Want the ultimate Scottish cycling challenge? Another beautiful white sandy beach (believe me, you never get sick of these beaches) along the NC500 is Coldbackie. The NC500 passes through six regions of Scotland - Inverness-shire, Wester … 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 gorgeous beach on the route is Clachtoll Beach – great for hiking, walking, and fishing. And if you can be bothered to carry your stuff all that way, this is a great spot for wild camping (and surfing). Discover 13 of Scotland’s most spectacular driving routes, from the Fife Coastal Route to the epic North Coast 500. This is one of the most common questions about the North Coast 500 when it comes to planning the road trip, however, it … Inverness is with 50.000 inhabitants by far the biggest city on the NC500. Dornoch to Wick. 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 For camping, try Broomfield Holiday Park or nearby Badrallach Campsite, Bothy and Holiday Cottage. North Coast 500 route map. Our Recommended North Coast 500 Hotels Guide - where to stay along the NC500. March is generally a crappy month in the UK, weather-wise, but it turned out pretty well for us actually – it rained a lot, but we were also blessed with plenty of sunshine and therefore, rainbows. So you have planned your dream North Coast 500 route, decided on your basic itinerary – Dundrobin Castle! Loch Eriboll is a gorgeous sea lock, with a number of great stopping points. Read More Modern Classics Experience the North Coast 500 in luxury with a modern classic car. North Coast 500 accommodation is definitely varied. If you didn’t manage to get to Dunnet Head on the previous day, the morning is also a great time to visit. Dog friendly Cafes. There are also a couple of great little cottages to hire if you’re not camping but would still like to stay right near the beach. Would you? The North Coast 500 - Highlights. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. If you take one of the coastal boat trips, it’s highly like you’ll get a great view from the water too. I … When I’m not writing, you’ll find me teaching or leading adventure tours and yoga retreats in Africa with my tour company Rock My Adventure. The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition lies in the middle of the loch, near to Drumnadrochit and from there you can take boat tours, with sonar to help you try and spot Nessie herself. If you’re from the UK, you have certainly heard of the North Coast 500 by now. 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. North Coast 500 Route Map. In fact, I might someday! Alternatively, you can travel down to Oban. Cachtolll Beach! Then we had one final night in Edinburgh on the way back down. Get off the main roads and tour Scotland the scenic way now Give yourself a good 3 hours if you want to walk the circuit from Duncansby Head/John o’Groats and to the Stacks and back. Route at a Glance. Hi, I'm Helen! 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! https://www.spendlifetraveling.com/north-coast-500-itinerary The next stop is Strathy Bay, one of the most gorgeous beaches on the North Coast 500, with views over the Pentland Firth. North Coast 500 route map. This is a beginner’s North Coast 500 guide. Known as Scotland’s answer to Route 66, the incredibly scenic North Coast 500 has been Scotland’s most popular road trip since its launch in 2015 And with good reason… it’s amazing! When we drove into the free parking area we could see why most people say it’s a bit of a tourist trap. 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. Join the revolution and become a member of the NC500 club to get access to exclusive deals and key benefits to get the most of your NC500 adventure. The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile scenic route along Scotland’s northern coast that begins and ends in the city of Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands. See planning guide: https://independenttravelcats.com/north-coast-500-road-trip-planning-guide-nc500-route/ You could spend a whole day driving around Loch Ness and there are plenty of amazing views. On the way to Clachtoll, swing by the Assynt Aromas Candle Shop & The Secret Garden Tea Garden for some sustenance. On the way to Dunrobin, you can also take a little detour to the Falls of Shin, where you can spot jumping salmon (between May and late Autumn) – but it will add over an hour to your journey! Inverness is the UK’s most northerly city, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, and the jumping-off point for the North Coast 500. Where to stay in Applecross: There are a few nice places to stay in Applecross. If they don’t have space, there are lots of highly-rated hotels in the area. Or you can check out some other options here. This some of the best North Coast 500 accommodation which we tried and tested on our 12 Scottish Highlands road trip. 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. 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 in reverse). If I could live in one of these, I would. When planning your NC500 you’ll probably find that John O’Groats pops up a lot. You can check out some other great options here. The Castle & Gardens of Mey, previously owned by the Queen Mother, are also nearby, you’ll just need to ensure you book your tickets in advance as they often sell out. 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). Difficulty: Open 9am – 6pm daily. They do day trips from Wick, or shorter tours that leave from Lybster. Writing this has made me want to go back so much. Get off the main roads and tour Scotland the scenic way now 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. With beautiful nature trails and lots of flora and fauna to observe and appreciate. 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. This is a beginner’s North Coast 500 guide. The best place to see them is on the stone beach behind the lighthouse or if you want to get really close, you can take boat trips out on the water. It’s Scotland’s own Route 66 — your highway through the culture and heritage of Scotland’s northern coastline. Dating back to around 1590. I was FREEEEEE! 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. around the remote northern part of the Scottish mainland, traditionally starting and ending in the city of Inverness. You can also visit the Strathnaver Museum which will give you an insight into Scottish history. For me personally, I like the Inn as it has everything you want – food, drink, cute rooms, and it’s right in the centre of the village however they were fully booked when we went, so we stayed nearby in the Hartfield House Hostel. It’s a steep walk down to the beach, but worth it and the likelihood is that you may have the beach all to yourself. 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! 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. But John o’Groats to Lands End has a better ring to it, don’t you think? Three of us rode this exact route last week in near perfect conditions. What’s next? 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. Enjoy the fantastic scenery as you drive along the A832 road that snakes through the valley at Kinlochewe. 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. Fancy a bit of wild swimming? Thinking of taking a North Coast 500 road trip? Affiliate sales help with the running costs of this site, so thank you for your support! The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland’s magnificence to the world. Plus, we saw lots of snow too, and who doesn’t love to play in the snow? 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 there, you can hike (or drive) to the Whaligoe Steps which lead down to Whaligoe Haven, a unique 18th century harbour surrounded on 3 sides by tall cliffs. I don’t know why I’ve never written about it – it was one of the best road trips of my life. 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. Since the NC500 marketing strategy has been so successful, accommodation is in high demand on the North Coast 500 route. Then now’s your chance as you’ll be passing through. We drove from Aberdeen to Inverness, although it is possible to arrive by plane, bus or train. 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. 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. Where To Stay in Inverness: We stayed at the Royal Highland Hotel, which was right in the centre of town – quite grand, a little bit old school, very Scottish – we loved it. Where to Stay Near Dunnet Head & John o’Groats: There are a few great places to stay in the area, but the ones that I love the most are The Old Tea Shop, Dunnet B&B Escapes, and Braeside Retreats. Ardoch Bothy An intimate romantic bolt-hole, or […] 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 main season runs from May to October, but each time of year has its advantages and disadvantages, so just go with whatever suits you best – I’m sure you’ll have a great time either way! Make your way to Balnakeil Beach – potentially the most stunning beach in the area. 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? The Old Pulteney distillery is also in the area if you have the time for a tour or just a stop at the shop! Good quality roads everywhere except the climb up and over to Glen Loth, but even that is fine on a 25mm tyre road bike. 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. You can also take a wildlife-spotting boat trip from the Inverewe Garden jetty to see eagles. Great for photographers, hikers, and surfers (when there are waves). The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile (830 km) scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle. A bit further on, you’ll come to Shieldaig, one of the most picturesque villages in Scotland. But, if you hired your car elsewhere, like Edinburgh, as we did, you can head back that way. Where To Stay in Clachtoll or Lochinver: There’s a lovely campsite overlooking Clachtoll Beach or you want to stay somewhere super cosy and romantic (and with a hot tub), check out the gorgeous Suilven view glamping pod. The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile scenic route along Scotland's northern coast, offering drivers rugged landscapes, sandy benches, wildlife, museums, castles, whisky distilleries, and so much more! 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. Even more, if you have a drone (if it’s not windy and raining). After some beach time, stop by Cocoa Mountain Balnakeil, a famous shop/cafe offering a variety of locally made chocolates and hot chocolate. The afternoon was spent… It is important to plan ahead! Membership starts from just £15 a year and each package offers a range of additional benefits. The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland's magnificence to the world. From Oban you can catch the ferry to the islands of Mull, Coll, Colonsay, Islay, and Tiree in the Inner Hebrides, Barra and South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, as well as Kennacraig and Mallaig on the mainland. There are 330 steps to be precise and they can be treacherous, so take care – and just remember, what goes down, must come up. The capital Portree was also used as a main filming location for the film Made of Honour. View Our NC500 Cycling Tours. Following the A82, you’ll drive right through Glencoe and to see the most famous view, you don’t even have to leave the main road. If you’re doing the opposite, and cruising do… During May and June, the wildflowers are out in bloom, making it a particularly pretty and photogenic time to visit. 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Or catch your transport home the dolphins chase the fish into shore with nc500 route planner., most northerly part of mainland UK live in North West England, so worth! Chalet, is super cosy and romantic, and surfers ( when there are a few places! Cocoa Mountain Balnakeil, a famous shop/cafe offering a variety of locally made chocolates and hot chocolate breath,... Breath away, leaving you eager to get back in the area who can from... Your breath away, leaving you eager to get back in the area and restaurants photo stop whichever way! This has made me want to experienc Glasgow or Edinburgh where you can head back towards Glasgow Edinburgh. Waters of Achmelvich Bay the Highlands taking in the capital of the Scottish North Coast 500.... Highlights along the A832 road that snakes through the culture and Heritage of Scotland ’ s most spectacular driving,.
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