Looking to go for a cruise on Loch Ness?
Find your favourite from these reviews of Loch Ness boat trips.
Loch Ness Boat Trips
Can You Take a Boat Ride on Loch Ness?
Yes – there is a great choice of boat rides available on Loch Ness. There are large boats with commentaries, smaller boats with guides, and rigid inflatable boats for a speed thrill.
2 Hour Cruise from Dochgarroch, nr Inverness
Dochgarroch is a great spot to start a cruise from. There is a lovely visitor centre, An Talla, beside the Caledonian Canal. It has a cafe, toilets, a gift shop and a food takeway. There is free parking available on site. In summer months there is a Gelato bar too with Inverness freshly made gelato available.
During the season there are usually a couple of Heilan Coos, the iconic Highland cattle with long horns and shaggy coats. They love having their photo taken.
The cruise from Dochgarroch starts at the Caledonian Canal, before heading out towards Loch Ness itself. This cruise gives you a chance to see Aldourie Castle, now restored and available as a holiday home! The cruise heads down to Urquhart Castle where you get a chance to admire this castle from the water. It’s a great photo opportunity.
The boat then cruises back to Dochgarroch.
The cruise is two hours long. The boat has free WIFI on board. There is also sonar so you can see what is happening underneath the water – just in case Nessie swims underneath! The boat has toilets and a bar on board, serving drinks and snacks. There is indoor and outdoor seating available.
Dogs are permitted on board but you need to let them know when you book as they limit the total number of dogs on any cruise.
There is a commentary on board during the cruise, highlighting points of interest and some of the history of the area too.
The cruise travels through the upper part of Loch Ness and then turns at Urquhart Castle. The captain usually turns the boat so guests on either side get a great view of the castle. There is then a drop-off and pick up for guests at Urquhart Castle before the boat returns to Dochgarroch.
This is a great Loch Ness cruise if you want to really enjoy the views from the water, with a great contrast between the canal and the open loch. It’s also great if you want to combine a cruise with a cafe stop. An Talla is a lovely spot and there are generally some Highland cattle outside so it’s a great photo opportunity too.
This cruise is ideal for those who may have issues with steps or walking. There is a ramp to access the boat from the side of the water. If you want to sit on the upper deck there are steep steps to go up.
This cruise is operated by Jacobite. The boats are generally large with seating for around 250 people. Jacobite have several boats operating on Loch Ness.
Learn more and check the Tripadvisor reviews here
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Loch Ness Boat Trips
50 Minute Loch Ness Cruise
This shorter boat trip leaves from, and returns to, the Clansman Hotel. The Clansman is located looking across Loch Ness. It has a cafe/restaurant upstairs, toilets, a large gift shop, and a gelato bar in the hotel. There is some parking available at the hotel but this is quite limited.
The boat trip leaves from the small pier located at the edge of Loch Ness. To access this you need to follow the sign and walk down a path that goes under the main road. There are some large steps here and some uneven ground.
Once at the pier, there is a flat boat ramp onto the boat and steep steps if you want to sit on the upper deck.
This cruise heads down to Urquhart Castle and the captain turns the boat in front of the castle so passengers on either side of the boat get a great view. There is then a drop-off and pick up at Urquhart Castle before the boat returns to the Clansman.
There is a commentary during the cruise and sonar screens on board the boats too. There is also a bar serving hot and cold drinks and small snacks too. There are also toilets on board.
Dogs are allowed on the cruise. There is no charge but you do have to let Jacobite know as they limit the total number of dogs on the boat.
This is a great cruise if you want to just do the central main part of Loch Ness and get some good photos of the castle.
This is probably the most popular of the Loch Ness boat trips.
Check the Tripadvisor reviews here.
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Loch Ness Boat Trips
Coach Tour from Inverness with Boat Trip and Castle Visit
If you want to enjoy a boat trip on Loch Ness and visit Urquhart Castle with transport from and to Inverness then great news – there is a tour that does just that!
Highlander Ways offer a 3-hour tour. This includes a coach from Inverness to Loch Ness. There is then a 30-minute cruise across Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle.
On arrival at the castle, you leave the cruise boat and have around 1 hour to explore the castle itself. You then meet the coach for the return trip back to Inverness.
The duration of the trip is around 3 hours with prices starting from £41.00 per adult, which includes admission to the castle and the boat trip.
The boat trip is on one of the Jacobite boats, so there is commentary during the cruise. There is a bar onboard selling snacks and drinks. There are also toilets as well as seating inside and outside.
When you arrive at Urquhart Castle you will be close to the castle remains which are at the lower part of the castle site. There are guides dotted around the castle building to help explain the history of the castle to you. There are some great photo opportunities from the castle tower as well.
To reach the coach you need to walk uphill and go through the visitor centre. The visitor centre has a cafe, toilets, a small shop and a great film show which plays a 10-minute film giving the history of the castle.
You then need to take 3 flights of stairs or a lift up to the car parking area, and then walk up the ramps to reach the coach park. It can take around 15 minutes to walk from the castle to the coach park.
This trip is a great option if you don’t have your own transport to get to Loch Ness and you want to include a castle visit too.
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Loch Ness Boat Trips
Small Boat Trip from Drumnadrochit
If you want a smaller boat experience there is a great trip that leaves from Drumnadrochit.
To take the cruise you can book online and then collect your tickets at the Celtic Crafts gift shop just by the Nessieland visitor centre. You then wait at the top of the steps to Nessieland beside the fibreglass Nessie figures.
This 1 hour cruise is on a smaller boat. There is a maximum capacity of 12 passengers. The boat tour explores the deepest part of Loch Ness and Urquhart Bay. There are great views of the Urquhart castle from the water.
The boat is equipped with sonar like the larger vessels on Loch Ness. There is also an upper seating area as well as an inside cabin. Due to the smaller nature of the boat, it is not suitable for wheelchair users but those with walking issues might be able to manage. To check just telephone Nessie Hunter who will be happy to advise you.
Dogs are allowed on this boat, they limit it to 2 per trip. There is seating for 10 people inside the cabin. There is a large leather seat at the rear of the boat that can seat 5-6 people. There is also seating upstairs reached by a very steep ladder rack type of steps.
The commentary is provided by Mike, the Nessie Hunter, who is full of interesting stories and facts too.
This is a great boat trip if you are looking for a more personal boat trip experience. It’s also a great trip to combine with a visit to the Loch Ness visitor centre. There is a cafe, gift shops, and gelato bar at the visitor centre too making it a great spot to spend a couple of hours. (Please note that the Loch Ness Visitor Centre is currently closed – due to reopen in May 2023)
You can book this trip online up to 1 hour in advance. There are hourly sailings throughout the day.
The trip costs £17 per person.
If you want to ask lots of Nessie questions then this is probably the best of the Loch Ness boat trip options for you!
If you are interested in a Nessie Hunter cruise you can find out more and book online here.
Learn more and read the reviews on Tripadvisor
Loch Ness Boat Trips
Cruise Loch Ness – Boat Trips from Fort Augustus
If you are travelling down to the Southern part of Loch Ness then there is a great boat trip running from Fort Augustus.
Cruise Loch Ness has a couple of large boats with a capacity of around 250 each. The boats are easily accessed by boat ramps. They have a large inside seating area with big panoramic windows. There is also upstairs seating outside.
There is a snack bar selling hot drinks and snacks on board. There are also toilets on board.
The cruise leaves from just near the swing bridge in Fort Augustus. There is parking 5 minutes away in the public car park at the top of the town.
Dogs are permitted on board but they are not allowed inside the main cabin – they can only be outside.
The main cruise is a 1 hour long trip from Fort Augustus and back. It explores the bottom end of Loch Ness and covers a couple of deeper parts.
This cruise has a live guide giving commentary and they also use audio visual displays to show what fish live in the Loch and some historical pictures of Loch Ness. The guide also explains how the sonar system works so you can understand what you are looking at a bit more easily.
Boat tours can be booked online and you simply present a barcode on your phone to board the boat.
An adult ticket for the 50 minute cruise costs £18.00
During the main tourist season Cruise Loch Ness also offers an evening cruise on Loch Ness.
Find out more about Cruise Loch Ness boat trips here.
Read the reviews on Tripadvisor here.
Loch Ness Boat Trips
RIB Fast Boat Trips from Fort Augustus
If you are looking for something a little faster than the large tour boats Cruise Loch Ness also offers RIB high speed tours. These smaller boats are very fast. They have a capacity of around 10 people and all the gear you need to take these boat trips (waterproofs and life jackets) is provided by Cruise Loch Ness.
They offer a 1 hour trip that covers the lower and central part of Loch Ness. This costs £29 for an adult ticket.
They also offer a 90 minute trip that goes right up to Urquhart Castle. This costs £38 for an adult ticket.
The RIB boat trips run from April 1st until the end of October.
If you are looking for something a little more adventurous than the other Loch Ness boat trips then this might be the perfect trip for you!
Find out more about the speed cruises here.
Loch Ness Boat Trips Conclusion
- If you are looking for a more personalised tour with fantastic views of Urquhart Castle from the water then the Nessie Hunter is a great trip.
- Jacobite Cruises offer a wide range Loch Ness boat trips including trips that include a visit to Urquhart Castle.
- Loch Ness Cruises are a great option if you are visiting the Southern end of Loch Ness and if you want the thrill of a rigid inflatable boat trip.
If you have found this Loch Ness Boat Trips article useful you might also like;
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