10 magical things to do in Loch Ness in winter (2023)

Wondering if Nessie will be in Loch Ness in winter? I’ve handpicked the best things to do in Loch Ness in winter that including monster hunting.

things to do in Loch Ness in winter - Fort Augustus

Imagine Loch Ness all misty and mysterious, without the summer crowds photobombing your Nessie pics.

The hills might even have a snow cap, which looks magical.

The local spots like pubs and the Loch Ness Centre are open but way less packed. So, if you’re alright with the cold, a touch of mystery, and a more chill vibe, winter at Loch Ness is a solid bet.

Here are 10 things to do while exploring Loch Ness in the colder months.

❄️ Read next: 14 things to do on Isle of Skye in winter

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The best way to get from Edinburgh to Loch Ness

These are the best ways to experience the famous lake from Edinburgh:

With an organized day tour from Edinburgh to Loch Ness, a rental car, or by public transportation.

HowWhyBook here
🧙‍♂️ Organised day tourMost convenientLoch Ness & Highlands Day Tour from Edinburgh
🚗 Rental carMost freedomDiscover Cars
🚂 Train or busCheapestCheck timetable

🦕 10 things to do in Loch Ness in winter

1. Take a Loch Ness cruise

Although it may be chilly, a winter cruise on Loch Ness can be magical.

The misty air and perhaps snow-capped hills add a certain drama to the experience. Plus, you might just spot Nessie if you’re lucky.

things to do in Loch Ness in winter - Fort Augustus (2)

2. Visit Fort Augustus

Did you know that Loch Ness is huge?

It’s 36 km long, 2,7 km wide, and 226 meters at its deepest point. Loch Ness actually holds more water than all other rivers and lakes in England, Wales, and Scotland

So, you’ll need to pick a place to experience the lake, and Fort Augustus is the best. At least in my opinion.

This cute little lake town at the southern end of Loch Ness offers various attractions, from local shops to beautiful canal locks.

During winter, it’s less crowded and more peaceful.

Read next: 18 fascinating facts about Loch Ness and its monster

things to do in Loch Ness in winter - Fort Augustus (3)

3. Urquhart Castle

Not far from Fort Augustus on the western shore of Loch Ness are the ruins of the historic Urquhart Castle.

During winter, there are fewer visitors here, so you might even have it to yourself. Plus, the wintery backdrop makes it all the more mysterious and photogenic.

Book your boat trip – Loch Ness: Urquhart Castle Round-Trip Cruise (⭐ 4.4/5)

things to do in Loch Ness in winter - Urquhart Castle

4. Stargazing

Stargazing is one of my favorite things to do in winter. And on clear nights, you can do it in Loch Ness.

The stars are clearest on a clear, moonless night. You’ll just need to find a high, remote spot away from town lights.

Bring a telescope or camera if you have one, dress warmly, and use a stargazing app to spot and identify objects in the night sky.

things to do in Loch Ness in winter - Starry night

5. Falls of Foyers

The Falls of Foyers are a quick walk from Fort Augustus, and if you’re lucky the waterfalls might be covered in ice and snow.

The hike to the falls takes about 16 minutes one way and can be steep. Wear sturdy, waterproof hiking boots and a warm jacket. Be cautious – the path can be slippery.

things to do in Loch Ness in winter - Foyers falls

6. Whisky tasting

One of the best things to do in Loch Ness in winter is warming up with some fine Scottish whisky.

You’ll find several distilleries around Loch Ness and Inverness that offer tasting sessions.

On this full-day tour (⭐ 5/5) to Glen Moray and Tomatin Distilleries, you’ll get to taste quality Highland whiskey. You’ll also travel through Highland scenery and stop at the beautiful Elgin Cathedral.

Check availability here – Speyside Whisky Day Tour from Inverness (⭐ 5/5)

Edinburgh, Scotland

7. The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition

The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition is where you can see cool underwater photos and learn about the mystery of Loch Ness.

They’ve got a café, and a gift shop, and you can even take a boat trip on their research vessel, Deepscan.

8. Visit the Caledonian Canal

The historic canal in Fort Augustus is a must-see.

It’s a great spot for enjoying the views and you can watch boats navigate through the locks.

If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a boat tour to experience it yourself!

things to do in Loch Ness in winter - Caledonian Canal

9. Taste the local cuisine

When in Scotland, you should try traditional Scottish food.

You know what I’m talking about here, right?

Haggis.

It took me some time to convince myself to taste it, and you know what? It’s not half-bad.

Loch Ness has several restaurants and pubs serving up classic Scottish dishes like haggis, neeps, and tatties, along with fresh seafood. Try The Loch Inn in Fort Augustus.

Edinburgh, Scotland
Haggis sausage

10. Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield isn’t just a field; it’s where a huge turning point in Scottish history went down.

The Jacobites, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, had their last stand here against British forces. You can almost feel the history under your feet.

Walking around where the battle took place is pretty moving, especially when you see the markers and memorials.

This tour is great – Highlander Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield from Inverness (⭐ 5/5)

things to do in Loch Ness in winter - Culloden Battlefield

Where to stay in Loch Ness

If you’re spending the night at Loch Ness, I recommend basing yourself in Fort Augustus.

Lock Chambers, Caledonian Canal Centre (⭐8.8) has cozy rooms with private bathrooms, and it’s located centrally, just by Loch Ness. Check availability here.

FAQ – Loch Ness in winter

Can you go to Loch Ness in December?

Yes, you can visit Loch Ness in winter.

You can canoe on the loch, enjoy a holiday panto, jam to live music, or even ring in the New Year at Hogmanay celebrations in either Inverness or Fort Augustus.

What is the best month to visit Loch Ness?

September is the best month to visit Loch Ness. It has milder weather and shorter days, but fewer crowds.

July is generally the warmest month with the longest daylight hours.

August is also warm but tends to be busier and more expensive.

Is Inverness worth visiting in December?

Yes, Inverness is worth visiting in December if you’re looking for a festive atmosphere and don’t mind cold weather.

The city is beautifully decorated for the holidays and there are usually Christmas markets and events like Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) celebrations. Just be prepared for shorter, colder days and potentially snow.

Does it snow in Loch Ness in December?

In December, Loch Ness has average high temperatures ranging from 42-46°F (6-8°C) and average lows from 33-37°F (1-3°C).

Snow is possible but not guaranteed, as the area tends to have milder winters than other parts of Scotland. You’re more likely to encounter rain and cold weather.

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