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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 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 among the nice street journeys on the planet.

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

Top stops on the North Coast 500

North Coast 500 Information

Dave and I’ve accomplished a variety of street journeys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they simply is likely to be our specialty. We’ve pushed a automobile from England to Mongolia within the Mongol Rally, we had been the primary media to drive Eire’s total Wild Atlantic Approach (the longest coastal route on earth) and sure, we’ve got pushed via giant chunks of America’s Route 66.

Once we had the chance to drive the North Coast 500, we jumped on the likelihood, we’ve got all the time needed to see the Scottish Highlands and this route takes you thru the perfect 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 take advantage of 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, overlaying 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 out to be a preferred 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 via 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 Citadel, and the white sands of Achmelvich Seaside. The route additionally passes via 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 great thing about Scotland’s rugged north highlands. If you go to Scotland, you will wish to expertise at the least 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 via a number of the most lovely 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 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 street journey is by driving. In case you don’t already reside within the UK and have your individual automobile, you’ll wish to e book a rental automobile effectively upfront. There are many locations to e book rental automobiles in Scotland. We use Rental Automobiles Join to search out the perfect offers on any rental automobile. You may evaluate costs on their web site.

Scorching Tip: Be certain your rental automobile is a smaller automobile as roads are sometimes single monitor roads alongside the North Coast 500 and a small automobile is simple to navigate via the North Highlands. The roads via the Scottish Highlands are winding and slim there are a number of hairpin turns. Small automobiles can even match simply into the passing locations to let quicker drivers overtake you. Rental automobiles are scarce today, so be sure you e book effectively upfront. Evaluate costs at

Day 1: North Coast 500 – Inverness

north coast 500 inverness capital of the scottish highlands

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

The capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness is residence to the very well-known Loch Ness the place you may seek for Nessie herself. That was our principal 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 lovely 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 here are a couple of 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 principle hub for exploring Loch Ness. Individuals go to the legendary Loch Ness searching for the Loch Ness Monster, however it’s value exploring the sandy seashores and surroundings round Inverness as effectively.

The guests middle in Drumnadrochit is enjoyable and kitschy and is a must-stop to study 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 may 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 look at the attractive Plodda Falls. That is the spot the place the tour busses cease although so be ready for big crowds and site visitors.

Be sure you 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 Citadel

north coast 500 Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Citadel is one other must-see cease on the lake. It’s a lovely wreck 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 folks fought over this lovely 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 an enormous treed property with spa and pool. We stayed within the newer spa portion of the resort and the rooms had been spacious, and comfy. Parking is free and breakfasts are included. Test it out on TripAdvisor /

The Rocpool Reserve Lodge is one other advisable resort: Journey Advisor /

Steered 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

Right this moment you’ll depart Inverness and make your solution 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 excellent base to 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 gives many issues to see and locations to cease. Dornoch is legendary for the Dornoch Citadel and makes an excellent base to discover the whisky route.

Don’t simply beeline it to the subsequent city, be 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 among the greatest stops on the North Coast 500 street journey. As you make your manner via the Scottish Highlands, make sure that to cease at one of the 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 befell.

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 highly effective moments comes whenever 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) this can be a place the place you may simply spend hours. For extra data see Culloden Battlefield Customer’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 collection (that is the place the place Claire was transported again in time) you may 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 website. It’s free to go to so don’t miss it!

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, recent fruits and native treats, be sure you cease in at Roberston’s The Larder.  

You may as well meet the livestock 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 an excellent likelihood right here. It’s situated on the route from Inverness to Glen Ord Distillery.

Glen Ord Distillery

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

We visited the Glen Ord Distillery. It’s the closest distillery to Inverness so it will possibly simply be accomplished as a day journey from there. What makes a go to to Glen Ord distinctive is that it is among 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 wood fermentation barrels. Each different distillery tour we’ve ever taken was stainless-steel.

Having the tour helped us to know the distilling means of Scottish whiskey and gave us perception into aromas and flavors after we determined to style a couple of drams at Dornoch Citadel’s whisky bar. This really made us really feel like we had been taking a tour via historical past and our information Alistair was as captivated with his scotch as he was informative.

Dornoch Citadel

north coast 500 dornoch castle
Lovely Dornoch Citadel

The tip of day 3 in your North Coast 500 journey ends at Dornoch Citadel. Dornoch is a vacation spot unto itself with the fortress at its middle. The Scottish highlands are crammed with previous castles which have been transformed into motels. Do your self a favor and e book an evening at the least one fortress resort.

Dornoch Citadel is situated proper out there sq. of Dornoch straight 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 street journey. The pub makes you’re feeling like you might be sitting in a Seventeenth-century tavern as the hearth roars and the whiskey pours. The set dinner menu is divine and the rooms make you’re feeling like royalty.

Dornoch Citadel and Whisky Bar

north coast 500 dornoch castle whisky bar
Keep at Dornoch Citadel

Dornoch Citadel is residence to the most effective whisky bars on earth. It was voted the #1 Whisky Lodge of the Yr by It’s the whisky bar that’s the principal attraction. Sitting contained in the thick previous stone partitions with the large 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 the perfect whisky bar on the planet and is at present the reigning #1 whisky resort of the 12 months as named by

  • Be aware: Scotland spells whisky with out an “e”. So whenever you go to Scotland, be sure you spell it the best way they do in Scotland, it’s whisky NOT Whiskey. 
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 sort of Scotch you like and provide up decisions of various whiskeys at totally different costs to fit your wants.

The place to Keep in Dornoch

  • Dornoch Citadel – We beloved our keep within the historic Dornoch Citadel. Each time we go to Eire or Scotland, we all the time attempt to keep in a fortress for a very genuine and historic expertise. Journey Advisor /
  • There’s additionally The Dornoch Lodge you may 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 the most effective 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.

If you’re a whisky lover, Dornoch fortress 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.

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 street journey is all concerning the whisky and the 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 street trippers can decide up a bottle of their favourite Scotch whisky. It’s value stopping at the least 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 might be from mere minutes to solely a few hours away.

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

Dunrobin Citadel

north coast 500 dunrobin castle
The attractive gardens at Dunrobin Citadel

Open from April 1 to October 15, visiting Dunbrobin Citadel is a should. You may go to the gardens and grounds year-round. We parked our automobile and walked down the steps to a powerful view of this 800 year-old fortress. It’s totally different from different castles in Scotland resembling a French Chateau fairly than the stark stone buildings in different components we noticed.

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

This fortress will be visited from Dornoch, or you may 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 Citadel 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 lots of distinctive lodging alongside the route from farmhouses, B&Bs, lighthouses, and luxurious estates. Making our manner up the East Coast in the 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 resort. Like Dornoch Citadel, 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 recent out of Downton Abbey. As we sat by the hearth we learn concerning 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 known as the Great thing about Braemore who was kidnapped on her marriage ceremony evening and held prisoner on this very tower. To flee her destiny she leapt to her demise. It’s mentioned 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 instructed us the west coast was the perfect, however the northern tip was beautiful. We may have spent at the least 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 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 excellent trek. The Whaligoe Steps include 330 steps main all the way down to one of the inaccessible harbors in Scotland. Relationship 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 study 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 through the nineteenth century and devoted guides volunteer their time to inform share their historic information.

There are lots of 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 identified 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 the perfect, however the northern tip was beautiful. It’s the space the place you see these large sea cliffs and stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. In case 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 Lodge grew to become our base for exploring this portion of the Scottish Highlands and we stayed right here one other evening.

Like Dornoch Citadel, 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 known as the Great thing about Braemore who was kidnapped on her marriage ceremony evening and held a prisoner on this very tower. To flee her destiny she leaped to her demise. It’s mentioned 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 really like taking excursions. As a lot as we take pleasure in 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 resembling Mary Ann’s Cottage relationship again to 1850 and The Citadel of Mey. The Queen mom purchased and restored the Citadel of Mey and King Charles nonetheless visits every summer season.

Citadel of Mey

North Cost 500 castle of mey scotland
The Citadel of Mey

It was the spectacular views of Dunnet Head and Brough Harbour that actually took our breath away. However what we beloved probably the most was studying the attention-grabbing details 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 together with his identify on the Harrow Harbour commemorating the reopening.

Citadel 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 Citadel Sinclair Girnigo is an imposing sight on the coast. We noticed this from the street, however after we determined to go for a stroll to it, the rain got here down in full power.

There was one specific 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 lovely. The peaceable setting housed an previous mill and quiet brook that was simply screaming to be photographed. Different vacationers drove proper on by taking a look at us as an alternative 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 photos of the North Coast 500 on Google, chances are high you’ve seen numerous photos of Duncansby Head. Climbing right here is spectacular. Positioned only a mile and a half from John O’Groats, make your solution to parking on the Duncansby Head Lighthouse.

When you have extra time, you may hike straight from John O’Groats to soak up the complete 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 solution to the awe-inspiring stacks. It’s solely a couple of 10-15 minute stroll, however alongside the best way, make sure that to stay to the coast so you may view the dramatic slim sea gullies often known as 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 may view them from all instructions.

 Geo of Sclaites

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

Be sure you hold a watch out for seabirds. Totally different are continually migrating via the realm always of the 12 months. Together with puffins!

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 a variety of historical past, and you’ll sit by the hearth studying about its checkered previous as you take pleasure in 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 street journeys! We included the North Coast 500 in our greatest 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 stunning to have 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 via 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 couple 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.

Citadel Varrich

Hopefully, by the point you go, the ruins of Citadel Varrich can be open. It was beneath scaffolding after we arrived as we had been instructed that they’d simply found a bone and it was being excavated. The resort employees instructed us it must be open by summer season.

You may hike from the Tongue Lodge. It’s believed that the fortress was constructed within the 14th century upon an previous Norse fort. So that you will be positive there may be a variety 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 an alternative of driving straight 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 one 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 positive 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 comfortable environment with giant rooms, and there’s all the time somebody providing a drop of sherry whenever you arrive. There’s a eating room and on the town there’s a retailer shut by to top off on provides for the remainder of your street journey. See costs on Journey Advisor /

Ben Loyal Lodge is one other advised place to remain on this portion of the north coast 500. Positioned on Major 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 crammed with 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 lovely to see inside and outside. There are boardwalks main all the way down to the caves on both aspect providing you with views of the steep path. A bridge permits you to cross the river main in from the ocean whereas trying 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 details.

Balnakeil Bay

north coast 500 road trip Balnakiel Beach
Admiring Balnakiel Seaside

A lovely stretch of sandy seaside will 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 automobiles drive by with nice objective.

The Royal Naval gunnery ranges are situated out right here and navy personnel involves this space to coach. You continually 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 location by the seaside housing an previous 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 mentioned that a few of his happiest reminiscences befell right here.

Belnakeil Craft Village

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

This can be a cool spot the place locals are beginning to construct a craft group changing an previous 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 strive the new chocolate, however we heard two totally 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 present your pockets a exercise. If 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 primary resort, however the location is an ideal cease after driving from Tongue, providing you with the prospect to spend a day or two in Smoo. There’s an excellent bar and so they have a number of the greatest Haggis round.

The place to eatSango Sans, The Whale Story, or Choose 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 number 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

Right this moment 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 one monitor roads can get fairly hair-raising and the drive is alongside big 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 sure that to take your time to actually take pleasure in all the views. In case you can, take your time and presumably keep in Lochinver for an evening. We nonetheless 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 among 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 a variety 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 lower this portion of drive and head on to Lochinver alongside the A894 and A837 however one of the picturesque street routes we took within the north highlands had been towards Drumbeg. The open roads that we had seen to date, gave solution to slim single monitor roads dropping off into deep valleys.

north coast 500 road trip wildlife

It was a stupendous winding journey. It was solely 10 miles lengthy however it took us effectively over an hour to navigate and take within the sights. It was right here that we noticed numerous stags working via 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 each time 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 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 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 really like an excellent espresso on a street 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 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 via this part, be sure you top off!


The one monitor roads proceed from Clachtol via an extremely lovely rocky and rolling panorama. When in Clachtol be 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 value a go to to witness how these mounds of stones have survived via the centuries.

Achmevilch Seaside

Achmevilch Bay is seemingly fairly beautiful and a great place to park your caravan. Sadly for us, we had been heading in that course whereas the street was beneath development. We had been instructed to return again in a couple of hours by employees, however alas, we needed to transfer on as we had been on a mission to complete our NC500 street journey.

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

The place to Keep

kylesku hotel scotland where to stay on the north coast 500
The Kylesku Lodge

Kylesku resort is an efficient base There are boat journeys, climbing trails and wildlife excursions the place you may 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 primary 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 beautiful views. The one-track street weaves via mountainous terrain and closely wooded areas. Have your digicam prepared, there are many picture alternatives of untamed deer on this leg from Lochinver to Ullapool.

Staic Pollaidh

north coast 500 saic pollaidh
Climbing to Staic Pollaidh

On our solution to Ullapool, we met up with adrenaline junkie and information extraordinaire, Tim Hamlett. Tim runs Hamlett Mountaineering and we immediately grew to become quick buddies. 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 may 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 may 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 instructed us of the geology and different climbs within the space. His spouse works for the GeoPark and he’s very captivated with 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.

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 attention-grabbing cease. A brief but steep stroll from the automobile park takes you to a deep and slim field canyon the place you may cross the suspension bridge.

The bridge is a bit hair-raising because it’s slim and the railings are low, however it’s definitely 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

ullapool hotels westlea interior
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. There are unbelievable hikes and scenic views within the space, and it’s best to give your self time to remain in Ullapool. Test it out on Journey Advisor /

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

Westlea Home is an elegant and comfy resort that has a tremendous widespread space. You’ll wish to sit by the hearth perusing the massive alternative of books and magazines, or you could wish to pop into the music room and select from the in depth assortment of vinyl data.

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

We totally 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 important base when exploring the west coast portion of the NC 500. You may go up and down the coast in each instructions. There’s a lot to see and do right here and you’ll cowl a variety of floor so if you wish to make a base right here for a few days, it’s an important possibility. Gairloch is an especially essential city in Scotland with a variety of historical past.

Gairloch was based by the McKenzies as a secure 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 accomplished simply earlier than leaving. 

Inverewe Gardens

north coast 500 inverewe gardens
Inverewe Backyard

Inverewe Gardens is an attention-grabbing cease crammed with 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 could wish to cease on the Isle of Ewe Smokehouse. It’s attention-grabbing 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 may decide up provides and native seafood to your street journey or seize a present field for somebody particular at residence. You may 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 tough to decide on the place to cease, however Loch Maree is unquestionably a stupendous place to go to at dawn. Campervans park in a single day on the shores of this loch however you may drive in for a view as effectively. It’s not extremely traveled and will be tough to search out.

At first, we parked at a logging street and began to stroll the space to the loch, however fortunately we determined to maneuver on. Simply a few kilometers down the street we discovered the lower off to the seaside and had 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 quick as 1 1/2 km. Climbing is fashionable 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 depart 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 data see the go to Scotland Nationwide Nature Reserve web site

Klinlochewe Viewpoint

north coast 500 applecross to klinlochewe

Selecting up a espresso on the newly opened Klinlochewe Espresso Store on the fuel station we chatted with the homeowners who gave us some tips on the perfect 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 be sure you at the least drive as much as the point of view. 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 via the mountains at present. Each are extremely advisable.

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 important 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 definitely worth the drive and to do the complete path to Decrease Diabag took us about an hour every manner. (we do wish to cease for lots images although)

The place to Keep in Gairloch

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

The Previous Inn. It’s an previous teaching inn reworked with fashionable conveniences. Set on a stupendous property, there are strolling trails, gardens and streams working via the property. On-site, there is a superb seafood restaurant and an award-winning pub. This can be a place that felt like we had been in the true Scotland. See it on Journey Advisor /

Shieldaig Lodge This previous 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 the case 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 trip (the Highlanders had been nice horsemen), go kayaking, crusing, and seek for wildlife. The sky is the restrict right here.

This closing 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 via 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 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 probably 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

Be sure you pull over as a lot as doable alongside this route as you will 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 Pink Home

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

Have you ever ever seen the images of the little purple 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 aspect 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 aspect of the west coast and there are such a lot of stops you simply could take a complete day to get to your vacation spot. We noticed a variety of highland cows alongside this street too. The slim roads have pullovers and passing locations the place you may both get out of your automobile for images or let quicker drivers go. This can be 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 lovely 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 fantastic 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 the complete North Coast 500 and it doesn’t disappoint. Baelnabach Go was an previous cattle path that was become 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 couple of pullovers and it’s value stopping in case you see one and really feel assured. The views are magnificent trying down the valley.

If you get to the highest of the go be 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. In case you hold following the principle street in the direction of Lochcarron you’ll come throughout the nice Kishorn Seafood Bar. Serving recent native seafood, this isn’t to be missed.

This family-run eatery is crammed with 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 closing vacation spot earlier than ending off the loop to Inverness took us to Plockton. Plockton grew to become our residence base to discover the realm. Like different components of the nc500, there may be a variety of historical past, wildlife and surroundings to take pleasure in and listed here are a couple of highlights of what you could see and do!

Reraig Forest Tour

north coast 500 reraig forest
Buggy trip 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 bought 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 via 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 large 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 lovely deer that roam free on 1000’s of acres of property.

Colin feeds the deer particular pellets to subsidize their weight-reduction plan as he says the vegetation doesn’t give them the vitamins they want. You may inform he loves the herd and he even identified a couple 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 observe our buggy over the hills like a flock of sheep. They had been very excited to see him!

Eilean Donan Citadel

north coast 500 eilean donan castle
Walkway to Eilean Donan Citadel

Presumably probably the most well-known fortress within the land, Eilean Donan Citadel was used for the set of Highlander, James Bond’s The World is Not Sufficient, and the New Avengers. It’s a stupendous fortress the place you may tour and study concerning the historical past of the clans that dominated the Highlands.

It tells the story via a superb audio-visual show concerning the Jacobite rebellion and fall, and the wars of the clans. You may stroll via the totally different rooms of the fortress which might be embellished simply as they had 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 Citadel

Strome Citadel overlooks the ocean

A far much less intact fortress however nonetheless lovely to go to is Drome Citadel. Right this moment 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 may stroll fairly far out to the ocean for an excellent view of the fortress and you’ll snap the compulsory image via the doorway arch.

Duncraig Citadel

north coast 500 duncraig castle
Duncraig Citadel

Duncraig Citadel is a fortress that has been become a mattress and breakfast and is value a photograph cease if you’re not staying there. The street resulting in the railway station goes straight via the fortress grounds, you may simply drive your automobile proper as much as the entrance door to take a look. It’s situated on Loch Carron and will 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 number of the greatest pub meals and environment in Scotland. We ate there every evening, 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 effectively.

Duncraig Citadel is a fortress that has been become a mattress and breakfast and is value a photograph cease

The place to eat in Plockton: The Plockton Inn, Plockton Lodge, and Plockton Shores all concentrate on seafood and are all wonderful. 

Day 14: Isle of Skye – North Coast 500

game of thrones filming locations Scotland
The Previous 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 straight on the North Coast 500, it’s a stones throw away. Plockton can be a superb place to make a base for visiting the Isle of Sky. As one particular person mentioned to us, “You may’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 Previous 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 manner across the island to see its lovely 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

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 have your individual automobile, 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 among the best drives on the planet. Sooner or later, the single-track roads could also be become double-lane highways and extra motels is likely to be popping up in every single place. However in case you get there shortly, you’ll take pleasure in previous Scottish hospitality with some extraordinary scenic views. So what are you ready for? Guide your North Coast 500 Lodging now, rooms replenish quick and you could miss out in case you wait!

North Coast 500 Suggestions

tips for driving the north coast 500

The North Coast 500 covers an enormous portion of mainland Scotland and planning will be overwhelming. We’ve put collectively a couple of suggestions that will help you arrange your lodging, packing and automobile leases to 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, many mentioned it wasn’t a lot totally different from after we visited in late March/early April.

So when touring Northern Scotland, be 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 Citadel 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 is going to change. 

The best way to Get to Inverness

There are a number of methods to get to Inverness, Scotland. In case you aren’t driving your individual automobile from one of many different nations in the UK, chances are high you’ll be flying.

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

By Prepare: 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 may test practice schedules and e book tickets on-line through web sites resembling Nationwide Rail Enquiries.

By Car: Inverness is accessible by automobile through the A9, which is the principle street linking town to the remainder of Scotland. If you’re driving from the south, you may 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 site visitors circumstances. There are a number of automobile rental corporations accessible at Inverness airport or within the metropolis middle, if you might want to lease a automobile.

Suggestions 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 here 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 site visitors. 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 may pull in to let oncoming site visitors theourh. In the summertime site visitors is busier, in case you journey within the low season, you’ll come throughout fewer automobiles.

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

The North Coast 500 can get busy throughout peak season, so be respectful of different drivers and locals. Observe the velocity limits, yield to different automobiles, and use pull-outs or designated passing locations to let different automobiles go if you’re 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 will be difficult. The route runs via a various panorama with slim single monitor roads winding via 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 will be unpredictable, so be prepared for all sorts of climate and climate can change immediately. You might encounter snow, rain, wind and sunny climate. Costume in layers and pack waterproof clothes. Convey heat clothes, waterproof gear, and a primary support equipment 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, resembling deer, sheep, and cows. They are often unpredictable, so decelerate and drive cautiously.

Automotive Leases and Driving

Be sure to be thoughtful of different drivers when driving the NC500. The roads are slim 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 hassle getting round.

We rented a small automobile and it made issues a lot simpler to drag over for oncoming site 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 car.

Scotland is on the Pound Sterling – 1 Pound Sterling = 1.30 USD. For updated trade charges go to XE Foreign money Convertor. 

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

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

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

By following the following tips, you may have a secure and pleasing driving expertise on the North Coast 500 in Scotland.

North Coast 500 Packing Suggestions

north coast 500 packing tips

The climate modifications dramatically in Scotland. When asking the locals what the temperature is like in the summertime, many mentioned it wasn’t a lot totally 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 through the cooler months. Listed here are some packing tricks to take into account:

Heat and waterproof clothes: Scotland’s climate will be unpredictable, and it will possibly get chilly and moist even through the summer season months. Pack heat and waterproof clothes, together with a water-proof jacket, pants, and footwear. Layering can be important to remain heat, so convey sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and thermals.

Comfy climbing boots: The North Coast 500 gives loads of alternatives for outside actions, resembling climbing and strolling. Convey comfy strolling footwear or climbing boots with good traction to discover the countryside.

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

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

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

Cell phone and charger: Be sure to convey a cell phone and charger, as there are many scenic spots with no cellphone protection. It’s also 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 accessible alongside the North Coast 500 route, it’s all the time good to have some money readily available for smaller transactions, resembling parking or buying objects from native companies.

The place to Keep 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 got rounded up the perfect 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 Citadel – 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 important base to discover this portion of the driving route.


  • Ackergille Tower Lodge – If you’re searching for extra luxurious motels on the North Coast 500, take a look at the fortress motels. We beloved our keep at Ackergille Tower resort making for an excellent base to discover alongside the north coast.

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.

If you go to Scotland, make sure that so as to add the North Coast 500 to your itinerary. It is among the nice street journeys on the planet and takes you thru a number of the most beautiful coastal surroundings within the nation and really permits you to expertise all of the highlights of the Scottish Highlands.

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

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