14 Greatest Locations On The North Coast 500 Route In Scotland – Hand Baggage Solely

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the Highlands of Scotland are unbelievable to go to! With towering mountain ranges, tranquil lochs and heaps of quaint villages, it’s the kind of space that’s good for a street journey; particularly across the North Coast 500 route. In actual fact, there are such a lot of finest locations to see on the North Coast 500 route in Scotland that you simply’re going to be spoilt for alternative.

Over time, we’ve visited numerous instances; following this easy-to-follow and detailed Scottish Highlands itinerary. It takes in among the finest locations on the North Coast 500 route, but additionally meanders (and barely detours) simply off the official route to search out some whole gems to discover. 

It’s essentially the most idyllic space and one among my favorite areas in all the UK. Simply you’ll want to plan forward, e book lodging in loads of time (one of the best spots replenish quick in summer time) and take into account that you simply may be driving on very slim roads.

The latter can at all times be a shock for North American guests! 

Anyway, I don’t need to ramble an excessive amount of! Following a route north of Inverness (anticlockwise) I need to share a few of our favorite spots round and locations on the North Coast 500 route in Scotland that it’s a must to go to.

Plus, a couple of different little detours which are whole gems to see. Have one of the best time exploring Scotland! 

1.) Inverness

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

In plenty of methods, Inverness is mainly the gateway to the North Coast 500 route. In actual fact, Inverness is more likely to be the primary level the place you begin your street journey; both arriving by air (to Inverness Airport) or by way of prepare. 

Now, both firstly (or the tip of your North Coast 500 street journey, make certain to take a bit detour east in the direction of the Cairngorms. It’s one of many UK’s largest nationwide parks and completely idyllic. 

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We had one of the best time exploring the Cairngorms, and it’s nicely price popping over to Aviemore the place you’ll discover a great deal of trails, bike rental factors and Loch an Eilein which is attractive.

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Plus, you’ve obtained the tasty Kinrara Distillery that’s so shut by. Their gin is so good and makes use of foraged herbs to create their mix. 

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After arriving again in Inverness, and earlier than heading onto the NC500 route, make certain to see among the metropolis’s finest spots. Be sure you take a look at Botanic Gardens, Inverness Fort and the Highlanders’ Museum, too.

When you’re quick on time, you can even e book this superb guided tour from Inverness that drives you to Eilean Donan Fort and the Isle of Skye for a full-day journey. It’s nice for those who don’t fancy driving and don’t need to head off the broader North Coast 500 route.  

Learn extra: Our day-to-day Scottish Highlands itinerary

2.) Glenmorangie, Dornoch and Dunrobin Fort

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

The entire space round Dornoch is nicely price visiting as you drive from Inverness. You see, it’s obtained heaps of little (and massive) locations to see within the Scottish Highlands. 

When you’ve crossed the Dornoch Firth, make certain to cease off at Dornoch Seaside. It’s an enormous white-sandy stretch that’s good for a stroll.

Although, at all times keep in mind that the Scottish Haar (sea fog) may be thick and are available quick on the east coast route. So, be ready that you simply may not see an excessive amount of if that occurs. 

While within the wider space, you’ll want to cease off on the Glenmorangie Distillery Whisky (on the opposite facet of Dornoch Firth), too. You’ll be able to study most concerning the distilling course of and have a wee pattern of their amber nectar that’s recognized the world over.  

Additionally, a couple of 20-minute drive north of Dornoch is the attractive Dunrobin Fort. It’s nonetheless on the North Coast 500 route and straightforward to see as you head additional north. 

You’ll get to see a lot of the citadel while exploring the 189 rooms (or not less than a good few of them). Plus, the gardens are gorgeous. It’s a completely distinctive citadel in Scotland and nearly seems to be prefer it belongs within the countryside in France.

It’s all fairly completely different to the towering brick castles you are inclined to see in Nice Britain. We like it right here.

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Afterwards, proceed driving north and cease off on the quaint little tearoom of The River Bothy. We had one of the best selfmade soup and haggis toasty. 

Learn extra: Greatest islands in Scotland to go to

3.) Previous Wick, Previous Keiss and Sinclair Girnigoe Castles

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

With hundreds of years of historical past, the Scottish Highlands has a great deal of gems you’ll be able to’t miss as you drive the North Coast 500. 

In actual fact, I’d go so far as saying that the east coast has among the finest locations to see on the North Coast 500 route in Scotland for those who’re into your historic castles. 

Round a 35-minute drive, north of The River Bothy tearoom, you’ll get to go to Previous Wick Fort. Now in ruins, it towers over the rugged shoreline, relationship again to the 1300s. It’s nicely price parking up and strolling the coast to see – it truly is unbelievable to see. 

Afterwards, observe the North Coast 500 route additional north and cease off at Sinclair Girnigoe Fort. It’s one other gem and dates again nearly 800 years. 

Oh, and don’t neglect about Previous Keiss Fort, too. It’s in your route in the direction of John o’ Groats and completely simple to search out as you observe the North Coast 500 route in Scotland. 

Learn extra: Greatest locations in Scotland to go to

4.) John o’ Groats and Duncansby Head

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Okay, for me, John o’ Groats is a bit little bit of a letdown. It’s usually regarded as top-of-the-line locations to see on the North Coast 500 route in Scotland – however I’d beg to vary.

Nonetheless, you’re passing by, so you actually ought to cease. 

There’s nothing actually right here than an indication pointing to different locations the world over. Famed as being one finish of the longest distance between two inhabited factors in Nice Britain, John o’ Groats has grow to be a photograph spot for those who have additionally visited the opposite spot (Lands Finish, Cornwall). 

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

I’d say we spent about quarter-hour right here, earlier than heading for the views at Duncansby Head. Which, is named the UK’s most north-easterly level and never too removed from John o’ Groats.

Right here, you’ll be able to see the ability of the North Sea’s waves, which have carved the rugged shoreline over hundreds of years.

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Although it’s a fleeting cease, the views going through south, down the coast, are attractive. 

Oh, and don’t neglect you’ll be able to e book this Orkney Islands day journey from John o’ Groats, too. It’s so good and nicely price becoming a member of for those who’re wanting to go to the Orkney Islands. 

5.) Driving to Loch Eriboll

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

After departing John o’ Groats, head east on the North Coast 500 route in the direction of Loch Eriboll. It’s a couple of 2-hour drive and you’ll simply cease off at locations like; Castletown Seaside, Dunnet Head and Drumhollistan for his or her rugged coastal magnificence. 

Plus, you’ll be able to seize a chew to eat at Côte Du Nord, a stunning fine-dining restaurant on the north coast. 

Anyway, when you get to Loch Eriboll, make certain to cease off to see the Neakie Lime Kilns, which you’ll spot from this viewpoint. It’s a completely attractive space of Scotland. 

Learn extra: Greatest cities in Scotland to go to

6.) Durness, Balnakeil and Ceannabeinne Seashores

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

One of the north-westerly coastal areas you’ll go to within the Scottish Highlands, Durness Seaside is nicely price a go to as you drive the North Coast 500. 

As soon as right here, you’ll want to take a while to relax on the attractive sandy seashore and head over to the close by Smoo Cave which is Scotland’s largest cave to see. 

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Oh, and don’t neglect to drive a couple of extra minutes west to Balnakeil Seaside and Ceannabeinne Seaside (a bit east).

The previous is an unlimited open and westerly-facing seashore that’s gorgeous at sundown. The latter has a enormous zipline the place you’ll be able to glide over the seashore space itself. 

You’ll be able to simply go to all three in a day and so they’re all good stopping spots in your NC500 drive. 

Learn extra: Greatest issues to do in Edinburgh

7.) Sandwood Bay

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Sandwood Bay is one other gem to see while driving the west coast of the NC500 route in Scotland. Over time, it’s even been voted as one among Britain’s most lovely seashores.

This being stated, it does require a fairly hefty hike to get to; it’s round an eight-mile spherical journey hike to this place. Most individuals driving the North Coast 500 route in Scotland find yourself not visiting this bay, which suggests it’s principally abandoned.

Excellent if that’s the vibe you’re going for. You’ll be able to have the place to your self and benefit from the white sands and towering cliffs so long as you want.

It’s good if you’re wanting a day hike but when not, head to close by Oldshoremore Seaside as an alternative. For the latter, you’ll be able to park proper at Oldshoremore Automobile Park which is very easy to get to for those who’re shorter on time. 

8.) Achmelvich Seaside

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Following the B869 street, you’ll get to cease off on the totally attractive Achmelvich Seaside. It’s a completely lovely seashore that’s nicely price visiting for those who’re going to relax out or stroll for a couple of hours on a sunny day.

Belief me, it has an ideal mixture of turquoise waters and white sand, which is gorgeous. 

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Alongside the street (and earlier than you get to the seashore), you’ll additionally discover Clashnessie Falls and Clachtoll Seaside.

Clachtoll Seaside is ideal if you wish to spend a while alone since this can be a little quieter than among the bigger seashores shut by. Although, saying that, none are busy! 

Oh, and don’t neglect to cease off at Lochinver Larder that’s previous Achmelvich. It’s nicely price stopping for one of many well-known pies. 

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Lastly, as you attain Loch Assynt, you’ll want to cease off at Ardvreck Fort. It’s one among our favorite citadel ruins in Scotland and nicely price visiting because it’s just a few minutes stroll from the roadside.

Courting again to the 1400s, now you can stroll across the citadel and its outdated grounds. It’s so unbelievable to see. 

Learn extra: Our day-to-day Scottish Highlands itinerary

9.) Ullapool

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Though small, the village of Ullapool will doubtless be one of many largest settlements you come throughout on the northwest coast and nicely price making a cease. 

Not solely that, there are a number of ferries from Ullapool, too. This implies it’s the proper stopping level if you need a detour from the NC500 and head over to among the prettiest Scottish islands. You’ll be capable of catch the boat over to Stornoway and head additional down Lewis and Harris (that are gorgeous, by the best way). 

If that’s not your jam, you’ll want to take a look at the close by Corrieshalloch Gorge (About 10 miles south). It has the attractive Falls Of Measach and the Corrieshalloch bridge with trails and viewpoints galore. An important place if you wish to stretch your legs. 

Oh, and don’t neglect to move to the Seafood Shack for dinner. Open in the summertime months, they’ve among the finest seafood on the west coast; all of which is cooked recent to order. We ate a lot, right here.

Simply make certain to take a coat, the seating is outdoors and it may possibly get chilly if a westerly wind is available in. 

10.) Gruinard Bay and Wester Ross area

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Becoming a member of the A832 street, You’ll drive south from Ullapool to Loch Ewe and across the round street till you get to Loch Maree and the beginning of the Beinn Eighe Nationwide Nature Reserve.

It’s top-of-the-line locations to see on the North Coast 500 route in Scotland, particularly for all of the picturesque and quiet stopping factors in your drive. 

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As you meander the little roads, make certain to cease off at Gruinard Bay, which is completely beautiful. Plus, you can even get some beautiful views from this viewpoint on the facet of the street. 

In your drive to Gruindard Bay, you’ll want to cease off at Ardessie Falls that’s simply off the roadside. Oh, and let’s not neglect about Gairloch Seaside or stopping off at Hebridean Whale Cruises that depart from Gairloch. They even have orca cruises in the summertime months. 

11.) Beinn Eighe Nationwide Nature Reserve

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Typically regarded as the primary Nationwide Nature Reserve in Britain, Beinn Eighe has heaps of unspoilt nature to discover by way of trails which you’ll simply go to in the summertime months.

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Truthfully, for those who’re one thing of a rambler, you’ll simply discover it to be top-of-the-line locations to see on the North Coast 500 route in Scotland. Now, don’t fret about strolling routes earlier than you arrive.

There’s a very useful customer centre situated outdoors Kinlochewe which you’ll take a look at from the month of April to October. They’ll even advise you on one of the best spots to go to, and get near Beinn Eighe. 

When you don’t need to cease, you’ll be able to benefit from the scenic view as you drive east from Slattadale, on the shores of Loch Mare. You’ll even cross the close by Victoria Falls, too. Simply make certain to drag into this could parking space.

There’s a picnic website of Loch Maree, so that’s one spot you’ll be able to cease in. when you’re right here, you’ll be able to expertise Loch Maree’s shore whereas admiring the Slioch mountain peak from afar. 

12.) Shieldaig

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

On the shores of Loch Torridon, Shieldaig is definitely top-of-the-line locations to see on the North Coast 500 route in Scotland. In actual fact, this space of Scotland is as a lot concerning the lovely drive as it’s about every pitstop you make. 

To get right here, drive down the A896 street in the direction of Shieldaig from Kinlochewe. We love this drive and also you may even spot deer, particularly round this small parking spot on Google Maps. We’ve seen a resident stag, simply there, each time we’ve pushed this street.

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Oh yeah, and whereas I’m at it, bear in mind street numbers beginning with ‘A’ might be greater, two-way roads with markings within the centre (these would be the largest roads you expertise within the Scottish Highlands).

Roads beginning with ‘B’ will sometimes be single-lane and slim roads that are extra winding and far slower roads.

You received’t be capable of keep away from both in your journey across the Scottish Highlands but it surely’s worthwhile understanding what every street is when wanting on the street indicators.

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Not too far-off, you’ll additionally discover The Torridon, which is a good place to spend the night time (or two) exploring the broader space. The lodge is attractive and one among our favourites alongside the NC500 wider area.

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While within the space, you’ll want to drive throughout to the opposite facet of Loch Torridon and discover the tiny hamlet of Decrease Diabaig. We at all times cease for a tasty, selfmade, lunch at Gille Brighde. It’s so good. 

Learn extra: Our day-to-day Scottish Highlands itinerary

13.) Bealach na Ba viewpoint

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Driving from the scenic route from Shieldaig, by way of Applecross and onto the Applecross Move, make certain to cease off at Bealach na Ba viewpoint.

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Though this steep incline street is simply open in summer time, it’s nicely price driving for the dramatic views down the glacier valley that was carved out within the final ice age. 

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It’s so dramatic to see and top-of-the-line locations to see on the North Coast 500 route in Scotland. 

14.) Plockton, Eilean Donan Fort and Loch Ness (and detouring off the NC500)

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Typically referred to as the Jewel of the Highlands, Plockton is a small city that’s nicely price taking a detour off the North Coast 500 route and together with the Wester Ross Path.

You see, most individuals don’t head additional south after reaching Strathcarron and begin heading again to drive to Inverness. 

We at all times, if we’ve got time, embody a visit to Plockton and the broader peninsular right here. Sure, it is going to add a couple of extra days onto your journey but it surely’s completely price it. 

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As soon as right here, be part of one among Calum’s Seal Journeys that he runs alongside the coast (we liked it) and cease off on the Plockton Inn for among the freshly caught native seafood. It’s scrumptious. 

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Afterwards, you’ll be able to both head over to the Isle of Skye by street (for an extended journey), or head across the coast to Ardelve to go to Eilean Donan Fort.

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It’s most likely one among Scotland’s most well-known castles and nicely price seeing while you’re within the Scottish Highlands. 

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Head inside and plan to be there for round two hours. Oh, and for among the finest views of the citadel, pop to this spot on Google Maps (it’s simply earlier than Loch Lengthy Bridge). 

Best Places On The North Coast 500 Route, Scotland

Lastly, be part of the A87 street, taking you to Loch Ness to discover the little villages and Urquhart Fort.

Additionally, you’ll be able to simply e book this Loch Ness boat tour from Clansman Harbour that reveals you all one of the best spots on the loch, together with

Simply hold your eyes peeled for the Loch Ness monster earlier than heading again to Inverness! 

Learn extra: Our day-to-day Scottish Highlands itinerary

Your Important Scottish Highlands Journey Itinerary


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