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North Coast 500 14 Day Itinerary | NC500

The North Coast 500 (NC500) is one of the most iconic road trips this planet has to offer! It showcases the best of Scotland, from rugged mountains to tranquil lochs, and even some of the most beautiful beaches in the world (although they are very COLD). It really has to be seen to be believed, whether you have nothing but time on your hands, or have to squeeze it into a long weekend you will have an amazing time surrounded by some of Scotland’s most impressive scenery. This NC500 14 day itinerary has been carefully crafted so that you can pack in as much as possible and not miss any of the highlights and hidden gems!

Day 1 – Inverness to Loch Fleet

NC500 itinerary - Day 1
Trio of images - Inverness castle , driving route , Loch fleet.

Daily mileage: 66 miles

Time spent driving: 1hr 41 mins

A.M:

There is a lot to pack into this 14 day NC500 itinerary. Begin by spending the morning exploring the most northerly city in the UK, Inverness. It is packed to the brim with history and intrigue. Make sure to check out Inverness castle. This imposing castle can be seen from anywhere in the city, however, we recommend going to see it up close. For £6 you can go inside the castle, which has the most impressive birds-eye views of the city.

Lunch:

We recommend staying in Inverness for lunch. Whether you are looking for an authentic local pub or fine dining, Inverness city centre has plenty to choose from.

P.M:

After lunch head to Chanonry Point, it’s a short drive north-east of Inverness. This is a peninsula jutting into the Moray Firth is one of the best places in Scotland to see dolphins. However, with every wildlife experience, patience is key. The best time to see dolphins is 1-2 hours before high tide. This spot is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Dinner:

There is fine dining at Sutherland House in Dornoch. If you fancy something a bit more casual there are plenty of options in Dornoch. Alternatively, you can stop off in Tain for some other dining options

Next, park at Loch Fleet Viewpoint in Skelbo and set up camp for the night. When the tide is low you will have the best seats to watch the seals basking on the sandbanks a mere 30 meters away. It is a sight like no other. This area can get quite busy, so the earlier you arrive you’ll have a better chance of grabbing a good spot on the loch’s edge.

Skelbo also has the ruins of a castle for you to explore a mere 5-minute walk from the loch. The short climb up to the ruins is more than worth it for the breathtaking views over the loch.

Optional Detours:
  • Loch Ness
  • Tain
  • Glenmorangie Distillery
Overnight Parking:
Hotels:

Staying near the loch is a brilliant way to spend the night but if you are seeking something more luxurious, there is a lovely B&B further around the loch – Strathview Lodge.

Top Tips:

Make sure to stock up your food and fuel supplies when in Inverness as the next place on the NC500 to stock up is in Wick, 104 miles away.

Day 2 – Loch Fleet to Wick

NC500 itinerary - Day 2
Trio of images - Dunrobin castle , driving route , Wick harbour.

Daily mileage: 60 miles

Time spent driving: 1hr 27 mins

A.M:

Begin the day with a 9-mile drive to Dunrobin castle. This castle resembles a romantic French chateau. This beautiful castle is one of the oldest in Britain, and it certainly would not look out of place in a Disney movie! The perfectly groomed gardens only add to the beauty of the castle. This was our favorite stop on the east coast of the NC500. If you don’t add this castle to your 14 day NC500 itinerary you’re not doing it right!

Admission costs £11.50. You can stroll through the castle, the gardens, and the lesser-known museum packed with taxidermy. There are also 2 falconry shows every day included in the price of admission.

Lunch:

There is a small cafe at the castle which sells a little bit of everything. Make the most of your time at the castle by eating there, or bring a packed lunch.

P.M:

The next stop on this 14 day NC500 itinerary is the Whaligoe Steps. Whaligoe Steps get their name from a dead whale that washed ashore in the rocky bay. Originally used as a harbour for fishing vessels, it is now simply another tourist attraction with a fascinating history. There are 365 stairs (1 for every day of the year apparently) that zig-zag down the face of the cliff leading to a flat area known as the bink. Care should be taken if you venture down the steps as they are steep and can be slippery when wet.

Dinner:

Wick is one of the main towns on the NC500 route and the perfect dinner stop. This small town in Caithness has many dining options which may tickle your fancy. Here you can dine out on the world’s shortest street at No1 Bistro.

Optional Detours:
  • Brora
  • Clynelish Distillery


Overnight Parking:
Hotels:

If you want to stay somewhere with bags of Highland charm check out Thrumster House Bed & Breakfast. Wick also has some budget-friendly places to stay such as Harbour Bridge Guest House.

Top Tips:

Re-fuel and re-stock your shelves in Wick.

Day 3 – Wick to John O’ Groats

NC500 14 day itinerary - Day 3
Trio of images - Duncansby Stacks , driving route , John O' Groats sign.

Daily mileage:  20 miles

Time spent driving: 35 mins

A.M:

Spend your morning in Wick, there is plenty to do. Try whisky tasting at the Old Pulteney distillery. There are distillery tours that take you through how the whiskey is crafted as well as how Wick has shaped its signature flavour. If you’d prefer to do something with a little more adrenaline you can explore the coastline by speedboat! There are a few different options on the length of trip you wish to have.

Lunch:

Try dining at one of the local cafes in Wick

P.M:

Once you have seen the best of Wick, head north to Duncansby Head and sea stacks. This destination is a real treat for lighthouse lovers and people who like charming Scottish scenery! As well as boasting an adorable lighthouse, Duncansby Head is a great location for birdwatching, many seabirds call Dunnet Head their home. From the Duncansby Head Lighthouse, you can take a short walk along the coastline and you will be face to face with the Duncansby Stacks. These imposing sea stacks are quite the spectacle jutting 200ft out of the water below.

Next, for the evening, head to John O’ Groats. John O’ Groats itself isn’t the most exciting place, it is however important to visit to take an obligatory picture with the signpost!

If you are into beer there is a fantastic little brewery The John O’ Groats Brewery. Here they offer an audio tour that takes you through the history of brewing in the area. There is also a shop where you can buy case of the award-winning ales.

Dinner:

For some of the Best fish and chips on the NC500 try The Cabin @ John O’ Groats. This little red cabin serves fish which is incredibly fresh and you can tell! If you would rather have some good old-fashioned pub-style food head over to the Seaview Hotel Restaurant for a hearty meal.

Overnight Parking:

There are several places in and around John O’ Groats which would make an excellent place to park overnight – these can be found on the app Park4night.

Hotels:

There is a wonderful hotel just a stone’s throw away from the iconic signpost – The John O’ Groats hotel. This hotel brags sea views and stunning rooms, what more could you want?

Top Tips:

Send a postcard from John o’ Groats as it will have the signature John o’ Groats postmark.

Day 4 – Orkney

NC500 14 day itinerary - Day 4
Trio of images - Orkney Skara Brae , map of Orkney , Orkney lighthouse.

Day Trip.

A.M:

Day 4 on this 14 day itinerary is a pretty exciting one. This is a slight detour from the standard NC500 route. Take a trip away from mainland Scotland to explore the beautiful Orkney Islands. Leaving bright and early at 8:30 AM from John O’Groats, enjoy a packed full-day tour of Orkney beginning with a journey by ferry across the Pentland Firth.

The journey itself is pretty breathtaking. If the conditions are right you may be able to spot dolphins and whales from the boat! The ferry takes you to the port of Burwick. From here a tour guide will take you by coach around the island to cram all of the best bits into the day trip.

Lunch:

The coach will take you around all of the best sights leaving long enough stops at each location for you to explore as well as eat. There are plenty of cafes/restaurants for you to choose from in Orkney.

P.M:

The guided tour of Orkney will take you around all of the best sights so you can come home with the most amazing pictures. On the list of attractions is Skara Brae, a 5,000-year-old neolithic settlement, and many landmarks such as the Lamb Holm Italian Chapel and St. Magnus Cathedral. Check out the official website for more information on the tour. It is not to be missed! Your tour ends at approximately 7:30 PM, returning to John O’ Groats with a whole lot more knowledge on the islands than when you left.

Dinner:

You can choose to dine in Orkney or wait until you return to John O’ Groats where you can try another restaurant or takeaway.

Overnight Parking:

There are several places in and around John O’ Groats which would make an excellent place to park overnight – these can be found on the app Park4night.

Hotels:

As the day trip starts and ends in John O’ Groats we would recommend spending the night here again. There are a few hotels to choose from in the area.

Top Tips:

Don’t forget to take in all of the scenery whilst you are on the coach. The Orkney islands are beautiful so make the most of your time there!

Day 5 – John O Groats to Thurso

NC500 14 day itinerary - Day 5
Trio of images - Dunnet Bay , driving route , Dunnet Bay beach.

Daily mileage: 29 miles

Time spent driving: 57 mins

A.M:

Begin the day by heading to the most northerly point of mainland Britain – Dunnet Head. This peninsula juts out beating John O’ Groats to the most northerly point. here you can admire the rugged cliffs and spot some sea birds which call this area their home. There is a small fence restricting you from getting too close to the edge of the cliff. You can easily hop over it for an even better view but please do be careful! the fence is there for a reason.

Lunch:

Dunnet Head is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic with an amazing view. Sit atop the rugged cliffs soaking in the beautiful surroundings.

P.M:

Next on this 15 day NC500 itinerary head to Dunnet Bay. This is a beautiful beach with soft sand and surprisingly warm water considering where it is located. Take a dip in the water if you are brave enough. This is one of the best surfing locations in the country (depending on the time of year).

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, consider participating in a surfing lesson. North Coast Watersports offers surfing lessons branded ‘the most northerly surf lessons in Scotland’.

Dinner:

Thurso is one of the larger towns on the NC500 route with a plethora of dining options. Including; Ynot for some local food, or a number of alternatives including Bydand, KW Kitchen, or Pride of Bengal.

As the evening draws closer head to East Strathy. There is a beautiful beach there which is very quiet. It almost feels undiscovered. To top it off there is a free area to park for the night with toilet facilities here. 

Overnight Parking:
Hotels:

You can really stay anywhere on the North Coast this evening as the next stop is Durness. A great luxury hotel on this coast is Fross House Hotel just outside Thurso. A budget-friendly opinion is The Weigh Inn Hotel or Manor House in Thurso

Top Tips:

Be careful if you choose to hop over the fence at Dunnet Bay. The fence is there for your safety!

Day 6 – Thurso to Kyle of Durness

Daily mileage: 56 miles

Time spent driving: 1hr 51 mins

A.M:

Driving along the north coast of Scotland, the first stop on today’s itinerary is the Golden Eagle Zipline, just before you enter Durness. It is the most northerly zipline in Europe (and maybe even the world)! Fly across the stunning Ceannabeinne Beach at speeds up to 40mph. This excursion is reasonably priced at £14 per person. Nowhere else on this 14 day NC500 itinerary will you find such a high adrenaline activity!

Next, take a tour around the spectacular Smoo Cave. These guided tours can be booked on arrival and are operated on a first-come, first-served basis. The tour involves a small boat tour followed by a walking tour of the smaller. chambers of the cave. It’s not to be missed!

Lunch:

A 5-minute drive from the Caves you’ll arrive at Balnakeil Craft Village. This small community of local artists and businesses has a unique and quirky feel. There are a couple of places to grab some food here. Try the food in ‘Meet and Eat’ then pick up some indulgent chocolate in Cocoa Mountain.

P.M:

Next stop, Balnakeil Beach. This beach is only 2 minutes away from the craft village. Here you will see crystal clear water lap onto fine, white sand. Best yet, if you are lucky there may even be some cows grazing on the beach!

Dinner:

Truly embrace the scenery by eating alfresco with a BBQ on Balnakeil Beach.

As the evening begins to set in make your way to the Kyle of Durness viewpoint. This fantastic viewpoint looks out across the tidal inlet from the sea. You can see for miles over the sandy banks and blue water.

Overnight Parking:
Hotels:

Although Durness has a lot to do and see, it certainly doesn’t have much in the way of accommodation. There are several guesthouses that provide cozy and comfortable accommodation including; Bea Seren B&B and the Smoo Cave Hotel.

Top Tips:

When on Balnakeil Beach make sure you have your camera on you at all times as you don’t know when some cows will wander by.

Day 7- Kyle of Durness to Cape Wrath

NC500 14 day itinerary - Day 7
Trio of images - Kyle of Durness , driving route , Lighthouse at cape Wrath.

Daily mileage:  46 miles (not including day trip)

Time spent driving:  1 hr 29 mins

A.M:

Day 7 on this 14 day NC500 itinerary is another exciting day trip, this time it is to Cape Wrath. This is the most North Westerly point of the UK. It is known for its rugged landscapes, wildlife, and very cute lighthouse. You cannot reach Cape Wrath on your own, however, there are buses and a ferry that will get you there. Leaving from Durness, the tours of Cape Wrath take approximately 3 hours.

The trip includes access to the most north westerly point of the Scottish Mainland with a friendly bus driver who will provide informative commentary so you can learn about the area, past & present, and don’t miss any places of interest along the way.

Cape Wrath is an excellent viewpoint for the North Coast of mainland Scotland and a fantastic place to watch colonies of sea birds in their natural habitat.

Lunch:

Whilst in Cape Wrath take this unique opportunity to dine in Britain’s most remote cafe – the Ozone Cafe.

P.M:

Once you are back from the trip to Cape wrath unwind in the evening by spending your time at some of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches. Beginning with Oldshoremore beach you will find the whitest of sand and crystal clear water. This beach is a little off of the traditional NC500 loop so doesn’t ever get very busy. The perfect place to soak in your surroundings and relax.

Continuing to drive along the road you will reach Blairmore where there is a car park. From here walk along the coastal path through the sand dunes and you will reach Sandwood Bay beach. Many claim this is Britain’s most beautiful beach. There are a lot of unique and photogenic qualities to this beach. Firstly, the sand has a pinkish tone to it which you won’t find anywhere else. Behind the beach, there is a fantastic loch, and looking out into the sea from the beach you will find a tall sea stack that looks as though it should not be able to stand. What more could you want?

Dinner:

If you like your food fresh head to Tarbet. Shorehouse Seafood Restaurant delivers the freshest of fish right to your table. Due to the produce being so fresh and it is very dependent on season and weather, the menu can change according to what has been caught that day.

Overnight Parking:

Unfortunately, there are not too many park ups to choose from on this stretch of the coastline. It’s just the way it goes sometimes. There is a parking area near the town of Tarbet here.

Hotels:

This section of the NC500 is a little sparse hotel-wise. We recommend heading to the small coastal town of Scourie for your overnight stay. Here there are a couple of hotel options including Scourie Lodge and Scourie Guest House

Top Tips:

You want to stay as near as possible to the town of Tarbet as day 8 on the NC500 itinerary has a trip leaving from there.

Day 8- Handa Island to Scourie

NC500 14 day itinerary - Day 8
Trio of images - Puffin, driving route , Scourie Bay.

Daily mileage:  5 miles (not including day trip)

Time spent driving:  11 mins

A.M:

This is another slight detour from the traditional NC500 circuit. Wake up bright and early and head to Tarbet. Handa Island is a short ferry ride from the small village – so another fun day trip. The ferry runs between 9:30 – 16:45. If you want to spot some puffins on your NC500 trip, Handa Island is the place to see them up close! Handa is also home to some beautiful beaches. You’ll hardly believe you’re still in Scotland.

Lunch:

We recommend bringing a picnic with you to Handa Island are there are no restaurants/cafes on the island.

P.M:

Once you have returned from the island head to Scourie. This sweet coastal village is another great place to spot sea birds. Scourie marks the halfway point of the NC500 516 mile loop. Walk along the white sands of Scourie bay and taking in the stunning views. This area is really peaceful, a great place to relax.

Dinner:

For such a small town Scourie has a lot to offer in terms of dining options. The Whale Tail is rated incredibly high. You wouldn’t normally expect such a modern restaurant so far north in Scotland.

Overnight Parking:

We found all of our best parking spots on the app ‘park4night’ There are a few locations to choose from such as this one which looks onto a loch.

Hotels:

There are a few good hotel options in Scourie including Scourie Lodge and Scourie Guest House. Nothing fancy but has everything you will need.

Top Tips:

The best time of year to see puffins on Handa Island is from May to July.

Day 9 – Scourie to Knockan Crag Nature Reserve

NC500 14 day itinerary - Day 9
Trio of images - Kylesku bridge , driving route , beautiful beach (Achmelvich).

Daily mileage: 60 miles

Time spent driving: 2hrs 7 mins

A.M:

The first stop is the Kylesku Bridge. This award-winning curved bridge crosses Loch a’ Chàirn Bhàin on the West coast of the NC500 route. The iconic bridge really is spectacular, if it’s not on your 14 day NC500 itinerary you’re doing something wrong! There are car parks/viewpoints on each side of the bridge – perfect if you intend on driving over the bridge multiple times to get the perfect photo!

Lunch:

Apart from the bridge, there is not a huge amount to do in the Kylesku area. If you fancy treating yourself we recommend dining at the beautiful Kylesku Hotel. Here you can enjoy great food with even better views out over the water.

P.M:

After you’ve been fed it’s time to tackle the ‘Drumbeg Loop‘. This is essentially a drive along the B869 (North West section of the NC500) with a few stop-offs along the way. This is a windy single-track road that is fairly slow-moving. There are steep ascents and descents so make sure you and your vehicle are mentally and physically ready for it.

The first stop is the Drumbeg viewpoint. This is 30 minutes into your drive and is a fantastic place to soak in the dramatic Scottish scenery and relax.

Next on the agenda is the Clashnessie Falls. A 10 minute, slightly boggy walk from the small village of Clashnessie you will find the impressive falls. The 15 meter high powerful falls are incredible to look at. If there hasn’t been too much rainfall you can walk up really close to the base of the falls where there are stepping stones crossing the stream below.

The last stop on this loop is perhaps the most photographed beach on the NC500 – Achmelvich Bay. Its insane beauty really has to be seen to be believed! It will shock you that it’s actually in Scotland and not some exotic island. The white sands and inviting turquoise waters wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean. Relax and unwind here. If the sun is shining, take a dip in the water, but do be prepared that the water is not as warm as it looks.

Dinner:

There are a few dining options near Achmelvich beach. Peet’s is a fine dining restaurant with an excellent selection of fresh fish. Lochinver Larder is a little more relaxed with fantastic pies which will warm your insides.

After dinner head to Knockan Crag Nature Reserve for the evening.

Optional Detours:
  • Clachtoll Beach
Overnight Parking:
Hotels:

Knockan Crag is absolutely beautiful. Its only downside is the lack of hotels. There are a few options at different price points roughly 10 miles away in Ullapool.

Top Tips:

Take the Drumbeg loop slowly. This single-track road can be a little tedious. Keep your eyes peeled for passing places. Don’t forget to take in the beautiful Scottish scenery on your drive!

Day 10 – Knockan Crag Nature Reserve to Ullapool

NC500 14 day itinerary -
Trio of images - knockan Crag, driving route, Ullapool.

Daily mileage: 12 miles

Time spent driving:  19 mins

A.M:

Although this day has the least amount of driving, it is definitely not a dull day on this 14 day itinerary of the NC500 as there is so much to do and see. Spend the morning enjoying Knockan Crag. It is the epitome of a classic Scottish landscape – lochs, rolling hills, and a lot of midges!! There are some nice walks in this area which aren’t too long or too steep (thank God). If you don’t fancy walking, the visitor centre has a great viewpoint with a lot of information on the geological importance of the area.

Lunch:

If you pack a picnic you can enjoy it at the peak of the ‘Crag Top Trail’. This trail takes you along the top of Knockan Crag for superb views of the Assynt mountains.

P.M:

The Next stop on the route is Ullapool. Ullapool is a quaint harbour village which is the main port for trips to the Outer Hebrides. This village has a fantastic atmosphere which you will immediately notice when walking along the waterfront. There is a museum and a great selection of quirky little shops to stroll through.

Dinner:

Ullapool has a fantastic selection of restaurants. If you enjoy seafood, this is the place for you! The Seafood Shack in Ullapool is renowned for its delicious fresh fish. The takeaway-style shack gives you the highest quality seafood without the price and fuss of a high-end restaurant. Other restaurants in Ullapool include: The Arch Inn & The Ceilidh Place

Overnight Parking:
Hotels:

There are a few good hotel options in Ullapool including Riverside Hotel, Bungalow 500, and Harbour House B&B.

Top Tips:

Stock up on supplies at the decent-sized Tesco in Ullapool. If you are wild camping there is a free public shower in the centre of Ullapool. If you are planning on going on a boat ride, book it today (for tomorrow).

Day 11 – Ullapool to Gairloch

NC500 itinerary - 
Trio of images - Corrieshalloch Gorge waterfall, driving route, Mellon Udrigle beach.

Daily mileage: 67 miles

Time spent driving: 1hr 46 mins

A.M:

Begin your day in Ullapool. This town has many boat trips around the loch (fast and slow). If you are a bit of a thrill-seeker consider going on a speed boat to pack it all in quickly. We spotted porpoises, seals, and many sea birds on the boat tour. If you are in Ullapool in the warmer months (July/August) there is also a good chance you will see dolphins and even whales!

Lunch:

Grab a bite in one of the local cafes/pubs. There are several along the waterfront with an excellent outlook such as ‘Tea By The Sea‘ for a light bite or ‘The Frigate‘ for something a bit more substantial.

P.M:

Next head to Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve, a 20-minute drive away. This is home to the most impressive waterfall on the NC500, it is a must-see on this 14 day itinerary! The 45-foot waterfall is made even better by the suspension bridge that straddles the 100-foot gorge! The Nature reserve also has a few gentle walks which are quite pleasant. You really must see this waterfall to grasp the sheer scale of it!

Next, head to Mellon Udrigle Beach. This beach is a little bit of a detour from the traditional NC500 loop but it is worth it! Mellon Udrigle Beach is absolutely picture perfect! The water is clean, crystal clear, and incredibly inviting (if you can brave the cold).

Dinner:

Mellon Udrigle Beach is another absolutely perfect spot for a BBQ (Weather permitting). Sit back and take in the views of an almost exotic-looking beach.

After you’ve eaten head in the direction of Gairloch for your evening.

Overnight Parking:
Hotels:

The Old Inn Gairloch is a quaint, charming hotel that really epitomises the small village feel! If you want to make your trip extra special, a stay in the luxury hotel, Shieldaig Lodge, will not disappoint!

Top Tips:

Stock up on supplies at the Tesco in Ullapool. Also, if you are wild camping there is a free public shower in the centre of Ullapool.


Day 12 – Gairloch to Torridon

NC500 itinerary -
Trio of images - Inverewe gardens, driving route, Deer in Torridon.

Daily mileage: 51 miles

Time spent driving: 1hr 27 mins

A.M:

The first stop on today’s itinerary is the Inverewe Gardens. These gardens are located near the town of Poolewe and are privately owned by the ‘National Trust Scotland’. For a fee of £14 per person, you can explore these wondrous gardens. Tropical plants from all over the world can be found here. This is the perfect destination to capture a colorful Instagram photo!

Lunch:

After the gardens head to the small town of Poolewe. This sweet village isn’t the most exciting however it does have a good number of cafes to grab some lunch at.

P.M:

Next stop, Torridon. Torridon is an absolutely stunning part of the Scottish Highlands with lots to see and do.

Torridon is in fact one of the best places to spot deer roaming in the wild. A hot spot for the deer is surprisingly Beinn Eighe car park. If you are not lucky enough to spot one head to the Torridon Deer Park. Here some deer are kept on a farm. If you want to get even closer, you can buy deer food at the countryside centre to feed them.

If the weather is calm Torridon is a great place for sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, you can hire equipment here.

Dinner:

Torridon has many dining options for you to choose from. The Gille Brighde restaurant is very highly recommended for all of its local delicacies.

Overnight Parking:

There are a few good parking options in the Torridon area. We like this one which has great views of Upper Loch Torridon.

Hotels:

If luxury is what you are looking for, then a stay at The Torridon will be right up your street. This place really has the wow factor! It is definitely the most extravagant hotel on the itinerary for the 14 day NC500 road trip. There are some more budget-friendly options including Torridon Hostel which is very reasonably priced!


Day 13 – Torridon to Lochcarron

NC500 14 day itinerary -
Trio of images - Applecross Inn, driving route, Bealach Na Ba road.

Daily mileage: 47 miles

Time spent driving: 1hr 46 mins

A.M:

Begin day number 9 on this 14 day itinerary by spending the morning in Torridon, this is a beautiful part of the NC500. If you are a keen walker, you’ll be happy to know there are 6 Munros for you to bag in the Torridon area. If walking is not your thing you should try something a little wilder. We recommend gorge scrambling. This is a half-day expedition through the Beinn Damh gorge where you scramble over, jump off, and swim past rocks, completing the experience with a lovely waterfall.

Lunch:

For a light bite try a cafe in Torridon. There are many which are really good. Try the Wee Whistle Stop Cafe, you can eat your lunch at the outdoor seating area with a great view of the rolling hills.

P.M:

Head to Applecross. This is a pretty little coastal village. You can walk along the shoreline and take in the scenery. On a clear day, you will be able to see all the way across the ‘inner sound’ to the Crawlin islands and even the Isle of Skye. There are a few shops in the area for you to explore too.

Dinner:

There are not a huge number of things to do in Applecross except eat. If you like good-quality pub food, we recommend booking a table at the award-winning Applecross Inn. They only take online bookings so booking in advance is recommended!

After you’ve eaten it’s time to hit the road again for the most exciting road on the NC500, the Bealach Na Bà! This infamous mountain pass is just as beautiful as it is windy. It is known mostly for the way it zig-zags down the side of the mountain with hairpin bends. The Bealach Na Bà actually has the largest ascent/descent of any road in the UK!

You may think it looks like something that would be on top gear – and in fact, it has been featured on the show! The road really is quite the spectacle! As the sun begins to set, the views from the top are unbelievable.

Optional Detours:
  • Attadale Gardens
  • Walks around Attadale
Overnight Parking:

There are a number of good parking options in the Lochcarron area such as this one.

Hotels:

As to be expected when touring the north coast of Scotland some areas have a lot fewer hotel options than others. There are not too many hotels in the Lochcarron area however the Rockvilla Guest House provides comfortable rooms with a stunning loch view.

Top Tips:

Take the Bealach na Bà slowly. It’s a single-track road with traffic in both directions. Take it easy and enjoy it!


Day 14 – Lochcarron to Inverness

NC500 itinerary -
Trio of images - Rogie Waterfalls, driving route, Black waterfalls at Garve.

Daily mileage: 74 miles

Time spent driving: 1hr 37 mins

A.M:

Unfortunately, this is the last day on the 14 day NC500 itinerary. Today is a day of waterfalls, the first one being the Rogie Falls. This is a beautiful series of cascading waterfalls. They may not be massive but they are still very impressive. The best thing about these falls is the shaky suspension bridge that spans the river. If you’re lucky you might even see some salmon jumping up the waterfall.

Lunch:

Take a picnic with you around the falls so you can eat your lunch with a fantastic view!

P.M:

The next waterfalls on the agenda are in the small town of Garve, they are known as the Black Waterfalls. This is a lovely little spot to stop off at for a little while to break up your journey. Garve has a couple of nice, easy-going walks where you can admire the falls. Again, these waterfalls are not the most show-stopping but they are nice nonetheless. This stop also has a free public toilet which is a nice little bonus.

Unfortunately, the NC500 is coming to an end at this point as you drive back to Inverness to complete the route.

Dinner:

The best thing about finishing the NC500 in Inverness is the great selection of restaurants.

Conclusion

We recommend spending as much time as possible on the NC500 to truly appreciate Scotland and all its beauty, 14 days gives you enough time to cram in all the best bits. The 14 day NC500 itinerary above tries to encompass as much of Scotland’s charm, heritage, and geography as possible. This trip really makes you fall in love with the Scottish Highlands!

Whether you’re looking to do the NC500 route quickly or at a leisurely pace we have an itinerary for you. Check out our 5 day and 10 day itineraries below.

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A complete 14 Day North Coast 500 (NC500) Itinerary. Everything you need for this epic Scottish road trip, from what to see, where to stay, and tips for your adventure! The North Coast 500 is the most popular road trip in Scotland and we’ve put together a comprehensive 14 day North Coast 500 itinerary to help drivers navigate this 500 miles driving route. This detailed day-by-day 2 week NC500 road trip itinerary covers everything you need to know to make the most out of your trip. #NorthCoast500

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