Loch Ness is undoubtedly most well known for its legend of the Loch Ness Monster, often called Nessie or Niseag in Gaelic. Rumors of a mysterious creature living in the lake have been around for centuries (with the earliest account being attributed to a record of the life of St. Columba in the 6th century), but it was not until the mid-1900s that the legend of a pleiosaur-like animal living in the lake spread outside of Scotland. Since then, there have been about 10,000 reported Nessie sightings. Many other lakes have also claimed to have their own monsters, including one in Japan and another in Turkey.

Regardless of whether or not there is a monster living in Loch Ness, the legend has become a part of the local culture. In 2003, a group called the South Loch Ness Heritage Group was founded to promote and preserve local culture through exhibitions, lectures and other activities.

Even if you do not see the Loch Ness Monster on your visit, the beauty of the lake and the Scottish Highlands should make up for the disappointment. This region of great natural beauty is home to many museums, moors and picturesque villages that you will want to explore before returning home.