500-mile road trip takes you along some of Scotland’s most incredible scenery.After only 24 years of living here, we decided it was finally time to make the trip to the true north and see what lay there. Tour the grand rooms and lush gardens once owned by the Royal Family. See the highlights of the Scottish Highlands from the comfort of the car or bus and learn from guides and locals about life on Scotland’s most popular drive. The NC 500 begins and ends at Inverness Castle, Scotland, and one of the few urban stretches on the route which is quickly left behind after photo stops to annoy the morning commuters. Change your preferences at Iconic Ben Nevis needs to be top of your Scottish to-do list. Scotland is now operating a 5-level Covid-19 system on a local basis. Day 2 Highlights: Wick Heritage Museum, Castle of Mey, most northerly part of mainland UK. You won’t find Scotland’s North Coast 500 Route (NC500) on a map — it is not an actual road. Explore the coast and see the magnificent Duncansby sea stacks. Why not stay in a castle, a lighthouse or on a working farm? Arguably one of the best road trips in the world! The north eastern tip of the Scottish mainland - perfect for stunning cliff walks. See if you can spot the resident dolphin population in the Moray Firth from Chanonry Point, a narrow peninsula between Rosemarkie and Fortrose. Watersports enthusiasts will find themselves well catered for along the NC500. If you want to experience the jam-packed North Coast 500 road trip but don’t want the stress of driving in Scotland do consider one of these local NC500 tours. Please don't be a dick. Clynelish Distillery Nestled in the countryside of the tranquil coastal village of Brora, Clynelish is a perfect stop on your NC500 journey. Bring your camera: This trip offers endless panoramic views of Scotland’s natural landscape. Follow this rolling east coast landscapes between Inverness and Tain. Mainland Scotland (including Skye) is now under a temporary lockdown, and all island communities are under level 3 restrictions. Other water-based activities to try include kayaking at Gairloch or taking a speed boat tour from Ullapool. You’ll also need a lot of blankets, a heater, and an emergency kit in case of being snowed in. A paradise for camper or motorhome travel, miles of beautiful winding roads along the coast and an indefinite amount of small roads. The North Coast 500 is a 516 mile-long touring route that takes in stunning coastal scenery in the far north of Scotland. The NC500 route traces the top section of mainland Scotland in a loop. The heart of the north Highlands, think beautiful beaches and spectacular mountains. The increase in traffic has also led to more instances of bad and dangerous driving, as well as damage to th The popular adventure, with four seasons in one day, heading west from Inverness to the top of Scotland’s mainland, John O’Groats, and back down the east coast (or … A carefully designed itinerary, travelling the North Coast 500 driving route – covering more than 500 miles of the best coastal scenery the North Highlands has to offer, but within a leisurely week’s holiday. All rights reserved. Now, you’ve probably stumbled upon this post because you’re already planning to drive the North Coast 500, an award-winning route in north Scotland. For more information go to: www.northcoast500.com. It is crucial for the wellbeing of Scotland's landscapes, as well as for local residents and businesses, that the areas around the route are respected and looked after properly. Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling & Forth Valley. From there, you'll venture to some of the most northerly coastal points in Scotland, passing by Caithness and John o' Groats before heading south again through Dingwall and finally back to Inverness. US$67.61 per adult. Since it was introduced in 2014 it became a major success and tourism in the area has increased. Includes 3 star accommodation. North Coast 500 route and its highlights. Which time of the year to travel the route. A few things to keep in mind: Please remember to maintain physical distancing of 2 metres at all times, both indoors and outdoors, when required. Other beaches worth stopping for are Achmelvich Bay and Gairloch Beach. A challenging 2053 ft ascent up the winding, single track Bealach na Bà route between Kishorn and Applecross, is rewarded with views over Wester Ross, the Isle of Skye, Rum and the Outer Hebrides. Day 2 … Never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks and beautiful bends through some of Scotland's finest coastal scenery are just a few things you can expect along the North Coast 500. More info. Hopefully, you enjoyed your first taste of the North Coast 500 yesterday and are … The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle. Find out what level each area is under and read more about the 5-level Covid-19 restrictions to plan and book ahead when considering your trip. Other sea stacks along the NC500 include the Stacks of Duncansby in Caithness, and the Old Man of Stoer near Culkein in Assynt. For those in larger vehicles, and drivers who don't fancy it, there is an alternative route - phew! North Coast 500 Guides The NC500 / North Coat 500 road in Scotland, is not actually a road as such you can find on the map - it's actually a well documented 500 mile scenic drive, which is actually made up of many roads which together form a loop of the north of Scotland, starting and ending in Inverness, at offically the Inverness Castle. Edinburgh to Inverness. With ancient castles, glistening sandy beaches and spell-binding heritage, the North Coast 500 has captured the imaginations of thousands of people. Inhabited since the 1300s, the castle was a war hospital during the First World War. You can even stop off at John O'Groats - famously Britain's (almost) northernmost tip. Walk through the machair to an unspoilt beach. The North 500 Driving Tour 5 day 500 mile drive that starts in Edinburgh/Inverness and provides you with the drive of your life as you experience the wild and forlorn far north coast of Scotland. This peninsula is located on the east coast of the Highlands, just north of Inverness. 705 Reviews 173 Q&A. We’ve said it before, but research, research, research! Firstly, which season are you embarking in? Sample a sweet, fruity Highland malt whisky on a tour. Traveller rating. What to see and do. The Scottish Highlands are synonymous with untouched wilderness and when it comes to awesome scenery the Nor… Choose from a variety of walking routes in the mountain range. We’ve put together this comprehensive North Coast 500 guide to help you plan the perfect North Coast 500 road trip in Scotland. The North Coast 500 is a road-tripping route around the far north coast of Scotland. Find more advice on exploring Scotland during Covid-19 on our dedicated page. It brings together all of the best bits of the North Highlands via wild coastal roads, historic towns such as Ullapool, and pretty seaside villages. If you’re doing the opposite, and cruising dow… Glutton for history? Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris & Stornoway, architectural guide to the North Coast 500, Take all litter, waste and rubbish away with you to dispose of correctly, Book your accommodation in advance; don't park or stay outwith designated camping/caravan areas. North Coast 500 (NC500) is a 516-mile scenic route that starts and ends at Inverness Castle. Drink driving limits in Scotland are strict, different to the rest of the UK, and strictly observed - as a guest in the country, you have to observe them too. Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice. © 2021 VisitScotland. Driving Scotland’s answer to Route 66. Board a boat for the wildlife watching trip of a lifetime. The route has increased visitor numbers to parts of the north of Scotland, which has brought economic benefits to some areas. Expert local knowledge, gifts and inspiration. The NC500 starts in the northern city of Inverness, weaves along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the towns of Torridon and Ullapool. Since its launch in 2014, the North Coast 500 has been named many things - Scotland's answer to Route 66, the only way to discover the Highlands and one of the best road trips in the world. Dolphin spotting boat tours take place in the summer months. We spent the first day driving up from Edinburgh to Inverness. The North Coast 500 website promises “fairy-tale castles, beaches, and ruins,” and deliver it does. If you are looking for stunning landscapes, fascinating history, endless horizons, ancient castles, golden beaches and crystal-clear water, all wrapped up in a 500-mile road trip, then the NC500 is for you. Bringing together just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery, the route follows the main roads along the coastal edges of the North Highlands. © 2021 VisitScotland. Strap yourself in for the road trip of a lifetime. At the remains of Urghurt Castle you have the opportunity to look out for the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Your way will take you along the shores of Loch Ness deep into the Scottish Highlands. View the interactive map in more detail and start planning now! Discover the coastline on a guided watersports adventure. The official route is a little over 500 miles but in reality, you’re bound to add a few more miles with diversions you take along the way. Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris & Stornoway. Be enchanted by this magical fairy-tale castle. The route heads north from Inverness, hugging Scotland’s east coast to John O’Groats before taking the high road through spectacular scenery to Durness on the northwestern tip of the mainland. It follows a sweeping loop around the whole northern tip of Scotland; from Inverness all the way to John O’Groats in the north east, along jagged coastline overlooking the North Sea to Durness, then down the west coast before returning inland at the Applecross peninsula. The first day of our itinerary has you exploring the city of Inverness and … If it is the brutal Scottish winter - props to you!- then you’ll need to check you have winter tyres and snow chains. Take a look at the architectural guide to the North Coast 500 which features 48 inspiring structures, for more. Cookies are required to view this content. 250 miles (402 km) North East 250 Choose this route for - 250 miles of outstanding coastline, magnificent castles, spectacular mountain landscapes and a wealth of fascinating history to explore. Therefore, we probably don’t need to spend too much time telling you how incredible this drive is. Stac Pollaidh is just one of the mountains you can ascend along the NC500, with others including Ben Hope, An Teallach and Suilven. Now that we’ve convinced you to start planning your North Coast 500 (NC500) road trip, it’s time to find your ideal hotel. Join angling experts for fishing lessons, guiding and holidays. Expert local knowledge, gifts and inspiration. The North Coast 500 is Scotland's newest driving route.