NC500 Scotland's Route66
North Coast 500 Scotland tourist route information
Welcome to our guide to Scotland’s North Coast 500 tourist route. This guide will show you the best landmarks to visit, places to eat & stay, campsites, pubs,
The North Coast 500 (NC500) is a scenic driving route that loops around the northernmost part of Scotland. It covers a distance of around 516 miles (830 km) and takes in some of Scotland's most stunning scenery, including rugged coastlines, mountain ranges, and historic castles.
The route starts and ends in the city of Inverness and takes in places such as the Black Isle, Caithness, Sutherland, and Wester Ross. The North Coast 500 tourist route is popular with visitors who want to experience the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of Scotland, as well as its food, drink, and hospitality.
The tourist route typically takes around 5-7 days to complete, depending on how much time you want to spend exploring each area. Along the way, you'll find plenty of accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels to cozy B&Bs, as well as plenty of places to eat and drink, from traditional Scottish pubs to fine dining restaurants.
The North Coast 500 tourist route is a great way to experience the best of Scotland's wild and rugged landscapes, as well as its warm and welcoming people. Whether you're driving the route yourself or joining a guided tour, it's sure to be an unforgettable journey.
What are the North Coast 500 Speed Limits?
If you are planning on zooming around the NC500 like a bad thing then maybe you should realise a few things first about the speed limits on this iconic coastal route around the Scottish highlands. firstly there are no motorways in the highlands and very few sections of dual carriageway, thus the whole route is made up of single carriageway and single track roads.
Driving On North Coast 500 Roads
While driving on the North Coast 500 always take extra care while driving on single track and narrow roads and always reduce your speed at approaches to bends, which can be sharper than they appear, also at junctions and turnings, which may be partially hidden.
Don't Beep The Sheep Either !!!
Filling Stations On The North Coast 500 Route.
The North Coast and the whole region of the Scottish highlands is very easy to get to with several filling stations on the North Coast 500 route, regardless of where you are travelling from. The area is extremely well serviced with good rail and road links, notably the famous and wonderfully scenic West Highland Line, and Aberdeen and Inverness airports are 100 and 5 miles respectively from Inverness. A lot of people also fly into Prestwick Airport which is about 45 minutes south of Glasgow by road, or fast regular rail link.
Overnight Roadside Parking On Scotlands North Coast 500
Scotland is the only country in the United Kingdom where wild camping is still legal. This is down to the Land Reform Act (2003), which is the act of the Scottish parliament that secures public access rights to access land in Scotland. It includes the right to camp in unenclosed land.
When it comes to overnight parking on the North Coast 500, there are generally no restrictions. Travelers are free to park their vehicles overnight in most areas along the route. However, it's important to note that there are a few exceptions to this rule.
In order to preserve the peace and well-being of local communities, restrictions on overnight parking are enforced in specific instances where the impact of such parking has a significant effect on the local community. These restrictions are usually limited to village and town centers, as well as certain "destination lay-bys" in the open countryside that serve as car parks for all types of visitors.
It's essential for visitors to be aware of these exceptions to ensure they are adhering to the regulations and respecting the communities they encounter along the North Coast 500. By being mindful of where overnight parking is restricted, travelers can help maintain the beauty and tranquility of the area while also ensuring the comfort and well-being of local residents.
One of the reasons why wild camping is still legal in Scotland is to promote access to the country's stunning natural landscapes. By allowing overnight parking in most areas along the North Coast 500, travelers have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the breathtaking scenery that this iconic route has to offer.
However, it's important to remember that the freedom to camp and park overnight comes with responsibilities. Visitors should always leave no trace, ensuring they clean up after themselves and respect the environment. By practicing responsible camping and parking, travelers can help preserve the natural beauty of the North Coast 500 for future generations to enjoy.
So, if you're planning a trip along the North Coast 500, make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and exceptions regarding overnight parking. By doing so, you can have a memorable and enjoyable experience while also being a responsible traveler.
The North Coast 500 is a popular destination for motorhome and campervan enthusiasts, and there are plenty of campsites and facilities along the route to accommodate them. Here are some tips for motorhome and campervan travelers on the NC 500:
How To Dispose Of Your Waste Properly on The North Coast 500
Proper waste disposal is important to help protect the natural beauty of the North Coast 500 and ensure that it remains a sustainable destination for years to come.
Welcome to Smoo Cave, a breathtaking natural wonder located on the northern coast of Scotland, near the charming village of Durness in Sutherland. This remarkable sea cave is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
This remote beach is accessible only by foot, but is well worth the effort. The beach is surrounded by towering sand dunes and dramatic cliffs, and is one of the most unspoiled beaches in Scotland.
Tips For Driving The Noth Coast 500 Scotlands Route 66
Drive too many hours at once and you will be in danger of missing the sights along the way and only make yourself tired. Try to aim at driving not more than 5 hours a day. always allow for the time you will be stopping to fuel up, eat and just have of coffee. Remember that the North Coast 500 is not a motorway, so you will go slower. It's not a race.
Follow our simple tips to help you along the way as you travel around this amazing coastal route around the Scottish highland's
NC 500 Motorhomes & campervan Links
Discover things like where you can and can't park up for the night, waste disposal locations, and designated campervan and motorhome parks along the nc500 route.
Hidden Gems On The NC500 Tourist Route Around The Scottish Highlands
The North Coast 500 route is full of stunning scenery, charming villages, and interesting attractions. While some of these locations are well-known and popular with tourists, there are also many hidden gems along the route that are worth exploring. Here are some of the North Coast 500 hidden gems:
- Stoer Lighthouse - This working lighthouse is located on a rocky headland on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, and offers stunning views of the coastline and the sea.
- Sandwood Bay - This remote beach is accessible only by foot, but is well worth the effort. The beach is surrounded by towering sand dunes and dramatic cliffs, and is one of the most unspoiled beaches in Scotland.
- Smoo Cave - This sea cave is located near Durness and features a large, impressive entrance chamber that can be explored by boat or on foot.
- Achmelvich Beach - This beautiful sandy beach is located on the west coast of Scotland, and features crystal-clear water and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
- Applecross Pass - This winding road is one of the most scenic drives in Scotland, and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and coastline.
- Falls of Shin - These waterfalls are located near Lairg and are home to a popular salmon leap, where visitors can watch salmon leap up the falls during the summer months.
These are just a few of the hidden gems along the North Coast 500 route. Exploring these lesser-known locations can be a great way to experience the beauty and charm of the Scottish Highlands, and to create lasting memories of your NC500 road trip.
North Coast 500 Local News
North Coast 500 Fanny bay
This is the place on the North Coast 500 you don't want to be at.
North Coast 500 Route Maps and information to help you plan your journey if you are visiting the Scottish highland, You don't need to be doing the NC500 to have a great time on scotlands roads.
The North Coast 500 is Scotland's answer to Route 66 and although the suggested route is around 516 miles long, you don't have to complete the route in one go, we have listed several trips which are quite easily completed in a day using The Highland's capital city of Inverness as your base.