There are three main ways to get to Loch Ness, via tour, public transport or car. Loch Ness is located 170 miles from Edinburgh in the Scottish Highlands. If you are planning on going from Glasgow or Edinburgh to Loch Ness in a day, then we would recommend taking a tour. These are available throughout the week and are an excellent way of getting to Loch Ness. If you are planning on staying in the area for a longer period of time, we recommend hiring a car and driving to Loch Ness. Given its remote location, Loch Ness is difficult to get to by public transport, and whilst there are buses that go to the Loch, they run quite infrequently.
How to get to Loch Ness:
Edinburgh to Loch Ness
It’s about a 165 mile drive to get from Edinburgh to Loch Ness. The best option is to drive or take a day tour, since public transportation options are limited.
Edinburgh to Loch Ness Day Tour – Great Value!
Set off early in the morning, around 8am, and leave the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh for the glorious Scottish countryside. The drive to Loch Ness is stunning, passing many of the highlights of the Scottish Highlands including Ben Nevis, Fort William and Stirling Castle. On arrival at Loch Ness, enjoy a picnic lunch and you’ll have time for a boat cruise or hike. The tour includes a professional guide in English and audio guides in several different languages.
To get to Loch Ness from Edinburgh, you’ll need to take the train to Inverness. There are direct trains that run throughout the day, with the journey taking around 3hr30m. From Inverness, take a bus to Loch Ness. Make sure to check the bus times in advance, since they do not always run frequently.
A cheaper option is to take the Megabus, which goes from Edinburgh to Inverness and the journey takes between 3hr30m to 4hr30m, operated by MegaBus. From here, take a local bus to Loch Ness.
Driving from Edinburgh to Loch Ness
Loch Ness is about 170-mile drive from Edinburgh and there are two main routes you can take to get there. The fastest option will take around 4 hours, along the M90 and A9 via Perth.
You might want to look at the guided tours above to get an idea about driving routes. If you are making a return journey, you can do a circular route.
A more scenic route is to go via Glencoe, which will take around 4 hours if you calculate a non-stop journey. Bear in mind that this route passes some stunning places along the way to Loch Ness, including Callander, Rannoch Moor and Glencoe, which are all worth stopping at. You can plan your route using the AA route planner.
Glasgow to Loch Ness
It’s about a 140 mile drive to get from Glasgow to Loch Ness. The best way to get there is by tour or car since public transportation options are limited.
Glasgow to Loch Ness by Day Tour:
Departing at 8am from Glasgow, this day tour covers Glencoe, Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands. Tour includes small 16-seater minibus and professional tour guide.
There are trains that run from Glasgow to Inverness, both direct or with a stop in Perth, and the journey takes just under 3hr30m. From here, you will need to take a bus to get to Loch Ness but make sure to check the bus times in advance. Public transportation in and around Loch Ness is limited. Whilst there are buses from Inverness, they tend to run infrequently.
Driving from Glasgow to Loch Ness
Similar to the route options from Edinburgh, you can either go via Perth (3hr30m) or Glencoe (4 hours). Bear in mind that it’s a long drive from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Loch Ness, and if you do decide to do it, we’d suggest staying overnight in the Loch Ness region to break up the journey.
Inverness to Loch Ness
There are lots of ways of getting from Inverness to Loch ness. The capital of the Highlands is located closeby and you can take a bus, tour or drive.
Inverness to Loch Ness Tour
This full-day tour of Loch Ness leaves Inverness at 11am in a small 16-seater minibus. You’ll spend the day visiting the villages that surround the shores of Loch Ness, as well as time for a boat cruise along the lake and a gentle stroll through the countryside.
There are several bus lines that connect Inverness to the villages on the shores of Loch Ness and the journey takes around 30 minutes. When planning your visit, make sure you know when the last bus departs and from which village in Loch Ness, as many of the bus services finish in the late afternoon.
Stagecoach runs several bus routes that run to Loch Ness, which you can see here. At the time of writing, the first bus of the day departs at 07:10 am from Inverness, and the last bus leaves Urquhart Castle at 18:45. You can search the timetables here.
The best way to find bus routes going from Inverness to Loch Ness is to use the Traveline website. Make sure you know where you wish to travel to in Loch Ness as there are multiple bus stops (for example Urquhart Castle, Fort Augustus or Foyers.
Driving from Inverness to Loch Ness
Loch Ness is located around 13 miles from Inverness and is a very easy drive along the B862 or the A82.