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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 observe roads. The NC500 is among the nice street journeys on the earth.

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

Top stops on the North Coast 500

North Coast 500 Information

Dave and I’ve carried out a whole lot of street journeys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they only is likely to be our specialty. We’ve pushed a automotive from England to Mongolia within the Mongol Rally, we have been the primary media to drive Eire’s whole Wild Atlantic Method (the longest coastal route on earth) and sure, we have now pushed by way of massive chunks of America’s Route 66.

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

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

What’s the North Coast 500

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

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

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

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

The NC500 has gained recognition as one of many world’s most scenic street journeys, attracting guests from all around the world who come to discover the pure great thing about Scotland’s rugged north highlands. While you go to Scotland, you will 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 resulted in Inverness, the Capital of the Scottish Highlands. We drove counterclockwise alongside the north coast of Scotland in a 516-mile (830km) circle route by way of among 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 means 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. For those who don’t already reside within the UK and have your personal automotive, you’ll wish to e book a rental automotive properly prematurely. There are many locations to e book rental automobiles in Scotland. We use Rental Automobiles Join to search out the very best offers on any rental automotive. You may evaluate costs on their web site.

Sizzling 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 way of the North Highlands. The roads by way of the Scottish Highlands are winding and slim there are a number of hairpin turns. Small automobiles may also match simply into the passing locations to let quicker drivers overtake you. Rental automobiles are scarce today, so you’ll want to e book properly prematurely. Examine costs at

Day 1: North Coast 500 – Inverness

north coast 500 inverness
Cityscape of Inverness, Scotland in a ravishing summer time day, United Kingdom

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

The capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness is house to the very well-known Loch Ness the place you’ll be able to seek for Nessie herself. That was our essential curiosity when visiting Inverness, however there are many different issues to see and do.

  • St. Andrew’s Cathedral
  • Abertarff Home courting 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 below are just a few high points of interest to see earlier than transferring alongside the North Coast 500.

Loch Ness

north coast 500 loch ness near inverness

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

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

In case you have 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 soak up its beautiful panorama and consider the attractive Plodda Falls. That is the spot the place the tour busses cease although so be ready for big crowds and site visitors.

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

Urquhart Fort

north coast 500 Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Fort is one other must-see cease on the lake. It’s a lovely break 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 liked 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 lodge and the rooms have been spacious, and cozy. Parking is free and breakfasts are included. Test it out on TripAdvisor /

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

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

Day 3 – Drive North to Dornoch

north coast 500 scotland dornoch castle

At this time you’ll go away Inverness and make your method 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 in 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 affords many issues to see and locations to cease. Dornoch is legendary for the Dornoch Fort and makes a great base to discover the whisky route.

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

Culloden Battlefield

north coast 500 cullodon battlefield
Memorial to the Clans

The Culloden Battlefield is among the finest stops on the North Coast 500 street journey. As you make your means by way of the Scottish Highlands, be certain 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 passed off.

On a spring day in 1746, greater than 1200 males have 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 either side of the battlefield. One of the highly effective moments comes while you enter the inside museum and stand inside a room projecting a 360-degree reenactment of the battle. You might be surrounded by the cries of the soldiers assembly their destiny.

In case you are fascinated with Highland historical past (as we’re) it is 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 will not be removed from the Culloden Battlefield and is an efficient cease for this present day of sightseeing on the North Coast 500. Cairns are historical stone cemeteries courting 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 might occur right here.

north coast 500 stops clava cairns

The standing stones and round cairns really feel like magic. The Cairns of Scotland have been burial tombs used to accommodate the lifeless and right now, 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 the town of Inverness. Regardless of its title, Black Isle will not be an precise island however fairly a peninsula, bounded by water on three sides: the Cromarty Firth to the north, the Beauly Firth to the south, and the Moray Firth to the east.

The title “Black Isle” is claimed to come back from the truth that when considered from a distance, the realm seems to be black as a result of forests that cowl a lot of the peninsula. Black Isle is a well-liked cease on the NC500 for individuals who desire a style of the route with its scenic villages away from the bigger cities, seashores, and wildlife reserves. You may 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 all our favourite stops for native meats & cheeses, recent fruits, and native treats, you’ll want to cease in at Roberston’s The Larder.  

It’s also possible to meet the livestock together with Highland Cows. In case you are fearful about not seeing the well-known highland cattle alongside the route, (don’t be) you’ll have a great likelihood right here. It’s situated on the route from Inverness to Glen Ord Distillery.

Singleton Distillery

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

Situated within the coronary heart of Black Isle, The Singleton Distilerry is the closest distillery to Inverness so it might simply be carried out as a day journey from there. What makes a go to to Singleton 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 if you happen to 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 chrome steel.

Dornoch Fort

north coast 500 dornoch castle
Stunning Dornoch Fort

The top of day 3 in your North Coast 500 journey ends at Dornoch Fort. Dornoch is a vacation spot unto itself with the fortress at its middle. The Scottish highlands are stuffed with 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 Fort is situated proper available in the market 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’re sitting in a Seventeenth-century tavern as the fireplace roars and the whiskey pours. The set dinner menu is divine and the rooms make you’re feeling like royalty.

Dornoch Fort and Whisky Bar

north coast 500 dornoch castle whisky bar
Keep at Dornoch Fort

Dornoch Fort is house to top-of-the-line whisky bars on earth. It was voted the #1 Whisky Lodge of the 12 months by It’s the whisky bar that’s the essential attraction. Sitting contained in the thick outdated stone partitions with the large hearth roaring with flame you’re feeling as if you happen to’ve stepped again in time to when clans dominated the land.

The intensive whisky inventory has gained awards as the very best whisky bar on the earth and is at the moment the reigning no 1 whisky lodge of the 12 months as named by

Having the distillery tour helped us to know the distilling strategy of Scottish whiskey and gave us perception into aromas and flavors after we determined to style just a few drams at Dornoch Fort’s whisky bar. This actually made us really feel like we have been taking a tour by way of historical past and our information Alistair was as captivated with 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 determine what photographs to decide on. He’ll decide your mind to see what sort of Scotch you like and supply up selections of various whiskeys at completely different costs to fit your wants.

Be aware: Scotland spells whisky with out an “e”. So while you go to Scotland, you’ll want to 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 Fort – We liked our keep within the historic Dornoch Fort. 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 may be 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 top-of-the-line locations to remain in Britain. Simply an hour from Inverness alongside the North Coast 500, it is a good place to make a base whereas exploring the east coast of Scotland. 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 street 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’s a lot to see and do.

Distillery Excursions

North Coast 500 Singleton Glen Ord Distillery

There are a number of distilleries in Northern Scotland the place street trippers can 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 method 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 proper place to base your travels as you discover the distilleries of the route. Go to their web site for bookings and availability.

Dunrobin Fort

north coast 500 dunrobin castle
The attractive gardens at Dunrobin Fort

Open from April 1 to October 15, visiting Dunbrobin Fort is a should. You may go to the gardens and grounds year-round. We parked our automotive and walked down the steps to an impressive view of this 800 year-old fortress. It’s completely 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 house to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland for the reason that thirteenth century.

This fortress could 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 Fort right here.

The place to Keep – Ackergill Tower Lodge

north coast 500 ackergille tower hotel

One thing we liked 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 means 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 Fort, Ackergill Tower is an lodging that may 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 fireplace we learn in regards to the historical past of the fortress and puzzled what life might 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, referred to as 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 dying. It’s stated that her ghost haunts the halls to this present day.

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 very best, however the northern tip was beautiful. We might have spent a minimum of two extra days exploring the strolling trails alongside the coast.

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

Whaligoe Steps

whalegoe steps north coast 500 scotland
the view from Whalegoe Steps

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

Wick Heritage Centre

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

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 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 very best, however the northern tip was beautiful. It’s the space the place you see these huge sea cliffs and stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. For those who 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 night time.

Like Dornoch Fort, Ackergill Tower is an lodging that may 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, referred to as 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 dying. It’s stated that her ghost haunts the halls to this present day. Take a look at Ackergill Tower to e book your lodging

Day 6: North Coast 500 – Wildlife and Surroundings

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

Dave and I 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 out of doors lover who takes guests to see view seabirds, seals, and different wildlife within the space.

However she additionally confirmed us historic websites reminiscent of Mary Ann’s Cottage courting again to 1850 and The Fort of Mey. The Queen Mom purchased and restored the Fort of Mey and King Charles nonetheless visits every summer time.

Fort of Mey

North Cost 500 castle of mey scotland
The Fort of Mey

It was the spectacular views of Dunnet Head and Brough Harbour that actually took our breath away. However what we liked probably the most was studying the fascinating 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 title on the Harrow Harbour commemorating the reopening.

Fort Sinclair Girnigo

North Coast 500 scenery
Deserted Mill on our Wildlife Tour

Situated only a quick stroll or drive from Ackergill Tower the ruins of Fort 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 he or she instructed us to show round.

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

Duncansby Head

north coast 500 hiking at John O Groats

For those who search for pictures of the North Coast 500 on Google, chances are high you’ve seen numerous pictures of Duncansby Head. Climbing right here is spectacular with many strolling paths alongside the coast. Situated only a mile and a half from John O’Groats, make your method to parking on the Duncansby Head Lighthouse.

In case you have extra time, you’ll be able to hike straight from John O’Groats to soak up all the spectacular view. It’s the most northern level of mainland Scotland, We had restricted time, so we began our hike from the lighthouse and made our method to the awe-inspiring stacks. It’s solely a few 10-15 minute stroll, however alongside the way in which, be certain to stay to the coast so you’ll be able to view the dramatic slim sea gullies referred to 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’ll be able to view them from all instructions.

 Geo of Sclaites

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

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

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

The place to Keep close to Dunnet Head

Ackergill Tower Scotland
Ackergill Tower

Ackergill Tower was the proper base for exploring the northernmost level of Scotland. This Sixteenth-century tower has a whole lot of historical past, and you may sit by the fireplace 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 assorted sitting rooms for an after-dinner drink.

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

Day 7: Dunnet Head to Tongue

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

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

Browsing in Scotland

north coast 500 road trip Armadale Bay

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

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

Fort Varrich

Hopefully, by the point you go, the ruins of Fort Varrich will probably be open. It was underneath scaffolding after we arrived as we have been instructed that they’d simply found a bone and it was being excavated. It needs to be open now so that you can see.

You may 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 could be certain there’s a whole lot 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 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 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 ambiance with massive rooms, and there’s all the time somebody providing a drop of sherry while you arrive. There’s a eating room and on the town there’s a retailer shut by to replenish 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. Situated on Most important Road Tongue. View it on Journey Advisor /

Day 8 – Tongue to Balnakeil

nc500 map tongue to balnakiel
Tongue to Balnakiel

That is one other fabulous stretch stuffed 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 all 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 in and out. There are boardwalks main all the way down to the caves on both aspect supplying you with views of the steep path. A bridge helps 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 advocate 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.

Take a look at the web site for extra data on his excursions and the geology of the caves. It’s an enchanting 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 ravishing stretch of sandy seashore could 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 army automobiles drive by with nice function.

The Royal Naval gunnery ranges are situated out right here and army 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 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 realm many occasions to see his aunt and there’s a memorial within the city of Durness. He revisited it once more with Yoko Ono and it’s stated that a few of his happiest reminiscences passed off 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 neighborhood changing an outdated army 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 new chocolate, however we heard two completely different clients give glowing suggestions on our means out. Don’t fear although, we positively had our fill of handmade chocolate and an oh so clean cappuccino.

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

Smoo Cave Lodge

Smoo Cave Lodge a primary 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 a great bar and so they have among the finest 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 a great bar and so they have among the finest Haggis round.

Day 9: North Coast 500 – Belnakeil to Lochinver

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

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

That is one other beautiful drive alongside a single observe with views to die for. The surroundings alongside the North Coast 500 is exclusive. It varies from place to position, so be certain to take your time to actually take pleasure in all the views. For those who can, take your time and probably keep in Lochinver for an evening. We nonetheless moved on.

Kylesku Bridge

north coast 500 kylesku bridge
Kylesku Bridge

Situated the place Loch Glencoul and Loch Glendhu meet, it is a very picturesque spot within the coronary heart of the highlands. The Kylesku bridge is among the Most Photographed Stops on the North Coast 500.

Kylesku sits in the midst of Scotland’s 2,000 km2 (770 sq mi) International Geopark. There may be a whole lot of historical past human and geological on this land and the Geopark is acknowledged by UNESCO and is ready 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 street routes we took within the north highlands have been towards Drumbeg. The open roads that we had seen so far, gave method to slim single observe roads dropping off into deep valleys.

north coast 500 road trip wildlife

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

Stoerhead Lighthouse

north coast 500 guide Stoerhead Lighthouse
Stoerhead Lighthouse

The Stoerhead Lighthouse was actually price a brief detour. The lighthouse itself isn’t tall, nevertheless it stands on a cliff that’s 54 meters (162 toes) above sea degree jutting out from the West Coast of Scotland.

The scene is spectacular and you may 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 glorious espresso

Dave and I really like a great espresso on a street journey and admittedly the alternatives for on-the-go espresso on the North Coast 500 have been few and much between. That’s why 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 by way of this part, you’ll want to replenish!


The only observe roads proceed from Clachtol by way of an extremely lovely rocky and rolling panorama. When in Clachtol you’ll want to try the stone broch. Scottish Brochs date again to someplace across the first century BC.

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

Achmevilch Seaside

Achmevilch Bay is seemingly fairly beautiful and a great spot to park your caravan. Sadly for us, we have been heading in that course whereas the street was underneath development. We have been instructed to come back again in just a few hours by staff, however alas, we needed to transfer on as we have been on a mission to complete our NC500 street journey.

The time to go to Achmevilch Bay is throughout the summer time season anyway as there’s water snowboarding, windsurfing, numerous 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, climbing 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 may be 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 he or she makes a hearty breakfast within the morning.

Day 10 – Lochinver to Ullapool

north coast 500 stag

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

Staic Pollaidh

north coast 500 saic pollaidh
Climbing to Staic Pollaidh

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

With kayaking adventures and snorkelling journeys coming quickly, you would spend per week hanging with him exploring the highlands. He affords multiday treks, however we have 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 automotive 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 will’t wait to come back again within the close to future to do some correct mountaineering with him.

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

Corrieshalloch Gorge

Corrieshalloch Gorge north coast 500 scotland road triop
Corrieshalloch Gorge

Situated simply quarter-hour 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 slim field canyon the place you’ll be able to cross the suspension bridge.

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

In a single day in Ullapool

north coast 500 road trip ulapool

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

The place to Keep in Ullapool

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

Westlea Home Boutique B&B was by far our favorite place to remain on the North Coast 500. You’ll wish to sit by the fireplace perusing the large selection of books and magazines, or you might 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 affords a substantial selection 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. Situated on the second flooring of a mountaineering gear retailer, this café has a hipster vibe with and out of doors 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 awesome 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 may cowl a whole lot of floor so if you wish to make a base right here for a few days, it’s an awesome choice. Gairloch is an especially essential city in Scotland with a whole lot of historical past.

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

Inverewe Gardens

north coast 500 inverewe gardens
Inverewe Backyard

Inverewe Gardens is an fascinating cease stuffed with unique crops that merely shouldn’t have the ability 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 big a part of the financial system in Northern Scotland and if you are in Gairloch, you might 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 present their fish its personal distinctive taste.

They’ve a present store the place you’ll be able to decide up provides and native seafood in your street journey or seize a present field for somebody particular at house. 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 troublesome to decide on the place to cease, however Loch Maree is unquestionably a ravishing 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 properly. It’s not extremely traveled and could be troublesome to search out.

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

Beinn Eighe

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

The primary 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 knowledge 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 gasoline station we chatted with the house owners who gave us some tips about the very best viewpoint within the space. I can’t imagine we nearly missed this!

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

We have been fortunate as a result of we had a few days within the space so we drove the coast the day earlier than and might take the shortcut by way of the mountains right now. Each are extremely really helpful.

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 awesome 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 wanting from Scotland’s beautiful west coast.

It’s well worth the drive and to do all the path to Decrease Diabag took us about an hour every means. (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 ravishing property, there are strolling trails, gardens and streams working by way of the property. On-site, there is a wonderful seafood restaurant and an award-winning pub. This can be a place that felt like we have been in the actual Scotland. See it on Journey Advisor /

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

Day 12: North Coast 500 – Klinlochewe to Applecross

On the subject 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 experience (the Highlanders have been nice horsemen), go kayaking, crusing, and seek for wildlife. The sky is the restrict right here.

This ultimate 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 way of 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 observed 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 way in which across the path to Applecross the place you drive probably the most spectacular move Baelnabach Move; The star attraction of the North Coast 500.

City of Sheildag

north coast 500 town of sheildag
View of Sheildag

You should definitely pull over as a lot as potential 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 Crimson Home

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

Have you ever ever seen the photographs 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 whole lot of highland cows alongside this street too. The slim 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 move. This can be a place you wish to take your time, but in addition be thoughtful of quicker drivers.

Flocks of sheep have been plentiful and there have been even views of the Isle of Skye. It was an unbelievable drive however be ready for lots of wind. We had lovely sunny climate, however the wind was sturdy. 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 Move

north coast 500 road trip applecross
All Round Applecross

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

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

While you get to the highest of the move you’ll want to 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 a giant day and also you’ve in all probability constructed up an urge for food. For those who hold following the primary street in 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 stuffed with glorious selections for lunch or dinner and the employees is pleasant. They even gave us a style of the native specialty. For those who 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 ultimate vacation spot earlier than ending off the loop to Inverness took us to Plockton. Plockton grew to become our house base to discover the realm. Like different components of the nc500, there’s a whole lot of historical past, wildlife and surroundings to take pleasure in and listed here are just a few 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 have been doing or the place we have been going. Hopping into his truck he took us to Reraig Forest the place we received right into a buggy to make our means up a steep mountain.

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

north coast 500 road trip reraig forest
The 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 hundreds of acres of property.

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

Colin additionally has sheep and rams on the land that come 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 have been very excited to see him!

Eilean Donan Fort

north coast 500 eilean donan castle
Walkway to Eilean Donan Fort

Presumably probably the most well-known fortress within the land, Eilean Donan Fort was used for the set of Highlander, James Bond’s The World is Not Sufficient, and the New Avengers. It’s a ravishing 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 way of a superb audio-visual show in regards to the Jacobite rebellion and fall, and the wars of the clans. You may stroll by way of the completely different rooms of the fortress which might be adorned simply as they have been a whole bunch of years in the past and get a real sense of what life was like. The reward store is superb and it was right here that we purchased a woolen scarf within the colours of Dave’s ancestors the McKenzies.

Strome Fort

Strome Fort overlooks the ocean

A far much less intact fortress however nonetheless lovely to go to is Drome Fort. At this time it’s in ruins, the outer partitions are nonetheless standing and you may stroll in and out exploring the coastal piece of land.

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

Duncraig Fort

north coast 500 duncraig castle
Duncraig Fort

Duncraig Fort is a fortress that has been was a mattress and breakfast and is price a photograph cease if you’re not staying there. The street resulting in the railway station goes straight by way of 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 could 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 Situated on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Lodge is the most well-liked spot on the town. With a Michelin rated pub, it has among the finest pub meals and ambiance 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 glorious eating as properly.

Duncraig Fort is a fortress that has been was 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 focus on seafood and are all glorious. 

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-obligatory aspect journey. Whereas it isn’t situated straight on the North Coast 500, it’s a stones throw away. Plockton can also be a superb place to make a base for visiting the Isle of Sky. As one particular person stated 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 among the highlights. A day will not be sufficient however was simply sufficient to view its high points of interest.

When visiting the Isle of Sky, don’t miss seeing the Outdated Man of Storr, its most well-known web site. We made a b-line on the market whereas the climate was good after which weaved our means across the island to see its lovely 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 means again to Inverness or proceed on to discover Scotland. In case you have your personal automotive, why not keep a month? There may be nonetheless a lot to see from Edinburgh to Glasgow and in every single place in between.

The NC500 is among the biggest drives on the earth. Sooner or later, the single-track roads could also be was double-lane highways and extra motels is likely to be popping up in every single place. However if you happen to get there rapidly, you’ll take pleasure in outdated 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 might miss out if you happen to wait!

North Coast 500 Ideas

tips for driving the north coast 500

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

The climate adjustments 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, you’ll want to pack layers, waterproof climbing boots, and waterproof outer layers. We had all of this with us and apart from this one time at Fort 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. For those who don’t just like the climate simply wait a minute or so, it’s going to change. 

Find out how to Get to Inverness

north coast 500 inverness

There are a number of methods to get to Inverness, Scotland. For those who aren’t driving your personal automotive 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, reminiscent of London, Manchester, and Birmingham, you’ll be able to fly on to Inverness. There are additionally direct flights from some European cities, reminiscent of Amsterdam and Dublin. When you arrive on the airport, you’ll be able to take a taxi or bus to get to the town middle.

By Prepare: Inverness is well-connected by rail to different main cities within the UK, together with London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. The prepare station in Inverness is situated within the metropolis middle, making it handy for vacationers. You may verify prepare schedules and e book tickets on-line by way of web sites reminiscent of Nationwide Rail Enquiries.

By Vehicle: Inverness is accessible by automotive by way of the A9, which is the primary street linking the 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 site visitors circumstances. There are a number of automotive rental firms out there at Inverness airport or within the metropolis middle, if it is advisable 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 exciting journey for drivers. Listed below are some suggestions to remember when driving the North Coast 500.

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

There are many passing locations the place slower drivers can transfer out of the way in which if they’ve automobiles behind them, and there are pullovers the place you’ll be able to pull in to let oncoming site visitors by way of. In the summertime season, site visitors is busier, if you happen to 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. In case you are not used to this, take a while to regulate and be additional 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. Comply with the velocity limits, yield to different automobiles, and use pull-outs or designated passing locations to let different automobiles move if you’re driving slower. There isn’t any hurt in pulling over to let somebody move you. It’s a frequent courtesy so be respectful of the drivers behind you.

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

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

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

Automotive Leases and Driving

north coast 500 car rentals

Be certain that 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 move. In case you are driving slowly, pull over when one of many passing locations comes as much as let one other move.

Plus, it’s simpler to search out parking in cities and you may pull off on small turnouts alongside the path to be out of the way in which whereas capturing these awe-inspiring photographs of the panorama and beautiful coastal surroundings. In case you have a smaller automotive, you gained’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 site visitors. Many individuals camp on the NC 500. Campervans are allowed, however can not navigate among the trails and smaller tracks. So take that into consideration when reserving your automobile.

Scotland is on the Pound Sterling – 1 Pound Sterling = 1.30 USD. For updated alternate charges go to XE 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 various 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 affords among the most breathtaking surroundings in Scotland, so take your time and revel in it. Cease usually to take photographs, stretch your legs, and benefit from the views. There are many scenic spots to cease and admire, reminiscent of seashores, cliffs, and waterfalls.

By following the following pointers, you’ll be able to have a protected and pleasurable driving expertise on the North Coast 500 in Scotland.

North Coast 500 Packing Ideas

north coast 500 packing tips

The climate adjustments 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 contemplate:

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

Snug climbing boots: The North Coast 500 affords loads of alternatives for out of doors actions, reminiscent of climbing and strolling. Convey snug strolling footwear or climbing boots with good traction to discover the countryside.

Solar safety: Whereas Scotland’s climate could be chilly and moist, the solar can nonetheless be sturdy, particularly throughout the summer time 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 time months. Pack insect repellent to keep away from being bitten.

Digital camera and binoculars: The North Coast 500 affords among the most beautiful landscapes and wildlife in Scotland, so deliver a digicam and binoculars to seize the surroundings and wildlife.

Cell phone and charger: Be certain that to deliver a cell phone and charger, as there are many scenic spots with no cellphone protection. Additionally it is 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 readily available for smaller transactions, reminiscent of 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 the very best luxurious motels, self catering lodging, and BnBs so that you can try on this superb driving route. It is best to e book your lodging prematurely as this



  • Dornoch Fort – 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 awesome 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, try the fortress motels. We liked our keep at Ackergille Tower lodge making for an outstanding 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 primary lodge, however the location is an ideal cease after driving from Tongue. There’s a great bar and so they have among the finest Haggis round. Examine costs on TripAdvisor

Lochinver / Drumbeg / Lochinver

  • Kylesku lodge is an efficient base There are boat journeys, climbing trails and wildlife excursions the place you’ll be able to spot sea otters, See it on Journey Advisor / There may be 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 he or she makes a hearty breakfast within the morning.




  • The Plockton Lodge – Situated on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Lodge is the most well-liked spot on the town. Journey Advisor /
  • Plocton Inn is one other lodge on the town and it has glorious eating as properly.
  • Duncraig Fort is a fortress that has been was a mattress and breakfast and is price a photograph cease

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

While you go to Scotland, be certain so as to add the North Coast 500 to your itinerary. It is among the nice street journeys on the earth and takes you thru among the most beautiful coastal surroundings within the nation and actually helps you to expertise all of the highlights of the Scottish Highlands.

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



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