The North Coast 500, the Route 66 of Scotland has been opened since 2015, to link the beautiful scenery of Northern Scotland. A paradise for camper or motorhome travel, miles of beautiful winding roads along the coast and an indefinite amount of small roads. Along the way there are too many highlights, you’ll meet enchanting castles, white beaches and fairytale-like sceneries. This North Coast 500 motorhome route is a great adventure through Scotland. You can use this itinerary for your trip, let’s go!
The start of the North Coast 500 motorhome route: Inverness
The NC500 route starts at Inverness, the gateway to the Highlands. You can see the route on the North Coast 500 map above. You can also drive the other way around, but you won’t drive on the seaside of the road! The two hour trip from the east coast (Inverness) to the west coast (Applecross) starts with riding north and enjoying the beautiful scenery of the inlands of Scotland. It’s a beautiful drive which you will definitely remember. If you go south, starting from Inverness, you might even catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster. You will have a bit of a busier drive, with tour buses driving from Inverness to Loch Ness every day. The choice is yours, does your North Coast 500 road trip take you to mystic Loch Ness or on a beautiful drive through the inlands?
Enjoy the beautiful west coast nature: Munro’s, Skye and awe-inspiring roads
When you’ve driven your camper through the inland to the coast, you drive towards Skye: one of the most beautiful islands perhaps in the world. Not officially part of the North Coast 500 route, but we didn’t dare to not mention it. It is perhaps better to dedicate a full vacation to this island, but still. Up to you. Make a detour or leave Skye for what it is, and continue to Beleach na Bá towards Applecross. Considered as one of the most beautiful and most famous parts of the road, this is a part of the route where you want to keep your camera at hand. Take your time (when the traffic allows you to) and let the view sink in. Farther north you will find the famous Munro’s, the name for mountains over 3000 feet. The name derives from Sir High Munro, who created Munro’s Tables to map out all these mountains. On the route you will find the following in this order: An Teallach, Stac Pollaidh, Suilven en Ben Hope.
North Coast: beaches, castles and surfing
On the North Coast you will find three beautiful beaches to enjoy the rough beach weather, or when you are lucky, the sunny summer. Gairloch beach is one of the first beaches you will find, a secluded spot with not too many visitors. In Alchemic Bay you will find Hermit’s Castle, one of the smallest castles of Europe. Behind the beautiful dunes of the north of Scotland is Balkaneil beach, a large, white beach. Perfect for hanging out before you travel further east with your motorhome or camper. Are you interested in a bit more action? In the most northern town of Scotland, Trumso, there’s surf all year round. With multiple world championships have been held here, this is a famous and well-known surf spot.
Surfboard back in the camper, we’re going to dive into the Scottish culture along the east coast. From Trumso, we drive to the most northern point of Scotland, John o’Groats. You might find some people here who’ve travelled from Land’s End to John o’Groats across England and Scotland. After a walk along the coast, we’ll drive to Dunrobin Castle, the biggest castle in the Northern Highlands. You can do a self-guided tour through the castle here. After the castle, it is time to take good care of ourselves. One of Scotlands finest treasures is, of course, their Whisky. Park the motorhome and find one of the many distilleries, for example, the Balblair Distillery. Prefer beer? Almost at the end of our trip close to Inverness is the Black Isle Brewery. A biological brewery with many different kinds of beer.
From culture back to nature. We are trying to catch a glimpse of dolphins in Chanonry point! They are known to come very close to the mainland since that is where they find their meals. Biggest chances are at high tide and in February you will find a booklet here with the times when you are most likely to catch a glimpse. This is our last stop of the North Coast 500 motorhome route on our way to Inverness, but we’ll return with a head full of great memories, a camera full of beautiful landscapes and a belly full of Scottish food and drinks.
North Coast 500 campsites
Along the way, there will be some beautiful places to park your motorhome. Some of the greatest North Coast 500 campsites are listed here, in the order that they lie along the way of this route. Note that July is a busy time for the NC500 campsites, as most people in the UK have their holidays in the summer months.
Kinlochewe Caravan Club Site – Not too far from Applecross you’ll find hardstanding pitches near the pine forest.
Badrallach Campsite – Called one of the remotest and most picturesque campsites by the Guardian. Definitely a stay with a great view. Close to Ullapool.
Sango Sands Oasis – With a great view on the beaches below, you’ll find yourself on top of the cliffs where you might even spot whales, seals or if you are very lucky, dolphins. Located in Durness.
Dunnet Bay Caravan Club Site – Close to the Northernmost point of Scotland, above some great beaches. Neat campsite on the way to John o’Groats.
Grannie’s Heilan’ Hame Holiday Park – Near Embo Beach, this family campsite offers some relaxing facilities to get some of that well deserved rest. Located in Dornoch.
Dingwall Camping and Caravanning Club Site – Almost at the end of the trip you’ll find in Dingwall a place to rest your feet or go for some beautiful hikes in the area.