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Things to do in Inverness

Things to do in  Inverness

Welcome to Inverness

Nestled on the banks of the River Ness in northern Scotland, Inverness is the last city stop on the way up to the remote Shetland Islands. Slightly more subdued than major Scottish cities such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, Inverness lies within reach of top attractions including the Great Glen and Loch Ness—attracting year-round travelers eager to admire the spectacular scenery and rugged landscapes for which Scotland is famous. Within the city itself, visitors can take hop-on hop-off bus tours to sites of interest including Abertarff House, the Caledonian Canal, Inverness Castle, and the Merkinch Local Nature Reserve—and gain insight from tour guides into centuries of Scottish history. Looking farther afield, you’ll find whisky-tasting tours to the Highland and Speyside regions, home to famous distilleries including Glenfiddich and Glenlivet; early-morning canoe trips through the mighty Aigas Gorge; full-day tours to Loch Ness and Glen Affric; and day trips to diverse destinations including Applecross, Eilean Donan, and Torridon, where life ticks by at a wonderfully relaxing pace. And if time isn’t pressing, two- to five-day adventures take in far-flung corners of the Scottish shoreline such as the Isle of Skye, Orkney Islands, and Hebrides, where the natural beauty of Scotland’s rugged Atlantic Coast reveals itself in full.

Top 15 things to do in Inverness

#1
Loch Ness

Loch Ness

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While visitors flock to Loch Ness hoping to catch a glimpse of its elusive and eponymous monster, Loch Ness—a lake in the Scottish Highlands—is worth the trip even if you don’t believe the rumors. Vast and surrounded by magnificent Scottish scenery, Loch Ness is a popular boating and sightseeing spot.More
#2
Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

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Scotland's largest island, the Isle of Skye is a pocket of wilderness jutting off the coast of the West Highlands. The area is a treat for nature lovers, with its dramatic sea cliffs, windswept valleys, and glittering lochs.More
#3
Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus

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A village on the shores of Loch Ness, Fort Augustus is a popular destination in the Scottish Highlands. Once a garrison in the 18th century, the scenic village today attracts cyclists, hikers, and travelers in search of the Loch Ness monster. It’s also a gateway to the Great Glen Way, a 73-mile trail that runs from Inverness to Fort William.More
#4
Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield

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The Culloden Battlefield was the site of one of the last battles to take place on British soil. On April 16, 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army of 5,000 Jacobite Highlanders faced off against the Duke of Cumberland and 9,000 Hanoverian government troops. Though the Jacobites fought valiantly, they were ultimately defeated, resulting in the elimination of the Scottish clan system and the suppression of Highland culture. Today, the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre retells the events of that fateful day through interactive exhibits that put travelers in the thick of the action.More
#5
Urquhart Castle (Caisteal na Sròine)

Urquhart Castle (Caisteal na Sròine)

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Set on the shore of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle (Caisteal na Sròine) attracts many visitors that come here in hopes of glimpsing Nessie, the loch’s fabled aquatic monster. The ruined medieval fortress, which was destroyed in 1762 to prevent it from becoming a Jacobite stronghold, now houses a visitor center that exhibits objects found amid the ruins.More
#6
Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns

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The Clava Cairns—or the Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Balnuaran of Clava—are all that remains of what was once a much larger Bronze Age burial complex. Dating back 4,000 years, the evocative cemetery site retains original features, including passage graves, standing stones, and ring cairns (stone circles).More
#7
Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle

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Perched atop a hill by the River Ness, this Victorian-era red sandstone castle—built to replace the medieval fortress blown up by the Jacobites in 1746—is one of Inverness’ most prominent historic structures. Access to the castle, now occupied by government offices and law courts, is restricted but the grounds are open to the public.More
#8
Caledonian Canal

Caledonian Canal

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Pleasure boats float along Caledonian Canal, a scenic 60-mile (97-kilometer) waterway that runs through Scotland's Great Glen, connecting Fort William in the southwest to Inverness in the northeast. The canal, which links Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Dochfour, and Loch Ness, is popular with walkers and cyclists, who follow towpath trails.More
#9
Cawdor Castle and Gardens

Cawdor Castle and Gardens

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Cawdor Castle is immortalized in literary history as the fictional home of the Thane of Cawdor in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The Highland castle, however, has little in common with its fictional counterpart as it wasn't built until the 14th-century, 300 years after the reign of both the real and fictional King Macbeth.More
#10
Glen Ord Distillery

Glen Ord Distillery

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Founded in 1838, Glen Ord is the only remaining single malt whisky distillery on the Scottish Highlands’ Black Isle peninsula. Visitors can go on a behind-the-scenes tour to see and understand the process of making a single malt from start to finish; you’ll check out the barley maltings as well as fermentation and distillation methods.More
#11
Inverness Cathedral (St. Andrew's Cathedral)

Inverness Cathedral (St. Andrew's Cathedral)

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With its imposing pink sandstone turrets presiding over the River Ness, Inverness Cathedral (St. Andrew's Cathedral or, less commonly, the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew) is one of the most striking of the city’s many churches. The 19th-century Gothic-style structure is conspicuously spire-free. Though architect Alexander Ross put them in his original design, they had to be scrapped due to lack of funds.More
#12
Fort George

Fort George

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Built by George II in the mid-18th century to defend against Jacobite attacks following the Battle of Culloden, this vast military fort functions as a working army base and as a tourist attraction. View collections of arms, browse exhibitions on Scottish army regiments, and make the 1-mile (1.6-kilometer walk around its ramparts.More
#13
Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition

Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition

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Using projections and special effects, this immersive exhibition focuses on the ecology of Loch Ness and the mysterious monster that supposedly swims its waters. Curious visitors find out about the lake habitat and the likelihood of a monster surviving here, as well as learning about previous monster hunts, research missions, and hoaxes.More
#14
Old High Church (Old High St. Stephen’s)

Old High Church (Old High St. Stephen’s)

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Dating back to 1897, Old High Church (or Old High St. Stephen’s) is the oldest church and congregation in the Scottish Highlands capital of Inverness. The church is noteworthy for its Arts and Crafts/Gothic-style architecture, Ballantine stained glass, 1902 organ, and adjacent cemetery overlooking the Ness river.More
#15
Eden Court Theatre and Cinema

Eden Court Theatre and Cinema

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A cultural hub in the capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness’ Eden Court Theatre and Cinema hosts a variety of events from a broad range of disciplines, including music, theater, dance, comedy, and film. A visit to the venue is a great way for travelers to take the pulse of the local cultural scene.More

Trip ideas

Scottish Island Tours from Inverness

Scottish Island Tours from Inverness

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How to Spend 3 Days in Inverness

Top activities in Inverness

The Isle of Skye & Eilean Donan Castle from Inverness
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Highlander Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield 8 Seater Tour from Inverness
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Isle of Skye Full Day 8-Seater Bus Tour from Inverness
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Hogwarts Express and the Scenic Highlands Day Tour from Inverness
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Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Small-Group Day Tour from Inverness
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Scotland Whisky Distilleries and Tasting Private Day Tour by Luxury Car
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Glenfinnan Viaduct and The Great Glen 8 Seater Tour from Inverness
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GoHighlands Dunrobin Castle and more
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Isle of Skye Day Tour

Isle of Skye Day Tour

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John O'Groats, Dunrobin Castle & the Far North from Inverness
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Private Bespoke Skye Tour
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Private Bespoke Skye Tour

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Create Your Own Special 2 Day Tour
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Create Your Own Special 2 Day Tour

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GHD Clan Tour of Speyside Distilleries
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Inverness

star-5
Our family thoroughly...
Piper_L, Jul 2022
Inverness Bike Tour a 2 hours guided bike tour around the Waterways of Inverness
We got to see parts of Inverness we would not have otherwise seen and Allison brought the city to life for us.
star-5
Best tour ever!!!!!
Martine_G, Jun 2022
Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
We went at a totally relaxed pace yet were able to see everything.
star-5
This tour took me to all...
Eli_L, Jun 2022
Highlander Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield 8 Seater Tour from Inverness
This tour took me to all the best there is to see in Inverness.
star-5
Highly Recommend
Brad_G, Jun 2022
Half-Day Loch Ness and Outlander Sites Tour from Inverness
We started promptly on time and he was even able to fit in a stop to see the Hairy Coos on our way back to Inverness!
star-5
Great way to see Inverness
Hannah_V, Jun 2022
Inverness City Centre Walking Tour
It's a great way to see this beautiful town, with a lot of time spent along the river.
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A Great Day in Inverness
John_D, May 2022
Half-Day Loch Ness Tour from Inverness with Pick up
Our total group was 6 people and tis is the best way to see everything and be able to get out and take some great photos.
star-5
Wonderful Tour of the City
Marcus_J, May 2022
Inverness Bike Tour a 2 hours guided bike tour around the Waterways of Inverness
This was an incredible way to see the city of Inverness!
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Amazing day around Inverness
Eric_V, Mar 2022
Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
It was a perfect way to see the sights around Inverness and would use him again if I had the choice.
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Totally recommended
Chelsea_T, Feb 2022
The Complete Loch Ness Experience Small-Group Day Tour from Inverness
A gift for my dad and his partner whilst in Inverness travelling, they told me it was a fantastic day lots to see and the tour guide was amazing
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A wonderful experience!
Lucy_R, Aug 2022
Inverness City Centre Walking Tour
We felt that we really got to know Inverness and hear the magical local stories behind the city, would absolutely recommend to anyone wanting to see and learn about the main sites and little hidden gems of Inverness.
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One end of the earth!
uma_g, Aug 2022
John O'Groats, Dunrobin Castle & the Far North from Inverness
The beautiful sights and the overall experience on this trip have 3xcited us to plan for further trips to the 8spands far north and west, perhaps next summer!
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Absolutely Beautiful Skye Visit
Tina_S, Jul 2022
Isle of Skye Full Day 8-Seater Bus Tour from Inverness
I highly recommend you book this tour if you're lucky enough to visit this region of Scotland.
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Spontaneous trip to SKYE
Naomi_C, Jun 2022
Full-Day Outlander Experience in the Scottish Highlands from Inverness
I am happy Steve suggested it, because we were able to see such beautiful sights that normally aren't seen unless it is a clear day.
star-5
Truly magical day in the Highlands
Hannah_V, Jun 2022
Highlander Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield 8 Seater Tour from Inverness
This is a great way to see the area around Inverness with a really great local guide (seriously, can't say enough good things about Mike).
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An unforgettable experience in the Scottish Highlands
satkugo, May 2022
Hogwarts Express and the Scenic Highlands Day Tour from Inverness
On our return we stopped at Glenfinnan to see the steam train passing over the world-famous viaduct.
star-5
Amazing
Musart_E, Aug 2021
Loch Ness Sightseeing Cruise from Clansman Harbour
Had an amazing time being able to see the beautiful highlands and the loch ness.
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Very good tour. You don't get to see...
Keith H, May 2016
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
You don't get to see all of the Isle of Skye but what you see is well worth going for.
star-5
Excellent activity and top guide
AnneMarie_R, Apr 2022
Inverness Bike Tour a 2 hours guided bike tour around the Waterways of Inverness
Would highly recommend to anyone wishing to see Inverness from a locals perspective.
star-5
Had a wonderful time in Inverness...
Justine G, Jul 2016
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
Had a wonderful time in Inverness the tours I went on with the Highland experience and our driver and was very informative even though it rained most of the time we still got to see a lot of things my Jacobite tour of Loch Ness was beautiful
star-5
Great experience
Thomas_M, Dec 2021
GHD Clan Tour of Northern Whisky Distilleries
Along the way we stopped to see highland cattle and other points of interest.
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People Also Ask

What is Inverness popular for?

Yes. Reykjavik is expensive. The biggest hit to your wallet comes from hotels and eating and drinking. Iceland’s greatest attraction is nature and that doesn’t cost anything. Save money getting around by booking combination tours that combine activities. In Reykjavik, buy a pass that includes admission to multiple attractions.

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What is there to do in Inverness?

Popular activities include exploring Inverness Castle, Inverness Museum, and Inverness Botanic Gardens. Nearby the battlefield of Culloden is worth a visit, and fans of Outlander should visit Clava Cairns. You can also depart on whisky-tasting tours to the Speyside region and tours to Loch Ness and Glen Affric.

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How many days do you need in Inverness?

One day is enough time to see Inverness. If you plan to use Inverness as a base for exploring the Highlands, you'll need longer. In one day, you can visit the city's attractions and get a feel for local life at a restaurant and live music venue.

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What is there to do in Inverness without a car?

Inverness is a compact city and you can easily explore its main attractions on foot. If you arrive by train, it’s only a 5-minute walk to Inverness Castle. From there you can walk another 20 minutes along the River Ness, or hop on a bus, to Inverness Botanic Gardens.

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Can you walk from Inverness to Loch Ness?

Yes. But Inverness is eight miles (13 kilometers) from Loch Ness so it will take several hours. If you’d rather be in the fresh air than inside a car or bus, you can cycle there in less time. It’s a fairly flat route and you can rent bikes in Inverness.

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Is Inverness worth visiting?

Yes. As the capital city of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness has plenty of history and culture to make it worth a visit. You’ll want to plan your trip to spend more time in the countryside than the city, but Inverness is worth a day of your time.

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