The Best Lochs to Visit in Scotland

The Best Lochs to Visit in Scotland

With so much wilderness to choose from, it can be tough to choose where to take your next trip. The best thing to do when visiting Scotland, in our opinion, is to base yourself around a loch and explore the local beauty that surrounds it.

But which loch to choose from when there are over 30,000? We’ve managed to round it down for you and share our top 10 lochs to visit in Scotland…

Loch Lomond and the Scottish countryside

1. Loch Lomond

Perhaps Scotland’s second most famous lake, Loch Lomond is a popular destination due to its dramatic location in The Trossachs National Park.

You can also squeeze in highlands walks, watersports, woodland wildlife spotting, waterfall gazing, a trek up Ben Lomond or Conic Hill, and a trip to the Luss village.

Whatever activities you choose, you’ll be surrounded by spectacular natural beauty – and all less than an hour’s drive away from bustling Glasgow.

Loch Maree

2. Loch Maree

Loch Maree and its islands sit in the northwest highlands. A trip here will reward you with tumbling vistas, mirror-like water, dense pine forests, and a chance to see the stunning Victoria Falls.

Peaceful and remote, the loch is surrounded by Beinn Eighe – Britain’s oldest nature reserve. The Caledonian forest is full of rare wildlife, such as pine martens, Scottish wildcats, and even golden eagles. Those with itchy feet will have many mountains to climb, too…

Castle on the edge of Loch Awe

3. Loch Awe

This loch is bordered by four Munro peaks and verdant green landscape, all of which makes the crumbling castle ruins on Innis Chonnell look even more remarkable.

It’s truly hard to beat the combination of a historic ruin, islands to explore, sandy and pebbly shoreline, waterfalls, and rolling hills. Bring you bike, or your sturdiest walking boots, to tackle two remote mountain ranges and plenty of forest trails.

Loch Awe also takes the title of Scotland’s longest loch, with 25 miles to call its own – a perfect spot for packing a picnic and hiring a boat.

Loch Morar surrounded by woodland

4. Loch Morar

The fifth largest freshwater loch in Scotland, Morar is the deepest in the British Isles at 31-metres. There’s plenty to keep guests occupied here in this highlands haunt, with opportunity for some rare beach time.

The Silver Sands of Morar and Camusdarach Beach are particular draws for those seeking sparkling white sand between their toes and a peaceful stroll along the shoreline. Best known for its walks, visitors’ can tackle a nine-mile circuit around the loch and also enjoy views stretching as far as Ben Nevis.

Glen Affric surrounded by mountains

5. Loch Affric

There’s lots to love about the beautiful Loch Affric, a truly wild wildlife haven, which is a home to numerous species, including red deer and the rare red squirrel.

The circuit around the loch is roughly 11 miles, and there are plenty more trekking and mountain biking chances nearby, with spectacular peaks just waiting to be conquered. This a loch for those who crave peace and quiet.

Castle ruins overlooking Loch Ness

6. Loch Ness

It simply wouldn’t be a list of the best Scottish lochs without Loch Ness on it somewhere. Whatever your views are on whether Nessie exists or not, you have to admit there’s a certain appeal surrounding this world famous lake.

Mythical creatures aside, there’s lots to do at Scotland’s largest loch. Learn about the local scenery, history and, of course, its most famous – and monstrous – inhabitant at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition.

There’s also the imposing Urquhart Castle, plus plenty of trails to to help you soak up the scenery and fresh air, as well as a chance to get out on the open water with a canoe. If you’d prefer to unwind and sit back, there are boat tours to choose from, too.

Loch Of Stenness

7. Loch Harray and Loch Stenness

These lochs come as a pair – due to the fact that they are separated by only a small causeway at their narrowest point. This means that a trip here will get you two lochs for the price of one.

Not only will you enjoy a rugged and beautiful natural landscape, you can also explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the mysterious stone circles known as the Ring of Brodgar, which date from 2,500 to 2,000 BC, and the equally awe-inspiring Standing Stones of Stenness.

Loch Muick at the bottom of the Scottish hills

8. Loch Muick

Loch Muick tends to be known for its proximity to the royal estate of Balmoral. Yet, there’s much more to this loch than just its regal roots – it’s an area of Aberdeenshire that’s full to the brim with natural riches, too.

Walkers flock here for the Munros but there are trails here for all levels of experience and aptitude. Other highlights nearby include a ski centre for winter guests, bird watching at Lochnagar, Braemar Castle, and scenic glens and waterfalls.

Loch Tay surrounding by hill and woodland

9. Loch Tay

History buffs will be fascinated by Loch Tay’s heritage, which includes Iron Age crannogs – a type of water dwelling. You can learn all about this at The Scottish Crannog Centre in this magical Perthshire setting.

Other activities around the lovely Loch Tay include the rushing Falls of Acharn, the charming highlands villages of Killin and Kenmore, water safaris around the loch itself, and many Munros to climb.

Loch Shiel

10. Loch Shiel

Said to be the location for the Black Lake in the Harry Potter film franchise, there’s something magical about this loch. A picturesque setting for a picnic and a walk, it is enclosed by mountains in parts and known for its spectacular scenery.

Largely unspoilt, the area could provide a chance to spot eagles, falcons and ospreys, and is less than an hour’s drive from the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, with Fort William and Ben Nevis well with travelling distance, too.

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