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    Road Cycling

    The North Coast 500: Highlights

    46 reviews

    Next Trip: 12th - 18th May 2025 Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

    From: £2,795 View Prices & Dates

    Travel Planning & Advice

    Book With Confidence

    Trip created by Craig Little
    View Craig's Profile

    Region: North West Highlands
    Trip Type: Road Cycling
    Accommodation: Classic
    Max Group Size: 8
    Confirmed: When 3 Travellers Book
    Deposit From: £727


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    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    Ride the best sections of the North Coast 500, on a 7 day road cycling tour through the untamed beauty of the Scottish Highlands. Travel on our NC500 cycling holiday to experience a satisfying active journey – swap four wheels for two!

    The North Coast 500, often described as Scotland’s Route 66, take in some of Scotland’s most impressive wild places, from the mountains and lochs of Wester Ross and Assynt to the rugged sea cliffs of Sutherland. The ever-changing landscape will take your breath away, leaving you eager to get back in the saddle wanting more every day.

    At the end of each day, have a well-deserved rest in carefully selected accommodation, with mouth-watering local food and drink providing the perfect fuel for the next day of riding. For more information check out the North Coast 500 cycling holiday itinerary.

    Need a bike? See our bike hire page for details.

    Trip Highlights

    • Ride the best sections of Scotland's spectacular North Coast 500 touring route.
    • Arrive at Scotland's most northerly point by bike.
    • Cycle through the incredible scenery of northern Scotland on winding tarmac past towering mountains, sandy beaches and rolling wilderness.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – West to the NC500

    This morning we’ll meet at the railway station in Inverness. From there, a 1-hour transfer takes us to the tiny village of Achnasheen in Wester Ross. Here we have lunch and do a bike fitting before starting our ride – a leisurely route with more downhill than uphill, past beautiful Loch Maree to reach the coast at Gairloch. Here we settle into our hotel for the night and enjoy a welcome dinner. (L, D)

    Ride details: 47 km/29 miles | 450 m/1,473 ft elevation gain

    Day 2 – North to the Gorge

    Riding from the door of the hotel, we hug the coastline of Wester Ross, passing mountains, moors and wild scenery as we ride north and then east along the NC 500. We end the day’s ride at the impressive Corrieshalloch Gorge. From here, we jump in the van for a 15-minute transfer into the pretty port of Ullapool, thus avoiding a short section of busy road. Settle into the hotel and then explore the village with its scenic waterfront and good pubs and restaurants. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 69 km/43 miles | 1,147 m/3,763 ft elevation gain

    Day 3 – The Mad Road

    We start today with a cycle that takes you directly under one of Scotland’s most iconic small mountains, Stac Pollaidh. We reckon this is up there with one of the best day rides in Scotland! Explore the stunning Coigach peninsula with views across beautiful beaches backed by impressive mountains. We ride north along the coast to reach the port of Lochinver, where we’ll pause for lunch. We’ll then head north following ‘the wee mad road’. Your legs will soon realise why it has this name! We finish at a lovely hotel on the water’s edge. You can rest now – we’re here for 2 nights. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 89 km/55 miles | 1,470 m/4,822 ft elevation gain

    Day 4 – Rest Day with Boat Trip

    We’re at the halfway point so we take a day off riding to recover. A van trip north, followed by a short ferry ride takes us across to Handa Island, a stunning wildlife reserve with incredible views of the north-west coast of Scotland and its distinctive mountainous scenery. Handa is home to one of Europe’s largest seabird colonies, including important numbers of guillemots and razorbills. On the island’s moorlands look out for great skua or ‘bonxie’ and arctic skuas. Stroll among the ruins of the old village abandoned by the last inhabitants in 1847 and from the clifftops try and spot dolphins, whales or basking sharks. In the afternoon you can relax at the hotel, or perhaps enjoy a short walk along the coast. (B, L, D)

    Day 5 – Reaching the North Coast

    Riding from the door of the hotel, we set out on what is the most challenging day of the trip (remember that our support van is always available to give you a boost if required!). If you thought the scenery had been wild so far, it’s about to step up a notch! We’ll ride on rolling roads as we head north to reach the north coast at the tiny village of Durness. Turning east now, we weave around a couple of notable inlets before, just 10 miles from home, there’s a testing climb of 200m elevation gain. Make it to the top and it’s an easy coast down to the village of Tongue and our hotel for the night. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 107 km/66 miles | 1,461 m/4,619 ft elevation gain

    Day 6 – East to Thurso

    A shorter ride today after the exertions of yesterday. We ride from the hotel, following the road east past lovely beaches and bold, isolated peaks. It’s a short but ‘lumpy’ ride, with several short but quite steep climbs, so your legs will be glad when we reach our hotel to check-in. With just a short ride to go tomorrow, we enjoy a celebratory dinner at our hotel. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 93 km/58 miles | 1,063 m/3,488 ft elevation gain

    Day 7 – True North and John O’Groats

    Riding from the hotel door, we set out on the final leg of this journey. Rather than head directly to John O’Groats, we detour to a viewpoint on Dunnet Head, which is actually the most northerly point on the Scottish mainland. We then continue around the coast to reach John O’Groats, the most northerly village on the Scottish mainland. Here, we can pose next to the iconic mileage sign and share stories with any ‘LeJoG’ riders over a coffee. All too soon, it’s time to go and we transfer south back to Inverness, arriving late afternoon. (B, L)

    Ride details: 32 km/20 miles | 236 m/774 ft elevation gain

    Road Cycling
    The North Coast 500: Highlights

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    All payments taken in local currency GBP

    Trip Dates for 2025AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    12th May - 18th May 20258 places leftPROVISIONAL £2,795Book Now
    16th Jun - 22nd Jun 20258 places leftPROVISIONAL £2,795Book Now
    28th Jul - 3rd Aug 20258 places leftPROVISIONAL £2,795Book Now
    18th Aug - 24th Aug 20258 places leftPROVISIONAL £2,795Book Now

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    During this trip, we will stay at carefully selected small hotels and guest houses along the route of the NC500, with two nights at Kylesku.

    Single Rooms

    There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however, you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you request a double room for single occupancy, a supplement of £645.00 is charged.

    Due to the nature of the accommodations we use, single supplements are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis.

    Meals Read More

    This trip is ‘All Inclusive’. Breakfast is provided each morning at your accommodation and lunch each day will be either at a local cafe or a Wilderness picnic. Dinner each evening is also provided, and we will normally eat as a group with your guide recommending a local restaurant. Included dinners are two courses as standard.

    Specific dietary requirements are happily catered for please just inform us at the time of booking.

    On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 6 nights accommodation in small Highland hotels and guesthouses on a B&B basis.
    • All meals as stated in the itinerary (indicated above as B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D= Dinner).
    • The services of a professional and qualified Wilderness Scotland road cycling guide and support driver.
    • All transport throughout the trip beginning and finishing in Inverness.
    • Loch Cruise on Day 4.
    Trip Grading Read More

    Blue Graded 4-6

    Blue graded trips are suitable for people with a good level of bike fitness, who regularly enjoy cycling and may have joined a multi-day cycle holiday before.

    Distances each day will be between 35 – 45 miles, cycling at around 12/13mph. Each day will be rolling and hilly terrain and there will be notable climbs most days. Some of these will be more testing and some riders may opt to push or ride in the support vehicle. Some climbs are also followed by exciting descents. We will be in the saddle for 5 – 7 hours each day plus the odd longer day. There is also time each day for breaks and lunches, plus some visits to sites of interest.

    Travel – Arrival and Departure Read More

    You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Inverness Railway Station at 10.00am on Day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to the station and dropped off for 5.00pm on the last day of the trip.

    For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website: www.wildernessscotland.com/faq/travel-to-scotland

    Bike Hire / Bringing Your Own Bike Read More
    Bike Hire

    We have an excellent fleet of bikes available to hire including road bikes, mountain bikes, and E-bikes.
    Find Out More

    Bring Your Own Bike

    You are also more than welcome to bring your own bike. If you’re bringing your E-bike along for the trip, please ensure it has a removable battery. Due to limitations around charging, E-bikes with non-removable batteries cannot be accommodated.

    If you choose to do so, please ensure it’s in excellent working condition and has been recently serviced – either by you or by a reputable bike shop.

    In addition, please bring the following:

    • Multi-tool, including a chain tool
    • Mini pump and/or CO2 canisters
    • Two spare tubes and a puncture repair kit

    Because we will need to load your bike onto one of our trailers, please ensure that:

    • Your rear wheel is clear of any obstructions; including lights, mudguard or panniers
    • Your tyres are no wider than 45mm

    Due to the nature of our trips, we are unfortunately unable to carry bike boxes or bags with us, so please make prior arrangements if necessary.

    If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly and knowledgable sales team are always delighted to answer any queries you may have.

    Photo Gallery

    Make This Trip Private

    Fancy this trip just for your group? Get together with family and friends spend quality time exploring wild places. A private trip allows you to benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides but with the advantage of the flexibility to tailor the days to your group. Make the trip more or less challenging depending on your experience or choose to add in some optional extras like castle or distillery visits depending on your interests. The price of a private trip will depend on the number of travellers in your group. Let us know your prefered departure date and we'll take care of the rest.

    Speak to an Expert

    Jane Gillies

    Our friendly office team hail from across the world but share a passion for the outdoor and wild spaces of Scotland. We are committed to providing you with the best customer service and are more than happy to chat through options and provide help and advice. Get in touch to find your perfect adventure.

    Ask Jane a Question

    Meet Your Guide

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    Blue Graded Road Cycling Holidays 4-6

    Blue graded trips are suitable for people with a good level of bike fitness, who regularly enjoy cycling and may have joined a multi-day cycle holiday before.

    Distances each day will be between 35 – 45 miles, cycling at around 12/13mph. Each day will be rolling and hilly terrain and there will be notable climbs most days. Some of these will be more testing and some riders may opt to push or ride in the support vehicle. Some climbs are also followed by exciting descents. We will be in the saddle for 5 – 7 hours each day plus the odd longer day. There is also time each day for breaks and lunches, plus some visits to sites of interest.

    Compare road cycling grades

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 4.98 out of 5 based on 46 reviews of Road Cycling – The North Coast 500: Highlights


    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.


    Theresa Evans

    Reviewed on 25/09/2023

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: United States
    Trip Date: 09/09/2023
    Trips Taken: 8

    The Bottom Line


    Tracy Bare

    Reviewed on 19/09/2023

    Age: 50 - 60
    Country: USA
    Trip Date: 19/08/2023
    Trips Taken: 3

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    We love Wilderness Scotland. This was our third trip with them, after a four year hiatus due to COVID. We'll be back! We can't recommend it highly enough!


    Gerry Morrison

    Reviewed on 18/09/2023

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: Canada
    Trip Date: 09/09/2023
    Trips Taken: 4

    The Bottom Line

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