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Is Loch Ness Worth Visiting?

Is Loch Ness Worth Visiting?

Scotland is one of my favorite places in the world, for a whole host of reasons. From the magic of the Scottish Highlands, to the beauty of the Hebrides islands, to the one-two punch of Glasgow and Edinburgh, there are just so many reasons to love Scotland.

In my opinion, Loch Ness is not really one of them.

It’s not that Loch Ness isn’t worth visiting, per se. I’m just not sure the hype built up around it matches the reality of what you find on the ground.

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Why (and When) Did People Start Visiting Loch Ness?

Surprisingly, the question of whether Loch Ness is worth visiting hasn’t been around all that long, at least not compared to Scotland’s overall history. It was in only in 1933 when the Inverness Courier newspaper first reported on the sighting of the supposed monster. This was all based on the account of one couple; looking at it with 21st-century skepticism, it’s possible said couple never existed.

The bad news? Apart from a “photo” the following year (which was later proven to be fake), no evidence of any out-of-the-ordinary creature dwelling within the lake exists. The good news? There are plenty of better ways to spend your time and money on your trip, whether you play at one of the top fast withdrawal casinos in the UK or instead visit the superior destinations I’m about to list below in a few paragraphs.

5 Reasons to Avoid Loch Ness

Nessie isn’t real

This should go without saying, but monsters don’t exist. And even if you aren’t convinced that the now-debunked “photo” of Nessie doesn’t exist…well, I don’t know what to tell there. This is nothing out of the ordinary living in Loch Ness. Well, apart from a lot of locals who’ve gotten very rich off the gullibility of tourists.

The Lake itself is meh

Some dyed-in-the-wool Scottish people may find Loch Ness worth visiting for sentimental reasons, and they would probably be offended for me to say what I’m about to say: Loch Ness just isn’t beautiful. The water is dark and the forests around it are nondescript. As I’ll explain in a few paragraphs, there are just so many better things to do in Scotland.

There’s not much to do

Compounding this is the fact that most activities you might enjoy on the lake itself would be limited to Scotland’s extremely short summer. There are obviously some hiking trails nearby; it’s an OK place for general enjoyment of the great outdoors. But again, are you really going to travel all the way here for “OK”?

It’s a tourist trap

Or maybe you think Loch Ness is worth visiting because you want a Nessie plush toy, or because you want to scope the lake for signs of her while you sit down waterside and eat haggis? Again, no judgment if you really feel this way; I just don’t think this sort of tourism is what makes Scotland special.

Your time is precious

If you live in Scotland, or if you have a week or longer there, a trip to Loch Ness might make sense, if only for completion. However, as a general tourist, I can tell you that it’s not really worth your time, unless (as I’ve mentioned throughout this itinerary) you happen to be in the area anyway.

How to Spend Your Time in Scotland Instead

As I’ve mentioned many times throughout this peace, Scotland is a veritable travel gold mine, Nessie or not. Here are some other ideas:

  • Edinburgh, which is home to the UK’s most beautiful old town
  • Cosmopolitan, grungy Glasgow
  • The Scottish Highlands are one fo the world’s most enchanting landscapes
  • The Isle of Skye and the other Hebrides islands
  • Secondary cities like Dundee or Inverness

Of course, if you still believe Loch Ness to be worth visiting, even after reading this article, then you can absolutely feel free to go!


Other FAQ About Visiting Loch Ness

Is Lake Loch Ness worth a visit?

Loch Ness is not really worth a visit, in my opinion, unless you have plans to pass through the area anyway. There are simply better places in Scotland (and indeed, even better Lochs), which make so much better use of your time than this tourist trap.

How long should you spend in Loch Ness?

If you do go to Loch Ness, you shouldn’t spend longer than the morning and afternoon. Many restaurants and shops have been set up along the shore; since Nessie doesn’t exist, having some lunch (and maybe buying a Nessie toy) is the extent of which there is to do at this very average lake.

Why do tourists visit Loch Ness?

Modern tourists visit Loch Ness because in 1933, a Scottish newspaper called the Inverness Courier published an article detailing one couple’s supposed account with an unidentified monster. While we now know this was fake, I expected a renewed tourism push in 2033, for the centennial.

The Bottom Line

Is Loch Ness worth visiting? If you have a long time in Scotland—over a week, let’s say—than an excursion to Loch Ness might make sense. Or, if you can squeeze it in alongside some other place you’re going. I’ve worked with tour companies in the past who can nest an encounter with Nessie is on the way to or back from the Isle of Skye. If you don’t have time in your Scotland itinerary for Skye, don’t sweat it. Although you may feel a lack of completion if you don’t end up going, trust me when I say you aren’t missing much. This is particularly true if you end up hiring me to plan your trip.


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