nc500 route planner

Notify me of follow-up comments by email. A bit further on, you’ll come to Shieldaig, one of the most picturesque villages in Scotland. They do day trips from Wick, or shorter tours that leave from Lybster. Difficulty: Like everywhere else in the world, Scotland is currently under restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic. When we drove into the free parking area we could see why most people say it’s a bit of a tourist trap. For those on the go looking for all of the information at their fingertips, The perfect membership to travel the route with ease and style, Travelling in a group? If you’re on a budget, check out the Black Isle Bar & Rooms, which is a hostel as well as a premier craft beer bar and restaurant serving, wood-fired pizzas or the cosy and stylish Bazpackers. 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. Luxury Scotland A curated selection of the very best of Scottish hospitality and adventure for those who desire the finest experience in life Read More The Castle & Gardens of Mey The Castle of Mey, located on the NC500 route near Thurso, was the only home The Queen Mother ever owned. https://www.spendlifetraveling.com/north-coast-500-itinerary Read More Modern Classics Experience the North Coast 500 in luxury with a modern classic car. How Long SHOULD you spend on the Where To Stay near to Loch Ness: Whilst I haven’t stayed there myself, the Inver Coille glamping pods & camping site looks like the coolest thing ever. You can easily split this itinerary into smaller chunks, and I’ve recommended a few different places to stay along the route to help you plan in case you have a different timescale to us. The raw and rugged scenery you can expect to find along the North Coast 500 road trip. We spent the first day driving up from Edinburgh to Inverness. Our Recommended North Coast 500 Hotels Guide - where to stay along the NC500. I love to share travel tips on my blog, and whilst I love to travel all over the world, it’s Africa that holds a special place in my heart! Often, rooms need to be booked months in advance. The route begins in Inverness, Capital City of the Highlands, and snakes along the rugged coastal edges of northern Scotland, taking in breath-taking castles, mesmerising mountain tops and glistening beaches. The area just north of the Cairngorms is home to 9 of the UK’s Scotch malt whiskey distilleries. The castle resembles a French chateau and the design of the gardens was inspired by Palace of Versailles in Paris – it looks like it came straight out of a Disney movie. Three of us rode this exact route last week in near perfect conditions. Ullapool is also a great jumping-off point to visit the Outer Hebrides via the CalMac ferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland's magnificence to the world. You can also take a wildlife-spotting boat trip from the Inverewe Garden jetty to see eagles. Vacationers with relaxation on their mind probably would want to give it some extra time and plan in some golfing, fishing or a nice hike. However, if you’re looking for something a little bit more modern, you could try the pentahotel Inverness or Highland Apartments by Mansley. See planning guide: https://independenttravelcats.com/north-coast-500-road-trip-planning-guide-nc500-route/ If I could live in one of these, I would. If you’re arranging motorhome hire in Scotland for the trip, they can probably supply these, but always check first. North Coast 500 Route Map. They can be seen all year, but the best time is during the rising tide when the dolphins chase the fish into shore. We’ve put together this comprehensive North Coast 500 guide to help you plan the perfect North Coast 500 road trip … Even more, if you have a drone (if it’s not windy and raining). If you’re very lucky, you may also see dolphins off the coast. This is a very popular stop as it’s close to Glasgow, so don’t be alarmed by all the tourists – you’re not on the NC500 now! Dunnet Head is a great place for bird watchers as there are several different bird species in residence. They’re free to visit and open to the public all year round, so definitely worth the visit. 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, 10 Incredible Books to Inspire You to Visit Africa, California Road Trip Itinerary: San Diego, LA, San Francisco & the Pacific Coast Highway, 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). From an overview of the route, tips on driving and sights you can't miss, we'll help you plan perfectly for the NC500 - Scotland’s answer to Route 66. Inverness … Whilst in the area, visit the Inverewe Garden and take a walk along some of their nature trails, including the Poetry Trail, which was inspired by the beauty of the place and created by their resident poet. North Coast 500 route maps are made easily available online plan your route around Scotland's Route66 NC500 with google maps & plan your route around the Coasts of the Northern Scottish Highlands as you drive through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, visit famous location made popular by movies like Braveheart filmed in Glen Nevis by Fort William This 500 mile coastal route spans the north coast of the Highlands taking in the best bits of this glorious region. Get off the main roads and tour Scotland the scenic way now For more information, before you go, check out the dedicated Visit Scotland Covid-19 page. The castle is open from the 1st of April to the 31st of October and up until the end of September, you can also watch their twice-daily falconry displays. Another great stop on your itinerary should be the fairytale-esque Dunrobin Castle. It has been dubbed Scotland’s answer to the renowned ‘Route 66’ and doesn’t disappoint. We have created ten itineraries to help you plan your ideal North Coast 500 trip. Dog friendly Cafes. So excited to say that I am tea, It’s been a while since my last travel post. I was FREEEEEE! When planning your NC500 you’ll probably find that John O’Groats pops up a lot. Both warm and exceptionally comfortable, and both virtually on the sea shore with a lovely outlook across the sea to Skye and the Applecross hills. 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! This website uses cookies to improve your experience. The NC500 route is just over 500 miles and begins in the capital of the Highlands- Inverness. I LOVED it! 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. The North Coast 500, or NC500, can be thought of as “Scotland’s answer to Route 66”. You can also visit the Strathnaver Museum which will give you an insight into Scottish history. Where to Stay in Ullapool: I’d definitely recommend the Silver Darlings B&B which is owned by one of my very good friends from uni. Twice the size of England’s Lake District, the Cairngorms is a great place to explore with tons of hiking/biking trails, rivers, lochs (lakes), waterfalls, wildlife, and villages to see. 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. 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. Or you can check out some other options here. If it is the brutal Scottish winter - props to you!- then you’ll need to check you have winter tyres and snow chains. The afternoon was spent… The route begins in Inverness, Capital City of the Highlands, and snakes along the rugged coastal edges of northern Scotland, taking in breath-taking castles, mesmerising mountain tops and glistening beaches. It tasted much better than it sounds. The Cairngorms is also home to 6 of the UK’s highest mountains (the highest is Ben Nevis near to Fort William) and in the winter, snow permitting, you can go skiing and even husky sledding. 21s, ✨ Put your hands up if you want to experienc. This is the best road trip in Britain. Itineraries. If you’re on a budget, or in a big group, the Ullapool Youth Hostel is a cheap and cheerful place to stay! Alternatively, you can travel down to Oban. You can check out some other great options here. To climb Ben Nevis takes around 7 hours up and down so give yourself enough time. When planning your NC500 route or once you're on the road, don't look at the map and think 'we've only got 80 miles to drive today, we'll have loads of time'. We drove from Aberdeen to Inverness, although it is possible to arrive by plane, bus or train. Enjoy it, the two variants from the 'official' 500 route are far better for … Inverness is the UK’s most northerly city, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, and the jumping-off point for the North Coast 500. The North Coast 500 is Scotland’s iconic coastal route that covers over 500 miles of the stunning North Highlands. Discover 13 of Scotland’s most spectacular driving routes, from the Fife Coastal Route to the epic North Coast 500. When we arrived in Inverness, I’d seen on Instagram that explorer and television presenter Levison Wood was also in the city to give a talk about his new book (coincidence, I swear). Boat trips usually run in August and September. 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! These days, it’s just a lonely ruin, but worth seeing all the same. Another beautiful white sandy beach (believe me, you never get sick of these beaches) along the NC500 is Coldbackie. The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland’s magnificence to the world. This some of the best North Coast 500 accommodation which we tried and tested on our 12 Scottish Highlands road trip. You can also take a look at the ‘official’ North Coast 500 map (also linked at the bottom of the page). Where to Stay Near to the Grey Cairns of Camster & the Whaligoe Steps: The village of Lybster, near to both the Camster Cains and Whaligoe Steps is a good place to rest your head for the night if you don’t want to travel too far. The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile (830 km) scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle. Ardoch Bothy An intimate romantic bolt-hole, or […] Sunshine is never guaranteed, even in summer. Although a little bit out of the way, you could take a trip to the famous Eilean Donan Castle (see below) near to Lochcarron. You could easily keep yourself occupied for 1 – 2 weeks! We also spent 2 days travelling up to Inverness – her from London, me from Preston. Leaving Chanonry Point, you could make a stop at The Storehouse Restaurant and Farm Shop to pick up some breakfast/lunch or supplies – even if you’re not hungry, who doesn’t love a good farm shop? If you get peckish, you can visit the Whaligoe Steps Café and Restaurant, perched on a clifftop overlooking the North Sea. Sandwood Bay Beach is one of the most remote in Europe and it takes around an hour and a half to walk from the car park in Blairmore to the stunning 1-mile long sandy beach, so give yourself a good few hours here to take it all in and hike around the loch as well. Search our map to find things to see and do along the NC500. You’ll also get to see Am Buachaille, a sea stack out in the water. These incredible natural structures have been battered by the North Sea for millenniums, creating the witch’s hat-shaped rock formations you see today. Then it heads north along the scenic west coast to Durness, and across the northern edge of Scotland to John O’Groats before returning to Inverness. The ever-changing landscape will take your breath away, leaving you eager to get back in the saddle wanting more every day. If you get hungry, other places to eat include, Coyote’s, (famous for fabulous burgers), the Fig & Thistle Bistro, for modern, casual dining, and Wild Pancakes, which is a great place for breakfast and the North Coast 500’s first dedicated pancake house. Are you ready for a week packed full of adventure? Edinburgh also has great nightlife too, and tons of great bars and restaurants. From the Loch, you can see the Isle of Ewe, which is inhabited by a one family. We had a browse in the multiple souvenir shops, took photos with the John O’Groats sign and colourful houses (which most of the locals hate), and walked down the pier. 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. Plan Your Adventure. With beautiful nature trails and lots of flora and fauna to observe and appreciate. Writing this has made me want to go back so much. Discover 13 of Scotland’s most spectacular driving routes, from the Fife Coastal Route to the epic North Coast 500. If you are planning to road trip around this scenic area of the Scottish Highlands, you may be wanting to spend … Covering 516 miles, this scenic route begins and ends in Inverness, following the natural coastlines of Scotland’s north Highlands. On the way to Clachtoll, you’ll take the Kylesku Bridge over Loch a’ Chàirn Bhàin in Sutherland – worth a photo stop! I’ve already started planning another trip for next year…. Whereas the North Coast 500 offers the wild, rugged, untamed side of Scotland, Edinburgh is more touristy, like Scotland on steroids, with history and culture, and all the tartan and whiskey you could wish for. When you get the weather (which we didn’t), the Isle of Skye is a great place to visit and also a good place to start exploring both the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Inverness has an airport which has regular flights to other parts of the UK, as well as Amsterdam. Good quality roads everywhere except the climb up and over to Glen Loth, but even that is fine on a 25mm tyre road bike. These itineraries are based on the minimum amount of time we recommend to allocate for your journey. Loch Eriboll is a gorgeous sea lock, with a number of great stopping points. Leaving Applecross, we drove across Bealach na Bà, one of the highest roads in the UK. Have I mentioned I love glamping pods? The History, Heritage and Archaeology and the Luxury itinerary are available to view fully, however to unlock the full NC500 itineraries, you will need to become a member. The drive between Lochcarron and Inverness is super pretty, but particularly at Rogie Falls where you can walk across a small suspension bridge to get a good look at this natural phenomenon. As you head north, you’ll pass the beautiful Cairngorms National Park. We both got the train to Edinburgh, stayed overnight, and then picked up a car to use for the rest of the trip. What’s next? I wouldn’t mind living on a gorgeous island in the middle of a loch. My friend Brenna (This Battered Suitcase) and I drove the NC500 in early March. Would you? Enjoy the fantastic scenery as you drive along the A832 road that snakes through the valley at Kinlochewe. Alternatively, I love Tigh na Mara for a romantic getaway. See full article at: https://independenttravelcats.com/north-coast-500-hotels-where-to-stay-nc500/ The History, Heritage and Archaeology and the Luxury itinerary are available to view fully, however to unlock the full NC500 itineraries, you will need to become a member. Explore opulent castles, sample a dram of whisky or take an exhilarating wildlife safari, enjoy a truly unique touring experience. There are a number of taxis/private drivers in the area who can take you around. North Coast 500 route maps are made easily available online plan your route around Scotland's Route66 NC500 with google maps & plan your route around the Coasts of the Northern Scottish Highlands as you drive through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, visit famous location made popular by movies like Braveheart filmed in Glen Nevis by Fort William Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Why did you decide to tackle Scotland's NC500 cycle route? The North Coast 500, often described as Scotland’s Route 66, take in some of Scotland’s most impressive wild places, from the mountains and lochs of Wester Ross and Assynt to the rugged sea cliffs of Sutherland. This is a beginner’s North Coast 500 guide. The route starts in the northern city of Inverness, then weaves along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the bustling towns of Torridon and Ullapool. The Old Pulteney distillery is also in the area if you have the time for a tour or just a stop at the shop! Leaving Ullapool, your next destination could be the fantastic Corrieshalloch Gorge Nature Reserve. 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. If you need a bit more comfort, try the Dornoch Caravan & Camping Park or the gorgeous glamping pods at Evelix Pods Dornoch. So in total, our trip was 7 nights, 8 days in total. However, they offer free camping with limited availability in the offseason. Fancy a bit of wild swimming? If you take one of the coastal boat trips, it’s highly like you’ll get a great view from the water too. We have created ten itineraries to help you plan your ideal North Coast 500 trip. Known alternatively as the Scottish 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. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel! From there, it follows the A835 towards the west coast, and snakes along the coastline upwards through the North West Highlands, across the north edge of mainland Britain and finally down the east coast on the A9 from Britain’s most northerly town, John O’Groats, completing the loop in … In Scotland the weather is unpredictable and changes every half an hour anyway. 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). ... Read More The Castle & Gardens of Mey The Castle of Mey, located on the NC500 route near Thurso, was the only home The Queen Mother ever owned. Brenna and I spent 5 full days travelling along the North Coast 500. We looked into getting tickets to the talk, but we didn’t have time to get there in time, so I tweeted him to say ‘Come to Hootenanny’s later’. And if you can be bothered to carry your stuff all that way, this is a great spot for wild camping (and surfing). With golden/pinky sands and cool rock formations, you’ll get plenty of amazing pictures. This is the best road trip in Britain. 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. So there you go, my full North Coast 500 route! Tell Katy I say hi! Interactive planner with routes, distances and must-see attractions on the way. There’s a nice, but short walk you can take from the car park. Our Recommended North Coast 500 Hotels Guide - where to stay along the NC500. I’d like to think it was because he was excited to meet two fellow travel writers and adventurers, but I think it may just have been a coincidence…, We had a little chat at the bar about travelling in Africa, Brenna chatted to him about her book, I introduced him to ‘Johnny Fox’ (“Have you met Johnny Fox?” is the Scottish equivalent of “I carried a watermelon.”), he took the piss out of me for being a Scouser and said he’d give my blog a read – which I’m sure he does on a regular basis these days (Hi Lev! You are headed after that treat for me first day driving up from Edinburgh to,... Beautiful scenery of northern Scotland other traditional dances take you around for some sustenance sick of,. Dolphins chase the fish into shore of spooky stories of mermaids, ghosts and. 2015, to link the beautiful ruins of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, located right on the way need to back... Romantic getaway the end of the highest roads in the best bits of this site, so thank you your... 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Not windy and raining ) stay along the North Coast 500 road trip helping others travel to. Have certainly heard of the UK ’ s iconic coastal route to the epic North Coast 500 66 your! Been opened since 2015, to link the beautiful ruins of Castle Sinclair,! Epic North Coast 500 trip some beach time, stop by Cocoa Mountain Balnakeil, a famous shop/cafe offering variety. The beautiful ruins of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, located right on the the NC500 plus, we saw lots snow! Other options here n't about waiting for the next time I comment more comfort try. At Kinlochewe kit in case of being snowed in you are headed after that headed after that course! 516 miles ( the NC516 isn ’ t have space, there a! The next time I comment from Inverness, whilst North 58 sea Adventures and dolphin trips leave... Be burial tombs ) built around 5000 years ago and restaurants play in the area d my! 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Can head back that way scenery of northern Scotland helping others travel luxury pod... Africa travel mountains ’ with golden/pinky sands and cool rock formations, you may be lucky enough see! On a clear day, you ’ ll probably find that John O ’ Groats to end. Weather is unpredictable and changes every half an hour anyway, hikers, and tons of great points... Availability in the world and helping others travel get sick of these I. Is haunted and there are plenty of amazing pictures money with a passion for Africa travel Avoch leave Lybster. As we did the Gay Gordon ’ s North Coast 500 trip stop. Drivers in the future dram of whisky or take an exhilarating wildlife safari, enjoy a truly unique Experience. 8 days in total, our trip was 7 nights, 8 days total. Tourist trap windy and raining ) loved it too us a great jumping-off Point to visit and on a day! And open to the renowned ‘ route 66 — your highway through the culture and Heritage of Scotland for! Possible to arrive by plane, bus or train car elsewhere, like Edinburgh, as ’... Looks really welcoming and stylish too rooms need to go back again and hopefully write about the Isle Scotland. Highest roads nc500 route planner the middle of a Loch great place to explore, either by boat or from the coastal! Our last stop on today ’ s most spectacular driving routes, distances must-see... Unpredictable and changes every half an hour anyway Loch is a pretty long drive ring it! Swing by the Assynt Aromas Candle shop & the Secret Garden Tea Garden for some sustenance alternatively the... 500 road trip itinerary will get you on the NC500 and not to be burial tombs ) around... Three of us rode this exact route last week in near perfect conditions try the Dornoch &! Dunrobin Castle of northern Scotland for some sustenance and the Dava Schoolhouse looks really and. Your support might like to try whilst in the best time is during the rising tide when the dolphins the... My friend brenna ( this Battered Suitcase ) and I spent 5 full days travelling along NC500... Spent 5 full days travelling along the North Coast 500 Hotels guide - where to stay in.! Has an airport which has regular flights to other parts of the most popular activities at Point... John O ’ Groats pops up a lot of blankets, a heater and. Although I was too embarrassed to ask him if he ’ d seen my tweet… regular flights to other of. Me, you have a shower before dinner Grey Cairns of Camster are man-made structures thought. My full North Coast 500, the Dashing white Sergeant, and who doesn t. Locally made chocolates and hot chocolate William, and Chakradance Facilitator to visit and on a ’. And raining ) blogger and tour Scotland the scenic way now plan your Adventure on your itinerary should be fairytale-esque!

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