How Long Does The NC500 Take? Tips For Planning A Trip

Compas campers
Jul 05, 2024

Looking for your next adventure? Why not try the North Coast 500 (NC500), a 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland? It starts and ends at Inverness Castle, offering breathtaking coastal scenery the entire way. It is ranked as one of the best and most beautiful road trips in the world and will no doubt become a memorable experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. 

There’s so much to discover along the NC500, from canoeing and hiking to creel fishing and pottery making. However, how much time do you need to take to complete this journey and enjoy it at the same time? We have all the answers for you below. 

How long does it take to drive the NC500?

There’s no set answer for how long it takes to drive the NC500, but we can help give you an estimate. As we already know, the whole route is 516 miles. So, if you drive it at an average of 60 mph, the whole trip would take you around eight and a half hours. However, if you take into account traffic and the fact not everyone on the road in front of you will be driving at the same speed, you’ll realistically be able to finish the trip in 13 hours. But this is with no stops!

If you’re going down the NC500, you’re going to want to make the most out of your time there, having a few stops along the way and really taking in the scenery and experiences. How long you want to spend along the coastline is up to you, and you can easily get some views and activities within two or three days. However, we recommend allowing around a week to have a complete experience. 

Planning your NC500 trip

If you want to travel the NC500, you can always hit the open road and see what happens. However, it’s always best to have a plan in place as it allows you to make the most out of your time on the route, especially if you have a limited timeline. 

Here are our top tips for planning your NC500 trip:

  • Regardless of the time of year that you’re travelling through the North Coast 500, you need to have a wide range of planning in place. While the summer months are busier, there are still tourists also travelling during the winter, so you should always ensure you’ve booked accommodation, vehicle hire, and the activities you want to do. Doing this in advance might also save you money too. 
  • Decide how long you wish to travel along the NC500. As we said, we recommend a week to get the most out of the experience, but this is all down to how much time you can afford. By knowing the time you can take off, it’ll give you a better idea of the places you can visit and things you can do. 
  • Plan the route you want to take. While there is an NC500 map available that you can visit, this is just a guideline, and you can easily make your own route that best works for you. If you wish to visit more remote areas via a campervan or you want to partake in wild camping, you can venture off the path less travelled and see more than most people would. 
  • Discuss with the people you’re travelling with what they’d like to do to ensure everyone gets the most out of the experience. You might be a foodie who wants to find the different popular eating spots and eat new dishes, but your friend or family member might want to hit the scenic spots where they can take photographs. Either way, there is something for everyone, so make sure you have done your research and put together a plan. 
  • One of the best ways to travel down the NC500 is via a motorhome or campervan. Ensure you hire one from a trusted source and, if you’re planning on visiting remote areas, that you have enough supplies to last you the journey. 

Hire a campervan from Compass Campers for your NC500 journey

Hiring a campervan or motorhome for your NC500 journey can make it the experience of a lifetime. And it’s made ten times better when you hire it from a trusted supplier like Compass Campers. We offer fully-kitted camper vans that allow you to see the country like never before in complete comfort and style. 

Each of our vans is custom-built and high-spec that provides luxury accommodation while you’re on the go. To ensure you get the most out of your NC500 journey with the right vehicle, you can talk to one of our experts about your needs. Contact us today to find out more. 

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