NC500 Pocket Map: Plan your adventure on Scotland’s North Coast 500 route official map

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NC500 Pocket Map: Plan your adventure on Scotland’s North Coast 500 route official map

NC500 Pocket Map: Plan your adventure on Scotland’s North Coast 500 route official map

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Distilleries and Breweries. Scotland is well-known for its whisky and just about every visitor to Scotland wants to try at least a dram or two of whisky during his or her trip. But Scotland also has a growing craft beer industry and gin scene and you’ll find a bit of everything along the North Coast 500. We have driven Route 66, and we can say that there are a lot of differences between a historic route that spans over 2,400 miles and crosses 8 U.S. states and the North Coast 500. The NC500 is a mainly coastal route that goes through small villages and rural areas in a sparsely populated area of northern Scotland. Hope that helps and just let us know if you have more questions as you continue planning your trip! Leakey’s Bookshop – home to thousands of second-hand books, Leakey’s is an Inverness treasure trove. My wife, Nicole, is in love with trains, and taking the famous steam train ride with the Jacobite is a MUST!

The NC500 is not an actual single road or highway like Route 66 or the Pacific Coast Highway, but is a series of existing roads that form a loop around the northern Highlands. Pony trekking is possible at Red Point at the Gairloch Pony Trekking Centre. Need to book in advance. In this first section we’ll try to answer the most common questions such as: what is the route, how many days do you need to drive the North Coast 500, when is the best time of year to drive the route, where should I stay along the NC500, how far ahead to starting booking, and other common questions.I recommend that your stops are no more than 1-1.5 hours apart unless much of the journey is on a motorway or you know the rules of the road. 2 hours on mountain roads will exhaust even the most patient of drivers. If you are not bringing along your own vehicle, you can easily rent one in Scotland. You can also rent motorcycles, bikes, cycling gear, campervans, and camping gear once you arrive. Depending on where you arrive and plan to leave in Scotland, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, and Aberdeen are the four largest cities and best places for rentals. May is a good time of year to travel in Scotland, it tends to be one of the better weather months. As noted, the weather is pretty unpredictable year round and I’d come prepared for some cool weather and rain. The midges shouldn’t be out yet. Most things along the route will be open as the tourism season in the Highlands normally begins in April around Easter.

Then I’d add a week or so for time on the islands. Larger Scottish islands within easy reach of the NC500 are Orkney, Lewis & Harris (the two “islands” are joined together), and the Isle of Skye (also Raasay). You could also consider Shetland (a group of islands very far north so takes a bit of time to get there). I’d allow at least 3 days for any island you choose to have enough time to explore the highlights. So if you have a week, I’d recommend choosing two islands to explore and add to your NC500 itinerary.Why not take longer to visit huge sea caves, sail to a tropical island to see puffins, or bag Scotland’s most northerly Munro … there is so much to see and do along the route it’s a shame to not do it justice. Castles and long hikes are not on our itnerary but we love unplanned stops at secluded beaches, wooded paths along the way. The only planned activity i would like to do is the full day sea kayaking near Ullapool i read about above. There are plenty of petrol stations on the route. I suggest filling up regularly as the NC500 is quite remote in places. Petrol stations are marked on my NC500 map.

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