North Coast 500 is a route of 516 miles of the most stunning coastal scenery in the highlands of Scotland. It starts and ends in Inverness and takes in places like Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats and Dornoch.
Many visitors to the north don’t realise quite how much there is to see beyond Inverness but this route shows off the rich heritage of the Scottish Highlands. From Inverness the route heads to the dramatic west coast across to Applecross and then north to Gairloch, Poolewe and Ullapool. Then it’s up the north west coast to Durness and along the north coast right across to John O’Groats, the furthest north on the mainland of the UK. Then it’s back to Inverness taking in the softer landscape of the east coast.
A straight forward loop but whilst you will enjoy the most fantastic scenery the roads can be challenging in places with single track driving in parts, although there are plenty of passing places. This isn’t a journey to rush but one to savour with meandering country roads and some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. You will enjoy golden sandy beaches, mountains, lochs and rugged coastal roads. You will be spoilt for choice for walks and hikes along the route.
What shall we see?
This is also a great opportunity to find out more about the history of Scotland from the many cultural attractions including castles, museums and heritage centres. Dunrobin Castle, Timespan Heritage Centre, Ullapool Museum are all fascinating places to visit. You can also take in the rich food and drink heritage and sample local specialities along the way. As well as a vast choice of accommodation and eating options you can also visit farm shops, distilleries and examples of cottage industry providing locally sourced produce. The Caithness Smokehouse, Rock Rose Gin Distillery, Cocoa Mountain and the Black Isle Brewery are just a few examples.
Where do we start?
To help plan your trip around the North Coast 500 NC500 is the place to start with full details of the route and what you will find along the way.