The Important Information to Scotland’s North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 has been billed as Scotland’s reply to America’s Route 66 however this Scottish highway 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 observe roads. The NC500 is likely one of the nice highway journeys on the planet.

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 the Scottish highlands and we’ve put collectively the final word NC500 Journey Planner that can assist you profit from your time within the Scottish highlands. 

Top stops on the North Coast 500

North Coast 500 Information

Dave and I’ve achieved loads of highway journeys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they simply is perhaps our specialty. We’ve pushed a automotive from England to Mongolia within the Mongol Rally, we had been the primary media to drive Eire’s complete Wild Atlantic Means (the longest coastal route on earth) and sure, we have now pushed by massive chunks of America’s Route 66.

Once we had the chance to drive the North Coast 500, we jumped on the probability, we have now all the time 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 sights, stocking up on snacks, placing collectively a playlist, and hitting the highway.

The North Coast 500 loop counterclockwise from Inverness and we’ve put collectively the final word plan that can assist you plan forward and profit 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 all the time been there.

The official North Coast 500 was launched in 2015 to spice up the Northern Highland economic system and has now turn into a preferred vacationer vacation spot providing gorgeous 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 the Scottish Highlands and alongside the coast of the North Atlantic, and down the west coast.

Alongside the way in which, vacationers can go to iconic landmarks such because the Bealach Na Ba Cross, the ruins of Ardvreck Fortress, and the white sands of Achmelvich Seaside. The route additionally passes by 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 highway journeys, attracting guests from everywhere in the world who come to discover the pure great thing about Scotland’s rugged north highlands. Whenever you go to Scotland, you’re going to wish to expertise a minimum of a portion its spectacular surroundings.

The place is the North Coast 500

north coast 500 highland cow

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

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

NC500 Automotive Leases

rental car north coast 500 road trip

One of the best ways to discover the North Coast 500 is on a highway journey is by driving. In case you don’t already dwell within the UK and have your individual automotive, you’ll wish to e-book a rental automotive nicely upfront. There are many locations to e-book rental vehicles in Scotland. We use Rental Automobiles Join to search out one of the best offers on any rental automotive. You’ll be able to examine costs on their web site.

Scorching Tip: Ensure your rental automotive is a smaller automotive as roads are sometimes single observe roads alongside the North Coast 500 and a small automotive is straightforward to navigate by the North Highlands. The roads by the Scottish Highlands are winding and slender there are a number of hairpin turns. Small vehicles may also match simply into the passing locations to let quicker drivers overtake you. Rental vehicles are scarce lately, so make sure you e-book nicely upfront. Examine costs at

Day 1: North Coast 500 – Inverness

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

We began our North Coast 500 highway 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 house to the very well-known Loch Ness the place you’ll be able to seek for Nessie herself. That was our most important 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 linked 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 wish to spend a while right here. Listed below are a number of prime sights to see earlier than shifting alongside the North Coast 500.

Loch Ness

north coast 500 loch ness near inverness

Inverness is the primary hub for exploring Loch Ness. Individuals go to the legendary Loch Ness looking for the Loch Ness Monster, however it’s price exploring the sandy seashores and surroundings round Inverness as nicely.

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

 Drumnadrochit and Glen Affric

When you’ve got extra time, you’ll be able to keep in Drumnadrochit, there are many B&Bs within the space. In case you are staying within the space take a drive to Glen Affric to absorb its gorgeous panorama and consider the gorgeous Plodda Falls. That is the spot the place the tour busses cease although so be ready for giant crowds and visitors.

Remember to watch the sundown from Dores Seaside and you could 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 spoil 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 Lodge and spa with swimming pool and breakfast included. We stayed right here and completely beloved it.

The Kingsmills Lodge is situated on a golf course simply outdoors 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 lodge and the rooms had been spacious, and cozy. Parking is free and breakfasts are included. Test it out on TripAdvisor /

The Rocpool Reserve Lodge is one other beneficial lodge: Journey Advisor /

Urged 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

At present you’ll go away Inverness and make your option to Dornoch for the beginning of your east coast drive up North Coast 500 Street 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 direction of the NC500 gives many issues to see and locations to cease. Dornoch is known for the Dornoch Fortress and makes an excellent base to discover the whisky route.

Don’t simply beeline it to the following city, make sure you pop into these highlights in your manner 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 likely one of the greatest stops on the North Coast 500 highway journey. As you make your manner by the Scottish Highlands, be sure that to cease at one of the crucial historic websites on the itinerary. The fashionable 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 happened.

On a spring day in 1746, greater than 1200 males had been killed in only one quick 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 each side of the battlefield. One of the crucial highly effective moments comes once 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.

In case you are fascinated with Highland historical past (as we’re) this can be a place the place you’ll be able to simply spend hours. For extra data see Culloden Battlefield Customer’s Centre

Clava Cairns

north coast 500 clava cairns
Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns just isn’t 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 sequence (that is the place the place Claire was transported again in time) you’ll be able to 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 had been burial tombs used to deal with the lifeless and at present, guests can stroll the grounds and stroll proper into the centre of the tombs feeling the peace and quiet of the sacred web site. 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 town of Inverness. Regardless of its identify, Black Isle just isn’t an precise island however somewhat 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 identify “Black Isle” is alleged to return from the truth that when considered from a distance, the world 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’ll be able to simply discover Black Isle on a day journey from Inverness.

Street Journey Snacks

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

You can too meet the cattle together with Highland Cows. In case you are anxious about not seeing the well-known highland cattle alongside the route, (don’t be) you’ll have an excellent probability 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.

Positioned 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 likely one of the few distilleries in Scotland that also malts its personal barley and their Singleton mix can solely be purchased in Scotland or for those who 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 tip of day 3 in your North Coast 500 journey ends at Dornoch Fortress. Dornoch is a vacation spot unto itself with the fortress at its middle. The Scottish highlands are full of outdated castles which have been transformed into motels. Do your self a favor and e-book an evening a minimum of one fortress lodge.

Dornoch Fortress is situated proper out there 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 fortress units the tone for this distinctive Scottish highway journey. The pub makes you are 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 are feeling like royalty.

Dornoch Fortress and Whisky Bar

north coast 500 dornoch castle whisky bar
Keep at Dornoch Fortress

Dornoch Fortress is house to among the finest whisky bars on earth. It was voted the #1 Whisky Lodge of the Yr by It’s the whisky bar that’s the most important attraction. Sitting contained in the thick outdated stone partitions with the large fire roaring with flame you are feeling as for those who’ve stepped again in time to when clans dominated the land.

The intensive whisky inventory has received awards as one of the best whisky bar on the planet and is at present the reigning no 1 whisky lodge of the 12 months as named by

Having the distillery tour helped us to grasp the distilling strategy of Scottish whiskey and gave us perception into aromas and flavors after we determined to style a number of drams at Dornoch Fortress’s whisky bar. This actually made us really feel like we had been taking a tour by historical past and our information Alistair was as enthusiastic 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 decide your mind to see what kind of Scotch you favor and supply up decisions of various whiskeys at completely different costs to fit your wants.

Be aware: Scotland spells whisky with out an “e”. So once you go to Scotland, make sure you spell it the way in which 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. At any time when we go to Eire or Scotland, we all the time attempt to keep in a fortress for a really genuine and historic expertise. Journey Advisor /

There’s additionally The Dornoch Lodge you’ll be able to see extra data on Journey Advisor /

Royal Marine Lodge – Just a bit farther up the East Coast is the Royal Marine Lodge which was voted among the finest locations to remain in Britain. Simply an hour from Inverness alongside the North Coast 500, this can be a good place to make a base whereas exploring the east coast of Scotland. Test charges and availability on

Day 4: North Coast 500 – Dornoch to Wick

north coast 500 wick

Click on right here for an interactive map of NC 500

Day 4 of your North Coast 500 highway journey is all in regards to 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 may be 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 highway trippers can decide up a bottle of their favourite Scotch whisky. It’s price stopping a minimum of as soon as however if you wish to spend longer within the space, verify all of them out on a day tour. From the city of Dornoch, there are half a dozen distilleries to go to which might be from mere minutes to solely a few hours away.

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

In case you are on the lookout for one thing outdoors of distilleries, make your option to the Black Isle Brewing Firm. Black Isle is an natural brewer with a variety of natural beers and seasonal specials.

In case you are a whisky lover, Dornoch fortress or Royal Marine Lodge is the right place to base your travels as you discover the distilleries of the route. Go to their web site 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’ll be able to go to the gardens and grounds year-round. We parked our automotive and walked down the steps to a powerful view of this 800 year-old fortress. It’s completely different from different castles in Scotland resembling a French Chateau somewhat than the stark stone buildings in different components we noticed.

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

This fortress may be visited from Dornoch, or you’ll be able to plan as we did and make it a cease alongside the way in which to our subsequent vacation spot which in our case is Wick. Learn all about Donrobin Fortress right here.

The place to Keep – Ackergill Tower Lodge

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 numerous distinctive lodging alongside the route from farmhouses, B&Bs, lighthouses, and luxurious estates. Making our manner up the East Coast in direction of the northernmost tip of Scotland, we stayed on the Ackergill Tower Lodge.

north coast 500 ackergill billiards

We loved a scrumptious meal on this grand lodge. 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 in regards to the historical past of the fortress and puzzled what life may need been like again in time.

north coast 500 deb at ackergill tower hotel

Probably the most well-known story of the fortress tells the story of Helen Gunn, often called the Fantastic thing about Braemore who was kidnapped on her marriage 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 highway journey. Everybody instructed us the west coast was one of the best, however the northern tip was gorgeous. We may have spent a minimum of two extra days exploring the strolling trails alongside the coast.

It’s the space the place you see these large sea cliffs and sea stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. In case you like mountaineering 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 much like the Geo of Sclaites, the Whaligoe Steps is an excellent trek. The Whaligoe Steps encompass 330 steps main right down to one of the crucial inaccessible harbors in Scotland. Courting again to the mid 18th century, the Whaligoe Steps had been utilized by fishermen’s wives to haul fish up of their baskets. At its prime, 24 fishing boats had been working these waters fishing for herring.

Wick Heritage Centre

If you wish to be taught extra in regards to the fishing and historical past of the world, 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 numerous artifacts on show and rooms furnished to painting the previous. To get instructions and search for 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 instructed us the west coast was one of the best, however the northern tip was gorgeous. It’s the space the place you see these large sea cliffs and stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. In case you like mountaineering 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 Lodge turned 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.

Probably the most well-known story of the fortress tells the story of Helen Gunn, often called the Fantastic thing about Braemore who was kidnapped on her marriage 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 taking a look at 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’d 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 outside lover who takes guests to see view seabirds, seals, and different wildlife within the space.

However she additionally confirmed us historic websites equivalent 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 probably the most was studying the fascinating info of the world from Kate. For instance, Jimmy Web page of Led Zeppelin was a daily customer to the world 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 identify on the Harrow Harbour commemorating the reopening.

Fortress Sinclair Girnigo

North Coast 500 scenery
Deserted Mill on our Wildlife Tour

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

There was one explicit second after 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 instructed 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 taking a look at us as a substitute of the scene and missed this spotlight of the coast.

Duncansby Head

north coast 500 hiking at John O Groats

In case you search for pictures of the North Coast 500 on Google, likelihood is you’ve seen numerous pictures of Duncansby Head. Climbing right here is spectacular with many strolling paths alongside the coast. Positioned only a mile and a half from John O’Groats, make your option to parking on the Duncansby Head Lighthouse.

When you’ve got extra time, you’ll be able to hike instantly from John O’Groats to absorb 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 option to the awe-inspiring stacks. It’s solely a few 10-15 minute stroll, however alongside the way in which, be sure that to stay to the coast so you’ll be able to 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’ll be able to view them from all instructions.

 Geo of Sclaites

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

Remember to maintain an eye fixed out for seabirds. Completely different are consistently migrating by the world always of the 12 months. Together with puffins! A Geo is a deep inlet of water with excessive seacliffs and whereas there are lots 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 right base for exploring the northernmost level of Scotland. This Sixteenth-century tower has loads 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 varied sitting rooms for an after-dinner drink.

We love highway journeys! We included the North Coast 500 in our greatest highway 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 stunning to take a look at our map and see simply how far north we had 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 stunning 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 the likes of Armadale Bay and Melvich, we did see surfers within the water taking up the swells. These bays are nonetheless manner up within the north coast of Scotland so I can solely think about what the temperatures had been like.

We had been a bit too early within the season for kayaking and after we return to Scotland we will certainly give it a go. However we did see a number of skilled kayakers within the water. Wanting on the tough seas, we determined it was greatest left to the professionals presently 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 shall be open. It was underneath scaffolding after we arrived as we had been instructed that that they had simply found a bone and it was being excavated. It must be open now so that you can see.

You’ll be able to hike from the Tongue Lodge. It’s believed that the fortress was constructed within the 14th century upon an outdated Norse fort. So that you may be certain there may be loads 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 observe roads all to ourselves. We’d spy a lake, park the automotive 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 Lodge

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

The Tongue Lodge It has a comfy environment with massive rooms, and there’s all the time somebody providing a drop of sherry once 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 highway journey. See costs on Journey Advisor /

Ben Loyal Lodge is one other steered place to remain on this portion of the north coast 500. Positioned on Primary Avenue 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 every of 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 inside and outside. There are boardwalks main right down to the caves on both aspect supplying you with views of the steep path. A bridge permits you to cross the river main in from the ocean whereas wanting into the large 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 web site 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 info.

Balnakeil Bay

north coast 500 road trip Balnakiel Beach
Admiring Balnakiel Seaside

A ravishing stretch of sandy seashore may be discovered simply out of city and it’s positively price visiting. Not solely is it very picturesque, however you’ll additionally expertise the distinctive feeling of strolling on a seashore whereas navy autos drive by with nice goal.

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 occurring 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 positioning by the seashore housing an outdated church and tombstones. It’s very photogenic and John Lennon’s aunt is buried right here.

John Lennon visited the world 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 happened right here.

Belnakeil Craft Village

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

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

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

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

Smoo Cave Lodge

Smoo Cave Lodge a fundamental lodge, 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 an excellent bar and so they have a few of the greatest 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 Lodge has an excellent bar and so they have a few of the greatest Haggis round.

Day 9: North Coast 500 – Belnakeil to Lochinver

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

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

That is one other gorgeous drive alongside a single observe with views to die for. The surroundings alongside the North Coast 500 is exclusive. It varies from place to put, so be sure that to take your time to essentially get pleasure from all the views. In case 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

Positioned the place Loch Glencoul and Loch Glendhu meet, this can be a very picturesque spot within the coronary heart of the highlands. The Kylesku bridge is likely 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) International Geopark. There’s loads 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 reduce this portion of drive and head on to Lochinver alongside the A894 and A837 however one of the crucial picturesque highway routes we took within the north highlands had been towards Drumbeg. The open roads that we had seen up to now, gave option to slender single observe roads dropping off into deep valleys.

north coast 500 road trip wildlife

It was a good looking winding journey. It was solely 10 miles lengthy nevertheless it took us nicely over an hour to navigate and take within the sights. It was right here that we noticed numerous stags working by 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 lots of 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 price a brief detour. The lighthouse itself isn’t tall, nevertheless it stands on a cliff that’s 54 meters (162 ft) above sea degree 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 world, 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 an excellent espresso on a highway journey and admittedly the alternatives for on-the-go espresso on the North Coast 500 had been few and much between. That’s why after we noticed an indication selling espresso forward, we adopted it.

Flossies is a tiny espresso store situated on the aspect of the highway, 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 this part, make sure you refill!


The only observe roads proceed from Clachtol by an extremely stunning rocky and rolling panorama. When in Clachtol make sure you take a look at the stone broch. Scottish Brochs date again to someplace across the first century BC.

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

Achmevilch Seaside

Achmevilch Bay is seemingly fairly gorgeous and a great spot to park your caravan. Sadly for us, we had been heading in that course whereas the highway was underneath development. We had been instructed to return again in a number of hours by staff, however alas, we needed to transfer on as we had been on a mission to complete our NC500 highway journey.

The time to go to Achmevilch Bay is throughout the summer season season anyway as there may be water snowboarding, windsurfing, plenty 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 Lodge

Kylesku lodge is an efficient base There are boat journeys, mountaineering trails and wildlife excursions the place you’ll be able to spot sea otters, seals and migrating sea birds. See it on Journey Advisor / There’s additionally the Drumbeg Lodge.

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 manner additional down the west coast to Ullapool we’re treating to gorgeous views. The only-track highway weaves by mountainous terrain and closely wooded areas. Have your digital camera prepared, there are many photograph alternatives of untamed deer on this leg from Lochinver to Ullapool.

Staic Pollaidh

north coast 500 saic pollaidh
Climbing to Staic Pollaidh

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

With kayaking adventures and snorkelling journeys coming quickly, you could possibly spend per week hanging with him exploring the highlands. He gives multiday treks, however we had been on a schedule so solely had the morning with him. You’ll be able to 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 automotive park the place we joined as much as climb Stac Pollaidh. It is 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 instructed us of the geology and different climbs within the space. His spouse works for the GeoPark and he’s very enthusiastic about selling tourism and conservation within the highlands. His enterprise is increasing quickly and we will’t wait to return again within the close to future to do some correct mountaineering with him.

You must 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

Positioned simply quarter-hour outdoors of Ullapool, the Corrieshalloch Gorge is an fascinating cease. A brief but steep stroll from the automotive park takes you to a deep and slender field canyon the place you’ll be able to cross the suspension bridge.

The bridge is a bit hair-raising because it’s slender and the railings are low, however it’s definitely worth the view. There are mountaineering 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 best 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 wish to sit by the fireplace perusing the large selection of books and magazines, or you could wish to pop into the music room and select from the intensive assortment of vinyl information.. Test it out on Journey Advisor /

Argyll Lodge is another choice for motels on this portion of the NC500 – See it on Journey Advisor /

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

We completely loved espresso at Mountain Provides Espresso Store. Positioned on the second flooring of a mountaineering tools retailer, this café has a hipster vibe with and outside lover’s twist. The pleasant employees 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’ll be able to go up and down the coast in each instructions. There’s a lot to see and do right here and you’ll cowl loads of floor so if you wish to make a base right here for a few days, it’s an excellent possibility. Gairloch is a particularly essential city in Scotland with loads 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 discovered about it after 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 be capable to develop on this nook of northern Scotland. In 1860 Osgood McKenzie created this rigorously 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 world wide 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 if you are in Gairloch, you could wish 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 provide their fish its personal distinctive taste.

They’ve a present store the place you’ll be able to decide up provides and native seafood on your highway journey or seize a present field for somebody particular at house. You’ll be able to 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 good looking place to go to at dawn. Campervans park in a single day on the shores of this loch however you’ll be able to drive in for a view as nicely. It’s not extremely traveled and may be troublesome to search out.

At first, we parked at a logging highway and began to stroll the space to the loch, however fortunately we determined to maneuver on. Simply a few kilometers down the highway we discovered the reduce off to the seashore and had been handled to a spectacular view.

Beinn Eighe

Beinn Eighe is Britain’s oldest nature reserve and a premier mountaineering vacation spot. There’s 48 Sq. km to discover with trails as quick as 1 1/2 km. Climbing 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 automotive park additionally on the shores of Loch Maree. For full path maps and data see the go to Scotland Nationwide Nature Reserve web site

Klinlochewe Viewpoint

north coast 500 applecross to klinlochewe

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

Many individuals miss this view as a result of they take the coastal scenic path to Applecross. However make sure you a minimum of drive as much as the perspective. Prime Gear named it one of many nice drives of the UK.

We had 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 the mountains at present. 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 highway is an unbelievable thrill of 1 lane switching backwards and forwards up a steep mountain. There are a number of stops to see views to the east, to the west, and over the water wanting from Scotland’s gorgeous west coast.

It’s definitely worth the drive and to do your entire path to Decrease Diabag took us about an hour every manner. (we do prefer to cease for lots pictures although)

The place to Keep in Gairloch

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

The Outdated Inn. It’s an outdated teaching inn reworked with trendy conveniences. Set on a good looking property, there are strolling trails, gardens and streams working by the property. On-site, there is a superb seafood restaurant and an award-winning pub. It is a place that felt like we had been in the true Scotland. See it on Journey Advisor /

Shieldaig Lodge This outdated searching 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

Relating to 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 experience (the Highlanders had 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 probably 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 only a quick 32-mile stretch. As you drive from Torridon the views are plentiful.

We picked up a scrumptious cappuccino for takeaway (have you ever seen we like espresso?) on the Torridon Lodge and bar and started our scenic journey alongside Higher Torridon Loch. It is a nice day journey for a coast journey taking you all the way in which across the path to Applecross the place you drive probably the most spectacular go Baelnabach Cross; The star attraction of the North Coast 500.

City of Sheildag

north coast 500 town of sheildag
View of Sheildag

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

Well-known Crimson Home

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

Have you ever ever seen the photographs of the little pink home in northern Scotland? Nicely, it’s right here alongside this route that you simply’ll discover it. Take pleasure in a quiet cease on the aspect of the highway 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 aspect 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 loads of highland cows alongside this highway too. The slender roads have pullovers and passing locations the place you’ll be able to both get out of your automotive for photographs or let quicker drivers go. It is a place you wish to take your time, but in addition be thoughtful of quicker drivers.

Flocks of sheep had 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 automotive we needed to placed on a jacket. By no means assume you’ll be high-quality in shorts or a t-shirt all day when driving in Northern of Scotland.

Applecross to Baelnabach Cross

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 Cross was an outdated cattle path that was became a driving transport route and is now a preferred vacationer route.

The drive is thrilling with hairpin activates single-lane tracks that you simply nonetheless share with transports. There are a number of pullovers and it’s price stopping for those who see one and really feel assured. The views are magnificent wanting down the valley.

Whenever you get to the highest of the go make sure you get out of your automotive 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. In case you maintain following the primary highway in 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 employees is pleasant. They even gave us a style of the native specialty. In case 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 turned our house base to discover the world. Like different components of the nc500, there may be loads of historical past, wildlife and surroundings to get pleasure from and listed below are a number of highlights of what you have to see and do!

Reraig Forest Tour

north coast 500 reraig forest
Buggy experience on the Reraig Forest

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

The buggy was an journey sufficient as we clung to the sting of steep banks, rammed by 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 after 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 plan as he says the vegetation doesn’t give them the vitamins they want. You’ll be able to inform he loves the herd and he even identified a number of that jumped over the fence to stay round.

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

Eilean Donan Fortress

north coast 500 eilean donan castle
Walkway to Eilean Donan Fortress

Probably probably the most well-known fortress 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 good looking fortress the place you’ll be able to tour and be taught in regards to the historical past of the clans that dominated the Highlands.

It tells the story by a wonderful audio-visual show in regards to the Jacobite rebellion and fall, and the wars of the clans. You’ll be able to stroll by the completely different rooms of the fortress which might be embellished simply as they had been lots of of years in the past and get a real sense of what life was like. The reward store is great 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 fortress however nonetheless stunning to go to is Drome Fortress. At present it’s in ruins, the outer partitions are nonetheless standing and you’ll stroll inside and outside exploring the coastal piece of land.

At low tide you’ll be able to stroll fairly far out to the ocean for an excellent view of the fortress and you’ll snap the compulsory image by the doorway arch.

Duncraig Fortress

north coast 500 duncraig castle
Duncraig Fortress

Duncraig Fortress is a fortress that has been became a mattress and breakfast and is price a photograph cease if you’re not staying there. The highway resulting in the railway station goes instantly by the fortress grounds, you’ll be able to simply drive your automotive proper as much as the entrance door to take a look. It’s situated on Loch Carron and may be seen from the city of Plockton. There are even hikes that lead out to the fortress.

The place to Keep in Plockton

north coast 500 road trip plokton accomodation
Downtown Plockton Lodge

The Plockton Lodge Positioned on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Lodge is the preferred spot on the town. With a Michelin rated pub, it has a few of the greatest 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 lodge on the town and it has wonderful eating as nicely.

Duncraig Fortress is a fortress that has been became a mattress and breakfast and is price a photograph cease

The place to eat in Plockton: The Plockton Inn, Plockton Lodge, 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 Street journey on the Isle of Skye

Visiting the Isle of Sky is an good non-compulsory aspect journey. Whereas it isn’t 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 individual stated to us, “You’ll be able to’t actually come to this a part of Scotland and never go to Skye.” We made a degree to go to the Isle of Skye to see a few of the highlights. A day just isn’t sufficient however was simply sufficient to view its prime sights.

When visiting the Isle of Sky, don’t miss seeing the Outdated Man of Storr, its most well-known web site. We made a b-line on the market whereas the climate was good after which weaved our manner across the island to see its stunning panorama from its dramatic sea cliffs, waterfalls, fairy swimming pools and the city of Portree. In case you are 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 manner again to Inverness or proceed on to discover Scotland. When you’ve got your individual automotive, why not keep a month? There’s nonetheless a lot to see from Edinburgh to Glasgow and in every single place in between.

The NC500 is likely one of the biggest drives on the planet. Sooner or later, the single-track roads could also be became double-lane highways and extra motels is perhaps popping up in every single place. However for those who get there shortly, you’ll get pleasure from outdated Scottish hospitality with some extraordinary scenic views. So what are you ready for? Ebook your North Coast 500 Lodging now, rooms refill quick and you could miss out for those who 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 may be overwhelming. We’ve put collectively a number of suggestions that can assist you arrange your lodging, packing and automotive leases on your official North Coast 500 highway 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 after we visited in late March/early April.

So when touring Northern Scotland, make sure you pack layers, waterproof mountaineering 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 attraction of Scotland. It’s precisely the identical as Iceland. In case you don’t just like the climate simply wait a minute or so, it would change. 

Get to Inverness

north coast 500 inverness

There are a number of methods to get to Inverness, Scotland. In case you aren’t driving your individual automotive from one of many different nations 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, equivalent to London, Manchester, and Birmingham, you’ll be able to fly on to Inverness. There are additionally direct flights from some European cities, equivalent to Amsterdam and Dublin. When you arrive on the airport, you’ll be able to take a taxi or bus to get to town middle.

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 middle, making it handy for vacationers. You’ll be able to verify practice schedules and e-book tickets on-line through web sites equivalent to Nationwide Rail Enquiries.

By Vehicle: Inverness is accessible by automotive through the A9, which is the primary highway linking town to the remainder of Scotland. In case you are driving from the south, you’ll be able to take the M6 and A74(M) to succeed in the A9. The journey time from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Inverness is roughly 3-4 hours by automotive, relying on visitors circumstances. There are a number of automotive rental firms out there at Inverness airport or within the metropolis middle, if you must lease a automotive.

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 exhilarating journey for drivers. Listed below are some suggestions to bear in mind 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 typically for oncoming visitors. The principles work that if there’s a passing place in your aspect, you’re the individual to tug over. If the passing place is on the opposite aspect of the highway, they may.

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

In Scotland, like within the UK, visitors drives on the left aspect of the highway. In case you are not used to this, take a while to regulate and be additional 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 pace limits, yield to different autos, and use pull-outs or designated passing locations to let different vehicles go if you’re driving slower. There isn’t a hurt in pulling over to let somebody go you. It’s a frequent courtesy so be respectful of the drivers behind you.

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

Be ready for all climate circumstances: Scotland’s climate may be unpredictable, so be prepared for all sorts of climate and climate can change straight away. You may encounter snow, rain, wind and sunny climate. Costume in layers and pack waterproof clothes. Deliver 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 maintain an eye fixed out for wildlife on the highway, equivalent to deer, sheep, and cows. They are often unpredictable, so decelerate and drive cautiously.

Automotive Leases and Driving

north coast 500 car rentals

Make sure that 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. In case you are 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 way in which whereas capturing these awe-inspiring pictures of the panorama and gorgeous coastal surroundings. When you’ve got a smaller automotive, you received’t have an excessive amount of hassle getting round.

We rented a small automotive and it made issues a lot simpler to tug over for oncoming visitors. Many individuals camp on the NC 500. Campervans are allowed, however can not navigate a few 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 trade charges go to XE Forex Convertor. 

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

Get your tunes prepared, there are numerous locations you received’t get radio service – See our Street Journey Songs Playlist

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

By following the following pointers, you’ll be able to have a protected and pleasing 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 after we visited in late March/early April.

Packing for the North Coast 500 in Scotland requires cautious planning, particularly if you’re touring throughout the cooler months. Listed below are some packing tricks to take into account:

Heat and waterproof clothes: Scotland’s climate may 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-proof jacket, pants, and sneakers. Layering can be important to remain heat, so deliver sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and thermals.

Comfy mountaineering boots: The North Coast 500 gives loads of alternatives for outside actions, equivalent to mountaineering and strolling. Deliver comfy strolling sneakers or mountaineering boots with good traction to discover the countryside.

Solar safety: Whereas Scotland’s climate may 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 gives a few of the most gorgeous landscapes and wildlife in Scotland, so deliver a digital camera and binoculars to seize the surroundings and wildlife.

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

Money and bank cards: Whereas there are ATMs and bank card services out there alongside the North Coast 500 route, it’s all the time good to have some money available for smaller transactions, equivalent 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 have now rounded up one of the best luxurious motels, self catering lodging, and BnBs so that you can take a look at on this superb driving route. You must e-book your lodging upfront as this



  • Dornoch Fortress – A historic fortress situated within the coronary heart of Dornoch Journey Advisor /
  • Royal Marine Lodge – One of many few luxurious motels 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 Lodge – In case you are on the lookout for extra luxurious motels on the North Coast 500, take a look at the fortress motels. We beloved our keep at Ackergille Tower lodge making for an excellent base to discover alongside the north coast. Test it out on Journey Advisor /
  • In case you are on the lookout for self catering lodging, Riverside Residences has kitchens, washing machines and free WiFi view it on Journey Advisor /


Smoo Caves

  • Smoo Cave Lodge a fundamental lodge, however the location is an ideal cease after driving from Tongue. There’s an excellent bar and so they have a few of the greatest Haggis round. Examine costs on TripAdvisor

Lochinver / Drumbeg / Lochinver

  • Kylesku lodge is an efficient base There are boat journeys, mountaineering trails and wildlife excursions the place you’ll be able to spot sea otters, See it on Journey Advisor / There’s additionally the Drumbeg Lodge.
  • 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 Lodge – Positioned on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Lodge is the preferred spot on the town. Journey Advisor /
  • Plocton Inn is one other lodge on the town and it has wonderful eating as nicely.
  • Duncraig Fortress is a fortress that has been became a mattress and breakfast and is price 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 rigorously, and analysis the sights and e-book your lodging upfront.

Whenever you go to Scotland, be sure that so as to add the North Coast 500 to your itinerary. It is likely one of the nice highway journeys on the planet and takes you thru a few of the most gorgeous coastal surroundings within the nation and actually permits you to expertise all of the highlights of the Scottish Highlands.

Disclosure: There are some affiliate hyperlinks on the publish under the place theplanetd will earn a fee. However it’s no additional value to you. This publish is in partnership with Go to Britain, Try their web site for extra particulars.


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