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    Road Cycling

    The North Coast 500: Highlights

    35 reviews

    Next Trip: 1st - 7th Jul 2023 Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

    From £2,595 View Prices & Dates

    Travel Planning & Advice

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    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: £648.75 £648.75


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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 to recover. A lovely boat trip departs from right outside the hotel, so we’ll join that in the morning and enjoy views of Scotland’s highest waterfall, as well as some wildlife such as the local seal colony. 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

    Trip Dates for 2023AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    1st Jul - 7th Jul 20231 place leftCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    19th Aug - 25th Aug 20231 place leftCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    9th Sep - 15th Sep 20234 places leftCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    30th Sep - 6th Oct 20238 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    Trip Dates for 2024AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    13th Apr - 19th Apr 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    18th May - 24th May 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    1st Jun - 7th Jun 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    22nd Jun - 28th Jun 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    29th Jun - 5th Jul 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    6th Jul - 12th Jul 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    27th Jul - 2nd Aug 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    3rd Aug - 9th Aug 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book Now
    14th Sep - 20th Sep 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,595Book 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 solo traveller of the same sex. If you require a single room please request this at the time of booking and we will check availability for you. A single room supplement of £625 is charged if a single room is available. Single rooms are allocated on a first come, first served basis and there is normally a maximum of 2 available per departure.

    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, hybrid 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 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 4.97 out of 5 based on 35 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.


    Richard Hall

    Reviewed on 16/05/2023

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: United Kingdom
    Trip Date: 06/05/2023
    Trips Taken: 4

    The Bottom Line


    Yousef Al Nafisi

    Reviewed on 15/05/2023

    Age: 40 - 50
    Country: Kuwait
    Trip Date: 06/05/2023
    Trips Taken: 2

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Memorable and refreshing!


    James Wise

    Reviewed on 03/10/2022

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: United States
    Trip Date: 10/09/2022
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    You need to be ready to ride some distance but no one was pressured and the crew was consistently great. The countryside was inspirational. Food and accommodations were top notch. I would recommend without reservation.

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