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HomeRoad TripsEuropeWest EuropeGreat BritainScotlandNorth Coast 500
North Coast 500 Route

North Coast 500 Road Trip

Inverness - Wick - Thurso - Durness - Ullapool - Gairloch - Applecross

Expect on your itinerary

Landscape Landscape
Security Security
Benefit-stress ratio Benefit-stress ratio
Beach Beach
Comfort Comfort
Road conditions Road conditions
Wildlife Wildlife
Culture Culture
North Coast 500 Road Trip ACTIVATE MAP Stages7 km839 h/stage1.8

Best months to drive

I II III IV V VI
VII VIII IX X XI XII

Road Trip Costs

How much does it cost to go on a North Coast 500 Road Trip in Scotland?

Economy
Low budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 405EUR drive & more 113EUR sleep & more 715EUR eat & more 864EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,692EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 2,097EUR
Standard
Mid budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 648EUR drive & more 150EUR sleep & more 1,430EUR eat & more 1,296EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 2,876EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 3,524EUR
Premium
High budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 1,134EUR drive & more 200EUR sleep & more 2,024EUR eat & more 1,728EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 3,952EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 5,086EUR
Camper
On the road in RV, overnight at camp grounds with self-catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
rent & more 2,025EUR drive & more 225EUR sleep & more 495EUR eat & more 864EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,584EUR Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 3,609EUR
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North Coast 500 Road Trip Itinerary

The North Coast 500 Road Trip is a 9-day journey that takes you on a 522 mile loop through Scotland's most stunning scenery. Starting in the city of Inverness, you'll drive through the picturesque towns of Wick, Durness, and Gairloch, taking in the breathtaking landscapes and unspoiled beaches along the way. The road conditions are generally excellent, so you can enjoy an uninterrupted journey through the Highlands. The best time to take this trip is during the summer months when the days are long and the weather is warm. This road trip offers a unique and unforgettable experience, and is suitable for any driver. Although it can be done on a budget, it is best enjoyed with plenty of money to spend on exploring the region's attractions. With its stunning views, rich culture, and thrilling activities, the North Coast 500 Road Trip is sure to provide you with a wealth of memories that will last a lifetime.
number of days 9 number of days
route length 839 km route length
budget high budget
good for family good for
traffic direction on the left traffic direction
accident level moderate accident level

START Inverness

Distance 830 km Driving time 12.8 h Pace: fast 248.9 kWh Airports INV
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Inverness, Scotland, is the perfect starting point for the North Coast 500 Road Trip. Located in the Highlands, this city is the gateway to some of the most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes in the country. Visit the historic Inverness Castle, perched high on a cliff overlooking the River Ness. Take a stroll along the riverside and take in the sights of the city and its surrounding countryside. For a truly unique experience, explore the city’s underground vaults, which date back to the 18th century. The city is also home to several fascinating museums, such as the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts. The nearby Fort George is also worth a visit, with its impressive fortifications, cannons and even a prison. The closest international airport to Inverness is Inverness Airport (INV). Car rentals are available at this airport, making it easy to get started on your trip. Inverness is the ideal starting point for the North Coast 500 Road Trip. Visit the city’s many attractions and explore its stunning countryside for an unforgettable experience.

1 Inverness - Wick

Distance 177 km Driving time 2.3 h Pace: fast 53.0 kWh View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road sections of narrow road junction of road trips interesting  historic site attractive landscape accommodation options interesting cultural site
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Are you ready for an unforgettable road trip? Start your journey in Inverness, Scotland, and travel to Wick, a small fishing town located 110 miles away. The drive will take you less than 3 hours, and you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Scottish Highlands. Along the way, you will come across historical sites, picturesque landscapes, and scenic roads. Keep an eye out for narrow sections of the road, and don't forget to take lots of pictures! This is just one of the stages of the larger tour, so take your time and enjoy the journey. For more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, check the "Itinerary" of this stage. Let the adventure begin!

2 Wick - Thurso

Distance 60 km Driving time 1.1 h Pace: modest 15.5 kWh View map Itinerary
EV charging station dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road sections of narrow road junction of road trips interesting  historic site attractive landscape accommodation options
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Take a road trip from Wick to Thurso, a 37-mile journey that will take you less than an hour. As you drive, watch out for the picturesque landscapes, historical sites, and scenic roads. In some sections, the roads can be winding and narrow, so stay alert. Along the way, be sure to visit the Castle of Mey, a 16th century castle that was once the home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. You can also explore the ruins of Old Wick Castle, the remains of a 12th century structure. Finally, don't miss the chance to see the Thurso River, a beautiful river that winds its way through the town. For more information on attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, check out the Itinerary for this stage of your road trip.

3 Thurso - Durness

Distance 113 km Driving time 1.8 h Pace: fast 34.0 kWh View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road sections of narrow road junction of road trips attractive landscape accommodation options
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Embark on a road trip adventure from Thurso to Durness, a spectacular 70mi journey that will take you less than two hours. Get ready to be mesmerized by the picturesque landscapes of the North Coast 500, a 500-mile route that will take you through some of Scotland's most stunning scenery. As you drive along this winding road, you will be surrounded by the majestic mountains and the beautiful coastline of the North Sea. Be sure to pay attention to the narrow sections of the road, as they will provide you with breathtaking views of the sea and the stunning cliffs of Scotland. You will also have the chance to visit some of the most interesting places such as Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of the British mainland, and Smoo Cave, one of the largest sea caves in the UK. Don't forget to take some time to explore the magnificent Balnakeil Beach, a stunning beach with white sand and turquoise waters. Make sure to check the itinerary of this stage for more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route.

4 Durness - Ullapool

Distance 153 km Driving time 2.7 h Pace: modest 39.8 kWh View map Itinerary
EV charging station dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road sections of narrow road junction of road trips interesting  historic site
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Embark on a 95mi road trip from Durness to Ullapool and experience the best of Scotland! This journey will take you less than 3 hours and you will be treated to some of Scotland's most breathtaking views. Along the way, you will drive past stunning historical sites and traverse winding roads that hug the coast. Take in the majestic mountain views and the stunning sea lochs. Be sure to keep an eye out for the narrow sections of the road where you will need to slow down and be extra mindful of other drivers. This is just one of the many stages of the Scotland road trip, so make sure to check out the itinerary for more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route.

5 Ullapool - Gairloch

Distance 90 km Driving time 1.3 h Pace: fast 26.9 kWh View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road sections of narrow road junction of road trips accommodation options
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Embark on an exciting road trip from Ullapool to Gairloch, a journey of 56 miles and less than 2 hours of driving. This journey will take you through some of Scotland's most stunning scenery, with winding roads and narrow sections in certain areas. Along the way, take the time to visit the picturesque Inverewe Gardens, the beautiful Loch Maree, and the breathtaking Gairloch beach. Make sure to also stop at the quaint fishing villages of Poolewe and Mellon Charles. Don't forget to take in the stunning views of the Torridon Mountains and the rugged coastline of the Scottish Highlands. If you're looking for a unique experience, take a boat ride to the Summer Isles, where you can explore the islands and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. For more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please consult the “Itinerary” section of this stage.

6 Gairloch - Applecross

Distance 99 km Driving time 1.7 h Pace: modest 25.7 kWh View map Itinerary
dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road sections of narrow road junction of road trips attractive landscape
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Embark on a memorable road trip from Gairloch to Applecross, Scotland! This 61-mile journey will take you less than two hours, and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the rugged, wild landscape of the Highlands. Get ready to be mesmerized by the picturesque views of the lochs, rolling hills, and lush forests! Along the way, you’ll drive through winding roads and narrow passes, so be sure to stay alert and enjoy the scenery. Make sure to keep an eye out for the lovely Inverewe Garden, where you can admire a variety of rare and exotic plants. And don’t forget to stop at the Applecross Heritage Centre, where you can learn about the area’s fascinating history. For more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, be sure to check the Itinerary for this stage of your trip.

7 Applecross - Inverness

Distance 139 km Driving time 1.9 h Pace: fast 41.6 kWh View map Itinerary
EV charging station dining venues scenic road stretches of winding road sections of narrow road not recommended for caravans sections of steep road junction of road trips interesting  historic site attractive landscape accommodation options
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Embark on a road trip from Applecross to Inverness, a journey of 86 miles that will take you fewer than two hours. On your way, you will be captivated by the picturesque landscapes and the winding roads, as well as the historical sites that you will encounter. You will find steep ramps and narrow sections, so be sure to drive carefully and enjoy the scenery. You will be able to visit some of the most interesting places in Scotland, such as the iconic Eilean Donan Castle and the old town of Dingwall. You will also have the opportunity to admire the stunning views of the Beauly Firth and the Black Isle. Don't forget to take a break in the city of Inverness, where you can explore the local attractions and enjoy the local cuisine. For more information about attractions, accommodation options, recommended restaurants, and campsites along the route, please check the "Itinerary" of this stage.

  Inverness

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For those looking to end their road trip in style, Inverness in Scotland is the perfect destination. Situated in the heart of the Highlands, Inverness is the ideal spot to finish the renowned North Coast 500 Road Trip. Inverness is a city with a rich cultural heritage and a unique charm. There is something for everyone in Inverness, from the stunning views of the River Ness, to the colorful and vibrant city center. History buffs will appreciate the ancient ruins of Urquhart Castle, located on the banks of Loch Ness. Nature lovers can take a leisurely stroll through the city’s tranquil parks, or take a boat tour on the loch to search for the legendary “Nessie.” Those looking for a taste of local culture can visit the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, or take in a performance at Eden Court Theater. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of activities to choose from, including fishing, hiking, and golfing. For travelers arriving by air, Inverness Airport (INV) is the closest international airport. From there, taking a car is the best way to explore the city and its surrounding areas. Whether you’re looking to begin or end your North Coast 500 Road Trip, Inverness is an ideal destination. With its breathtaking scenery, rich cultural heritage, and plethora of activities, Inverness is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

North Coast 500 Road Trip at a glance

We believe that the presented road trip idea gave you plenty of inspirations for your future holiday excursions.
The itinerary we’ve suggested can be used as a base that can be recreated in its entirety or only partially and that can be enriched with diverse beauty spots.
If car travel is the preferred travel mode for you, there are a number of vital traffic regulations to follow and a number of things to keep in mind to turn your trip into pleasure. These tips will also become useful for tourists who are interested in car hire or camper hire.
When sightseeing around Scotland, you should obey the local road rules. Alcohol is best to be avoided at all costs when travelling around Scotland. Travellers ought to remember that the allowed blood alcohol level is low and is only 0.8‰. Travelling in a car around the city is allowed at the maximum speed of 48km/h. 96km/h is the maximum car speed in undeveloped areas. Avoid exceeding the permissible speed of 112km/h while on highways. In order to stay safe, it is best to equip your car with a first aid kit and fire extinguisher and drive with your headlights on at daytime.
But what are the costs of the whole trip. Depending on the budget option of your choice, the total expenses during the whole adventure can vary. A wide range of budget options is showed below.
If you’d like to benefit from the cheapest offer to cover the planned 839km across Scotland, it can amount to 113 EUR. Travel expenses connected with economy hotels will cost up to roughly 715 EUR. Holidayers who opt for this option will spend roughly 864 EUR on restaurants and food. Travellers will have to pay about 405 EUR if they aim for the budget car hire offer as well. Thus, the estimated travel expenses amount to approximately 1,692 EUR without vehicle rental and 2,097 EUR with car hire.
When it comes to the standard offer, you have to spend the maximum of 113 EUR to cover the planned stages of the road trip. Cost amounting to 1,430 EUR can be expected by all holidayers who are considering standard accommodation. Drivers may expect that the standard option in terms of restaurants and food will cost about 1,296 EUR. Travellers who want to cover the tour in a standard rental vehicle can expect a cost of roughly 648 EUR. Summing up the standard offer, the estimated cost of the road trip will total more or less 3,524 EUR for holidayers who would like to try vehicle hire and 2,876 EUR for those who are not interested in rental.
Holidayers who are searching for the highest level of comfort will be pleased with the premium offer. When it comes to this offer, the estimated cost of the road trip will total roughly 5,086 EUR for holidaymakers who are considering car hire and 2,876 EUR for those who do not need a hire car. Travellers who want to cover the itinerary in a premium hire car can expect a cost of approximately 1,134 EUR. In the premium option of the adventure, you should expect the average cost of approximately 200 EUR when it comes to gasoline. Drivers who will go for top services in all aspects of their adventure should expect to pay roughly 2,024 EUR for overnight stays and roughly 1,728 EUR for food and restaurants.
North Coast 500 Road Trip is also an exciting opportunity for all camper enthusiasts. If you are considering this transport option, the expenses are roughly 2,025 EUR. Gasoline expenses when travelling in a camper should amount to roughly 225 EUR. Tourists who are interested in camper hire should expect to pay around 495 EUR for accommodation and roughly 864 EUR for expenses connected with food.
The Road Trip Costs section shows all the above-mentioned costs in detail.
The part of Scotland mentioned in our adventure idea is superb to be visited between May and September. There are plenty of intriguing road adventures that we offer on our website if you’d like to see other of our road trip ideas. Even the most demanding of drivers will definitely be surprised by the broad spectrum of travel opportunities that we offer.

Facts for safer driving in Scotland

drink drive limit drink drive limit 0.8
max speed urban max speed urban 48 km/h
max speed rural max speed rural 96 km/h
max speed highway max speed highway 112 km/h
headlights at daytime headlights at daytime off
fire extinguisher fire extinguisher no
tolls tolls yes
seat belts seat belts yes

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