North Coast 500 Planning Guide

Clashnessie Beach near Lochinver

NC500 Scenery and Highlights

The North Coast 500 tourist route was created in 2014 and is a series of existing roads that form a loop around the Northern Highlands, most people say that the starting point is Inverness, the capital of The Highlands, but as it is circular you can start everywhere you want. We already wrote a blog about how you can come to the Highlands, so if you want more information about it, click here.


The total round is 516 miles and can be done clockwise or anti-clockwise and shows you the natural beauty and several local businesses in this part of Scotland. The NC500 has become a major tourism success in Scotland and a lot of people have already driven the route since the start in 2014. 

As said, many people will start in Inverness, the largest city by far in the Northern part of Scotland with a population of around 45,000 people. The next biggest places have a population of under 2,000, names of those villages are Ullapool, Lochinver, Durness, Tongue, Bettyhill, Thurso and Wick. So outside Inverness you spend a lot of time in small villages, rural areas and between sheep.

Lighthouse of Stoer

There are a lot of highlights but for many people the scenic views along the coast is the ultimate highlight and of course the feeling of “being away” is one as well. The beautiful scenery consists of rugged coastline, beaches, rural farmland, forest and munros. Along the route there is also a lot of wildlife such as deer, squirrels, pine martens, birds of prey, seabirds and even dolphins, whales and seals and of course there are also loads of sheep. In addition to nature and wildlife there are a lot of activities to do along the route, hiking, golfing, castles, geological parks and much more.


The North Coast 500 is often called “Scotland’s version of Route 66”. In some ways they are similar, they are great routes and both offer great scenery and attractions. The NC500 is a mainly coastal route that goes through small villages and rural areas in a sparsely populated area of Scotland. It is probably more similar to Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way but every route has its own unique personality and beautiful lookout points!

NC500 scenery

How many days you need for driving the North Coast 500 really depends on how much you want to see and how much you want to drive each day, but The North Coast 500 is designed for sightseeing, supporting local businesses and taking things slowly.


The minimum should be 7 to 10 days simply because you cannot drive 60 miles an hour on the roads in The Northern part of Scotland, but if you really want to explore the route slowly, you could easily fill up 3 or 4 weeks and not run out of things to do, especially if you love hiking, wild life and nature.

The North Coast 500 single track roads

NC500 Download a Map | Book a Room

Our Bed and Breakfast, The Green Cruachan in Stoer is located directly on the B869, which is part of the North Coast 500 Tourist Route. It is a beautiful place to experience the beauty of the rural and remote environment of the Western Highlands of Scotland.


♻️ To read more information about our rooms and to book a room click here.

♻️ If you want a free download of the map of the route, click here and you go to our download section.

Although there is a lot of information in this blog above, if you want an expert and detailed explanation, please have a look at the website of Jessica and Laurence Norah. The amount of useful information is countless.

The official website of the North Coast 500 can be found here.