March 21, 2023

The North Coast 500 has been billed as Scotland’s reply to America’s Route 66 however this Scottish street journey is in contrast to something you’ll see within the USA. The North Coast 500 takes you thru the Scottish Highlands seeing legendary castles, extraordinary coastal surroundings, and well-known whisky distilleries lining the winding single monitor roads. The NC500 is without doubt one of the nice street journeys on the earth.

When planning your North Coast 500 journey make sure you give loads of days to discover the sights. We spent a really two weeks on this spectacular driving route by way of the Scottish highlands and we’ve put collectively the final word NC500 Journey Planner that will help you benefit from your time within the Scottish highlands. 

Top stops on the North Coast 500

Table of Contents

North Coast 500 Information

Dave and I’ve achieved lots of street journeys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they simply could be our specialty. We’ve pushed a automobile from England to Mongolia within the Mongol Rally, we have been the primary media to drive Eire’s whole Wild Atlantic Manner (the longest coastal route on earth) and sure, we’ve pushed by way of massive chunks of America’s Route 66.

After we had the chance to drive the North Coast 500, we jumped on the likelihood, we’ve at all times needed to see the Scottish Highlands and this route takes you thru one of the best of them. We love marking our map with must-see points of interest, stocking up on snacks, placing collectively a playlist, and hitting the street.

The North Coast 500 loop counterclockwise from Inverness and we’ve put collectively the final word plan that will help you plan forward and benefit from your time within the Scottish highlands.

What’s the North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 (NC500) is a scenic route that runs alongside the northern coast of Scotland, masking a distance of roughly 516 miles (830 km). It was created as an official loop across the north coast of Scotland, however the roads have at all times been there.

The official North Coast 500 was launched in 2015 to spice up the Northern Highland economic system and has now turn out to be a well-liked vacationer vacation spot providing beautiful coastal views, rugged landscapes, and an opportunity to go to picturesque villages and cities.

The route begins and ends within the metropolis of Inverness, taking guests on a round journey by way of the Scottish Highlands and alongside the coast of the North Atlantic, and down the west coast.

Alongside the best way, vacationers can go to iconic landmarks such because the Bealach Na Ba Go, the ruins of Ardvreck Fortress, and the white sands of Achmelvich Seaside. The route additionally passes by way of a number of communities, offering alternatives for guests to expertise native tradition and hospitality.

The NC500 has gained recognition as one of many world’s most scenic street journeys, attracting guests from all around the world who come to discover the pure fantastic thing about Scotland’s rugged north highlands. While you go to Scotland, you’re going to need to expertise no less than a portion its spectacular surroundings.

The place is the North Coast 500

north coast 500 highland cow

Our North Coast 500 drive began and resulted in Inverness, the Capital of the Scottish Highlands. We drove counterclockwise alongside the north coast of Scotland in a 516-mile (830km) circle route by way of a number of the most stunning landscapes within the nation, stopping at many cities and points of interest earlier than returning to Inverness.

The North Coast 500 is situated within the North West nook of Scotland winding its means up the east coast, alongside the the north and down west coast of Scotland beginning in Inverness.

NC500 Automobile Leases

rental car north coast 500 road trip

The easiest way to discover the North Coast 500 is on a street journey is by driving. Should you don’t already reside within the UK and have your individual automobile, you’ll need to e book a rental automobile properly upfront. There are many locations to e book rental automobiles in Scotland. We use Rental Vehicles Join to search out one of the best offers on any rental automobile. You possibly can evaluate costs on their web site.

Scorching Tip: Make sure your rental automobile is a smaller automobile as roads are sometimes single monitor roads alongside the North Coast 500 and a small automobile is straightforward to navigate by way of the North Highlands. The roads by way of the Scottish Highlands are winding and slender there are a number of hairpin turns. Small automobiles also can match simply into the passing locations to let sooner drivers overtake you. Rental automobiles are scarce today, so make sure you e book properly upfront. Evaluate costs at

Day 1: North Coast 500 – Inverness

north coast 500 inverness
Cityscape of Inverness, Scotland in a wonderful summer season day, United Kingdom

We began our North Coast 500 street journey in Inverness and spent two days having fun with this historic metropolis. Inverness is the primary metropolis on the North Coast 500 route and it’s the capital of the Scottish Highlands.

The capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness is dwelling to the very well-known Loch Ness the place you possibly can seek for Nessie herself. That was our foremost curiosity when visiting Inverness, however there are many different issues to see and do.

  • St. Andrew’s Cathedral
  • Abertarff Home relationship again to 1592
  • Nessie Islands – Islands related by stunning walkways and gardens
  • Golf and Spa at Kingsmills Spa
  • Learn our full article Issues to do in Inverness

Day 2: North Coast 500

north coast 500 scotland itinerary loch ness center

There are many issues to do in Inverness and within the surrounding space, so you’ll positively need to spend a while right here. Listed below are just a few high points of interest to see earlier than transferring alongside the North Coast 500.

Loch Ness

north coast 500 loch ness near inverness

Inverness is the primary hub for exploring Loch Ness. Folks go to the legendary Loch Ness seeking the Loch Ness Monster, however it’s value exploring the sandy seashores and surroundings round Inverness as properly.

The guests heart in Drumnadrochit is enjoyable and kitschy and is a must-stop to be taught concerning the historical past of the Loch Ness Monster, however exploring the huge lake is the spotlight.

 Drumnadrochit and Glen Affric

When you have extra time, you possibly can keep in Drumnadrochit, there are many B&Bs within the space. If you’re staying within the space take a drive to Glen Affric to soak up its beautiful panorama and think about the attractive Plodda Falls. That is the spot the place the tour busses cease although so be ready for big crowds and visitors.

Make sure you watch the sundown from Dores Seaside and you might even run into the Nessie Hunter who has arrange camp proper on this spot to maintain look ahead to the elusive monster.

Urquhart Fortress

north coast 500 Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Fortress is one other must-see cease on the lake. It’s a stunning damage that has survived many a battle over the previous 1000 years. The setting overlooks Loch Ness and the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands, I can see why individuals fought over this stunning setting.

The place to Keep in Inverness

north coast 500 accommodation kingsmills hotel

Lodging Suggestion: Kingsmills Resort and spa with swimming pool and breakfast included. We stayed right here and completely beloved it.

The Kingsmills Resort is situated on a golf course simply exterior the downtown core. Set in a big historic mansion on a large treed property with spa and pool. We stayed within the newer spa portion of the resort and the rooms have been spacious, and cozy. Parking is free and breakfasts are included. Test it out on TripAdvisor /

The Rocpool Reserve Resort is one other beneficial resort: Journey Advisor /

Prompt locations to eat: Rocpool Restaurant or Dores Inn at Loch Ness in Dores after you’ve watched the sundown.

Day 3 – Drive North to Dornoch

north coast 500 scotland dornoch castle

In the present day you’ll go away Inverness and make your method to Dornoch for the beginning of your east coast drive up North Coast 500 Highway journey. Your subsequent in a single day is just a bit over an hour’s drive away, however it’s the good base on your subsequent set of explorations as there’s a lot to see and do within the space.

Alongside the A9 in the direction of the NC500 provides many issues to see and locations to cease. Dornoch is legendary for the Dornoch Fortress and makes base to discover the whisky route.

Don’t simply beeline it to the subsequent city, make sure you pop into these highlights in your means out of Inverness earlier than hitting the North Coast 500 Route.

Culloden Battlefield

north coast 500 cullodon battlefield
Memorial to the Clans

The Culloden Battlefield is without doubt one of the finest stops on the North Coast 500 street journey. As you make your means by way of the Scottish Highlands, make certain to cease at probably the most historic websites on the itinerary. The trendy customer’s centre opened in 2008 and is a stark distinction to the empty land the place one of many bloodiest battles on British soil passed off.

On a spring day in 1746, greater than 1200 males have been killed in only one brief hour. It was the ultimate battle of the Jacobite rebellion and it got here to its fateful finish.

north coast 500 scotland battle of culloden

Guests are given headsets triggered by GPS telling them the story of the bloody battle as they stroll either side of the battlefield. One of the highly effective moments comes while you enter the inside museum and stand inside a room projecting a 360-degree reenactment of the battle. You might be surrounded by the cries of the soldiers assembly their destiny.

If you’re fascinated with Highland historical past (as we’re) it is a place the place you possibly can simply spend hours. For extra data see Culloden Battlefield Visitor’s Centre

Clava Cairns

north coast 500 clava cairns
Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns is just not removed from the Culloden Battlefield and is an efficient cease for today of sightseeing on the North Coast 500. Cairns are historical stone cemeteries relationship again 4000 years. There are a number of cairns alongside the nc500 however none as well-known as Clava Cairns.

Clava Cairns was used because the inspiration for the Outlander series (that is the place the place Claire was transported again in time) you possibly can perceive why Diana Gambon felt time journey may occur right here.

north coast 500 stops clava cairns

The standing stones and round cairns really feel like magic. The Cairns of Scotland have been burial tombs used to deal with the lifeless and immediately, guests can stroll the grounds and stroll proper into the centre of the tombs feeling the peace and quiet of the sacred website. It’s free to go to so don’t miss it!

Black Isle

It’s time to maneuver on from Inverness and cross into the Black Isle portion of the driving route. Black Isle is a peninsula situated simply north of the town of Inverness. Regardless of its title, Black Isle is just not an precise island however fairly a peninsula, bounded by water on three sides: the Cromarty Firth to the north, the Beauly Firth to the south, and the Moray Firth to the east.

The title “Black Isle” is alleged to return from the truth that when seen from a distance, the realm seems to be black because of the forests that cowl a lot of the peninsula. Black Isle is a well-liked cease on the NC500 for many who desire a style of the route with its scenic villages away from the bigger cities, seashores, and wildlife reserves. You possibly can simply discover Black Isle on a day journey from Inverness.

Highway Journey Snacks

North Coast 500 Highway Journey Snacks – We stocked up on water and snacks in Inverness, however there are many native retailers alongside the route. One in all our favourite stops for native meats & cheeses, contemporary fruits, and native treats, make sure you cease in at Roberston’s The Larder.  

You may as well meet the cattle together with Highland Cows. If you’re frightened about not seeing the well-known highland cattle alongside the route, (don’t be) you’ll have likelihood right here. It’s situated on the route from Inverness to Glen Ord Distillery.

Singleton Distillery

north coast 500 distillery tours
The fermentation course of at Glen Ord takes place in picket barrels.

Situated within the coronary heart of Black Isle, The Singleton Distilerry is the closest distillery to Inverness so it may well simply be achieved as a day journey from there. What makes a go to to Singleton distinctive is that it is without doubt one of the few distilleries in Scotland that also malts its personal barley and their Singleton mix can solely be purchased in Scotland or in case you go to Asia.

For us, it was additionally the primary time we’d seen picket fermentation barrels. Each different distillery tour we’ve ever taken was chrome steel.

Dornoch Fortress

north coast 500 dornoch castle
Lovely Dornoch Fortress

The top of day 3 in your North Coast 500 journey ends at Dornoch Fortress. Dornoch is a vacation spot unto itself with the fort at its heart. The Scottish highlands are full of outdated castles which were transformed into accommodations. Do your self a favor and e book an evening no less than one fort resort.

Dornoch Fortress is situated proper available in the market sq. of Dornoch instantly throughout from the Dornoch Cathedral. This Twelfth-century cathedral is such a draw that Madonna had her son Rocco christened right here.

The fort units the tone for this distinctive Scottish street journey. The pub makes you’re feeling like you might be sitting in a Seventeenth-century tavern as the fireplace roars and the whiskey pours. The set dinner menu is divine and the rooms make you’re feeling like royalty.

Dornoch Fortress and Whisky Bar

north coast 500 dornoch castle whisky bar
Keep at Dornoch Fortress

Dornoch Fortress is dwelling to the most effective whisky bars on earth. It was voted the #1 Whisky Resort of the 12 months by It’s the whisky bar that’s the foremost attraction. Sitting contained in the thick outdated stone partitions with the enormous hearth roaring with flame you’re feeling as in case you’ve stepped again in time to when clans dominated the land.

The in depth whisky inventory has gained awards as one of the best whisky bar on the earth and is presently the reigning #1 whisky resort of the 12 months as named by

Having the distillery tour helped us to know the distilling technique of Scottish whiskey and gave us perception into aromas and flavors once we determined to style just a few drams at Dornoch Fortress’s whisky bar. This really made us really feel like we have been taking a tour by way of historical past and our information Alistair was as keen about his scotch as he was informative.

North Coast 500 Dornoch Whiskey Bar

We ordered a tasting flight of three whiskeys after chatting with the bartender who will assist us resolve what pictures to decide on. He’ll choose your mind to see what kind of Scotch you like and provide up decisions of various whiskeys at completely different costs to fit your wants.

Word: Scotland spells whisky with out an “e”. So while you go to Scotland, make sure you spell it the best way they do in Scotland, it’s whisky NOT Whiskey. 

The place to Keep in Dornoch

north coast 500 dornoch castle room

Dornoch Fortress – We beloved our keep within the historic Dornoch Fortress. Each time we go to Eire or Scotland, we at all times attempt to keep in a fort for a very genuine and historic expertise. Journey Advisor /

There’s additionally The Dornoch Resort you possibly can see extra data on Journey Advisor /

Royal Marine Resort – Just a bit farther up the East Coast is the Royal Marine Resort which was voted the most effective locations to remain in Britain. Simply an hour from Inverness alongside the North Coast 500, it is a good place to make a base whereas exploring the east coast of Scotland. Verify charges and availability on

Day 4: North Coast 500 – Dornoch to Wick

north coast 500 wick

Click here for an interactive map of NC 500

Day 4 of your North Coast 500 street journey is all concerning the whisky and the spectacular surroundings of the North Highlands. The drive from Dornoch to Wick takes roughly 4 hours however as with each a part of the NC500 route, you’ll find yourself taking for much longer as there’s a lot to see and do.

Distillery Excursions

North Coast 500 Singleton Glen Ord Distillery

There are a number of distilleries in Northern Scotland the place street trippers can choose up a bottle of their favourite Scotch whisky. It’s value stopping no less than as soon as however if you wish to spend longer within the space, test all of them out on a day tour. From the city of Dornoch, there are half a dozen distilleries to go to which are from mere minutes to solely a few hours away.

  • Balblair
  • Glenmorangie
  • Dalmore
  • Dunnet Bay
  • Pulteney Distilleries are all close by.

If you’re on the lookout for one thing exterior of distilleries, make your method to the Black Isle Brewing Firm. Black Isle is an natural brewer with a variety of natural beers and seasonal specials.

If you’re a whisky lover, Dornoch fort or Royal Marine Resort is the proper place to base your travels as you discover the distilleries of the route. Visit their website for bookings and availability.

Dunrobin Fortress

north coast 500 dunrobin castle
The attractive gardens at Dunrobin Fortress

Open from April 1 to October 15, visiting Dunbrobin Fortress is a should. You possibly can go to the gardens and grounds year-round. We parked our automobile and walked down the steps to an impressive view of this 800 year-old fort. It’s completely different from different castles in Scotland resembling a French Chateau fairly than the stark stone constructions in different components we noticed.

Dunrobin fort has been dwelling to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland for the reason that thirteenth century.

This fort could be visited from Dornoch, or you possibly can plan as we did and make it a cease alongside the best way to our subsequent vacation spot which in our case is Wick. Learn all about Donrobin Fortress right here.

The place to Keep – Ackergill Tower Resort

north coast 500 ackergille tower hotel

One thing we beloved about driving the North Coast 500 was the prospect to remain in historic castles. There are lots of distinctive lodging alongside the route from farmhouses, B&Bs, lighthouses, and luxurious estates. Making our means up the East Coast in the direction of the northernmost tip of Scotland, we stayed on the Ackergill Tower Resort.

north coast 500 ackergill billiards

We loved a scrumptious meal on this grand resort. Like Dornoch Fortress, Ackergill Tower is an lodging that could be a vacation spot. The Tower is an unbelievable 600-year-old stone tower that stands proud on the shores of Sinclair Bay. The Northernmost level of Scotland. This luxury highland property is as romantic as it’s distant.

Eating within the nice corridor, we ate a scrumptious three-course menu earlier than retiring to the sitting rooms for an after dinner drink. It felt contemporary out of Downton Abbey. As we sat by the fireplace we learn concerning the historical past of the fort and puzzled what life might need been like again in time.

north coast 500 deb at ackergill tower hotel

Essentially the most well-known story of the fort tells the story of Helen Gunn, often called the Great thing about Braemore who was kidnapped on her wedding ceremony night time and held prisoner on this very tower. To flee her destiny she leapt to her loss of life. It’s stated that her ghost haunts the halls to today.

Day 5: Wick to Dunnet Head

north coast 500 dunnet head
Across the Northern Tip of Scotland on the North Coast 500

As soon as we reached the Northern Tip of Scotland, the surroundings turned to dramatic views. This was in all probability our favourite space to discover on the street journey. Everybody advised us the west coast was one of the best, however the northern tip was beautiful. We may have spent no less than two extra days exploring the strolling trails alongside the coast.

It’s the space the place you see these huge sea cliffs and sea stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. Should you like climbing and wildlife, you’ll love this space.

Whaligoe Steps

whalegoe steps north coast 500 scotland
the view from Whalegoe Steps

If you wish to get down inside one thing just like the Geo of Sclaites, the Whaligoe Steps is an outstanding trek. The Whaligoe Steps include 330 steps main right down to probably the most inaccessible harbors in Scotland. Courting again to the mid 18th century, the Whaligoe Steps have been utilized by fishermen’s wives to haul fish up of their baskets. At its prime, 24 fishing boats have been working these waters fishing for herring.

Wick Heritage Centre

If you wish to be taught extra concerning the fishing and historical past of the realm, the Wick Heritage Centre is the place to go. Wick was Europe’s premier herring fishing port throughout the nineteenth century and devoted guides volunteer their time to inform share their historic data.

There are lots of artifacts on show and rooms furnished to painting the previous. To get instructions and lookup hours go to the Wick Heritage Centre web site. 

Dunnet Bay Distillery

Scotland could also be recognized for its Scotch, however Gin is making an enormous mark within the nation. Excursions function from Might to Sept at 3 pm on Mon, Wed, Fri and on Saturdays at 11 am and 1 pm.

This was in all probability our favourite space to discover on the North Coast 500. Everybody advised us the west coast was one of the best, however the northern tip was beautiful. It’s the space the place you see these huge sea cliffs and stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. Should you like climbing and wildlife, you’ll love this space.

Ackergill Tower – In a single day

accommodations on the north coast 500 are a destination

The Ackergill Tower Resort grew to become our base for exploring this portion of the Scottish Highlands and we stayed right here one other night time.

Like Dornoch Fortress, Ackergill Tower is an lodging that could be a vacation spot. The Tower is an unbelievable 600-year-old stone tower that stands proudly on the shores of Sinclair Bay. The Northernmost level of Scotland. This luxury highland property is as romantic as it’s distant.

Essentially the most well-known story of the fort tells the story of Helen Gunn, often called the Great thing about Braemore who was kidnapped on her wedding ceremony night time and held a prisoner on this very tower. To flee her destiny she leaped to her loss of life. It’s stated that her ghost haunts the halls to today. Try Ackergill Tower to e book your lodging

Day 6: North Coast 500 – Wildlife and Surroundings

North Coast 500 wildlife spotting
Dave and Katie nesting birds within the distance

Dave and I like taking excursions. As a lot as we get pleasure from exploring on our personal, we discover that helps us uncover hidden gems and areas we might by no means have considered visiting. We spent a half day exploring with Caithness Wildlife Excursions. Information and proprietor Kate is a marine biologist and out of doors lover who takes guests to see view seabirds, seals, and different wildlife within the space.

However she additionally confirmed us historic websites similar to Mary Ann’s Cottage relationship again to 1850 and The Fortress of Mey. The Queen Mom purchased and restored the Fortress of Mey and King Charles nonetheless visits every summer season.

Fortress of Mey

North Cost 500 castle of mey scotland
The Fortress of Mey

It was the spectacular views of Dunnet Head and Brough Harbour that basically took our breath away. However what we beloved essentially the most was studying the fascinating information of the realm from Kate. For instance, Jimmy Web page of Led Zeppelin was a daily customer to the realm and almost purchased an property in Caithness for a recording studio.

He by no means did purchase the studio, however he did rebuild the harbor and there’s a plaque along with his title on the Harrow Harbour commemorating the reopening.

Fortress Sinclair Girnigo

North Coast 500 scenery
Deserted Mill on our Wildlife Tour

Situated only a brief stroll or drive from Ackergill Tower the ruins of Fortress Sinclair Girnigo is an imposing sight on the coast. We noticed this from the street, however once we determined to go for a stroll to it, the rain got here down in full power.

There was one specific second once we actually appreciated being on the tour. We had stopped with Kate to view seals within the harbor (a daily vacationer would miss seeing this on their very own) and she or he advised us to show round.

The harbor was good, however the scene behind us was stunning. The peaceable setting housed an outdated mill and quiet brook that was simply screaming to be photographed. Different vacationers drove proper on by us as an alternative of the scene and missed this spotlight of the coast.

Duncansby Head

north coast 500 hiking at John O Groats

Should you lookup pictures of the North Coast 500 on Google, likelihood is you’ve seen numerous pictures of Duncansby Head. Mountaineering right here is spectacular with many strolling paths alongside the coast. Situated only a mile and a half from John O’Groats, make your method to parking on the Duncansby Head Lighthouse.

When you have extra time, you possibly can hike instantly from John O’Groats to soak up your entire spectacular view. It’s the most northern level of mainland Scotland, We had restricted time, so we began our hike from the lighthouse and made our method to the awe-inspiring stacks. It’s solely a few 10-15 minute stroll, however alongside the best way, make certain to stay to the coast so you possibly can view the dramatic slender sea gullies often called the Geo of Sclaites.

north coast 500 duncansby head at john o groats
Stacks of Duncansby Head

After marveling on the views right here, we moved alongside the North Highlands to the stacks of Duncansby Head. There’s a path proper alongside the coast overlooking the stacks so you possibly can view them from all instructions.

 Geo of Sclaites

north coast 500 scotland  Geo of Sclaites
Spectacular surroundings alongside coastal hikes

Make sure you hold a watch out for seabirds. Totally different are consistently migrating by way of the realm always of the 12 months. Together with puffins! A Geo is a deep inlet of water with excessive seacliffs and whereas there are a lot alongside the northern coast of Scotland, none are fairly as dramatic because the Geo of Sclaites.

Rock formations date again 4000 years and you’ll take strolling paths proper to the sting of the cliff to see migrating birds and the spectacular surroundings.

The place to Keep close to Dunnet Head

Ackergill Tower Scotland
Ackergill Tower

Ackergill Tower was the proper base for exploring the northernmost level of Scotland. This Sixteenth-century tower has lots of historical past, and you’ll sit by the fireplace studying about its checkered previous as you get pleasure from a dram of whiskey. Eating within the nice corridor, we ate a scrumptious three-course menu earlier than retiring to the assorted sitting rooms for an after-dinner drink.

We love street journeys! We included the North Coast 500 in our finest street journeys we’ve ever taken. 

Day 7: Dunnet Head to Tongue

north coast 500 route northern scotland
Persevering with alongside the Northern Coast

This stretch of the nc500 takes you throughout the highest of Scotland. It was shocking to take a look at our map and see simply how far north we have been. Northern Scotland is the equal of being midway up the Hudson Bay in Canada’s north, or simply one-degree shy of Oslo, Norway, Stockholm Sweden, or St. Petersburg, Russia. It’s no surprise Northern Scotland reminded us a lot of Iceland! 

Browsing in Scotland

north coast 500 road trip Armadale Bay

It was additionally actually shocking to search out out that this space is a well-liked browsing vacation spot. World browsing occasions are held right here. We didn’t courageous the water, however whereas driving by way of the likes of Armadale Bay and Melvich, we did see surfers within the water taking up the swells. These bays are nonetheless means up within the north coast of Scotland so I can solely think about what the temperatures have been like.

We have been a bit too early within the season for kayaking and once we return to Scotland we will certainly give it a go. However we did see just a few skilled kayakers within the water. Wanting on the tough seas, we determined it was finest left to the professionals right now of 12 months. We’ll courageous the North Sea when the climate is a bit more inviting.

Fortress Varrich

Hopefully, by the point you go, the ruins of Fortress Varrich will probably be open. It was below scaffolding once we arrived as we have been advised that that they had simply found a bone and it was being excavated. It ought to be open now so that you can see.

You possibly can hike from the Tongue Resort. It’s believed that the fort was constructed within the 14th century upon an outdated Norse fort. So that you could be certain there’s lots of historical past simply ready to be found right here.

Kyle of Tongue

north coast 500 kyle of tongue reflections
Admiring the lake reflections

As a substitute of driving instantly alongside the A383 to cross the Kyle of Tongue, take the scenic route across the tip of the loch for extraordinary scenic views. We had the only monitor roads all to ourselves. We’d spy a lake, park the automobile and hike to extraordinary views.

We spent the day right here earlier than assembly up once more with the A383 on the Kyle of Tongue Bridge. We made certain to cross the bridge for a full view of the highlands earlier than turning round once more to proceed our journey.

In a single day at Tongue Resort

where to stay on the north coast 500
Our room on the Tongue Resort

The Tongue Resort It has a comfortable environment with massive rooms, and there’s at all times somebody providing a drop of sherry while you arrive. There’s a eating room and on the town there’s a retailer shut by to refill on provides for the remainder of your street journey. See costs on Journey Advisor /

Ben Loyal Resort is one other recommended place to remain on this portion of the north coast 500. Situated on Essential Road Tongue. View it on Journey Advisor /

Day 8 – Tongue to Balnakeil

nc500 map tongue to balnakiel
Tongue to Balnakiel

That is one other fabulous stretch full of lengthy abandoned sandy seashores, extra coastal hike and one unbelievable cave.

Smoo Cave

north coast 500 smoo caves
Entrance to the Smoo Caves

One in all our favourite issues on our journeys was to discover the Smoo Caves. Stopping within the city of Durness, the Smoo Caves are stunning to see in and out. There are boardwalks main right down to the caves on both facet supplying you with views of the steep path. A bridge allows you to cross the river main in from the ocean whereas trying into the enormous cavern.

north coast 500 road trip smoo caves

Many individuals simply go into the caves and take a fast look, however we extremely suggest taking a geological tour. Beforehand it was run by Colin who spent his lifetime excavating these caves. We had the privilege of doing a tour with him, however sadly he handed away in 2019.

Try the website for extra data on his excursions and the geology of the caves. It’s an interesting learn and also you’ll end up getting misplaced within the information.

Balnakeil Bay

north coast 500 road trip Balnakiel Beach
Admiring Balnakiel Seaside

A good looking stretch of sandy seaside could be discovered simply out of city and it’s positively value visiting. Not solely is it very picturesque, however you’ll additionally expertise the distinctive feeling of strolling on a seaside whereas navy autos drive by with nice objective.

The Royal Naval gunnery ranges are situated out right here and navy personnel involves this space to coach. You consistently hear weapons and bangs within the distance making you surprise “what on earth is happening on the market?”

John Lennon

John Lennon memorial Durness Scotland on the North Coast 500 road trip
John Lennon Memorial

There’s a scenic cemetery situated on the location by the seaside housing an outdated church and tombstones. It’s very photogenic and John Lennon’s aunt is buried right here.

John Lennon visited the realm many occasions to see his aunt and there’s a memorial within the city of Durness. He revisited it once more with Yoko Ono and it’s stated that a few of his happiest recollections passed off right here.

Belnakeil Craft Village

north coast 500 best road trips in the world
Choosing up snacks for the street

This can be a cool spot the place locals are beginning to construct a craft neighborhood changing an outdated navy camp into an artist’s compound. Essentially the most well-known attraction right here is the Cocoa Mountain espresso store. We stopped right here to load up on chocolate and choose up a takeaway cappuccino for our drive out of city.

We didn’t strive the new chocolate, however we heard two completely different prospects give glowing suggestions on our means out. Don’t fear although, we positively had our fill of handmade chocolate and an oh so clean cappuccino.

Be ready to present your pockets a exercise. While you stroll in, you’ll need to pattern all of the truffles and handmade native chocolate within the retailer.

Smoo Cave Resort

Smoo Cave Resort a fundamental resort, however the location is an ideal cease after driving from Tongue, supplying you with the prospect to spend a day or two in Smoo. There’s bar and so they have a number of the finest Haggis round.

The place to eatSango Sans, The Whale Story, or Decide up a picnic lunch on the Carfour and cease on the Cocoa Mountain  espresso store in Belnakeil Craft Village 

Smoo Cave Resort has bar and so they have a number of the finest Haggis round.

Day 9: North Coast 500 – Belnakeil to Lochinver

north coast 500 guide Achmelvich Bay Scotland
Kylesku to Achmelvich Bay Scotland

In the present day is an enormous day as we make our means down the west towards Achmelvich Bay. It’s throughout this part that the driving will get actually enjoyable. The only monitor roads can get fairly hair-raising and the drive is alongside large lakes and thru mountains is a thrill.

That is one other beautiful drive alongside a single monitor with views to die for. The surroundings alongside the North Coast 500 is exclusive. It varies from place to put, so make certain to take your time to actually get pleasure from all the views. Should you can, take your time and presumably keep in Lochinver for an evening. We nevertheless moved on.

Kylesku Bridge

north coast 500 kylesku bridge
Kylesku Bridge

Situated the place Loch Glencoul and Loch Glendhu meet, it is a very picturesque spot within the coronary heart of the highlands. The Kylesku bridge is without doubt one of the Most Photographed Stops on the North Coast 500.

Kylesku sits in the course of Scotland’s 2,000 km2 (770 sq mi) World Geopark. There’s lots of historical past human and geological on this land and the Geopark is acknowledged by UNESCO and is about as much as promote and protect that historical past.


north coast 500 scottish highlands cow
Well-known Scottish Cattle

Many individuals minimize this portion of drive and head on to Lochinver alongside the A894 and A837 however probably the most picturesque street routes we took within the north highlands have been towards Drumbeg. The open roads that we had seen up to now, gave method to slender single monitor roads dropping off into deep valleys.

north coast 500 road trip wildlife

It was a wonderful winding journey. It was solely 10 miles lengthy however it took us properly over an hour to navigate and take within the sights. It was right here that we noticed numerous stags operating by way of the hills. And, it was right here that we got here throughout the very fairly highland cows, and it was right here that we noticed a whole bunch of sheep grazing within the fields and skittering away at any time when we drew close to.

Stoerhead Lighthouse

north coast 500 guide Stoerhead Lighthouse
Stoerhead Lighthouse

The Stoerhead Lighthouse was definitely value a brief detour. The lighthouse itself isn’t tall, however it stands on a cliff that’s 54 meters (162 ft) above sea stage jutting out from the West Coast of Scotland.

The scene is spectacular and you’ll truly e book a keep within the lighthouse. There are two flats and a kitchen, so if you wish to spend extra time exploring the realm, that is as distinctive because it will get for lodging and also you’ll have unbelievable views of the ocean!

north coast 500 coffee stop
Flossies espresso store has wonderful espresso

Dave and I like espresso on a street journey and admittedly the alternatives for on-the-go espresso on the North Coast 500 have been few and much between. That’s why once we noticed an indication selling espresso forward, we adopted it.

Flossies is a tiny espresso store situated on the facet of the street, however it’s an establishment within the space. Opened in 1972 by Mrs Flossie Machphail it has now been taken over by her son William and his spouse Caroline who proceed the custom of constructing nice espresso to heat your bones from the damp Scottish climate. When driving by way of this part, make sure you refill!


The only monitor roads proceed from Clachtol by way of an extremely stunning rocky and rolling panorama. When in Clachtol make sure you try the stone broch. Scottish Brochs date again to someplace across the first century BC.

Consultants can’t fairly agree on what they have been, however these stone constructions are value a go to to witness how these mounds of stones have survived by way of the centuries.

Achmevilch Seaside

Achmevilch Bay is outwardly fairly beautiful and a great spot to park your caravan. Sadly for us, we have been heading in that route whereas the street was below building. We have been advised to return again in just a few hours by employees, however alas, we needed to transfer on as we have been on a mission to complete our NC500 street journey.

The time to go to Achmevilch Bay is throughout the summer season season anyway as there’s water snowboarding, windsurfing, a number of strolling trails and fishing. Okay then, it’s settled, we should return to Northern Scotland!

The place to Keep

north coast 500 kylesku hotel
The Kylesku Resort

Kylesku resort is an efficient base There are boat journeys, climbing trails and wildlife excursions the place you possibly can spot sea otters, seals and migrating sea birds. See it on Journey Advisor / There’s additionally the Drumbeg Resort.

We stayed at a small farmhouse known as the Croft 338 B&B. It’s a fundamental B&B, however the Web is sweet, there’s cable TV and she or he makes a hearty breakfast within the morning.

Day 10 – Lochinver to Ullapool

north coast 500 stag

The surroundings is breathtaking within the North Highlands, and as soon as once more as we make our means additional down the west coast to Ullapool we’re treating to beautiful views. The only-track street weaves by way of mountainous terrain and closely wooded areas. Have your digicam prepared, there are many photograph alternatives of untamed deer on this leg from Lochinver to Ullapool.

Staic Pollaidh

north coast 500 saic pollaidh
Mountaineering to Staic Pollaidh

On our method to Ullapool, we met up with adrenaline junkie and information extraordinaire, Tim Hamlett. Tim runs Hamlett Mountaineering and we immediately grew to become quick mates. He’s positively that man that you simply need to hang around with. He provides guided climbing journeys and guided treks into the mountains. Tim actually does all of it!

With kayaking adventures and snorkelling journeys coming quickly, you might spend every week hanging with him exploring the highlands. He provides multiday treks, however we have been on a schedule so solely had the morning with him. You possibly can stroll the paths your self, however to rent a information is the place you actually get the true expertise.

North coast 500 guide to staic pollaidh
Tim of Hamlett Mountaineering

We met Tim on the Stac Pollaidh automobile park the place we joined as much as climb Stac Pollaidh. This can be a premiere attraction within the space however we met early sufficient within the morning that the opposite trekkers had but to reach and we had the path all to ourselves.

Tim advised us of the geology and different climbs within the space. His spouse works for the GeoPark and he’s very keen about selling tourism and conservation within the highlands. His enterprise is increasing quickly and we are able to’t wait to return again within the close to future to do some correct mountaineering with him.

It’s best to positively e book a visit with him and tell us what we should always do subsequent! Go to Hamlet Mountaineering for extra particulars.

Corrieshalloch Gorge

Corrieshalloch Gorge north coast 500 scotland road triop
Corrieshalloch Gorge

Situated simply quarter-hour exterior of Ullapool, the Corrieshalloch Gorge is an fascinating cease. A brief but steep stroll from the automobile park takes you to a deep and slender field canyon the place you possibly can cross the suspension bridge.

The bridge is a bit hair-raising because it’s slender and the railings are low, however it’s well worth the view. There are climbing trails to discover and a waterfall to go to.

In a single day in Ullapool

north coast 500 road trip ulapool

Ullapool is a picturesque fishing city that’s bustling with enterprise. Evidently everybody driving the North Coast 500 stays right here. We beloved our B&B and extremely suggest it. We put it up there as the good lodging on the NC500.

The place to Keep in Ullapool

north coast 500 westlea house ullapool
Our room on the Westlea B&B

Westlea Home Boutique B&B was by far our favorite place to remain on the North Coast 500. You’ll need to sit by the fireplace perusing the large selection of books and magazines, or you might need to pop into the music room and select from the in depth assortment of vinyl information.. Test it out on Journey Advisor /

Argyll Resort is an alternative choice for accommodations on this portion of the NC500 – See it on Journey Advisor /

Ullapool provides a substantial selection of eating choices for the dimensions of the city. Suggestions are the Arch Inn, Argyle Resort Seafood Bar for contemporary native seafood, The Ceilidh Place and Ferry Boat Inn.

We totally loved espresso at Mountain Provides Espresso Store. Situated on the second flooring of a mountaineering tools retailer, this café has a hipster vibe with and out of doors lover’s twist. The pleasant workers made us really feel heat and welcome.

Day 11: North Coast 500 – Gairloch

north coast 500 gairloch
Dave goes again to his roots in Gairloch

Gairloch makes for an excellent base when exploring the west coast portion of the NC 500. You possibly can go up and down the coast in each instructions. There’s a lot to see and do right here and you’ll cowl lots of floor so if you wish to make a base right here for a few days, it’s an excellent choice. Gairloch is an especially necessary city in Scotland with lots of historical past.

Gairloch was based by the McKenzies as a protected vacation spot for Scottish Highlanders to put on their kilts and proceed their Scottish traditions when the British weren’t permitting them to take action. Dave has ties to Gairloch. We came upon about it once we had our Ancestry DNA achieved simply earlier than leaving. 

Inverewe Gardens

north coast 500 inverewe gardens
Inverewe Backyard

Inverewe Gardens is an fascinating cease full of unique crops that merely shouldn’t have the ability to develop on this nook of northern Scotland. In 1860 Osgood McKenzie created this fastidiously sculpted backyard out of some scrub willows and naked rocks.

The 50-acre backyard stands on the shore of Loch Ewe and unique crops from all over the world thrive right here due to the nice and cozy currents of the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic. Drift In 2016 the home was opened to the general public after present process a £2million restoration by the Nationwide Belief for Scotland.

Isle of Ewe Smokehouse

north coast 500 isle of ewe smokehouse
Esle of Ewe Smokehouse for fish and snacks

Fishing is a large a part of the economic system in Northern Scotland and when you are in Gairloch, you might need to cease on the Isle of Ewe Smokehouse. It’s fascinating to cease and see what occurs to the fish after the catch. This family-run store smokes all its fish in conventional stone kilns utilizing whisky barrel staves & native Larch to present their fish its personal distinctive taste.

They’ve a present store the place you possibly can choose up provides and native seafood on your street journey or seize a present field for somebody particular at dwelling. You possibly can even order on-line! 

Loch Maree

north coast 500 road trip stops Loch Maree
Dawn at Loch Maree

There are such a lot of lochs in Northern Scotland it’s troublesome to decide on the place to cease, however Loch Maree is unquestionably a wonderful place to go to at dawn. Campervans park in a single day on the shores of this loch however you possibly can drive in for a view as properly. It’s not extremely traveled and could be troublesome to search out.

At first, we parked at a logging street and began to stroll the gap to the loch, however fortunately we determined to maneuver on. Simply a few kilometers down the street we discovered the minimize off to the seaside and have been handled to a spectacular view.

Beinn Eighe

Beinn Eighe is Britain’s oldest nature reserve and a premier climbing vacation spot. There’s 48 Sq. km to discover with trails as brief as 1 1/2 km. Mountaineering is widespread in Scotland and you’ll’t go to the nation with out doing a correct trek.

The principle entry is from Loch Maree close to the village of Kinlochewe and trails go away from both the customer centre right here or the Coille na Glas-Leitir automobile park additionally on the shores of Loch Maree. For full path maps and knowledge see the go to Scotland National Nature Reserve website

Klinlochewe Viewpoint

north coast 500 applecross to klinlochewe

Choosing up a espresso on the newly opened Klinlochewe Espresso Store on the gasoline station we chatted with the homeowners who gave us some tips on one of the best viewpoint within the space. I can’t imagine we nearly missed this!

Many individuals miss this view as a result of they take the coastal scenic path to Applecross. However make sure you no less than drive as much as the point of view. Prime Gear named it one of many nice drives of the UK.

We have been fortunate as a result of we had a few days within the space so we drove the coast the day earlier than and may take the shortcut by way of the mountains immediately. Each are extremely beneficial.

Diabag Viewpoint

Diabag Viewpoint north coast 500
Diabag Viewpoint

One other unbelievable view that we stumbled upon was Diabag Viewpoint. Driving from Torridon we heard that this was an excellent place for panoramic views and whoever gave us that recommendation was proper!

The street is an unbelievable thrill of 1 lane switching forwards and backwards up a steep mountain. There are a number of stops to see views to the east, to the west, and over the water trying from Scotland’s beautiful west coast.

It’s well worth the drive and to do your entire path to Decrease Diabag took us about an hour every means. (we do wish to cease for lots images although)

The place to Keep in Gairloch

north coast 500 gairloch where to stay
The Outdated in exterior Gairloch

The Old Inn. It’s an outdated teaching inn reworked with fashionable conveniences. Set on a wonderful property, there are strolling trails, gardens and streams operating by way of the property. On-site, there is a superb seafood restaurant and an award-winning pub. This can be a place that felt like we have been in the actual Scotland. See it on Journey Advisor /

Shieldaig Lodge This outdated looking lodge is situated on Loch Gairloch. It’s set on a 26,000 acre property within the West Highlands. See it on Journey Advisor /

Day 12: North Coast 500 – Klinlochewe to Applecross

In terms of the North Coast 500, the surroundings is the star attraction so take your time to cease, go for hikes, benefit from the trails, e book a path journey (the Highlanders have been nice horsemen), go kayaking, crusing, and seek for wildlife. The sky is the restrict right here.

This last stretch of driving alongside the coast might be essentially the most scenic and enjoyable driving you’ll have alongside the North Coast 500. There are such a lot of viewpoints to cease and benefit from the scene, you’ll spend a complete day getting by way of only a brief 32-mile stretch. As you drive from Torridon the views are plentiful.

We picked up a scrumptious cappuccino for takeaway (have you ever observed we like espresso?) on the Torridon Resort and bar and commenced our scenic journey alongside Higher Torridon Loch. This can be a nice day journey for a coast journey taking you all the best way across the path to Applecross the place you drive essentially the most spectacular go Baelnabach Go; The star attraction of the North Coast 500.

City of Sheildag

north coast 500 town of sheildag
View of Sheildag

Make sure you pull over as a lot as potential alongside this route as you’re going to discover some wonderful overhead views. The preliminary climb up the coast has hairpin turns and viewpoints. A stunning one we discovered was a pull-off with a brief path resulting in a view of the city of Sheildag.

Well-known Purple Home

famous red cottage of the North coast 500
Well-known Purple Farmhouse

Have you ever ever seen the images of the little crimson home in northern Scotland? Nicely, it’s right here alongside this route that you simply’ll discover it. Get pleasure from a quiet cease on the facet of the street right here and watch the sheep graze within the yard.

Continuous pullovers  and Passing Locations

north coast 500 beautiful coastal views
Plentiful Coastal Views

This route across the North Highlands takes you alongside the ocean facet of the west coast and there are such a lot of stops you simply might take a complete day to get to your vacation spot. We noticed lots of highland cows alongside this street too. The slender roads have pullovers and passing locations the place you possibly can both get out of your automobile for images or let sooner drivers go. This can be a place you need to take your time, but additionally be thoughtful of sooner drivers.

Flocks of sheep have been plentiful and there have been even views of the Isle of Skye. It was an unbelievable drive however be ready for lots of wind. We had stunning sunny climate, however the wind was robust. When getting out of the automobile we needed to placed on a jacket. By no means assume you’ll be tremendous in shorts or a t-shirt all day when driving in Northern of Scotland.

Applecross to Baelnabach Go

north coast 500 road trip applecross
All Round Applecross

That is the spotlight of your entire North Coast 500 and it doesn’t disappoint. Baelnabach Go was an outdated cattle path that was changed into a driving transport route and is now a well-liked vacationer route.

The drive is thrilling with hairpin activates single-lane tracks that you simply nonetheless share with transports. There are just a few pullovers and it’s value stopping in case you see one and really feel assured. The views are magnificent trying down the valley.

While you get to the highest of the go make sure you get out of your automobile and go for a hike. The rocky panorama is like nothing you’ve ever seen main out to the ocean.

Kishorn Seafood Bar

north coast 500 road trip where to eat
Kishorn Seafood Bar for Lunch

It’s been an enormous day and also you’ve in all probability constructed up an urge for food. Should you hold following the primary street in the direction of Lochcarron you’ll come throughout the nice Kishorn Seafood Bar. Serving contemporary native seafood, this isn’t to be missed.

This family-run eatery is full of wonderful decisions for lunch or dinner and the workers is pleasant. They even gave us a style of the native specialty. Should you haven’t tried oysters earlier than, that is the place to do it. They even give certificates to first-timers.

Day 13: North Coast 500 – Plockton

north coast 500 plokton
Plockton again to Inverness

Our last vacation spot earlier than ending off the loop to Inverness took us to Plockton. Plockton grew to become our dwelling base to discover the realm. Like different components of the nc500, there’s lots of historical past, wildlife and surroundings to get pleasure from and listed here are just a few highlights of what you need to see and do!

Reraig Forest Tour

north coast 500 reraig forest
Buggy journey on the Reraig Forest

We met our information Colin at Lochcarron village not having a clue as to what we have been doing or the place we have been going. Hopping into his truck he took us to Reraig Forest the place we obtained right into a buggy to make our means up a steep mountain.

The buggy was an journey sufficient as we clung to the sting of steep banks, rammed by way of deep mud and trotted alongside the rocky panorama. However that was simply a part of the journey.

north coast 500 road trip reraig forest
The huge deer herd of Reraig Forest

The true magnificence got here once we reached the pack of deer and stags roaming the land. It’s right here that you simply’ll discover stunning deer that roam free on hundreds of acres of property.

Colin feeds the deer particular pellets to subsidize their weight loss program as he says the vegetation doesn’t give them the vitamins they want. You possibly can inform he loves the herd and he even identified just a few that jumped over the fence to stay round.

Colin additionally has sheep and rams on the land that come operating when he arrives. It was fairly humorous to see the deer observe our buggy over the hills like a flock of sheep. They have been very excited to see him!

Eilean Donan Fortress

north coast 500 eilean donan castle
Walkway to Eilean Donan Fortress

Presumably essentially the most well-known fort within the land, Eilean Donan Fortress was used for the set of Highlander, James Bond’s The World is Not Sufficient, and the New Avengers. It’s a wonderful fort the place you possibly can tour and be taught concerning the historical past of the clans that dominated the Highlands.

It tells the story by way of a wonderful audio-visual show concerning the Jacobite rebellion and fall, and the wars of the clans. You possibly can stroll by way of the completely different rooms of the fort which are embellished simply as they have been a whole bunch of years in the past and get a real sense of what life was like. The present store is superb and it was right here that we purchased a woolen scarf within the colours of Dave’s ancestors the McKenzies.

Strome Fortress

Strome Fortress overlooks the ocean

A far much less intact fort however nonetheless stunning to go to is Drome Fortress. In the present day it’s in ruins, the outer partitions are nonetheless standing and you’ll stroll in and out exploring the coastal piece of land.

At low tide you possibly can stroll fairly far out to the ocean for view of the fort and you’ll snap the compulsory image by way of the doorway arch.

Duncraig Fortress

north coast 500 duncraig castle
Duncraig Fortress

Duncraig Fortress is a fort that has been changed into a mattress and breakfast and is value a photograph cease in case you are not staying there. The street resulting in the railway station goes instantly by way of the fort grounds, you possibly can simply drive your automobile proper as much as the entrance door to take a look. It’s situated on Loch Carron and could be seen from the city of Plockton. There are even hikes that lead out to the fort.

The place to Keep in Plockton

north coast 500 road trip plokton accomodation
Downtown Plockton Resort

The Plockton Resort – Situated on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Resort is the preferred spot on the town. With a Michelin rated pub, it has a number of the finest pub meals and environment in Scotland. We ate there every night time, having fun with native seafood with whiskey and wine. Journey Advisor /

Plocton Inn is one other resort on the town and it has wonderful eating as properly.

Duncraig Fortress is a fort that has been changed into a mattress and breakfast and is value a photograph cease

The place to eat in Plockton: The Plockton Inn, Plockton Resort, and Plockton Shores all specialise in seafood and are all wonderful. 

Day 14: Isle of Skye – North Coast 500

game of thrones filming locations Scotland
The Outdated Man of Storr from our Scotland Highway journey on the Isle of Skye

Visiting the Isle of Sky is an good optionally available facet journey. Whereas it’s not situated instantly on the North Coast 500, it’s a stones throw away. Plockton can be a wonderful place to make a base for visiting the Isle of Sky. As one particular person stated to us, “You possibly can’t actually come to this a part of Scotland and never go to Skye.” We made some extent to go to the Isle of Skye to see a number of the highlights. A day is just not sufficient however was simply sufficient to view its high points of interest.

When visiting the Isle of Sky, don’t miss seeing the Outdated Man of Storr, its most well-known website. We made a b-line on the market whereas the climate was good after which weaved our means across the island to see its stunning panorama from its dramatic sea cliffs, waterfalls, fairy swimming pools and the city of Portree. If you’re a whisky lover, pop into the Talisker Distillery for a tasting.


north coast 500 inverness capital of the scottish highlands

And that ends a two-week North Coast 500 itinerary. You may make your means again to Inverness or proceed on to discover Scotland. When you have your individual automobile, why not keep a month? There’s nonetheless a lot to see from Edinburgh to Glasgow and in all places in between.

The NC500 is without doubt one of the best drives on the earth. Sooner or later, the single-track roads could also be changed into double-lane highways and extra accommodations could be popping up in all places. However in case you get there shortly, you’ll get pleasure from outdated Scottish hospitality with some extraordinary scenic views. So what are you ready for? E-book your North Coast 500 Lodging now, rooms replenish quick and you might miss out in case you wait!

North Coast 500 Ideas

tips for driving the north coast 500

The North Coast 500 covers an enormous portion of mainland Scotland and planning could be overwhelming. We’ve put collectively just a few suggestions that will help you manage your lodging, packing and automobile leases on your official North Coast 500 street journey.

The climate modifications dramatically in Scotland. When asking the locals what the temperature is like in the summertime season, many stated it wasn’t a lot completely different from once we visited in late March/early April.

So when touring Northern Scotland, make sure you pack layers, waterproof climbing boots, and waterproof outer layers. We had all of this with us and apart from this one time at Fortress Sinclair Girnigo, we didn’t let wind or rain cease us from exploring and also you shouldn’t both.

That’s the allure of Scotland. It’s precisely the identical as Iceland. Should you don’t just like the climate simply wait a minute or so, it is going to change. 

How one can Get to Inverness

north coast 500 inverness

There are a number of methods to get to Inverness, Scotland. Should you aren’t driving your individual automobile from one of many different international locations in the UK, likelihood is you’ll be flying.

Inverness has its personal airport (Inverness Airport – INV) with home and worldwide flights. From main cities within the UK, similar to London, Manchester, and Birmingham, you possibly can fly on to Inverness. There are additionally direct flights from some European cities, similar to Amsterdam and Dublin. When you arrive on the airport, you possibly can take a taxi or bus to get to the town heart.

By Practice: Inverness is well-connected by rail to different main cities within the UK, together with London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. The practice station in Inverness is situated within the metropolis heart, making it handy for vacationers. You possibly can test practice schedules and e book tickets on-line through web sites similar to Nationwide Rail Enquiries.

By Car: Inverness is accessible by automobile through the A9, which is the primary street linking the town to the remainder of Scotland. If you’re driving from the south, you possibly can take the M6 and A74(M) to achieve the A9. The journey time from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Inverness is roughly 3-4 hours by automobile, relying on visitors circumstances. There are a number of automobile rental corporations obtainable at Inverness airport or within the metropolis heart, if it’s good to hire a automobile.

Ideas for Driving the North Coast 500

north coast 500 road trip tps

The North Coast 500 is a scenic driving route that covers the northern coast of Scotland, and it may be an exciting journey for drivers. Listed below are some suggestions to remember when driving the North Coast 500.

When driving the North Coast 500 be ready for singletrack lanes. You share one lane in each instructions and you’ll have to again up or pull over usually for oncoming visitors. The foundations work that if there’s a passing place in your facet, you’re the particular person to drag over. If the passing place is on the opposite facet of the street, they are going to.

There are many passing locations the place slower drivers can transfer out of the best way if they’ve automobiles behind them, and there are pullovers the place you possibly can pull in to let oncoming visitors by way of. In the summertime season, visitors is busier, in case you journey within the low season, you’ll come throughout fewer automobiles.

In Scotland, like within the UK, visitors drives on the left facet of the street. If you’re not used to this, take a while to regulate and be further cautious when driving, particularly on slender and winding roads.

The North Coast 500 can get busy throughout peak season, so be respectful of different drivers and locals. Comply with the velocity limits, yield to different autos, and use pull-outs or designated passing locations to let different automobiles go in case you are driving slower. There isn’t any hurt in pulling over to let somebody go you. It’s a widespread courtesy so be respectful of the drivers behind you.

Driving the North Coast 500 could be difficult. The route runs by way of a various panorama with slender single monitor roads winding by way of steep hills, and blind corners. Keep alert and centered, particularly when driving within the night or early morning when visibility is low.

Be ready for all climate circumstances: Scotland’s climate could be unpredictable, so be prepared for all sorts of climate and climate can change instantly. You can encounter snow, rain, wind and sunny climate. Costume in layers and pack waterproof clothes. Carry heat clothes, waterproof gear, and a primary help package in case of an emergency. See our suggestions

Be careful for wildlife: The North Coast 500 takes you thru some wild and distant areas, so hold a watch out for wildlife on the street, similar to deer, sheep, and cows. They are often unpredictable, so decelerate and drive cautiously.

Automobile Leases and Driving

north coast 500 car rentals

Make certain to be thoughtful of different drivers when driving the NC500. The roads are slender and many individuals don’t use the passing locations devoted to permitting others to go. If you’re driving slowly, pull over when one of many passing locations comes as much as let one other go.

Plus, it’s simpler to search out parking in cities and you’ll pull off on small turnouts alongside the path to be out of the best way whereas capturing these awe-inspiring pictures of the panorama and beautiful coastal surroundings. When you have a smaller automobile, you gained’t have an excessive amount of bother getting round.

We rented a small automobile and it made issues a lot simpler to drag over for oncoming visitors. Many individuals camp on the NC 500. Campervans are allowed, however can’t navigate a number of the trails and smaller tracks. So take that into consideration when reserving your automobile.

Scotland is on the Pound Sterling – 1 Pound Sterling = 1.30 USD. For updated alternate charges go to XE Currency Convertor. 

Eagle Creek Plug Adapter – This multi function adapter is all of your want for Scotland retailers and different European and world travels.

Get your tunes prepared, there are various locations you gained’t get radio service – See our Highway Journey Songs Playlist

Take your time and benefit from the surroundings: The North Coast 500 provides a number of the most breathtaking surroundings in Scotland, so take your time and luxuriate in it. Cease usually to take images, stretch your legs, and benefit from the views. There are many scenic spots to cease and admire, similar to seashores, cliffs, and waterfalls.

By following the following tips, you possibly can have a protected and pleasurable driving expertise on the North Coast 500 in Scotland.

North Coast 500 Packing Ideas

north coast 500 packing tips

The climate modifications dramatically in Scotland. When asking the locals what the temperature is like in the summertime, many stated it wasn’t a lot completely different from once we visited in late March/early April.

Packing for the North Coast 500 in Scotland requires cautious planning, particularly in case you are touring throughout the cooler months. Listed below are some packing tricks to think about:

Heat and waterproof clothes: Scotland’s climate could be unpredictable, and it may well get chilly and moist even throughout the summer season months. Pack heat and waterproof clothes, together with a water-resistant jacket, pants, and footwear. Layering can be important to remain heat, so carry sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and thermals.

Comfy climbing boots: The North Coast 500 provides loads of alternatives for out of doors actions, similar to climbing and strolling. Carry comfy strolling footwear or climbing boots with good traction to discover the countryside.

Solar safety: Whereas Scotland’s climate could be chilly and moist, the solar can nonetheless be robust, particularly throughout the summer season months. Pack solar safety, together with sunscreen, sun shades, and a hat.

Insect repellent: Scotland has its fair proportion of midges, tiny flying bugs that may be a nuisance throughout the summer season months. Pack insect repellent to keep away from being bitten.

Digital camera and binoculars: The North Coast 500 provides a number of the most beautiful landscapes and wildlife in Scotland, so carry a digicam and binoculars to seize the surroundings and wildlife.

Cell phone and charger: Make certain to carry a cell phone and charger, as there are many scenic spots with no cellphone protection. It is usually important to have a GPS and a paper map to navigate the route. We additionally carry a transportable adaper.

Money and bank cards: Whereas there are ATMs and bank card services obtainable alongside the North Coast 500 route, it’s at all times good to have some money readily available for smaller transactions, similar to parking or buying objects from native companies.

The place to Keep on the North Coast 500

where to stay on the north coast 500

We broke down the place we stayed on the North Coast 500 in every part, however to make issues simpler for you, we’ve rounded up one of the best luxurious accommodations, self catering lodging, and BnBs so that you can try on this wonderful driving route. It’s best to e book your lodging upfront as this



  • Dornoch Fortress – A historic fort situated within the coronary heart of Dornoch Journey Advisor /
  • Royal Marine Resort – One of many few luxurious accommodations on the North Coast 500 East Caost and makes for an excellent base to discover this portion of the driving route.

Wick / Dunnet Head

  • Ackergille Tower Resort – If you’re on the lookout for extra luxurious accommodations on the North Coast 500, try the fort accommodations. We beloved our keep at Ackergille Tower resort making for an outstanding base to discover alongside the north coast. Test it out on Journey Advisor /
  • If you’re on the lookout for self catering lodging, Riverside Flats has kitchens, washing machines and free WiFi view it on Journey Advisor /


Smoo Caves

  • Smoo Cave Resort a fundamental resort, however the location is an ideal cease after driving from Tongue. There’s bar and so they have a number of the finest Haggis round. Evaluate costs on TripAdvisor

Lochinver / Drumbeg / Lochinver

  • Kylesku resort is an efficient base There are boat journeys, climbing trails and wildlife excursions the place you possibly can spot sea otters, See it on Journey Advisor / There’s additionally the Drumbeg Resort.
  • We stayed at a small farmhouse known as the Croft 338 B&B. It’s a fundamental B&B, however the Web is sweet, there’s cable TV and she or he makes a hearty breakfast within the morning.




  • The Plockton Resort – Situated on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Resort is the preferred spot on the town. Journey Advisor /
  • Plocton Inn is one other resort on the town and it has wonderful eating as properly.
  • Duncraig Fortress is a fort that has been changed into a mattress and breakfast and is value a photograph cease

Plan your route and stops upfront: The North Coast 500 route covers over 500 miles and takes you thru some distant areas. Plan your route fastidiously, and analysis the points of interest and e book your lodging upfront.

While you go to Scotland, make certain so as to add the North Coast 500 to your itinerary. It is without doubt one of the nice street journeys on the earth and takes you thru a number of the most beautiful coastal surroundings within the nation and really allows you to expertise all of the highlights of the Scottish Highlands.

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