Edinburgh & NC500


Edinburgh & NC500


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Edinburgh & NC500

Trace Scotland's wild and remote northern shoreline on this breathtaking coastal loop

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5 Day Self-Guided Tour

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Price does not include motorcycle hire

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Trace Scotland's wild and remote northern shoreline on this breathtaking coastal loop
Ben Spear and Felix Billington.
Find out more about Magellan Guides
Starting and ending in the historic city of Edinburgh, capital of Scotland since the 15th century, this 5 day itinerary follows the iconic biker route 'The North Coast 500' and hits all of the Scottish Highland's unmissable sights. You'll visit castles, whisky distilleries and battlefields as you ride the scenic and often deserted roads of this ancient land. From the highest peak in the British Isles, to the world famous unsolved mystery of the Loch Ness Monster, each day is filled with a new experience.
  • Self Guided Tour
  • 5 Days
  • 950 miles
  • Edinburgh, UK

March to October

Setting off from Edinburgh you head north, crossing the Forth Road Bridge (once one of the longest suspension bridges in the world) and on through the craggy peaks of the Cairngorms National Park, before reaching your overnight stay on the banks of Loch Ness. Extra nights can be booked pre/post tour for those wishing to explore the Scottish capital.

After searching for 'Nessie', you continue north along the fast and flowing A9, before picking up the famous NC500 route. This spectacular bike-friendly road takes you past John o'Groats for the obligatory photo stop, as well as Dunnet Head, the true northernmost point of mainland Britain and home to a rather photogenic lighthouse. Tonight you'll stay on the north coast, with only a handful of islands between yourself and the Arctic Ocean, 1000 miles to the north.

Stunning Roads

Continuing west along the NC500 and eventually turning south as you follow the coast, you'll begin to see why we choose to ride the route anti-clockwise! The Breathtaking scenery of Scotland's west coast is a match for any in Europe. Deserted roads swoop past tiny, secluded bays before climbing up over coastal ridges to a view of bend after bend disappearing into the distance. Eventually you'll catch sight of the dramatic Cuillin Mountains dominating the landscape of the Isle of Skye, your home for the night. Skye merits a day all to itself and, should you choose, we can arrange an extra day here to allow you to explore this magnificent island more thoroughly.

From Skye, you once more ride the length of Loch Ness. Travelling along the Great Glen which splits the country, separating the Grampians from the Northwest Highlands. Then past Ben Nevis, the UK's highest point, before visiting the site of the massacre at Glencoe on the ride to your hotel near Loch Awe.

Dunnet Head Lighthouse

Ride along the banks of Loch Lomond on your last day. The shorter distance allowing time for a visit to the fabulously preserved Stirling Castle where Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned. Finally returning to Edinburgh with panniers full of tartan and single malt, ready for the journey home.

Scenery, roads and culture to rival any in Europe. Right on your doorstep!

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Tour highlights

Loch Ness: Containing more water than all the lakes of England and Wales put together, it's not surprising that the murky depths of Loch Ness are surrounded by an aura of mystery. This enormous body of water is reputedly home to 'Nessie' the famous and elusive Loch Ness monster. 

John o'Groats: Named for 15th century Dutchman Jan de Groot, this village on the northeastern tip of Great Britain is popular with tourists as one end of the longest distance between two inhabited British points on the mainland. An excellent photo and ice-cream stop.

We are missing everything about the trip...the motorcycle, the scenery, the food, the list goes on. We would like to thank everyone at team Magellan for organising our tour... We enjoyed the route you had set and the choice of hotels were something we looked forward to everyday!

The Isle of Skye: This rugged and mountainous island merits a day all to itself. Add an extra day to the tour if you have time to explore.

Talisker Whisky Distillery: Founded in 1830 and winner of the Best Single Malt In The World award 2007. You won't want to miss out on a cask tasting session!

Edinburgh: Not only Scotland's administrative, but also it's cultural capital, with a mixture of medieval and classical architecture and expansive views over the North Sea, the beautiful university town of Edinburgh just begs to be explored.

Stirling Castle: First recorded in 1110, imposing and precipitous Stirling Castle has stood witness to the victories, defeats and coronations of many Scottish monarchs. In recent years, a £12 million restoration project has returned it to it's former glory.

Stirling Castle

99.7 % Overall
100 % Would recommend

Tour Map / Itinerary

Full Itinerary

Day 1 172 Miles

Leaving Edinburgh behind, you head north to the original Scottish capital of Perth, and continue through the Cairngorms National Park to your hotel on the banks of Loch Ness.

Day 2 210 Miles

Following the iconic biker’s route ‘The North Coast 500’ you ride to the most northerly point in the British Isles, John o’Groats. Continuing this spectacular coastal ride, you pass castles and ride narrow causeways en-route to your hotel near Durness.

Day 3 193 Miles

Heading west on the The North Coast 500 again, you then turn south and follow the beautiful scenic ‘West Coast Drive’ to the beautiful Isle of Skye and your hotel.

Day 4 237 Miles

you ride the full length of Loch Ness keeping an eye out for Nessie! Then back on the old military road, past Loch Lochy and down the Great Glen. Then on past Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles, before visiting the site of the massacre at Glencoe, on the ride to your hotel near Loch Awe.

Day 5 120 Miles

A shorter day today so that you can explore Stirling or Edinburgh in the afternoon if wished. Ride along the “bonnie, bonnie banks” of Loch Lomond and then visit the beautifully preserved castle in Stirling on the way to the Scottish capital city.

What's included
4 Nights accommodation in good quality hotels.
Excellent breakfast each morning.
Full use of all hotels’ leisure facilities.
Detailed route plans and maps.
GPS routes (Garmin / Tom Tom).
Detailed daily itinerary including sights and suggested coffee and lunch stops.
What's not
Toll charges.
Admission charges.
Occasional hotel parking charges.
Meals and drinks other than specified above.
Travel/Breakdown insurance.

Common questions about this trip

Where does this tour start from?

This tour starts and ends in Edinburgh. We can arrange extra nights before and after the tour if you would like more time to explore Scotland’s capital city.

When is the best time of year to do this trip?

May to September as a rule is the safest time to tour anywhere in the UK and Ireland although March, April and October can work with a dash of luck. It can be wet at any time of year but a sensible mix of vented kit and waterproofs with some base layers should cover all eventualities. Full kit and packing lists are supplied and we are happy to offer advice on packing for any of the trips.

More information
For general information on planning and preparing for motorcycle trips including what to pack please see our Prepare for your trip section.
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