Travel Holly

The Essential Guide to Scotland's North Coast 500

The Essential Guide 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 not like 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 earth.

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 Trip Planner that will help you take advantage of your time within the Scottish highlands. 

Top stops on the North Coast 500

North Coast 500 Guide

Dave and I’ve completed lots of street journeys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they only is perhaps our specialty. We’ve pushed a automotive from England to Mongolia within the Mongol Rally, we had been the primary media to drive Ireland’s total Wild Atlantic Way (the longest coastal route on earth) and sure, we’ve got pushed via giant chunks of America’s Route 66.

When we had the chance to drive the North Coast 500, we jumped on the probability, we’ve got at all times needed to see the Scottish Highlands and this route takes you thru the most effective 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 is the North Coast 500

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

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

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

Along the best way, vacationers can go to iconic landmarks such because the Bealach Na Ba Pass, the ruins of Ardvreck Castle, and the white sands of Achmelvich Beach. 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 everywhere in the world who come to discover the pure great thing about Scotland’s rugged north highlands. When you go to Scotland, you’re going to need to expertise at the very least a portion its spectacular surroundings.

Where 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 few 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 approach up the east coast, alongside the the north and down west coast of Scotland beginning in Inverness.

NC500 Car Rentals

rental car north coast 500 road trip

The greatest strategy to discover the North Coast 500 is on a street journey is by driving. If you don’t already dwell within the UK and have your personal automotive, you’ll need to e book a rental automotive effectively prematurely. There are loads of locations to e book rental vehicles in Scotland. We use Rental Cars Connect to search out the most effective offers on any rental automotive. You can evaluate costs on their web site.

Hot Tip: Be certain your rental automotive is a smaller automotive as roads are sometimes single monitor roads alongside the North Coast 500 and a small automotive 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 vehicles can even match simply into the passing locations to let sooner drivers overtake you. Rental vehicles are scarce lately, so be sure you e book effectively prematurely. Compare costs at

Day 1: North Coast 500 – Inverness

north coast 500 inverness
Cityscape of Inverness, Scotland in a phenomenal 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 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 dwelling to the very well-known Loch Ness the place you may seek for Nessie herself. That was our primary curiosity when visiting Inverness, however there are many different issues to see and do.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral Abertarff House courting again to 1592 Nessie Islands – Islands related by lovely walkways and gardens Golf and Spa at Kingsmills Spa Read our full article Things to do in Inverness

Day 2: North Coast 500

north coast 500 scotland itinerary loch ness center

There are loads of issues to do in Inverness and within the surrounding space, so you’ll positively need to spend a while right here. Here are a number of high points of interest to see earlier than shifting alongside the North Coast 500.

Loch Ness

north coast 500 loch ness near inverness

Inverness is the principle hub for exploring Loch Ness. People go to the legendary Loch Ness searching for the Loch Ness Monster, however it’s price 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 be taught concerning the historical past of the Loch Ness Monster, however exploring the large lake is the spotlight.

 Drumnadrochit and Glen Affric

If you’ve extra time, you may keep in Drumnadrochit, there are many B&Bs within the space. If you might be staying within the space take a drive to Glen Affric to absorb its gorgeous panorama and examine the gorgeous Plodda Falls. This is the spot the place the tour busses cease although so be ready for big crowds and site visitors.

Be certain to look at the sundown from Dores Beach 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 Castle

north coast 500 Urquhart Castle

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

Where to Stay in Inverness

north coast 500 accommodation kingsmills hotel

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

The Kingsmills Hotel 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 had been spacious, and comfy. Parking is free and breakfasts are included. Check it out on TripAdvisor /

The Rocpool Reserve Hotel is one other really useful lodge: Trip Advisor /

Suggested 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

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

Along the A9 in the direction of the NC500 presents many issues to see and locations to cease. Dornoch is legendary for the Dornoch Castle and makes a very good base to discover the whisky route.

Don’t simply beeline it to the subsequent city, be sure you pop into these highlights in your approach 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 approach via the Scottish Highlands, be certain that to cease at some 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 occurred.

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

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

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

Clava Cairns

north coast 500 clava cairns
Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns shouldn’t be removed from the Culloden Battlefield and is an efficient cease for at the present time 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 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 immediately, 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. Despite its title, Black Isle shouldn’t be an precise island however quite a peninsula, bounded by water on three sides: the Cromarty Firth to the north, the Beauly Firth to the south, and the Moray Firth to the east.

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

Road Trip Snacks

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

You can even meet the cattle together with Highland Cows. If you might be frightened about not seeing the well-known highland cattle alongside the route, (don’t be) you’ll have a very good probability right here. It is situated on the route from Inverness to Glen Ord Distillery.

Singleton Distillery

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

Located within the coronary heart of Black Isle, The Singleton Distilerry is the closest distillery to Inverness so it may well simply be completed 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 picket fermentation barrels. Every different distillery tour we’ve ever taken was chrome steel.

Dornoch Castle

north coast 500 dornoch castle
Beautiful Dornoch Castle

The finish of day 3 in your North Coast 500 journey ends at Dornoch Castle. Dornoch is a vacation spot unto itself with the fortress at its middle. The Scottish highlands are full of previous castles which were transformed into accommodations. Do your self a favor and e book an evening at the very least one fortress lodge.

Dornoch Castle 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 are 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 are feeling like royalty.

Dornoch Castle and Whisky Bar

north coast 500 dornoch castle whisky bar
Stay at Dornoch Castle

Dornoch Castle is dwelling to among the finest whisky bars on earth. It was voted the #1 Whisky Hotel of the Year by It’s the whisky bar that’s the primary attraction. Sitting contained in the thick previous stone partitions with the large fire roaring with flame you are feeling as if you happen to’ve stepped again in time to when clans dominated the land.

The intensive whisky inventory has received awards as the most effective whisky bar on the earth and is at present the reigning #1 whisky lodge of the yr as named by

Having the distillery tour helped us to grasp the distilling means of Scottish whiskey and gave us perception into aromas and flavors once we determined to style a number of drams at Dornoch Castle’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 obsessed 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 resolve what photographs to decide on. He will choose your mind to see what sort of Scotch you favor and provide up selections of various whiskeys at totally different costs to fit your wants.

Note: 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. 

Where to Stay in Dornoch

north coast 500 dornoch castle room

Dornoch Castle – We beloved our keep within the historic Dornoch Castle. Whenever we go to Ireland or Scotland, we at all times attempt to keep in a fortress for a really genuine and historic expertise. Trip Advisor /

There can be The Dornoch Hotel you may see extra data on Trip Advisor /

Royal Marine Hotel – Just a little bit farther up the East Coast is the Royal Marine Hotel which was voted among the finest locations to remain in Britain. Just 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. Check charges and availability on

Day 4: North Coast 500 – Dornoch to Wick

north coast 500 wick

Click 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 spectacular surroundings of the North Highlands. The drive from Dornoch to Wick takes roughly 4 hours however as with each a part of the NC500 route, you’ll find yourself taking for much longer as there may be a lot to see and do.

Distillery Tours

North Coast 500 Singleton Glen Ord Distillery

There are a number of distilleries in Northern Scotland the place street trippers can choose up a bottle of their favourite Scotch whisky. It is price stopping at the very 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.

If you might be in search of one thing outdoors of distilleries, make your strategy to the Black Isle Brewing Company. Black Isle is an natural brewer with a variety of natural beers and seasonal specials.

If you’re a whisky lover, Dornoch fortress or Royal Marine Hotel is the right place to base your travels as you discover the distilleries of the route. Visit their web site for bookings and availability.

Dunrobin Castle

north coast 500 dunrobin castle
The lovely gardens at Dunrobin Castle

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

Dunrobin fortress has been dwelling to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland because the thirteenth century.

This fortress might 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. Read all about Donrobin Castle right here.

Where to Stay – Ackergill Tower Hotel

north coast 500 ackergille tower hotel

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

north coast 500 ackergill billiards

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

Dining within the nice corridor, we ate a scrumptious three-course menu earlier than retiring to the sitting rooms for an after dinner drink. It felt contemporary out of Downton Abbey. As we sat by the 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

The most well-known story of the fortress tells the story of Helen Gunn, often known as the Beauty of Braemore who was kidnapped on her marriage ceremony evening and held prisoner on this very tower. To escape her destiny she leapt to her demise. It is alleged that her ghost haunts the halls to at the present time.

Day 5: Wick to Dunnet Head

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

Once we reached the Northern Tip of Scotland, the surroundings turned to dramatic views. This was most likely our favourite space to discover on the street journey. Everyone advised us the west coast was the most effective, however the northern tip was gorgeous. We may have spent at the very least two extra days exploring the strolling trails alongside the coast.

It is the realm the place you see these large sea cliffs and sea stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. If you want climbing and wildlife, you’ll love this space.

Whaligoe Steps

whalegoe steps north coast 500 scotland
the view from Whalegoe Steps

If you need to get down inside one thing just like the Geo of Sclaites, the Whaligoe Steps is an outstanding trek. The Whaligoe Steps encompass 330 steps main right down to some of the inaccessible harbors in Scotland. Dating 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 need to be taught extra concerning the fishing and historical past of the realm, the Wick Heritage Centre is the place to go. Wick was Europe’s premier herring fishing port in the course of the nineteenth century and devoted guides volunteer their time to inform share their historic data.

There are many artifacts on show and rooms furnished to painting the previous. To get instructions and search for hours go to the Wick Heritage Centre web site. 

Dunnet Bay Distillery

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

This was most likely our favourite space to discover on the North Coast 500. Everyone advised us the west coast was the most effective, however the northern tip was gorgeous. It is the realm the place you see these large sea cliffs and stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. If you want climbing and wildlife, you’ll love this space.

Ackergill Tower – Overnight

accommodations on the north coast 500 are a destination

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

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

The most well-known story of the fortress tells the story of Helen Gunn, often known as the Beauty of Braemore who was kidnapped on her marriage ceremony evening and held a prisoner on this very tower. To escape her destiny she leaped to her demise. It is alleged that her ghost haunts the halls to at the present time. Check out Ackergill Tower to e book your lodging

Day 6: North Coast 500 – Wildlife and Scenery

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 get pleasure from exploring on our personal, we discover that helps us uncover hidden gems and areas we might by no means have considered visiting. We spent a half day exploring with Caithness Wildlife Tours. Guide and proprietor Kate is a marine biologist and outside lover who takes guests to see view seabirds, seals, and different wildlife within the space.

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

Castle of Mey

North Cost 500 castle of mey scotland
The Castle of Mey

It was the spectacular views of Dunnet Head and Brough Harbour that actually took our breath away. But what we beloved essentially the most was studying the attention-grabbing info of the realm from Kate. For instance, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin was a daily customer to the realm and almost purchased an property in Caithness for a recording studio.

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

Castle Sinclair Girnigo

North Coast 500 scenery
Abandoned Mill on our Wildlife Tour

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

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

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

If you’ve extra time, you may hike straight from John O’Groats to absorb your entire spectacular view. It is essentially the most northern level of mainland Scotland, We had restricted time, so we began our hike from the lighthouse and made our strategy to the awe-inspiring stacks. It’s solely a couple of 10-15 minute stroll, however alongside the best way, be certain 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
Spectacular surroundings alongside coastal hikes

Be certain to maintain a watch out for seabirds. Different are continually migrating via the realm always of the yr. Including puffins! A Geo is a deep inlet of water with excessive seacliffs and whereas there are lots alongside the northern coast of Scotland, none are fairly as dramatic because the Geo of Sclaites.

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

Where to Stay 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 lots of historical past, and you’ll sit by the hearth studying about its checkered previous as you get pleasure from a dram of whiskey. Dining 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
Continuing alongside the Northern Coast

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

Surfing 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 over the swells. These bays are nonetheless approach 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 once we return to Scotland we will certainly give it a go. But we did see a number of skilled kayakers within the water. Looking on the tough seas, we determined it was greatest left to the professionals right now of yr. We’ll courageous the North Sea when the climate is a bit more inviting.

Castle Varrich

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

You can hike from the Tongue Hotel. It is believed that the fortress was constructed within the 14th century upon an previous Norse fort. So you might be certain there may be lots of historical past simply ready to be found right here.

Kyle of Tongue

north coast 500 kyle of tongue reflections
Admiring the lake reflections

Instead 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 only monitor 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.

Overnight at Tongue Hotel

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

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

Ben Loyal Hotel is one other urged place to remain on this portion of the north coast 500. Located on Main Street Tongue. View it on Trip Advisor /

Day 8 – Tongue to Balnakeil

nc500 map tongue to balnakiel
Tongue to Balnakiel

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

Smoo Cave

north coast 500 smoo caves
Entrance to the Smoo Caves

One 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 right down to the caves on both facet providing you with views of the steep path. A bridge enables 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. Previously 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.

Check out 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 info.

Balnakeil Bay

north coast 500 road trip Balnakiel Beach
Admiring Balnakiel Beach

A wonderful stretch of sandy seaside might 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 seaside whereas navy autos drive by with nice function.

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 marvel “what on earth is going on out there?”

John Lennon

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

There is a scenic cemetery situated on the positioning 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 stated that a few of his happiest recollections occurred right here.

Belnakeil Craft Village

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

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

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

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

Smoo Cave Hotel

Smoo Cave Hotel a fundamental lodge, 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 a very good bar and so they have a few of the greatest Haggis round.

Where to eat – Sango Sans, The Whale Tale, or Pick up a picnic lunch on the Carfour and cease on the Cocoa Mountain  espresso store in Belnakeil Craft Village 

Smoo Cave Hotel has a very good bar and so they have a few of the greatest Haggis round.

Day 9: North Coast 500 – Belnakeil to Lochinver

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

Today is a giant day as we make our approach down the west towards Achmelvich Bay. It is throughout this part that the driving will get actually enjoyable. The single monitor roads can get fairly hair-raising and the drive is alongside big lakes and thru mountains is a thrill.

This is one other gorgeous drive alongside a single monitor with views to die for. The surroundings alongside the North Coast 500 is exclusive. It varies from place to position, so be certain that to take your time to actually get pleasure from all the views. If you may, take your time and presumably keep in Lochinver for an evening. We nonetheless moved on.

Kylesku Bridge

north coast 500 kylesku bridge
Kylesku Bridge

Located 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) Global Geopark. There is lots 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
Famous Scottish Cattle

Many individuals minimize this portion of drive and head on to Lochinver alongside the A894 and A837 however some of the picturesque street routes we took within the north highlands had been towards Drumbeg. The open roads that we had seen so far, gave strategy to slim single monitor roads dropping off into deep valleys.

north coast 500 road trip wildlife

It was a phenomenal winding journey. It was solely 10 miles lengthy but it surely 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 lots of of sheep grazing within the fields and skittering away every time 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, but it surely 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 unimaginable views of the ocean!

north coast 500 coffee stop
Flossies espresso store has glorious espresso

Dave and I really like a very good 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 once we noticed an indication selling espresso forward, we adopted it.

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


The single monitor roads proceed from Clachtol via an extremely lovely rocky and rolling panorama. When in Clachtol be sure you try the stone broch. Scottish Brochs date again to someplace across the first century BC.

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

Achmevilch Beach

Achmevilch Bay is outwardly fairly gorgeous and a great spot to park your caravan. Unfortunately for us, we had been heading in that course whereas the street was below development. We had been advised to return again in a number 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 in the course of the summer time season anyway as there may be water snowboarding, windsurfing, numerous strolling trails and fishing. Okay then, it’s settled, we should return to Northern Scotland!

Where to Stay

north coast 500 kylesku hotel
The Kylesku Hotel

Kylesku lodge 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 Trip Advisor / There can be the Drumbeg Hotel.

We stayed at a small farmhouse referred to as the Croft 338 B&B. It’s a fundamental B&B, however the Internet 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 approach additional down the west coast to Ullapool we’re treating to gorgeous views. The single-track street weaves via mountainous terrain and closely wooded areas. Have your digital camera prepared, there are many photograph alternatives of untamed deer on this leg from Lochinver to Ullapool.

Staic Pollaidh

north coast 500 saic pollaidh
Hiking to Staic Pollaidh

On our strategy 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 need to hang around with. He presents 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 presents multiday treks, however we had been on a schedule so solely had the morning with him. You can stroll the paths your self, however to rent a information is the place you actually get the true expertise.

North coast 500 guide to staic pollaidh
Tim of Hamlett Mountaineering

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

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

You ought to positively e book a visit with him and tell us what we must always do subsequent! Visit Hamlet Mountaineering for extra particulars.

Corrieshalloch Gorge

Corrieshalloch Gorge north coast 500 scotland road triop
Corrieshalloch Gorge

Located simply quarter-hour outdoors of Ullapool, the Corrieshalloch Gorge is an attention-grabbing cease. A brief but steep stroll from the automotive 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.

Overnight in Ullapool

north coast 500 road trip ulapool

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

Where to Stay in Ullapool

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

Westlea House Boutique B&B was by far our favorite place to remain on the North Coast 500. You’ll need to sit by the hearth perusing the large selection of books and magazines, or you could need to pop into the music room and select from the intensive assortment of vinyl information.. Check it out on Trip Advisor /

Argyll Hotel is another choice for accommodations on this portion of the NC500 – See it on Trip Advisor /

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

We completely loved espresso at Mountain Supplies Coffee Shop. Located on the second ground of a mountaineering tools retailer, this café has a hipster vibe with and outside lover’s twist. The pleasant workers made us really feel heat and welcome.

Day 11: North Coast 500 – Gairloch

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

Gairloch makes for a terrific base when exploring the west coast portion of the NC 500. You can go up and down the coast in each instructions. There is loads to see and do right here and you’ll cowl lots of floor so if you wish to make a base right here for a few days, it’s a terrific choice. Gairloch is an especially vital city in Scotland with lots 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 came upon about it once we had our Ancestry DNA completed simply earlier than leaving. 

Inverewe Gardens

north coast 500 inverewe gardens
Inverewe Garden

Inverewe Gardens is an attention-grabbing cease full of unique crops that merely shouldn’t be capable to develop on this nook of northern Scotland. In 1860 Osgood McKenzie created this rigorously sculpted backyard out of some scrub willows and naked rocks.

The 50-acre backyard stands on the shore of Loch Ewe and unique crops from around the globe 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 National Trust 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 financial system in Northern Scotland and if you are in Gairloch, you could need 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 provide their fish its personal distinctive taste.

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

Loch Maree

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

There are so many lochs in Northern Scotland it’s tough to decide on the place to cease, however Loch Maree is certainly a phenomenal 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 might be tough 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. Just a few kilometers down the street we discovered the minimize 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 is 48 Square km to discover with trails as quick as 1 1/2 km. Hiking is well-liked in Scotland and you’ll’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 depart 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 National Nature Reserve web site

Klinlochewe Viewpoint

north coast 500 applecross to klinlochewe

Picking up a espresso on the newly opened Klinlochewe Coffee Shop on the gasoline station we chatted with the house owners who gave us some tips about the most effective 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. But be sure you at the very least drive as much as the point of view. Top 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 immediately. Both are extremely really useful.

Diabag Viewpoint

Diabag Viewpoint north coast 500
Diabag Viewpoint

Another unimaginable view that we stumbled upon was Diabag Viewpoint. Driving from Torridon we heard that this was a terrific place for panoramic views and whoever gave us that recommendation was proper!

The street is an unimaginable 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 gorgeous west coast.

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

Where to Stay in Gairloch

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

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

Shieldaig Lodge This previous searching lodge is situated on Loch Gairloch. It is ready on a 26,000 acre property within the West Highlands. See it on Trip Advisor /

Day 12: North Coast 500 – Klinlochewe to Applecross

When it involves 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 ultimate stretch of driving alongside the coast might be essentially the most scenic and enjoyable driving you’ll have alongside the North Coast 500. There are so many 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 Hotel and bar and started our scenic journey alongside Upper Torridon Loch. This is a superb day journey for a coast journey taking you all the best way across the path to Applecross the place you drive essentially the most spectacular go Baelnabach Pass; The star attraction of the North Coast 500.

Town of Sheildag

north coast 500 town of sheildag
View of Sheildag

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

Famous Red House

famous red cottage of the North coast 500
Famous Red Farmhouse

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

Non-stop pullovers  and Passing Places

north coast 500 beautiful coastal views
Plentiful Coastal Views

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

Flocks of sheep had been plentiful and there have been even views of the Isle of Skye. It was an unimaginable drive however be ready for lots of wind. We had lovely sunny climate, however the wind was robust. When getting out of the automotive we needed to placed on a jacket. Never assume you’ll be superb in shorts or a t-shirt all day when driving in Northern of Scotland.

Applecross to Baelnabach Pass

north coast 500 road trip applecross
All Around Applecross

This is the spotlight of your entire North Coast 500 and it doesn’t disappoint. Baelnabach Pass was an previous 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 a number of pullovers and it’s price stopping if you happen to see one and really feel assured. The views are magnificent trying down the valley.

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

Kishorn Seafood Bar

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

It’s been a giant day and also you’ve most likely constructed up an urge for food. If you retain following the principle street in the direction of Lochcarron you’ll come throughout the nice Kishorn Seafood Bar. Serving contemporary native seafood, this isn’t to be missed.

This family-run eatery is full of glorious selections for lunch or dinner and the workers is pleasant. They even gave us a style of the native specialty. If 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 ultimate vacation spot earlier than ending off the loop to Inverness took us to Plockton. Plockton grew to become our dwelling base to discover the realm. Like different components of the nc500, there may be lots of historical past, wildlife and surroundings to get pleasure from and listed here are a number of highlights of what you need to 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 acquired right into a buggy to make our approach 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. But 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 once 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 weight loss program as he says the vegetation doesn’t give them the vitamins they want. You can inform he loves the herd and he even identified a number of that jumped over the fence to stay round.

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

Eilean Donan Castle

north coast 500 eilean donan castle
Walkway to Eilean Donan Castle

Possibly essentially the most well-known fortress within the land, Eilean Donan Castle was used for the set of Highlander, James Bond’s The World is Not Enough, and the New Avengers. It’s a phenomenal fortress the place you may tour and be taught concerning the historical past of the clans that dominated the Highlands.

It tells the story via a wonderful audio-visual show concerning the Jacobite rebellion and fall, and the wars of the clans. You can stroll via the totally different rooms of the fortress which might be embellished simply as they had been lots of of years in the past and get a real sense of what life was like. The 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 Castle

Strome Castle overlooks the ocean

A far much less intact fortress however nonetheless lovely to go to is Drome Castle. Today 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 a very good view of the fortress and you’ll snap the compulsory image via the doorway arch.

Duncraig Castle

north coast 500 duncraig castle
Duncraig Castle

Duncraig Castle 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 via the fortress grounds, you may simply drive your automotive proper as much as the entrance door to take a look. It’s situated on Loch Carron and might be seen from the city of Plockton. There are even hikes that lead out to the fortress.

Where to Stay in Plockton

north coast 500 road trip plokton accomodation
Downtown Plockton Hotel

The Plockton Hotel – Located on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Hotel is the preferred spot on the town. With a Michelin rated pub, it has a few of the greatest pub meals and environment in Scotland. We ate there every evening, having fun with native seafood with whiskey and wine. Trip Advisor /

Plocton Inn is one other lodge on the town and it has glorious eating as effectively.

Duncraig Castle is a fortress that has been was a mattress and breakfast and is price a photograph cease

Where to eat in Plockton: The Plockton Inn, Plockton Hotel, and Plockton Shores all concentrate on seafood and are all glorious. 

Day 14: Isle of Skye – North Coast 500

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

Visiting the Isle of Sky is an good non-obligatory facet journey. While it isn’t situated straight on the North Coast 500, it’s a stones throw away. Plockton can be a wonderful place to make a base for visiting the Isle of Sky. As one particular person stated to us, “You can’t really come to this part of Scotland and not visit Skye.” We made some extent to go to the Isle of Skye to see a few of the highlights. A day shouldn’t be sufficient however was simply sufficient to view its high points of interest.

When visiting the Isle of Sky, don’t miss seeing the Old 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 approach 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 capital of the scottish highlands

And that ends a two-week North Coast 500 itinerary. You could make your approach again to Inverness or proceed on to discover Scotland. If you’ve your personal automotive, why not keep a month? There continues to be a lot to see from Edinburgh to Glasgow and all over the place in between.

The NC500 is among the biggest drives on the earth. In the long run, the single-track roads could also be was double-lane highways and extra accommodations is perhaps popping up all over the place. But if you happen to get there rapidly, you’ll get pleasure from previous Scottish hospitality with some extraordinary scenic views. So what are you ready for? Book your North Coast 500 Accommodation now, rooms refill quick and you could miss out if you happen to wait!

North Coast 500 Tips

tips for driving the north coast 500

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

The climate modifications dramatically in Scotland. When asking the locals what the temperature is like in the summertime season, many stated it wasn’t a lot totally different from once 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 Castle Sinclair Girnigo, we didn’t let wind or rain cease us from exploring and also you shouldn’t both.

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

How to Get to Inverness

north coast 500 inverness

There are a number of methods to get to Inverness, Scotland. If you aren’t driving your personal automotive from one of many different nations within the United Kingdom, 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 may fly on to Inverness. There are additionally direct flights from some European cities, reminiscent of Amsterdam and Dublin. Once you arrive on the airport, you may take a taxi or bus to get to the town middle.

By Train: 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 can test prepare schedules and e book tickets on-line through web sites reminiscent of National Rail Enquiries.

By Automobile: Inverness is accessible by automotive through the A9, which is the principle street linking the town to the remainder of Scotland. If you might be driving from the south, you may 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 situations. There are a number of automotive rental corporations accessible at Inverness airport or within the metropolis middle, if it’s worthwhile to lease a automotive.

Tips 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. Here 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 typically for oncoming site visitors. The guidelines work that if there’s a passing place in your facet, you’re the particular person to drag over. If the passing place is on the opposite facet of the street, they are going to.

There are loads of passing locations the place slower drivers can transfer out of the best way if they’ve vehicles behind them, and there are pullovers the place you may pull in to let oncoming site visitors via. In the summer time season, site visitors is busier, if you happen to journey within the low season, you’ll come throughout fewer vehicles.

In Scotland, like within the UK, site visitors drives on the left facet of the street. If you aren’t 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. Follow the velocity limits, yield to different autos, and use pull-outs or designated passing locations to let different vehicles go if you’re driving slower. There isn’t any hurt in pulling over to let somebody go you. It is a typical courtesy so be respectful of the drivers behind you.

Driving the North Coast 500 might be difficult. The route runs via a various panorama with slim single monitor roads winding via steep hills, and blind corners. Stay alert and centered, particularly when driving within the night or early morning when visibility is low.

Be ready for all climate situations: Scotland’s climate might be unpredictable, so be prepared for all sorts of climate and climate can change immediately. You may encounter snow, rain, wind and sunny climate. Dress in layers and pack waterproof clothes. Bring heat clothes, waterproof gear, and a primary support equipment in case of an emergency. See our suggestions

Watch out for wildlife: The North Coast 500 takes you thru some wild and distant areas, so preserve a watch out for wildlife on the street, reminiscent of deer, sheep, and cows. They might be unpredictable, so decelerate and drive cautiously.

Car Rentals and Driving

north coast 500 car rentals

Make certain 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 might be 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 photographs of the panorama and gorgeous coastal surroundings. If you’ve a smaller automotive, you received’t have an excessive amount of bother getting round.

We rented a small automotive 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 not navigate a few of the trails and smaller tracks. So take that into consideration when reserving your automobile.

Scotland is on the Pound Sterling – 1 Pound Sterling = 1.30 USD. For updated change charges go to XE Currency 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 received’t get radio service – See our Road Trip Songs Playlist

Take your time and benefit from the surroundings: The North Coast 500 presents a few of the most breathtaking surroundings in Scotland, so take your time and revel in it. Stop typically to take images, stretch your legs, and benefit from the views. There are loads of scenic spots to cease and admire, reminiscent of seashores, cliffs, and waterfalls.

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

North Coast 500 Packing Tips

north coast 500 packing tips

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

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

Warm and waterproof clothes: Scotland’s climate might be unpredictable, and it may well get chilly and moist even in the course of the summer time months. Pack heat and waterproof clothes, together with a water-proof jacket, pants, and sneakers. Layering can be important to remain heat, so deliver sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and thermals.

Comfortable climbing boots: The North Coast 500 presents loads of alternatives for outside actions, reminiscent of climbing and strolling. Bring snug strolling sneakers or climbing boots with good traction to discover the countryside.

Sun safety: While Scotland’s climate might be chilly and moist, the solar can nonetheless be robust, particularly in the course of the summer time 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 in the course of the summer time months. Pack insect repellent to keep away from being bitten.

Camera and binoculars: The North Coast 500 presents a few of the most gorgeous landscapes and wildlife in Scotland, so deliver a digital camera and binoculars to seize the surroundings and wildlife.

Mobile cellphone and charger: Make certain to deliver a cell phone and charger, as there are many scenic spots with no cellphone protection. It can be important to have a GPS and a paper map to navigate the route. We additionally carry a conveyable adaper.

Cash and bank cards: While there are ATMs and bank card services accessible alongside the North Coast 500 route, it’s at all times good to have some money available for smaller transactions, reminiscent of parking or buying objects from native companies.

Where to Stay on the North Coast 500

where to stay on the north coast 500

We broke down the place we stayed on the North Coast 500 in every part, however to make issues simpler for you, we’ve got rounded up the most effective luxurious accommodations, self catering lodging, and BnBs so that you can try on this superb driving route. You ought to e book your lodging prematurely as this



Dornoch Castle – A historic fortress situated within the coronary heart of Dornoch Trip Advisor / Royal Marine Hotel – One of the few luxurious accommodations on the North Coast 500 East Caost and makes for a terrific base to discover this portion of the driving route.

Wick / Dunnet Head

Ackergille Tower Hotel – If you might be in search of extra luxurious accommodations on the North Coast 500, try the fortress accommodations. We beloved our keep at Ackergille Tower lodge making for an outstanding base to discover alongside the north coast. Check it out on Trip Advisor / If you might be in search of self catering lodging, Riverside Apartments has kitchens, washing machines and free WiFi view it on Trip Advisor /


Smoo Caves

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

Lochinver / Drumbeg / Lochinver

Kylesku lodge is an efficient base There are boat journeys, climbing trails and wildlife excursions the place you may spot sea otters, See it on Trip Advisor / There can be the Drumbeg Hotel. We stayed at a small farmhouse referred to as the Croft 338 B&B. It’s a fundamental B&B, however the Internet is sweet, there’s cable TV and he or she makes a hearty breakfast within the morning.




The Plockton Hotel – Located on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Hotel is the preferred spot on the town. Trip Advisor / Plocton Inn is one other lodge on the town and it has glorious eating as effectively. Duncraig Castle 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.

When you go to Scotland, be certain that 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 a few of the most gorgeous coastal surroundings within the nation and really enables you to expertise all of the highlights of the Scottish Highlands.

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