Inverness is an amazing location and the largest city and cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands, which make up the northernmost part of Scotland. Inverness is located close to the northern tip of Scotland where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth, just north of the infamous Loch Ness.
Inverness and the Scottish Highlands should be on every traveler and photographer’s bucket list. There aren’t many places that can combine such epic landscapes with culture, historical significance and totally unique attractions.
If you are going to Inverness, we think this list will give you an amazing head start on your planning. If you have already been to Inverness, let us know what places we missed or share stories or advice from these awesome locations. The best place to interact and share is our facebook group.
Enough rambling, here are our favorite 24 locations in or near Inverness, conveniently placed on this map you can add to your Google maps, and then in completely random order with awesome pictures below.
Leakey’s Bookshop is a second-hand bookstore in Inverness boasting over 100,000 books in its store. It is full of charm and quaintness.
While the bookstore dates back to 1979, the building has a richer history. Leakey’s is located in Greyfriar’s Hall, which used to be St. Mary’s Gaelic Church. The Church was originally built in the 17th Century, but has been updated over the years.
You can see the interior of Leakey’s Bookshop in the image below from booktuber Claire-Odette Fenby.
Clava Cairns is a set of ancient burial tombs that date back to the Bronze Age. The tombs are covered with a ring of stacked rocks with a passageway for entrance to the tomb.
You can see the massive scale of Clava Cairns in the image below from Sarah Searle.
You can get a better feel of the size of the stones and how they are stacked in the image below from Tassi Peret.
While there are other Cairns around Inverness, the Clava Cairns are unique because there are carved stones radiating out from the Cairn in ray-like paths.
In the following image from digital marketer Matilde Brandt, the rays of stone paths are matched beautifully with the sun rays illuminating the scene.
Fairy Glen Falls
Fairy Glen Falls is located north of Inverness just outside of the town of Rosemarkie. Just off the A832, you should be able to find a sign for the Fairy Glen.
The Fairy Glen is a beautifully wooded area where a short and easy walk will take you through awesome scenery highlighted by two waterfalls.
One of the waterfalls is beautifully captured below by photographer Baygon Verde.
Another shot, much more up close, comes from Patrick Rea.
Falls of Foyers
The Falls of Foyers is located a bit south of Inverness on the east side of Loch Ness. You can access the upper viewpoint with just a twenty-minute walk.
You can see the beauty of the Falls with fall colors in the image below from Andrew Currie.
Falls of Divach
Divach Falls or the Falls of Divach (pronounced Jeevach if you are lost and looking for directions) is another great waterfall located south of Inverness about halfway down the west side of Loch Ness.
You can see the falls in fall color in the below image from Cesar.
Brodie Castle is a beautiful castle located about 30 minutes northeast of Inverness along the A96.
The castle was originally built in 1567, but burned down. The castle, as it stands today, is made up of a 16th century tower and some additions from the mid-nineteenth century. The interior of the castle is well preserved with furniture and decorations dating from the 17th to 19th centuries.
The castle is lit beautifully at night as you can see in the image below from Instagrammer Julia.
You can see more of the castle grounds in this daytime image of the castle from Anabel Alcazar.
Urquhart Castle, or the ruins of the castle, are located along the western banks of Loch Ness 13 miles, or 21 km, southwest of Inverness, along the A82.
The current ruins of the castle date back to the 13th through the 16th centuries; however, it is said to be the sight of fortresses dating back further than the Urquhart Castle.
The ruins of the castle can be seen in front of Loch Ness in the image below from flight attendant and blogger Jordan.
Fort George is an 18th century fortress that is in surprisingly great shape since it was never attacked. It is still an active garrison, but is open to the public. It is located about 18 km, or 11 miles, northeast of Inverness.
Fort George was built to gain greater control over the region following the Jacobite Uprising of 1745. It is built on a peninsula jutting into the Moray Firth to control the sea approach to Inverness.
You can easily see the photo opportunities at Fort George in the great image below from Honza Kalousek.
Loch Ness may be the most famous attraction near Inverness. It is located just south of Inverness and stretching for many miles. You can stop all along most of the coast line and grab a great shot, and maybe even capture the famous Loch Ness Monster.
A portion of the beautiful lake can be seen in the image below from Instagrammer Aurel Valen.
Chanonry Point is an active lighthouse that dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. It is located north of Inverness along the west coast of Moray Firth.
You can see the lighthouse in the image below from Emilien Lubienski.
Beauly Priory is located in Beauly west of Inverness along the River Beauly. The ruins date back to a Valliscaulian monastic community that was was founded on the scene in approximately 1230.
The building below seems to be the most popular for photographers, and for good reason, as you can see in the beautiful image below from photographer Magali aka Parisian On The Go.
Surprisingly, I find the interior of this building even more interesting, at least in the below image, which also comes from Magali.
North Coast 500
The North Coast 500, or NC500, is a 516 mile scenic roadway that starts in Inverness, tours the coast line of northern Scotland, and ends back in Inverness.
The whole route is worth an awesome vacation, but even if you don’t have the time for that, a day going up the coast is well worth it to capture some amazing scenes, like the ones shown in the next two images, both of which come from travel photographer Linda.
The Culloden Battlefield is just over 5 miles east of Inverness. The site features great photographic opportunities with old headstones and fields ready to be bathed in golden light.
It was the site of the final battle of the Jacobite Uprising of 1745. over 1,500 people died at this site in that battle, which occurred on April 16, 1746.
You can see what the golden light can do at this location in the image below from Jamie and Claire of Outlandish Journeys.
Falcon Square is a quaint old square in the center of Inverness. Other than the old picturesque buildings, the highlight of Falcon Square is the unicorn statue in the middle of square. I would be willing to bet this is the only place in the world to capture a unicorn statue in the middle of a historic square!
You can see the square, featuring some beautiful stone buildings in the image below from Lois on Instagram.
Munlochy Clootie Well
Munlochy Clootie Well is a unique place located about 10 miles northwest of Inverness.
You can get a good sense for Munlochy Clootie Well in the below image from Alex Dyer, showing the Scottish tradition of taking a piece of clothing, dipping it into the well, making a wish and tying it to a tree. You can see more of Alex’s work on Instagram linked above or the ACD Creative website.
The Victorian Market is located in the center of Inverness. As you would expect from the name, it is a beautiful place full of character and great photo opportunities, as you can see in the image below from Luciana Hendrawan.
Old High Church
The Old High Church is the historic town church of Inverness and dates back to the 18th Century. The newer St. Stephen’s church sits right next to the Old High Church. The site upon which the two churches sit has been used for worship dating back to the early Celts.
I love this view of the Old High Church from the graveyard taken Nicolo A. Traina.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral
St. Andrew’s Cathedral also goes by the Inverness Cathedral. Besides the beautiful architecture of St. Andrew’s, the location along the River Ness is also impressive.
You can see the Inverness Cathedral in the beautiful image below from Instagrammer Travel_by_Crisia.
If you want to see a classic looking castle that isn’t deterioriated at all, you will love the Inverness Castle. Although the site has been home to castles as far back as anywhere, the current Inverness Castle only dates back to the late 1800s.
The castle is actually quite large, but the small portion in the image below from Instagrammer Åse is one of the most picturesque photo spots.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is a bit outside of Inverness and almost to the Isle of Skye. Since we plan to do another article just focused on the Isle of Skye (check out this photographer’s guide to the Isle of Sky in the meantime), I tried to avoid anywhere in that region, but I just love this castle and wanted to include it.
Eilean Donan Castle is actually located on the tiny island of Eilean Donan. The castle pretty much makes up the whole island so it is very scenic. The castle was restored in the 20th Century and the footbridge was added to connect the island to the mainland.
Although I love the image of Eilean Donan Castle with lots of water surrounding it, it is also beautiful when the water level is lower and you can see much more of the rocky foreground, like in the below image from blogger Ljupka Tanevska.
Aardvreck Castle isn’t much of a castle anymore, but the ruins are on such a beautiful setting, I wanted to include the castle in this list. It is a bit further north from Inverness, but is a great stop if you are doing the North Coast 500.
You can see the beautiful setting with typical moody Scotland clouds in the awesome composition below from Instagrammer @viajesconmicamara.
Viaduc de Glenfinnan
The Glenfinnan Viaduc is furthest location from Inverness we are featuring, but it is such an iconic location, I had to feature it.
To reach the Viaduc, you have to head to Glenfinnan, which is a little bit west of Fort William, which is a bit further south beyond Fort Augustus (check out this cool location near Fort Augustus a local photographer shared with us).
You can see the beautiful Viaduc in the amazing image below that perfectly captures the train passing from Valentin Seux.
If you have ever watched the Harry Potter film series, you will recognize this Viaduc as one of the most iconic landscapes from the whole series.
When I saw the movie, I assumed it was not a real place, but something created for the movie. The great image below from Stephane, on Instagram as @the_azertoy proves it is in fact a real location!
While the shots from above are the classic shots. You can also get some really cool shots from down below that aren’t nearly as common. The below shot, also from Valentin Seux, is really cool.
And, here is a cool place where you can get a shot with yourself in it, like Paulina Konopa did in the image below.
Continuing our stream of distance locations, Sinclair Girnigoe is an old castle, or castle ruins at least, that is outside of Inverness, near the town of Wick. It is almost at the furthest north end of Scotland and is another spot featured on the North Coast 500.
The beautiful image below comes from photographer Mary Danz Hitzges, who says that not only are the ruins amazing, the history is amazing as well.
Plodda Falls is a popular tourist destination located a bit out in the middle of nowhere. It is 5 km southwest of the small village of Tomich, which is about an hour southwest of Inverness.
A huge new viewing platform was added to the top of the falls in 2009, which you can see in the beautiful aerial image below from photographer and filmmaker @Vincentcroce.
You made it through all our favorite spots in or near Inverness! Don’t forget to let us to know where we missed and we will add your location and image to the list.
Also, don’t forget to check out our other Instagram Guides!