Where to Stay in Inverness 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿: Guide to the Best Areas & Hotels

Are you planning a trip to Inverness, the charming town in northern Scotland? With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and warm hospitality, it’s no wonder that Inverness is a top destination for travelers from around the world.

But with so many different neighborhoods and accommodation options to choose from, it can be tough to know where to stay. That’s why I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the best areas and hotels in Inverness.

Our pick of the best hotels in Inverness 🔝

Whether you’re a first-time visitor looking to be in the heart of the action, a family seeking a peaceful and convenient base, a nature lover looking to escape the city, or a budget-conscious traveler watching your wallet, there’s an area and hotel in Inverness that’s perfect for you.

In this article, I’ll take you on a tour of Inverness’s top neighborhoods. I’ll share my personal experiences staying in each area, as well as my top picks for hotels and accommodations to suit every taste and budget.

Quick Inverness Neighborhood Guide 📋

1. Inverness City Centre  – Best Place to Stay in Inverness for the First Time 👀

🌟 Prime location: The City Centre is hands-down the best area to stay in Inverness, especially for first-time visitors. I always recommend this vibrant, bustling neighborhood to my friends and readers. Why? Because it puts you right in the heart of the action, with all the top attractions, restaurants, pubs, and shops just a stone’s throw away.

🏨 Diverse stays: One of the biggest perks of staying in the City Centre is the sheer variety of accommodation options. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel, a cozy bed and breakfast, or a budget-friendly hostel, you’ll find it here.

🚶‍♀️ Walk everywhere: But the real draw of the City Centre is its proximity to everything you’ll want to see and do in Inverness. The iconic Inverness Castle is just a short walk away, as is the beautiful River Ness and the charming Ness Islands. You can easily spend a day exploring the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, catching a show at the Eden Court Theatre, or browsing the shops at the Eastgate Shopping Centre.

🎵 Lively nightlife: For a true taste of Scottish culture, head to Hootananny in the evening for live traditional music and a pint of local ale. The atmosphere is always electric!

🍽️ Delicious eats: When it comes to dining, the City Centre has no shortage of options. Some of my personal favorites include: 

  • Mustard Seed, for its creative Scottish cuisine
  • River House Restaurant, for its stunning views of the River Ness
  • Castle Tavern, for its cozy pub grub

☕ Coffee haven: If you’re a coffee lover, be sure to check out Inverness Coffee Roasting Co. – they roast their own beans on-site, and the aroma alone is worth the visit!

🚊 Easy transport: Of course, staying in the City Centre also means you’re well-connected to the rest of Inverness and the Scottish Highlands. The Inverness Train Station is just a few minutes’ walk away, and there are plenty of bus routes and taxi services to help you get around.

All hotels in City Centre →

Where to stay in City Centre? 🏨

Best hotels in City Centre

  • Highland Apartments by Mansley – These luxurious 4-star serviced apartments are situated right by the River Ness in the heart of Inverness. I loved the spacious and beautifully decorated apartments with modern amenities like iPod docking stations and digital TVs. 
  • River Ness Hotel, a member of Radisson Individuals – This 4-star hotel offers a prime location just 200 meters from the city center and less than 1 km from Inverness Castle. I enjoyed the comfortable, air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. The on-site fitness center, restaurant, and bar were great amenities.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Blackfriars – Conveniently set in the center of Inverness, this hotel is just 500 meters from the train station. The rooms are well-appointed with desks, flat-screen TVs, and private bathrooms. The on-site restaurant serving British and Scottish cuisine was a real treat.
  • Smart & Stylish Holiday Apartment in the city centre – This apartment offers excellent value for money with its spacious layout, new furniture, and perfect location in the heart of Inverness. I loved the private entrance, terrace, and fully equipped kitchen. The thoughtful touches like fruit, chocolates, and cookies made me feel right at home.

Best hostels

  • Black Isle Bar & Rooms – Located above the Black Isle Bar in the city center, these pet-friendly rooms are a great choice for travelers looking for convenience and comfort. I enjoyed the on-site craft beer bar and organic restaurant. The secret rooftop garden was a lovely surprise.
  • Black Isle Hostel – This well-located hostel is just a 4-minute walk from Inverness Train Station and 300 yards from the city center. I appreciated the shared kitchen and lounge, as well as the free WiFi throughout the property. The rooms are equipped with shared bathrooms and bed linen, making it a great budget-friendly option for solo travelers or groups.

2. Dalneigh – Where to Stay in Inverness with Family 👪

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Family-friendly haven: If you’re traveling to Inverness with your family, Dalneigh is the neighborhood you’ll want to call home. This quiet, residential area is just a short distance from the city center, but feels a world away with its peaceful streets and friendly locals.

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Ness Islands, Inverness
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Ness Islands, Inverness
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Inverness Botanic Gardens
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Inverness Botanic Gardens
Inverness_Botanic_Gardens (1)
Inverness Botanic Gardens
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Inverness Botanic Gardens
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Inverness Botanic Gardens

🎡 Fun activities: But just because Dalneigh is a bit quieter than the City Centre doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. In fact, there are plenty of nearby attractions and activities that are perfect for families. One of our favorites is the Ness Islands, a series of small islands connected by footbridges that offer a lovely walk along the River Ness. It’s a great place to let the kids run around and burn off some energy.

🌺 Botanic wonders: Another must-visit spot in Dalneigh is the Inverness Botanic Gardens. These stunning gardens feature:

  • A variety of exotic plants
  • A cactus house
  • A tropical house

It’s a great place to spend an afternoon exploring and learning about different types of flora. If you’re visiting the Botanic Gardens on a rainy day, be sure to check out the Floral Hall. This indoor space is filled with beautiful flowers and is a great place to escape the elements.

🍔 Kid-approved eats: When it comes to dining in Dalneigh, there are plenty of family-friendly options. One of my favorites is the Oakwood Restaurant, which serves up delicious pub grub in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. They even have a kids’ menu with all the classics like:

  • Fish and chips
  • Mac and cheese

💰 Budget saver: Staying in a self-catering apartment in Dalneigh can be a great way to save money on your trip. You can prepare your own meals and snacks, which is especially helpful if you have picky eaters in the family!

All hotels in Dalneigh →

Where to stay in Dalneigh? 🏩

Best hotels in Dalneigh

  • Cambeth Lodge – This charming lodge offers a quiet and comfortable stay just a 12-minute walk from Inverness city center. I was impressed by the beautifully clean rooms, the ability to control the room temperature, and the world-class service. The free WiFi and private parking were much appreciated.
  • Fairfield Townhouse Self Catering – I loved the fully equipped kitchen, the spacious living room with a flat-screen TV, and the thoughtful touches like fruits, chocolates, and cookies. The garden and free private parking were great bonuses.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • The Cobblers – This spacious holiday home offers excellent value for money with its immaculate condition, well-equipped kitchen, and easy check-in process. I appreciated the garden views, the terrace for outdoor dining, and the pet-friendly policy. The location, just 1.8 km from Inverness Castle, was very convenient.
  • Fairwinds – I enjoyed the clean and cozy rooms, the friendly hosts, and the delicious breakfast served each morning. The free WiFi and parking were much appreciated.

3. Merkinch – Best Area of Inverness for Nature Lovers 🌄

🌿 Nature’s embrace: If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Inverness, Merkinch is the place to be.

🦆 Natural wonders: One of the biggest draws of Merkinch is its proximity to some of Inverness’s most beautiful natural attractions, including:

  • Merkinch Local Nature Reserve
  • Caledonian Canal
  • Beauly Firth

🦉 Wildlife haven: The Merkinch Local Nature Reserve is a particular highlight. This stunning reserve is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including:

  • Birds (over 100 species have been recorded here!)
  • Otters
  • Seals
  • Dolphins (if you’re lucky!)

There are plenty of walking trails and viewing points throughout the reserve, making it easy to explore at your own pace. Bring a pair of binoculars and a camera with a good zoom lens – you never know what you might spot!

🚣‍♀️ Canal adventures: Another must-visit spot in Merkinch is the Caledonian Canal. This historic waterway stretches over 60 miles from Inverness to Fort William, passing through some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery along the way. You can take a leisurely stroll along the towpath, or even rent a kayak or canoe to explore the canal from the water.

Merkinch, Inverness
Merkinch, Inverness
Merkinch, Inverness

🥾 Hiking trails: If you’re feeling adventurous, why not tackle a section of the Great Glen Way? This long-distance walking trail follows the Caledonian Canal and offers some truly breathtaking views.

🍽️ Waterside dining: Of course, all that outdoor adventure is bound to work up an appetite. Luckily, Merkinch has some excellent dining options. One of our favorites is the Waterside Restaurant, which serves up delicious locally-sourced seafood and stunning views of the Beauly Firth.

Where to stay in Merkinch? 🏨

Best hotels in Merkinch

  • Lyndon Guest House – This charming 4-star family-run guest house is just a 10-minute walk from the picturesque Inverness city center. I loved the spacious and elegantly furnished rooms, each with an en suite bathroom and flat-screen TV. The free Wi-Fi throughout the property and free on-site parking were much appreciated.
  • Ness City Cottage – Set in a 19th-century building with free private parking, this guest house offers a great location near Inverness Castle and Inverness Railway Station. I was impressed by the modern, clean, and comfortable rooms, as well as the very welcoming host. The free WiFi was a nice bonus.
  • Silver Key Apartment 2 – This well-appointed 2-bedroom apartment features a living room with a flat-screen TV, a fully equipped kitchen, and free WiFi. I appreciated the inner courtyard views, free private parking, and the apartment’s proximity to Inverness Castle, just 1.6 km away. The hosts’ excellent communication made the stay even more enjoyable.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Ivanhoe Guest House – Located just a 10-minute walk from Inverness city center, this guest house offers comfortable rooms with free WiFi and a hearty Scottish breakfast. I enjoyed the warm and friendly atmosphere, the helpful staff, and the convenient location near shops, restaurants, and attractions.
  • Riverbank – Situated on the banks of the River Ness, this guest house is just a 7-minute walk from the city center. I appreciated the cozy rooms with river views, the delicious breakfast served each morning, and the free private parking.

4. Ballifeary – Where to Stay in Inverness on a Budget 💸

💰 Budget-friendly gem: If you’re looking to explore Inverness on a budget, Ballifeary is the neighborhood for you. This charming area is located just a short walk from the city center, but offers a more laid-back and affordable vibe that budget-conscious travelers will appreciate.

🚌 Well-connected: Great thing about Ballifeary is its excellent public transportation links. The neighborhood is well-served by buses, which can take you to all the major attractions in Inverness and beyond. There’s also a train station just a short walk away, which makes it easy to explore other parts of the Scottish Highlands.

🎫 Money saver: If you’re planning on using public transportation a lot during your stay, consider purchasing a day or week pass. This can save you money in the long run and make it easier to hop on and off buses and trains as you please.

🛍️ Victorian Market: But just because Ballifeary is budget-friendly doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see and do in the neighborhood itself. In fact, there are plenty of affordable attractions and dining options within easy reach. One of our favorites is the Victorian Market, a charming covered market that dates back to the 1870s. Here you’ll find a variety of independent shops selling everything from crafts to clothing to locally-sourced food. Be sure to check out the Milk Bar in the Victorian Market for some of the best ice cream in Inverness. Their flavors change daily and are always delicious!

🍽️ Affordable eats: When it comes to dining, Ballifeary has plenty of affordable options to choose from. Some of my top picks include:

  • The Mustard Seed (a cozy cafe with excellent coffee and sandwiches)
  • The Castle Tavern (a traditional pub with hearty meals and a great selection of beers)
  • Girvans (a family-run restaurant serving up classic Scottish dishes at reasonable prices

No matter where you choose to eat, you’re sure to find something delicious and budget-friendly in Ballifeary.

All hotels in Ballifeary →

Where to stay in Ballifeary? 🏩

Best hotels in Ballifeary

  • Ness Walk – This luxurious 5-star hotel offers a prime location just a short walk from Inverness Castle and the River Ness. I was impressed by the elegant rooms with air conditioning, private bathrooms, and flat-screen TVs. The on-site restaurant, terrace, and daily continental breakfast were fantastic amenities.
  • Kinnoch Lodge – Set in a beautiful property with city views, this bed and breakfast offers free WiFi, private parking, and a delightful garden. I loved the cozy rooms with flat-screen TVs, private bathrooms, and thoughtful amenities like bathrobes and hair dryers.
  • Avalon – Located a 20-minute walk from Inverness city center, this stylish guest house offers luxurious rooms, free WiFi, and private parking. I loved the spacious showers, fluffy towels, and complimentary toiletries. The tempting Scottish breakfasts were a perfect start to the day.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • En-suite Garden Room – This charming property features a garden, free private parking, and free WiFi. I appreciated the comfortable room with a private bathroom, kettle, and flat-screen TV. The hosts were incredibly friendly and helpful, making my stay even more enjoyable.
  • River Walk – This cozy bed and breakfast is just a 10-minute walk from Inverness city center and offers rooms with free WiFi and flat-screen TVs. I enjoyed the hearty breakfast, the helpful hosts, and the convenient location near shops, restaurants, and attractions.
  • Eastdene Guest House – Set in a Victorian villa with free private parking, this guest house is a 15-minute walk from Inverness Castle. I appreciated the comfortable rooms with en-suite bathrooms, tea/coffee making facilities, and flat-screen TVs.

Best Hotels near Inverness Airport 🛫

Courtyard by Marriott Inverness Airport

This new hotel, which opened in March 2020, is just a 1-minute walk from Inverness Airport. It offers modern accommodations with a restaurant, private parking, and a fitness center.

We praise the immaculate rooms and delicious food, as well as the friendly staff.

Inchrye Bed & Breakfast

Located 11 miles from Inverness Castle and 4.2 miles from Castle Stuart Golf Links, this B&B offers comfortable accommodations with wonderful hosts.

I appreciate the helpful staff, especially with lost luggage issues, and enjoy the delicious breakfast.

Best Areas & Hotels in Inverness on a Map 🗺

FAQs about Visiting Inverness ❔

What is the most beautiful part of Inverness?

Some of the most scenic areas in Inverness include the River Ness and Ness Islands, Inverness Castle and the surrounding gardens, and the Inverness Botanic Gardens. The historic city center along the picturesque River Ness is considered one of the most beautiful parts of Inverness.

How many days should I spend in Inverness?

2-3 days is ideal to explore the main sights in Inverness itself and take a day trip to nearby attractions like Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, and Clava Cairns. While you can see highlights of Inverness in one busy day, 2-3 days allows you to explore at a more leisurely pace.

What is special in Inverness?

Inverness is known as the capital of the Highlands and is a great base for exploring the region’s castles, battlefields, lochs, and natural scenery. Special attractions include Inverness Castle, the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, St Andrew’s Cathedral, the Victorian Market, and the infamous Loch Ness just outside the city.

Where to stay in Inverness for cheap?

Budget-friendly areas to stay in Inverness include Dalneigh and Merkinch, which offer affordable guest houses and hostels. There are also inexpensive hotels and B&Bs scattered around the city center. Hostels like Bazpackers and Inverness Student Hotel are good low-cost options.

Areas to avoid in Inverness?

Inverness is a relatively safe city, but some areas that are a bit rougher include Hilton, South Kessock (the Ferry), and parts of Merkinch, especially at night. However, tourists are unlikely to encounter any serious trouble if taking normal precautions. Overall, Inverness has a low crime rate compared to other UK cities.