The Scottish lochs are sparkling jewels amidst beautiful landscapes. Scotland is home to over 31,000 and visitors from all over the world come to see these stunning lochs (in Gaelic ‘loch’ means ‘small lake’) and enjoy activities such as fishing, boating, swimming or even hiking. Are you not sure which ones to choose than check out this list of famous and lesser visited lochs that you can’t miss on your next trip to Scotland.
The most famous… for its monster
With 230m at its deepest, Loch Ness is the second deepest lake in Scotland. Loch Ness is probably the most famous for its legendary monster Nessie said to inhabit the lake. Your best chance, however, of catching a glimpse of Nessie, is in the village of Drumnadrochit, at the Loch Ness Center & Exhibition which has state-of-art exhibitions about the geological formation of Loch Ness and of course its infamous monster.
Despite its fame, and thanks to its size (covering 22 square km) it is still possible to sense the serenity of Loch Ness and its surroundings without feeling you are in a tourist attraction. Look out for the ruins of the Urquhart Castle on the western shore, situated in a stunning location right at the water’s edge.
The largest… and plenty of space to play
At 50 kilometers north of Glasgow, straddling the boundary between the Highlands and Lowlands, the 39-km long Loch Lomond is the longest inland stretch of surface water in Britain. It is one of Scotland’s most popular lakes for water sports enthusiasts that can practice sailing, fishing, and canoeing. Bordered by beautiful shores and guarded by the eye-catching Ben Lomond, the lake is also an ideal swimming paradise for those who want to experience some magnificent Scottish scenery at the same time. Loch Lomond is also a good hiking territory; around its shores, there are many hiking trails and plenty of great spots for a relaxing picnic afterward.
Tip: Hidden away on the very edge of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, lies Loch Rusky. It is an attractive and peaceful little loch that tends to be frequented only by fishermen and photographers.
A great place for foodies
Loch Fyne is a sea loch situated on the west coast of Argyll and Bute, a beautiful, unspoiled area known for its spectacular scenery and wildlife (including dolphins, seals, and otters) and a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and foodies. From the oyster beds at the top of Loch Fyne to the surrounding hills with locally reared livestock, Loch Fyne has a worldwide reputation for high quality locally produced food.
Loch Fyne offers as well great fishing, diving, and boating opportunities. Besides, many people are drawn to this beautiful area by the range of traditional Scottish villages dotted around the shores, like the charming lakefront town of Inveraray, known for its iconic castle that holds the same name. Whether you choose to catch fish, dive in crystal clear water, explore castles, or just savor great foods, Loch Fyne can give it all to you.
The essence of Scotland
Loch Awe is awesome. Let the facts speak for themselves. Conifer forests surround the shores, the northern horizon is dominated by the impressive Ben Cruachan mountain range. Wildlife in the area is legendary, and Loch Awe holds the current record for the largest brown trout caught in the British Isles. On top of that, it is home to Kilchurn Castle, arguably Scotland’s most impressive and iconic ancient building at its head. Visit Loch Awe to explore its beautiful nature, picnic sites and kilometers of trails in the forests, and you’ll still have plenty more to see.
The Victorian playground
Set in the middle of Trossachs National Park, Loch Katrine is a beautiful narrow lake that traverses some of the area’s most idyllic and unspoiled landscapes. Loch Katrine is a unique place, steeped in history. Indeed, the famous poem ‘The Lady of the Lake’ of Sir Walter Scott was set here and inspired its Victorian readers, who started to travel to the area to see the sight themselves on board of the Sir Walter Scott steamship that still brings visitors around on the loch. Enjoy the landscape from the deck or rent a bike at the pier so you can explore the remote and beautiful lake on two wheels and be rewarded with some magnificent views.
A romantic spot in the Scottish Highlands
Mysterious and romantic, the beautiful Loch Duich holds a special place in the history and hearts of Scotland’s Highlands. Loch Duich is home to the Eilean Donan Castle that has become one of the most photographed landmarks in Scotland. The image of the castle at the edge of the calm waters of the loch has featured in several films including:
Loch Ness (1996)
The World is Not Enough (1999)
Fishing is a favorite activity at Loch Duich, and there are some lovely walks along the loch side with spectacular views over the water to Eilean Donan Castle. The beautiful scenery and serenity of the loch surrounded by the green peaks of the Five Sisters of Kintail will make a visit to Loch Duich a memorable visit.