You’ve heard about it, had a look at the inspiring North Coast 500 website, seen the Top Gear experience, perhaps read the fantastic 11 Things to Know Before Driving the North Coast 500 blog and even considered tackling the 500 or so miles on two wheels (no motor), but one thing is certain, however much or little you know about it, the North Coast 500 is a trip of a lifetime.
We have keen NC500 adventurers arriving at Inverness Airport from many national and international destinations thanks to our daily links with Amsterdam Schiphol, London Heathrow and Dublin as well as our many UK flights.
So you’ve touched down at Inverness Airport – what next? The airport offers onsite car hire from Europcar and Avis making the beginning of your adventure as seamless as possible. For motorcyclists, there is a local motorbike hire company (15 minutes from airport) who have great advice and tips for those interested in seeing the route from a biker’s perspective.
You are now free to explore the “Best Road Trip in the World”, according to Conde Nast Traveller, April 2017. But where to begin? Helpfully, North Coast 500 have partnered with travel guidebook publisher Rough Guides to create The Rough Guide to the North Coast 500 eBook. Packed with all the practical information, inspiration and advice you need the eBook is an essential travel partner to plan and get the most out of your NC500 adventure. Whilst words cannot describe the jaw-dropping natural beauty of the route’s many nooks and crannies, the NC500’s Rough Guide certainly whets the appetite for what’s to come.
Each twist and turn in the road offers travellers the chance to delve further into what makes the North of Scotland so special and why so many folk keep coming back time and time again. Some destinations are defined by their climate, some by their choice of shopping, some even by their impressive landmarks and whilst these make for some great travel, cannot compete with the USP of North Coast 500 – nature at its finest. Sure, you won’t always have blue sunny skies, you may even experience hailstones in August, but Scotland’s ever-changing weather only serves to complement the rugged beauty of the route. After all, our climate is part of the reason we have such amazing landscapes and scenery. So embrace it – but come prepared. Particularly for our most abundant inhabitant – the midge.
Definitely pre-book your accommodation. From Bear Grylls-style bothies to 5 star luxury and everything in between we have something to suit all preferences and budgets, however rooms do book up quickly – particularly during the summer months. In terms of eateries, you’re in for a treat. Fresh, mouth-watering seafood, handmade gelato ice cream, cured venison, farmhouse cheeses, locally produced beer, more malt whisky than you can shake a haggis at…so definitely factor into your itinerary that you will quite probably be sitting down to eat and drink – a lot.
Finally, to prove to all your friends and family that you have completed your world famous journey, you must invest in a NC500 Passport. As you travel round the North Coast 500, you will have the opportunity to get your passport stamped (stamping locations included in the passport). Once you have taken the necessary 4 photographs required to collect your limited edition gift, you can stop at Glen Ord Distillery to get your complimentary NC500/Glen Ord glass on completion of your trip.