As featured in Lonely Planet's Best of Travel 2024, Far North Scotland. Read more
Lochinver is a lively coastal village with an abundance of unique artisan crafts, shops, eateries, outdoor activities and more. The harbour is the second largest fishing port in Scotland, and a hub for much of the local industry, while the surrounding landscape is teeming with wildlife and birdlife.
Surrounding Lochinver are the small communities of: Inverkirkaig, Achmelvich, Clachtoll, Clashmore, Stoer, Clashnessie, Drumbeg and Culkein Drumbeg.
Our Heritage Map will help you discover sites to visit in and around Lochinver and is available to download as an app so you can take your pocket-ready guide with you along the way.
As you look to plan your trip to the Scottish Highlands, or if you are already here, we would encourage you to be a responsible visitor and respect our locals, landscape, history and wildlife for the benefit of all.
Lochinver is an outdoor playground with mountains, beaches, waterfalls, woods and nature reserves all on its doorstep. Within the village itself there are many unique artists, crafters and gift shops as well as renowned local food and drink establishments.
Achmelvich Clachtoll Balcladdich Culkein Clashnessie Inverkirkaig – pebble beach Achnaharid – Wester Ross
Loch Inver Loch Culag Loch Druim Suardalain | Loch Assynt Fionn Loch Loch an t-Sabhail Loch na Gainmhich
Falls of Kirkaig Clashnessie Falls Wailing Widow Falls Eas a Chaul Aluinn Eas na Saighe Caime | Allt nan Uamh
North West Highlands Geopark Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve Inchnadamph Special Area of Conservation Handa Island Wildlife Reserve
Loch Inver is the sea loch on which Lochinver sits at the inland end, with Soyea Island at the seaward end before entering the Minch proper. Sea fishing is plentiful in the area with cod, whiting, pollack, saithe and mackerel all present.
Lochinver Harbour is the second largest fishing port in the entirety of Scotland so expect to see a hive of activity and ships from all over the world. The harbour underwent renovations in the 1990’s and the marina further expansion in 2013 to accommodate larger numbers of visiting leisure craft. Water and electricity are available at the pontoon.
The River Inver flows from Loch Assynt through the village to Loch Inver and has a lovely circular walk from the village up the river and then back down through Glencanisp, with mountain views in abundance. Salmon and trout fishing are available on the river.
Culag Woods borders Lochinver from the south and contains a variety of great woodland walks also taking in the shoreline. There are two car parks adjacent to the woods, one at the north of the woods and one directly off the main road at the south of the woods which also serves as a car park for Loch Culag on the opposite side of the road.
Loch Culag is a small freshwater loch next to the road just south of Lochinver containing trout and migrating salmon and sea trout. The loch is available for boat fishing only.
There is a variety of wildlife and birdlife around Lochinver and its surrounding areas, some of these spotted are: curlews, oystercatchers, hooded crows, cetaceans, seals, basking sharks, otters, pine martens, ospreys and white-tailed eagles.
Viewpoints – The northern end of the village makes for a spectacular viewpoint of Suilven mountain rising above the village, while the southern end of the village makes for a great viewpoint of the village itself.
Some guided activities in and around Lochinver include: boat trips, sea kayaking, storytelling tours, mountain walking, canoeing, climbing, fishing and wildlife tours. There is also bike hire available in the village.
Lochinver is part of the North West Highlands Geopark which stretches from Durness in the north to Knockan Crag in the south. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unimaginable age, incredible complexity, world class scenery and important scientific discoveries.
Achmelvich is a small coastal settlement by Achmelvich Bay, approximately 3 miles north of Lochinver, with an incredible beach, camping and caravan sites, laundrette, shop, takeaway, tourist information and public toilets. The single track road to Achmelvich can be difficult so take care and allow others to pass at passing places.
Achmelvich Beach is a stunning white-sand beach in a gentle turquoise bay and is one of the most popular beaches in the Scottish Highlands. The bay is perfect for all kinds of water activities including wild swimming, windsurfing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. There is also a wide variety of wild, bird and sea life around the bay.
Hermit’s Castle is rumoured to be the smallest castle in Europe at only 10 metres squared. Designed and built by architect David Scott, it took 6 months to construct but he only stayed in it for one weekend and left never to return.
Clachtoll is a small coastal fishing and crofting village in the Bay of Clachtoll. It has a gorgeous beach, campsite, accommodation, shop, take away and public toilets.
Split Rock Clachtoll is a naturally occurring sea stack rising about 20 metres out of the sea just south of Clachtoll Beach. It can be viewed from cliff sides either north or south of the beach on short walks.
Clachtoll Beach is another beautiful west coast beach in a gentle bay with white sands and blue water. There is parking available at the beach and there is a ranger’s hut where you can learn about the local landscape and wildlife.
Clachtoll Broch is an iconic archaeological monument which has been undergoing conservation work to protect it from further erosion. It is though to be around 2,000 years old and is an excellent example of this type of Iron Age dwelling with walls surviving in places to the first floor level.
Stoer, Clashmore, Culkein and Clashnessie are all separate crofting communities spread out across the small headland just north of Clachtoll. In an incredibly remote part of Scotland these small communities are a reminder of our crofting heritage which still flourishes today.
Stoer Head Lighthouse was built in 1870 and was manned until 1978, being an automated light since then. It rises to 54 metres above the sea atop the cliffs and is an incredible viewpoint out into the Minch.
Old Man of Stoer is an impressive 60 metre high sea stack rising out of the Minch beside the coastal cliffs north of Stoer Lighthouse. It is popular with experienced climbers and can also be viewed by walkers from the clifftop route along the coast. Keep an eye out for dolphins and whales as this is an excellent spotting site.
Clashnessie Falls is a stunning 15 metre high waterfall dropping from the lochans above, just a short walk from the road. It is hugely popular with photographers due to its picturesque nature in all weathers. The path from the road can be a little boggy so waterproof footwear is recommended.
Clashnessie Beach is yet another stunning west coast beach with a wide sweep of sand in a small bay and turquoise blue waters. There is limited roadside parking by the beach so be sure to plan ahead and consider returning later if the car park is already full.
Drumbeg is a small crofting village and the marine protected area near the village is the site of one of Scotland’s earliest known shipwrecks. Scuba diving is very popular across the North Highlands with a huge variety of sites to visit.
Quinag is a stunning mountain north of Lochinver, managed by the John Muir Trust and accessible from a roadside car park. There are a total of three peaks so you have a variety of choice on the day based on fitness, weather and other planning considerations.
Kylesku Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in the North of Scotland with its distinctly curved shape and incredible scenery all around. The bridge was opened in 1984 and in 2019 was classified by Historic Environment Scotland as a Category A structure. You can take photos of the bridge from parking at either end.
Handa Island is a Wildlife Reserve north of Lochinver just off the coast of the small settlement of Tarbert. It plays host to a huge variety of seabirds and is an internationally recognised site of importance for seabird populations. Visit in late spring to early summer to catch a glimpse of the island’s seasonal puffins.
Loch Druim Suardalain is a beautiful viewpoint looking onto the mountains of Assynt. The loch itself is popular for fishing with trout, salmon and sea trout available. Please note that a boat only permit is required to fish.
Little Assynt Estate is a three thousand acre community owned project run by the Culag Community Woodland Trust. Within the estate are lochs, flows, glens, woods, walks and wildlife.
Loch Assynt is a large loch to the east of Lochinver with fishing available. It is the site of Ardvreck Castle and the story of the mermaid of Assynt. When the loch level rises it is said that it is the tears of Emhir mourning her lost life on land.
Ardvreck Castle sits on a small promontory of land jutting into Loch Assynt. The castle itself was built around 1490 and has a long history of warfare and betrayal. It was seized from the Macleods in 1672 but abandoned only a few decades after in favour of the newly constructed Calda House.
Calda House was commissioned by Kenneth Mackenzie in 1726 as a replacement for the nearby Ardvreck Castle. Stone from the castle was taken and re-used in the construction of the house, which was accounted as being a grand dwelling. However, after only a few years the Mackenzies fell into financial troubles and Calda House was put up for sale.
Wailing Widow Falls is another stunning waterfall, relatively unknown, only a short distance from the nearby car park. The falls tumble over a rock shelf from Loch na Gainmhich above, providing incredible views from below the falls or from a climb to near the top of the falls.
Glas Bheinn is mountain to the east of Lochinver which, although lesser-known than its taller neighbours, is famous for having the highest waterfall in Britain on its lower slopes. Glas Bheinn is also the parent peak of the nearby Beinn Uidhe summit.
Eas a Chaul Aluinn is the highest waterfall in Britain with an impressive drop of 200 metres, over three times higher than the Niagara Falls. The name in Scottish Gaelic proper translates to “waterfall of the beautiful tresses”.
Conival is a mountain in Assynt and connected by ridgeline to the nearby taller summit of Ben More Assynt. At 987 metres Conival is one of Scotland’s 282 Munros, mountains with a height of more than 914 metres.
Ben More Assynt is the tallest mountain in the area with a height of 998 metres, making it another Scottish Munro. Views from the summit stretch out across the centre of Sutherland and sweep round to the coast and islands of the west.
Inchnadamph is a small community in Assynt with a local hotel, historic church, graveyard and mausoleum. It is well known as a starting point for the climb to Ben More Assynt and also for the nearby Bone Caves.
Inchnadamph Bone Caves are a series of natural caves where remarkable discoveries were made of sets of animal bones including Arctic fox, wolf, lynx, brown bear, Polar bear and more. These are now considered the most complete record of the last glacial period in Scotland.
Uamh an Claonaite is the longest cave in Scotland consisting of a series of dry passages and six sumps. The total length of the cave is 2.8 kilometres with a vertical range of 110 metres. Care should be taken when caving in Uamh an Claonaite and an experienced guide would be recommended.
Allt nan Uamh is a small waterfall on the walk towards the Bone Caves and a beautifully picturesque spot. Look out for the Fuaran Allt nan Uamh underground spring further on along the walk which appears from nowhere beside the path.
Inverkirkaig is a remote scattered settlement directly south of Lochinver accessible by single track road. It sits beside the narrow sea loch Kirkaig into which the River Kirkaig runs, with fishing available on the river.
The Falls of Kirkaig are yet another beautiful waterfall in the remote area around Inverkirkaig. It’s a decent walk to the falls but with lovely scenery and some great views of the mountains of Assynt, particularly Suilven, which make it more than worth it.
Suilven is one of the best known mountains on the west coast with its distinct sugar loaf shape dominating the skyline behind Lochinver. The summit peak of Caisteal Liath is 731 metres high and the mountain itself was used as the main location for the 2017 film “Edie”
Canisp is another mountain south of Lochinver which gives spectacular views of the mountains of Assynt. Its cone-shaped peak is 847 metres high and there is parking nearby for access.
Fionn Loch is a beautiful, secluded loch which is well known for wild brown trout and considered one of the best in the area for fishing. In addition to trout there are also arctic char.
Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve is a visitor attraction in the North West Highlands Geopark telling the story of the geology of the area and its unique history. There are some beautiful artistic pieces, a visitor centre, public toilets, picnic areas and trails.
Moine Thrust Belt is a key geological feature of the area and one of the reasons the North West Highlands Geopark is such a special place to visit. Recognition of the Moine Thrust Belt in the early 1880s was one of the key events in the history of geology.
Cul Mor is a mountain just to the west of Knockan Crag which rises to 849 metres. It appears quite dramatic on the skyline and from the mountain you have excellent views across the rest of Assynt and south.
Cul Beag is another mountain just south of Cul Mor. It is 769 metres in height and unsurprisingly offers yet more incredible views of the mountains and coastline in the area. Often the mountains surrounding the tallest peaks give the best views.
Stac Pollaidh is a delightful mountain just over the border from Sutherland in neighbouring Wester Ross. It offers an easy climb up to the saddle with more involved scrambling to reach the true summit. Once again there are stunning views from the top.
Visit our events page to explore events in and around Lochinver.
South of Lochinver is the county of Wester Ross
Lochinver is a busy and popular village in a remote and beautiful area. The local community work together to provide a warm welcome for their visitors and there is an abundance of excellent local food and drink, arts and crafts and outdoor opportunities to explore.
Lochinver stretches right around the head of Loch Inver with several distinct areas to the village. The southern end plays host to the busy harbour and community facilities while the main street carries on up the village, with accommodation and shopping. The north end of the village, across the river, has more accommodation and the local Highland Stoneware gift shop.
Lochinver has a local hotel, several cafes and restaurants, bars, takeaway and local produce shops to enjoy. Whether you feel like a light bite or a full meal you are certain to find something to satisfy. It is best to book in advance for an evening meal as premises are often busy, and particularly during the summer months.
View our Restaurants and Bars listings for more ideas.
There is a wide range of accommodation in and around Lochinver from hotel stays, self-catering, bed and breakfast, camping, hostelling and more. Whether you are looking for a little bit of luxury or a remote wilderness experience there’s plenty to choose from. It’s best to book all accommodation well in advance to ensure you don’t miss out.
Search our Accommodation listings for ideas.
Lochinver has a lovely selection of local shopping with a vibrant artisan sector along with local food and drink produce and gifts. The village is also well-supplied with local convenience stores and amenities such as a post office.
Check out our Local Shopping listings for some ideas of what you will find in the area.
Lochinver has a wide variety of local infrastructure and amenities. Some of these are:
Lochinver sits on the west coast of Sutherland at the end of the main A837 road. Rural roads can often be narrow and twisting so it is important to plan your journey in advance and be aware of your vehicle size and driving ability.
Many of the roads around Lochinver are single track roads. Please follow the Police Scotland advice for driving on single track roads.
Lochinver is serviced by two local public transport providers: the Far North Bus and Rapsons Highland. Please note that some of their services are seasonal and you should visit their website for current timetables of their services and locations.
> Route 804 – Kinlochbervie to Lochinver
> Route 809 - Drumbeg-Lochinver-Ullapool
Roads from each of these regions can be busy in summer and precarious in winter. Please plan your journey carefully and remember that in rural areas it is best to have a small emergency pack in your vehicle in case of breakdowns.
Journey time from Inverness to Lochinver, via Rosehall, is approximately 2 ½ hours.
Journey time from Inverness to Lochinver, via Ullapool, is approximately 2 hours 15 minutes.
Journey time from Thurso to Lochinver via the north coast is approximately 3 ½ - 4 hours.
There are no public ferries to Lochinver but privately chartered boats may be able to arrive and stay at the marina. Lochinver is a large working harbour so care should be taken on approach.
The nearest train station with ongoing public transport to Lochinver is Inverness Railway Station. Bus connections are available from Inverness to Lairg or Ullapool, with ongoing connections provided by the Far North Bus and Rapsons Highland.
The nearest public airport to Lochinver is Inverness Airport. Vehicle rental and public transport options are available from Inverness.
Lochinver is a great location to explore on foot or by bike. Travelling around the area at a slower pace will allow you to enjoy all the glorious scenery and wildlife on offer. There is parking available in the village and at the nearby beaches so it is possible to leave your vehicle to take it all in.
Public transport is limited around the north west of Sutherland but local taxi services may available to take you to nearby sites. These should always be planned and booked well in advance.
WalkHighlands is an excellent site listing walks around Lochinver for you to explore.
Huli will create unique cycle routes tailored to you for Lochinver.
Photos on this page by Maciej Winiarczyk.