The North Coast 500
When travelling Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66 you will begin at Inverness and reach as far as John o’Groats, Ullapool and Caithness before returning to Inverness. Along the way there is a chance to visit unspoiled beaches that rival the most beautiful beaches in the world, watch Dolphins, explore castles and foodie delights. If you’re planning on driving the North Coast 500 then this is a must read, and if not I’m sure you will be planning it soon!
Whether you’re looking for a calm and unspoiled beach or a surfing spot you will come across a beach to suit you on the North Coast 500. Balnakeil beach, near Durness, faces west making bathing unspoilt and quiet. The beach is known for its spectacular sunsets. If you’re looking for something more active then why not take on the challenge of surfing at Thurso? Thurso is a major surfing area and a premier heavy cold surf destination which hosts surfing championships. The plentiful reefs, points, river mouths and beaches, on top of the consistent year-round surfing opportunities make the location a paradise for watersports lovers.
Dunrobin Castle is a French style chateau owes its continental appearance to Sir Charles Barry, who extensively remodelled the castle and grounds in the early 1800s. The castle is on the east coast of the Northern Highlands overlooking the Moray Firth, just north of the villages of Golspie and Dornoch.
There are also other architectural wonders along the North Coast 500 which you can read more about in this guide.
Food and Drink
There is an endless list of food and drink to taste and explore along the North Coast 500 route.
The Black Isle Brewery brews organic beer in the Highlands. They also offer tours, tasting sessions and the option to buy their products to take home.
Chocolate lovers must visit Cocoa Mountain. They make beautiful handmade individual chocolates, indulgent hot chocolate and flavoured chocolate bars such as Dark Organic Espresso.
The Kishhorn Seafood Bar in Wester Ross offers some of the freshest seafood you can eat and it is prepared in an open kitchen with a beautiful view of the sea to Applecross Hills and the Isle of Skye. Enjoy local oysters, mussels, prawns, scallops, crabs, squats and lobster.
Best known for its resident population of dolphins, the Moray Firth is one of the best places in Europe to see these creatures in the wild. Experts have estimated that around 130 bottlenose dolphins live in the Moray Firth. Harbour seals are also a common sight, hauled out on mudbanks and sandy shores. Further out, harbour porpoises, white-beaked dolphins, minke whales, pilot whales and killer whales can sometimes be seen.
There are many accommodation options whilst driving the North Coast 500 including motorhomes, B&Bs, self-catering homes or camping. However, why not make your experience even more special with at Inverlochy Castle or Rocpool Reserve.