Northern Sands Hotel is situated in the village of Dunnet, 3 … We didn’t have tons of time in the city as we wanted to get straight out onto the North Coast 500, but a few more of the highlights of Inverness include a walk along the River Ness, a visit to Inverness Cathedral, the Victorian Market, and, Inverness Castle. Bringing together just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery, the route follows the main roads along the coastal edges of the North Highlands. It has been described as Scotland’s answer to the renowned ‘Route 66’ and doesn't disappoint. Ullapool has a few nice pubs and restaurants where you can pick up a nice bowl of Cullen Skink (smoked haddock, leek and potato soup). There is the popular North Coast 500 route, alongside a number of other routes beyond our website. Stop and take a dip in the clear turquoise waters of Achmelvich Bay. Gruinard Bay is a gorgeous stop – although, aren’t they all? Please Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which will earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read More Modern Classics Experience the North Coast 500 in luxury with a modern classic car. Dating back to around 1590. Explore opulent castles, sample a dram of whisky or take an exhilarating wildlife safari, enjoy a truly unique touring experience. These itineraries are based on the minimum amount of time we recommend to allocate for your journey. .......... Known as Scotland’s answer to Route 66, the incredibly scenic North Coast 500 has become Scotland’s most popular road trip since its launch in 2015 And with good reason… it’s amazing! Iconic Ben Nevis needs to be top of your Scottish to-do list. The above North Coast 500 map details the main NC500 route, however, I’ve broken it down into smaller, more detailed, day to day itineraries below. Get off the main roads and tour Scotland the scenic way now It’s called the NC500 because it’s 500 miles long and as you can see it’s pretty much a nice loop around the northern highlands of Scotland! The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile scenic route along Scotland’s northern coast, offering drivers rugged landscapes, sandy beaches, wildlife, museums, castles, whisky distilleries, and so much more! We both got the train to Edinburgh, stayed overnight, and then picked up a car to use for the rest of the trip. The official North Coast 500 route … In Scotland the weather is unpredictable and changes every half an hour anyway. Interactive planner with routes, distances and must-see attractions on the way. It is important to plan ahead! Hopefully, you enjoyed your first taste of the North Coast 500 yesterday and are … Alternatively, I love Tigh na Mara for a romantic getaway. The Smoo Cave is a great place to explore, either by boat or from the path above the cliffs. The next stop on our road trip was the gorgeous Dornoch Beach and the famous Dornoch Castle Hotel with their famous whiskey tastings at the Whiskey Bar & Grant Macnichol restaurant. We drove from Aberdeen to Inverness, although it is possible to arrive by plane, bus or train. Read More Whether you are travelling in your own motorhome or campervan, or hiring one for your visit, it is important that you observe the following advice. Another beautiful white sandy beach (believe me, you never get sick of these beaches) along the NC500 is Coldbackie. Perhaps an unusual time of year for a UK road trip… but this was my first trip after a left my job to become a full-time travel blogger. They do day trips from Wick, or shorter tours that leave from Lybster. Where to Stay in Edinburgh: We decided to treat ourselves on this first night at the Radisson Collection Hotel (formerly the G&V Royal Mile Hotel), which is a modern hotel with a fabulous cocktail bar and gorgeous views over the city. There are a number of taxis/private drivers in the area who can take you around. This got me thinking about the road trip I took driving Scotland’s North Coast 500 (aka the NC 500) route a little while back. Travel our North Coast 500 cycling holiday to experience a satisfying active journey – swap four wheels for two. Whilst not on the North Coast 500, Edinburgh is a great place to stop if you are travelling up from other parts of the UK, either by car or train, or if you’re flying in from abroad. 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. A bit further on, you’ll come to Shieldaig, one of the most picturesque villages in Scotland. Loch Ness by Jacobite has a couple of highly-rated cruises with various departure points (including Inverness Bus Station) in case you can’t get down to the visitor centre. Expert local knowledge, gifts and inspiration. Ullapool is also a great jumping-off point to visit the Outer Hebrides (which I’ll be writing about soon) via the CalMac ferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. The traditional start and endpoint is Inverness. Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling & Forth Valley. Our North Coast 500 Itinerary was as follows: 5 days on the NC500 was fine, however, I would definitely recommend taking a little longer if you can. Stop for a photo at Gairloch Harbour, and if you’re thirsty, pick up a cuppa at the highly recommended Coast Coffee Company. It was a totally ‘on a whim’ decision. Another extremely photogenic stop on your journey is The Torridon, a luxury hotel, flanked by mountains and forest and lying right on the lakeside – this would be a great place to rest your head for the night if time permits. Now you could either stay in Ullapool or head down to Applecross, but I’d definitely recommend staying in Ullapool as it really is lovely, and will keep the driving distances short. Chanonry Point lies between Fortrose and Rosemarkie on what is known as the Black Isle of Scotland. When you are planning your trip, have a read of my Things To Know Before You Drive Scotland’s North Coast 500 post, which also has lots of useful information to make sure you have a safe, epic, and enjoyable trip! There are 3 pink sand beaches to visit and on a clear day, you can see across to the island. Would you? If you are planning on hiring a motorhome for the trip, then we recommend comparing prices across a range of providers using a service like Motorhome Republic . We spent the first day driving up from Edinburgh to Inverness. ✨ANNOUNCING✨ The North Coast 500, the Route 66 of Scotland has been opened since 2015, to link the beautiful scenery of Northern Scotland. five days is not nearly enough to fully enjoy the North Coast 500. Thoug. We also spent 2 days travelling up to Inverness – her from London, me from Preston. Things To Know Before You Drive Scotland’s North Coast 500, Inver Coille glamping pods & camping site, Assynt Aromas Candle Shop & The Secret Garden Tea Garden, lovely campsite overlooking Clachtoll Beach, boat trips to Loch Broom and the Summer Isles, Badrallach Campsite, Bothy and Holiday Cottage, Highlights From the Rock My Botswana & Victoria Falls Adventure Tour, A Complete Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda, 15 Things to Know Before You Visit Benin: Voodoo's and Voodon'ts, 30 Things To Know Before You Drive Scotland's NC500, My Top Africa Travel Tips (After 11 Years of Travelling the Continent), 25 Awesome Things to Do in Nairobi, Kenya, An Epic (and Affordable) Two-Week Hawaii Itinerary: Oahu, Maui & the Big Island, 39 Things You Need To Know Before Backpacking Africa, How To Plan Your Dream Trip To Africa (in 18 easy steps). Just be aware that they advise some campervans not to travel this road and it may be closed in bad weather – but you can go around it. The North Coast 500 has become very popular, especially in the summer months. Great for photographers, hikers, and surfers (when there are waves). If you love a bit of history, visit the beautiful ruins of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, located right on the cliff edge. If you’re arranging motorhome hire in Scotland for the trip, they can probably supply these, but always check first. Near to the town of Durness, there are two of the NC500’s main highlights, including the stunning Sango Bay Viewpoint, with panoramic views overlooking Sango Bay and it’s also a great place for surfing. Ever wanted to climb the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis? However, they offer free camping with limited availability in the offseason. Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris & Stornoway. It was a little bit spooky as we were the only people there – literally, there wasn’t even any staff, but in high season I’m sure it would be great! Our last stop on today’s itinerary is Dunnet Head. There are a number of free car parks where you can pull over and take some fabulous photos of the Three Sisters, Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach, and Aonach Dubh. At Duncansby Head, you’ll see the Duncansby Lighthouse, but the real attraction is the incredible Duncansby Stacks, just off the coast. Glentruim Lodge Chalet, is super cosy and romantic, and the Dava Schoolhouse looks really welcoming and stylish too. You really can’t do too … Then we had one final night in Edinburgh on the way back down. It’s a bit off course, but Sandwood Bay and Loch is a great addition to your road trip itinerary. You can also hire bikes or take boat trips from nearby Lochinver, as well as visit Scotland’s most remote bookshop, Achins Bookshop & Coffee Shop. 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. I always thought it was THE most northerly place of the British mainland, but it isn’t… it’s actually Dunnet Head, a few miles down the road and the actual place that is furthest from Lands End is Duncansby Head. If you didn’t manage to get to Dunnet Head on the previous day, the morning is a great time to visit. Where to Stay in the Cairngorms National Park: There are literally so many gorgeous places to stay in the Cairngorms, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Ride the best sections of The North Coast 500, on a 7-day road cycling tour through the untamed beauty of the Scottish Highlands. Touring the North Coast 500 in a motorhome or campervan is becoming increasingly popular as it allows you the freedom to enjoy all the North of Scotland has to offer at your own pace. 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