North Coast 500: Planning Your Scotland Road Trip

This article was written but Sally Writes. An informative post that has inspired us to want to do a road trip through Scotland!

The North Coast 500 is popular for its rugged coastal scenery, sandy beaches, wildlife, and cultural and heritage sites. If you’re keen to explore remote parts of northern Scotland, this is the route to take. Ideally, this route is designed for sightseeing and exploring in your own time. Designate at least three days for this trip.

Start in Inverness

Renting or buying an RV is a good way to set yourself up for a road trip. They’re an affordable way to travel since you don’t have to pay for accommodation. They’re also comfortable, give you access to a fridge, bed and bathroom, and provide great views. Start your road trip off in the city of Inverness. Make sure you explore the surrounding area like the Black Isle, which lies just north. Here you can visit the ruined cathedral and famous Black Isle Brewery. There are also some stunning waterfalls — make sure to watch for dolphins at Chanonry Point. Then follow the A9 north to Thurso. On the way, stop at Strathnaver museum to learn some fascinating Highlands history — admission is only £3. 

Thurso to Durness

In Thurso, park your RV on the tiny beach in Castletown — if you’re travelling in the autumn or winter, you’ll get a great view of the northern lights. Otherwise, enjoy a meal at the Bydand restaurant for traditional Scottish fare. The next morning, drive to Durness, and park the RV at Balnakeil beach — stunning views and peace and quiet make it an ideal place to stay. Explore the town’s quaint shops, including Cocoa Mountain in Balnakeil Craft Village: a small chocolatier selling delicious hot chocolate, truffles, pastries and cakes. 

Durness to Ullapool

When you’re ready to leave Durness, head southwards on the A838, which eventually joins the A894. This part of the route is very scenic, and passes by Stac Pollaidh, a 612-metre-tall mountain. It takes roughly three hours to climb up and back down if you’re up for the challenge. Climbing Stac Pollaidh rewards you with stunning panoramic views, making it well worth the effort. From here, Ullapool is then only 15 minutes away. Upon arrival, visit the local fish and chip shop, Deli-Ca-Sea, and eat your well-earned meal on a bench overlooking the sea.

Before you leave Ullapool, take a boat trip out to the Summer Isles — a nearby group of stunning islands. You’ll get to see beautiful scenery and wildlife like dolphins, seals and eagles: an exciting and memorable end to your Scottish road trip.

Have you done a Scottish road trip before? We’d love to hear about it in a comment below…

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