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The Essential Guide to Scotland’s North Coast 500

Top stops on the North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 has been billed as Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66 but this Scottish road trip is unlike anything you’ll see in the USA. The North Coast 500 takes you through the Scottish highlands seeing legendary castles, extraordinary coastal scenery, and famous whisky distilleries lining the winding single-track lanes, the NC500 is the ultimate road trip for travel lovers.

When planning your North Coast 500 trip be sure to give plenty of days to explore the sights. We spent a very hectic 10 days driving the loop but feel that two weeks is a more reasonable time to experience it properly. We’ve put together the ultimate NC500 Trip Planner to help you make the most of your time in the Scottish highlands. 

North Coast 500 Guide

Dave and I have done a lot of road trips. We’ve come to the conclusion that they just might be our specialty. We’ve driven a car from England to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally, we were the first media to drive Ireland’s entire Wild Atlantic Way and yes, we have driven through large chunks of America’s Route 66.

When we had the opportunity to drive the North Coast 500, we jumped at the chance, we have always wanted to see the Scottish Highlands and this route takes you through the best of them. We love marking our map with must-see attractions, stocking up on snacks, putting together a playlist, and hitting the road.

We spent 10 days driving the North Coast 500 loop counterclockwise from Inverness and we’ve put together the ultimate plan to help you plan ahead and make the most of your time in the Scottish highlands.

What is the North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 (NC500) is a scenic route that runs along the northern coast of Scotland, covering a distance of approximately 516 miles (830 km). It was created as an official loop around the north coast of Scotland, but the roads have always been there. It was launched in 2015 to boost the Northern Highland economy and has now become a popular tourist destination offering stunning coastal views, rugged landscapes, and picturesque villages and towns.

The route starts and ends in the city of Inverness, taking visitors on a circular journey through the Scottish Highlands and along the coast of the North Atlantic, and down the west coast. Along the way, travelers can visit iconic landmarks such as the Bealach Na Ba Pass, the ruins of Ardvreck Castle, and the white sands of Achmelvich Beach. The route also passes through several communities,…

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