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Scottish Highlands

Cruises & boat tours

Our most recommended Scottish Highlands Cruises & Boat Tours

Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Day Trip

1. Inverness: Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Day Trip

Take in some of the most dramatic and stunning landscapes Scotland has to offer on an eco-certified tour from Inverness. Discover the Isle of Skye, including its capital Portree, Kilt Rock, Lealt Falls, and the Old Man of Storr. See Loch Ness from Invermoriston, Loch Carron, and Eilean Donan Castle. Meet your guide at Inverness Bus Station, where your group will board an air-conditioned coach. Head south out of the city. Then, follow the shores of Loch Ness to Invermoriston, where you will stop for a short break. Grab a coffee, take scenic photos, and try and spot Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. Then, continue to Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland's most photographed castles, set on its own island at the head of Loch Duich. You will have time to visit the castle and learn about its history if you like (admission fees apply) or just admire the picturesque castle and its scenic surroundings. Next, journey to the Isle of Skye. Stop at Portree, a small colorful town fringed by cliffs and rolling hills. Take in these beautiful surroundings while enjoying lunch and the views of the boats in the harbor. Once your appetite has been sated, move on to tour the rest of the island. Head to the Old Man of Storr, an iconic rock formation, before visiting Kilt Rock, a sea-weathered cliff with amazing coastal views. Next, take a walk at Lealt Falls to admire the beautiful waterfall and gorge. Finally, head back to Inverness via the panoramic Strome Viewpoint over Loch Carron.

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

2. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

Head for the Highlands, whether in search of the Loch Ness Monster or just a scenic day trip from Edinburgh. After pickup, relax on the bus and listen to the guide’s entertaining commentary. Visit Kilmahog for an introduction to the famous Highland Cows and a cup of coffee. Discover what a ‘hairy coo’ really is. Next, travel up the road to Glencoe and enjoy a 10-minute photo stop in front of the unforgettable Highland views. Have lunch in the Fort William area, where your guide can advise you on where to eat. If you're interested in the mysteries of the kilt, you can even get a ‘wee’ kilt introduction here. Then be whisked to Loch Ness itself. Customize your experience at Loch Ness. Choose to visit the majestic Urquhart Castle, and hop on a boat in search of ‘Nessie’, as the locals call it. Or simply hang out on the pier and grab a coffee with gorgeous views. On the way home, make a short snack stop in Pitlochry, a beautiful village in the heart of the country, before returning to Edinburgh.

Loch Lomond: Island Discovery 2-Hour Cruise

3. Loch Lomond: Island Discovery 2-Hour Cruise

Discover the legends and secrets of the islands of Loch Lomond on this cruise from Alexandria. Learn the history and the legends of Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas, while enjoying some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery. Hop aboard the spacious and comfortable boat that Balloch Village Ferry Landing. Have plenty of space for indoor and outdoor viewing with opened and closed deck space, and full bar facilities where you can purchase a drink. Begin you circular cruise which passes the world-famous Loch Lomond Golf Club. Explore the middle island of Loch Lomond, sail through an area known to locals as "The Narrows", and continue onwards to the village of Luss. Listen to cruise commentary by famed historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver, best known from BBC's "Coast" and "A History of Scotland." Return to your starting point at the end of your journey.

Dochgarroch: Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal 2-Hour Cruise

4. Dochgarroch: Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal 2-Hour Cruise

Spend 2 hours on a round-trip sail to Urquhart Castle from Dochgarroch Lock. Your cruise sails from Dochgarroch Loch on the Caledonian Canal and heads to the heart of the mystery, where you’ll learn the fascinating story of Loch Ness. Enjoy the views and the selection of hot and cold Scottish snacks on board. There’s also a bar if you fancy a wee dram, and for those of you who like to stay connected, there is free WiFi onboard!

From Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

5. From Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

Cruise on Loch Ness and visit Urquhart Castle on this coach and boat tour that transports you directly from Inverness city center to the legendary Loch Ness. You’ll learn everything there is to know about the stirring past of these famous shores as you relax on a guided coach tour. After departing from Inverness by coach, you will drive to Loch Ness. Once you arrive, hop on board a boat to cruise across the Loch’s world-famous waters. Keep an eye on the sonars for a blip that could be Nessie. There is a fully stocked bar on board and a selection of Scottish snacks. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are also served, should you require a little warming up. Once you are back on shore, explore the historic ruins of the once-mighty stronghold of Urquhart Castle. After you have seen the castle, relax on the coach as you make the return drive to Inverness city center.

Fort William: Seal Spotting Loch Linnhe Cruise

6. Fort William: Seal Spotting Loch Linnhe Cruise

Embark on a boat tour of Loch Linnhe. Pass picturesque villages, seal, islands and a Caledonian forest. Hear live commentary from the skipper. Depart from Fort William's town pier and head towards the top of Loch Linnhe. See the charming village of Corpach which has Scotland's most instagrammed shipwreck. Marvel at islands teeming with birdlife. Sail over the entrance to the Caledonian canal. Admire traditional black houses, stunning glens, an ancient Caledonian forest, and salmon and mussel farms. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles, otters, and porpoises. Have the chance to purchase refreshments and from the crew. Get close to Black Rock for the chance to see seals and seal pups. Head back to Fort William.

Loch Lomond: Scottish Highlands Sightseeing Cruise

7. Loch Lomond: Scottish Highlands Sightseeing Cruise

Depart from Balloch village and set sail beyond the stately homes of historic Scottish industrialists within view of Ben Lomond, Scotland's most southerly Munro. Continue towards Inchmurrin Island, the largest inland island in Great Britain and home to the ruins of the 12th century Lennox Castle. Learn the history and legend of Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas while enjoying some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery. Enjoy a cruise commentary by famed historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver, best known from BBC's "Coast" and "A History of Scotland." 

From John O'Groats: Orkney Islands Day Trip

8. From John O'Groats: Orkney Islands Day Trip

Start the tour by boarding the ferry at John O'Groats. Depart 8.45am. Take the 40-minute ferry crossing, keeping a lookout for marine wildlife including puffins and orcas on the way. When you arrive on Orkney, board a luxury coach which will be waiting for you to begin your tour of the island. As you set off, enjoy the commentary from a local guide. First, see the Churchill Barriers built during the First World War. Stop in Kirkwall which is Orkney's capital city and discover St Magnus Cathedral, shops, the museum, and the scenic harbor.  Continue along the northern coast of Scapa Flow and admire the beautiful views of the Hoy hills. Then, arrive in Stromness, one of Britain's most picturesque towns. Stroll through the winding street, visit the museum, and find plenty of places to eat lunch.  Next, set off for the neolithic village of Skara Brae, established in around 2,500 BC and which has been hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved for thousands of years. Follow the route onwards along a narrow tongue of land between the lochs of Harray and Stenness, making a stop at the mystical Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. Finally, board the return ferry, and make a stop at the Italian Chapel which is beautifully decorated inside 2 Nissen huts. Return to John O'Groats 6.15pm with incredible memories of your excursion.

From Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and Highlands Tour

9. From Glasgow: Loch Ness, Glencoe and Highlands Tour

Embark on a guided tour to Loch Lomond National Park, Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, the Great Glen, Loch Ness, and Pitlochry from Glasgow. Learn the history behind each turn from your guide. Depart Glasgow and travel north towards the Highlands along the “bonnie, bonnie” banks of Loch Lomond. Crossing the ancient natural fault line that runs across Scotland you travel into the majestic Highlands where the scenery changes quickly and dramatically – the flat fertile plains of the Lowlands give way to shimmering lochs, rugged mountain tops and forest-filled glens. Traveling north through Breadalbane, meaning the 'High Country of Scotland,' you climb towards the wild desolation of Rannoch Moor and down into Scotland's most famous valley, Glencoe. Glencoe is infamous as the site of the Glencoe massacre in 1692. Beyond Glencoe you will enter the Great Glen, a deep glacial valley that follows a geological fault line. Passing through the town of Fort William you drive under Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, before arriving at Fort Augustus on the southern shore of Loch Ness. Keep an eye out for legendary sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie. Take in views of the charming town of Fort Augustus and the Caledonian Canal which links the lochs of the Great Glen. Spend some time here where you can purchase a nice lunch before traveling north up the full length of the loch. Have the opportunity to see the ancient stronghold of Urquhart Castle while taking a 5-Star Jacobite boat cruise on the loch. Continue north through Inverness before traveling south in the stunning the mountains of Cairngorms National Park. Drive over the Drumochter Pass, at 1500 feet above sea level and past the 13th century Blair Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Atholl. Finally, stretch your legs at the Highland resort town of Pitlochry which is built for Victorian tourism and nestled amongst the mountains of Highland Perthshire. Return to your starting point in Glasgow at the end of your tour.

Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Fort William, and Glencoe Winter Tour

10. Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Fort William, and Glencoe Winter Tour

The winter edition of our Glenfinnan, Glencoe, and Fort William Adventure begins in the heart of Edinburgh city center, at our departure point on the Royal Mile. Depart Edinburgh's bustling streets, pass some of its most iconic sights like Edinburgh Castle on your way out, and begin your journey north into the rugged Scottish Highlands. We pause for refreshments at Callander, the gateway to the Highlands, before continuing to Glencoe. The well-known, dramatic Glen features in many films, such as James Bonds' Skyfall, and is the backdrop to some scenes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, perfect to get you in the mood to visit the famous "Harry Potter Bridge" that you will see later in the tour. We pause here for photos and to learn all about the history of Glencoe, including the massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. From the atmospheric Glencoe, we travel further along the banks of Loch Linnhe to the Highland town of Fort William, which sits at the foot of Britain's tallest mountain - Ben Nevis. We stop here to allow you to stretch your legs and have an early lunch break before we journey onwards to the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The Glenfinnan Viaduct was arguably made most famous from its scenes in Harry Potter and is surrounded by mountains on the stunning shores of Loch Shiel. Not only is this location famous for the Jacobite Steam Train (not to be confused with the Hogwarts' Express), Loch Sheil was the location of the "Black Lake". See if you can spot a "grindylow" causing trouble under the surface! It's also the setting for Buckbeak's beautiful flight, scenes from the Triwizard Tournament, and also the stunning loch on which Hogwarts sits. We take in the viaduct and a photo opportunity before a visit to the nearby Glenfinnan Monument, which symbolizes one of the most important events in Scottish history; the 1745 Jacobite uprising. Departing Glenfinnan, we begin our return journey to Edinburgh, stopping along the way for refreshments at the small village of Pitlochry. Enjoy time to stretch your legs and grab a quick bite to eat before we return to Edinburgh where our Glenfinnan, Glencoe, and Fort William Adventure will end.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Scottish Highlands

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What people are saying about Scottish Highlands

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 682 reviews

The day trip to the Highlands, to Loch Ness and one or two small stops is really recommended. The day is quite long and you are really overwhelmed by the beautiful impressions, but it is worth the trip. Our guide Nester always had a good saying and it was a lot of fun with him. After about 1 1/2 hours he introduced us to THE Scottish celebrities!!! Who? It won't be revealed! Now you also know the difference between a hole and a lake. And he said a lot more! Highly recommend this seller!

It was an amazing tour to see the Highlands of Inverness and its hidden magical places! Very fascinating! My partner and I enjoyed the views and its history all at the same time. It was a memorable experience for our 6th year anniversary enjoying and relaxing with nature surrounding us! :)

This tour was wonderful. Our guide, Marita, was hilarious, knowledgeable and made the 12 hour trip incredibly fun. We learned a lot about the land and saw some amazing sights. I highly recommend this tour!

Brendan (our driver) and the Loch Ness tour was amazing. Lots of great commentary that had us all laughing. He was very knowledgeable and definitely entertaining.

Went into the tour not knowing what to expect, came out exceedingly impressed with the breath of expertise and knowledge “ santa paul” displayed.