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North Coast 500 / NC500

Updated: Mar 22

Nc500 driving route on map

What is the North Coast 500?

The North Coast 500 is a driving route of – you guessed it – about 500 miles (800 kilometres) in northern Scotland. The route was created to promote the North Highlands and entice people to one of the more remote and less visited parts of Scotland. The official route, which covers precisely 514 miles, starts at the Inverness Castle, travels the coast to Wick and Britain’s northernmost mainland settlement, John O’Groats, across the top to Thurso and Durness, and down the western coast through Lochinver, Ullapool, Gairloch, Torridon and Applecross and back to Inverness.

In a nutshell the NC500 serves up castles, mythical creatures, sparkling turquoise coast lines and misty rugged mountains. The NC500 is the best way to see the most scenic part of Scotland. The information provided by the official map and guides makes it easy to experience places that otherwise wouldn’t cross your radar. History buffs will enjoy castles, ruins and learning about some of the darker times in Scotland’s past, such as the Highland Clearances. Photography lovers are in for a treat because the landscapes are varied and beautiful. Although the route is growing in popularity, for a lot of the trip you’ll feel like you have this wonderful place all to yourself. The roads are narrow, the mobile service is patchy and the pubs are plenty!

What to know before I go??


The first things you need to be aware of is MIDGES! These nasty critters will eat you alive in peak season but, there are ways to avoid them. We have a range of products for midges and ticks to help along your journey.


A lot of the route travels along single-track roads, which means you’ll be pulling over for every car you meet, or they’ll pull over for you. The narrow, twisty nature of these roads means you have to drive carefully. You just don’t know what lies around the corner – a cyclist, a campervan, a sheep. But this is the kind of landscape you want to enjoy slowly.

Mobile signal

Signal along the route is very patchy. Plan your next stopover and call them to check they can accommodate you BEFORE leaving an area with signal.

Plan ahead

For those of you on a set time limit we have a range of guide books offering 7, 10 & 14 day itineraries. They also include must see spots and hidden gems, perfect for planning your trip!

Where do I stay?

The Campervan Bible wild stops on the NC500 driving route

In our opinion the best way to travel the NC500 is by wild camping! Our team have sourced over 100 great free wild camping stops!

One of our favourite stops on the NC500 is Duncansby head lighthouse, the fantastic views for miles really allows you to appreciate the journey you are on.

View from Duncansby light house

If your looking for a campsite while visiting the route we have found some fantastic sites that sit on the route and offer you the same amazing views as the walkers.

If in need of EHU when visiting the NC500 we have found a handful of stops with free pub stops & and hook up for under £10!

View from EHU stop on The Campervan Bible map

You might find yourself with free time on your hands or looking for something to do, we have picked out a mixture of things to keep you entertained!

View in scotland

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Apr 30, 2020

Hi all - using lockdown to plan my NC500 trip; did "Ride across Britain" last year (Land's End to John O'Groats) so think this might be the next challenge! Unfortunately I have a website issue, my browser seems to be blocking the link to the full map; any way I can get it in a mac friendly file format? Thanks!


Is one week enough to travel the nc500

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