Fort Augustus Travel Guide

Discover the natural and cultural attractions, best things to do, food and drink scene, where to stay, and much more in Fort Augustus, Scottish Highlands.

Introduction to Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus is a charming village in the Scottish Highlands, located on the southern end of Loch Ness. It is surrounded by stunning natural scenery, including the Great Glen and Strathspey. The village is a popular destination for visitors who come to enjoy the outdoor activities and scenic views.

The village takes its name from the fort built by Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1654. In the 18th century, the fort was converted into a barracks by the British army, and in the 19th century, it was transformed into a Benedictine abbey. Today, the abbey houses a school and a museum, and visitors can explore the beautiful gardens and the historic buildings.

List of Places to Visit in Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus has plenty of attractions that nature lovers, culture enthusiasts, and adventure seekers will enjoy. Here’s a list of the top places to visit in and around the village:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Caledonian Canal Centre: Discover the history and engineering marvel of the Caledonian Canal, which spans from Fort William to Inverness. The centre has interactive exhibits, a film presentation, and a gift shop.

  • Benedictine Abbey: Visit the historic Fort Augustus Abbey, built in the 19th century, and explore the beautiful gardens, the church, the museum, and the gift shop.

  • The Clansman Centre: Learn about the Scottish clans’ history, traditions, and weaponry through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and workshops.

  • Fort Augustus Heritage Trail: Walk around the village and explore the historic sites, including the old fort, the war memorial, the canal locks, and the school.

Natural Attractions of Fort Augustus: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Loch Ness: Cruise down the famous Loch Ness and try to spot the legendary monster or simply enjoy the stunning views of the Loch and the surrounding mountains.

  • Great Glen Way: Hike or bike along the 117-km-long trail, which passes through the Great Glen and connects Fort William and Inverness.

  • The Falls of Foyers: Photograph the beautiful waterfalls, which have been a popular tourist attraction since the 18th century.

  • The Corrieyairack Pass: Drive or hike on the historic military road, which connects Fort Augustus to Laggan.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus is a gateway to some of the best hiking and biking routes in Scotland. Here are some of the most popular trails:

  • The Great Glen Way: A 117-km-long trail that passes through the Great Glen and connects Fort William and Inverness. It takes around 6 to 8 days to complete the trail, and hikers can enjoy stunning views of the Loch and the surrounding mountains.

  • The South Loch Ness Trail: A 70-km-long trail that follows the southern shore of Loch Ness and passes through pine forests, moorlands, and charming villages.

  • Ben Nevis: A challenging hike to the highest peak in the UK, located near Fort William. It takes around 7 to 9 hours to reach the summit and back, and hikers can enjoy breathtaking views from the top.

  • Cairngorms National Park: A vast wilderness of mountains, forests, and rivers, located near Aviemore. The park offers various hiking and biking trails, wildlife watching opportunities, and skiing in winter.

Best Things to Do in Fort Augustus: Activities and Tours

Fort Augustus offers a wide range of activities and tours for visitors of all ages and interests. Here are some of the best things to do in the village:

  • Loch Ness Cruise: Take a boat tour of Loch Ness and try to spot the legendary monster, or simply enjoy the stunning views of the Loch and the surrounding mountains.

  • Canoeing and Kayaking: Paddle down the Caledonian Canal and explore the stunning scenery and wildlife.

  • Fishing: Rent a boat or join a guided tour to catch salmon, trout, and pike in the Loch Ness or the nearby rivers.

  • Horse Riding: Explore the hills and forests on horseback and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful views.

Week-Long Itinerary for Fort Augustus

Here’s a week-long itinerary to help you make the most of your visit to Fort Augustus:

Day 1: Arrive in Fort Augustus, check in at your hotel, and explore the village.

Day 2: Visit the Benedictine Abbey, the Caledonian Canal Centre, and the war memorial.

Day 3: Hike the Great Glen Way or the South Loch Ness Trail, and have a picnic by the Loch Ness.

Day 4: Cruise down the Loch Ness and visit the Falls of Foyers.

Day 5: Go fishing or kayaking on the Caledonian Canal, or take a guided tour of the nearby forests.

Day 6: Visit the Clansman Centre and learn about the Scottish clans.

Day 7: Relax and enjoy the village’s peaceful atmosphere before departing.

Food and Drink Scene of Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus has several restaurants, pubs, and cafes that serve traditional Scottish cuisine and international dishes. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Haggis: A Scottish dish made of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, mixed with oatmeal and spices, and served with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes).

  • Cullen skink: A creamy soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes, onions, and cream.

  • Cranachan: A dessert made of whipped cream, raspberries, toasted oats, honey, and whisky.

Local Beverages

  • Whisky: Scotland’s most famous alcoholic drink, made from malted barley, water, and yeast, and aged in oak barrels.

  • Beer: Scotland has many excellent breweries that produce a wide range of beers, from IPAs to stouts.

  • Irn-Bru: Scotland’s favorite non-alcoholic fizzy drink, known for its bright orange color and unique flavor.

Where to Stay in Fort Augustus: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Fort Augustus has several accommodation options that cater to all budgets and preferences. Here are some recommended hotels, hostels, and guesthouses:

  • The Lovat Hotel: A luxury hotel located on the banks of the Caledonian Canal, offering views of the Loch and the surrounding mountains.

  • The Inch Hotel: A historic hotel located on a hilltop, offering panoramic views of the Loch Ness and the Glenurquhart Castle.

  • Loch Ness Backpackers: A budget hostel located in the village center, offering dormitory beds and private rooms.

  • Abbey Cottage: A cozy guesthouse located near the Benedictine Abbey, offering comfortable rooms and a hearty breakfast.

What to Buy in Fort Augustus: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Fort Augustus has several shops and gift stores that sell souvenirs, local products, and handicrafts. Here are some recommended items to bring home:

  • Tartan scarves and kilts: Scotland’s traditional clothing, made of wool and available in many patterns and colors.

  • Whisky and beer: Scotland’s famous alcoholic drinks, available in various sizes and brands.

  • Shortbread and tablet: Scotland’s famous sweets, made of butter, sugar, and flour, and available in many flavors.

  • Handcrafted pottery and jewelry: Fort Augustus has several artists and artisans who create beautiful pieces of pottery and jewelry.

Local Culture and Customs of Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus has a rich cultural heritage that reflects Scotland’s traditions, history, and natural beauty. Here are some aspects of the local culture and customs:

  • Gaelic language: Scotland has two official languages, English and Gaelic, and Fort Augustus has a strong Gaelic heritage.

  • Music and dance: Scotland has a rich musical tradition, and you can hear local bands playing in pubs and festivals.

  • Sports and games: Scotland has several traditional sports and games, such as shinty, curling, and Highland games.

Best Time to Visit Fort Augustus

The best time to visit Fort Augustus is in the summer (June to August), when the weather is mild, and the days are long. This is also the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and bigger crowds. If you prefer a quieter and more affordable visit, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November).

Do’s and Don’ts of Fort Augustus

Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind during your visit to Fort Augustus:


  • Respect the local culture and customs, and learn a few Gaelic phrases.

  • Dress appropriately for the weather and the outdoors.

  • Follow the hiking and biking routes, and respect the wildlife and the environment.

  • Try the local food and drinks and support the local businesses.


  • Litter or damage the natural and cultural attractions.

  • Disturb the wildlife or try to feed them.

  • Ignore the safety guidelines for outdoor activities.

  • Smoke or drink in public areas.

Safety and Health

Fort Augustus is a safe and healthy destination, but visitors should be aware of the potential risks and prepare accordingly. Here are some tips to stay safe and healthy:

Safety in Fort Augustus

  • Always follow the safety guidelines for outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and water sports.

  • Use sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun and the wind.

  • Keep your valuables safe and secure, and use a travel insurance policy.

Health in Fort Augustus

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and sugary drinks.

  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the outdoors.

  • Carry any necessary medications and first aid supplies.

Getting to Fort Augustus: Transportation Options and Logistics

Fort Augustus is located around 250 km northeast of Glasgow and around 230 km northwest of Edinburgh. Here are the main transportation options and logistics:

  • By Car: Fort Augustus is located on the A82 road, which is the main road that connects Glasgow and Inverness. The village is around 2.5 hours drive from Glasgow and 3 hours drive from Edinburgh.

  • By Bus: There are several bus companies that operate daily services from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Fort Augustus. Most bus services stop at the Caledonian Canal Centre in the village center.

  • By Train: The nearest train station is in Fort William, around 45 km south of Fort Augustus. Train services operate from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Fort William, and from Fort William to Mallaig, Skye, and Inverness.

Airports Near Fort Augustus

The nearest international airports are Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh Airport, both located around 250 km south of Fort Augustus. There are several domestic airports near Fort Augustus, including:

  • Inverness Airport: Located around 70 km northeast of Fort Augustus, offering flights to several UK cities and international destinations.

  • Glasgow Prestwick Airport: Located around 200 km south of Fort Augustus, offering flights to several European destinations.

Bus Stations Near Fort Augustus

  • Fort William Bus Station: Located around 45 km south of Fort Augustus, offering bus services to several UK cities and local destinations.

  • Inverness Bus Station: Located around 70 km northeast of Fort Augustus, offering bus services to several UK cities and local destinations.

Other Options

  • Car Rental: There are several car rental companies that operate from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports and Fort William town center.

  • Taxi: There are several local taxi companies that offer private transfers to and from Fort Augustus.

How to Get Around in Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus is a small village that can be explored on foot or by bike. If you want to explore the nearby attractions, such as the Loch Ness and the Great Glen Way, you can rent a car, take a bus tour, or join a guided tour.

Where to Go Next from Fort Augustus: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Fort Augustus is a great base for exploring the Scottish Highlands, and there are several nearby destinations and excursions that you can visit. Here are some recommendations:

  • Inverness: The capital city of the Scottish Highlands, located around 70 km northeast of Fort Augustus. Inverness has several historic sites, museums, shops, and restaurants.

  • Isle of Skye: A stunning island located on the west coast of Scotland, around 120 km west of Fort Augustus. Skye has many beautiful natural attractions, including the Quiraing, the Fairy Pools, and the Old Man of Storr.

  • Fort William: A popular tourist town located around 45 km south of Fort Augustus. Fort William has several historic sites, shops, and restaurants, and is the starting point for climbing Ben Nevis.


Fort Augustus is a charming village in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, offering stunning natural scenery, rich cultural heritage, and plenty of outdoor activities and attractions. Whether you’re a nature lover, a culture enthusiast, or an adventure seeker, you’ll find something to enjoy in Fort Augustus. Plan your trip now and experience the best of Scotland’s iconic beauty.