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North Coast 500

  • Soak up the magnificent views of Britain’s highest waterfall while cruising on Loch Glencoul

  • Enjoy a walk out to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on mainland Britain

  • Choose from a variety of cliff, coastal or mountain guided and self guided walks

  • 7 nights accommodation in excellent 4 and 5 star hotels
  • Breakfast each day
  • 2 days of privately guided hikes, led by an expert Wilderness Scotland guide
  • 2 boat trip excursions as described above
  • Route notes and maps, allowing you to explore the region at your own pace


Our deluxe self drive holidays feature a range of 4 or 5 star country houses and hotels in locations across Scotland.

A warm welcome is assured and you can enjoy superior comfort and the finest service in these. Accommodation is in double, twin or family bedrooms. Breakfast is included each morning.

This is a self-drive trip. You can bring your own car or hire from anywhere in Scotland. If you are hiring, the best place to start from is Inverness. For full details on how to get to Inverness, please see our website: Travel to Scotland.

Customer Kudos

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

5 star 2

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by Julie Crossman 10/08/2016

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Kirstin Pellom 14/06/2016

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Rachael was helpful as always with every detail. We were provided with a detailed and personalized trip itinerary that was very helpful. We especially loved the dining recommendations!
Trip Comments
There were so many highlights on this trip, it would be hard to narrow them down. The drive on the western side of the North Coast was probably the most spectacular drive we have ever been on. Around every corner was a new, breathtaking vista. We would highly recommend getting an early start and driving the long way to Torridon, taking the Beach Na Ba then the coastal road through Applecross. We drove back in the evening for dinner at the Applecross Inn and witnessed an incredible sunset. The rugged cliffs in the far north were also breathtaking. We especially loved the walk through massive sandiness at Faraid Head. Our only complaint would be that we wished we had a few more days on the trip to enjoy some longer walks, especially in the Torridon Hills. It would have been wonderful to have had time to take the ferry to Orkney as well. We will just have to come back and do it next time!
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation was superb in every way. Each room had a lovely view, comfortable rooms and delicious food. Don't miss the Lochinver Larder in Lochinver, or the hot chocolate at The Cocoa Mountain cafe in Balnaseil Bay!
Your Guide
We requested Gordon Anderson for our 2 guided walking days. He was our guide at Knoydart last fall (another spectacular trip). We had 2 lovely days of hill climbing in Torridon. Gordon is a superb guide who knows these hills well. We always learn so much from him about the rich history and geology of the area.
The Bottom Line
Excellent trip. The North Coast of Scotland has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth!

Trip Details

This self-drive holiday explores the dramatic North Coast 500 on a tour of the north of Scotland, while enjoying privately guided walks, wonderful boat trips and staying in deluxe small hotels.

The North Coast 500 is Scotland’s answer to Route 66, starting in Inverness this 500 mile round journey takes in some of the most stunning scenery Scotland has to offer.

On this 8-day self-drive holiday, you will meander through the impossibly quiet roads of the Northern Highlands. Enjoy a number of boat trips and privately guided walks while exploring the unspoilt scenery along the way.  At the end of each day, relax in cosy and welcoming deluxe 4-star country house hotels.

Trip Itinerary – North Coast 500

Day 1 – Begin the North Coast 500 – Travel to Torridon and boat cruise

Today you’ll start your journey on the NC500 and make your way to Torridon where you will spend the next two nights in a wonderful Highland Lodge located on the shores of Loch Torridon. In the evening, you can enjoy the spectacular beauty and diverse wildlife of Loch Torridon by boat. Cruise around Shieldaig Island home to a pair of nesting White-Tailed Sea Eagles, visiting the loch’s seal colony and the feeding grounds of porpoise. Overnight at the 4-star gold Torridon Hotel.

Day 2 – Walking Torridon/Applecross

After breakfast, meet your Wilderness Scotland guide to discuss options for today’s walk in the Torridon or Applecross area. Your guide will help you select a suitable hike, choosing from coastal or mountain walks, and keeping in mind the weather and your experience. Applecross is a sleepy and idyllic part of the Highlands, surrounded by stunning mountain and coastal scenery. Torridon has a different character altogether, being surrounded by bold, towering peaks, separated by spectacular glens with a real sense of wilderness. Both are wonderful areas to explore on foot so this is a great way to start your adventure. Overnight at the 4-star gold Torridon Hotel. (B)

Day 3 – Morning walk; then north to Lochinver

Your guide will meet you at your hotel this morning to discuss the day. Another hike lies ahead and there are many great options to choose from between Torridon and Lochinver – your guide will suggest the best route. This could include a circuit of the shapely peak of Stac Pollaidh; or exploring the coastline and sandy beaches of Gairloch. After your walk, you will make you way to the coastal village of Lochinver, your home for the next 2 nights. A visit to Lochinver Larder is a must for one of their famous pies! Overnight at the 4-star Inver Lodge Hotel. (B)

Day 4 – Self Guided and Boat trip Kylesku

In the morning you have some free time – you could enjoy a short hike on your own, explore Lochinver village, or simply relax at the hotel. If you are keen to walk, great options include a walk to Stoer lighthouse and the Old Man of Stoer (a sea stack); or a coastal beach walk to the gorgeous Achmelvich beach.

In the afternoon, drive north and board a boat at Kylesku for a journey along Loch Glencoul through the UK’s wildest mountain range. On board, you will have fantastic views of Britain’s highest waterfall Eas a’Chual Aluinn, with an impressive height of 650 metres. Return via the ‘wee mad road’, as it’s known by the locals, where every twist and turn is rewarded with spectacular scenery. Overnight at the 4-star Inver Lodge Hotel. (B)

Day 5 – Cape Wrath

This morning you can visit Cape Wrath, the most north westerly point of the Scottish mainland. It’s not easy to reach and your journey there will involve crossing by boat over the Kyle of Durness you will be met on the other side and then driven across the moors to reach the wild and lonely Cape Wrath lighthouse. You will have an hour to explore the area, taking in the dramatic coastline, looking for passing whales, or simply enjoying a refreshment in what is surely Scotland’s most remote coffee shop. To take the ferry simply pay on arrival at Keoldale.

If you don’t fancy it today then instead you can continue on eastwards to Forss. On your way you can explore some of Scotland’s finest beaches such as  the sand dunes at Durness and Balnakeil. Overnight at 4-star Forss House Hotel (B)

Day 6 – No Further North! Dunnet Head and John O’Groats

Today is a free day to explore the most northerly points in the Scottish mainland. You’ll want to visit Dunnet Head, officially the furthest north point of the British mainland. Enjoy the stunning sea cliffs and a diverse range of birds including puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes, shags and cormorants. 

John O’Groats is the most northerly settlement on the British mainland and is fun to visit. There is a great cliff-top walk at nearby Duncansby Head. A great way to appreciate the wild coastal scenery is a boat trip. This can take in Duncansby Head and its sea stacks, the Isle of Stroma and the Swilkie whirlpool – Viking legend would have you believe this is where the salt for the oceans is churned. Overnight at 4-star Forss House Hotel. (B)

Day 7 – Journey to Inverness

After breakfast, begin your journey to Inverness passing the stunning white sand beach on Sinclair Bay. Along the way you may want to pay a visit to the Glenmorangie distillery – ensure you have a designated driver! Once at Inverness, there are various options for the afternoon – perhaps visit Culloden Battlefield or take a boat cruise on Loch Ness. Overnight at the elegant, award-winning 5-star Rocpool Reserve Hotel. (B)

Day 8 – Depart

After a leisurely breakfast, and having completed the NC500, you can make your way home. (B)

Optional Orkney Extension

We can extend your trip to include a visit to the beautiful Orkney Islands, starting on Day 6 of your trip. The crossing lasts around one hour, and as you sail you can look out for marine wildlife such as dolphins and whales which frequent these waters. Orkney is world famous for its rich archaeological sites such as Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar. It also offers a fascinating military history from two world wars, and links to the exploration of North America.

If you would like to include Orkney please contact the office team to discuss. You may spend just a day there or as long as you like!

Love the idea of this trip but want to know more? Check out the official NC500 Twitter page for loads of images from this iconic route round the north of Scotland.

PLEASE NOTE ‐ The itinerary is indicative only and may be subject to change at the discretion of the Wilderness Scotland Guides with regard weather conditions and other factors.

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Price from: £1,895

Duration: 7 night(s)

No. of Travellers:   Date:

Location: Multi-Location

Comfort: Deluxe

Difficulty: Your Own Pace

2 review(s)

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos

Julie Crossman


Excellent trip. The North Coast of Scotland has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth!

Kirstin Pellom


Rated 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 review(s) of North Coast 500

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