15 Best Inverness Tours

Inverness is the northernmost city in the UK and is often referred to as Scotland’s “Highland Capital”.

Despite a relatively small population of only 60,000 residents, Inverness’s economy relies heavily on the influx of tourists from all over the world.

The town itself has many historical attractions, but often the nearby castles, lochs and rich Scottish wineries are the biggest draws for professional guides.

Those who spend their time in town will appreciate its quaint charm, friendly residents and well-connected attractions. Tourism touches all aspects of local life, including food, history and culture, as well as arts and entertainment.

1. Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle is one of Scotland’s largest and most majestic historic attractions, situated on the shores of the scenic, world-famous Loch Ness.

Departing from one of the lake’s many ports, guests will board their boats for a 30-minute cruise during which they will see some of the region’s most breathtaking natural wonders.

From the water, the views are impressive to say the least, and guests will enjoy the tour guide’s historical narration during the cruise and tour of the castle.

On board, participants can enjoy drinks and snacks, free Wi-Fi, and comfortable indoor and outdoor seating.

Includes access to the castle and visitor center.

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2. Inverness Food and Wine Walking Tour

Inverness Food Tour

Previous guests of this popular hike tend to agree that cultural immersion is best experienced through food and drink.

Guests who prefer to see things from a street perspective will follow a guided tour of some of the city’s most famous sights, while focusing on the way residents often fill their stomachs with traditional delicacies.

Tours explore less crowded neighborhoods, including fascinating but obscure local history and legends, for a more unique experience.

At the bar, guests can meet locals, sample beer and whisky, and sample delicacies such as seafood and haggis.

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3. 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus tour

Greg Bridge, Inverness, Scotland

Hop-on hop-off bus tours are increasingly popular with travelers who don’t want to tie themselves to traditional tours.

Many of Inverness’s most famous attractions can be easily reached by comfortable double-decker buses.

Sites include the city’s original community, Abertarff House, St Andrews Cathedral and the Highlands Archives Centre, to name a few.

Guests will learn about legends from Scotland’s past, including Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots. They will have the ability to get out of the car and see what interests them and skip those that are not.

Tickets are valid for the whole day.

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4. Alternative Loch Ness Tour

Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle

Since locals first spotted large aquatic animals frolicking in the icy waters decades ago, tourists have flocked to Loch Ness to learn about the legend of the Loch Ness monster.

The drive between Inverness and Loch Ness is full of natural beauty and rich history. Along the way, guests will enjoy commentary from the guide.

Highlights include stunning views of Urquhart Castle, several quaint villages and large stretches of undisturbed highland wilderness.

The tour includes plenty of time to stretch your legs, take photos, eat and drink, before taking the scenic drive back to Inverness.

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5. Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre Ticket and Audio Guide

Culloden Field

In April 1746, royalist and revolutionary forces converged on a battlefield in Culloden. According to reports, more than 1,500 soldiers were killed in brutal fighting in less than an hour.

On this tour from Inverness, guests will forgo their usual live guides and instead use a handy audio guide to learn about one of the most epic battles in Scottish history.

The self-guided tour begins at the visitor center, which includes a variety of exhibits showing original weapons, uniforms, and first-hand accounts of that fateful day.

Guests can also choose to tour the well-marked and easily walkable battlefield on their own.

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6. Inverness Guided Walking Tour

Ardross Terrace waterfront, Inverness

Family-friendly leisurely hikes are great options for kids who need exercise and participation.

This two-hour tour covers the right amount of land, including many aspects of local culture and history.

After meeting their guide in a convenient central location, the tour begins with a visit to some of the city’s most famous sights, such as Inverness Castle and Cathedral, the Old High Church and Balnain House.

The tour also includes local drink tastings and some historic gems slightly off the beaten track.

It’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes and bring a bottle or two of water.

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7. Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Small Group Tour from Inverness

Eilean Donan Castle

Everywhere you can go in Scotland is full of fascinating history, and it often goes back many centuries.

On this small-group tour from Inverness, guests will travel in a Mercedes minivan to one of the most impressive and historic castles in the country.

The tour includes a guided visit to Eilean Donan Castle, after which participants will travel through majestic mountains to the Trotnish Peninsula, home to iconic sights such as the Kilt Rock and the Old Man of Stoll.

The excursion includes a lunch break in the town of Portree and a return drive along Loch Ness.

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8. John O’Groats and the Far North

John O'Groats, Scotland

John O’Groats is the northernmost point of mainland Britain.

It is located along the rugged and beautiful North Sea coast, dotted with historic villages, stunning castles and some of the most beautiful seascapes anywhere in the country.

Along the way, guests will learn about what they’re seeing and have time to stop for photos, refreshments, and a brisk walk along the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

At Wake, participants will enjoy a relaxing lunch and free time to explore the town on foot before returning to Inverness.

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9. Jacobite Steam Train and Highlands Tour from Inverness

Jacobite steam train

Full-day tours with many unique attractions are great value for travelers who want to make the most of a limited vacation.

Departing from Inverness by steam train in the morning, this fun and engaging tour tends to be one of the most memorable experiences of many guest trips.

A favourite with amateur photographers and lovers of history and natural beauty, the return journey includes sights such as the ruins of Urquhart Castle, the highest mountain in the UK, the Glenfinnan Viaduct and Loch Ness.

The tour lasts approximately 12 hours and starts and ends in Inverness.

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10. Fort William and Glencoe Full-Day Tour from Inverness

Neptune's Staircase, Fort William

While few tourists actually get a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster, a visit to Loch Ness is a must for those who find themselves with free time in Inverness.

In addition to its natural beauty and mystical lake creatures, the Loch Ness region is also home to many historic attractions such as the Urquhart Castle archaeological site, the Caledonian Canal and Fort William.

Guests can also delve into more modern history by visiting the filming locations of the Harry Potter films, as well as a monument to the British commandos who served during World War II.

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11. Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Tour from Inverness

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Departing from Inverness in the morning and heading south, guests on the Isle of Sky and Eilean Donan Castle tour will see some of the most impressive sights in Scotland.

First, they will tour the shores of Loch Ness, which according to locals may be home to a large-necked beast that occasionally surfaced for impromptu photos.

From the lake, the tour heads to Eilean Donan Castle on Lake Duiker, where they will have time to stretch their legs and explore on foot on a guided tour.

Then visit the Isle of Skye, with its traditional villages, rocky cliffs and rolling green hills that meet the North Sea.

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12. Speyside Whisky and Moray Tour from Inverness

Speyside Cooperage

For lovers of idyllic natural beauty and intoxicating adult beverages, this multi-distillery tour from Inverness will be a great way to spend a day in the Scottish countryside.

Departing in the morning, guests and their guides will take a leisurely drive to Benromach Distillery, where they will learn about the ancient practice of turning common ingredients into spirits beloved by the world.

Guests will have lunch in Elgin, shop and explore the remains of a historic cathedral before heading to the Speyside Cooperage to learn how the casks of Scotch whisky produced in the area are made.

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13. Brody Castle Tickets

Brody Castle, Scotland

For hundreds of years between the 12th and 16th centuries, Brody Castle was home to the Brody family, who played an important role in Scottish history.

With this ticket, guests will be able to explore the castle’s interior and exterior at leisure.

The castle grounds are clearly marked, including numerous plaques describing what you see at every step along the way.

Facilities at the castle include a stunning library with thousands of individual books, ornate furniture, art and housewares, and an expansive garden with hundreds of species of daffodils.

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14. Loch Ness, Whiskey and Outlander Full-Day Tour from Inverness

Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit

After a scenic drive to Loch Ness from Inverness, guests of this combo tour can choose to take a cruise on Loch Ness or visit the village of Drumnadrochit.

If they choose the first option, they will visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle, and if they decide to stay on land, they will enjoy free time exploring the town and watching some of the Outlander filming locations.

When guests are reunited, they’ll head to the Highland Distillery, where they’ll tour the production facility and sample a bottle of dram.

The tour also includes interesting tidbits of local lore and history, as well as a stop at where the Battle of Culloden took place.

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15. Highland Spirit Tour from Inverness

Culloden Field

On this 8-hour Highland tour from Inverness, guests will leave the city behind and venture into some of the wildest and most untouched regions in the country.

Tours include round-trip transportation from your accommodation or cruise ship and include famous sights as well as some that deviate slightly from the well-worn path.

Guests will get up close and personal with the magnificent Loch Ness, explore Culloden Battlefield, and learn about fascinating people and historical events that changed the course of Scottish history forever.

Tours last six to eight hours and begin in the morning and include the services of a knowledgeable local guide.

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