- Wander the purple heather-clad landscape of Scotland’s renowned Great Glen
- Delight in “ceud mìle fàilte” (a hundred thousand welcomes) from the hosts at our hand-selected accommodations
- 13th century ruins of Urquhart Castle perched on the shores of Loch Ness
- Cruise Loch Ness and unravel stories of the loch’s legendary monster—“Nessie”
- Stay in Edinburgh’s old town and feast on delicious Scottish cuisine just minutes from the capital’s iconic castle
On this self-guided walking tour immerse yourself in the best of Scotland’s Great Glen Way trail. Traverse Scotland’s Highland landscape brimming with deep lochs and glens between Fort William, the outdoor capital of the west, and Inverness—Scotland’s northernmost city.
Begin in Glasgow, a city renowned for its eclectic cuisine, before hopping on the train and winding your way north through the Highlands and through seemingly infinite glens to reach Fort William at the base of Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and the start point of the trail. By day relish tranquil hiking as you roam a landscape strewn with ruined castles and remote villages nestled among impressive mountains. At night retire to our hand-selected accommodations and settle down by the fire to reflect on a day well spent away from the distractions of modern living. The trip concludes in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, with a night in the city’s old town just a short walk from Edinburgh Castle.
Day 1 - Arrive Glasgow and overnight
Home to Macs Adventure’s UK office, we think Glasgow is the perfect
place to begin your Scottish adventure. Although this city is known for
its vibrant live music and foodie scene, don’t be fooled by all of its
bustling modernity—you just need to lift your eyes from street level to
enjoy the city’s historical architecture. Why not visit Kelvingrove Art
Gallery & Museum a stunning sandstone building in the up-and-coming
West End; the area is a melting pot of traditional and sophisticated
bars and eateries!
Settle into your hotel, relax, and prepare for your journey to the Highlands tomorrow.
Day 2 - West Highland Line train to Fort William
The West Highland Line is said to be Scotland’s most scenic train
line; take your seat for the journey north (3 hr 45 min) through
mountain ranges and around sea lochs.
As the outdoor capital of the west coast, active enthusiasts of all
kinds gather in Fort William to make the most the surrounding landscape.
The town is also the end point of Scotland’s most famous long distance
trail—the West Highland Way.
Overnight: Fort William
Day 3 - Walk to Gairlochy
With the dramatic north face of Ben Nevis above you begin your hike
along the Great Glen from the site of Fort William’s late 17th century
fort. Trace the shores of Loch Linnhe and join the Caledonian Canal
heading north east on quiet forest paths to reach the hamlet of
Gairlochy where you’ll meet your driver for a private transfer to
Glengarry Castle Hotel (30 min).
Delight in the scenic drive along Loch Lochy to reach your
accommodation near Laggan. This traditional country hotel stands alone
in a remote area of the glen. Settle into your room and savor a hearty
Walk: 10 miles / 16.5 km
Dinner & overnight: Glengarry Castle Hotel
Day 4 - Walk to Fort Augustus
From the tranquil, lochside location of Glengarry stroll through the
little village of Invergarry, complete with castle ruins. Walk a more
remote section of the Great Glen Way with wonderful views over little
Loch Oich through rich woodlands. Follow the canal and river that link
Loch Oich to the iconic Loch Ness, Scotland’s deepest loch.
Soon you’ll reach Fort Augustus—here the canal passes directly
through the heart of the village—on the shores of Loch ness. Why not
sample delicious local cuisine in The Brasserie restaurant at the Lovat
Hotel before a relaxing evening in your accommodation? Perched on the
southern end of Loch Ness among dramatic peaks this secluded location is
a fabulous setting for a good night’s sleep.
Walk: 9 miles / 14.5 km
Overnight: Fort Augustus
Day 5 - Walk to Drumnadrochit
After being dropped off in the little village of Invermoriston on the
banks of Loch Ness you’re presented with a choice of walks—a high and
low variation of the Great Glen Way. The low route hugs the shores of
Loch Ness initially and soon joins the high route. Alternatively, the
more challenging, but firm favourite among our guests, is the high
route—a little extra ascent and rugged terrain is rewarded by some of
the best views of the glen! The routes join again and you’ll ascend to
be greeted by stunning views over the 13-16th century ruins of Urqhuart
Castle that was once a stronghold of Robert the Bruce. Descend into
Drumnadrochit village, the hub for all things Loch Ness.
The quaint Loch Ness Inn offers a relaxed atmosphere for walkers and
travellers. Unwind in the cosy restaurant serving home-cooked dishes
made with local ingredients.
Walk: High Route 14 miles / 22 km (1900 ft ascent / 1950 ft
descent) or Low Route 15 miles / 23.5 km (1700 ft ascent / 1770ft
Day 6 - Walk to Inverness
Take a private transfer to Loch Laide (15 mins) for the final day of
hiking on the itinerary. Savour the peace and tranquility of the
dramatic highland landscape as you follow the Caledonian Canal past
quaint cottages, and along lush river paths into the bustling city of
The River Ness passes through the heart of the city; lined with
historic townhouses and punctuated by the imposing hilltop castle. The
canal now heads out to sea on Scotland’s east coast marking the end of
the Great Glen Way.
Dine at one of the many eateries alongside the river and enjoy the best of locally sourced Highland cuisine. The staff at your hand-selected accommodation will have some great restaurant recommendations for you.
Walk: 9 miles / 14km
Day 7 - Free day in Inverness and Loch Ness tour and cruise
In the morning you can take a stroll along the river or spend some
time sightseeing. In the afternoon we have arranged a guided group tour
of Urqhuart Castle and a cruise on Loch Ness—prepare to be blown away by
the spectacular views of Urquhart Castle from the boat!
Dine at one of the many eateries alongside the river and enjoy the
best of locally sourced Highland cuisine. The staff at your
hand-selected accommodation will have some great restaurant
recommendations for you.
Day 8 - Train to Edinburgh
Hop on the train to Edinburgh (3hr 40mins) and gaze out of the window
as the rugged landscape of the Cairngorm National Park and the
agricultural wealth of Perthshire fly past. Keep a look out for the
iconic Edinburgh Castle—perched atop an ancient volcanic dome that
provided an ideal defensive position for the castle’s inhabitants
Stop by your hotel to drop off your luggage before heading out to
explore Scotland’s capital. Stroll among the narrow cobbled streets and
wind your way up the Royal Mile towards Edinburgh Castle. Linger here
simply to soak in this singular city-scape from above—the view is
rivaled only by those from Carlton Hill and Arthur’s Seat.
Come evening take your pick of the city’s many delightful
eateries—up-scale, charming or traditional—the sheer variety is evidence
of Edinburgh’s diverse foodie scene!
Day 9 - Onward travel
End your trip after a delicious breakfast and make your onward journey from this internationally connected city.
One of the highlights of this tour is the standard of accommodations. We have hand-selected the hotels to make sure you love every minute of your stay. All offer a warm Scottish welcome to walkers.
Please note that in August, due to the very popular Fringe Festival, accommodation availability in Edinburgh is limited and costs tend to be higher so a supplement may be applicable. We will confirm any potential supplement with you before finalising your trip. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask our specialists.
Solo Walkers & Single Rooms
We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested—a single supplement applies. This trip is also available to solo walkers, and a supplement is again payable (as some costs are not shared). Please note that depending on availability single rooms may not always be of the same standard as twins/doubles.
A Scottish cooked breakfast is served each morning. These typically range from eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, cheese, yogurt and coffee/tea with traditional Scottish favorites such as black pudding and smoked fish. Lunch, snacks and some dinners are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. A 3-course evening meal at the secluded Glengarry Castle Hotel is included in the trip cost.
Most of your accommodations will be able to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively, you can buy lunch at local shops or stop in a café if available.
We usually use the following hotels but occasionally may use well-loved alternatives if these are not available. You can also choose to upgrade your final nights’ accommodation in Edinburgh if you wish.
This modern townhouse hotel with great amenities is located in the city center. We know the staff at the Abode Hotel well and have worked with them for years—their lovely staff are eager to welcome you to Scotland and get your adventure off to an excellent start.
Expect a warm welcome and perhaps a spot of afternoon tea with Sophie, the owner of this exquisite 5 star B&B, on arrival in Fort William. With 3 sumptuously decorated suites and wonderful views over Loch Linnhe this stunning house is just a short walk from the town centre.
Glengarry Castle Hotel
Situated in a tranquil location on the banks of Loch Oich, Glengarry Castle Hotel is a delightful retreat from the trappings of everyday modern living. Relax and unwind in this historic country hotel with unrivaled views of the loch, which make up for the simplicity of tonight’s lodging. Here we include a 3 course dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.
In the quaint canal-side village of Fort Augustus the Lovat Hotel enjoys all the modern comforts and attention to detail of a recently refurbished Highland hotel with a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Their Brasserie Restaurant serves delicious evening meals in a beautiful setting using locally-sourced produce where possible.
The Loch Ness Inn
The lochside village of Drumndrochit abounds with all things Nessie and Loch Ness, and it’s here you’ll find your accommodation for the night—the casual Loch Ness Inn. Savor typical Highland pub grub at the hotel bar or head out and explore the village.
An oasis of modernity in the coastal city of Inverness the large 4 star Kingsmills Hotel is situated in a quiet area of the town. The rooms are individually decorated in a contemporary style, and you’ll have access to the indoor pool and spa amenities—the perfect place to unwind after a few days on the trail. There are a couple of dining options; the sophisticated Inglis Restaurant or the more relaxed Conservatory Restaurant.
Hotel Du Vin
Located on a historic street just minutes from Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, the National Museum and Edinburgh Castle this relaxed 4 star hotel is a great base from where to explore all of the city’s unmissable attractions. Built in 1743 Hotel du Vin is brimming with character and traditional features tempered with a modern touch. Venture into the city for your evening meal or simply relax and dine in at the hotel’s bistro.
A Scottish cooked breakfast is served each morning. These typically
range from eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, cheese, yoghurt and coffee/tea
with traditional Scottish favorites such as black pudding and smoked
fish. Lunch, snacks and some dinners are not included so you are free to
choose from the available options. A 3-course evening meal at the
secluded Glengarry Castle Hotel is included in the trip cost.
Most of your accommodations will be able to provide a packed lunch on
request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively, you can buy
lunch at local shops or stop in a café if available.
Your luggage will be transferred from your accommodation as per your
itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you
to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 40lbs/18kg per person, and on
the rail journeys that you bring your luggage with you.
Grade & Terrain
We have created this “best of” itinerary to showcase the best walks
and create the perfect balance of walking and sightseeing. While the
walks are less challenging than if you were to walk the entire Great
Glen Way, they offer magnificent views and you will really get a sense
of Scotland’s dramatic Highland scenery. Any limited road walking tends
to be scenic and mostly along quiet lanes, however from time to time
there are some busier stretches where you will need to look out for
This itinerary is rated easy to moderate. On most days you will be
walking on well-waymarked terrain that may include forest tracks, rocky
trails, and occasionally back country roads. On the whole most days have
minimal ascent/descent as you’ll be following the Caledonian Canal most
of the way. The most challenging walk from Invermoriston to
Drumnadrochit includes up to 1700-1900 ft /520-580 m (depending on
whether you choose the high or low route option) of ascent so if you’re
not a frequent hiker we suggest you do a little training so you find
this day as enjoyable as possible.
This route is well way-marked and follows the internationally
recognised Great Glen Way making navigation straightforward. We
recommend you navigate using our Macs Adventure smartphone app—simply
download your daily routes for offline use and follow the GPS tracks of
the trail with the assurance that you will not get lost.
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes
standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and
waterproof clothes and a day pack.
Travel insurance helps protect your travel investment, your
belongings and most importantly you, from unforeseen circumstances that
may arise before or during your trip. For more information, please visit
our travel insurance page by clicking this link: https://www.macsadventure.com/us/about-us/contact-booking/travel-insurance/.
Getting to Glasgow
The trip begins at your accommodation in Glasgow—easily accessible from the UK via rail and motorway links. If you’re travelling from Europe, North America or further afield we recommend flying into Glasgow Airport just a short taxi journey from the city centre (20 mins).
The airport has plenty of European links and if flying from North
America there are direct flights available from New York, Orlando,
Toronto and Halifax. Otherwise, you can easily connect from other North
American airports via Iceland, London or Amsterdam using British Airways, KLM, or a multitude of low budget airlines such as Ryanair or Easyjet.
Returning from Edinburgh
Your hotel in Edinburgh is located within a short walk of Waverley
Train Station, from where it’s less than an hour on the train to Glasgow
(check the Scotrail website for timetables and tickets) for your return flight or onward travel.
Alternatively, if you are extending your travels in Europe via Edinburgh airport it’s a 30 min taxi from the city centre to the airport, which is also easily reachable using the tram or Citylink bus networks.
- 8 Nights in hand-selected accommodations
- 8 Breakfasts
- 1 Dinner
- Luggage transfers
- Transfers to walks as listed
- Trains from Glasgow to Fort William & Inverness to Edinburgh
- Guided half day group tour of Loch Ness
- Information pack, GPX tracks, and access to the Macs Adventure smartphone app
- 24/7 telephone support from our office
- Travel insurance
- Travel to and from Glasgow/Edinburgh accommodation
- Lunches and 7 dinners
- Drinks and snacks
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
- Personal equipment
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk
- Single room and solo supplement
- Upgraded accommodation in Edinburgh
We are often asked the following questions, and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us or perhaps visit our walking forum for more advice from our clients and team.
How fit do I need to be?
The Great Glen Way is a relatively easy walking trail, and if you are a regular walker or lead an active lifestyle, you will enjoy the trail. If you currently don’t enjoy that level of fitness, regular walking supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least six months before your walk is recommended. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Great Glen is popular especially over April/May and July/August. You will find up to date availability on our website, and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof),
comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack
and hats/gloves etc.
How do the luggage transfers work?
Your luggage will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved on to your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 40lbs / 18kg per person and to bring your bags with you on rail journeys.
When is the best time of year?
This walking tour is best enjoyed between April and the beginning of October. Scotland’s weather is changeable so no matter what month you decide to travel you could experience spring, summer and fall all in one day!
April is a wonderful time to travel in Scotland, the daffodils in the villages are blooming and the countryside is alive with wildlife. May is particularly popular among walkers as it tends to be the driest month of the year. However, for slightly warmer weather (just an average of 65°F) we recommend travelling in July or August. For cooler temperatures, and to experience the beautiful autumnal colours on the trees September is a also a great month for walking.
You can start on any date that suits your travel plans and you will find availability on our website. The Great Glen Way is popular so it’s best to book as far in advance as you are able.
How do we get to and from the trail?
The trip begins at your accommodation in Glasgow—easily accessible from the UK via rail and motorway links. If you’re travelling from Europe, North America or further afield we recommend flying into Glasgow Airport just ahort taxi journey from the city centre (20 mins).
The airport has plenty of European links and if flying from North America there are direct flights available from New York, Orlando, Toronto and Halifax. Otherwise, you can easily connect from other North American airports via Iceland, London or Amsterdam using British Airways, KLM, or a multitude of low budget airlines such as Ryanair or Easyjet.
What happens if I can't walk a stage?
You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.