Scotland is known for its many and unusual lochs. This Scottish name for a lake or inlet from the sea can be found all over the country. Cast a glance at the map of the country and you will discover one loch after another. There are over 30,000 lochs in Scotland after all. If you want to find a lake, the English term for a lake, you have to make more of an effort. The Lake of Menteith near Stirling is the only natural lake that does not have the designation loch. The reason why is unknown. In our opinion, these are Scotland’s 10 most beautiful lochs.
Scotland’s 10 most beautiful lochs
So, Scotland has more than 30,000 lochs. It is therefore difficult to choose what the 10 most beautiful lochs are. Still, we’ll give it a shot. We chose these because they all have something unique.
#1 Loch Ness
This is the most famous loch in the country, and also one of the largest. Therefore, this lake definitely belongs in Scotland’s 10 most beautiful lochs. Loch Ness is nearly 23 miles long and 1 mile wide at its broadest part. The greatest depth of the lake is 740 feet. But above all, the Loch Ness monster has given the lake its fame. The monster has been affectionately named “Nessie”. Never really proven to exist, pictures with Nessie are all blurred and out of focus. During our road trip through Scotland, my wife naturally wanted to swim in Loch Ness. Just when I didn’t have the camera with me, the monster popped up right behind her. A missed opportunity!
On the edge of Loch Ness lies Urquhart Castle. One of the 10 most beautiful castles in Scotland. But there are other places along the lake that deserve a visit. For example, Inverfarigaig, a village on the south shore, is special for its views of the historic pier. Flodda Falls on the north shore is an imposing waterfall at 150 feet. Or visit Boleskine Graveyard, a small cemetery on the south bank overlooking Loch Ness. In the graveyard you will find the memorial stone of Simon Fraser. He had the dubious honour of being the last man to be beheaded in the Tower of London.
#2 Loch Katrine
Loch Katrine is beautifully situated in the heart of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. The name sounds lovely, just like the landscape in which the lake is located. But the name derives from the Gaelic cateran, a robber similar to Robin Hood. The most famous cateran was Rob Roy MacGregor. He was born on the north shore of the lake.
The beauty of Loch Katrine inspired poet Sir Walter Scott to write the famous poem Lady of the Lake. He did so in 1810 when he returned from a visit to Loch Katrine. Now you can take a unique boat trip across the lake on the historic steamship Sir Walter Scott. The views are stunning from the water!
#3 Loch Duich
Loch Duich is located on the west coast of Scotland. It is an inlet about 6 miles long. This is one of those lochs you have thousands of in the country. So why does Loch Duich appear in the list of 10 most beautiful lochs in Scotland? There’s a simple reason for that: the island of Eilean Donan, with an iconic castle on it.
Eilean Donan Castle is among the most beautiful castles in the country, we think. Its location with the long bridge to the castle on the island is magnificent. Behind the lake rise the mountains of Kintail. Not for nothing is Eilean Donan Castle one of the most photographed locations in Scotland. Loch Duich and Eilean Donan Castle have served several times as the backdrop in numerous famous films.
#4 Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond is the largest lake in the country. But that is not the only reason why it absolutely deserves a place in the list of the 10 most beautiful lochs in Scotland. No, the lake is a highlight of the country’s first National Park: Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The best way to explore the lake is via a cruise. Then you will immediately see the many islands that make up this immense lake. Ben Lomond, Scotland’s southernmost mountain, is also nearby. If you walk the West Highland Way, you will follow the entire west coast of Loch Lomond.
Along that west coast lies one of the country’s most picturesque villages: Luss. A settlement has stood on this spot since the Middle Ages. The present village dates from the 18th century. You will find beautifully restored workers’ cottages made of sandstone and slate. Flowering rose bushes adorn the walls. Workers who worked in the nearby slate quarries lived in these houses. The village is a huge tourist attraction. So you definitely don’t visit Luss on your own!
#5 Loch Maree
Garden lovers on their way to the world-famous Inverewe Gardens pass Loch Maree. If so, it is definitely worth making a stop at this lake. Loch Maree is set in beautiful surroundings with numerous mountains. It is also a popular fishing location. But the Loch Maree islands are the lake’s biggest attraction.
More than 40 forested islands make up the Loch Maree Islands. If you are lucky, you will see red deer swimming towards one of the islands. They will then stay on such an island for a while, before heading back to the mainland. The islands are all peace and quiet. An ideal place for unusual birds such as the black-throated diver to breed.
#6 Loch Etive
Loch Etive is undoubtedly one of the 10 most beautiful lochs in Scotland. It is surrounded by rugged landscape. Extraordinary mountains tower over the lake. To the east, for instance, lies Ben Cruachan. At over 3,600 feet, this is the highest mountain around Loch Etive. But even more impressive is Ben Trilleachan. It is less high, but because it rises spectacularly from the edge of the lake, it seems bigger. On the upper slopes you will find large flat rock slabs. From that spot you have a magnificent view of the surroundings. If you are lucky, you will see a herd of Scottish Highlanders grazing along the edge of Loch Etive. A group of seals also roost at the lake.
#7 Loch Tay
Located roughly in the middle of the country is Loch Tay. It is the largest loch in Perthshire and one of the deepest in Scotland. To the north, the lake is flanked by the impressive Ben Lawers Mountains. There are 18 man-made islands in the lake. These “crannogs” are centuries old. Traces of humans have even been found from the Iron Age. Over time, several islets have been submerged. But a large crannog near Kenmore still stands out clearly. Queen Sybilla was buried on this crannog. She was the wife of Alexander, King of Scots.
An interesting stop along the lake is at the Scottish Crannog Centre in Kenmore. There you will experience real life on Loch Tay in the Iron Age. You can see a remarkable replica of a dwelling from that time.
#8 Loch Morar
In Loch Morar, try not to dive to the bottom. For this with is the deepest loch in the country at 1,000 feet. Loch Morar is a popular location for water sports. In addition, there are many beautiful hiking trails along the lake. These also pass several secluded beaches. These White Sands of Morar are wonderfully beautiful.
Like Loch Ness, Loch Morar has its own monster, namely Morag. Over the years, many have seen this monster, but clear evidence has never been produced. The most famous story tells of two fishermen who allegedly hit Morag with their boat. The latter then attacked the boat. Using their oars and a gun, they managed to repel the attack. The monster disappeared back into the lake. They gave the most accurate description about Morag, but whether they really experienced it remains to be seen.
#9 Loch Affric
Loch Affric is in a quiet part of Scotland where you won’t see many tourists. This lake is not large, as is its neighbour with the difficult name of Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin. The valley near these lakes, Glen Affric, has the honorary title of most beautiful glen (valley) in the country for a reason. This enchanting rugged location is ideal for spotting golden and osprey, red deer and squirrels. Loch Affric has a good walking trail all around. Be sure to visit the Glen Affric Viewpoint. This is right in between the two lakes. There you have a fantastic view of the lochs and the wider area.
#10 Loch Torridon
At Loch Torridon, you imagine yourself in Norway. Because this huge sea loch looks a lot like a fjord as we know it in Scandinavia. Impressive is the chain of sandstone mountains in the north. Especially when the sun sets, they colour fantastically beautiful. It is a beautiful hiking area, where you won’t meet many other hikers. A nice spot is the peninsula near Shieldaig. Two lochs meet there: Upper Loch Torridon and Loch Shieldaig. A special walk with the most beautiful panoramas runs from Diabaig to Inveralligin. On the way, you pass two small lakes. On hot days, they are great for a cooling dip.
Frequently asked questions about Scotland’s 10 most beautiful lochs
A loch in Scotland means lake or inlet from the sea. There are more than 30,000 of them in the country. They vary enormously in length. Lochs can contain salt water, but many have fresh water.
is the largest loch in Scotland. It is about 25 miles long. In some places it is as much as 5 miles wide. The average depth of the lake is about 120 feet. But there are also occur places where Loch Lomond is 600 feet deep.
Loch Morar is the deepest loch in Scotland. Its maximum depth is around 1,000 feet.
Loch Ness has been Scotland's most famous loch for decades thanks to the Loch Ness Monster. The monster, affectionately named Nessie, is said to have been seen by many. But all photos are so blurred and fuzzy that the monster's existence has never been proven.
It is difficult to pinpoint which is the most beautiful loch in Scotland. After all, there are more than
30.00. Each of these 10 are special and therefore belong in Scotland's 10 most beautiful lochs:
- Loch Ness
- Loch Katrine
- Loch Duich
- Loch Lomond
- Loch Maree
- Loch Etive
- Loch Tay
- Loch Morar
- Loch Affric
- Loch Torridon
Two lochs in Scotland are said to be home to monsters. In Loch Ness, monster Nessie is said to occur. In Loch Morar, legend has it that monster Morag lurks.
Scotland has thousands of lochs. In total, more than 30,000 occur. Some are saltwater lochs, while others have fresh water. Lochs can be huge, with lengths of up to 23 miles. Loch Lomond is the largest loch in the country. But small lochs also occur, which you can easily walk around. You can do this at Loch Affric, for instance.