Make North Coast 500 Your Ultimate Romantic Road Trip

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more details.

Last Updated on: 23rd May 2023, 06:08 pm

You have decided to keep your next vacation focused on rekindling your relationship and consider NC500 road trip to be the way to do it. You will not be disappointed with the scenery and perfection of this road trip.

Live the fairytale by planning your stops and destinations beforehand. Know what is needed in your campervan storage and your luggage and how to plan the whole trip with this post.

Why North Coast 500!

If you love the highlands, you will love Scottish sceneries – especially the ones found in the north. But they are abundant and you don’t know where to start as a foreigner. Taking a predefined road trip will take care of this confusion.

So, highland lovers are the primary fans of this route. But they bring their family and friends and the latter might not share the same love for natural scenery. Luckily, NC500 covers the interest of these people as well with its numerous outdoor activities.

North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

You can bond over shared interests by simply choosing from different options including hiking, golfing, kayaking, fishing, and clay pigeon shooting.

If you just want to kick back and relax on the beaches along the route, that’s another option. Visiting in summer makes this experience more entertaining as warmer water allows visitors to swim in water.

North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

Except for Inverness, you wouldn’t find much variety in food. You will sustain if you love fresh foods and are willing to try local tastes. But if dining experiences are the most important factor of entertainment on a vacation, you would be disappointed.

NC500 in a Campervan

NC500 takes a week to complete if you make it short and quick. If you want to enjoy the nearest destinations to their fullest, you would want to extend the trip to up to two weeks. This can be a long trip and you will have to rely on your advanced booking of hotels for the night stays.

See also
7 Destinations Inspired by Harry Potter: Places to Visit for Serious Potterheads
North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

On the other hand, driving a campervan or a motorhome offers more freedom. Surely, you need to take note of all the camper sites on the route, yet, finding these sites is easier and you can change your schedule if you like a location more and want to stay here longer.

But you must understand the rules of driving and living in a campervan before you choose it over a car. These rules include booking your campervan for rental in advance, learning about these vehicles and their systems, learning about maintaining utilities in the moving home, and practicing driving them.

Pro tip: check out vlogs about campervan living to decide before you book the rental. You may decide to own a campervan after watching these vlogs.  

North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

An important factor of motorhome vacation in the UK is about the driving license. While you are allowed to drive a light campervan – that weighs no more than 3,500kg – with your international driving license, you will need a professional license to drive a heavier vehicle.

For a slightly heavier motorhome, you will need to pass your LGV theory test and practice driving before taking the practical test.

If you insist on using a heavier vehicle because of comfort or space, not only should you get this license but also ask your companion to get it. This is the only way to share the labor of driving and allow both partners to enjoy the trip.

Practice Driving the Motorhome

Choosing a motorhome to get around the road trip is a smart choice as it offers independence and adventure. But you can only enjoy these trips if you are sure about your capability to handle these vehicles.

The biggest factor that differentiates a motorhome from a car is the size. You need more space to drive a motorhome than a car. Don’t forget that the impact of this size magnifies when you have to drive through a bend in the road or take sharp turns. And the North Coast presents a narrow road and you must handle your vehicle carefully on it.

See also
Dublin or Belfast: Which Emerald Isle City is Right for You?
North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

Because of these differences in the motorhome and a car, you must practice driving the larger vehicle for some time before taking it for the trip. This practice will allow you to gain confidence and muscle memory you need to maneuver these mobile homes.

Stick to Driving Rules and Courtesies

When you are driving on NC500, you must keep in mind the narrowness of the road. Normally, only one vehicle can drive on the narrowest areas of this road.

A few of these roads are also single-track. During peak seasons, you will meet lots of traffic from both sides.

You need to keep some distance from the vehicle in front of you so that you can pull into a side when vehicles arrive from the other side.

North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

Also, you will not want to speed on these roads because of the narrow turns there.

The area also presents abundant wildlife. Some wild animals or domesticated animals can wander over the roads. So, driving at a low speed is in the best interests of local community.

Take Note of Campervan Unfriendly Roads

Although the road trip will be a lot enjoyable for you on your motorhome, there are some places that will become off-limits for you because of the vehicle choice.

North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

For example, the Road to Applecross is known for its romantic scenery and serenity but it will not be suitable for campervans.

Choose the Best Time

Summers are the liveliest seasons in the UK. That’s because the country has a cold climate and it gets colder in the winters, allowing less tourists to visit the country. You will find most restaurants, hotels, and activities closed during the winter season.

The same holds true for the North Coast 500 road trip. You will find the trip easier and more accommodating during summer months because more restaurants and hotels will be open to host you. Plus, you will get more time to wander around and explore the beauty because of longer days.

See also
The Best Quotes about England
North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

Also, late spring isn’t a bad season to take a trip, but you wouldn’t want to go there in the colder months of early spring if you don’t like the cold. More specifically, you will love the place between May and October.

Know Your Trip

The NC500 starts and ends at Inverness and takes you through Easter Ross, Caithness, Sutherland, and Wester Ross. Take note of these locations and note down the best attractions, activities, and food choices there. Again, you will not find many choices of exquisite food in most locations beyond Inverness.

North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

If you are traveling via a campervan, you need to look for camping sites on or near the route in these areas. The best part with this trip is that you will easily get a fully functional campsite at almost every stop. In other words, you don’t have to plan charging your RV and gadgets for use for more than a day.

You Can Take a Shorter Route

So, you insist that you want NC500 for your vacation but you only have a week for the trip. Some experienced travelers will tell you that this is possible. In fact, people have crossed the route in 24 hours without taking breaks.

North Coast 500 Road Trip Tips - Scotland - United Kingdom

But you have to ask yourself, ‘Is it worth it?’ Surely, you wouldn’t want to travel more than 500 miles without enjoying it, would you? While you can cover the whole track in a short time, you would want to make the trip memorable and fun. The best way to enjoy a vacation is to take it in slowly.

So how can you balance both needs? You include only a section of this route in your vacation. Collect information about all the destinations on this route and shortlist them according to your interests. For example, you can choose historical architecture, beaches, activities, or restaurants to shorten your time.

See also
London Packing List: What to Pack for London for All Seasons


North Coast 500 is one of the most famous road trip routes in Scotland. On average, tourists spend 7 to 10 days on this trip. You can take this journey using a car or a campervan. Allow up to three weeks if you want to enjoy the sceneries and activities deeply.

Leave a Comment