a pint or a dram. It’s cozy and comfortable inside the bar, but there is plenty of outdoor space for sunny days, too.
The Malt Room
The best Scotch whisky bar in Inverness, The Malt Room offers whisky tasting flights and drams of the finest whisky in the region. The bar staff is top notch, too!
MAP: Inverness, Scotland
Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Inverness tourist map. Paper maps are available at the Inverness, Scotland tourism office – as well as at local hotels and shops.
Inverness Travel Tips
Now that you know all of the best things to see in Inverness and the Highlands, we have a few more travel tips that will help you plan your trip.
Planning an Inverness Itinerary
Planning an Inverness Sightseeing Itinerary is a big task – and it largely depends on your personal interests. That said, we have a few tips for creating your best trip plan.
1 to 4 Hours in Inverness
Travelers visiting Inverness on an organized tour or making a quick stop while touring other parts of the Highlands can make the most of their time by using our list of Things To Do in Inverness City Center.
We recommend walking along the riverside to the Ness Islands, snapping a photo of Inverness Castle and visiting either the Cathedral or the Inverness Museum. If time allows, stop by a few of the landmark sights – like the Old High Church, Leakey’s Bookshop and the Victorian Market.
24 Hours in Inverness
Visitors with 1 day in Inverness can squeeze a lot of sightseeing into a short timeframe. After seeing the sights in the city center (as mentioned above), visit the botanic garden (or Whin Park if traveling with young kids). Take a stroll along the Caledonian Canal and head up to Carnarc Point to look for dolphins. Alternatively, take an afternoon boat cruise to Loch Ness to track down Nessie.
In the evening, enjoy a casual dinner and local beers at Black Isle Bar and then catch some live music.
48 Hours in Inverness
Travelers spending 2 days in Inverness can see a lot of the city, plus some of the surrounding region. Use our advice for visiting Inverness is one day, then on the second day, embark on a day trip. Join a full day trip to Cairngorms NP or Culloden Battlefield.
Another option is to plan your own day trip to Falls of Foyers and Cameron Tea Shop (to see the Highland Coos) or go to Fortrose and Rosemarkie to hike to the waterfalls and search for dolphins.
For dinner on Day 2, make reservations in advance at one of the top restaurants – like The Mustard Seed or Urquhart’s Restaurant.
72 Hours in Inverness
Travelers with 3 days in Inverness can really cover some ground! Adding to our advice above for Days 1 and 2, set off on a full day hike on the Great Glen Way or embark on a train journey to Plockton.
Best Time to Visit Inverness, Scotland
Many travelers wonder, When is the best time to go to Inverness and the Scottish Highlands?
As the best Inverness activities and attractions are outdoors, it’s best to plan a trip to Inverness when it is most likely to have pleasant weather – which means traveling in the summertime.
In the summer, days are long (really long!) and the weather is typically agreeable to being outside. That said, the summer temperatures in the Highlands rarely exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit and passing rain showers are always possible.
The shoulder seasons – spring and autumn – can be a good time to visit Inverness, but the weather is fairly unpredictable in the Highlands and can range from sunny and beautiful to blustery and rainy.
Wintertime in Inverness can be dark, cold and snowy – which is great for getting cozy in the local pubs and touring the attractions with far fewer crowds. One of the things to do in Inverness at Christmas is to enjoy the festive music at a local bar – and stay for the Hogmanay celebration beginning on New Year’s Eve!
Accommodation in Inverness, Scotland
Travelers who decide to stay a few days want to know, Where is the Best Place to Stay in Inverness, Scotland?
We think the best places to stay in Inverness, Scotland are in the heart of the city center – especially for visitors traveling to the Highlands without a car. There is a wide range of accommodations in Inverness, Scotland – from hotels to bed and breakfasts to vacation rental apartments to hostels. Although it is difficult to find cheap hotels in Inverness, there are accommodation options to meet most budgets.
Before starting your search, read our tips for Finding the Best Hotels.
Best Hotels in Inverness, Scotland
Staying in a hotel is ideal for travelers spending just a few days in Inverness – and we are highlighting a few of the top choices in the city center.
Ness Walk Inverness Hotel
A beautiful property boasting spacious rooms and excellent service, Ness Walk is a premier luxury hotel in Inverness. Rooms feature patios and breakfast is included. Check available rooms and rates for your stay!
Columba Hotel Inverness
Located on the river in the heart of town, Columba Hotel offers guests large, clean rooms with modern amenities and an onsite restaurant and bar. Check rates and availability for your stay!
Stylish and clean, Heathmount Hotel is just a short walk from the humming city center – and guests rave about the hospitality. Check availability for your trip!
Drumdale B&B Inverness, Scotland
The Drumdale B&B in Inverness, Scotland warmly welcomes guests with comfortable rooms and an exceptional breakfast. Check rates for your stay!
Airbnb Inverness, Scotland
Travelers staying in Inverness for more than a few days might be more comfortable with an Airbnb in Inverness, Scotland. Having an apartment with access to a kitchen and more living space will help visitors feel more at home.
How To Get To Inverness
Inverness, Scotland can be reached by plane, train, bus or car.
Airport in Inverness, Scotland
Most flights to Inverness Airport (INV) originate within the United Kingdom. Located east of the city, arriving passengers can rent a car, take a taxi or ride the Stagecoach bus or ScotRail train into Inverness.
Larger airports near Inverness, Scotland are located in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Before booking your plane ticket, read our advice for Finding the Best Flight Fares!
Buses and Trains to Inverness
Buses to Inverness are fairly frequent from other destinations in Scotland and the UK into the Highlands – and are usually the most affordable option.
Train travel is also popular in the Highlands, but more expensive. Visitors can use direct trains to get to Inverness from major cities, like Edinburgh and Glasgow. Additionally, there is a night train for Inverness from London.
Train and Bus Station Inverness, Scotland
Both the Inverness Train Station and Bus Station are located in the heart of the city.
Edinburgh to Inverness
Trains to Inverness from Edinburgh are provided by ScotRail and depart from Edinburgh Waverley Station. Trains also take about 3.5 hours and range in cost depending on time of travel.
Glasgow to Inverness
Routes for buses from Inverness to Glasgow are managed by Megabus and FlixBus and the ride takes 4 hours.
Trains to Inverness from Glasgow are provided by ScotRail and typically depart from Glasgow Queen Street Station (but always check the departure point!). The journey takes about 3.5 hours.
Getting Around Inverness
The city of Inverness is easy to navigate as it is fairly flat and walkable. Travelers staying in Inverness for more than a day have many options for how to get around the region.
Many opt to rent a car for their Inverness trip – which is great for those who are comfortable with driving on the left side of the road. (Just use our tips for finding the Best Car Rental Rates!)
That said, a car is not necessary for getting around Inverness. During our trip, we used local buses and trains along with one organized tour to get to the top Highland attractions.
Train and Buses in Inverness
There are several train and bus routes in Inverness that can be used to get to top destinations in the Highlands.
We rode the train to travel from Inverness to Plockton and used buses get to Falls of Foyers, Fort Augustus, Chanonry Point and the Fairy Glen Waterfalls.
Travelers can also use the Inverness Hop On Hop Off Bus to get to top tourist attractions. Tickets on the open-air bus are valid for 24 hours.
Bus Tours Inverness, Scotland
There are also several bus tours from Inverness, Scotland for travelers who prefer organized adventures…and can get you to some of the hard-to-reach places without a car.
One of the best tours from Inverness combines two of the great things about the Highlands: Nature and Whisky. This highly-rated Inverness tour features several stops in Cairngorms National Park, as well as a trip to a distillery for Scottish whisky tasting. Get info here!
Another popular tour from Inverness is an organized expedition to Loch Ness that includes transit, a boat ride, and visiting Urquhart Castle. It is possible to plan the trip on your own using the bus, but we priced it out and the tour was actually cheaper. Book it here!
Visitors can book all the best tours in advance on Viator.
What To Pack for Inverness
Our final travel tips for Inverness, Scotland are all about what to pack in your backpack or suitcase for your trip! You can find more advice on our Packing Tips page. Need a packing checklist? Get your FREE Packing Checklist here!
The Right Shoes
Many of the top things to see and do in Inverness are outdoors, so make sure you pack the right shoes. We recommend shoes with a good sole, but are versatile enough for wearing around the city.
Of course, if you plan on tackling some of the more intense hikes in the Highlands, you will want a pair of proper hiking boots.
We share more advice for choosing which shoes to pack in our article, The Best Shoes for Traveling.
Scotland Weather Gear
The weather in Inverness can be wild! It’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in the span of just a few hours in Scotland – and bursts of rain are likely throughout the year.
Rather than letting a little rain keep you from enjoying the Inverness top attractions, we recommend packing a few items that will help keep you dry. A raincoat and good travel umbrella are two items that should absolutely make onto your packing list.
The best places to visit in Inverness, Scotland are utterly gorgeous! It is best to upgrade to a real camera to capture the beauty of the Highlands.
On our travels, we use a Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens. Not only does it take high quality photos, but it is easy to use and comes at an affordable price. It is still one of the best cameras for budget travelers!
Favorite Day Pack
We highly recommend carrying a day bag while sightseeing in Inverness, Scotland. We like to wear small backpacks with multiple zippered pockets to store everything we need for our daily outings – including our weather gear!
If a backpack is not your style, find more suggestions in our Best Day Bags for Travelers article.
Your Travel Documents
Of course, don’t forget to pack your important travel documents! In addition to your passport, we recommend bringing printed copies of your booked travel (like hotel reservations and pre-booked activities – and your Travel Planner, too!
We keep our most important documents tucked away in a compact and zippered Travel Organizer.
UK Trip Insurance
Travel doesn’t always go as planned – and when things go wrong, travel insurance can sometimes help. Whether it’s cancelled flights, lost luggage or getting sick while traveling, the right insurance policy might help recoup any costs incurred. Check the affordable rates and robust coverage at World Nomads.
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