Long celebrated in song and verse, Loch Lomond is one of Scotland's favourite destinations. It's just a short drive from Glasgow, and the main road to the west coast and the highlands runs right along the shores. For many people, Loch Lomond is their first glimpse of the natural beauty of the north of Scotland.
Here's our guide to the best things to see and do around Loch Lomond. If you'd like to add any of the places and experiences to your Scottish Holiday, then just let us know.
Head out on a cruise
Image: Unsplash/Eilis Garvey
Sweeney's Cruise Company, based in Balloch at the southern end of the loch, have been running excursions on the loch since the 1880s.
As well as short cruises around the many islands in the loch - including Inchconnachan, which has a small herd of wild wallabies - Sweeney's run longer boat trips from Balloch to Luss, as well as a regular water taxi across the loch to Balmaha.
Take a flight in a seaplane
If a boat trip isn't exciting enough for you, why not take a scenic flight with Loch Lomond Seaplanes. Since 2003, they've been running regular tours of the area, along with scheduled and charter flights throughout Scotland.
The views are spectacular - if you don't want to climb the mountains yourself this is the next best thing, and much faster and more comfortable! Taking off from Loch Lomond the normal route heads towards the ancient Arrochar Alps, which were once connected to North America. The Highland boundary fault line is really clear from the air, and the views of Ben Lomond, Scotland’s most southerly Munro, are amazing.
The routes vary a bit depending on the weather, sometimes heading west to the Atlantic coast, and sometimes heading north deep into the highlands. Whichever route you take, you can be sure it will be spectacular.
Go offroad on a 4X4 adventure
The hills around Loch Lomond are truly wild - but nestled into the landscape are hundreds of miles of offroad tracks, perfect for a day out with 4x4 Adventures Scotland.
There are lots of options available: from a half-day exploring the Arrochar Alps, all the way up to bespoke multi-day offroad tours. You can use their immaculately maintained Landrover Defenders, or bring your own vehicle (just remember that if you're driving a hire car, you're probably not supposed to take it offroad).
The guides are great characters - they're full of stories and jokes - but they're also really knowledgeable about both the cars and the surrounding wilderness.
Hike the West Highland Way
Scotland's premier long-distance hiking route, the West Highland Way starts in Milngavie on the northern outskirts of Glasgow, before heading to Drymen on the south shore of the loch and following the wild eastern shores for 25 miles.
Most people take between 5 and 7 days to complete the route, but we know people who've run the whole 96 miles (154km) in under a day - and people who have completed it in short sections over many years.
Wonder at the Falls of Falloch
Image: Unsplash/Craig Bradford
Just a couple of miles past the northern end of the loch, the Falls of Falloch is a beautiful waterfall and a popular beauty spot for picnics. Standing at 10 metres high, the falls are an abrupt step in the passage of the River Falloch as it makes its way down Glen Falloch towards Loch Lomond.
There's a unique art installation here, doubling as a viewpoint over the falls, called Woven Sound. This takes the form of a long trellis of intricately woven-together steel rods that weaves its way between existing trees to avoid damaging the natural beauty of the site. Sitting right over the edge of the cliff, this gives you a unique experience of the views and above all the sound of the waterfall. Designed by John Kennedy, he also added extracts from poet Dorothy Wordsworth’s diary to the metal viewpoint.
Climb Ben Lomond
Image: Unsplash/Gary Ellis
Ben Lomond is the most southerly of Scotland's Munros. Whilst it's not particularly high at only 974m, you can see the summit from almost anywhere around Loch Lomond. Whilst the path is wide and busy up the slopes, the summit is dramatically situated above a steep corrie and the views over the Loch are unsurpassed.
The most common route up the hill starts at Rowardennan on the eastern shore (you can drive here, or get a water taxi across from Tarbet on the western shore). It's 12km (7.5 miles) to the top and back and takes about 4-6 hours if you're reasonably fit.
As always, if you're heading into the hills, make sure you have the right equipment and the right skills. Scotland's mountains might be small, but the weather can change very quickly, and navigation can be difficult even on a nice day. If you would like a guide or coach to take you up, we can always arrange that.