One of the most well-known locations in Scotland and main tourist attractions for many backpackers and travellers are the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. Located in the heart of Scotland and not far from Glasgow or Edinburgh is Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
This is a mere stone throw away from civilisation, yet somehow manages to maintain its’ seclusion. Therefore it is the perfect place for locals to connect with nature and get out and lost in Scotland’s beautiful scenery. The best views along Loch Lomond aren’t always the most popular spots, however, we have also mentioned some of the most well-known spots in the national park as these places are obviously touristy for a reason.
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9 Must-Visit Places on Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond has a shoreline stretching over 95 miles. It is the largest area of freshwater in the UK as it is 24 miles long and 5 miles wide. There are many spectacular spots to take in the top views, we will be discussing our favourites in this article.
Loch Lomond Shores
Loch Lomond Shores is at the South of the National Park and is one of the most popular tourist spots due to its close proximity to Glasgow. There are restaurants and cafes here as well as a small shopping centre. Loch Lomond Watersports are also based here who provide a wide range of water sports equipment to hire, suitable for all ages and abilities. There are seasonal markets on along the Loch and children’s amusements to keep the little ones entertained too.
Due to the number of amenities at Loch Lomond Shores, this does mean it is popular among the tour buses and it can become very busy, especially in peak season.
Follow the path round past the watersports to find a small rocky beach. This is often the quietest spot and we have spent many hours soaking up the stunning views up the loch and watching the ducks.
Other Activities at Loch Lomond Shores are a Sea Life Centre, Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre and Treezone, an aerial adventure course in amongst the trees suitable for both childrens and adults.
How to get to Loch Lomond Shores
Drive – There is a large car park at Loch Lomond Shores and parking is free. The drive from Glasgow is around 45 minutes.
Train – There is a train that leaves from Glasgow Queen Street Station to Balloch, taking around 45 minutes and then a further 10 minute walk to Loch Lomond Shores.
Where to stay near Loch Lomond Shores
Luxury – Only a 15 minute stroll from Loch Lomond Shores, the Inn Keepers Lodge Loch Lomond is the perfect place to stay for a luxurious break. A continental breakfast buffet is served each morning and hearty meals in the pub in the evening.
Mid Range – Queen of the Loch by Marstons Inn is a beautiful restaurant and hotel situated within walking distance of Loch Lomond Shores. The food is delicious and really good value so even if you choose not to stay here, we can recommend going in for a meal.
Budget – Lomond Park Hotel is located in Balloch, a short walk from Loch Lomond Shores. A full breakfast is available each morning when you stay here.
Balloch is a small village on the south of Loch Lomond and is easily accessible from Glasgow or Edinburgh via train. There are some restaurants and small shops on the main street of the village, as well as many walks in the area. Balloch Castle country park has a tarmac path around the loch for 3.5km. This is an enjoyable walk that only takes around an hour.
How to get to Balloch
Drive – Balloch is around a 40km drive from Glasgow taking around 45 minutes. You can either follow Great Western Road or the Erkine Bridge. From Edinburgh, the journey will take an hour longer than from Glasgow.
Bus – First bus 1, 1A and 1E leaves from Glasgow to Balloch leaving roughly every half an hour.
Train – Leaving from Glasgow Queen Street you can get the train to Balloch in less than an hour. However if you are travelling from Edinburgh the train will leave from Edinburgh Waverly and will take 1 hour 45 minutes.
Where to Stay in Balloch
The above accommodation is also suitable for a trip to Balloch. Also read about the best campsites along the length of Loch Lomond for your camping adventure.
Duck Bay is a hotel and restaurant with one of the most beautiful views over Loch Lomond. There is a variety of rooms and cottages to choose from if you wish to stay overnight at Duck Bay. If not, you can choose to head here for a reasonably priced meal or hot drink. There is a large grassy area in front of the hotel which is a great area for a walk or a picnic.
How to get to Duck Bay
Drive – Duck Bay is a 40 minute drive from Glasgow via the M8 and A82. From Edinburgh this will take just under 2 hours on the M8.
Bus – From Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow, Scottish Citylink 926 from stance 56 towards Campbeltown. Disembark the bus at Duck Bay. The trip takes around an hour. There is no direct bus route to Duck Bay from Edinburgh. First you will need to get a train from Edinburgh Waverly to Helensburgh Central. From Helensburgh Railway Station, get the 306 bus towards Alexandria to Duck Bay.
Train – From Glasgow central, catch the Balloch train and depart at Alexandria. From there you will need to get the 306 Helensburgh bus from St Marys School to Duck Bay. This route is the same if you are travelling from Edinburgh, get the train from Edinburgh Waverly to Glasgow Queen Street.
Where to Stay near Duck Bay
Luxury – Of course, Duck Bay Hotel would be your top choice for a luxury stay in this area. Here you can wake up to perfect views over the Loch each morning.
For budget and mid-range accommodation, Balloch will be your closest town, therefore, the above accommodation will be suitable.
Luss is a small village on the western shore of Loch Lomond which is a very popular spot for those visiting the Loch Lomond area. This tiny conservation village has houses dating back to the 18th century, which was built to accommodate workers at the nearby slate quarries. The site itself has been the location of settlements dating back to medieval times.
This is another major tourist point of Loch Lomond, as tourists stretch their legs and get food in the local pubs. Luss has a small beach and a pier, looking out over the Loch. There is a large amount of paid parking at Luss however during nice weather in the summer months, these spaces will fill up fast. Our favourite time of year to come here is either early spring or early winter, as the low temperatures keep the flocks of visitors at bay. On a crisp, calm day the views of the loch are simply mesmorising, and the pier offers a fantastic vantage point for northward and southward views.
If you are up for a bit of adventure during your visit to Luss, the nearby beach is the perfect place to try out stand-up paddle boarding during the warm, summer months (or even winter if you are brave). If you are looking to buy your own SUP board, we can recommend looking at what boards and equipment BlueFinSUP has to offer.
The water is relatively still so it is the perfect place for watersports. You can either bring your own or hire equipment from Loch Lomond watersports and try it out.
How to get to Luss
Drive – The drive to Luss from Glasgow takes around 45 minutes on the M8 and A82. From Edinburgh this takes around 2 hours.
Bus – From Buchannan Bus Station in Glasgow, catch the 914 bus to Fort William leaving from stance 56. This journey will take around an hour and then disembark at Bypass. Catch the 900 Megabus to Glasgow from Edinburgh bus station and then follow the above directions.
Train – From Glasgow Queen Street Station, get on the train towards Oban and get off at Helensburgh Upper. From here, get on the 302 bus towards Lochgoilhead and get off at the Visitor Centre. This takes around an hour and a half. If you are travelling from Edinburgh Waverly, get the train towards Helensburgh Central and then change trains to the Balloch train at Dumbarton Central. Disembark at Balloch and then catch the 305 bus towards Luss from Craiglomond Gardens, get off at the visitor centre car park.
Where to Stay in Luss
Luxury – The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel is a traditional hotel in Luss, offering luxurious bedrooms and en suites, as well as serving delicious local foods
Mid-Range – Glenview Bed and Breakfast offers charming and unique bedrooms featuring an en suite bathroom and a fridge stocked with milk. A continental and full breakfast and served in the morning.
Budget – Alderdale B&B offers a comfortable stay in Luss. Free parking is available onsite.
Inveruglas Visitor Centre
Fondly referred to as the “hydrostation” by my friends and I, this has got to be our favourite place along the banks of Loch Lomond. During the day you can catch ferry cruises from this point to admire the splendour of the Scottish highlands from the water, or you can stretch your legs and explore the forest that sits on the banks of the loch.
Our favourite time to visit this location is just before the sun sets on a long summer’s day. With the visitor centre shut and tourists long gone, this place has an incredible serenity to it. It is the perfect vantage point to sit and watch as the sun sets and the still waters give a spectacular, reflective light-show of the surrounding mountains. Once the sun has disappeared and the clouds have parted ( if you are particularly lucky), the pollution-free sky is littered with shooting stars and stories to tell.
My best memory of this location was a twilight BBQ on a secluded, secret part of this rocky outcrop, followed by stargazing and toasted marshmallows.
How to get to Inveruglas
Drive – The drive to Inveruglas from Glasgow takes around an hour on the M8 and A82. From Edinburgh, this trip takes around an hour and a half.
Bus – From Buchannan Bus Station in Glasgow, catch the 914 bus to Fort William leaving from stance 56. This journey will take around an hour and then disembark at Loch Sloy Power Station. Catch the 900 Megabus to Glasgow from Edinburgh bus station and then follow the above directions.
Train – From Glasgow Queen Street, catch the train towards Milngavie and disembark at Anniesland. From Anniesland Cross, follow the same bus directions as above. If you are travelling from Edinburgh, get the train from Edinburgh Waverly to Glasgow Queen Street and then follow the same train directions as above.
Where to Stay near Inveruglas
Accommodation around this area is few and far between. The nearest accommodation to Inveruglas is in Arrochar.
Luxury – The Lochside Guest House serves a traditional Scottish or continental breakfast after your stay in one of their luxurious rooms.
Mid-Range – The Village Inn offers fantastic views of the Arrochar Alps. They serve local foods in their restaurant and even have 2 log fires, the perfect way to heat up after a day out exploring.
The Islands of Loch Lomond
This famous loch has over 30 islands scattered along its length, the exact number changing depending on the level of the water. The largest of which is Inchmurrin, which also happens to be the largest island on a body of fresh water in Britain. The travel writer H.V. Morton once said:
“A large part of Loch Lomond’s beauty is due to its islands, those beautiful green tangled islands, that lie like jewels upon its surface”
A popular activity on the loch is to use a boat to access these islands and camp out on them overnight. I have never been lucky enough to do this myself, yet, although the thought of the midges in the middle of the water makes me shiver.
Roadtripping to Inverarnan
In many ways the drive along the east coast of the loch is a highlight itself. The tiny, twisting road is not one for the faint hearted, with many sections of blind corners and tight squeezes past tour coaches. However the views of the loch during the odd break from the trees are stunning, and there are plenty of stopping points to pull over and admire the beauty it has to offer. Just make sure you pay more attention to the roads than the loch!
Inverarnan is a small village near the head of Loch Lomond. The Drovers Inn was established in 1705 and is well known for being haunted. Despite this, it is a lovely place for a meal and is also dog friendly.
Falls of Falloch
The Falls of Falloch lies a very short walk along a path from the car park and is an extremely impressive waterfall in this part of Scotland. There is a viewpoint out to the waterfall or you can view from the edge. If you are feeling brave, pack your swimsuits and get ready for some rock pool swimming. This is a very popular watering hole during the warm summer months in Scotland.
How to get to Falls of Falloch
Drive – Following the A82 from Glasgow, this drive will take around an hour and 20 minutes.
Bus – There are no public transport options to the Falls of Falloch.
Train – There are no public transport options to the Falls of Falloch.
Where to Stay at the Falls of Falloch
The above accommodation is also suitable for a trip to the Falls of Falloch.
Killin and Falls of Dochart
On the north end of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, you will find the small town of Killin. Sitting upon the River Dochart and surrounded by mountains, this cute town is like something out of a fairytale. Right in the town centre is the tumbling water of the Falls of Dochart, which can be viewed from the stone bridge or by taking a walk down onto the rocks. If you choose to go down the rocks, be aware that they can be very slippery from the spray.
Across from the Falls of Dochart Inn, there is a gap in the wall with stairs down to the falls. This is a lovely spot to sit and admire the scenery around you, however, through centuries of erosion the rocks here have been worn away to form deceivingly small circular pools of water that are metres deep. Watch your step or you will end up with some very wet trousers (like me..).
If you walk to the centre of the bridge in the below picture you will see a gate in the centre leading to the Island of Inchbuie, which roughly comes from the Gaelic Innis Bhuidhe (yellow island). This isolated island is home to some fascinating history right in the centre of Killin. On this small sliver of land sits an ancient burial ground of the MacNab Clan, as well as several buildings dating back 300 years.
The entrance to the island is on a donation basis and the recommended donation is £5. Keys for the gate leading onto the island can be borrowed at the Killin Library or at the Bridge End Mill.
How to get to Killin
Drive – Killin is 63 miles from Glasgow and will take around an hour and a half to get there via the M80 and A84. Travel via the M9 and A84 from Edinburgh and the journey to Killin will be just under 2 hours.
Bus – From Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow, the X36 bus leaves from stance 43 towards Stirling. From here, take the number 59 bus towards Callender. Disembark at the public toilets and catch the C60 bus from Dreadnought Hotel towards Killin. From Edinburgh bus station catch the 909 bus towards Causewayhead and disembark at Stirling. From here, follow the same directions as above.
Train – From Glasgow Queen Street, catch the Stirling train. Head to stance D and from here you can follow the same directions as the bus route. This route is similar when travelling from Edinburgh, catch the train from Edinburgh Waverly towards Dunblane and from Stirling train station, follow the same directions as above.
Where to Stay in Killin
Luxury – The Falls of Dochart Inn is a great central location in Killin. With a hot fire and a great menu, this is a top place to stay in the area. Sitting right across from the Falls of Dochart, this is the perfect place to stay if you want to watch the morning light illuminate the beautiful town of Killin.
Mid-Range – Killin Hotel overlooks the River Lochay and is complete with a riverside bistro and a local pub. In the summer months, there is a conservatory and sun terrace and in winter there is a warm log fire. So whichever season you visit you will feel right at home.
Budget – The Bridge Of Lochay Hotel is a cosy hotel with a fireplace in Killin. The bedrooms are en suite and there is a restaurant onsite.
Balmaha is a small village sitting on the eastern side of Loch Lomond. This area is bustling with tourists as there are many great things to do in the area. If you enjoy walking, there are plenty of walks of different abilities around Balmaha. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, the car park is the starting point for Conic Hill 350m ascent with stunning views over Loch Lomond from the top. The walk is 4km in total and will take roughly 2-3 hours to complete. Parking at Balmaha is free however on a sunny day, it is a popular spot so you may find it harder to get parked.
If you are into your water activities, Balmaha Bunkhouse offers canoe rental, so you can head out to explore the local area by boat. There are also a variety of different cruises that leave from Balmaha, including the water taxi. You can purchase your tickets for these at the Village Shop.
How to get to Balmaha
Drive – Following the A809, Balmaha is around a 50 minute drive from Glasgow. From Edinburgh, the drive is an hour and a half via the M9.
Bus – From St Enoch in Glasgow, you can catch The One bus to Balloch, disembarking at Mollanbowie and getting the 309 bus to Balmaha. This will take around 2 hours and 15 minutes. if you are travelling from Edinburgh, catch the 900 Megabus towards Glasgow from Edinburgh coach station. From here you can follow the same route as from Glasgow.
Train – From Glasgow Queen Street, take the train to Balloch and then the 309 bus from Tullichewan Road to Balmaha. This will take around an hour 40 minutes.
Where to Stay in Balmaha
Luxury – Balmaha Lodges are a gorgeous place to stay on Loch Lomond offering an airport shuttle as well as a terrace and free wifi.
Mid-Range – The Oak Tree Inn is a perfectly located family-run hotel and restaurant on Balmaha. After a long day of exploring this is a great place to come and have a hearty meal and a relaxing stay.
Budget – The Glamping Pods at Balmaha Lodges are a cheaper alternative to the Balmaha Lodges, yet still a luxurious place to stay on the Loch.
How to Prepare for a visit to Loch Lomond
Before you set off on your adventure around the Scottish Highlands there are certain things that you need to prepare to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. These include what insurance is the best insurance to get and what to pack for a trip to Scotland, all of which is discussed in more detail below.
What is the Best Travel Insurance for Scotland
Without a doubt the least enjoyable part of preparing for any adventure is purchasing travel insurance, however, it is something you do not want to be without. Accidents happen to everyone and unexpected medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.
To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We recommend using World Nomads travel insurance, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support.
What to Pack for a Trip to Scotland
When it comes to packing for a trip to Scotland there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your Loch Lomond road trip you will probably experience at least a drizzle of rain. Due to this, the number one item on any Scotland packing list is a good waterproof jacket.
As for the rest of the year, the temperature in Scotland and the central heartlands is reasonably mild for most of the year. During the winter months, you will most likely experience snow, however, temperatures usually sit around freezing, so it is not too cold. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season.
Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C
Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C
Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C
Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C
As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. The best way to pack for your trip to the highlands is with layers that can be added and removed as you need them. You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the colder months and will most likely need sunscreen to protect you on the long days in the open.
Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Scotland, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.
So there you have it, your the best sights to see along Loch Lomond. If you are visiting this incredible part of Scotland and have any other questions on what to expect, leave us a comment down below. We love to chat about this stuff! If you have already been, let us know how it was! What sight was your favourite? Do you have any other recommendations for us? Let us know in the comments below!
Also remember to share this with your friends and family that you are going to share this trip with. Sharing is caring and we want to ensure that everyone is fully prepared to and knows what to expect on the banks of Loch Lomond.
If you are planning a Scotland trip soon then check out our other Scotland content right here. Come and find us on social media to see where we are currently exploring. Tag us in your photos from your trip to the Loch Lomond and we will share them with the rest of our community of explorers and backpackers.
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