Selected UK airports
23rd August 2021
Year round departures available
Selected UK airports
23rd August 2021
Year round departures available
Contact us to bookEnquire Online 0800 408 4048
Discover some of Scotland’s best scenery on this picturesque North Coast 500 (NC500) route. The drive starts and ends in Inverness, perfect for exploring Inverness Castle, Urquhart Castle, and the world-famous Loch Ness. There is plenty to be discovered along this 516-mile route. Visit small, scenic towns and beautiful beaches including Sango Sands and Balnakeil Beach; explore archaeological and historical sites; hike along stunning coastal walkways; and snap a photo at the northernmost town in mainland UK.
This tour includes:
• Return flights from London
• 9 Days Car Hire
• 8 nights hand selected accommodation
• Start and finish in Inverness
• Drive some of Scotland’s most iconic and scenic roads
• In-depth route to maximise your time at locations
• Enjoy the great outdoors with an array of walks and hikes
• Suggested stops include the fairy-tale castle of Dunrobin, world famous John O’Groats, stunning beaches of Durness and Achmelvich
Day 1: Arrive in Inverness
Arrive into Inverness, Scotland during the afternoon and collect your hire car. You will spend your first night here, so take the opportunity to explore this stunning city. Enjoy a walk round the city, soaking up the Scottish culture and hospitality. Visit Inverness or Urquhart Castle and see if you can spot the elusive monster in the world-famous Loch Ness, just 35 minutes’ drive from the city.
Day 2: Inverness to Dornoch
Today it’s time to hit the road and start this iconic journey. You will drive through the small but scenic towns of Beauly & Muir of Ord, home to the Glen Ord Distillery. If craft beers are your thing, stop in at the Black Isle Brewery, Scotland’s only organic brewery and the non-drivers can sample Scotland’s premier craft beer. Be sure to check out the nearby Clootie Well in Munlochy, historically visited by pilgrims who dipped rags (or ‘cloots’) in water, and hung them on surrounding trees in hopes of finding healing from the well. Other points of interest are Fortrose Cathedral, Chanonry Point for dolphin watching, and the beautiful town of Dingwall, which is the perfect place to stop for a spot of lunch. Dornoch is you final destination today. Enjoy the excellent selection of bars and restaurants and take an after-dinner walk along Dornoch Beach, situated on the tranquil Dornoch Firth The beach offers miles of golden sand stretching from Dornoch Point heading past Embo beach to the mouth of Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve.
Day 3: Dornoch to Keiss
Today will see you journey to Keiss, a fishing village at the northern end of Sinclairs Bay on the east coast of Caithness. Along the way, why not stop in Skelbo for a tranquil Forest Walk, where you can visit the clean, white sands and dunes of Embo beach, or explore the beautiful fairy-tale castle, Dunrobin Castle. Between Dunbeath and Wick there are a number of archaeological sites worth visiting, and just three miles outside of small town and former Viking settlement, Wick, you can walk from Noss Head lighthouse to the dramatically situated ruins of 15th-century Castle Girnigoe and 17th-century Castle Sinclair.
Day 4: Keiss to John O’Groats
Hit the road and head to John O’Groats to take in spectacular wildlife and stunning scenery, and visit Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of mainland Britain and/or Duncansby Head, the real north eastern tip of the Scottish mainland. Travel through Mey, home to the Queen Mother’s Holiday home, and onto Thurso, a major surfing town and the most northern town on the UK mainland. Nearby Scrabster has a lovely coastal walk from which you can view the Orkney Islands on a clear day. Before settling in Betthill for the evening, a visit to Strathy Beach, a delightful beach bounded by cliffs on one side and on the other by the River Strathy, is recommended.
Day 5: John O’Groats to Drumbeg
Today, journey south to Drumbeg. Drive over the Kyle of Tongue, a shallow sea loch, then explore the Smoo Caves, a natural sea cave which boasts one of the largest entrances to any sea cave in Britain at 50 ft high. Travel on towards Durness where you will find stunning Beaches such as Sango Sands and Balnakeil Beach, before heading to Handa Island, a beautiful nature reserve. Cross the Category A listed Kylesku Bridge, a distinctively curved concrete box girder bridge over the Loch a' Chàirn Bhàin and if you’re feeling energetic, you can hike in Little Assynt, with a route for all abilities, and enjoy striking Assynt landscape overlooked by the dramatic cliffs of Quinag.
Day 6: Drumbeg to Ullapool
Start your day with a hearty breakfast before hitting the open road again. Today you could drive to Achmelvich Beach, one of the most sensational beaches in Scotland, before stretching your legs and witnessing the exposed rocks on the Knockan Crag Trail. Enjoy spectacular views from Rhue lighthouse, a tall whitewashed beacon, guarding the stunning coastline of Loch Broom, before heading on to picturesque fishing town,Ullapool. Here you can enjoy a huge choice of walks or, if it’s time to put your feet up, sample of the villages many bars and restaurants.
Day 7: Ullapool to Torridon
Day seven sees you travelling from Ullapool to Torridon. Along the way, you can experience the most spectacular gorge in Britain, Corrieshalloch Gorge, and take a leisurely stroll along the stunning Mellon Udrigle Beach.You’ll enjoy a walk in the fishing village of Aultbea, where you can look out for the cave at Cove, the wreck of the USS William H Welsh, the cave at Sand, Beast Loch, and Fionn Loch. Alternatively, opt for a fascinating hike to the Fairy Lochs which includes a visit to a memorial marking the site of a fatal air-crash from World War 2, or follow a trail through Beinn Eighe, Britain’s first National Nature Reserve.
Day 8: Torridon to Inverness
When you depart Torridon you can choose to travel through Bealach na Bà, a spectacular winding single track road through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula. If that sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry, you can take the equally beautiful coastal route. Stop in at the attractive, tranquil village, of Loch Carron, lined with white-wash cottages and situated on Loch Carron. Nearby, Strathcarron lies at the head Loch Carron and, surrounded by unspoilt beauty, makes the perfect stop off to enjoy the highlights of this historic crofting village. Before travelling back to Inverness, be sure to stop at Strathpeffer, a former Victorian spa town and lovely village for a stroll!
Day 9: Flight Home
Today is the end of your North Coast 500 journey. If your flight time allows, you can discover more of Inverness before dropping your hire car off and catching your flight home.