Sand Beach - North Coast 500 Tours from Invernes
Sand Beach - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness

North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness – 2024

Take a road trip on the world famous North Coast 500 in 2024 with our tours from Inverness. The North Coast 500 as a route was launched in 2014 drawing people in with the amazing beauty of the journey. We, at Inverness Tours have a much longer association with the route however. We have been leading tours around the North Coast 500 since 2003 and Hugh Allison’s grandfather established the first bus service on the route a century ago.

What is North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 is the acclaimed circular touring route round the north of Scotland. It has already been likened to American Route 66 in terms of iconic status. At just over 500 miles, it is one of the most spectacularly memorable coastal routes in the world.

North Coast 500 Scenery

North Coast 500 Scenery is unforgettable. The firthlands of the east coast are rich in agriculture and populated with trim little towns. The north coast is more rugged, with little coves and beaches. When we reach Tongue we are entering the country of the Inselbergs. These are great solitary mountains, each with their own distinctive shape and character. Down the west are a chain of beaches, scattered crofting communities and views out to the islands. The Applecross Pass (Bealach na Ba) will take your breath away. After which an eastern turn takes you through the wide moors of the empty heartland, and back to the city of Inverness. The tie that binds, for the North Coast 500, is the ever-changing constant of the sea. Coastal views – bays, headlands, coves, magnificent deserted beaches, vistas to remote and scattered islands and of course the sunsets!

Bealach Road - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness
Bealach Road - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness

Four Day North Coast 500 Tour

We think our four day complete North Coast 500 Tour from Inverness is the very best way to experience the fabulous country in the north of Scotland. Our three overnight locations are Wick, Durness and Gairloch. The four days are filled with fantastic choices for every taste and interest. Examples of the wide range of attractions for all might include the Rock Rose Distillery, the royal Castle Of Mey, the Eagle Zip-line, Smoo Cave, the Falls of Measach, Inverewe Gardens and the Bealach na Ba road. Most stops can even be tweaked on the day, to suit the weather and your preferences. One or two attractions – like distilleries – require to be reserved in advance, but we can arrange all that for you, once you are booked with us.

Emigrant Statue - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness
Emigrant Statue - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness

North Coast 500 Day Tours from Inverness

Inverness is the perfect base that allows us the opportunity of conducting a series of truly stunning day tours that cover all the different sections of the North Coast 500. These tours are great for those with less time or perfect for weekend breaks on the North Coast 500. These tours include day trips to the furthest North West and furthest North East corners of the UK Mainland. To supplement this we have two tours that cover the more westerly parts of the North Coast 500. Our Rosamunde Pilcher Tour is also a great day tour covering the part of North Coast 500 just to the north of Inverness.

NC500 the North East day tour

For the North East day tour on the North Coast 500 we head north through the Struie Hills. Great views of the Dornoch Firth from a mountain location. Next we make a stop at the beautiful Falls of Shin, because of the short but lovely walk to a viewing platform. Heading due north from Lairg we pass Ben Loyal, Loch Loyal and some wonderful bog scenery. Eventually we arrive at the coast at Tongue. Following the coast eastwards along the far north of Scotland we visit John O’Groats, the most northerly point on the public road in the UK. There are fabulous views of the Orkney Islands. We then travel down the dramatic east coast road back towards Inverness making time to visit the pretty town of Dornoch en route.

Castle Varrich - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness
Castle Varrich - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness

NC500 the North West day tour

The North West day tour on the North Coast 500 also goes north to Lairg via the Shin Falls. But this is where these two tours diverge. This tour goes northwest through beautiful and rugged scenery before reaching the beaches of the far north west of Scotland. In Durness we visit Smoo Cave and take some lunch before heading eastwards along some of the finest scenery of the north coast. Branching south at Tongue we see Ben Hope and Ben Loyal and then pass Loch Loyal. We can stop at The Crask on our way south, the most remote Inn in the country, and we end by crossing the Cromarty Firth and the Black Isle to Inverness.

Loch Maree - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness
Loch Maree - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness

NC500 – Magical Wester Ross Tour

It is we who think that the Wester Ross Tour on the North Coast 500 is magical. Leaving Inverness we head west up Strath Braan to lonely Achnasheen, and thereafter follow the Wester Ross Coastal Trail. Looking towards Loch Maree we see one of the last fragments of the “Great Wood of Caledon” – the original forest that once covered so much of Scotland. Whether your passion is great mountains or fantastic seascapes the far west will deliver. Gairloch Beach, followed by sub-tropical Inverewe Gardens are two of the major stops on this tour. We return by Gruinard Bay, a location used by many thriller writers, and there’ll be time for a waterfall visit, before arriving in Inverness.

Loch Torridon - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness
Loch Torridon - North Coast 500 Tours from Inverness

NC500 – Applecross and Eilean Donan Castle Tour

Applecross is the most southerly portion of any North Coast 500 tour and, as a result, it makes sense to couple it with Eilean Donan Castle. We travel along Loch Ness, and then west past the mountain range called the Five Sisters of Kintail. Our Eilean Donan Castle stop is for your choice of visit or photos. Some time later we take the famous, exhilarating and spectacular Bealach na Ba to Applecross. This road has its own name because it is, by far and away, the most extraordinary road in the UK. Our return takes us through the fantastic mountain scenery of Torridon and the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve.

Rosamunde Pilcher Winter Solstice Tour

Our Rosamunde Pilcher Winter Solstice tour finds us exploring the locations and revisiting the story in her last novel. Rosamunde was also kind enough to agree to check and endorse our tour content. This tour is also perfect for people who have never read the book, and know nothing about it. This is because it offers much of the very best of the scenery, history and wildlife of the Scottish Highlands, including visits to ancient church, castle, cathedral and the pretty little towns of Tain and Dornoch. If you just want those places, then we are happy to deliver this tour without mention of the book.

North Coast 500 or Isle of Skye?

The answer is both. Adding just one more day to the tour gives time for an overnight in Portree; pretty island capital of Skye. And that extra day can be used to access and enjoy all of the most scenic areas on the island.


North Coast 500 Custom Tours from Inverness

We are happy to arrange a wide range of North Coast 500 Custom Tours from Inverness. As mentioned above, probably the commonest add-on that is requested is one or more of the island groups. As a result, we developed the four-day tour so that it comes complete with bolt-on options. These still ensure that you do every mile of NC500, but while doing so you can also visit the Orkney Islands, the Isle of Skye, or the Western Isles. This can be accommodated by increasing the tour length to five days. Or why not go for adding all three Island Archipelagos to the North Coast 500, and achieve it all, within our six-day extravaganza!

    Why Inverness Tours

    Inverness Tour Guides

    Our Inverness Tour Guides are a hand-picked team. As well as being accredited members of the Highlands of Scotland Tour Guide Association, they are all well-recognised as being at the top of their fields. We chose them because they are great storytellers, fun to be with, and uniquely qualified to do what they do well. We know you deserve the best team of guides available. See their individual profiles here

    Track Record

    We have a fabulous back-catalogue of reviews. Over 98% of our hundreds of TripAdvisor reviews are five-star, so we have received their Certificate of Excellence every year, and a placement in their Hall of Fame!