North Coast 500 Cycle Route
North Coast Five Hundred
  • North Coast 500
    North Coast Five Hundred
  • North Coast 500
    North Coast Five Hundred
  • North Coast 500
    North Coast Five Hundred

North Coast 500 Cycle Route

Trip Summary

The North Coast 500 has quickly become one of the world's iconic road touring routes. Popular with a whole range of intrepid travelers, we think the best way to experience the NC500 is by bike. Hire comfortable tourers, hybrids or road bikes from us and we'll help you navigate the sights and experiences this fantastic region has to offer.

The Highlands of Scotland already had a reputation as a premier cycle touring destination. The marketing of the North Coast 500 Route has attracted many more visitors to the area but it's still not mobbed. Cyclists also have the opportunity to adjust their route to avoid some of the busier roads. Options such as the “wee mad road of Inverpolly”, the National Cycle Network route 1 from Tain using the Nigg - Cromarty ferry to the Black Isle and checking out the Achiltibuie peninsula are worth considering.

Of course 500 miles might be more than you want to consider for a relaxed cycling holiday. Why not break the NC500 into two trips of around seven days, using Durness as a midpoint and let us pick you up and drop you off in our comfortable "cyclist's taxi" service.

Cyclist cycling the North Coast 500 with snow on the mountains behind
April can be cold! May to Sep is best


  • Inverness, Capital of The Highlands
  • Highland moors
  • Bealach Na Ba - One of the highest road passes in Scotland with stunning views
  • Walking in Assynt
  • Beaches - with clean bathing water and no crowds
  • Fresh local produce and seafood
  • Dunnet Head and loads of stunning coastal scenery
  • Smoo Cave and many beautiful beaches
  • Whisky distilleries, craft breweries
  • Cromarty and the Black Isle
  • The “Merrie Dancers” a.k.a the Northern Lights
  • Wildlife including birds of prey, red deer, red squirrels and dolphins
  • Coastal villages

Start and End Point:

Inverness: this is a circular tour starting and finishing in Inverness. Inverness is around three hours by car from Edinburgh and Glasgow and a little less than that from Aberdeen. You can also reach Inverness by train from all major cities in the UK. The airport has direct flights from London, Amsterdam, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham and several other airports.

Cyclist on the North Coast 500 at the Bealach Na Ba road to Applecross
Cycling the Bealach na Ba to Applecross


Mainly country roads from 10 days to 2 weeks. The terrain includes long challenging climbs and stunning coastal scenery. There are not always cafe options for lunch stops so a packed lunch each day is advisable. Refreshments and toilets should be taken and used when they are available along the route. Mobile phone coverage is good but not complete on most networks.

North Coast 500 further info:


10-14 days riding, 9 to13 nights
Total: 500 miles / 800km
Average day: 50 miles / 80km
Longest day: 76 miles / 128km
Shortest day: 25 miles / 40km

Some attractions a short distance off route.


This trip is created using RideWithGPS which we have found to be the best service for smartphone navigation. We can also provide a paper map of the route along with turn by turn directions. Files for GPS devices are available to download.

Book this trip

Our core services are:

  • Bike Hire
  • Cyclist Transport

You can follow our suggested itinerary and navigation or use it as a starting point to plan your own trip and find your own way.

Most customers hire bikes and bags from us, carry their own luggage and book their own accommodation. It is also possible to book an all-inclusive package with accomodation and any other travel service you require through our local tour operator partner.

Whichever way you want to book please click the Booking button below and tell us what you have in mind. It is best to enquire early as availability can be an issue.

Bike Hire

Bike hire is our specialism and we are confident that we have the best hire bike fleet around. We only use top brand equipment and replace bikes every year to ensure up to date specification and the highest standards of reliability and safety. Standard equipment includes:

  • Helmet
  • Pump
  • Lock
  • Lights
  • Spares
  • Tools
  • Water bottle

Choosing the right bike depends on the terrain, your luggage and what type of bike you are used to riding. Touring bikes with flat handlebars are the most popular and offer a relaxed riding position. If you are used to drop handlebars and are travelling light then the drop-bar touring bikes may be more attractive.

"We want you to enjoy cycling in Scotland as much as we do."

Baggage Transfers | Luggage Storage

Cycling is more enjoyable when you don't have a heavy load to carry. You can leave your suitcases with us and pack light in panniers. We don't currently offer a regular luggage transfer service for the North Coast 500 route. If you have a group of six or more then get in touch as we may be able to provide a service at a tolerable price. The other option is to join a supported ride from a professional package tour operator like our pals at Peak Tours

Most routes with bag shuttles are also popular with walkers and they provide the volume of trade that sustains those businesses. The North Coast 500 route does not attract walkers so it is unlikely that a comprehensive, regaular bag transfer service will be viable any time soon. It may be possible for you to arrange local services in places via accommodation providers or local taxis but I imagine that will take a LOT of emails and phone calls.

All our luggage services >>>

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