The North Coast 500

North Coast 500

There’s nothing quite like the freedom of the long open road. Never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks, and beautiful bends through some of Scotland’s finest coastal scenery are just a few things you can expect along the North Coast 500 – Scotland’s answer to Route 66. Strap yourself in for the road trip of a lifetime.

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The route starts in the northern city of Inverness, weaves along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the towns of Torridon and Ullapool. From there, you’ll venture to some of the most northerly coastal points in Scotland, passing by Caithness and John o’ Groats before heading south again through Dingwall and finally back to Inverness.

From a tiny castle to several towering Munros and even an ancient sea stack, a vast array of enticing places await visitors along the way, so cameras at the ready!



Explore the crumbling ruins of Ardvreck Castle on the edge of Loch Assynt, just north of Inchnadamph, or why not see one of our most famous structures, Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness? Just south of Brora, you’ll come across Dunrobin Castle, a French-style chateau. Inhabited since the 1300s, the castle was a war hospital during the First World War. There are also several architectural wonders to be seen along the way. Check out the architectural guide to the North Coast 500 which features 48 inspiring structures.



If you fantasize about finally bagging a Munro or fancy roaming the varied terrains of the rugged mountain ranges, the tall and shrouded peaks of Ben Hope, Stac Pollaidh, An Teallach or Suilven are calling you. These northern climbs are remote, challenging and beautiful, offering unparalleled views of the dreamy Highlands.



Whether you’re looking for secluded sands, epic surf or pure natural beauty, the beaches of the northern Highlands have it all. You’ll find a few unexpected discoveries too. Explore one of the tiniest castles in Europe, known as Hermit’s Castle at Achmelvich Bay, witness all sorts of marine life at Gairloch Beach and walk along the pristine white sands at Balnakeil Beach near Durness. Swap the road with a deserted beach for the night, and wake up to the sound of crashing waves.


natural wonders

Your journey will take you through landscapes framed by ancient geology. At the northern tip of Scotland, Smoo Cave is a beguiling and mystical limestone sea cave, home to one of the largest entrances to any sea cave in Britain with the height of 50 ft, not to mention a spectacular cascading waterfall in wet weather. Marvel at the Old Man of Stoer, a 60 m high sea stack sculpted from Torridonian sandstone which towers between the north-west Highlands and the Hebridean isles of Lewis and Harris.

Where to stop and what to see along the North Coast 500. We have listed the main areas and what to see and do when you arrive!

Black Isle

  • Groam House Museum
  • Fortrose Cathedral
  • Hugh Miller
  • Museum and Birthplace Cottage


  • Castle of May
  • Wildlife tours
  • Air Extreme high ropes tours
  • Dunbeath Bay
  • Dunnet Head

Easter Ross

  • Alness Golf Club
  • Ben Wyvis Natural Nature Reserve
  • Invergordon Shore
  • Portmahomack Bay


  • Inverness Kart Raceway
  • Caley Cruises
  • Northern Xposure Adventure
  • The Potters House


  • Hamlet Mountaineering
  • North Coast Leisure Center
  • Achininver Beach
  • Balblair Mountain Bike trail

Wester Ross

  • Attadale Gardens
  • Applecross Beach
  • Ardessie Waterfalls
  • Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve

Want to drive the North Coast 500? Let one of our Personal Travel Specialists craft the perfect itinerary for you so that you can experience the drive first hand!



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