Welcome to Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands!

During my trip to Inverness, I couldn’t help but giggle at the sight of the castle on the £50 note. I mean, who knew a building could look so regal on paper and so…well, crumbly in person? I suppose that’s just one more example of Insta vs reality eh?

Inverness is popular among visitors because of its proximity to Loch Ness, the most famous lake in the UK. With its rich history and breathtaking environment, finding the ideal spot to stay is all part of the trip.

However, because Inverness is a tiny town, it can be difficult to select the best hotels in Inverness and its surrounding areas.

But don’t worry, I’ve compiled this guide to everything I know about Inverness so you can select where to stay during your visit to this Scottish treasure.

Whether you choose a riverside guesthouse or a hotel with a view of Inverness Castle, you’ll find something to fit your needs and budget.

Let’s dive right in. Here is my guide on where to stay in Inverness.

A bridge on one of the many rivers in Inverness
Quaint lil Inverness city centre

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Where is the Best Place to Stay in Inverness?

Are you not too fussed about the specific neighbourhood? Then check out the top three best hotels in Inverness, in my humble opinion. They’re fabulous hotels and my absolute top picks to stay when visiting the area!

Glen Mhor Hotel | Best Hotel in Inverness

Glen Mhor Hotel, Inverness Scotland

The Glen Mhor Hotel offers Victorian townhouses and apartments on the banks of the River Ness, just a three-minute walk from Inverness’ city centre and a 15-minute drive from Loch Ness. This Inverness accommodation is spread among 11 elegant Victorian townhouses, with warm, casual rooms including flat-screen TVs, 4-poster beds, rainfall showerheads, and river or castle views.

Inverness Student Hotel | Best Hostel in Inverness

The social common area in Inverness Student Hotel

The Inverness Student Hotel offers wonderful views of the river, the city, and the countryside. It’s a quaint property with genuine character and a fun, casual vibe. They provide pleasant dormitory rooms with 5 to 10 beds, as well as a wide common room with a large open fireplace and large Victorian-style windows with wonderful views of the River Ness.

The only drawback to staying here is that they insist on you highlighting their name to the press if you see the famous Loch Ness monster!

Nice flat close to river | Best Airbnb in Inverness

Nice flat close to river in Inverness

Visiting Riverness for the first time, you’ll want to stay somewhere central. That’s why this Airbnb is perfect for you. Super close to the river, cute cafes and cosy pubs, you’re not missing out on anything. You’ll have the flat to yourself, which has been recently renovated. Bright and clean, it’ll make you feel comfortable right away. There’s even milk in the fridge for you to make a cuppa as soon as you arrive.

Inverness Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Inverness

FIRST TIME IN INVERNESS
Inverness City Centre, Inverness
FIRST TIME IN INVERNESS

Inverness City Centre

The city centre of Inverness is where all the main action in Inverness happens. It is compact but lively and offers great options for entertainment. There are many good restaurants in Inverness, where you can try some classic Scottish recipes.

ON A BUDGET
Cairngorms National Park Inverness
ON A BUDGET

Raigmore

Raigmore is a neighbourhood located to the east of the city centre of Inverness. The area itself is mostly residential and has little interest for visitors, but provides cheaper accommodation options than the city centre.

FOR FAMILIES
Dalneigh, Inverness
FOR FAMILIES

Dalneigh

Dalneigh is the neighbourhood in Inverness located on the western bank of the river Ness. It is mostly a residential area that was developed and attached to the city after the Second World War to absorb the population growth.

FOR NATURE LOVERS
Foyers, Inverness Scotland
FOR NATURE LOVERS

Foyers

Foyers is a small village located on the eastern side of the Loch Ness, to the south of Inverness. While it is a place where people only tend to stop for a couple of hours on their way up and down the lake, it is actually worth stopping for a few days to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery around.

Inverness, located in northern Scotland, is the gateway to Loch Ness and should definitely be added to your itinerary if you’re doing a road trip to the Scottish Highlands. It is a small, compact town, but full of life and with plenty of activities. Some of the small towns and villages around are also interesting to explore, notably around Loch Ness itself.

With a rich history, Inverness is associated with Bonnie Prince Charlie, who in 1745 raised his flag at neighbouring Glenfinnan, sparking the Jacobite rebellion. Savour the historical charm of the city, which for a brief while during this turbulent time was a stronghold for the Jacobite cause.

Inverness Scotland
Loch Ness monster huntin’

The best guesthouses and hotels in Inverness are located in Inverness city centre. You can budget guesthouse to luxury hotels with hot tubs here, there really is something for everyone. Here, you can take a stroll along the river Ness, visit the castle, and the museum, among other things.

Are you backpacking Scotland? The city centre of Inverness is also the best place to stay in Inverness for backpackers as it’s home to best hostels in Inverness and is where all the bars, pubs and clubs are located.

On the other side of the river Ness, west of the city centre, is Dalneigh, a residential area which was integrated into the city to absorb its extension after the Second World War. It is home to the cathedral and the botanic gardens. From there you can also access the Ness islands in the middle of the river Ness.

Raigmore, located to the east of the city centre, is my top pick for where to stay in Inverness on a budget. Similar to Dalneigh, Raigmore is a residential district that draws tourists more for its quick access to the city centre and other tourist destinations than for the activities available within the neighbourhood.

On the other side of the loch, Foyers is a small village boasting amazing Inverness accommodation choices with stunning views over the Loch Ness, and nice hikes to some beautiful falls.

Still not sure where to stay in Inverness? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Keep on scrollin’

Inverness Four Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Now is the time to take a look at the 5 best neighbourhoods to stay in Inverness.

1. Inverness City Centre – Where to Stay in Inverness for Your First Time

The city centre is where all the main action in Inverness happens and is home to the best hotels in Inverness. It is small, with the Inverness train station just a short distance away, but it is bustling, has fantastic hotels, and offers a plethora of activities for visitors in Inverness.

Inverness Cathedral in Inverness City Centre
Pretty Inverness Cathedral

There are many good restaurants in Inverness, where you can try some classic Scottish recipes. For example, head to Johnny Foxes for one of the best haggis in town. At night, you can enjoy some good beers, cocktails, and of course some local Scotch. After the pub, go dance the night away in one of the city’s bars.

During the day, I recommend visiting the Inverness Castle. Located on top of a small hill overlooking the River Ness, the actual castle was built in the late 19th century. While it’s not possible to get inside the castle itself, it is possible to wander around the castle grounds and climb up the north tower for a great viewpoint over the city.

Glen Mhor Hotel | Best Hotel in Inverness City Centre

Glen Mhor Hotel, Inverness Scotland

The Glen Mhor Hotel offers Victorian townhouses and apartments on the banks of the River Ness, just a three-minute walk from Inverness’ city centre and a 15-minute drive from Loch Ness. This Inverness accommodation is spread among 11 elegant Victorian townhouses, with warm, casual rooms including flat-screen TVs, four-poster beds, rainfall showerheads, and river or castle views.

The Royal Highland Hotel | Another Great Hotel in Inverness City Centre

The Royal Highland Hotel, Inverness Scotland

The Royal Highland Hotel is well located for exploring Inverness and the surrounding Highlands. Each room boasts rich décor, including traditional furnishings and high ceilings. Food provided at both the Gallery Cafe and the Ash Restaurant is locally sourced, including fish from neighbouring lochs and rivers.

Inverness Student Hotel | Best Hostel in Inverness City Centre

Inverness Student Hostel

The Inverness Student Hotel offers wonderful views of the river, the city, and the countryside. It’s a quaint property with genuine character and a fun, casual vibe. They provide pleasant dormitory rooms with five to ten beds, as well as a wide common room with a large open fireplace and large Victorian-style windows with wonderful views of the River Ness.

The only drawback to staying here is that they insist on you highlighting their name to the press if you see the famous Loch Ness monster!

Flat with castle view | Best Airbnb in Inverness City Centre

Flat with castle view, Inverness Scotland

If you’re bored of chain hotels, you seriously can’t go wrong with this Airbnb. Situated in the best area, you can enjoy the view on the Inverness Castle, local pubs and bars, which are in walking distance and the beautiful River Ness. The apartment itself comes with breakfast and a great coffee machine. All amenities are high-quality and free to use. The interior design is modern and welcoming – definitely a great home.

Things to see and do in Inverness City Centre

Bridge over one of Inverness' many rivers
Inverness looking real ethereal
  1. Visit the Inverness Castle.
  2. Take a day trip to the famous Speyside region for a delectable whiskey tour with tastings.
  3. Head up to Castle Viewpoint, the only part of the Castle open to the public.
  4. Explore the art and history of the Highlands at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.
  5. Visit Leakey’s Bookshop, a huge bookshop housed in an old church.
  6. See the sights and sounds of the city on an open bus tour.
  7. Check out Inverness Cathedral.
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2. Raigmore – Best Place to Stay in Inverness on a Budget

East of Inverness’s city centre is the neighbourhood known as Raigmore. Although it offers less expensive lodging options in Inverness than the city centre, the neighbourhood is primarily residential and has little attraction for tourists.

Raigmore is also home to the Inverness Golf Club, for those who play golf. Additionally, a restaurant in the conservatory at the Golf Club serves lunch and dinner. There’s a short walk/run track along the Moray Firth for those nature lovers.

Cairngorms National Park Inverness
Cairngorms National Park in bloom

Near Raigmore is the Inverness Centre, which offers a convenient place to go shopping while in the neighbourhood. For those classic wet days in Scotland, there’s also a cinema and a variety of restaurants.

Most people staying in Raigmore take the opportunity to go on a day trip to see the beauty that the Highlands have to offer. Whether it’s one of Scotland’s many national parks, like Cairngorms or to visit the historic Culloden battlefield, you’ll never run out of things to do if you’re willing to look for them a little bit out of the neighbourhood.

Alba B&B | Best Budget Hotel in Raigmore

Alba B and B

The Alba B&B is a simple bed and breakfast in Raigmore. It offers comfortable rooms with either a private or a shared bathroom and free parking. Each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV with international channels, a kitchen area and soundproofing. Everything you need for your trip to the Highlands.

Kingsmill Hotel | Best Hotel in Raigmore

Kingsmill Hotel, Inverness Scotland

Nestled in between Raigmore and Inverness city centre is the Kingsmill Hotel. The Kingsmill Hotel, set in 4 acres of beautiful gardens has a spa, a swimming pool, air conditioning and free parking. This modern hotel has a leisure club that includes a sauna, steam room, spa bath, and gym. Guests can also dine at the garden conservatory brasserie, which serves an informal menu.

Royston Guest House Inverness | Best Guesthouse in Raigmore

Royston Guest House Inverness Scotland

Located only ten minutes walk from the city centre, Royston Guest House Inverness is housed in a Victorian home that has undergone renovations and restoration. In addition to flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, tea and coffee makers, and en suite bathrooms, the stylish rooms offer modern amenities. Every morning, a hearty Scottish breakfast is provided in the classic guest lounge or in the private garden if the weather allows!

Inverness Youth Hostel | Best Hostel in Raigmore

Inverness Youth Hostel, Inverness Scotland

The Inverness Youth Hostel is located in a quiet area in Raigmore. It offers private rooms with either an ensuite or a shared bathroom as well as single beds in single-sex dormitory rooms. Each guest is provided with a personal locker and free Wifi access.

Things to see and do in Raigmore

Raigmore Inverness Scotland
Fore!
  1. Try golfing at the Inverness Golf Club
  2. Go on a day trip to see the sights of Fort George, Culloden, and Cairngorms.
  3. Go shopping at the Inverness Centre.
  4. Visit the historic Culloden battlefield and learn about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Rising.
  5. Take your pooch to the PawsNPlay Adventure Park.
  6. Visit Clava Cairns, a sacred site on a terrace above the River Nairn.

3. Dalneigh – Best Neighborhood in Inverness for Families to Stay In

Dalneigh is the neighbourhood in Inverness located on the western bank of the river Ness. It is mostly a residential area that was developed and attached to the city after the Second World War to absorb the population growth. It is squeezed between the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal.

It is a great place to stay for first-time comers to Inverness as it is located close to the city centre and provides easy access to Loch Ness and the Highlands.

Scenic views from Dalneigh, Inverness
I can almost feel the crisp air from here

There are also plenty of activities for the whole family in Dalneigh. The Inverness Botanic Gardens and Eden Court Theatre both being brilliant examples. With every season, the scenery changes and you can easily spend half a day discovering new plant species, including tropical plants in the Tropical House.

From Dalneigh, it is easy to access the Ness islands as well. Connected to the shores thanks to Victorian bridges, the Ness Islands are small islands where you can take an easy walk in the middle of the Ness River.

Torridon Guest House | Best Budget Hotel in Dalneigh

Torridon Guest House, Inverness

The Torridon Guest House is in the Dalneigh neighbourhood, just a short walk from the city centre and the River Ness. The guest home provides welcoming rooms with a private bathroom and a flat-screen television with international channels. Every morning, the dining room of the Torridon serves hearty, complete Scottish breakfasts, allowing you to start your day in Inverness the traditional way.

Aye Stay | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Dalneigh

Aye Stay, Inverness Scotland

The historic Aye Stay in Dalneigh has family rooms and a shared lounge and free parking. The spacious rooms come furnished with a desk, a walk-in shower, a hair dryer, a kettle, and a flat-screen TV with streaming services. Every day, the guest house serves a full English/Irish and vegetarian breakfast complete with warm meals, regional specialities, and fruits.

Nice flat close to river | Best Airbnb in Dalneigh

Nice flat close to river

Visiting Riverness for the first time, you’ll want to stay somewhere central. That’s why this Airbnb is perfect for you. Super close to the river, cute cafes and cosy pubs, you’re not missing out on anything. You’ll have the flat to yourself, which has been recently renovated and comes with free parking. Bright and clean, it’ll make you feel comfortable right away. There’s even milk in the fridge for you to make a cuppa as soon as you arrive.

Things to see and do in Dalneigh

Dalneigh Inverness Scotland
I’m a sucker for a castle
  1. Spend the day in a plant oasis at the Inverness Botanic Gardens.
  2. Take a walk around the Ness Islands, a group of islands that have been connected by a series of pretty Victorian footbridges.
  3. Head down the river on a boat cruise to see the sights of Loch Ness, Great Glen, and Urquhart Castle.
  4. Stroll along the Caledonian Canal.
  5. Check out a show at Eden Court Theatre.
  6. Take a swing at Kings Golf Club.
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4. Foyers – Where to Stay in Inverness for Nature Lovers

Foyers is a small village located on the eastern side of the Loch Ness, to the south of Inverness. While it is a place where people only tend to stop for a couple of hours on their way up and down the loch, it is actually worth stopping for a few days at one of the luxury hotels it offers to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery around.

Foyers, Inverness Scotland
The remains of Castle Urquhart

The main attraction, apart from the Loch Ness, is nature. The Falls of Foyers are set in a dramatic gorge and feed Loch Ness and fall beautifully in a fine cascade. You can reach them and loop back to the loch shore in about one and a half to two hours. The walk is relatively easy but can get steep and pebbly at times so make sure you have proper shoes before giving it a go.

For those backpackers who are looking for something more challenging, many other walks and hikes start from Foyers too. See my guide to backpacking Scotland for more hidden gems of hikes in the Highlands.

When coming back from the walk, stop for a traditional afternoon tea in a small shop in the village of Foyers and take the time to relax and truly enjoy the moment.

Foyers Roost | Best Budget Hotel in Foyers

Foyers Roost, Inverness Scotland

The Foyers Roost is a small hotel located in Foyers and overlooking the Loch Ness. It offers comfortable and spacious rooms with a loch view and fitted with a shared bathroom, a seating area, a flat-screen TV with international channels, and free toiletries. The hotel has a bar serving local whiskey and a terrace with a viewpoint on the loch.

Foyers Bay Country House | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Foyers

Foyers Bay Country House, Inverness Scotland

This family-run hotel, housed in a Victorian building and set on its own grounds, offers cosy rooms with en suite bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, tea/coffee-making facilities and balconies overlooking Loch Ness. The bar and lounge include a real log fireplace and provide a large selection of malt whiskies, Scottish beer and wine. Every morning, a full Scottish breakfast or a continental option is provided in the conservatory restaurant at no cost.

Foyers House | Best Luxury Hotel in Foyers

Foyers House, Inverness Scotland

Foyers House offers an ideal setting on a quiet, forested slope, with one of the highest views across Loch Ness. Dinner is served in the evenings in ‘The Wee Dram’ bar, which has a collection of over 100 Scottish whiskies to sip on in the serene guest lounge and a rooftop terrace with panoramic loch views. This modern hotel with free parking is a great pick for you to explore Inverness.

Tiny but cute house | Best Airbnb in Foyers

Tiny but cute house, Inverness Scotland

This place is probably the cutest in Inverness. The tiny house might be small, but you have everything you need. With great amenities including a well-equipped kitchen, a sparkling clean bathroom and an outdoor area, you’ll instantly feel comfortable. Loch Ness is in walking distance, as well as charming local pubs and restaurants. The host is known for taking great care of his guests – you’ll be in good hands.

Things to see and do in Foyers

Foyers, Inverness
Rare Nessie spotting!
  1. Walk to the Foyers Falls, two waterfalls located on the River Foyers.
  2. Stay in the best hotels in the area and simply take in the stunning views.
  3. Visit The Loch Ness Centre to discover the history of its mysterious loch and its elusive monster.
  4. Take an afternoon to wander around Urquhart Castle.
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Inverness

Still got more questions? Here’s what I’m usually asked about the best hotels in Inverness and the areas so stay in.

What To Pack For Inverness

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

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Is Inverness walkable?

The city centre is small and very walkable, with Inverness train station only a short distance away from most of the hotels in Inverness city centre. However many people visit Inverness to see the beauty that surrounds it so hiring a car or joining a tour is recommended to experience the rest of the Highlands.

Which is the best place to stay in Inverness on a budget?

Raigmore has the most budget-friendly hotels in Inverness. Still a short walk to the city centre, you’ll never be that far away from all of the action and can still keep an eye out on your budget. Scotland has tons of cool hostels on the whole if Inverness is just one stop in your Scotland road trip.

What is the best area for families visiting Inverness?

Dalneigh is the best place to stay on your family holiday in Inverness. There are lots of attractions, including trying to spot Nessie the Loch Ness monster.

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Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Inverness

Inverness certainly is one of Scotland’s highlights, the beauty of the city and the surrounding areas means it should definitely be up there on your bucket list when visiting Scotland.

I loved my trip to Inverness, it was definitely one of my favourite places that I visited on my trip to Scotland and can’t understand why it’s not as popular as other cities. Full of life and full of good traditional pubs and restaurants, Inverness really is one of Scotland’s hidden gems.

Glen Mhor Hotel is the best hotel in Inverness and is my favourite to stay in when visiting. Its rooms are full of character and warmth that really reflect Inverness’ vibe as a whole.

If you are travelling on a backpacker’s budget, I recommend you head to the Inverness Student Hostel. There, you will find comfortable rooms and a friendly atmosphere which acts as a perfect base for you to explore Inverness.

Whether you’re looking to learn about Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite rebellion, catch the infamous Loch Ness monster or simply live the slow life along one of the lochs and take in the surrounding beauty, Inverness certainly has something to appeal to every traveller.

Have I forgotten your favourite spot in Inverness? Let me know in the comments so I can add it to the list! If you’re pushed for time then you can head to Inverness on a day trip from Glasgow too.

Inverness-Scotland-UK
If this doesn’t sell Inverness, I don’t know what will!
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