I have lived in Scotland for nearly six years now and for the longest time I had only ventured to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. This year I made a resolution to see more of the beautiful country I live in. So for my 24th birthday Stuart and I took a road trip along the Route 500 in the North of Scotland. I loved sharing my story of Iceland and so happy people wanted to go there after reading my post. I hope I convince you to go on the Scottish North Coast 500 too 😊
*Disclaimer we didn’t strictly do all of the Scottish North Coast 500 we squeezed in Isle of Skye and left some of the east coast out – based on recommendations from fellow travellers!
What is the Route North Coast 500 ?
North Coast 500 was launched in 2015 by a Highlands non-profit organisation to promote tourism in the North of Scotland. It is now considered one of the best road trips in the world - and it did not disappoint!
What is there to see and do on the North Coast 500?
The beaches up North are absolutely stunning and rival those of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. White sands and turquoise waters definitely lived up to the hype.
Coral Beach – Isle of Skye
Our driving always took longer than expected as you can’t help but stop to take photos every few miles. They are so many breath taking views and you constantly have that sense of awe for Mother Nature. Perfect for relaxation and enjoying some of nature's best beauties.
There are walks along the route for all different levels with various experiences too, from hikes up a crag to gentle woodland walks. A handy resource we used was Highland Walks which highlights what to be expected on the walks and what gear to bring.
How cute are Highland Cows? I think they are my spirit animal….these guys can be spotted along the route. Although super gentle – I didn’t get too close, I didn’t trust those thorns!
It was so magical seeing reindeer in the snow too (yes we went at the end of April and I optimistically brought sun cream). Be careful when driving however, we were warned that reindeer have caused a lot of accidents over the last few years.
Sticking to a budget we decided to stay in hostels and Airbnbs and the hosts could not have been friendlier. Some providing us with fresh led eggs from the farm, giving us local insider tips, having a wood burning stove waiting for us and even an electric blanket!
Favourite places we stayed:
Whitefalls Retreats Bunkhouse, Highlands
Dry Island, private island, Badachro
Black Isle Lodge, Inverness
If you havn’t used Airbnb yet, you can use this code to get £30 off your first stay.
Delicious Food and Drink
We were lucky to have some exceptional food during our holiday. Every restaurant we went to prided themselves on sourcing their food locally and supporting the surrounding businesses. Seafood in particular, was exceptionally good – in most places the fisherman who caught your fish lived next door. If you are feeling extremely shmancy, Chez Roux in Lochinver was an amazing experience for me. World class food on the top of a hill at sunset, what more could you ask for.
Some of our food favourites:
Black Isle Bar
There is also a lot of distilleries and breweries along the route which you can usually pop in for a guided tour including:
Dalwhinnie Distillery (The highest distillery in Scotland)
Black isle brewery
If you have any questions about our route please feel free to comment below or if you have any other recommendations for the North Coast 500 I would love to hear them.
Visit Scotland - North Coast 500
North Coast 500
Love these pictures? Stuart would love to hear from you.
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