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North Coast 500

7 Days & 6 Nights
  • Complete the North Coast 500 - Scotland's most iconic road trip
  • Dramatic mountains-capes and coastline dotted with ancient fortresses and stately castles
  • Visit the northern whisky distilleries of Glen Ord, Glenmorangie and Old Pulteney
  • Hidden coves, turquoise seas and the white sand beaches of Achmelvich and Sango
  • Indulge in the freshest of local scallops and mussels fresh off the boat!
The North Coast 500 road trip explores one of Europe’s last wild places, the northern Highlands of Scotland. Immerse yourself in a landscape where the soaring golden eagle is king; deserted white-sand beaches, turquoise seas, towering peaks, and vast moors peppered with castles. Experience a landscape interwoven with tales of clan struggles. With plenty to see and do en route relax in the knowledge that our information pack, brimming with local expertise, has distilled the highlights, and recommends off-the-beaten-path detours along with not to be missed local eateries. Discover the region's vibrant larder as you sip craft gins and single-malts, and savour locally fished crab and lobster. Stroll along beaches washed by crystal clear surf and gaze out across the North Sea relishing that edge-of-the-world feeling.

What To Expect

Experience Scotland's most iconic road-trip for yourself, escaping the rhythm of everyday life as you make for the stunning beauty of Scotland's far north. Sample the fruits of the land and sea, from fresh crab and lobster, to craft gins and iconic single-malts. Allow our local expertise to guide you on a hassle-free road-trip. Experience Scottish hospitality at it's finest, not just at your accommodations, but as you tour distilleries and meet the local historian.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent holiday.

Activity:

Self-Drive Discovery, Inn to Inn Discovery | A tour where you can travel from A to B at your own pace exploring the sights en-route., A classic discovery tour staying in a different location each night.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, First Timers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Wildlife
  • Coastal & Island

Inspiration:

  • Classic

Navigation

Your information pack will include a day-by-day itinerary, with recommended driving routes between overnight stops, as well as recommended detours and must-see sights and attractions. You can use Google maps to navigate the route on your phone, or your car's sat-nav. If you are hiring a car we recommend adding on a sat-nav as internet signal in the Highlands isn't always reliable.

Accommodation Information

You will overnight in hand-picked small hotels, B&B's and guesthouses, all of which have been chosen to ensure you experience warm Scottish hospitality at its best! We regularly use the below properties listed in the itinerary but may accommodate you elsewhere if these are unavailable. Please note that Torridon is a small village and accommodations are limited but we will accommodate you in the either Torridon or one of its neighbouring villages. Otherwise, The Torridon Hotel is a lovely 5* upgrade option which can be booked with a supplement. 

Single Rooms

This holiday is available to solo travellers but as all our tours are priced per person based on two sharing there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs. If you require single rooms within your party we will, of course, try to accommodate your request subject to availability.

Meals

Breakfast is included each morning and normally consists of a continental buffet with tea and coffee, fresh fruits, yoghurt, cereals, eggs and bread with jams. Often also on the menu are cooked options like freshly made porridge, a traditional cooked Scottish breakfast and smoked fish with scrambled eggs.

We don't include lunch and dinner so you are free to choose from the available options. Your information pack includes details and recommendations of convenient lunch stops, cosy cafes and restaurants along the way. A couple of decades ago the food scene in Scotland was somewhat lacking, but now you'll find a range of high quality, varied options with everything from award-winning fish and chips to intimate Michelin-listed dining experiences, and casual restaurant menus showcasing delicious locally-sourced produce.

Additional Nights

You can add additional nights wherever you please on the route. Of course we highly recommend additional nights in the Highland city of Inverness at the start/end of your trip for cultural sight-seeing. If you plan on doing any outdoor activities on your trip then overnights in the town of Ullapool is recommended.

Included
  • 6 Nights in 3-4* B&B's, guesthouses and small hotels
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • Detailed information pack brimming with our local knowledge
  • Our daily recommendations for places to see and visit
  • Our daily recommendations for top places to eat and drink
  • 24/7 Emergency support from our UK office
Excluded
  • Car hire (available as an optional extra)
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Entrance to attractions/historic sights
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
Extras
  • Additional nights at the start/end or along the route
  • Car hire (available as an optional extra)

When To Go

You can start this tour on any day of the week from March to October, subject to availability. The busiest times of the year are around Easter and May when accommodations fill up quickly, so book as early as possible if you are planning to travel then. If you travel before Easter, and after mid-October it is worth noting that some attractions may either be closed, have limited access (i.e. castle interiors may be closed but the gardens open), or may open later and close a little earlier in the day. We always recommend checking the links in our information pack for up-to-date opening times to avoid disappointment. 

During the shoulder season - March to early April and after mid-October - the Scottish weather tends to be more unpredictable and is often colder and rainier. However, attractions and popular viewpoints will generally be quieter. 

Weather and Climate

Scotland enjoys a temperate climate, meaning it's relatively mild all year, except in winter when temperatures dip below 0 degrees Celsius and it snows regularly in the Highlands. The Highlands are renowned for variable weather so you should be prepared for everything; from 'dreich' days (a Scottish word for rainy days that are a bit bleak) to days with beautiful blue skies and warmer weather. Whatever the weather it tends to be breezy so spare layers are always recommended.

From March to October average daily temperatures vary from 5-18 degrees Celsius. Monthly rainfall varies from 11-17 mm per month on averarge. Generally, the driest months are April, May and July, while June through to September are the mildest. Although the weather can be less predictable exploring later in the year in October allows you to take advantage of the spectacular autumnal scenery and you may even see or hear the roars of rutting red deer stags. To see the purple heather blooming on the hillsides the best time to travel is from late July to early September. 

Getting to the Start

Your trip begins in the Highland city of Inverness. If traveling in your own car from across the UK you'll find Inverness is easily accessible and well-connected. If you are driving or traveling from further afield we recommend an extra night in Glasgow or Edinburgh at the start of your trip so you can make the most of your first day of sight-seeing in Inverness. 

By Road: Inverness is connected to southern Scotland via the A9. Reach Inverness from Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh in 3 hrs 15 min (M80 and A9) and 3 hrs (M90 and A9) respectively. Newcastle is approximately a 5 hrs 15 mins (A1, M90 and A9) drive from Inverness, and Manchester, Birmingham and London are 6 hrs 30 min, 7 hrs 40 min and 10 hrs respectively. 

Alternatively, if arriving in Inverness by public transport and renting a car please see the excellent Traveline Scotland website for timetables and fares and more information regarding public transport in Scotland. Inverness is well-linked to southern Scotland and across the UK, Europe and beyond by flying into either Inverness Airport, or Glasgow and Edinburgh's international airports. 

By Air: Located 9 miles east of Inverness, the airport is served by routes from around the UK, Ireland and Amsterdam. The Stagecoach number 11 bus service runs from the city centre to the airport. Alternatively take a taxi directly to your accommodation or collect your hire car from the sirport and drive the 15 minutes into Inverness. 

By Rail: Inverness is connected to central and southern Scotland and England by good rail links. See the Scot Rail website for Scottish locations and National Rail for UK-wide locations.

By Bus: Services from UK destinations are operated by National Express. Services from Scottish destinations are operated by Scottish Citylink

Car Rental 

We don't include car rental in the cost of our discovery tours to keep things flexible as we realise many people may wish to use their own car. If you decide to arrange car rental through us, we have a partnership with Europcar and can arrange this easily for you. As standard we would book an Economy category car (suitable for up to 4 people) with included comprehensive insurance, prices are on a request basis. Please just let us know if you would like to upgrade your car. Car hire collection can be arranged from Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh or a number of other Scottish locations. 

Getting from the End

Your trip also ends in Inverness so you may depart as you arrived. If you hired a car drop-off in the pre-designated location and travel on via public transport. Otherwise, continue on your onward journey by car.

General Information

On confirmation of your booking, you will receive a personalised itinerary and comprehensive information pack. This carefully curated pack, designed with our own local knowledge and expertise, will include recommended driving routes, the must-see places and attractions to stop at en route, and our suggestions for the best places to eat and drink. 

Car Rental 

We don't include car rental in the cost of our discovery tours to keep things flexible as we realise many people may wish to use their own car. If you decide to arrange car rental through us, we have a partnership with Europcar and can arrange this easily for you. As standard we book an Economy category car (suitable for up to 4 people) with included comprehensive insurance, prices are on a request basis. Please just let us know if you would like to upgrade your car. Car hire collection can be arranged from Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh or a number of other UK locations. 

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

How do I navigate?
Where can I stop off to visit?
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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Inverness, capital of the Highlands and overnight Day 2 Inverness to Torridon via Glen Ord Distillery & Applecross Day 3 Torridon to Ullapool visiting Inverewe Gardens & Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve Day 4 Ullapool to Durness visiting Knockan Crag Nature Reserve & Achmelvich's white sand beach Day 5 Durness to Thurso via John O' Groats & Dunnet Head Day 6 Depart Thurso visiting Glenmorangie Distillery & Dunrobin Castle en route to Inverness Day 7 Onward Travel

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