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Situated on the banks of the River Ness where it flows into the Moray Firth, and famous around the world for its legendarily shy underwater beastie, Inverness is a city that promises much to the keen traveller. Not only is Inverness one of the largest and most populous cities in Scotland – and certainly the biggest urban centre in the Highlands – it’s also frequently said to be one of the happiest and most welcoming cities in the UK.

Getting Around Inverness

Inverness has its own airport and railway station, making it very easy to get into the city by public transport before hiring your own vehicle at one of Inverness’s many car rental centres. You’ll find car hire companies at Inverness Airport and in many locations around the city, with a particular concentration near to the train station and along Harbour Road. Though Inverness is not a large city, hiring a car is recommended if you wish to visit nearby attractions such as Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle.

Exploring the Centre of Inverness

Most of the key sightseeing spots in the city are clustered near to the station. Here you’ll find Inverness Castle, a sandstone fortress built in the 19th Century, overlooking the river. Though the castle is not open to the public it is surrounded by some charming gardens, which provide excellent views of the city. Nearby lies the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, which hosts a range of dioramas, historic displays, and Highland arts and crafts. Avid shoppers can browse the boutiques at the Victorian Market, while plenty of excellent restaurants and bistros can be found along the banks of the river.

Outside the City Centre

If you’re seeking a quiet half-day’s activity, drive out of the city centre and play a round of golf at Inverness Golf Club, Fairways or Torvean. Out of town, you’ll also find fun attractions such as the Ness Islands Railway, a miniature rail line just a ten minute drive from the city centre. Nearby are the Inverness Botanic Gardens and the Ness Islands, which are accessible by footbridges. The islands are the perfect place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic – just be sure to keep your eyes peeled for seals!

Drive to Loch Ness

A visit to Inverness wouldn’t be complete without a day trip down to Loch Ness to try and spy old Nessie. For a tranquil and secluded view of the loch, drive south out of Inverness on the B862 for around twenty minutes until you reach the B852. This road traces half the length of the loch’s eastern banks and has some excellent views. An alternative – but busier – route heads out of Inverness on the A82 and runs along the western banks of Loch Ness. On this road, you’ll pass the ruins of Urquhart Castle, which was built in 1509 and now houses a visitor centre and café. You’ll also drive through the major Loch Ness tourist attractions at the village of Drumnadrochit – a necessary stop if you want to stock up on novelty Nessie hats.

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