You can spend a day wandering by the River Ness, strolling over the swing bridges onto the Islands and stopping for refreshment at the riverside cafes and bars on Ness bank.
Inverness Floral Hall A sub-tropical corner of Inverness with exotic plants, tropical fish, cacti and a cafe too.
Caledonian Canal Escape for an easy walk or a bike ride up the Caledonian Canal on the edge of town. Great views, restaurant at Dochgarroch locks and all sorts of boats on the Canal.
Leakey’s second hand bookstore Located
on Church Street, this is another Inverness treasure for anyone who likes books and a great bistro-style cafe with home cooking and an open fire. Great for chilling out.
Inverness Castle This 19th Century castle at the heart of Inverness is the most recent of a succession of castles on this site since the 11th Century. Great views of Inverness, the Cathedral, the River Ness, the Moray firth and Ben Wyvis, the big mountain to the north.
Inverness Golf Then, of course, there’s always the golf. See ‘Golf’ in this section.
Watching dolphins Here in the Moray Firth we have a large pod of resident bottlenose dolphins, which in the spring and summer are usually seen on a daily basis. Aside from going out in a boat, we’ve found that the best place to see them from the land is from Chanonry point at Fortrose to the north east of Inverness. They come to play and probably to feed in the tide race round the point......so time your visit carefully. You can also try a dolphin cruise with a number of local operators:
Based at North Kessock just on the north side of the Bridge, The Dolphin & Seal centre is a great place for learning all about the Moray Firth dolphins and if the tide is right, you have a good chance of seeing them too.
Birdwatching Loch Ruthvenis the best place in the Highlands for watching the rare
Slavonian Grebes during the spring and summer months. Osprey also regularly fish this loch. North shore of the Beauly Firth is a great place for watching geese, herons, various waders and waterfowl and raptors (look out for Red Kites).
South of Inverness, the high country of scattered lochs, farms and moor is great for spotting grouse, peregrine, buzzard, kestrel, little grebe, stonechat, lapwing, curlew, pipit, wheatear and many more.
Road biking. If you are bringing your road bike then you will not be short of some wonderful rides on quiet roads.....and all starting and finishing from Inverness. Great road biking routes include the roads on the south side of Loch Ness, the Black Isle to the north of the city and out to Cromarty, and the Nairn valley to the east. It is easy to pick circular routes wherever you choose to go. Get yourself a map of the area and you’re away. Feel free to call Ed, the owner of Flat No.9, for some route suggestions if you like.
Mountain biking. Inverness is a bit of a seventh heaven for off road mountain bikers. There are many routes to take from the town that carry you quickly off road and into the rough stuff. Feel free to call Ed Ley-Wilson , the owner of Flat No.9, for some route suggestions if you like.
There are also a number of dedicated downhill mountain bike centres in the wider area too.
Walking The walking opportunities around the area are numerous and, for the more adventurous, the mountains of the west will beckon. However here are a few suggestions for some walks locally and, if you visit the Tourist Office just underneath the Castle in town, then you will be able to pick up some maps to help you find your way. For suggestions on some more knarly mountain walks, give Ed a call and he’ll be happy to make some suggestions.
River Ness islands Gentle stroll through the picturesque islands on the Ness
Caledonian Canal From the swing bridge to Dochgarroch Locks and back
Creag Phadrig Up and round this ancient hilltop fort
Craig Dunain hill tracks Any number of routes for you to choose with a wonderful view of Inverness from the mast at the top
Meall Fuar mhonaidh 700m strenuous hill climb from close to Drumnadrochit. Nothing technical, just a simple walk but you’ll need proper hill walking clothing. The view from the top over Loch Ness and the mountains to the west is breathtaking.
Pebble beach with woodland walks added on and the wonderful Dores Inn to collapse in afterwards.
Nairn beach Ten miles to the east of Inverness, miles and miles of white sandy beach
Countryside Ranger events Informative guided walks for all ages taken by friendly knowledgeable Rangers. Check out the website for details on what’s available.
If you want a real buzz then why not try your hand at canoeing, kayaking (yes, there’s a difference), gorge swimming, weaseling, abseiling, rock climbing, ice climbing, windsurfing or sailing.
The following operators will be able to help:
A trip to Inverness is only half a trip without at least visiting Loch Ness and dipping your toe in the mysterious waters. Home of so many Loch Ness Monster stories and surrounded by some wonderful countryside, there is something for everyone with a trip to Loch Ness. Here are some suggestions as a starter:
South Loch Nessarea.
This is an area of outstanding natural beauty with its scattered lochs, mature woods, sparse population, and rougher Highland feel. A great place to explore for a day with a map and a bike or car. Quite a few eateries dotted about to choose from too.
Loch Ness Monster exhibition centre Based in Drumnadrochit on the north side of the Loch, this centre will tell you everything you’ve always wanted to know about Loch Ness. Nice pub in Drumnadrochit too.
Foyers Falls 20 miles out of town, on the south side of Loch Ness, the tiny village of Foyers nestles under the hill above the shores of the Loch. The nearby gorge houses the famous Foyers Falls (waterfall) and it’s a very easy well guided walk to get to them. In spate, they are a sight to behold.....take your camera!
Abriachan Garden Nursery 3 miles out of town, this nursery demonstrates what can be achieved in a garden this far north east.
6 miles out of town on the south Loch Ness side, this wee treasure of a pub serves wonderful food in a modern relaxing atmosphere and, on a sunny day, you can eat and drink outside overlooking the Loch.
Cawdor Castle Stately Castle and gardens not far to the east of Inverness in the lovely Nairn valley. Try linking this in with a trip to Nairn beach.
This 19 thC castle at the heart of Inverness is the most recent of a succession of castles on this site since the 11 thC. Great views of Inverness, the Cathedral, the River Ness, the Moray firth and Ben Wyvis, the big mountain to the north.
Eilean Donan Castle A bit of a drive to get here but this is the picture postcard Scottish castle that starred in the films Loch Ness and Braveheart. Well worth a day out with some fabulous driving through the mountains of the west towards the Isle of Skye.
The following attractions are all easy to visit as either a half or full day visit.
Culloden Battlefield Final defeat for Bonnie Prince Charlie and the start of the Highland Clearances. Battlefield and visitors centre 6 miles east of Inverness.
Logie Steading Chill out with arts and crafts, local produce, second hand books galore and a great cafe. A lovely spot to return to if you have been out walking in the area. 15 miles east of Inverness.
Findhorn Foundation A spiritual community, ecovillage and an international centre for holistic education, the Findhorn Foundation demonstrates an alternative way of building communities. The eco village ecological footprint is half the national average! 35 miles east from Inverness.
Clava Cairns 4000 year old burial cairns beautifully preserved. 5 miles east of Inverness.
Moniack Castle winery Guided tours, wines, meats, sauces and preserves. A food lovers heaven 3 miles west from Inverness.
Beauly Priory 13th C priory in the pitoresque village of Beauly, 10 miles west of Inverness.
Beauly Corner on the Square.
A must-have eating experience if you visit Beauly. Try their seafood chowder.
Hugh Millers Cottage museum Set in the picturesque Cromarty village overlooking the Cromarty firth, Hugh Miller, controversial 19th Century geologist is celebrated here in this museum.
23 miles north east from Inverness.