THE NORTH COAST 500 ROUTE
THE NORTH COAST 500
With a motorhome, you can enjoy the freedom of the road and choose any direction to head to during your next motorhome holiday trip! In this article, Touring Cars has thoroughly planned and developed a route for the North Coast 500 that you can take for your next motorhome adventure.
The North Coast 500 (NC500) is a 516-mile (831 km) scenic route around the northern coast of Scotland that starts and ends in Inverness. The route includes breathtaking views on Scotland’s marvellous landmarks and untouched natural beauty, which you could spot by taking up your next motorhome adventure from our Glasgow/Edinburgh rental station.
The Scottish Highlands can be visited throughout the entire year, offering unique experiences and breathtaking views in each season of the year. However, you need to consider how unpredictable Scottish weather is and be ready to pack some warm clothes.
Additionally, we recommend booking spots in camping grounds in advance as during high season of the year (June-August) it could get problematic to find available spots at camping grounds. For more information about the camping grounds, you can visit: Caravan and Motorhome Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club.
Arriving to our Glasgow/Edinburgh rental station.
Upon your arrival to Glasgow airport (GLA) or Edinburgh airport (EDI), our customer service representative will greet you and provide a transfer directly to our rental station. At the rental station, our professional personnel will provide personal orientation with a motorhome. After the familiarisation process, you will be ready to start an adventurous journey around impressive Scottish landmarks!
Heading to the capital of the Scottish Highlands – Inverness
Inverness – the starting point of the North Coast 500 route is located 70 miles (113 km) from our rental station. After you receive keys to your premium motorhome, you should be able to reach Inverness in under 4 hours.
We recommend staying and exploring the city until the next morning before continuing your road trip. In the city’s heart you will be able to spot fairy-tale looking Inverness Castle and visit its viewing tower that offers 360-degree city overview. Additionally, you can visit Inverness Cathedral and the Victorian Market, and end the day with a stroll along the River Ness.
The Loch Ness Monster: Fact or Fiction?
If you have extra time to spend in the Inverness surroundings, we advise visiting Loch Ness located just a 30-minute ride from the Inverness. You may have heard about the Loch Ness Monster – a mythical monster, that received a worldwide attention in 1933 and has since been a national sight to see for tourists coming to this region from all over the world. So, if you are interested in discovering the truth behind this mythical story, or even trying to spot the Loch Ness Monster in the lake, do not hesitate to give this spot a visit!
Spot dolphins from the Black Isle
After relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere of the city life, it is time to hit the road again! Whilst we hope you will see the entire beaty that the North Coast 500 has to offer, we really want to highlight incredible places in a proximity to the official route. Therefore, we would like to point out the Black Isle!
The Black Isle – is a peninsula located 30-minute ride from Inverness. During your visit to this place, you can spend the whole afternoon enjoying the tranquil atmosphere of this gorgeous place. We recommend first visiting a town of Fortrose, where you can park your motorhome before heading to the city centre to see ruins of the Fortrose Cathedral. Afterwards, you can walk towards the Fairy Glen Waterfalls to see photogenic waterfalls surrounded in green scenery and stroll along the Rosemarkie Beach and spot bottlenose dolphins, that live in the waters of the Moray Firth, either from Chanonry Point, or by taking a private boat tour from Cromarty town.
Visit a prominent place featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet Fire
After spending afternoon at a beautiful Black Isle, you can get back on track by hitting the road that offers unparalleled views towards exploring seaboard villages and hidden gems such as Dingwall and Evanton. You can park your car in Evanton, stretch your legs and walk to the Flyrish Monument located on the hill from which you can see stunning views of Easter Ross and even visit a Black Rock Gorge – narrow canyon that was featured in one scene in the film Harry Potter and the Goblet Fire, before continuing your journey to Invergordon and Portmahomack in Easter Ross.
Taste Scottish cuisine
In Portmahomack you can park a motorhome for a night and visit a local restaurant, where you can try one of the national Scottish dishes for dinner such as haggis or Scottish salmon and finish your day with a delightful dessert such as a sticky toffee pudding or shortbread.
A trip to the Sutherland county
Start your day with a traditional Scottish breakfast at any local restaurant nearby your camping ground and continue your journey towards Sutherland. Sutherland county makes up a large part of the North Coast 500 route that offers awe-inspiring scenery with combination of scattered fishing communities, tranquil harbours, and fairy-tale looking castles.
Immerse yourself into the fairy-tale atmosphere
If you take 40-minute ride from Portmahomack, you will arrive to village Golspie. After finding a parking spot for your motorhome, we recommend paying a visit to the fairy-tale looking Dunrobin Castle. If you are travelling with your dog, you can stretch your legs by walking through the forest area of Big Burn.
A goodnight sleep by the sea breeze
After a short exploration of a Golspie surroundings, you can set off towards the Brora beach to watch sea wildlife and continue your journey towards Helmsdale - a fishing port with a picturesque harbour. Continue your journey towards Lybster, which is in the northern British county – Caithness that offers vast open landscapes, and spend a night at one of the beautiful camping grounds that this place has to offer to tourists.
Whale watching at Duncansby Head
After some refreshing morning walks around the beach in Lybster, it is time to head towards Wick – town that was the busiest herring port in Europe in mid-19th century, and that is located 20-minute ride from Lybster. Take a journey to see the remains of the Castle of Old Wick and Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, that sit on the edge of the cliffs and overlook the sea.
If you are a golf enthusiast, or you were planning on trying golfing yourself – you can make a pre-booking at the Wick Golf Club before starting your road trip around the North Coast 500. Wick Golf Club is located right next to the coast, and it provides incredible views over the sea, so you might be astonished by the beauty of these surrounding, whilst enjoying your time with your loved ones.
After a day in Wick surroundings, we recommend heading towards Duncansby Head. At the Duncansby Head don’t miss an opportunity to spot beautiful whales and other sea animals in the water, while strolling on the edges of cliffs that open impressive views over the sea.
Surf the North Coast
After finishing walk around the Duncansby Head, you can now head towards Dunnet Bay, but don’t forget to stop by the Castle & Gardens of Mey. Dunnet Bay is officially considered to be the most northern point of Mainland Britain, so make sure to take photos and share them with your family upon your return home. At the viewing point, you will have an opportunity to spot the beauty of the coastal grassland and if you are lucky, you will spot indigenous habitants – puffins!
Additionally, if you are a surf enthusiast or you were planning on trying surfing, Dunnet Beach would be one of the best spots to surf! There are a few companies that rent out surf accessories and even lessons for beginners, so make sure to check these companies out to get an overview of the situation.
After spending a fabulous day in the Caithness county, it is time to head to the western part of Sutherland county to Melvich. You can now have dinner at the local restaurant and park your motorhome in the surroundings of the Melvich Beach for a night.
North West Sutherland
The road trip around North West Sutherland will bring you unforgettable memories and views on the natural untouched landscapes. Make sure to prepare your camera to catch amazing sights of your upcoming trip around this area. On your fifth road trip day, you will get more familiar with this county by passing by spots such as Bettyhill, Tongue and Durness.
In Durness surroundings, you can visit limestone sea cave - Smoo Cave and stop at one of the beautiful beaches: Ceannabeinne Beach, Sango Sands, or Balnakeil Beach, where you can organise a picnic and take a walk along the coastline before continuing your journey to the Cape Wrath – most north-westerly point in mainland Britain. Spend a few hours in this amazing place and enjoy some breathtaking views that will be opened in front of you.
Astonishing Kylesku Bridge
On your way to Kinlochbervie make sure to stop by the Sandwood Bay Beach. This beach was named one of the most beautiful and remote beaches in Europe in numerous international lists. After a short visit to this place, you can hit the road towards Kylesku and pass by one of the local famous landmarks – Kylesku Bridge.
You can find a nearby camping ground to stay a night before continuing your journey.
An adventurous day around Sutherland county
After a long relaxing night, make sure to get energised by a freshly brewed morning coffee and head towards Drumbeg Viewpoint from which you will have utterly stunning views. Continue your journey towards Clashnessie Falls in which you can stop by to stretch your legs or walk your dog before hitting the road towards spectacular Loch Assynt and marvellous Ardvreck Castle.
After spending afternoon enjoying views over Loch Assynt, you should prepare for a short journey towards a hill Stac Pollaidh that sits on Loch Lurgainn and which you can climb to find spectacular views over stunning Scotland’s scenery. Afterwards, head towards Ullapool that sits on Loch Broom. Continue your journey towards Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve in which you can freely spend a few hours enjoying dramatic views of waterfalls and walking over the suspension bridges.
Snorkelling in a Gruinard Bay
After an impressive trip towards stunning sights of Wester Ross county, you can head towards Gruinard Bay. If you are interested in snorkelling, you have a perfect opportunity for this in Gruinard Bay! We advise you to check further information about snorkelling in the Highland before planning your road trip. We recommend finishing your day by heading to the Red Point settlement, where you can park a motorhome and stay for a night before last day of your journey.
Notorious Bealach na Ba
After relaxing at the Red Point Beach, you should get back on track towards Kinlochewe and head towards Loch Torridon, where you could reach Bealach na Ba – notorious stretch of road with steep gradients and sharp turns with a marvellous scenery over Wester Ross, the Isle of Skye, Rum and the Outer Hebrides.
After careful ride through the Bealach na Ba you should head towards Inverness, that is located 2-hour ride. During your final ride to the ending point of your journey, you will be crossing areas of Loch Kishorn, Loch Luichart, Loch Garve and Rogie Falls, where you could stop by and have a meal surrounded by the impressive scenery.
Return to Inverness
Upon your return to Inverness and then to our rental station, our rental station representative will be expecting you at the agreed time for a vehicle drop-off. For the rest of the evening, you can either stay in the city centre of Glasgow and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere that this place has to offer to tourists or return to the airport with a free shuttle service from our company!