Wondering how to get to Inverness, Scotland? I’ve got you covered!

Located on the Moray Firth north of the Cairngorms National Park, Inverness is the capital of the Scottish Highlands. Among its most famous neighbours is Loch Ness with its monster legends, and Culloden Moor, the site of the last battle on British soil. 

Visitors often use Inverness as a base to explore the surrounding highlands, so the city is well-connected by road and public transport. 

In this guide, we’ll look at all the best ways to get to Inverness from Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Fort William and overseas – plus, the most eco-friendly routes. 

Different ways to get to Inverness

Inverness is a well-connected city in Scotland, so there is an abundance of transport options available that suit a range of budgets and timeframes. Here’s a quick overview below: 

  • By train
  • By car
  • By coach 
  • On a tour
  • By bike
  • By plane 

How to get to Inverness by train

The Caledonian Sleeper train waiting at the platform in London Euston while people with bikes get on. This guide tells you how to get to Inverness from London.
Wondering how to get to Inverness from London? The Caledonian Sleeper is one of the easiest ways!

I may be a little bit biased but I think the train is the best and most convenient way to get to Inverness. It’s also more sustainable than driving or flying. 

Whether you’re travelling up from Edinburgh, Glasgow or London, you’re treated to glorious views of the Scottish Highlands flashing past your window. Plus, the train from Glasgow or Edinburgh takes roughly the same amount of time as travelling by road. 

Most train services in Scotland are operated by ScotRail.

I recommend booking your train tickets through Trainline as you can sometimes find discounted split fare prices. As always with UK trains, try and book as far in advance as you can.  

Here’s a quick look at some of the major train routes: 

How to get to Inverness from Glasgow by train

The easiest and quickest way to get to Inverness by train is from Glasgow. The fastest direct train gets you there in just under three and a half hours. Prices are, on average, a little bit cheaper than the train from Edinburgh to Inverness. 

From Glasgow Queen Street, the ScotRail services take you north via Stirling and Perth. Cities fall behind and you’re soon traversing through tiny village stations on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, before arriving in Inverness.

There are 14 trains a day from Glasgow to Inverness. Six of them are direct trains. 

Start: Glasgow Queen Street

Duration: The fastest train from Glasgow Queen Street to Inverness takes 3 hours and 26 minutes.

Ticket price: From £13.50 one-way 

First and last trains: 07:07 and 23:10

How to get to Inverness from Edinburgh by train

The best way to get to Inverness from Edinburgh is by train as it’s convenient and takes the same amount of time as driving. 

The journey duration from Edinburgh to Inverness by train is roughly the same time as Glasgow which is unsurprising as it follows the same route from Perth. 

Boarding at Edinburgh Waverley, the direct train goes north over the Forth Bridge and then to Perth where it skims the Cairngorms and eventually reaches Inverness. 

There are around 13 trains a day running between Edinburgh and Inverness. Six of those are direct trains. 

Start: Edinburgh Waverley Station 

Duration: So, Edinburgh to Inverness by train, how long is it? Approximately 3 hours 40 minutes to 4 hours depending on if you go direct or change trains at Perth or Stirling. 

Ticket price: From £19.20 one-way 

First and last trains: 06:35 and 23:00

Inverness from London by train

Wondering how to get to Inverness from London? Getting from London to Inverness by train is easier than you might think. 

Ignore routes with complicated changes because they’re just not worth your time (unless you’re REALLY on a budget). 

There are two direct train services from London to Inverness: the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and the Caledonian Sleeper. 

The LNER trains are the quickest, running from London Kings Cross to Inverness in around eight hours. 

Services run fast to York and there are 15 stops including Newcastle and Edinburgh until you reach Inverness. There are approximately one to two direct departures a day. 

The Caledonian Sleeper is an overnight train to Inverness. It’s a luxury train experience with beds and more affordable seats. 

The sleeper train to Inverness departs from London Euston at around 21:00 and runs 11 and a half hours through the night. 

The service operates once a day from Sunday to Friday. To find out more about what the Caledonian Sleeper is like, read my full review. 

Start: London Kings Cross (LNER), London Euston (Caledonian Sleeper) 

Duration: The LNER takes 8 hours and the Caledonian Sleeper takes 11.32 hours. 

Ticket price: From around £54 one way for LNER, Caledonian Sleeper seat prices start from £55 one way. 

First and last trains: 12:00  (LNER), 21:13 (Caledonian Sleeper)

How to get to Inverness by car 

A black car on the road driving through the Scottish Highlands near Loch Ness.
Driving to Inverness is pretty spectacular

Inverness is well-connected by road and it’s the easiest option if you’re not travelling from major cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow. 

Fort William, for example, is just under two hours drive away and it’s a scenic route via Loch Ness. 

You don’t need to bring your own vehicle to drive around Scotland. There are rideshare apps like BlaBlaCar which allow you to share the route with other passengers (sort of like a self-driving Uber). It’s a more eco-friendly way to drive too. 

Alternatively, you could hire a campervan or car and pick it up in Scotland. I recommend checking out Rentalcars.com to compare prices. 

Inverness from Edinburgh by car 

Driving from Edinburgh to Inverness pretty much follows the same route as the train. The quickest route is straight up the M90 to Perth and then up the A9 around the edge of the Cairngorms to Inverness. 

The distance between Edinburgh and Inverness is 156.2 miles in total. 

Duration: It takes between 2 hours 50 minutes to 3 hours 50 minutes depending on traffic. 

Inverness from Glasgow by car 

Similar to the Glasgow to Inverness train, the quickest route to drive from Glasgow is via Stirling and Perth. 

For directions to Inverness, follow the M80 to Stirling and then the A9 in Perth. The journey is 168 miles in total. 

Duration: It takes between 3 hours to 3 hours and 40 minutes depending on traffic. 

Inverness from Fort William by car 

Fort William is regarded as the Outdoor Capital of Scotland. It’s the home of Ben Nevis (the tallest mountain in the UK) and famous landmarks including Glenfinnan Viaduct and Glencoe are right on its doorstep. 

The Fort William to Inverness route is a popular one to drive as it has highlights including Fort Augustus, Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. The quickest route is 66.2 miles, just under two hours along the A82. 

Duration: It takes around 1 hour 50 minutes depending on the traffic 

Coaches and buses to Inverness 

Inside a coach driving through the Scottish Highlands. How to get to Inverness by bus? Megabus and Scottish Citylink.
On the coach to Inverness

The roads may reach more places than the railway in Scotland but you don’t need your own car to get around. Public buses and coaches, including Inverness, serve many routes. 

If you’re also visiting Inverness without a car, there is an extensive bus network which can take you to the major sites in the area like Culloden Battlefield.

Coaches are also a good backup option in case there’s an issue with the trains like strikes or engineering works. Don’t wait to book coach tickets as the best routes get booked up in advance. 

Inverness from Edinburgh by coach 

The Edinburgh to Inverness bus route is served by Megabus and the journey takes roughly the same amount of time as driving. M90 is the quickest direct route. 

Alternatively, you might get the M91 followed by the M10A bus from Edinburgh to Inverness. 

Start: Edinburgh Bus Station 

Duration: The journey takes between 3 hours 35 minutes and 4 hours 20 minutes 

Ticket price: From £9.30 one-way

First and last coach: 8:00 and 19:55

Inverness from Glasgow coach 

Megabus M10A is your fastest direct coach from Glasgow to Inverness at just over three and a half hours. 

Alternatively, you might get the Megabus M9 to Perth and then pick up the Megabus M90 to Inverness. It takes the same amount of time as the direct coach. 

Start: Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station 

Duration: It takes from 3 hours 38 minutes to 4 hours 38 minutes to get from Glasgow to Inverness by coach. 

Ticket price: From £12.20 one-way 

First and last coach: 6:20 and 19:40

Inverness to Fort William by coach

The Scottish Citylink 919 coach will take you directly from Fort William Bus Station to Inverness. The journey is just over two hours and you pass alongside Loch Ness. 

Start: Fort William Bus Station 

Duration: It takes approximately 2 hours and 11 minutes. 

Ticket price: From £12.30 one-way 

First and last bus: 07:30 and 20:17 (always check before departure)

A quick note on buses in Scotland: Most buses that connect you to cities are coaches, operated by companies like Megabus and Citylink. Smaller, public buses run within cities and around towns. 

Guided tours to Inverness 

The ruins of Urquhart Castle surrounded by the grey waters of Loch Ness. A boat on the loch in the distance.
Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness is a must-visit on your trip to Inverness

Visiting Inverness by guided tour is a great way to get an in-depth understanding of the culture and history of the area. Your transport is included too. 

Two factors to note about guided tours are you’ll be travelling with other people (unless you go private) and there isn’t much flexibility on your itinerary. 

Some popular guided tours to Inverness include: 

If you’re wondering how to get from Inverness to Loch Ness or how long to spend in Inverness, read my full three-day Inverness itinerary to plan your trip. 

Cycling to Inverness

An electric bike on grass surrounded by the Scottish Highlands and little houses in the distance.
You could make travelling to Inverness the holiday by cycling

Scotland has a National Cycle Network which runs 1,643 miles all over the country. Of that, 702 miles are traffic-free routes. 

If you want to cycle to Inverness, I recommend checking out this network as it gives you the most comprehensive, scenic and safest routes to travel.

Here are a few cycling routes to Inverness from popular towns and cities: 

  • Glasgow to Inverness via the Lochs and Glens Way (214 miles)
  • Fort William to Inverness via the Caledonia Way (234 miles)
  • Aberdeen to Inverness via the National Route 1 (1264 miles) 

What about Edinburgh? I couldn’t find a National Cycle Network Route from Edinburgh to Inverness. However, Wilderness Scotland has put together a cycle route. 

It starts from Inverness but you only need to reverse it to get an idea of the itinerary. 

As you can see, these routes are long and they would take a few days to complete. Cycling to Inverness would be the holiday itself!

Flights to Inverness 

A catamaran docked on Loch Ness with people on board.
I didn’t go to Inverness Airport so here’s a photo of my boat trip on Loch Ness instead

Inverness has the only international airport in the Scottish Highlands so it’s handy if you’re coming from overseas. Having said that, it only serves a handful (if that!) of international destinations with direct flights. 

If you’re arriving in the UK, you might fly to London or Birmingham in England and then get a connecting flight to Inverness. 

Currently, there are no direct flights from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Inverness which makes sense as the route is easily accessible overland. 

How to get from Inverness Airport to Inverness: 

  • 18 minutes by car – 9.4 miles via the A96
  • 28 minutes by ScotRail train – runs approximately every 50 minutes 
  • 40 minutes by 11 bus – runs approximately every hour 
  • 56 minutes by 27 bus – runs approximately every 30 minutes 

Where to stay in Inverness

A bunk bed at Bazpackers Hostels in Inverness. Two simple white beds with grey curtains.
Bazpackers Hostel is a great budget place to stay in Inverness

Bazpackers Hostel 

Bazpackers is a cosy hostel about a 10-minute walk from the train station. It has a small but well-equipped kitchen and a lounge area with a fireplace and garden. 

The dormitories have bunk beds with a curtain (I always prefer this for privacy!). I stayed here on my visit to Inverness and found it more than comfortable. 

Other great options include: 

Final thoughts on how to get to Inverness 

Houses in Inverness on the banks of Loch Ness. The city is well-connected by roads and public transport, making the question of how to get to inverness nice and easy.
A glimpse of Inverness on Loch Ness

I hope you found this quick guide on how to get to Inverness useful! As you can see it’s a city that’s well connected by different transport options so you should find it easy to get to. 

The best way to get to Inverness in terms of practicality and sustainability is by train. You can relax, enjoy the view and get there in the same amount of time as by road. If you’re cycling, there are carriages to store your bikes too. 

If you have any questions about how to get to Inverness, feel free to comment below!

Looking for more Scotland travel tips? Check out these articles below!

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