Welcome to the hub of the Highlands and the start of your adventure

Plan your trip around one of Scotland's most beautiful coastal routes

North Coast 500: More than 500 miles of the best the North Highlands has to offer. The route runs to and from Inverness, venturing round the capital of the Highlands, up the West coast and back via the rugged north coast.

The Capital of the Highlands


Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle can be found nestled on the edge and overlooks the flowing River Ness. The red, sand-stone Castle was built in  1836 however, history goes back to the 1500's where the castle looked much different than it does today. Ancient history tells how Clan Munro and Clan Fraser took the castle in 1562 after supporting Mary Queen of Scots during the seige of Inverness. The castle itself is not open to the public, you can still access the grounds where you can enjoy the fantastic views over Inverness before your head off on your NC500 journey.

The Capital city of the Highlands and the hub of Scottish culture, explore the Start & Finish line of the North Coast 500


Inverness Castle & Inverness is the official starting point to the North Coast 500 and was chosen due to its stunning central location and transport links.

As the hub of the Highlands, Inverness has an airport, train station and bus station to ensure easy access from other cities across Scotland and of course further beyond. With the airport offering flights to the UK & Europe on a daily basis, Inverness is the perfect starting for the North Coast 500!

We hope to in time have an official start and finish route sign available at the castle - but please bear with us!

Inverness offers many a things to see and do, not to mention the fantastic scenery and attractions like

the notable Inverness Museum & Art Gallery which is located just next to the Castle and the exhilerating Jacobite Cruises, where you can enjoy the discovery of Inverness over the water!

There are plenty of things to see and do around Inverness including the notorious Loch Ness where you may be able to spot Nessie, our friendly Loch Ness Monster! Castle Stuart Golf Course is just a few miles away, near to the airport and Culloden Battlefield, the site of the Battle of Culloden of 1746,  is also just a short drive away from the centre.

Don't forget to try Inverness' newest 'Chocolate Trail' which takes you on a mouth-watering adventure around town!

The Loch Ness Monster: Fact or Fiction? You decide!

For at least 1,500 years a legend has been told that Loch Ness is home to a mysterious aquatic animal. Some say she is a myth, some say she is a long living plesiosaur, or even some form of sea serpent. Whether real or fake, the Loch Ness Monster, (affectionately nicknamed Nessie by the locals) is definitely one of Scotland’s most famous characters.

Loch Ness is by far and away the UK’s largest body of water, and at 7 billion cubic metres in volume, is big enough to hide the entire human race.. or even a monster or two.
According to legend, Nessie was first sighted in A.D. 565, when St. Columba repelled a water beast after it had killed a man swimming in the River Ness.
One of the first apparent Nessie images was taken in 1934, and is widely known as the Surgeon’s photograph. This photo however, was discovered to be a hoax. Since then, there have been dozens of apparent “Nessie” photos and films, but there has been no concrete evidence proving her existence.  She has even shown up on Google Street View and Google Earth!

Fancy spotting Nessie? Take an explore down the shoreline to see if you can catch a glimpse of her. If you want to get serious about your hunt for the elusive beast, Jacobite Cruises offer a variety of length of experiences to satisfy the avid Nessie hunter departing from Inverness!
So whether Nessie is a real plesiosaur, or just a tall “tail” to amuse kids, (and sometimes big kids), it is really up to you to decide.

Sources and Images Credits
Beware of the monster credit to
Surgeons photo credit to Daily Mail
Nessie cartoon credit to
Jacobite Cruises


Latest News

Laura Mackinnon from the NHI Team tells us more about the most eagerly anticipated event in the Highlands Calendar. 
Top road safety tips to help you travel safely and responsibly on the NC500


Interactive Map

Handy Information about your adventure            infoIcon.png

  • Inverness Airport offers flights across the UK & Ireland. There is also some EU flights available.
  • Inverness Train Station has connections across Scotland & England.
  • Inverness Bus Station offers connecting buses across Scotland.
  • There are a number of petrol stations available with premium fuel.
  • If you would like to hire a car, you can do so from Inverness Airport.
  • The Visit Scotland Tourist Information Centre is located on Castle Wynd and there is another two centres at Daviot and North Kessock.