The Most Unforgettable Lochs to Discover in Scotland

4 August 2021

Nothing is more synonymous with the natural beauty of Scotland than its lochs.

These vast lakes are a quintessential part of the Scottish landscape but with over thirty-thousand lochs in the country, knowing which ones are worth visiting can be a tricky task.

That’s why we’ve put together this itinerary with six of the most stunning and memorable lochs in Scotland that we’re sure will knock your tartan socks off!

Loch Lomond

Kicking things off is the largest loch in Scotland, Loch Lomond.

You can find this loch in the Trossachs National Park, and the scenery here is about as Scottish as you can get: surrounded by miles of magnificent mountains, rolling hills and vast woodlands, it’s certainly something to behold.

Loch Lomond’s size means it's also home to a number of surprisingly large islands. Consider booking a seat on a boat tour to discover these islands up close, or try and spot them from afar as you walk around one of the many trails that take you around the loch.

These trails might take you to Conic Hill where you can get some of the best views of the area, or through the forests where bluebells bloom. Golfers will love this place too, as the Loch Lomond Golf Course sits almost on its very shore.

Loch Lomond is easy to get to from both Glasgow and Stirling, and the town of Alexandria near its southern shores will have plenty of places to accommodate you during your visit.

Animal lovers can also find an aquarium and a bird of prey centre in this town, while those who love nature are sure to appreciate the country park at nearby Balloch Castle.

Loch Katrine

Just a stone’s throw north of Loch Lomond you can also find Loch Katrine, the lake which has been providing the city of Glasgow with fresh water for over a century.

The beauty of this loch has inspired legendary poets throughout history like Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge, and fans of the show Outlander might also recognise it as one of the filming locations!

Loch Katrine has also welcomed one of the most famous royal figures in history. Queen Victoria sailed up here during the 19th century, and you can actually replicate her journey onboard a steamship identical to the kind Victoria would have used herself.

Sailing across the serene loch on this historic vessel is a truly amazing way to discover this gorgeous place.

Loch Awe

To the west of the Trossachs in a more remote area is stunning Loch Awe.

This is one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland, but what really makes this loch special are the historical buildings scattered around it. From atop Ben Cruachan nearby, you’re sure to get fabulous views of it all.

At the north end of the loch, you can find Kilchurn Castle, a 15th-century stronghold.

Its crumbling ruins stand tall above the waters of Awe, and they’re a striking sight indeed: surrounded by woodland with the immense hills rising behind them and the shore of the loch so close that the water almost laps against its walls, there are few castles in Scotland quite so beautiful. Make sure you get a photo of this fantastic fortress while you’re here.

Also nearby you can find Saint Conan’s Kirk, a magnificent chapel. Compared to Kilchurn Castle, this place is perfectly preserved, almost identical to how it would have looked when it was built in the 19th century.

The architecture of the kirk really is stunning, and wandering around its halls with your hands running across the ancient bricks is an incredibly peaceful experience.

Loch Morar

Further north-west, past Ben Nevis (the tallest mountain in Britain) and the Glenfinnan Viaduct (a stunning railway bridge that you might recognise from Harry Potter), is wild Loch Morar.

You might not think it when you gaze at this loch from above, but Loch Morar is the deepest body of water in the UK, over a thousand feet deep at its lowest point.

There are loads of walking trails around Morar and plenty of opportunities to spot some of Scotland’s diverse wildlife, so ideal for a rural, outdoor adventure.

Loch Maree

Venture even further north and you can spy stunning Loch Maree, known for its many gorgeous islands.

There are over sixty islands in this lake, and while many of them are tiny, there are some surprisingly big ones too. Many of these islands even have their own forests, making the loch look like it’s covered in hundreds of floating trees. It’s certainly a one-of-a-kind view!

The largest island, Eilean Sùbhainn, boasts an unusual yet remarkable feat: this island not only has its own loch inside of it, but that loch also has its own island as well!

This is the only place in Britain where you can stand upon an island that’s inside an island that’s inside another island - if you’re interested in having those strange bragging rights, make sure you take the boat trip over!

Loch Ness

Near the city of Inverness, is probably the most famous of Scotland’s lochs: Loch Ness.

It has a monstrous reputation indeed, however, this loch is much more than just Nessie’s lair: at over 20 miles long, it’s the longest loch in Scotland, and there’s so much water within it that it could fill up all of England and Wales’ lakes twice over!

If you are here to go monster-spotting, then you can learn all about Nessie and her habitat at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. This centre even offers rides on boats equipped with sonar technology, so you can scan the depths for signs of the Loch Ness monster while you take in the lovely scenery.

The most picturesque part of the loch is near the middle, by the remains of Urquhart Castle. This fortress was used during the First War of Scottish Independence, but it’s been a long time since it saw battle: what remains now is tranquil, a still ruin standing over the shore of the loch.

Seeing these lochs is one of the best ways to appreciate the natural beauty that Scotland is famous for.

They’ll take you through the country’s mountainous heart and past its wild coasts: discovering these places for yourself is sure to be an amazing adventure you'll never forget!