Motorcycle Tourer

Riding Scotland’s North Coast 500 on a Motorcycle

Motorcycle Tourer | 26 December 2023 11 June 2023 | Route Planning , Routing Tips

If you’re looking for an unforgettable road trip, look no further than the North Coast 500 (NC500) in Scotland. This 515(ish)-mile route around the north coast of Scotland starts and ends at Inverness Castle and offers stunning coastal scenery, unique attractions, and plenty of opportunities to explore.

The NC500 is also known as Scotland’s Route 66 because it takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of the country. Along the way, you can spot dolphins, visit castles and distilleries, take in breathtaking views from cliff tops, and explore quaint fishing villages. You can even take a detour to see some of the famous lochs of Scotland.

From outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking to cultural experiences such as whisky tasting and visiting historical sites, there is something for everyone.

Before embarking on your journey around the NC500 route, ensure you plan ahead. Decide where you want to go and what sights to see to make the most of your trip. Also, early planning means booking the most convenient hotels – as they fill up quickly!

Riding the North Coast 500 in Scotland is an experience that will stay with you forever. Whether it’s taking in breathtaking views or exploring unique attractions along the way, this road trip has something for everyone!

north coast 500 motorcycle - rider at john o'groats

North Coast 500 on a Motorcycle: Basic Route Overview

The NC500 is a motorcycle route in Scotland that offers stunning coastal scenery and an unforgettable experience.

Starting in Inverness, the route takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of Scotland, including Dores Beach, Bealach Na Ba, Glenelg and Achiltibuie.

The route is approximately 513 miles long and can be completed in three days.

Most Popular Route

  • Day 1: Edinburgh to Glenelg – 200 miles
  • Day 2: Glenelg to Altandhu (Achiltibuie) – 185 miles
  • Day 3: Altandhu (Achiltibuie) to Inverness Castle – 128 miles

The journey begins at Inverness Castle, where free motorcycle parking is available. From here, you will travel up north to Dores Beach, located just 20 minutes from Inverness.

You will then ride south towards Glenelg before heading back north towards Achiltibuie. Finally, you will end your journey at Inverness Castle, where it all began.

castle in scotland

Other Routes

  • Inverness to Ullapool: This route takes you northwards from Inverness and hugs the coast through remote and rugged landscapes, taking in the stunning scenery of Wester Ross. Highlights include visiting the remote hamlet of Achiltibuie and the scenic village of Scourie.
  • Ullapool to Assynt takes you through the ruggedly beautiful Coigach Peninsula before reaching the magnificent peaks of the Assynt region. The ride is stunning and is home to various landmarks, including the famous Suilven Mountain.
  • The North West Highlands Geopark: This part of the route allows you to explore the northern coast of Wester Ross, highlighting the region’s unique geology, wildlife and heritage. The area’s most outstanding natural features include the Inverpolly Nature Reserve, formed from ancient mountains, glacial lochs and extraordinary rock formations.
  • Scourie to Durness takes you along the wild and remote northernmost coast of the route, where you will experience spectacular scenery, including white sandy beaches and sea stacks.
  • Durness to Thurso winds along the north coast of Scotland, passing through the vast expanse of Flow Country and John O’Groats before settling in Thurso, home to the beautiful Dunnet Bay.
  • Thurso to Alness takes you through the ancient and beautiful Scottish northern coast, the Black Isle and Inverness Firth. Take in historic castles, wildlife-rich areas and local distilleries along the way.

north coast 500 motorcycle - sea stacks

We Rode It Backwards

Not that it matters, but when we last rode the NC500, we did it anti-clockwise – or backwards.

It’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to ride the route, and I know many people that ride it clockwise before repeating the route anti-clockwise.

It’s also worth mentioning that you can extend the route as you see fit.

For example, we came up from the northwest and made a point of exploring the Lake District at the same time – both there and back. You could do something similar riding up the stunning northeast coast.

We also added extra days to the NC500, which meant that whilst we could have ridden the route in around three days, it took us a week.

group of riders at john o'groats

North Coast 500 on a Motorcycle: How To Prepare

Before setting off on your journey, ensure you’re prepared. Have all the necessary gear, such as a helmet , protective clothing, and other items, like maps or a GPS.

It’s also wise to plan your route to know exactly where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.

Here is a brief list of what you need when riding the NC500.

  • Waterproof pants and jacket (or waterproofs to go over your regular riding clothes.)
  • Appropriate gloves – it gets cold in the mountains, regardless of the time of year.
  • Decent waterproof clothes/gloves/ boots .
  • Use the Sat nav / route-planning app with your chosen route.
  • Base layers (thermal in the colder months or lighter ones for summer.)
  • A neck buff or snood.
  • Evening clothes and shoes to enjoy the times you’re off the bike.
  • Mozzy rep and Suncream.

north coast 500 motorcycle - fishing village

A Note on the Weather

Like all mountain ranges, the mountains of Scotland have their own mind on what the weather will be like! It can change within a few minutes, and it’s common to see all four seasons in one day.

The last time we rode the NC500, we went at the end of April to avoid tourist traffic and inflated prices.

And whilst we had the roads to ourselves, we also got caught in horrendous snow – which ruined the tour for a few riders unlucky enough to find themselves on the ground. Multiple times.

If you go in the summertime, the biggest annoyance you will endure (apart from tourists) will be Scotland’s famous (and ridiculously persistent) midgies – which will try at every available opportunity to eat you from the outside in.

The midgies are so bad that I now have a midgie suit that I use for photography. Yes, I look silly. But I’m also unmolested by the midgies!

snow-capped mountains and road in scotland

Tips For Riding The NC500

When riding the NC500, there are a few tips that can help make your experience even more enjoyable:

  • Take regular breaks throughout your ride: 1) because you’ll get tired, and 2) because you should enjoy the scenery!
  • Remember to take lots of pictures along the way so that you can remember all your amazing experiences!
  • If riding in a group, take advantage of twin rooms rather than single rooms in hotels. Buddy up with someone and share the cost of the room, as accommodation on the route is notoriously expensive.
  • Finally, stay safe by following all traffic laws and being aware of hazards such as wildlife or weather conditions.

north coast 500 motorcycle - sno-capped mountains

Places of Interest along the Route

  • Inverness Castle
  • Dores Beach
  • Glen Affric
  • Strathcarron
  • Bealach Na Ba pass
  • Torridon Range
  • Knockan Crag
  • John O’ Groats
  • Castle of Mey
  • Dunrobin Castle
  • Glenmorangie Distillery
  • Cawdor Castle
  • Urquhart Castle

winding road in scottish countryside

Riding Scotland’s North Coast 500 on a Motorcycle: Conclusion

Riding the North Coast 500 motorcycle route in Scotland is an unforgettable experience. The 500-mile journey takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, from rugged coastlines and white sandy beaches to eerie lochs and snow-capped mountains.

Along the way, you’ll find plenty of places to visit, including historic castles, distilleries, and adventure activities that will keep you entertained throughout your journey.

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just getting started with motorcycle touring, the NC500 is an adventure you won’t want to miss – and one you will never forget!

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North Coast 500 (NC500)

North Coast 500 (NC500)

The Ultimate Guide to Taking the NC 500 by Motorcycle in Scotland

north coast 500 motorbike tour

The North Coast 500, or NC500, is Scotland’s most iconic driving route, Route -66 almost, offering spectacular views of the country’s rugged coastline, rolling hills, and picturesque villages.

This route has gained huge popularity among motorists and adventurers alike, and for very good reason.

The NC 500 is a perfect destination for motorcyclists, offering a thrilling ride along some of Scotland’s most challenging and rewarding roads.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about taking the NC 500 by motorcycle in Scotland.

What is the NC 500?

The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile (830 km) circular route that starts and finishes at Inverness Castle, taking you along Scotland’s entire north coast.

The route passes through some of Scotland’s most remote and scenic areas, including the Scottish Highlands, the North Sea coastline, and the Wester Ross mountains.

The NC 500 route is marked with the North Coast 500 logo, making it easy to follow. You can use a map or GPS device to navigate the route, but reception can be patchy at times.

The NC 500 route is known for its challenging and rewarding roads, making it an ideal destination for motorcycle enthusiasts. The route takes you along winding coastal roads, steep mountain passes, and through quaint villages, providing a unique and unforgettable riding experience.

How long is the NC 500?

The North Coast 500 route covers 516 miles (830 km) of Scotland’s coastline, making it a challenging but rewarding ride. The estimated riding time for the entire route is around 12-14 hours, but this can vary depending on your pace and the number of stops you make.

It’s recommended to take at least five to seven days to complete the NC 500 by motorcycle, allowing plenty of time to explore the attractions along the route and enjoy the scenic views.

What to see on the NC 500?

The North Coast 500 route offers a plethora of natural landmarks, historical sites, and cultural attractions that will leave you amazed. Here are some of the top attractions to see along the NC 500 by motorcycle:

  • The Bealach Na Ba pass : This winding road takes you up to a height of 626 meters (2054 ft) and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Applecross peninsula: This picturesque village is home to sandy beaches, clear waters, and a vibrant community of locals. Don’t forget to sample the local seafood at one of the many restaurants.
  • The fairy-tale castle of Dunrobin: This 19th-century castle is located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands and features a beautiful garden, museum, and falconry display.
  • Smoo Cave: This unique sea cave in Durness features a 50-foot waterfall, underground river, and dramatic rock formations.
  • John O’ Groats: This tiny village is located at the northernmost point of the British mainland and offers spectacular views of the North Sea.
  • Eilean Donan Castle: This iconic castle is located on a small island at the meeting point of three lochs and is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland.

These are just a few of the many attractions that the NC 500 has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or adventure, you’ll find plenty to see and do along the route.

How long does it take to do the NC 500 by motorcycle?

The duration of your NC 500 trip by motorcycle will depend on your pace and the number of stops you make. It’s recommended to take at least five to seven days to complete the route, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the ride and explore the attractions along the way.

Motorcyclists will need to take into account the weather and road conditions, as some sections of the route can be challenging in poor weather.

It is essential to plan your journey carefully and ensure that you have suitable clothing and equipment for your ride.

NC500 route takes you along some of Scotland’s most iconic roads, including the A835, A837, A838, A894, A9, and A99.

The route can be driven clockwise or counter clockwise, and there are several suggested itineraries available to help you plan your trip. Motorcyclists will need to take extra care on some of the more challenging sections of the route, including the Bealach Na Ba pass and the single-track roads around the Applecross peninsula.

The NC 500 route is marked with the North Coast 500 logo, making it easy to follow. You can download a map of the route from the NC 500 website or use a GPS device to navigate the route. It’s essential to plan your journey carefully, ensure that you have enough fuel and supplies, and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.

North Coast 500 Itinerary If you’re planning to take the NC 500 by motorcycle, it’s essential to plan your itinerary carefully. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a five-day trip along the NC 500:

Day 1: Inverness to Ullapool

Day 2: Ullapool to Durness

Day 3: Durness to Tongue

Day 4: Tongue to Applecross

Day 5: Applecross to Inverness

This itinerary allows plenty of time to explore the attractions along the route and enjoy the ride.

However, you can adjust the itinerary to suit your preferences and pace. It’s essential to take regular breaks, stay hydrated, and ensure that you have enough fuel and supplies for your journey.

The North Coast 500 is a perfect destination for motorcycle enthusiasts, offering challenging and rewarding roads along Scotland’s stunning north coast.

With its epic views, iconic landmarks, and friendly locals, the NC 500 promises to be an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Whether you’re riding solo or with a group, the NC-500 is a journey of a lifetime that should be on every motorcyclist’s bucket list.

Start planning your NC 500 trip by motorcycle now and experience Scotland’s beauty and charm as soon as possible.

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Author: NC-500

I have a passion for adventure and exploration and have travelled extensively across Scotland, exploring some of the country's most remote and scenic areas, plus of course the North Coast 500. While a motorcyclist, I also enjoy hiking, fishing and wild camping. View all posts by NC-500

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13 hours 47 minutes, 513 miles (826 km).

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North Coast 500

  • North West Scotland

[ PLANNING : For places to Stay | Eat | Shop | Visit | Refuel on and around this route view the North West Scotland Page on a new tab here – Link ]

Route at a Glance 

The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland’s magnificence to the world. It has been dubbed Scotland’s answer to the renowned ‘Route 66’ and doesn’t disappoint. With just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery, the route path naturally follows the main roads across the coastal edges of the North Highlands taking in the villages and towns of places like Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats, Dornoch and Inverness.

To kick you off North Coast 500 takes you from Inverness Castle over to the west coast where there are many small islands, some of stunning beauty while others have darker mysterious secrets. Slightly windy roads but some straight and long sweeping corners along the way making for a route for all types of riders. Then on through many nice towns to the cities of Ullapool and other small villages.

The route passes many different things to see and do, for example; Rogie falls, Smoo cave or The Sealife Glass Bottom Boat. there are many lochs to pass and see but make sure you don’t get too close! From the dense cities to out in the open country it has many things that contrast greatly from one another.

PRO Tip – The NC500 lives by it’s namesake and is on the plus side of 500 miles. So if you would prefer to take in the beauty of the North Coast 500 at a more leisurely pace you can have a peep at three routes we have created. They take in most of the roads and more and break the journey down into 3 magical days of riding! …

  •   Cian Bus – 149 miles | 4 hours 2 minutes
  • The Flipside – 184 miles | 5 hours 21 minutes
  • Coast 2 Coast – 186 miles | 4 hours 44 minutes

Route Notes & Highlights 

(Icons on the map)

  • Inverness Castle –  Built in 1836 this marvellous piece of architecture is sure to capture anyone’s attention.
  • Rogie Falls – With a short walk through a forest and a series of waterfalls to admire, this is a great place for a quick stop.
  • Applecross Beach –  With hills on 3 sides and the sea out front this beach gives an escape to modern life.
  • Sealife Glass Bottom Boat –  Fish, wildlife and birds are all part of the glass bottom boat and to spot a fish gives real excitement.
  • Firemore Beach –  Unspoilt sandy beach with a maze of paths and home to many exotic plants.
  • Gruinard Island –  In 1942 it was a bio-weapons testing site. There isn’t much to see but it’s the spooky story that has formed in it’s wake.
  • Ardessie Falls –  A short but steep walk to see the beautiful Ardessie Falls that resembles a mini version of Niagra falls.
  • Ullapool Museum –  Made out of an old church this museum creates a sense of everything that had happened in Ullapool happened in that very church.
  • North West Highlands Geopark –  The Geopark contains a landscape of world class  quality with significance and importance.
  • Inchnadamph Bone Caves – These are a series of small openings in the side of a hill and can be very small so be cautious!
  • Drumbeg Viewpoint –  A mass of islands that you can gaze upon with a helpful map to see which island you are looking at. What a view!
  • Smoo Cave –  A single cave opening with ridges along the outside that people commonly write their names on with rocks.
  • Strathnaver Museum-  As an old church it is filled with many religious objects and also the history about the surrounding area.
  • Dunnet Head LIghthouse –  This is the most northerly point on mainland Scotland and it is 2.35 miles further than John ‘O’ Groats.
  • Noss Head Lighthouse –  The lighthouse looks over a large cliff with dangerous rocks. there are a few islands that are the same height as the mainland but are very thin.
  • Dunrobin Castle –  This castle has many different aspects such as having gardens and a museum, it also has an incredible view all round.
  • Dingwall Museum –  Dingwall Museum found many local artefacts and fascinating tales of human exploits which only happened in Dingwall within a landmark building, once the centre of local government.

Filling Stations on Route

Coming soon…

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north coast 500 motorbike tour

North Coast 500, Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye

Scotland & england.

Spend 12 days exploring the magical scenery of Scotland, the famous NC500, the glorious Isle of Skye and the National Parks of North England.

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What's included?

north coast 500 motorbike tour

  • Guided Tour
  • 12 Day Tour
  • Peak District, UK
  • HIRE BIKE AVAILABLE

16/07/24 – 27/07/24 10/09/24 – 21/09/24 15/07/25 – 26/07/25 09/09/25 – 20/09/25 14/07/26 – 25/07/26 08/09/26 – 19/09/26

Meet up with your fellow Magellanites and your guide in the Peak District national park before a beautiful ride through the forest of Bowland Area of Natural Beauty. From here we ride on to the castle in Lancaster for lunch, then into the Lake District National Park and ride the length of Windermere and Thirlmere on the way to Derwentwater. Heading north we visit a well-preserved section of Hadrian’s wall with still visible turrets and the outline of a Roman fort before venturing into the Kielder Forest and the Northumberland National Parks.

We cross into Scotland and cruise to the capital city Edinburgh, where we have a day off to explore this ancient capital. Back on the bike, we ride over the Firth of Forth and ever northwards into the highlands through endless forests before passing Perth and climbing out of the lowlands. Castles and distilleries aplenty on this route and we have incorporated two of the most famous ones on the way to Inverness.

Billy, Magellan Guide

If you have never toured in Scotland you have been missing out. From rugged landscapes, heritage sites and castles all the way through to the most amazing roads! The North Coast 500 snakes its way through some of the most incredible places. You just have to see it!

Visit the battlefield at Culloden where the Jacobite uprising of 1745-46 was brought to a bloody end by the duke of Cumberland. From here we hop onto the famous North Coast 500 route heading to the most northerly point in the UK, where you stop off at the largest inhabited castle in Scotland. We follow the spectacular NC500 around the top of Scotland and down the west coast to the Isle of Skye to spend the day exploring the rugged landscape of the island with its beautiful coastal roads, picturesque fishing villages and jagged Cuillin mountain range.

Back on the mainland we ride east and join the Great Glen at Invergarry. Following this huge valley, which runs for over 60 miles from Inverness to Fort William, you pass the mighty Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in the UK and continue to Glencoe, the Trossachs National Park and through Tyndrum to Oban.

north coast 500 motorbike tour

Ride along the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond through the Trossachs National Park and south past Glasgow to visit Gretna Green, where generations of English lovers were married against their parents’ wishes. From here we find ourselves on a 2000 year old Roman road before turning into the Lake District National Park itself.

Heading back south through the lakes we ride to the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and through the Forest of Bowland, before continuing south to the Peak District National Park. We then pass through the market town of Macclesfield where a series of waypoints will take you up and over the legendary ‘Cat and Fiddle’ road to Buxton and then onwards to your final hotel stop of the tour.

north coast 500 motorbike tour

Historic Scotland, lochs, glens, castles, distilleries, mountains and the beautiful North Coast 500 route combine to give a fabulous touring experience of England and its beautiful northern neighbour.

north coast 500 motorbike tour

Tour highlights

A day to explore Edinburgh, ancient capital of Scotland called the ‘Athens of the North’. Visit the site of the Glencoe massacre, and the battle of Culloden.

Walk in the footsteps of Roman legions following roads they laid out and explore Hadrian’s wall, the ancient barrier erected to keep out the marauding scots almost 2000 years ago.

Ride the Great Glen, the banks of Loch Lomond, the North Coast 500, and the infamous ‘Cat and Fiddle’ road in the peak district.

north coast 500 motorbike tour

'We are missing everything about the trip...the motorcycle, the scenery, the food and the list goes on. Firstly we would like to thank you and everyone at team Magellan for organising our tour... We enjoyed the route you had set and the choice of hotels were something we looked forward to everyday! .... Overall we had a great time. We will talk to you soon when we plan our next trip.'

north coast 500 motorbike tour

Visit the home of the Tomintoul Glenlivet whisky, the Talisker distillery (founded in 1830 and still going strong) John O’Groats and the hotel where Drambuie was invented.

Explore the jagged Cuillin mountains and the rugged landscape of the Isle of Skye. Visit numerous castles and the famous blacksmiths shop in Gretna Green, which for centuries conducted marriage services for eloping under-age English couples.

Ride the Peak District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Cairngorms National Park, the Trossachs National Park and the Lake District National Park.

Tour Map / Itinerary

north coast 500 motorbike tour

Full Itinerary

Day 1 170 Miles

Ride to the Peak District national park to meet your guide and tour mates.

Day 2 191 Miles

Heading north, you ride through the Forest of Bowland, and visit Lancaster castle on the way to your hotel in the picturesque Lake District National Park

Day 3 158 Miles

Leaving the beauty of the Lake District National Park and on to the border with Scotland via Hadrian’s wall. Through the Northumberland National Park and onward to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh – the “Athens of the North”.

Day 4 Explore Day

A day off the bike to explore Edinburgh. See the Castle looking down over Princes Street Gardens. Climb Calton Hill overlooking the city, or the Scott Monument, walk through the ‘Auld Toon’, take a ghost tour and visit the churches of St Giles, Greyfriars and the Canongate.

Day 5 172 Miles

Leaving Edinburgh behind, you head north to the original Scottish capital of Perth, and continue through the Cairngorms National Park to Inverness.

Day 6 210 Miles

Following the iconic bikers route ‘The North Coast 500’ you ride to the most northerly point in the British Isles, John o’Groats. Continuing this spectacular coastal ride you pass castles and ride narrow causeways en route to your hotel in Durness.

Day 7 193 Miles

Heading west on the The North Coast 500 again, you then turn south and follow the scenic ‘West Coast Drive’ to the beautiful Isle of Skye.

Day 8 180 Miles

A taste of how rugged and deserted Scotland can be today as you ride a coastal circuit of the Isle of Skye. The dark brooding Cullin mountains dominate the entirety of the island, and you visit both Dunvegan, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and the world famous Talisker whisky distillery.

Day 9 207 Miles

Back on the mainland you ride the full length of Loch Ness and Loch Lochy with eyes peeled for a glimpse of Nessie. Then on past Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles, before visiting the site of the massacre at Glencoe, on the ride to your hotel in Oban

Day 10 220 Miles

Heading south again, you ride through the rolling Trossachs National Park and along the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond… on the route to your hotel over the border in the quiet Lake District National Park.

Day 11 190 Miles

Three National parks on the agenda today. The Lake District park is followed by the Yorkshire Dales park and finally the Peak District park. In the last of these three parks you will ride the famous ‘cat and fiddle’ road down to your hotel near Ashbourne.

Spend the morning exploring the fabulous Peak District before saying farewell to the rest of touring buddies and departing for home.

Common questions about this trip

Where does this tour start from?

The Peak District national park, but if you are renting a motorcycle then the tour will start from our rental facility in the south-east of England near London. If you’re on your own bike then you just need to make your way to the Peaks for the first evening of the itinerary.

What’s the weather like on this tour?

We pick the tour dates to make the best of the weather and also avoid the crowds in peak season. With it being the UK however it could be sunshine, rain or anything in between. A sensible mix of vented kit and waterproofs with some base layers should cover all eventualities. Full kit and packing lists are supplied and we are happy to offer advice on packing for any of the trips.

Can I extend this trip?

Of course, we run a 12 day Ireland trip that finishes the day this trip starts and these are designed to be done back to back, click here for more info.

Other similar trips

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23 days STARTS Peak District, UK 05/07/2024 – 27/07/2024

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12 days STARTS South East, UK BEST TIME TO GO: May to October

Spend 12 days exploring the magical scenery of Scotland, the famous NC500, the glorious isle of Skye and the National parks of North England.

  • SELF GUIDED
  • North Coast 500

8 Travellers rate this tour:

  • Self-Guided tours

From € 1399

The spectacular landscape, rich culture, persistent clouds, and the purity of the Scots themselves make this tour a unique experience.

Note: Due to Brexit, a valid international passport is mandatory for travel to the United Kingdom. You cannot enter with an identity card.

  • 6x Breakfast
  • All day routes on GPS
  • Detailed Roadbook
  • Ferry crossings

Schotland - North Coast 500 Routekaart

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About this tour: north coast 500, wild, rugged and impressive..

The spectacular landscape, rich culture, pretty clouds, and the purity of the Scots themselves make this tour a unique experience. For many, this is one of the most beautiful trips in our program.

The outward journey (first day) and return journey (last day) you will drive on your own initiative. If you want us to make a reservation for the ferry crossings, please contact us to ask for the possibilities. 

Day route 1: Newcastle-Pitlochry | 378 km

From Newcastle, you'll drive along a beautiful route towards the hotel in Pitlochry, a village built in the Victorian style. At first, driving on the left might take some getting used to, but a sticker on your left mirror or GPS system will always remind you that they drive on the left here. When you cross the border between England and Scotland, the man playing a tune on the bagpipes is guaranteed to be there. Once you're over this border, you can already start enjoying the beautiful views, old buildings, ponds and lochs, bridges, and classic villages in Scotland. Towards the end of the route, you'll pass by The Famous Grouse distillery. It's also nice for simply having a cup of coffee in the restaurant and the approximately one-hour tour is also fun to experience. If you take off your helmet in the parking lot, you can already smell that whisky is being made here. 

Day route 2: Grampion Mountains, Cairngorm National Park, Malt Whisky Trail and Inverness | 281 / 381 km

Today, you will traverse through the green Cairngorm National Park and the Grampian Mountains located within this vast park. The route continues along a beautiful narrow road through nature with stunning views. Then, you will drive a part of the Malt Whisky Trail, with well-known distilleries such as Glenfiddich. The hotel is located in Inverness, a bustling city with a thriving culinary culture and considered as the capital of the Scottish Highlands. Inverness is a lively city, with bustling shopping streets during the day, and cozy pubs in the evenings, often accompanied by the typical sound of bagpipes. Additionally, you can visit the museum where the ancient mystery of the Loch Ness monster is unraveled. The River Ness flows into the North Sea at Inverness.

Day route 3: East and North Coast | 344 / 415 km

From Inverness, you drive northwards along the east coast on the North Coast 500. This long route includes an additional loop through the truly wild nature of the Scottish Highlands. This beautiful route follows the most stunning roads along the coastline. Passing through several Lochs, you will come across Urquhart Castle, which you could also visit. This location is also used for the TV series Outlander. The route continues via Drumnadrochit towards the north on a beautiful small road. You now pass Loch Shin, which is the largest lake in the Sutherland region with an area of 22.5 km² and a length of 27.2 kilometers. You keep driving further north towards the northernmost point of Scotland. A beautiful place to take a break from driving and take a look is at the "Dunnet Head Lighthouse" or the famous "John O'Groats". You continue driving along the coast towards Thurso. The city of Thurso was founded by Vikings and they built an important port there, which was used as a trading post at that time, but nowadays it is of great importance to the Scottish fishing industry and as a ferry port to the Orkney Islands.

Day route 4: North Coast & Highlands West | 268 / 328 km

Today, once again, you have the opportunity to choose between a short and a long route. The number of kilometers may be quite high, but the driving time for today is relatively short. You still follow the North Coast route with stunning views over the coastline and the Highlands. After a few kilometers, you cross the Kyle of Tongue Bridge. Just before the crossing, there is a lookout point and a parking lot. You continue the route along the coastline of Loch Eriboll, which is also a bay of the Atlantic Ocean. Here, you are once again treated to stunning views. You now come across the "Smoo Caves". Here, you have a view of the narrow gorge of the Atlantic Ocean, which is certainly worth a stopover. The route continues towards the hotel and you pass by the beautiful village of Ullapool, which is definitely worth a visit, as it is surrounded by beautiful, rugged mountainous landscapes. You are now almost at your hotel where you will be staying tonight. The hotel in Gairloch has a beautiful view of the harbor and the "Isle of Skye"! With clear weather, you can see whales, dolphins, and even orcas in the sea.

Day route 5: Gairloch, Appelcross and the phenomenal Isle of Skye | 286 / 449 / 494 km

Today you have the option to choose from three types of routes. The short route takes you over the Applecross Pass, an iconic pass where you'll be treated to fantastic views of the sea.

The long route doesn't go over the Applecross Pass, but instead takes you over the Isle of Skye, possibly one of the most beautiful places in the world. The northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, a magical place with some of Scotland's most characteristic landscapes.

The XL route combines the Applecross Pass and the Isle of Skye. It's an intensive, long route, but if you depart on time and enjoy making a few extra miles, it's doable and you won't regret it!

You'll be staying in a modern four-star hotel in or near Fort William. The Water Nevis river runs through this place, named after Scotland's highest mountain, Ben Nevis. Fort William is located at the foot of this mountain and, together with the mountain, is a beloved tourist destination in Scotland.

Day route 6: Glencoe, Trossachstrail and Drymen | 231 / 332 km

After breakfast, you will continue the route to your next overnight hotel in Drymen. From Fort William, you will drive almost directly through perhaps the most beautiful valley in Scotland: Glencoe. This valley was carved out by a glacier during the Ice Age. In winter, with sufficient snow, skiing is abundant. The end of the James Bond film Skyfall was also filmed in this vast valley.

The route continues over the "Old Military Road," as there are several in Scotland. This part of the route along the shore is again very beautiful and fun to drive. You will pass the "Trossachs trail," which is popular among motorcyclists in Scotland and a real bend festival. After the Trossachs trail, you will drive the last part of the route to yet another hotel of this trip in Drymen, a small town located near the large city of Glasgow.

Day route 7: Northumberland National Park - Newcastle | 285 km

The final day route takes you through the English Northumberland National Park to Newcastle. The first part of the route passes through a busier area of Scotland around Glasgow. The route takes you on larger roads towards the beautiful old towns of Peebles and Jedburgh, through the Scottish Borders towards Newcastle, where the Scottish journey ends. 

Dates and prices

Usually between April to September

The above prices are per person

Reviews of our travellers

We enjoyed the trip immensely, made this trip in 2022 in the period September 6 to September 15. For us a trip not to forget, on the day of departure it was a pleasant 25 degrees t...

Review of North Coast 500

After a long period of uncertainty as to whether we were welcome in the UK, the light was finally given to us as a group of 7. Having previously taken an unorganized trip, we now c...

Really highly recommended! We really enjoyed the driving and the beautiful Scottish scenery. The routes were all correct, communication with Horizon was quick and easy and all our ...

Wonderful beautiful motorcycle trip we had. Every minute another beautiful view. Hotels and food was also very good. And the Scots themselves.....best people. Certainly a tr...

We spent 8 days away to Scotland with beautiful, winding routes right through the mountains. The scenery is overwhelming and every 100 m you would actually want to stop and enjoy t...

We did the 12 day trip and it was fantastic routes with small personal adjustments in infinitely beautiful uninhabited natural areas with beautiful single track roads and faster th...

After going with Horizon to the North Cape in 2010, this year we chose Lake district and Scotland. This was again a fantastic experience for us. They were beautiful routes with ver...

Pictures from travellers

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North Coast 500 Packages

Soak up the breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands with a North Coast 500 tour. Your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor will plan and book your road trip for you. Plus you’ll have 24/7 local support during your holiday for peace of mind.

Discover Scotland with a North Coast 500 Tour Package

THINKING ABOUT A NORTH COAST 500 SELF-DRIVE TOUR? WE CAN HELP!

Discover golden beaches, ancient castles, and mountains towering over peaceful lochs on the North Coast 500, an exhilarating driving route in Scotland. You’ll soon see why it is considered the best road trip in the UK.

When you book a North Coast 500 self-drive tour with Nordic Visitor, our Edinburgh-based travel consultants arrange your Scottish holiday on your behalf. They’ll book your accommodation, plan your route, and be there to support you from start to finish.

We also have Cancellation Protection available, giving you peace of mind knowing that your money is protected. Or if you need to change your travel dates, we'll rearrange all your tour details for you, so you have a hassle-free experience.

Get in touch and we'll happily plan your holiday. You can call us on +44 (0)131 344 4630 or our toll-free numbers . Alternatively, reach us via our contact form or live chat.

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Why book with nordic visitor.

  • Hassle-free & seamless travel experience
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  • Up to 10% off self-drive tours if you use your own car
  • Cancel or change your plans if you need to – we'll handle it for you

DRIVE THE NORTH COAST 500 IN SCOTLAND

Soak up the Highlands on this stunning driving route in northern Scotland. These tour packages include handpicked accommodation, rental car, and daily breakfast.

Grand Tour of Scotland

Scottish highlands & north coast 500, complete scotland at leisure, scottish highlands, north coast 500 & outer hebrides, complete scotland, classic scotland & the orkney islands, self-drive with your own car - save up to 10%.

Do your Scotland holiday in style with a road trip route planned by a Scottish travel agency. What do you get? Personal travel consultant. Handpicked accommodation. 24/7 support. Personalised map & travel guide documents. Contact us for a quote

EXPLORE MORE SCOTTISH ROAD TRIPS

Experience other stunning spots in Scotland on a self-drive tour designed by local travel experts. Your accommodation, rental car, and daily breakfast is included.

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Scottish highlands & isle of skye, scottish highlands & isle of skye - winter, express scotland - winter, the outlander trail, express scotland, classic scotland & outer hebrides, express scotland & ireland, classic scotland & ireland, complete scotland & ireland, grand tour of scotland & ireland, scottish highlands, isle of skye & wild atlantic way, ultimate tour of scotland & ireland, scottish highlands, north coast 500 & wild atlantic way, experience scotland your way.

We have tours for all varieties of travel styles and interests. See our options for exploring Scotland below.

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Honeymoon & romance, solo travel, the scottish highlands, off the beaten path, about north coast 500 tours.

If you’ve got questions about the North Coast 500, read on. We’ve compiled all the expert tips about this incredible driving route to help you plan your tour. From must-see places to packing recommendations, here’s everything you need to know about enjoying a trip along Scotland’s North Coast 500.

WHAT IS THE NORTH COAST 500?

The North Coast 500, or NC500, is one of the best road trips you can drive in the UK. The NC500 route takes you through striking scenery in the northern Scottish Highlands, encompassing just over 500 miles (516 miles or 830 kilometres, to be exact).

WHERE IS THE NORTH COAST 500?

You’ll find the NC500 in the northernmost part of the British mainland. Usually you’d start your road trip in Inverness, northeastern Scotland, and follow the coast around to Applecross in the west. Overall, you’d travel across 6 regions: Inverness-shire, the Black Isle, Easter Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Wester Ross.

HOW LONG DOES THE NORTH COAST 500 TAKE?

To allow yourself enough time to explore this part of Scotland, we highly recommend that you choose an NC500 itinerary of at least 5 or 7 days. This way you could get to know each region well and take your time to drive the route.

  • Visiting from the UK? Drive the NC500 on a Scotland staycation package
  • Take a look at these ideas for Scotland staycations on our expert’s blog

WHICH DIRECTION TO DO THE NORTH COAST 500?

Our Scotland travel experts suggest that you drive the NC500 anti-clockwise, with Inverness as your starting point. You’d then head up the east coast from there, before following the northern road and then driving down the western side.

The reason is that the scenery you witness becomes more and more dramatic in this direction, culminating with the mountainous landscapes on the west coast. Plus it means that you can continue your adventures in top Scottish spots like the Isle of Skye, Fort William and Glen Coe.

Good to know: If you’re thinking about taking a Scottish road trip from the UK, we can help. Explore Scotland on a Nordic Visitor self-drive tour and save up to 10% if you use your own car.

Our Scotland travel experts will design your route, book you into the best possible accommodation, and share all their insider tips with you.

This means you can leave all the hassle of trip-planning to the experts, who are based in Scotland and know the country inside out. What’s more, you get access to our 24/7 helpline during your holiday. Should you need any support, we are only a call away.

Plus, we have Cancellation Protection available so you can cancel or change the dates of your tour if you need. This gives you flexibility when booking your trip, as well as peace of mind knowing that we'll take care of handling the changes.

  • Get in touch to find out about our reduced rates for visitors driving from the UK
  • Find out how you can Book With Confidence thanks to our flexible booking terms

MUST-SEE PLACES ON THE NORTH COAST 500

There are so many beautiful sights awaiting you on a North Coast 500 self-drive tour. From sandy beaches to grand castles, serene lochs to majestic mountains, you’ll be treated to some of Scotland’s top highlights on your road trip.

Add these must-see spots to your North Coast 500 itinerary:

  • The Black Isle & Chanonry Point
  • Glenmorangie Distillery
  • Dunrobin Castle
  • Dunnet Point & John O'Groats
  • Durness Beach
  • Ardvreck Castle
  • Inverewe Garden
  • Corrieshalloch Gorge

TOP THINGS TO DO ON THE NC500

There are plenty of things to do on your adventure through northern Scotland. Imagine exploring the ruins of Ardvreck Castle on the shores of Loch Assynt, or sampling freshly caught seafood in Ullapool.

Here are the best things to do on your NC500 road trip:

  • Stroll along white and gold sand beaches
  • Go hiking in the hills, forests and glens
  • Taste fresh, local seafood at fishing villages
  • Investigate regal castles and ancient ruins
  • Sample heady whisky at local distilleries and pubs
  • Take on the highest mountain pass in the country
  • Stop by the northernmost tip of mainland Britain
  • Discover hidden coves and mysterious sea caves
  • Spot dolphins and seabirds from the shore
  • Admire views of rivers, lochs and waterfalls

WHERE TO STAY ON THE NC500

In terms of where you should stay on your North Coast 500 journey, we’d recommend the following places:

We’d also suggest that you stay in Ullapool for 2 nights so that you can make the most of being in this beautiful area. You could explore the coast on boat tours or take day trips to see top highlights in the region, such as Corrieshalloch Gorge.

Charming guesthouses and bed & breakfasts await you in northern Scotland, so you can expect a relaxing stay. Make sure you reserve ahead of time though, as accommodation is often in demand.

Or leave the arrangements to Nordic Visitor and we’ll book all your NC500 stays for you. We have guaranteed beds in desirable locations, and we quality-check all the accommodation on your itinerary to make sure it’s up to our high standards.

  • For more inspiration, check out this guide to the North Coast 500 on our expert’s blog

SUGGESTED NORTH COAST 500 ITINERARY

If you’re visiting from outside of Scotland, you’ll likely be beginning your self-drive tour in Edinburgh or Glasgow. Here is our NC500 itinerary suggestion from start to finish:

  • Day 1 – Arrival in Edinburgh. Explore the Scottish capital at your leisure.
  • Day 2 – Drive up to Inverness, the gateway to the northern Highlands.
  • Day 3 – Day of leisure in Inverness-shire. See Loch Ness and Culloden.
  • Day 4 – Journey to the north of Scotland to Thurso.
  • Day 5 – Travel along the northern coast to Durness.
  • Day 6 – Drive south to Ullapool, passing by seaside attractions.
  • Day 7 – Day of leisure in Ullapool. You could explore other highlights of Wester Ross.
  • Day 8 – Travel across the soaring Torridon Hills.
  • Day 9 – Head to Applecross and take on the mountain pass, Bealach na Bà. Then drive south to Fort William.
  • Day 10 – Return to Edinburgh or Glasgow passing by the majestic Glen Coe and the Trossachs National Park.

This is one recommendation for how to take on the NC500, but there are other ways to do it. For example, you might like to explore more top sights in Scotland as part of your self-drive tour to make the most of your trip.

You could head to the Isle of Skye from Applecross and spend a couple of days discovering the island’s jaw-dropping landscapes. Or perhaps you’d like to take the ferry to Orkney where you can uncover Viking history.

  • Discover more of the best Scottish road trips on our blog

HOW TO PLAN YOUR NC500 TRIP?

The easiest way to plan your NC500 road trip is to have an expert organise it all for you. By doing so, you can relax and look forward to your getaway, without needing to worry about logistics and travel arrangements. It also means you have local support before, during and after your tour.

At Nordic Visitor, our Scotland travel consultants are based in Edinburgh. They know the country inside out and will use their expertise to arrange a tour package that suits you perfectly.

When you book a North Coast 500 package with us, you can expect:

  • A personal travel consultant based in Edinburgh who’ll arrange your trip
  • Excellent accommodation at your chosen price point, with daily breakfast
  • Car rental* with CDW, unlimited mileage and authorisation for 2 drivers
  • A hand-noted, personalised itinerary and route
  • 24/7 phone support during your adventure for peace of mind
  • Cancellation Protection available to protect your money

*If you’re coming from the UK and you’d prefer to drive your own car on your road trip, you can enjoy savings of up to 10%. Contact our Scotland travel team to find out about our reduced rates.

  • Check out these self-drive tours of Scotland to start planning your holiday

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO DO THE NC500

The best time to drive the North Coast 500 is between April and October. You’ll have the most daylight hours, open attractions, and accommodation options at this time of year.

Compared to the winter months (November to March), the roads are generally more accessible between April and October. It’s also good to know that certain highlights, such as castles, are only open to the public during the high season.

One thing to be aware of about Scotland in summer – between June and August – is that it attracts the most visitors. You should also make sure to book your trip early so that you don’t miss out on your accommodation of choice.

To experience the NC500 when it’s a bit quieter, consider visiting Scotland in spring or autumn . As a bonus you can enjoy gorgeous landscapes dotted with blossoming flowers or red and gold foliage.

  • Check out these Scotland summer tour packages
  • Read more advice about the best time to visit Scotland

TIPS FOR DRIVING THE NC500

Scotland’s road conditions are usually safe, but extra care may be needed in certain remote parts of the Highlands. This is because you may encounter single-track roads, wildlife and farm animals, and cyclists.

Should you come across an oncoming vehicle along a single-track road, prepare to use a passing place to allow them to get by. In some cases you may need to reverse to reach the nearest one.

Never exceed the speed limit and drive with caution in case animals are crossing the road. The North Coast 500 is also popular with cyclists so give yourself plenty of time to stop and react.

On occasion, you may find that pedestrians are walking alongside the road. Visitors often enjoy wild camping in the Highlands, which is why you might come across some campervans and tents on parts of the route.

WHAT TO TAKE ON THE NORTH COAST 500

When packing for your NC500 tour, you should be ready for all weather and bring plenty of warm layers. Waterproofs are a must as it can get wet in the Scottish Highlands.

Here’s our recommended packing list for Scotland :

  • Warm jumper or fleece
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Good walking shoes or boots
  • Light scarf or thin jumper
  • Midge repellent

If you’re visiting in the summer months, be sure to prepare for midges. You could bring some Avon Skin-So-Soft body oil spray, the go-to repellent for Britain’s Marines. And we suggest you wear long sleeves and trousers, particularly at dusk when midges are at their worst.

  • Read about Scotland’s weather and daylight hours on our travel guides

Scroll down to learn more about Nordic Visitor’s services.

— LOCAL SUPPORT & KNOWLEDGE

Get the most out of your holiday.

  • Relax knowing you can reach us 24/7 on our helpline
  • Explore places handpicked for you by local experts
  • Enjoy discounts of up to 10% when you use your own car
  • Save time and effort with everything arranged for you

What do our customers say?

The reviews speak for themselves. See what Nordic Visitor travellers said about their experience with us.

Highly recommend Nordic Visitor

This is our second tour with Nordic Visitor. Agents used before the tour were always very prompt with responses to our questions. During the tour, we found the accommodation perfect, guide very informative and friendly, and the driver got used to where we needed to go without any problems. We would definitely use Nordic Visitor again!

Smooth experience

Throughout the years we have travelled a lot, but never with a group tour. This trip was our first time and it did not disappoint. The tour guide, the bus driver, our fellow passengers, the weather, accommodation, variety of activities, and how smoothly everything went makes me question why we never toured like this before!

Amazing experience!

We had an amazing experience with Nordic Visitor! Our guides, Richard and Tim, were organised, knowledgeable, and very friendly! You can tell quality and customer satisfaction are very important. We will be back!

An unforgettable holiday

It was an unforgettable holiday. They took care of everything, and we got to wonder and explore with little hassle. If you want to visit Scotland (or anywhere else Nordic Visitor has tours) they are the way to do it. Already talking about our next adventure with Nordic Visitor.

An indescribably fantastic experience!

We are two middle-aged women who had never been to the UK before. My sister-in-law always wanted to go to Scotland, so I started researching and came upon Nordic Visitor through internet searches. I checked for reviews and found the company to be highly recommended. I started corresponding with Kirsten. She was extremely kind, very helpful and was able to put my nervous mind at ease. The package she put together for us was perfect! From my first email, the airport pick up and drop off service, and the tour with Dave, it was an indescribably fantastic experience!

I can't thank Nordic Visitor enough

This is our second trip in two years to Scotland with Nordic Visitor, and we are seriously thinking about another. I can't thank Chris enough for his patience and expertise when booking this trip.

The tour package materials were top notch. Spiral bound itinerary, recommended activities, restaurant recommendations and the large-scale road map of Scotland were a nice touch. Magdalena, our Nordic Visitor representative, responded promptly to our questions. Accomodation was all great.

Perfect vacation!

For our 50th wedding anniversary, we trusted Nordic Visitor to make our vacation a memorable one, and they made it beyond special. Chris, our tour planner, did everything to accommodate our needs and answered our questions quickly. It was an absolutely perfect vacation!

We booked a 4-day Christmas Tour of Edinburgh which included hotel accommodation, a walking tour of the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle, a day tour of the Highlands and Lowlands, castles, and lochs, and also a whisky distillery tour. The hotel was in an amazing location near the Christmas Markets and popular attractions. The day tours were such a wonderful way to experience the countryside outside of Edinburgh. We also added a driving service to drive us to and from the airport and the drivers were so lovely. The care package left at the hotel consisting of maps and suggested eateries was such a delightful bonus. We loved that every aspect of our trip was planned and ready for us once we arrived which diminished any travel stress that one may experience when travelling abroad.

We were in good hands

As first-time visitors to Edinburgh, and senior citizens, our choice to use Nordic Visitor was an excellent one. The welcome package we received at the hotel was really helpful, with our tour vouchers, maps and restaurant recommendations. We would not have known what hotel to select and the one selected for us was perfect. The choice of tours offered was perfect for a 5-day visit. So glad to learn about the Royal Mile and visit the castle. The trip through the Highlands and Loch Ness was beautiful. Our travel agent, Rebecca, always quickly responded to email questions prior to departure. Thank you! Nordic Visitor made our trip easy and rewarding. We were in good hands.

Highly professional service

Nordic Visitor is a highly professional tour company. From beginning to end, we have no complaints. Our travel consultant, Chris, was very quick to answer all our questions from start to finish. Could not be more pleased.

Absolutely wonderful!

Our trip was absolutely wonderful! Magda was great to work with and helped us through the whole process. Everyone we worked with from the beginning through the end of the trip was absolutely marvellous.

Scotland Travel Guide

Learn some conversation-starter facts and do some research before your Scottish adventure.

North Coast 500

The North Coast 500, or NC500, is one of the most scenic drives in Scotland. In fact, many say...

Regarded as the capital of the Highlands, Inverness is a city on Scotland’s northeastern coast,...

Nestled on the shores of Loch Broom between rugged mountains, the small fishing village of...

What to bring

Come prepared for all seasons and activities with ..

From single malt whisky to traditional delicacies,..

What kind of temperatures can you expect in Scotla..

Where to buy essentials and what to bring home as ..

Our Services

Whether you travel independently or with a guide in your Nordic Visitor package, you will receive personalised service from a designated travel consultant and high-quality travel documents. What's more, all self-drive clients receive a hand-marked map that outlines the driving route, overnights and highlights along the way. Travel with ease knowing that Nordic Visitor has close professional relationships with local service providers , which are carefully selected by our staff for their consistently high standards.

Book With Confidence

  • Protect your money & plans with our  flexible booking terms    .
  • 97% of customers say they’d recommend us to friends.
  • We work closely with trusted, high-quality suppliers.
  • Enjoy personal service from Scotland travel experts.
  • Get peace of mind with a 24/7 helpline during your stay.
  • We’re here for you in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Get in touch to have your dream holiday arranged by one of our local travel experts. As a travel agency based in Edinburgh, we know Scotland inside out and we’ll use our expertise to plan your perfect trip.

Our Scottish phone number is +44 (0)131 344 4630

How about a live chat with one of our local travel experts?

Read About Scotland

Scotland staycations to feel like you’re abroad, best scotland staycation ideas for uk travellers, 5 best road trips in scotland : a local expert's view, scotland's nc500 - your guide to the north coast 500 route.

Whether you have a single question or a special request, we're here for you.

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my veggie travels

NC500 Scotland 4 Day Itinerary

Whilst planning our NC500 Scotland 4-day itinerary, it was proving difficult to find a post that listed accommodation and the best things to see all in one place. There’s so much about the famous Scottish Highlands road trip to cover, and most websites involved a lot of scrolling and jumping from page to page. In this post, I’ve tried to break our NC500 route down into days, whilst including the accommodation we used along the way.

This article has links to places and services we visited and enjoyed, which we may make commission from.

Need North Coast 500 accommodation only? Head straight to my blog, The Best Hotels on Scotland’s North Coast 500: Accommodation Guide

NC500 Scotland Route Planner

nc 500 map

So, the big question first, “Which way to go?” Although most people go West to East, we went East to West (starting in Inverness and working our way up). Despite the popularity of the West to East route, every local we spoke to agreed that the East to West drive was better. The thought behind this was that the East is a lot easier and a lot less dramatic. Those starting with the West tend to have tired and miss out a lot of the East, following a hard drive at the beginning. I stand by our decision.

How long does it take to do the NC500?

“I’m doing the NC500, how many days should I put aside?”The simple answer to this is, “How long is a piece of string?” We did our journey in 4 days (not including getting to the start point in Invenress). I strongly recommend you don’t cut it any lower than this. The following itinerary was doable in 4 days, but involved 8am starts and 10pm finishes. You could, of course, cut out some of the sightseeing locations, however, the drive (especially on the West) is still quite intense.

It’s also worth noting that, in Summer, the NC500 is a popular route. The locals were keen to reiterate that (during peak times) the mostly single-track roads were nose to tail caravans and could take hours. Google maps will not factor in the time you have to continuously take to pull in and out of passing places to let other go by.

NC500 hotels and accommodation

Within this post, I’ve included some extra detail about our accommodation at the end of each day’s sightseeing spots. However, below is a quick list of the places we stayed (including price and accommodation type). I can’t stress enough how quickly Highland accommodation books up, many people will book summer season stays a year in advance to secure a spot. My tip: If the availability is there, get in fast!

Night 1 – North Star Glamping (Lybster). Self -catering, £100 for the cabin.

Alternatives: Royal Marine Hotel, Brora or Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch

Night 2 – Bettyhill Hotel (Bettyhill). Breakfast included, £100 for 2

Alternatives: Newton Lodge

Night 3 – Riverside Guest House (Ullapool). Breakfast included, £95 for 2

Night 4 – Pammy’s Family Annexe (Garve). Breakfast included, £95 for 2

What to pack for the North Coast 500

As with any Scotland road-trip, it’s important to remember two things:

  • NEVER trust the weather report
  • You’re not going for a fashion show, take walking boots and waterproofs!

We were forecast rain for every day of our trip, right up to the day we left. We only got 1 day of rain. AND, not only that, we got such beautiful weather that I only wore a jacket once! However, this is a rarity, and I recommend you pack the following as basics:

  • A sturdy waterproof jacket
  • Walking boots (I say boots rather than shoes as they’ll give your ankles more support)
  • Thick walking socks (your feet will most likely get wet)
  • A towel (to dry off in the car/on the beach)
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Swimwear (on the off chance that you fancy a loch/beach dip)
  • Clothing you can layer (it’s common to see all 4 season in one day in Scotland. Be ready to add/remove layers)
  • A water bottle (stay hydrated folks!)

Day 1 – Inverness to Lybster

By far the easiest length of road in the trip. The A9 takes you right up the coast, is relatively straight and offers a single-carriageway (meaning no pulling over to let people past).

Fyrish Monument

fyrish monument

Around a 50-minute drive North of Inverness, we arrived at the car park for Fyrish monument at 10am. The walk (known as Jubilee Path) is a 2 mile uphill hike and walking boots are advisable. In total, it took us a 2 hours to go up and down, allowing plenty of time for photos

The unusual stone monument was built by under the instruction of a native lord to the area in 1782. It’s told that it was built to keep the locals in labour whilst the Highland Clearances took place.

Dunrobin Castle

dunrobin castle

Unlike a lot of Scotland’s castles, Dunrobin Castle is still privately owned; home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland. The original building dates back to the 1300s, but its beautiful gardens were added in 1835. We spent most of the time exploring the exterior and enjoying the views from the fountain and flowerbeds ( I took way too many photos here!). The entry to Dunrobin is a package deal, so if you want to see the gardens, you’re also paying for a good recce around its interiors. We made the most of it and spent a good couple of hours here checking everything out.

Cairn Laith Broch

cairn laith broch

These little Iron Age ruins on the edge of the coastline were a last minute stop, after a recommendation by one of the team at Dunrobin Castle. You’ll find it about 2 miles up the A9 from the cute little village of Golspie and the broch is thought to have been built between 500 BC – 800 AD. It’s worth a quick stop to soak in a extra bit of history (it’s one of the few excavated brochs on the Scottish mainland with surviving outbuildings).

Lunch/Dinner at the Sutherland Inn

sutherland inn vegan burger

I can’t rave about this place enough! We’d pulled over to have a drink here on a whim due to it’s outdoor seating and inviting front. After perusing the menu and concluding there was nothing on it for vegans, the lovely man at the bar questioned, “What’s wrong with our menu?”, as I handed it back. After explaining my problem, he told me they’d make me whatever I wanted, offering to send their team out to get the ingredients they’d need. I’m not sure I’ve ever been anywhere that’s been so keen to make sure I was catered to! We enjoyed beers and enormous freshly-made burgers in the sun on their outdoor tables, whilst watching over the bustling little main street of Brora. Check them out the Sutherland Inn .

Whaligoe Steps

whaligoe steps

After dropping our stuff off at our accommodation in Lybster (below), we took the car for a final spin a few more miles up the coast to check out the Whaligoe Steps for sunset. You’ll get two sights for the price of one here: an enormous cave harbour accessed by descending a 365 step walkway, and the 250ft Whaligoe falls. At the top of the cliff, the path forks: right leads you to the steps, whilst left will take you across a (slightly treacherous) walkway along the cliff to catch a glimpse of the falls. Both routes require sturdy footwear as they are slippery, steep and have no barriers to prevent falls.

Read more about how to how to find the Whaligoe Steps and Falls in my dedicated post.

North Star Glamping Scotland

north star glamping scotland

Our first night-time stop on our NC500 4-day itinerary was North Star Glamping in Lybster. The luxury pods are owned by a lovely lady named Maggie, who has truly thought of everything (from fluffy towels and wineglasses to coffee machines and playing cards). The pod was perfect for up to 4 people and felt super cosy on account of the underfloor heating.

There are only 2 pods on the site, so be sure to book in advance!

Day 2 – Lybster to Bettyhill

As with day 1, a lot of this road is relatively easy to navigate (with a lot of it still being part of the A9). We spent most of it around the Duncansy Stacks and John o’ Groats area, so I’d recommend that where you focus a lot of your time. We picked up a junk-food lunch by the John o’ Groats car park, and stopped for a refuel (and Tesco meal deal) in Thurso.

Duncansby Stacks

duncansby stacks scotland

The drive from Lybster to Duncansby Stacks took around 45 minutes, and is a fantastic stop on the side of John O Groats. Getting to the viewpoint is relatively easy, cutting a mile or so across a grassy path from the car park. I’d really recommend a walk along the coastline past the stacks, as the pathway offers up some incredible views (and some surprising angles). We made more time for this than John o’ Groats itself, after being warned there isn’t much there besides the signpost and pretty coloured accommodation.

Bay of Sannick – White beaches in Scotland

bay of sannick

The beach at the Bay of Sannick was another impromptu visit – you can see the bay from the Duncansby Stacks car park. You can leave the car at the stacks, or drive down to the make-shift pull-in spot for an easier journey. The beach is small, however, it was (by far) the best beach we visited on the NC500 (even with numerous recommendations and others on our list). Despite the glorious weather we had, this beach was empty when we arrived, giving us a crystal water paddle to ourselves. It’s worth noting that the wade in to the water here is deceivingly rocky, and I really wish we’d had some swim shoes to make the most out of it.

John O’ Groats

john o groats scotland

I don’t think I’m speaking out of term here when I say that there’s not really a lot to do in john O’ Groats itself. The tiny village is famous for being one end of the longest distance between two inhabited points on mainland Britain. We pitched up to get our token photo with the popular signpost and grab a bit of lunch. Vegans will be delighted to learn that the little fish and chip van serves up huge chip butties (with or without mushy peas), fried in sunflower oil.

Whilst you’re there, grab a snap of the colourful Nordic-style blocks of The Inn at John o’ Groats . They look like big happy Lego houses and are available to book as part of the NC500 accommodation offering.

Dunnet Head – The most Northerly point of mainland Britain

dunnet head

Our last stop before heading across the North coast to our accommodation was Dunnet Head. The peninsula is the most Northerly point of mainland Britain and the little coastal drive up to it is stuffed with pretty little lochs and mini viewpoints. At the main point, you’ll find a lighthouse, 360 panoramic views across to the Orkney Islands and an impressive glimpse of the Northern cliff edge. Don’t miss it, it would be a shame to come all this way and not be able to truly claim that you hit the top!

Bettyhill Hotel

bettyhill hotel vegan food

The further North (and West) you get on the NC500, the tougher it is to find last-minute accommodation (or in some cases, accommodation at all). We booked into the Bettyhill Hotel , for night 2 – the most expensive of our 4 nights accommodation. The hotel sits proudly on a hill overlooking a larger beach and comes with views at breakfast. Of all our stays, it’s probably the one I was least delighted by, despite the team being friendly and the hotel being clean. My vegan experience was a little ropey; I had a wonderful huge curry for dinner, but was served dairy ice-cream (despite the menu stating the cheesecake desert option was vegan). It’s frustrating to have to re-iterate and keep asking if things (that are labelled for dietary requirement) actually are – especially when you’re sat with non-vegans. Similarly, breakfast was dry toast, mushrooms and tomato.

The hotel is a good location stop point, but pricey for what you get (when compared to our other stops).

Day 3 – Bettyhill to Ullapool

To pack all of day 3’s itinerary in, you’re going to need an early start! Its at this point that the North Coast 500 road starts to become intense, with lots of hills, windy roads and single track systems. The stops we made on this day were also the ones that required sturdy boots and waterproof clothing.

smoo cave

Smoo Cave was one of my top things to see on our NC500 trip. The enormous sea-cave is thought to have got its name from the Norse word ‘smjugg’ or ‘smuga’, meaning a hole or hiding-place. The cavern has two chambers: one formed by the sea and one formed by a fast-flowing 66 ft waterfall. The first part of the cave can be accessed on foot, whilst the back chamber requires a little boat journey that only runs in the summer. If you’re lucky enough to catch the boat (it wasn’t running the day we arrived) you might be luck enough to catch a photo with the beam of light that shoots into the cave from the hole above.

Kylesku Bridge

kylesku bridge

Whizzing down the West coast towards Ullapool, you’ll drive over the Kylesku Bridge. You don’t need long there, but there’s a viewpoint on either side (we caught this photo from the North to South side) and it’s worth pulling over to admire the design.

Wailing Widow Falls

wailing widow falls waterfall

I can’t stress how much you need to add this point to your NC500 itinerary. I came across it by chance whilst digging through locations on Instagram, and need to give full credit to Merlins_Mind for the details on how to get there. Check my Wailing Widow Falls blog post on how to find it, where to park and how to make the most of the stop. Wailing Widow Falls has two viewpoints: the aerial view across Loch na Gainmhich (above) and the falls view (below).

Getting to the aerial view involves a rickety crossing over the stones of the river before the drop (or a much longer, boggy walk around the full loch). You’ll then need to scramble up the marshy hillside. Fashion trainers will NOT do the job!

The direct falls view is accessed by a slippery footpath that starts further down the hill (there are car parks to both these points). The path here is unstable and rocky and getting into the mouth of the falls involves skipping over the large stones in the river below.

If you want to stay in this area for longer, I thoroughly recommend a stay at Newton Lodge . Located only a 5-minute drive from the waterfall, I’ve stayed here twice now and I’d go as far as to stay it’s my favourite accommodation on the NC500.

Achmelvich Beach

achmelvich beach

Often hailed as one of Scotland’s ‘tropical beaches’, Achmelvich beach was the last stop of our 3rd day. Getting to it after Wailing Widow falls involves doubling back to the turn off for it, or missing our some of the nc500 route and cutting down the main road and then turning out to the West. Unlike the Bay of Sannick, Achmelvich beach has a full camp site right on its doorstep, making it a lot busier than our little paradise beach on day 2. Its waters are crystal clear and the sands are just as white, but the gloomy weather took the shine off. Its worth noting that jellyfish are a regular occurrence on Achmelvich, so be sure to watch where you tread/swim.

Ardvreck Castle

ardvreck castle scotland

An unofficial stop – Speeding past Loch Assynt to Ullapool, we pulled over to have a quick look over the ruins at Ardvreck Castle. The ruins date back to the 16th century, and the castle is popular with photographers and wild campers.

Riverside Guest House Ullapool

riverside hotel ullapool

Finding accommodation down the West coast gets tricky (and expensive). There’s only one hotel in Applecross, so Ullapool is the last main stop to offer you a selection. The Riverside Guest House is run by an adorably cheerful gent named Charlie, who welcomed us with lots of chat and information as soon as we set foot in the door. I felt like I was stepping into my own house. All of the rooms were kitted out with new carpets and cosy bed sheets, and Charlie was keen to make sure he’d checked all the ingredients of my vegan breakfast. We loved the atmosphere of this hotel, and I’d definitely be back if I decided to try take on one of the Munros in the area.

Book the Riverside Guest House

Day 4 – Ullapool to Inverness

This part of the road is definitely the most tiring of the 4 days! It’s predominantly single track, very hilly and often described as treacherous. Nervous/new drivers should reconsider the road from Applecross over Bealach na Bà in favour of the safer route. However, despite all these warnings, this is by far the most spectacular part of the road in terms of viewpoints, mountain ranges and general Scottish Highland feels.

We picked up a wee lunch bags in Ullapool so that we didn’t need to worry about finding somewhere to accommodate my diet.

Gruinard Beach

gruinard beach

Just after the bay, the road turns up onto a hill with a stopping area and viewpoint. In my opinion, the views from above are even better than the ones from the beach itself.

Tollie Burn, River Ewe

tollie burn

It took us a good bit of digging to identify this secret little stop – you don’t spot the burn (stream) from the road. We pulled over to check out the view of the hill (Slioch Hill) from a little pass on the left-hand side of the road. Getting to the burn is easy, there’s a little worn out path that leads straight down from the parking spot.

Bealach na Bà – Pass of the Cattle

bealach na bà

So, before you dismiss this photo as one of the WORST of all time, I urge you, go Google this location! Rising to 626m above seal-level, this curvy mountain road is hailed as one of the toughest in Scotland. It’s tight twists and turns demand full concentration and rivers who don’t feel really confident about reversing are urged to take a different path. So why bother? Well, for the trouble of it’s dangerous narrow bends and 20% gradients, you’re rewarded with some of the most magnificent mountain views in Scotland. From the top viewpoint, you take in the zigzagging road as it works its way down the hillside and (on a clear day) this make for some incredible photo opportunities. Like I said, please go Google it!

Rogie Falls

rogie falls

Ever seen salmon jump up stream? No? Neither had we! After reaching our accommodation for the night (see below), we learned that this waterfall was a only 10 minute drive along the road. We also learned that, in the Summer, salmon return here to make the difficult swim back up the falls to spawn. The roaring waterfall is huge, and after waiting patiently on the bridge across the river, we were treated to sights of the fish making death defying jumps up the rocks.

Pammy’s Family Annexe

pammys family annexe

Pammy’s lovely wee BnB sits neatly to the side of the road overlooking Loch Luichart. Pammy was there to greet us on arrival, and told us just to shout on her if we wanted to make use of the fire pits in either the front or back garden. She was warm, friendly and keen to make sure we had everything we needed on our last night. Had the weather been on our side, this would have been a wonderful last stop to sit and sip a glass of wine and reflect on our trip.

Book with Pammy 

Bonus stop – Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery

dewars aberfeldy distillery

On our way back down the road to South Scotland, we were invited to go visit the Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery near Pitlochry. Set right in the heart of the countryside, this beautiful big distillery has been producing Scottish whisky since 1898. Our tour included a detailed explanation of how the team create their unique Aberfeldy Single Malt, the history of the distillery, sampling of an exclusively aged whisky, tours of the grounds and whisky cocktail tastings. It was the perfect way to end our road trip and break up a long drive home.

The Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery is now re-open for tours. You can book yours on the Dewar’s website .

And finally … Vegan food on the North Coast 500

vegan food nc500

I’m going to be honest, I thought finding vegan food and accommodation on the NC 500 was going to be an absolute nightmare. There are actually a good few vegetarian/vegan hotels on the North Coast 500, however, only one of them had re-opened after Covid when we took our trip (and it had been fully booked).

As mentioned above, most places we stopped were keen to accommodate for main meals. However, breakfasts left little to the imagination (vegetarian sausages on offer all had egg in them and there was no milk alternative). I recommended vegan travelers itching for a milky coffee fix take a cartoon of their own milk to the Scottish Highlands. I also took some snacks and Pot Noodles for self-catering emergencies.

Lunches were relatively easy, but uninspiring. We came across multiple Tescos and Co-Ops on our Scottish road trip, meaning we were able to pick up budget-friendly sandwich meal deals. The UK’s vegan offering for these deals has grown significantly in the last year, and flavours include pumpkin falafel, Plant Chef Hoisin duck and chick’n with herby sage stuffing and cream slaw. My top vegan tip: Prepare like nobody will feed you!

Still have questions about your NC500 Scotland trip? Drop a message in the comments or try my other North Coast 500 blogs:

  • The Best Hotels on Scotland’s North Coast 500: Accommodation Guide
  • How to climb Fyrish Monument on the NC500
  • How to get Smoo Cave Scotland: Visitor guide and FAQs
  • How to find the Whaligoe Steps and Waterfall – North Coast 500
  • How to get to Wailing Widow Falls, Loch na Gainmhich

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Travel writer, marketing adviser and blogger based in Edinburgh, with a focus on budget and vegan travel. 39 countries to date, with extensive knowledge of travel within Asia, particularly within Thailand.

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14 comments.

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Alan Crosbie

Such an awesome trip!

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Enjoyed reading about your trip, especially the NE area as I am planning to visit there this autumn. Your itinerary sounded pretty great to me. If you ever return to the NW I would highly recommend visits to Balnakeil Bay, and just off the NC500 Sandwood Bay and Oldshoremore 👍🏻🌊 @velvetnightskygordy (just to note that Ardvreck Castle is at Loch Assynt 😉)

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Hi Gordon! Thank you for the lovely message (and the correction!). Google maps was really rubbish for location tracking, didn’t give me and mountain names and told me we were in Loch Maree. 😭 I’ll defo check out those spots if we go back to the NW – in all honesty, I wasn’t do fussed about all the beaches/bays at the weather started to turn (it really made such a difference), and we were truly exhausted by the end of this itinerary 😂

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Bulent Yalcin

Hi Sarah, How can i get the printable version of your NC500 itinerary please?

Hi Bulent 🙂 I’ve sent you an e-mail.

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Lidia Lids Li

Hi hun, could I have a copy to print too, please 😁 Starting to plan for August, hope I’ve not left it too late to book accommodation 😬 thinking of 6 days instead of 4, so should be a bit easier on the driving (I’m most likely going solo)

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Ho Sarah! Great read! Is it possible get to get a printable copy of version of your itinerary please?

Hi Craig 🙂 After the first comment, I sent an e-mail to the user who had all kinds of demands for layout. I’m afraid to say that, at this point, I just didn’t have time to build new downloadables to that level for free – and never got round to producing one. Most people have told me they just printed the page instead. Sorry!

' data-src=

Hi can you please send me a printable version please. Thank you

Hi 🙂 After the first comment, I sent an e-mail to the user who had all kinds of demands for layout. I’m afraid to say that, at this point, I just didn’t have time to build new downloadables to that level for free – and never got round to producing one. Most people have told me they just printed the page instead. Sorry!

' data-src=

I’m absolutely delighted to have found this itinerary … we’ve booked all our accommodations and bookmarked all the sights on Google maps and look forward to leaving in 7 weeks time, after the school holidays.

Thank you so much – this comment has made my day. I hope you have a wonderful time 🙂 x

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Jenilee Fletcher-Davies

That’s sounds perfect and wonderful write up. How do I go about getting a copy of the itinerary. Also just a quick one what do you think about this journey with a dog are there many pet friendly hotels.

Hello! I actually used to have a downloadable copy here on the site with a small 31 fee to cover my plugi costs, but I wasn’t getting any so I scrapped it. All of the Highland Coast hotel hotels on here are dog friendly, with dedicated rooms for pups 🙂

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north coast 500 motorbike tour

Riding the Scotland North Coast 500

© Wild Atlantic Cycling

North Coast 500 Supported Cycle Tour

A an awe-inspiring 7 day cycle tour around the very tip of Britain. The NC500 is a must-do cycle tour for the enthusiastic and adventure cyclists. Let us take care of the tedious logistics and enjoy a fully supported and fun-filled bike challenge!

From Inverness to Inverness in 7 days! Join us and cycle Scotland's amazing North Coast 500! Scotland is full of surprises and the Northcoast 500 will send you home with a host of memories that surpass your expectations of this rugged land. Our route largely follows the Scottish Tourist Board 500 mile route (but it’s better ;) and takes in some tough climbs and beautiful mountain passes. This tour is designed for strong cyclists as it has some testing terrain and the added uncertainty of changeable weather conditions too! We recommend you come prepared.

You will be blown away (literally) by the windswept landscape of the north and the purple hue of the bracken and heather; your spirits will soar as you marvel at the remoteness and grandeur of the Lochinver pass and on a sunny day the soft sand of the beaches and the waves on The Minch, surpass many on the Southern European beaches of the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Scotland NC500 Cycle Route & Daily Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Arrive Inverness (no cycling)
  • ​Day 2 - Inverness to Strathcarron 100 kilometers 640 meters
  • Day 3 - Strathcarron to Gairloch 116 km 1,700 m
  • Day 4 - Gairloch to Ullapool 108 km 1,400 m
  • Day 5 - Ullapool to Durness 147 km 2,200 m
  • Day 6 - Durness to Thurso 115 km 1,400 m
  • Day 7 - Thurso to Lairg 146 km 1,000 m
  • Day 8 - Lairg to Inverness 138 km 900 m
  • Day 9 - Depart Inverness (no cycling)

Best Bits of Cycling the Scottish NC 500

  • Muir of Ord Whisky distillery (we do pass many others but we have incorporated ‘tasting time’ here into Day One)
  • The infamous climb up Beelach Na Ba to Applecross
  • Lochinver Larder - The World Famous Scottish Pie Shop
  • The Lochinver Pass
  • Sandside Bay and the nearby world famous beaches of Achmelvich, Clachtoll, Oldshoremore and Sandwood Bay
  • EU funded Timber Haulage Route from Thurso
  • The ‘Falls of Shin’ at Lairg
  • Johnny Foxes Bar in Inverness (We start and end here. You may remember the start)

The entire route is approximately just under 10,000 metres of climbing elevation. A large part of this is on the western section of the coast line. The route has many sections of stunning scenery with a number of very quiet roads and amazing beaches along the way. With the amount of climbing on this route, we’d recommend something lightweight for your North Coast 500 bike. Whether this is a touring bike or road bike, you’ll be thanking yourself when you climb Bealach na Ba!

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Wild Atlantic Cycling design amazing bike tours and cycling vacations in Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Scotland, Portugal, and the Balkans. Our bike tours are fully supported with a van and a support cyclist. You don’t ride in a group, but at your own pace and style. Luggage is moved from stop to stop. We use very good quality hotels on our cycle tours. Our cycle routes are carefully crafted and tested to ensure you see the best scenery, enjoy great stopovers on your cycle tour and stay in great hotels.

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Best choice for a NC500 tour

If you want a full appreciation of the Scottish Highlands, look no further than the extremely knowledgeable and passionate husband and wife team at NCE. We did extensive research of our options and NCE stood out as the best.

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Stunning NC500 Tour Guide! 

If I had to pick just a few words for our North Coast Explorer tour it would be things like - luxury, bespoke, friendly, knowledgeable, personalized, well-research - and amazing! We wouldn't ever contact anyone else - and neither should you. North Coast Explorer is simply THE BEST!

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A highlight of our trip to Scotland

Anyone who is considering booking a tour, you should. It's so much better not to drive it, and just to sit back, and let Robert & Sally-Ann take over and show you the best of the best! They are expert planners, great communicators and just wonderful people.

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Electrostal History and Art Museum

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  1. Scotland

  2. Exploring New Zealand by motorbike

  3. Lake District (DAY 5)

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  1. Riding Scotland's North Coast 500 on a Motorcycle

    Riding the North Coast 500 motorcycle route in Scotland is an unforgettable experience. The 500-mile journey takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, from rugged coastlines and white sandy beaches to eerie lochs and snow-capped mountains. Along the way, you'll find plenty of places to visit, including historic ...

  2. North Coast 500 Motorcycle Tour

    North Coast 500 Motorcycle Tour. 950 Mile round trip, tour starts and finishes in Glenrothes, Fife. Taking in the best roads and Scotland has to offer. The North Highlands has become one of the most iconic destinations in Scotland because of the NC 500, The route we have planned around the NC500 helps you to discover the best the Highlands has ...

  3. Scotland & Northern Coastal Road 500 Motorcycle Tour

    Our North Coast 500 and Scotland Motorcycle tour is proving extremely popular. It really does show Scotland at its best. Fabulous roads, jaw-dropping scenery, lots of things to see and do. This tour really has a bit of everything. Ride the iconic NC500 coastal road, a route that has been named as one of the top 6 coastal road trips in the world

  4. Motorcycle

    Between mountains and sea, begin your NC500 adventure by exploring the capital of the Highlands. A cultural hub, located astride the River Ness. Sample the Inverness' mouthwatering Scottish cuisine, unearth the city's culture and history, experience traditional live music and enjoy a leisurely stroll down the picturesque riverside walks ...

  5. The Ultimate Guide to Taking the NC 500 by Motorcycle in Scotland

    The North Coast 500 route covers 516 miles (830 km) of Scotland's coastline, making it a challenging but rewarding ride. The estimated riding time for the entire route is around 12-14 hours, but this can vary depending on your pace and the number of stops you make. It's recommended to take at least five to seven days to complete the NC 500 ...

  6. North Coast 500

    Route at a Glance. The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland's magnificence to the world. It has been dubbed Scotland's answer to the renowned 'Route 66' and doesn't disappoint. With just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery, the route path naturally follows ...

  7. North Coast 500

    NC500 Champions. Bringing together a route of just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery in the far north of Scotland, the North Coast 500 is one of the world's most beautiful road trips. Explore opulent castles, sample a dram of whisky or take an exhilarating wildlife safari, enjoy a truly unique touring experience.

  8. North Coast 500 (NC500) motorbike tour

    If you'd like to read more motorcycle adventures from ride the miles follow us on Facebook or Instagram. My 4 day, 570 mile, camping motorcycle tour of the famous NC500 route around the north coast of Scotland. Kylesku bridge, Ardvreck Castle, Durbeg loop, The Secret Tea Garden, Durness, Torridon & more...

  9. North Coast 500 Cycle

    This self-drive holiday explores the dramatic North Coast 500 on a tour of the north of Scotland while enjoying privately guided walks, wonderful boat trips and staying in deluxe small hotels. Ride the best sections of the spectacular NC 500 touring route. Arrive at Scotland's most northerly point by bike. Cycle through the incredible scenery ...

  10. Itineraries

    Itineraries. We have created ten itineraries to help you plan your ideal North Coast 500 trip. These itineraries are based on the minimum amount of time we recommend to allocate for your journey. The History, Heritage and Archaeology and the Luxury itinerary are available to view fully, however to unlock the full NC500 itineraries, you will ...

  11. North Coast 500, Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye

    Day 6 210 Miles. Following the iconic bikers route 'The North Coast 500' you ride to the most northerly point in the British Isles, John o'Groats. Continuing this spectacular coastal ride you pass castles and ride narrow causeways en route to your hotel in Durness. Day 7 193 Miles.

  12. 3 North Coast 500 Tours: Let Someone Else Do The Driving

    Price: From £175. The 3-day North Coast Small-Group Tour leaves from the 'capital of the Highlands' Inverness. An excellent starting point as this is where the NC500 route officially kicks off. This NC500 tour includes two nights stay in an NC500 accommodation, easy level guided nature walks and the following North Coast 500 itinerary:

  13. Motorcycle tour North Coast 500

    From Inverness, you drive northwards along the east coast on the North Coast 500. This long route includes an additional loop through the truly wild nature of the Scottish Highlands. This beautiful route follows the most stunning roads along the coastline. Passing through several Lochs, you will come across Urquhart Castle, which you could also ...

  14. North Coast 500

    Read and See More. Covering the whole North Coast 500 & the inner North Highlands of Scotland, our private guided tours can last one day or seven days depending on your timescales & budget. Browse our range of options, then utilising your preferred interests & desires, we can create a tailor made itinerary just for you.

  15. Motorcycle travel tips for your next NC500 adventure

    Motorcycle travel tips for your next NC500 adventure. Whether you seek to cruise along the endless stretches of coastline along The Black Isle or explore off the beaten track, there's plenty to experience thanks to the beautifully diverse landscape of the North Coast 500. But before you head off on your adventure, you'll need to make sure you have everything you need.

  16. North Coast 500 Tour Packages 2024/2025 : Nordic Visitor

    North Coast 500 Packages. Soak up the breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands with a North Coast 500 tour. Your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor will plan and book your road trip for you. Plus you'll have 24/7 local support during your holiday for peace of mind. view tours.

  17. NC500 Scotland 4 Day Itinerary

    A 4 day route map of the North Coast 500 roadtrip, including photographs of NC500 Scotland accommodation, best things to see and food tips. ... tours of the grounds and whisky cocktail tastings. It was the perfect way to end our road trip and break up a long drive home. The Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery is now re-open for tours.

  18. North Coast 500 Supported Cycle Tour

    North Coast 500 Supported Cycle Tour. A an awe-inspiring 7 day cycle tour around the very tip of Britain. The NC500 is a must-do cycle tour for the enthusiastic and adventure cyclists. Let us take care of the tedious logistics and enjoy a fully supported and fun-filled bike challenge! From Inverness to Inverness in 7 days!

  19. North Coast 500

    David, Los Angeles. We love to share the magnificent North Coast 500 with our guests. Discover this stunning coastal route with a private guided tour in our luxury 4x4 - and sit back and relax as you enjoy a trip tailored to your interests and timescales. Rated 5 star by Visit Scotland and by our guests!

  20. Moscow Oblast

    Moscow Oblast (Russian: Московская область, romanized: Moskovskaya oblast, IPA: [mɐˈskofskəjə ˈobləsʲtʲ], informally known as Подмосковье, Podmoskovye, IPA: [pədmɐˈskovʲjə]) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast).With a population of 8,524,665 (2021 Census) living in an area of 44,300 square kilometers (17,100 sq mi), it is one of the most densely ...

  21. Electrostal History and Art Museum

    Art MuseumsHistory Museums. Write a review. Full view. All photos (22) Suggest edits to improve what we show. Improve this listing. The area. Nikolaeva ul., d. 30A, Elektrostal 144003 Russia. Reach out directly.

  22. Geographic coordinates of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia

    Geographic coordinates of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia in WGS 84 coordinate system which is a standard in cartography, geodesy, and navigation, including Global Positioning System (GPS). Latitude of Elektrostal, longitude of Elektrostal, elevation above sea level of Elektrostal.

  23. Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia

    Elektrostal Geography. Geographic Information regarding City of Elektrostal. Elektrostal Geographical coordinates. Latitude: 55.8, Longitude: 38.45. 55° 48′ 0″ North, 38° 27′ 0″ East. Elektrostal Area. 4,951 hectares. 49.51 km² (19.12 sq mi) Elektrostal Altitude.