Inverness is surrounded by places of interest, the most famous being, of course, Loch Ness. People from around the world travel to this lake in the hope of getting a glimpse of the monster that lurks in the loch's 800-foot depths. The legend is nearly as old as Scotland.

A trip around Loch Ness can take an entire day, depending on how much you want to see, or can be done (fairly briskly) on a summer's evening.  If you're driving, there are many opportunities to stop and take in the views or explore the history of the area. The north-west side of Loch Ness is the busiest, thanks to the presence of the A82 trunk road.  There are many hotels and B&Bs on that side, mostly concentrated in the villages of Invermoriston, Lewiston and Drumnadrochit.  The south-eastern side is much quieter, with only two or three small settlements between Inverness and Fort Augustus.  Indeed, the road on the southern side doesn't follow the loch shore all the way; instead, it strikes inland to some very attractive hill country.   The village of Fort Augustus stands at the southern end of Loch Ness, astride the Caledonian Canal.  There are some interesting shops here and you can sit by the canal locks and watch boats pass through, perhaps with some delicious fish and chips or a drink from one of the bars and cafés. 

The Caledonian Canal bisects Scotland, running 60 miles from Fort William on the west coast to Inverness on the east coast , through the Great Glen.  If you're not boating, an alternative way to enjoy part of the Caledonian Canal is to make a peaceful 10 mile (round trip) walk from Inverness, starting at the Muirtown Basin (where the Canal meets the Moray Firth), following the tow path to Dochgarroch, a pretty spot where the Canal and the River Ness converge with Loch Ness.  Several boats are moored at Dochgarroch, and there is a curio shop which serves light meals, afternoon tea, ice creams etc (follow the lane leading away from the Canal to the right).  You can do a shorter walk by starting at Bught Park (7 miles round trip -

Walking and biking trips around the Loch Ness area are also popular, try Bespoke Highland Tours. Cruises on the loch are another fun option, the Royal Scot in Fort Augustus is a good bet.

 An alternative (kinder to the environment) way to cruise Caledonian Canal is to travel on the New Era Solar Powered Boat.  This unique boat is the only one in Inverness to offer trips powered by solar power to the public .

Glen Affric (west of Loch Ness, about 40 minutes from Inverness by car) offers spectacular scenery and a variety of walking routes ranging from half a mile to 16 miles and from easy to demanding.  The lochs, waterfalls, mountains and woodland combine to create an area of great beauty and tranquility.  (Landseer's painting "Monarch of the Glen" was set in this breathtaking landscape).