Car-Free Holidays in Inverness and Loch Ness

Whether you prefer a car-free holiday to help our environment or because you’re a bit wary of driving on the left and on single-track roads, there are plenty of transport options on a trip to the Scottish Highlands.

So, here’s our guide to Loch Ness and Inverness public transport and tours.

Arriving to Loch Ness and Inverness By Public Transport

Ditching the car and letting the bus or train take the strain is not only becoming a very popular way to explore but means you can relax on your journey to your holiday as well as whilst you are on it.

With direct trains from London available with LNER and Scotrail services connecting Inverness to all the major Scottish cities and the towns between, train travel is on the rise and it is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to travel. 

How about starting your Highland adventure with an overnight experience on the Caledonian Sleeper. Setting off from London in the evening, you will snooze away the miles whilst the train takes you up through England to arrive fresh and ready for adventure!

You can fly direct into Inverness from all over the UK and beyond, Inverness airport has flight services with Easyjet, KLM, British Airways, Logan Air and more. Once you have flown in getting one of the most stunning views you can of the area by air there are plenty of options to get you to your accommodation in Inverness and beyond. The airport is serviced by buses and taxis.

Be Prepared

The secret to using public transport in the Highlands is to be prepared! Buses don’t tend to come along every few minutes like in the big cities. So, once you know where you’d like to go, have a look at the helpful Traveline Scotland website. This will give you timetables, journey times and also the price. Using the bus is a great way of getting rid of your unwanted coins. But on many services like Stagecoach you can also use your contactless card or ApplePay to make life a bit easier!

Using bus services, you will also meet the locals, who are usually chatty and willing to help out. So if you’re not sure at which stop you should get off, or how far it is from the bus stop to your accommodation or visitor attraction, just ask!

There is also a useful app by HITRANS to help you move about even in the rural locations and plan the trip all on public transport.

Inverness and Loch Ness’ main visitor attractions can be easily reached by public transport. One great way to get around is the City Sightseeing bus. The service has two routes around the city taking you to major attractions like the Culloden Battlefield and to Loch Ness and dolphin cruises.

There are regular bus services to Urquhart Castle and also to the local surrounding villages like Drumnadrochit, Fort August and Beauly.

Day Trips and Short Tours

Being a rural area, not all parts of Inverness, Loch Ness and the surrounding villages are serviced by frequent buses, plus you may want to venture a little further afield.

But that doesn’t mean you can only travel in Scotland by car! There are many guided tours from Inverness that will take you on day trips and short tours to amazing places like Glen Affric, South Loch Ness or the Isle of Skye. There are also Whisky or Outlander themed tours run by knowledgeable local guides.

For these tour operators go to our Thing To Do Map and select the option for Guided Tours

No transport, no worries

Car free holidays don't only mean using other transport, you can also go by your own steam, walking or cycling.

Whether you bring your own bike or hire one from a local company you can easily cycle around Inverness and still have a full itinerary of places to visit and more! We have some fantastic local walks and cycling trails and more inspiration can be found on these on our Things to do map and also via our Discover Hub.

Ticket to ride in Inverness have a fantastic range of bikes to hire and are extremely knowledgeable about the area when it comes to getting about on two wheels! Or if you are looking for more of a guided tour on wheels then speak to 42 Cycling who offer guided tours and trips.

Find out more

We hope this guide has given you a few ideas how to go car-free in Inverness and Loch ness.

Using our great transport links you can really make the most of your Inverness and Loch Ness holiday! Find out more in our travel section of the website.