Getting to the City
Inverness International Airport (INV) is located around 14 kilometres north east of Inverness city centre. Bus is convenient, but taxis and car rental options are also available to get to the city centre.
Stagecoach bus services (routes 11, 11A, 11B etc) connect the airport to city centre. Service frequency is half an hour to one hour. Journey time is around 20 to 25 minutes. Single way ticket costs 4.40 Pounds and can be purchased on board from the driver.
Inverness train station is located at the heart of the city and can be reached from all major cities of UK (i.e. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, London etc). The overnight train known as the Caledonian Sleeper train is a popular option to get into the capital of Highland Inverness from London. There is a train every day except Saturdays from London Euston (Monday to Friday at 9:15pm and on Sunday at 8:30pm).
Tickets can be booked 12 months in advance and a standard ticket costs around 40 to 60 Pounds. Tickets can be purchased online as well as ticketing machines installed at the station. Check timing and fare details at the Scot train website.
Taxis are available outside terminal building at the taxi ranks. Average journey time is 15 minutes and the fare is around 26 to 32 Pounds. You can pre-book a taxi by calling 01463 222222. Motorway A96 connects the airport to the city. There are car rental companies present at the Inverness airport. Details are provided under the car rental section.
You can choose from a wide range of private transport and transfer services (including airport transfers) and book online from this Viator site.
Inverness is a very compact city along both banks of River Ness. Most of the city can be explored on foot. The main public transport is the bus service.
Bus service providers are Stagecoach, D & E Coaches, Megabus, CityLink and National Express but the main service providers within the city and to the adjacent places are Stagecoach and D & E Coaches. Buses are available from early morning at an interval of 15 minutes to half an hour until late evening. Most local routes stop operating after 7:00pm. You can get local bus timetables at Inverness tourist office. You can also get stagecoach bus times at Stagecoach Website.
Hop on Hop off
Top-open double decked red hop on hop off buses are a popular way of exploring the city. This bus has a daily service from 3rd April to 1st October. Bus runs from 9:30am until 4:15pm at an interval of one hour. You can board the bus from any of its designated 11 stoppages and hop off at any stoppage. The entire loop duration is 60 minutes.
Some of the attractions covered by the bus are Whin Park, Inverness leisure, Bellfield Park, Dochgarroch lock, Ness Bank Church, War Memorial, Bank Street etc. On board audio commentary is available in English. You can purchase ticket online at Hop on Hop off website or from the bus driver. Ticket costs 10 Pounds and online ticket can be purchased 3 months in advance.
Inverness taxis are basically minicabs. Metered taxis are available outside the airport and railway station. Taxis can’t be hailed on the street instead you can call them on 01463 222222. There are four types of tariffs for Inverness taxis (for up to 4 passengers).
Tariff 1- Base fare is 3 Pounds for first 718 metres or 119 seconds, thereafter 10 Pence for every 90 metres or 14 seconds.
Tariff 2- This is applicable on Saturdays & Sundays (all day) and from 9:00pm to 7:00am on Good Friday, Easter Monday and May Day. The initial fare is 3.30 Pounds for the first 512 metres or 119 seconds, thereafter 10 Pence for additional 71 metres or 14 seconds.
Tariff 3- This is applicable from 9:00pm to 7:00am on weekdays and from 6:00am until midnight on Boxing Day and 2nd January. Base fare is 3.90 Pounds for the first 406 metres or 119 seconds, thereafter 10 Pence for every additional 60 metres or 14 seconds.
Tariff 4- This is applicable from 24th December 6:00pm until 26th December 6:00am and from 31st December 6:00pm to 2nd January 6:00am. Initial fare is 3.90 Pounds for the first 406 metres or 119 seconds, thereafter 10 pence for every additional 45 metres or 14 seconds.
Inverness railway station is located within the city centre area and has a waiting room, eateries, baby changing room, tourist information office, ATM, non-smoking zone and Wi-Fi facilities. You can check the train routes & timings at Scotrail Website.
Tickets & Passes
Greater Inverness area has several transport zones. For tourists zone 1, 1A and 2 are important. The airport comes under zone 2. Various ticketing options are available for different routes and ticket can be purchased from the bus driver or online at Stagecoach website or downloading the Stagecoach mobile app from their website.
A single journey ticket within zone 1 costs 1.60 Pounds. A day ticket for zone 1 is 3.60 pounds, for zone 1A is 4.20 Pounds and for zone 2 is 6.80 Pounds. Note that Zone 1A includes zone 1, and zone 2 includes zone 1 and 1A. There are also weekly MegaRider tickets for all different zones.
Another option is the Inverness PlusBus ticket. It allows unlimited travel by bus in and around Inverness. You can purchase it from train ticket counters, ticketing machines or from the rail ticket retailing websites such as Scotrail Site. A single day adult ticket is 2.80 pounds without discount, and 1.85 pounds for Railcard holders. Presently this ticket is valid only on Stagecoach buses.
Getting To Major Attractions
Inverness is a walkable city and there are guided walking tours. If you wish to explore on your own, here are some route directions. All journeys start from Inverness main bus station unless mentioned otherwise.
- The 16th century Brodie Castle is located around 37 kilometres north east. Take a train from Inverness station (350 metres) towards Aberdeen and get down at Forres. Journey time is 26 minutes and the train ticket costs 9.40 Pounds. Walk for 500 metres towards Ramflat Road bus stoppage and board a line 10/10A bus towards Nairn. Disembark at Brodie Castle stop and finally walk for 900 metres. Travel time by bus is 10 minutes and the fare is 2.45 Pounds.
- The bank of river Ness is ideal for a leisure stroll. The river passes through the city centre area and you can easily walk to the bank.
- Inverness Castle is a popular attraction and the view of cityscape from its north tower is awesome. It’s only 650 metres southwards of the bus station. Walk down Church Street to reach there. You can also visit the castle as you take a stroll along the river bank.
- The 1800 built Church of St. Andrew or the Inverness Cathedral is another great attraction on the river bank. It is located south west of the Castle and on the other bank of river Ness at a distance of around 650 metres. Take Young Street and then Ardross Street to reach there.
- Ness Islands is a great place to spend some time with nature. It would take around 1 hour to explore the twin Islands that are connected by footbridge. This place is located around 1 and half kilometres south of Inverness Cathedral (20-minute walk). Walk southwards along the river bank, take Infirmary Bridge to cross over the river, and then continue to walk along the bank towards south until you reach the Ness Islands.
- Having visited Inverness Cathedral you can visit the Whin Park from there to spend some time amidst nature. It is located around 1.8 kilometres west of the Cathedral (walk down Fairfield Road).
- Wardlaw Mausoleum is located at Kirkhill around 13 kilometres west of the main bus station. This is a short day trip. Take a line 28 bus towards Dingwall and get down at Kirkhill Post Office stop. Journey time by bus is around 25 minutes and the fare is 4.55 pounds for single journey and 5.40 Pounds for return journey. From the bus stop walk North West along Wardlaw road for 650 metres.
Here are a few popular day trips from Inverness:
- Loch Ness is the largest lake (by volume) in Scotland. Consider a cruise on Loch Ness and a visit to Urquhart Castle that sits beside the lake (there are guided tours). This lake is located around 30 kilometres south. Take a line 917/919 bus (CityLink) towards Portree/Fort William and get down at Bunloit, Achnahannet Farm. Journey time is little over 35 minutes. Alternatively you can board line 119 bus from Alexander Place towards Invermoriston and get down at Bunloit. Bus fare is around 4 to 5 Pounds.
- Historical ruins of Beauly are not very far from Inverness. Beauly is located around 20 kilometres west. You can take a train towards Wick from Inverness station and get down at Beauly. Journey time is around 15 minutes and the ticket costs 3.70 Pounds. You can also visit the nearby Beaufort Castle (though you can’t get inside as it is privately owned). This castle is located around 5 kilometres south of Beauly rail station. You can take route 18 bus from Beauly towards Inverness and get down at Belladrum lodge, then walk to get to the castle.
- A guided tour of Castle Leod (Leoch) makes a good day trip. Castle Leod is located around 30 kilometres North West of Inverness. Take a line 27/61 bus towards Contin/Ullapool and get down at The Square stop. Journey time is around 35 to 40 minutes and ticket costs around 5 Pounds. You should also spend some time at Victorian spa village of Strathpeffer.
- Culloden Battlefield and visitor centre has many tales to tell. This place is located around 9 kilometres east of Inverness. Take a line 113 bus from Inverness main bus station towards Nairn and get down at Culloden Moor Inn, then walk for 400 metres. One way bus fare is 3.15 Pounds. Visit the nearby Clava Clairns, the 4000 year old burial ground.
- Another popular day trip is a visit to Chanonry Point famous for Bottlenose Dolphins and Grey Seals; the nearby Munlochy Clootie wishing well is also popular among the tourists. Chanonry point is located around 23 kilometres north of Inverness. Take a line 26/26A bus from Inverness main bus station towards Fortrose and get down at Fortrose Chanonry Park. Journey time is around 35 minutes and single way bus fare is 3.65 Pounds.
- Another nice day trip from Inverness is the Whisky bus tour to the Highland and Speyside Whisky This service operates from 1st April to 28th October on weekdays (Monday to Friday). Bus leaves at 8:45am from the main bus station and the tour ends at 6:45pm at the same place. The packaged trip costs 99 Pounds per person. You will get an opportunity to visit Tomatin Distillery, Glenlivet Distillery, Glenfarclas Distillery and Speyside Cooperage.
There are several bike rental companies available at Inverness. You can choose from different types of bikes like Hybrid, Road, Mountain, Tandem and junior. The flexible bike hire scheme of Bike & Go is a good one. The rate is 3.80 Pounds per day. You need to register at their website. Note that some companies have rental rates of 20 to 30 Pounds per day. Here are few other bike hiring companies…
- Inverness Bike Hire: http://www.invernessbikehire.co.uk/
- Ticket to Ride Highlands: https://www.tickettoridehighlands.co.uk/index.php
- Highland Bikes: https://www.highlandbikes.com/pages/hire/
Car rental companies ask for a minimum age of 21 years. Passport, valid driving license and credit card is must to hire a car. Note that an International Driving Permit is required if your home country license is issued in a language other than English. The minimum hire rate starts from 18 Pounds a day.
Following are a few well-known car rental companies…
- Avis- https://www.avis.co.uk
- Autoeurope- https://www.autoeurope.co.uk
- Enterprise Rent a Car- https://www.enterprise.co.uk/en/home.html
- Hertz Rent a car- https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/reservation/
Most scooter/motorcycle rental companies check for age of minimum 21 years. You need a driving license (minimum 1 year old), passport and credit card to rent a motor cycle. Scooter/motorcycle lowest rate starts from 40 Pounds per day depending upon model and company. Following are a few well-known rental companies…
- Highland Motorcycle Hire: http://www.highlandmotorcyclehire.co.uk/
- NC500 Moto Experience: http://www.nc500motoexperience.co.uk/hire-motorbike