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Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh

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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon12 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 7 more
Good for avoiding crowds

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Overview

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.
Saved to wishlist!
Local guide
Picnic lunch - freshly made & locally sourced valued at £4.50
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Food and drinks, unless specified
Optional boat cruise on Loch Ness (from £16.50 for an adult) - can be purchased at check-in.
Highland Explorer Tours , 60 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1TB, UK
8:00 AM
Waterloo Place , Waterloo Pl, Edinburgh, UK
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.
Itinerary
Pass By:  
Stirling Castle
Pass the imposing ramparts of Stirling Castle and drive through the Trossachs National Park, Rob Roy country
Stop At:  
Callander
Enjoy a comfort stop in Callander, a small highland town
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Glencoe
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:  
Pitlochry
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.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Minimum age is 5 years
  • Near public transportation
  • It is recommended to book transport to the departure point in advance. Please also allow extra time to get to the departure point for check-in. We advise you arrive at least 15 minutes before the tour departure to allow time to check-in for the tour. Unfortunately, we are unable to hold back the tour for late arrivals.
  • Not recommended for travellers with mobility difficulties
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 57 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Highland Explorer Tours Ltd
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh?
A:The policies on social distancing are:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh?
A:The policy on staff health & safety is:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
See all safety measures taken by Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands with Lunch from Edinburgh.

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Traveler Tips


  • "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." See review
  • "If you take the cruise, it may not offer a lot of time to walk around town and visit those cute shops." See review
  • "Despite the great Scottish weather (it's the Highlands after all), this is a great day excursion if you're looking into learning a bit about Scotland history and admire the beautiful landscapes of the Highlands!" See review

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
1,171 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

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Showing 1-10 of 1,171 reviews
star-4
A great way to see the...
Marion_R
, Jul 2022
A great way to see the Highlands from Edinburgh if you’ve not got a lot of time. It was a lot of time on the bus, but this could not be helped as the distance is what it is. Steve made the trip enjoyable with great stories and anecdotes about Scottish history and culture. The tour was good value and a great day out.
star-3
An OK Experience
Nihit_D
, Jul 2022
It was an OK experience, was not able to understand the few stories of the Scottish guide cum driver
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
Fabulous trip. Scenery Every Minute
Linda_R
, Jun 2022
We had a great guide and every mile of the trip was gorgeous scenery. It is a lot of riding, but we were thrilled not to be driving!
star-4
Long bus ride, but to beautiful destinations
Traci_V
, Jun 2022
What a day! The bus rides were long, yet I liked the history provided by our tour guide, Conner, along the way. The area was beautiful! I went on the cruise at Loch Ness; it was nice. Only thing I would have liked is more time at some of the towns. We had so much ground to cover that each stop was bathroom and maybe a snack. That is it.
star-5
Greg the coach driver and...
Paul_C
, Jun 2022
Greg the coach driver and tour guide was absolutely brilliant, very knowledgeable about the areas we travelled through and also very witty. It was a long day but thoroughly enjoyable.
star-5
Well worth it!!!
Kevin_M
, Jun 2022
This was my 3rd highlands tour but it never gets old - this place is just amazing. Huge props to Louise - such a kind and fun tour guide, she kept us well informed of everything about this tour and made us really safe!!! Despite a mishap, she was calm, focused and brought us home on time. Louise, if you are reading this, thank you so much. There should be more tour guides like you!
star-5
Perfect guide. Very easy...
Marlene_S
, Jun 2022
Perfect guide. Very easy to understand and a good storyteller. Lovely nature and sights. The bus was clean and comfi.
star-4
Good Day Trip to the Scottish Highlands
Joash_F
, Jun 2022
Our guide and driver, Tom, was wonderful - told lots of stories and interesting historical information which made the long drive memorable and enjoyable. The views of the highlands were magnificent. The Loch Ness boat cruise was overrated - a 50 minute boat ride, on a crowded boat, is not worth the 16.50 GBP ticket cost.
star-3
Beautiful scenary but horrible bus
Samedi_T
, Jun 2022
The Highlands were absolutely beautiful. I’ve never seen anything as beautiful as Glencoe. The trip takes you from Edinburgh all the way to Fort Augustus (Lochness), so you spend about 4 hours each way on the tour bus. My biggest issue with this tour is the tour bus itself. It was hot and miserable. Think about being stuck in a packed bus, filled with people, with windows that do not open, and an AC vent above you that’s blowing hot air. That’s what we dealt with during the entire tour. This was brought to the bus driver’s attention, in which he responded “nothing else I can do, the AC is on full blast”. So it’s either this company needs to invest in newer buses, or they’ve advised against turning on the AC. Either way, it’s ridiculous that I spent money to be miserable.
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
A magical experience in the Scottish Highlands and at Loch Ness
Christina_M
, Jun 2022
An absolutely delightful trip, discovering Scottish history, culture and music while exploring the magnificient landscape in the Highlands. Our tour guide Tom made everything come alive with his dramatic stories , historical anecdotes, Scotland's folk tales. Meeting Honey and Hamish, a cruise on Loch Ness and the breathtaking views are amongst my most memorable moments of the day! It's one of my best tours ever and I'd highly recommend it to anyone interested to explore the highlands.
star-5
Just amazing!
Aditya_D
, Jun 2022
Loved the entire experience. Calum was a great guide and kept the stories flowing all through the day :)
star-5
Feeding the highland...
Chris_M
, Jun 2022
Feeding the highland cows, great chats with Steve, driving through the mountains, Loch Ness. Really enjoyed the variety of activities throughout the day!
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
Loch Ness
Leslie_D
, May 2022
While the Loch Ness tour itself was a little long, it was interesting. The surrounding areas were filled with quaint towns and enjoyable cafes. Tom was a knowledgeable tour guide with fun stories about Scotland’s history. We loved the boat tour and hike through the county side most. If you have time I would recommend this tour.
star-5
Was a wonderful day out ...
Stephen_M
, May 2022
Was a wonderful day out Highly recommend it Money best spent ever staff was really good Stop was good
star-5
Great experience
Guillaume_G
, Apr 2022
Great storytelling full of humor and history on the bus and the Loch Ness boat tour. Definitely recommend this tour for anyone wanting to see more of Scotland in a short timeframe.
star-5
Full day of Highlands, done right
Arvind_J
, Apr 2022
It was an full day of seeing best of Scotland's Highlands. The tour was well planned and executed. Right from the pickup time to drop-off. Our guide Rich was informative, funny, and entertaining. We were given sufficient time at each stop. The included lunch was also good, sandwich options for all dietary requirements along with crisps and cookie. The only thing I wish we would have done is- our first in the national park was a view point for a quick photo stop overlooking the lakes and mountains. The parking lot was full with other tourist coaches and cars when we reached there (I understand its in no-one's control). I wish we possibly could have waited for a few min to get the parking spot and be able to take photos from there, it looked very scenic. Overall, I enjoyed, had a good time and would use this tour operator again
star-5
A must do
Ian_M
, Apr 2022
Our driver, Rich, was great! Very engaging and great stories and history information thru out the trip. This was a great way to visit the Highlands, worry free and entertaining.
star-5
Great!
Valentina_F
, Apr 2022
What an experience! We had a blast experiencing the stunning nature of Scotland. A special thank you to our tour guide/driver, who did a marvelous job on sharing so many stories and anecdotes about Scotland, its people and some of the most known places in the country. The tour will take approximately 12hrs from pick up to drop off, so, if you have the time, make sure to check it out, you won’t regret it!
star-5
Very enjoyable day!!
Sheral_W
, Apr 2022
The drive alone was beautiful but it was nice to have a few stops along the way! Loch Ness was very cool and I recommend the boat cruise! Our tour guide was Thomas and he was amazing!! He was very informative and so hilarious! Made the long bus ride very enjoyable! Highly recommend!
star-5
A Very Enjoyable Day
Anita_W
, Apr 2022
Thomas, our driver, was particularly entertaining! Dougie was too, but to think that Thomas was new & did such a phenomenal job is just AMAZING! Thomas was engaging with all the passengers, professional in his driving skills, and very knowledgeable, sharing wonderful stories & music throughout the entire 12 hour tour! And, due to my disability, he even let my husband & myself off right at our bus stop at the end of the tour, instead of sticking to protocol with me having to walk a long distance after a very taxi taxing day, we REALLY appreciated that thoughtfulness!

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