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Soak up the history and beauty of the Scottish Highlands on an Inverness cruise. Known as the Capital of the Highlands, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you’re swept away in the area’s magical folklore, medieval castles, and pastoral landscapes.
Explore the bustling city of Inverness, where you can sample single malts at local distilleries and feast on freshly caught seafood. Or head to the neighboring Loch Ness, the famous body of water where a mysterious monster continues to fascinate and enthrall visitors to this day. Regardless of whether or not you spot Nessie during your British Isles cruise, you’ll love getting lost inside historic castles, hiking around the countryside, and enjoying the best of the Scottish Highlands in this charming city.
Try and spot Loch Ness’s most famous inhabitant, Nessie, during a visit to Loch Ness. For centuries, Loch Ness has been the subject of mystery and debate, as thousands of people have sworn to have seen a large monster lurking in the water. The first sighting of Nessie spans all the way back to 565 AD, but the legend of the monster of Loch Ness really took off in 1934 after a photograph taken by a British doctor showed what appeared to be a long neck and head emerging from the water.
Built in the 15th century, Cawdor Castle was originally the private fortress of the Thane of Cawdor, but now serves as the home of the Dowager Countess Cawdor. This majestic Highland castle is famous for its connection to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in which Macbeth is made the “Thane of Cawdor” after winning a bloody battle. Stroll through the castle’s extravagant interiors, peek inside its stunning Drawing Room, and walk along the impeccably manicured gardens, where you can admire roses, rhododendrons, poppies, and a variety of sculptures.
Step inside Urquhart Castle, one of the most visited castles in Scotland. This iconic Highland structure has a long and colorful history, having been the site of multiple power sieges and military action over 1,000 years. Head up Grant Tower, where you’ll enjoy some of the best views of the surrounding Loch Ness. Go inside the castle’s prison cell, where Gaelic poet Domhnall Donn was supposedly held captive. Learn more about the many kings and noblemen who fought to make Urquhart Castle their own.
Become a whiskey connoisseur during a day trip to one of the Highland’s world-renowned distilleries. Watch every stage of the whiskey-making process, tour the grounds, and finish off your tour by sampling a glass of the smooth, expertly crafted single malt scotch that Scotland is famous for.
Immerse yourself in Scottish history by visiting Culloden Moor, the site of the Jacobite Rising of 1746. At this brutal battle, the Jacobites, who were trying to restore the Stuart monarchy to the throne, fought against the British government troops and lost. Walk through the grounds of the battlefield, admire ancient artifacts, and experience the battle for yourself with a stop at Culloden Visitor Centre’s immersive 360-degree theater, where you’ll get a unique perspective on this historical event.
Take a break from the countryside and wander around Inverness, a small but cosmopolitan city with a burgeoning food scene and excellent shopping opportunities. Stroll around the city center, and admire historic buildings like St. Andrew’s Cathedral and Inverness Castle. Take a picturesque walk around the River Ness, where you’ll spot fishermen hunting for salmon. Stop in some of the avant-garde galleries around the city.
During your Inverness cruise, you’ll sample fresh produce and local ingredients that are sourced directly from the Highland’s many local farms. Whether you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion or just want to have a quick lunch, there’s something for everyone, from elegant restaurants to cozy pubs and cafes. Don’t forget to try some of Inverness’s specialties, such as black pudding, haggis, and shortbread.
Some of the earliest known settlers in Inverness were the Picts, a Celtic-speaking people that ruled a large part of Scotland from the Iron Age up until the early Middle Ages. During the 12th century, Inverness became a Royal Burgh, and the town quickly grew into a bustling trading center. For centuries, the area suffered through a number of battles and wars and lived in constant conflict with the Kingdom of England. Today, Scotland and England are at peace, and Inverness and its various historic castles, which once served as military strongholds, are now popular tourist destinations. The same can be said of Loch Ness, whose mystery and folklore attract visitors from around the world.
On a cruise to Inverness, your ship will dock at the Invergordon cruise terminal, which is located near Loch Ness. To reach Inverness, you can either take a one-hour train ride from the train station, which is only a short walk away from the cruise terminal, board a public bus, or take a private bus ride to the city.
Inverness and Loch Ness have a number of public transportation options, including buses and taxis. Both areas are also easily walkable and great to explore on a bicycle thanks to plentiful guided trails and routes.
Near the Inverness cruise port, you’ll find High Street, where there are plenty of shops and restaurants, as well as a large shopping mall, the Eastgate Shopping Center. Around the city, you’ll find gifts and Scottish souvenirs such as kilts, scotch, and handcrafted goods.
The local currency in Scotland is the British Pound (GBP). Tipping is common for taxi service and in restaurants. The general consensus in Scotland is to leave around a 10% tip for good service.