Mallaig – 12 Very best Things To Do at the harbour town in West Coast of the Highlands Scotland

Mallaig – 12 Very best Things To Do at the pretty harbour town in West Coast of the Highlands Scotland

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Mallaig Scotland

Where is Mallaig in Scotland

You can see the location of Mallaig from the map below – rather remote on the west coast of Scotland. Other places are included in the map which will be mentioned in this article to give you some destination inspiration to help design your itinerary.

How to use the map above: Click on + at the top left to open the drop-down list of places on the map. Click on the highlighted marker to learn a little about the destination.

About the historic harbour town, Mallaig

The word “Mallaig” is derived from the old Norse “Mel Vik” which means ‘a sand dune bay’ and is less than 2 centuries old. It began back in 1840 when the owner of the North Morar Estate, Lord Lovat divided his farmstead known as Mallaigvaig which had a population of just 23 into 17 plots of land. He encouraged his tenants from the more populated part of the estate, Loch Morar and Loch Nevis to resettle here and adopt fishing as a way of life. By 1851, the population had grown to 134. The population and economy grew rapidly in the 20th century and became a thriving fishing port thereafter.

How to get to Mallaig | Transport connections to Mallaig

There are several ways to get to Mallaig.

By Rail

By Road

Shiel buses operate many of the local routes between Fort William and Mallaig.

Ferry services

How much time do you have in Mallaig?

What to see and do in Mallaig depends very much on how much time you have.

Most visitors do the round trip journey on the Jacobite Steam Train which means they have about 90 minutes to have lunch and to sightsee. Some stay overnight at this fishing village and immerse in the surroundings, taking a piece of Mallaig with them when they leave. Some others stay a little longer, a couple of days and use the harbour town as base to explore the Isles and other surrounding remote destinations. Depending on how much time you have in this picturesque town, you could select from this comprehensive list to create your itinerary.

Best 12 Things to See and Do at Mallaig

Rather remote in the west coast of the Highland is Mallaig, a pretty harbour town that offer 12 best things to see and do on your visit.

1 | Mallaig Heritage Centre

Just next to Mallaig Railway Station is a nice little spot, home to a treasure trove of stories on West Lochaber, its people and landscape. Mallaig Heritage Centre is a place to learn about the local history. The Centre tells the stories on the history of the fishing industry in Mallaig, the building of the West Highland Railways, and explains everything you need to know about this pretty harbour town. The Mallaig Heritage Centre has a multimedia display, film show, lifeboat exhibition, a model railway and a gift shop. It is worth visiting if you have about an hour or so.

Address: Station Rd, Mallaig PH41 4PY

Opening hours: From 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Admission: Adults £2.50 : Senior Citizens £2.00 : Students £2.00 : Children free

Special rates are available for groups of 8 persons and over.

2 | St Columba’s Church of Scotland Mallaig

St Columba sits on a small hill overlooking the harbour of Mallaig, with spectacular views over the Small Isles. The church was built in 1903 and has one stained glass window. The window depicts Christ walking on water. A little further up, near the Manse, you have stunning views across the Sound of Sleat, and the Small Isles.

Address: Annies Brae, Mallaig, PH41 4QX

3 | Western Isles Cruises – Wildlife cruise

The Western Isle Cruise operate the Knoydart Ferry Service at Mallaig. They offer a one-hour wildlife cruise which is a great opportunity to spot some wildlife.

The boat travels past the isles of Skye, Rum & Eig on the right, crossing the entrance to Loch Nevis, onwards to Green Island in the Knoydart Peninsula. The waters here are visited by birds, seals, porpoises, dolphins, whales and basking sharks.

Tour details:

The tour is designed to fit in with the Jacobite Steam train and Scotrail arrival and departure times at Mallaig.

Tour departs the harbour at 12:45 p.m. and at 5:00 p.m. daily between April and October. Arriving back in time to catch your trains back to Fort William.

Dogs welcome. Fully licensed bar and toilets.

4 | Mallaig Circular Walk

Ideal if you wish to explore more of this picturesque village. A pleasant, short circular walk around the hills and village of Mallaig offer great views over the Isle of Skye and Small Isles.

Route:

i | Park by the harbour, at East bay car park;

ii | Head away from the village centre, towards your right, to a path signposted as Circular Walk;

iii| Head up the hill at the back of the houses and onto rough pasture. The path passes through a valley.

iv | Continue along the track, past the signpost to the top of the hill. There is a bench ideally placed for best views.

v | The path then heads towards the coast, joining a track, passing some houses to wards Mallaig Beag. On a clear day, you are rewarded with views over the Sleat Peninsula, Small Isles and Knoydart Peninsula.

vi | The track continues to the road. Turn left and return to Mallaig town centre.

**Every now and again, stop to look back at the views. Views of the coast, cliffs, birch and willow are spectacular. Look out also for marine life and coastal birds.

NOTE: This information on Mallaig Circular Walk is intended as an overview and provided in good faith. Walkers are responsible for their own safety, hiking responsibly by properly dressed, using appropriate footwear, have a map and/or compass as well as prior research on the route.

5 | Explore the harbour at Mallaig

Mallaig harbour is lovely. The view of fishing boats, calm waters, the generous curve of the land, sunlight and breeze – moments where no clock can measure. It’s a place to easily dream away your time while watching the boats come in with their catches.

6 | Morar Cross

Morar Cross is located near Mallaig Railway Station. If you can climb to the Morar Cross, you will be rewarded with some spectacular views of the bay. The climb is a little steep and there is a handrail in some parts.

There is a car park next to the train station. At the gate, look out for a sign that says ‘Steps to the Cross’. Takes about 5-7 minutes to reach the top.

7 | Visit Morar

Morar is located to the south of Mallaig, about 4.8 kilometres (3 miles). Morar is ideal for spectacular views. Watch the Steam trains go past on the West Highland line and stunning views of the Small Isles. The beaches of Morar are famous for its silvery sands where movies such as ‘Highlander’ and ‘Local Hero’ were filmed. Take a relaxing stroll along the wide shoreline of soft, pristine sand and crystal clear waters in what seems a paradise.

8 | Loch Morar

Close by is Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater loch in Europe. It is 19 kilometres (12 miles) long and 300 metres (1000 feet) deep in some places. Here you can hire boats and canoes or try some fishing.

Hiking guide – Map on Loch Morar & Mallaig

8.1 | Morag

If you do decide to head out to the waters, be sure to have your cameras ready to capture a photo of Morag, a monster said to be a long time resident of the waters. Legend has it that the first sightings were in 1887. A reported incident in 1969 of a large creature of 25-30 feet long with three humps led to several surveys of the loch undertaken by the University of London in the 1970s. Three further sightings have been reported since but no one has been able to capture an image of her. Who knows, she may pop her head up when you are out there, so be sure to capture an image of her.

9 | Jacobite Steam Train

If you plan to get to Mallaig by car or bus, then a journey aboard the Jacobite Steam Train from Mallaig to Fort William is highly recommended. Well-known as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, this ride goes over the 21 arch Glenfinnan Viaduct with extraordinary vistas, creating timeless memories. It does not matter if you are not a fan of the wizardry world of Harry Potter, but a ride on the famous Hogwarts Express is a bucket list experience for many travellers. I highly recommend that you give it a go.

Recommended read: Jacobite Steam Train Journey in The Highlands aka Harry Potter Train – Best 6 reasons why you should experience it

Hiking guide – Map of Mallaig & Glenfinnan

10 | Shops

11 | Festivals

12 | Other attractions near Mallaig

You may wish to explore some of the surroundings at Mallaig.

12.1 | Arisaig

Arisaig is located about 13 kilometers (8 miles) south of Mallaig and is famous for its beaches and views of Small Isles.

12.2 | Loch Nan Uamh – Loch of the Caves

Located south east of Arisaig, this is where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed to start the Jacobite uprising in 1745. This is also the spot where he fled to France in 1746.

12.3 | Lochailort

Located halfway between Arisaig and Glenfinnan, Lochailort is home to Inverailort Castle that was the headquarters for 42 Commando during the Second World War.

12.4 | Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan is a hamlet located at the head of Loch Shiel. It was here that Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard to regain the throne for the Stuarts. A monument is erected here to commemorate the event.

Sitting in a tranquil spot, the Glenfinnan Monument is 18 meters high and you can climb to the top via a narrow spiral staircase for outstanding views. Surrounded by mountains and overlooking the shores of Loch Shiel, the Glenfinnan Monument is a Highland gem worth visiting.

The Monument is owned by National Trust Scotland. It is open from April to October. The site has a Visitor Centre, gift shop, restaurants and amenities.

Visit the Glenfinnan Railway Station that is home to Glenfinnan Station Museum and if your visit is in mid August, you could witness the Glenfinnan Highland Gathering (Highland Games).

Address: Glenfinnan Monument, Glenfinnan, PH37 4LT


Places to Eat at Mallaig

Mallaig prawns

Mallaig offers varied choices of an abundance in fresh produce from land and sea. There are cafes, takeaways, restaurants and fine dining for all budgets along with panoramic sea and island views. My top 3 are as follows:

1 | Cornerstone

The Cornerstone Seafood Restaurant has a cosy atmosphere and offers elevated views of Mallaig harbour. I dined here and their fish & chips is the one to go for!

Address: Main Street, Mallaig, PH41 4PU

Check Tripadvisor Reviews on The Cornerstone Seafood Restaurant

2 | The Terrace Restaurant

The Terrace Restaurant has a range to offer – from light bites, soups, sandwiches to classic favourites and specialities. It ensures the freshest and locally available produce is used.

Address: Davies Brae, Mallaig, Inverness-shire, PH41 4QZ

Check Tripadvisor Reviews on The Terrace Restaurant

3 | The Fishmarket Restaurant

If you love seafood, the Fishmarket Restaurant is the place to be. Fish and shellfish are as fresh as they can be from the local boats! Ideally situated in the centre of town, with beautiful views of the harbour.

Address: Station Road, Mallaig, Inverness-shire, PH41 4QS

Check Tripadvisor Reviews on The Fishmarket Restaurant

4 | Jaffy’s

The one place in Mallaig that does Oak Smoked Kippers – Jaffy’s

Address: J.Lawrie & Sons ‘Jaffys’ , Station Road, Mallaig, PH41 4QD

Check Tripadvisor Reviews on Jaffy’s


Where to Stay in Mallaig

Booking.com

A final note on Mallaig

Mallaig is fascinating and it is different to other tourist destinations in The Highland. It is the harbour that is the centre point of activity rather than the town. Visitors soak up the atmosphere of a working fishing port while also relax in the untouched remoteness of this pretty harbour town. Due to its location, Mallaig is the gateway to the archipelago of islands on the west coast of Scotland. Definitely a perfect destination to spend some quality time and an escape to for some island views, seafood dining and sunsets.

Have a splendid time exploring Mallaig and The Highland.

Georgina xoxo

Georgina_Highlands and Steam Train tours
“Just as I board the West Highland and Jacobite Steam Train” – photo by a fellow traveller

Georgina on Scotland

I love going on guided tours especially when I am on my first visit to a destination. I find guided tours to be great value for money activities and an excellent tool to get the best overviews of a region.

I went on a number of small group tours when I visited Scotland. Safety precautions were in place. Guides are Scottish who have first hand knowledge of the regions I visited. They shared fascinating stories of legends and history of the Highland, both the bad and the ugly! With this overview, and time on my hands, I explored specific areas of interests for a more personal experience.

My trip to Scotland was self-funded, and none of the activities were sponsored in any way. All opinions, views and experiences are my own. I happily share them with you to inspire you to visit this magical land.

Quick facts on Scotland

__________

Population: Over 5.4 million (2020)

Common Language: English. Gaelic is spoken by 1.3% of the population mostly in the west and in the Highlands.

Currency: £ – Pound (GBP)

Capital City: Edinburgh. Home to the first fire brigade in the world, and is the second largest city in Scotland. The largest metropolis in Scotland is Glasgow.

High season: Summer (July – August)

Religion: Christianity – 40% Church of Scotland. 15% Roman Catholic and 6% other Christian denominations. Minorities include Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh with a quarter of the population has been recorded as having no religion.

Social courtesies: Handshaking is customary when introduced to someone for the first time. When visiting someone’s home, a small gift such as flowers or a box of chocolates is appreciated.

Scotland: Travel and Transport

Scotland: International Travel

UK Government: Foreign Travel Advice

UK Government: UK nationals travelling abroad

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Mallaig – Very best 12 Things To Do at the pretty harbour town in West Coast of the Highlands Scotland first published at timelesstravelsteps.com

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Mallaig | Pretty harbour town of Mallaig | West Coast Scotland | The Highland | Scottish Highlands | Scotland's prettiest harbour towns | Lochaber | Morar | Arisaig | Road to the Isles | How to get to Mallaig |  Mallaig Heritage Centre | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Mallaig | Pretty harbour town of Mallaig | West Coast Scotland | The Highland | Scottish Highlands | Scotland's prettiest harbour towns | Lochaber | Morar | Arisaig | Road to the Isles | How to get to Mallaig |  Mallaig Heritage Centre | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

Inverness | A Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands

Inverness | A Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands

When I visited Inverness, autumn was beginning to dress herself for the season. Though the first leaves tumbled to the soil, most remain green, glowing with new hues. The subtle golden and earthy hues took a sweet turn all along the River Ness. The freshly calm air, soothing sounds of the waters and the sight of a salmon fisherman in the River were moments of serenity – moments that awaits every visitor.

Though a small city in Scotland‘s northeast coast. Inverness offers a wealth of discovery, so much more than a base to visit the infamous Loch Ness, or the surrounding attractions. From fine food, historic architecture, green spaces and Highland tales, Inverness is perfect for short getaways. Plan your itinerary to Inverness with this Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands so that you do not miss the highlights of the city and things to do around the cultural city of the Highlands.

complete guide to the Capital of the Highlands

A brief history of Inverness

Inverness |
Inverness, Scotland | ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

Inverness, means the mouth of River Ness as it is located at the best crossing place of the River Ness where it meets Moray Firth. It flows from River Ness at the east end of Glen Mor, commanding the route system of northern Scotland.

This small city is also known as the Capital of the Highlands. Once an ancient settlement, Inverness had played key roles in Scottish history. One of the historic events was the visit of St Columbo in 565 AD when he converted the King of the Picts to Christianity. Then, in 843, the Kingdom of the Scots and the Picts were united to create the Kingdom of Alba which has developed into Scotland as we know today. In 1040, Macbeth is said to have murdered King Duncan at his castle in Inverness.

The real story though, Macbeth killed King Duncan I in August 1040 in a battle near Elgin, Morayshire.

Learn more about “Macbeth” – one of Shakespeare’s most important works that also reflects the tensions, battles and destruction that took place during this era.

Buy Macbeth: by William Shakespeare on Amazon

The early Modern Ages sees tension escalating between the Highlands and the Scottish Crown, heightened when Mary Queen of Scots was refused entry to the castle in 1562 by the Highlands governor, who was later executed.

Learn more about the Highlands battles between the ninth and fourteenth centuries as well as the confused and turbulent period which led to a more settled history of the region in The Highland Battles: Warfare on Scotland’s Northern Frontier in the Early Middle Ages by Chris Peers (Hardcover – 30 Oct. 2020)

Quick facts about Inverness | City of the Highlands

1 | Population

The city of Inverness covers a small surface area totaling 21 square kilometers (8 square miles) and is home to a population of over 46,000 residents.

2 | Climate

Inverness lies 7 metres above sea level and the climate is warm and temperate. Rainfall is significant with precipitation even during the driest months.

The average temperature is 8.0 °C | 46.4 °F. Precipitation here is about 740 mm | 29.1 inch per year.

3 | Culture

Inverness

Inverness is the cultural centre for a number of events in the Scottish Highlands. Every September the city of Inverness hosts the Northern Meeting, for bagpipe players and lovers. Another major event is the annual City of Inverness Highland Games that can be traced back to 1822. Two summer music festivals are held each year, the Rockness and the Tartan Heart Festival, that bring a variety of music to the city.

4 | Language

Although official language of the Highlands is the English Language, Inverness still has a solid Scottish Gaelic speaking community and a relatively lively Gaelic scene. About 4.8% of Invernessians above the age of 3 speak Gaelic compared to 1.1% nationally.

5 | Long-distance Walking hub

Inverness is connected to three long-distance walking paths:

i | The Great Glen Way – Connects to Fort William along the Great Glen | 127 km (79 miles) | 5-6 days

ii| The John O’Groat’s Trail – connects to John O’Groats along the coast;

iii| The South Loch Ness Trail – Connects to Fort Augustus along the southeast side of Loch Ness.

6 | Geographical location

Inverness is located in the northeast coast of Scotland, at the mouth of River Ness. It lies on the Great Glen Fault. There are minor earthquakes and the last one to affect Inverness was in 1934.

The City of Inverness is located at:

Latitude: 57° 28′ 44.69″ N | Longitude: -4° 13′ 26.33″ W

Click on the image to view a larger scale | Google data

Highlights and Things to do around Inverness | Complete Guide to the Capital City of the Highlands

Here is an outline of the things to do in and around Inverness to be included in your itinerary.

1 | River Ness Walk

River Ness Walk | Inverness A Complete Guide to the Capital City of the Highlands
River Ness Walk, Inverness | ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

A great way to explore the cultural city of the Highlands is to stroll along River Ness. The beauty of this walk along the banks of the River is that one minute you are in the busy streets of the city, and the very next you are in the “countryside”. If you are lucky, you may spot some seals bobbing up and down between the two road bridges in the centre of Inverness.

Bridge.Inverness| A Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands
Greig Street Suspension Bridge, Inverness was built in 1880-1881 for £1400.00 and credited to C.R. Manners and the local Rose Street Foundry. | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

The Ness Walk route starts from the castle and follow the riverside path along the Great Glen Way. There are a number of footbridges along the length of River Ness allowing you to cross from one side of the river to the other.

Salmon fisherman standing in the river.Inverness - Complete Guide to the City of the Highlands
Salmon fisherman standing in the River Ness, Inverness, Scotland | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

Along the route, look out for some iconic landmarks such as the Inverness Cathedral and the Inverness War Memorial. You might also see a salmon fisherman standing in the river – apparently, and the story goes that around here years ago, a fisherman caught a massive salmon weighing 29kg (64lbs) but returned it to the waters after having it photographed

Georgina suggests: Walk upstream alongside one side of the River Ness to Ness Island and returning down the other bank. This allows you to have two different experiences of some magnificent views.

2 | Inverness Cathedral

Inverness Cathedral | Complete Guide to the Capital City of the Highlands
Inverness Cathedral | Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands

Inverness Cathedral, Highland, Scotland | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

Inverness Cathedral is a cathedral dedicated to St Andrews. The Cathedral is not a large one but the serenity is one to be experienced. It is built of pink freestone from Conon Quarry near Dingwall. Dressed in warm cream coloured stone from Covesea Quarry near Lossiemouth, in Moray. It’s roof is green Westmorland slates and has a pine ceiling. Spend a moment or two here while on your walk along River Ness.

Address: Ardross St, Inverness IV3 5NN | Opening hours: Generally from 10 am.

3 | Ness Island

Walking upstream, you will reach Ness Island. Ness Islands is a collection of small islands in the middle of the River Ness. These small islands are connected to one another by a series of suspension foot bridges that gives a Victorian feel, sturdy and well built.

4 | Inverness War Memorial

A walk along River Ness on the east bank as it heads towards the southern outskirts of Inverness is the Inverness War Memorial. The memorial is dedicated to the men who fought in the Burma Campaign during World War II.

5 | Inverness Botanic Gardens and Nursery

Inverness Botanic Gardens
flower – Inverness Botanic Gardens

A little beyond Ness Islands, is an oasis of calm and beauty. The Inverness Botanic Gardens and Nursery was formerly known as the Floral Hall is an explosion of colour, texture, impressive glass houses and subtropical horticultural gem.

Tea & cakes in the Cafe is highly recommended.

Entry: FREE | Hours: 7 days a week – 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Address: Bught Lane, Inverness, IV3 5SS | Inverness Botanic Gardens


Georgina suggests: With the Ness Walk, allow yourself up to 2-3 hours for a complete circular walk. You can make this walk as long or as short as you like as there are a number of bridges that allows you to shorten your walk if necessary, so you could return to your starting point. Alternatively, you could extend your walk along the Great Glen Way.


6 | Cameron Highlanders Memorial

Complete Guide to the Capital of the City
Cameron Highlanders Memorial | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

An impressive statue and monument dedicated to the Cameron Highlanders who lost their lives during the war. Erected in 1893, the monument stands testament to the 142 soldiers from Inverness who lost their lives in the Egypt and the Sudan conflict (1882-1889). Names of the soldiers and references to the many campaigns are also engraved thereon. This memorial is situated immediately outside of the Inverness Railway station. The Station Square was purposefully chosen as the statue’s location to ensure maximum exposure and reverence from visitors to the Capital of the Highlands.

7 | Inverness Castle | Capital of the Highlands

Complete Guide to the Capital City of the Highlands
Inverness Castle, Highlands, Scotland | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

The beautiful Inverness Castle is made of red sandstone building and sits on a hill overlooking the River Ness. A castle had been on this site since 1057 but it had been destroyed and rebuilt many times. The present castle dates back to 1836, designed by architect William Burn.

Today, most of the Inverness Castle is closed to the public except for the Castle Viewpoint in the north tower. The Castle is home to the Inverness Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court. However, the Court is due to move to another location soon. There are plans to open up more of the castle for public viewing.

The Inverness Castle Viewpoint gives 360° view of Inverness and the Scottish Highlands.

June 2021 prices:

Costs: Adults – £6.00 | Children – £4.00 for 25 minutes timeslot. Visits must be pre-booked.

8 | The Victorian Market | Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands

Victorian Market,Invrness | Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands
Victorian Market.Inverness.

Victorian Market, Inverness, Scotland | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

Spend a few minutes at the Victorian Market, Inverness.

The original market was built in 1870 but was destroyed by fire in 1889. The only life lost was a faithful dog which refused to leave a shop it guarded. The market was rebuilt in 1890-1891. This picturesque market is home to a fish market (accessed from Church Street) as well as a wide selection of cool craft shops and independent boutiques which are great for unique souvenirs. There are a number of eateries as well for some freshly baked pies and cream cakes.

9 | Leakey’s Bookshop, Inverness

Leakey's Bookstore.Inverness
Leakey’s Bookstore, Inverness | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

When in Inverness, the one place not to be missed and even more so if you are a literary lover is Leakey’s Bookstore on Church Street. Leakey’s is the largest secondhand bookstore in Scotland and is independently owned. Sprawling with 100,000 books or so from ceiling to floor, organised into sections albeit not in any great order. Leakey’s Bookstore is a paradise for both young and old alike. As it covers all genres, as well as antique prints and maps, any one of the books can easily leap off the shelves and find it’s way into your purchase basket.

Located in a former 17th century Gaelic church, the bookstore retains most of the Church’s features. The only exception being an iron spiral staircase connecting the two floors that was added after it opened in 1979. Complete with wood burning fire that heats the shop, visitors to Leakey’s will have an amazing experience, for sure 🙂

Address: Church St, Inverness IV1 1EY

Opening hours: 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM | Monday – Saturday

10 | Meet the Unusual Greeter at Inverness Town House

Town House Inverness
Wolves at the door

The unusual greeters, wolves once roamed the Highlands and many places still bear their Gaelic name, madadh-allaidh. They greet visitors to the Town House to remind us of the wild landscapes that the Highlands is known for.

The wolves join an Inverness bestiary along with the camel and elephant on the city’s coat of arms, unicorn, falcon and gargoyles that you may see around the city.

Address: Castle Wynd, Inverness IV2 3BJ

11 | Walk around Inverness town

Complete guide to the Capital City of the Highlands

Take a walk around the city centre and see where the old courthouse was. Learn about one of the most notorious times in the history of the Highlands associated with the infamous Patrick Sellar


While all of the above can easily be accomplished in one day, you may also wish to explore the surrounding areas of Inverness. The following are some suggestions for you which can easily be done as part of a day or as a day trip.


Day trips from Inverness, Capital of the Highlands

Take a break from the city and explore the magical land of castles, myths and extraordinary landscapes that will leave you with moments of speechlessness. The Scottish Highlands offers endless panoramic views of Scotland’s natural beauty which you would not want to miss! Here are some suggestions for you:

1 | Dolphin Tour

Dolphin Tour | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

I did a boat trip with Dolphin Spirit Inverness. Dolphin Spirit Inverness boat trip takes you into the Moray Firth in search of dolphins, sea seals and a variety of sea birds. Each trip lasts about an hour fifteen minutes and run four times a day. I did not see any dolphins, but I guess such is luck 🙂

2 | Loch Ness, Fort Augustus

Complete Guide to the Capital City of the Highlands
Loch Ness, Fort Augustus | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

Loch Ness needs little introduction. It is the most famous loch in the world, home to Nessie, the Loch Ness monster. Located just a short distance from Inverness, you could either drive, cycle or hike the South Loch Ness Trail, connecting to Fort Augustus along the southeast side of Loch Ness.

3 | Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

This beautiful castle ruins stands on the banks of Loch Ness, and apparently it is one of the best places to spot Nessie. There are boat tours and visitor centre here as well.

Embark on a beautiful day trip to Loch Ness from Inverness for an unforgettable complete Loch Ness experience. Discover picturesque villages, ancient summerhouse and go on scenic walks.

Learn more about the complete Loch Ness experience and secure yourself a spot on this day tour > > Loch Ness Experience

4 | Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield.Complete Guide to the Capital of the City
Culloden Battlefield

Visit the moorland where it all happened that changed the course of world history – The Battle of Culloden ended the Jacobite cause. There is a visitor centre and audio guides.

Visit the Culloden Moor, along with Glen Affric and Clava Cairns on an amazing day trip from Inverness >> Glen Affric, Culloden, Clava Cairns in one day from Inverness.

Pre-order your Culloden Visitor Centre Entrance Ticket and Audio Guide to Culloden

Go a little further and experience the amazing scenery of Scottish Highlands

5 | Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye.Complete Guide to the Capital of the City
Isle of Skye | Image: ©timelesstravelsteps, georgina_daniel

Experience the amazing scenery of this beautiful isle in one day – especially the spectacular rock formations of the Quiraing and Trotternish Ridge. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

Experience the amazing scenery of this beautiful isle either in one day or over several days. The spectacular rock formations of the Quiraing and Trotternish Ridge are breathtakingly beautiful and should not be missed.

Hogwarts Express

Glenfinnan Viaduct | Scotland at a Glance
Jacobite Steam Train Ride | Hogwarts Express – Image:

Ride one of the greatest train journeys in the world – onboard the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig and marvel at the scenic beauty of Scotland.

Go on an epic ride onboard the Jacobite Steam Train and Highlands Tour – superb value for money one day activity.


While in Inverness, give yourself plenty of time also to explore the bars and the many restaurants for a Scottish culinary delight.

Places to Eat and Drink in Inverness | Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands

Inverness pub.
Inverness | by georgina_daniel

Scotland is renowned for its unique delicacies and dishes. These include haggis and black pudding to porridge with a wee drum and shortbread. The Scottish Highlands is a great source for prime steak, organic vegetables, freshly caught kippers, salmon and mussels. It’s a gastronomical heaven. Inverness offers a great selection but the one “dish” I have heard a lot of is the Mac n cheese pie – apparently you will either love it or hate it! I haven’t tried, so I can’t comment.

Here are some suggestions of restaurants and bars for you to try:

CASTLE TAVERN | Scottish | Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly

Good service, good quality food and apparently serves the best haggis in town! (I did not try the haggis).

1 View Place, Inverness IV2 4SA Scotland

MUSTARD SEED RESTAURANT | European Cuisines | Dine in only

Nice and cosy restaurant in a former church with wood burner.

16 Fraser St, Inverness IV1 1DW

CAFE ONE | European & Scottish dishes from locally sourced produce | Dine-in and Take-away available.

 75 Castle St, Inverness IV2 3EA

RIVER HOUSE | Sleek and upscale dining experience with beautiful river views | Seasonal, sustainable local seafood.

1 Greig St, Inverness IV3 5PT

THE BOTANIC HOUSE | Excellent Cocktails!

9-11 Castle St, Inverness IV2 3DX


Places to Stay in Inverness | Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands

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BEST WESTERN INVERNESS PALACE HOTEL & SPA | An upscale accommodation with beautiful views of the river, castle and more.

THE ROYAL HIGHLAND HOTEL | Located just steps away from Inverness Train Station. Has a glorious staircase that inspired the staircase in the movie “Titanic”

MERCURE INVERNESS HOTEL | Located 200 yards from the Inverness Train Station offers views over River Ness.

Search more accommodations in Inverness

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A final note on Inverness

Inverness is a small and bustling city that is steeped in history, surrounded by landscapes untouched by time where monster myths and ancient mysteries are waiting to be discovered. With misty lochs, wildlife and fabulous traditions as well as warm hearty food, Inverness is a delight from the moment you arrive. I sincerely hope this guide has given you an inspiration to visit (if you haven’t already) what has famously become known as the Capital City of the Highlands.

Do use the links embedded in this article and related articles to book your stay, or activities to do. TTS earns a commission from qualifying purchases at no cost to you, and as always, your support is much appreciated to keep TTS going.

If you have visited Inverness, do share your experiences – I would love to learn more. Do return to this page as I will continue to add more places to visit and experiences to enjoy as I shall be returning to Inverness to explore further.

Have a splendid time in Inverness. As always, please get in touch on ggdaniel166@gmail.com if I could help plan your itinerary.

Some basic information about Scotland

__________Q

Population: Over 5.4 million (2020)

Common Language: English. Gaelic is spoken by 1.3% of the population mostly in the west and in the Highlands.

Currency: £ – Pound (GBP)

Capital City: Edinburgh. Home to the first fire brigade in the world, and is the second largest city in Scotland. The largest metropolis in Scotland is Glasgow.

High season: Summer (July – August)

Religion: Christianity – 40% Church of Scotland. 15% Roman Catholic and 6% other Christian denominations. Minorities include Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh with a quarter of the population has been recorded as having no religion.

Social courtesies: Handshaking is customary when introduced to someone for the first time. When visiting someone’s home, a small gift such as flowers or a box of chocolates is appreciated.

Scotland: Travel and Transport

Scotland: International Travel

UK Government: Foreign Travel Advice

UK Government: UK nationals travelling abroad

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complete guide to the Capital of the Highlands
Complete guide to the Capital of the Highlands
Complete guide to the Capital of the Highlands

Inverness | A Complete Guide to the Capital of the Highlands first published at timelesstravelsteps.com and is regularly updated. Last updated June 10 2021

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