Loch Ness

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5 Loch Ness Monster Myths and Legends

Scotland's Loch Ness Monster has been the center of myth and tall tales for 1500 years. Though the Highlands are spectacular to see, its famous loch continues to lure visitors in hopes of a chance encounter with this elusive creature of the deep.

  • What lurks beneath the surface

    1. What lurks beneath the surface

    Some say that Scottish lore about mythological creatures living in its waters, such as kelpies, selkies and "water horses," fuels the fire of a monster prowling Loch Ness.

  • The saint that saved the day

    2. The saint that saved the day

    The first encounter was in 565 AD, when St. Columba drove a water beast away with the power of his voice and prevented it from devouring one of his companions in the water.

  • A grainy picture paints a thousand words

    3. A grainy picture paints a thousand words

    Road work along the shore in 1933 seemed to rouse Nessie from the deep, and a year later a black-and-white photo revealed a slender neck and small head emerging above the surface.

  • Jurassic proportions

    4. Jurassic proportions

    Nessie's features ironically resemble a plesiosaurus, a sea reptile that looks like a lizard with flippers and lived in the early Jurassic period 200 million years ago.

  • Let sleeping monsters lie

    5. Let sleeping monsters lie

    Extensive use of technology has yet to find the mythical monster. Though if ever caught, ancient legend predicts a catastrophic end of the region--it's food for thought!

Planning Your Visit

  • Getting to Loch Ness

    If you're renting a car, take the A82 highway to reach the visitors' center in Drumnadrochit, which is on the northwest shore of Loch Ness. If you're relying on bus service, there are daily departures from Inverness (30 minutes) and Fort Williams (1 1/2 hours).

  • Loch Ness activities

    The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition in Drumnadrochit exhibits the history of the region and the hunt for Nessie. The biggest attraction is, of course, a one-hour cruise on Loch Ness, complete with sonar equipment and underwater cameras just in case. Apart from the monster-mania, Urquhart Castle is nearby and worth a visit. Though blown to bits in 1692 and left in ruins, it provides amazing views of Loch Ness from its elevated location.

  • When to go

    Scotland's weather is variable. You could wake up to grey and rain, but then bask in sunshine by lunchtime. May and June are recommendable months to visit, as the weather is generally fine, and the days are long. Consider September, as well, when the crowds are less and fall is in the air.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Hours will depend largely on your means of transportation. Tours of the loch will have limited times.
  • Is it expensive?
    Prices vary by tour or mode of transportation, as well as the activities you plan to do there.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It's not necessary, but for a short visit, a guide can point out the best locations to see.
  • How to get there
    Loch Ness is reachable by car or bus, with many tours passing through from major cities.
  • Additional information
    Be prepared for rain while visiting and pack accordingly! Pay attention to transportation times when planning your visit!

Other Sightseeing Options in Loch Ness

Want to discover all there is to do in Loch Ness? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Loch Ness

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,321 reviews

I went on this tour with two teens and everything was just great. Getting g to see and feed the coos, the breath taking views and being able to see the peak of Ben Nevis was just spectacular. Would highly recommend this. We opted to go on the Loch ness tour as well but that sneaky old Nessie was playing hide and seek with us, but I'm sure we'll catch a glimpse next time.

Neil was brilliant! He comfortably filled the day with great information, funny facts and a faultless playlist that accompanied the journey! You really get loads for the money and we would definitely recommend the boat trip. We were extremely lucky with the weather but would still recommend to take layers. Enjoy!

Really interesting tour, with an excellent and knowledgeable tour guide Ryan. Is a 12 hour day, and lots of walking and coach travelling; but I'd definitly recommend it, as we found it thoroughly enjoyable.

What a great tour!!! Thank you and Mr en Andy the coach driver for his lovely guidance. Slight disappointment that coach didn't stop at the Inverness city centre and in the Town.

The Highlands is magnificent! You must see it! And the guide was very funny and knowledgeable! Loved the whole experience! Definitely recommended!