The North Coast 500 is one of the most iconic bike rides in the UK, but to make the most of it you’ll need to know some good options for North Coast 500 cycle accommodation. It’s not a route you tend to attempt in one go so good places to stay are a must.
In this accommodation guide, we’ve picked out some of the best NC500 hotels and NC500 B&Bs (along with some self-catering options) for you to choose from, including some wonderfully traditional Scotland accommodation on the north coast and along the east and west Highlands.
Which of our selection of the best hotels on the NC500 route you choose, will depend on how long you want to cycle each day. There aren’t set daily distances for your North Coast 500 cycle tour so you will need to work out your route and itinerary and decide which of our suggestions works for you. One tip: book early as hotels and accommodation providers are relatively scarce and they get busy!
So now, let’s dive into some of the best places to stay on the North Coast 500.
Looking for our complete guide to cycling the NC500? It’s here.
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NC500 cycling hotels: comparison table
|Inverness City Suites||Inverness||£££||Book here|
Acer Glen B&B
Rockvilla Guest House
Caisteal Liath Chalets
The Tongue Hotel
|Bettyhill Hotel||Bettyhill||£££||Book here||
|North Point Pods||Thurso||££||Book here||
|Dornoch Castle Hotel||Dornoch||£££||Book here|
Remember to double-check accommodation bike storage arrangements (and any other services you need) before booking as policies often change.
NC500 hotels and cycling accommodation
Inverness is the start and end point of the NC500 and so it’s likely you’re going to spend at least a night here. The UK’s most northern city, it’s a great place to unwind before setting off or to celebrate completing the route.
Inverness City Suites
Inverness City Suites is a four-star set of luxury apartments right in the heart of the city. Furnished to a very high standard, they’re a fantastic choice if you want self-catered accommodation, giving you space and facilities to prep for the coming ride.
The apartments are spacious, accommodating up to six adults, and you’re welcome to store your bikes in the flats. You’ll also have laundry facilities if you need to clean your kit, making them a good choice of North Coast 500 accommodation at either end of your ride.
- We love: the convenient location, central but with easy access to the main routes
- Be aware: it’s fully self catered so you’ll need to bring your own food
- Best for: cycling groups who want the freedom their own apartment offers
Acer Glen B&B
Acer Glen B&B is a friendly bed and breakfast in Inverness just a couple of minutes from the river. It’s a great spot if you want a cosy bed and fantastic hospitality.
Cyclists are warmly welcomed but facilities specifically for those riding the NC500 are limited. There’s a ground-floor bedroom where you can also keep your bike, and early breakfast can be arranged if you’re setting off at the crack of dawn.
- We love: the variety of excellent breakfast options including hearty Scottish fare
- Be aware: cycling storage will be limited to guests in the lone ground floor room
- Best for: anyone looking for classic Scottish hospitality at the start of their ride
Lochcarron is a small village on the western coast of the Highlands, and is famous for being the home of the largest tartan manufacturer in the world. It’s around 60 miles from Inverness.
Rockvilla Guest House
Rockvilla Guest House is a beautiful four-star B&B set in a picturesque location in Lochcarron. It offers great home-cooked food that’s ideal for refuelling whilst tackling the NC500 and the gorgeous views are well worth the trip.
It’s a simple guest house and so cycling amenities are not abundant, but the owners are happy to let you keep your bikes securely locked indoors. With the on-site restaurant, you’re able to relax in one spot without having to find alternative dining options after a long day of cycling.
- We love: the friendly welcome and the fantastic food options
- Be aware: it’s otherwise a simple B&B although the owners will help in any way they can
- Best for: finishing a long leg of the NC500 and relaxing in a homely setting with a great meal
Gairloch or Poolewe
Gairloch and Poolewe are peaceful and picturesque villages in the West Highlands, with Gairloch being bigger (but not by much).
The Millcroft, Gairloch
The Millcroft is a 3-star hotel in Gairloch that is comfortable, clean and modern. It’s a short distance from the beautiful beach and an ideal stopping point for NC500 riders. There’s a bar, hotel restaurant and free WiFi internet access is available.
The hotel may be relatively small but often has a lively atmosphere – stop here if you’re interested in unwinding in a social environment instead of hitting the hay for an early night. Cycle storage is available too.
- We love: the friendly and bustling atmosphere of the bar in particular
- Be aware: rooms are comfy but this isn’t the place for an early night
- Best for: goups or cyclists looking for hotels that add to the experience, and aren’t just a bed to rest.
Corriness House, Poolewe
Corriness House is a four-star guest house in Poolewe, and the large Victorian house is home to several spacious bedrooms that are simple but contemporary, and very comfortable. The owners are friendly and work hard to meet every need. The atmosphere is one of relaxation and calmness, ideal for cyclists in need of NC500 places to stay.
The guest house has a cycle storage facility so you can keep your bike safe, and there’s a drying room to hang up your waterproofs if you’ve been hit by the typical Scottish weather.
- We love: the calm and welcoming atmosphere and great Scottish breakfasts
- Be aware: self-catering options are available if you’re staying as a group
- Best for: enjoying an earlier night in a quiet location ahead of a big ride the next day
Baddidarroch is a pleasant village on the north shore of Loch Inver, up in the north west of the Highlands. A charming and peaceful respite spot.
Caisteal Liath Chalets
Caisteal Liath Chalets is a collection of stunning four-star chalets in Baddidarroch that offer comfortable, cosy, self-catered accommodation. If you’re looking for luxury hotels on North Coast 500 route maps, consider these chalets instead so you can prep your own food.
You can store your bike in your chalet, and they all have their own washing machine and tumble dryer if you need to clean your sportswear. Some even have a Jacuzzi, perfect for soothing those muscles after a long ride.
- We love: the cosy feel of staying in your own wooden chalet
- Be aware: short break options are limited and have a minimum 2-night stay
- Best for: anyone taking the NC500 route leisurely and happy to spend time relaxing at key points of the route
Badcall is a combination of two hamlets in the upper reaches of the northwestern Highlands. It’s remote, but extremely scenic as you might expect.
The Eddrachilles Hotel is a three-star hotel situated in Badcall that welcomes a wide range of guests, including cyclists enjoying the NC500 route. The hotel offers super-comfortable rooms with sumptuous beds, and great food for breakfast and dinner, being a popular evening spot for anyone sailing into the village. It’s some of the nicest Highlands accommodation Scotland can offer.
For cyclists, there is a secure shed where bikes can be stored, and the owners are happy to offer tips on nearby routes if you want to explore your options as you continue your tour.
- We love: fantastic bedrooms and quality food on offer
- Be aware: discounts are available for staying 2+ nights if you’re taking the NC500 at a leisurely pace
- Best for: fully recharging with a great night’s sleep and a delicious meal before your ride continues.
Tongue is a village in the northern Highlands on the coastal road between Durness and Bettyhill. It’s the largest settlement for miles despite only having a handful of shops. The remote countryside offers quiet roads and spectacular views.
The Tongue Hotel is a beautiful four-star hotel set in the town, with attractive rooms and a great restaurant. A former Victorian sporting lodge, the hotel has some great views of the local area, and the bar is a cosy spot to unwind at the end of the day. It is one of the more premium North Coast 500 hotels, mainly because options in the region are limited, but you do get a quality experience for your money.
Cyclists are warmly welcomed at the hotel and the owners are able to help with anything you may need, including route advice or tips on where to get your bike serviced. You’ll be able to store your bikes securely at the hotel.
- We love: the impressive bedrooms and their equally impressive views
- Be aware: wifi access isn’t readily available in the bedrooms but is in the bar
- Best for: anyone looking for a premium hotel where they can get well-rested and well-fed
Situated at the head of the Strathner Valley, Bettyhill is a pretty village known for its stunning beach walks and trout fishing in the lochs.
The Bettyhill Hotel is a three-star hotel situated in an excellent location in Bettyhill overlooking the coast. Guests rave about the sunset views they can enjoy here, often from a window seat in the restaurant, where you’ll be served simple but good quality food.
There’s bike parking out the front of the hotel in view of reception but you can also have your expensive road bike stored more securely if you prefer. Basic bike maintenance tools are available on request as well.
- We love: amazing coastal views from the hotel in its idyllic location
- Be aware: not all rooms are en-suite so you may be sharing a bathroom
- Best for: good food and a great view to enjoy with it
Thurso is the most northerly town in mainland Scotland and it’s one of the bigger settlements in all of the Highlands along the northern coast. It’s home to a treasure trove of traditional shops, while the river is a pleasant spot to relax.
North Point Pods
The North Point Pods are self-contained camping pod. There are various campsites offering affordable places to stay in North Coast Scotland and this is a great example. Each pod is a simple mini-lodge with a kitchenette that includes a microwave, toaster and stovetop for prepping an easy evening meal. Breakfast is available from the main campsite.
The pods are small and cosy, and are great for cyclists looking for a place to rest up without spending large sums on a premium hotel. You should be able to store your bike inside your pod too.
- We love: the simple, self-contained camping approach (more sheltered than a tent!)
- Be aware: the pods are small so don’t expect a lot of space, especially if storing your bike
- Best for: a budget stopover without the frills
Helmsdale is a village in the north-eastern part of Sutherland that is most famous for its salmon fishing. The town has a pretty harbour and some stunning views out to sea. It’s around 75 miles from Inverness.
The Bannockburn Inn is a pub with rooms in Helmsdale that is a popular choice for NC500 accommodation. The owner is very friendly and welcoming, while the inn serves good food to help you recover after that day’s leg.
Bike storage is available for cyclists, as is a shared kitchen if you want to make your own food to take with you the following day. There’s also a drying room for your waterproofs and laundry facilities too – all the essentials you could need.
- We love: the fantastic welcome provided to cyclists and all guests by the owner
- Be aware: you may have to share a bathroom with other guests
- Best for: covering all the essentials a cyclist could need as they embark on the NC500
Dornoch is a scenic coastal town in the eastern Highlands that is home to quaint shops and some beautifully scenic views. It’s just a short 45 mile ride from Inverness.
Dornoch Castle Hotel
The Dornoch Castle Hotel is a three-star hotel set in a genuine former castle, with rooms updated to offer exceptional comfort. This unique setting makes it one of the best North Coast 500 places to stay. The hotel’s restaurant offers award-winning fare as well for an overall incredible experience.
The hotel warmly welcomes cyclists and there is an area where you can store your bike. The owner will be happy to advise on local routes or bike shop facilities if you need extra help.
- We love: the fact you can stay in a real castle, but beautifully updated!
- Be aware: top floor rooms are up some steep stairs, challenging after a long ride
- Best for: a fantastic castle experience, including hearty food and roaring fire
Do you have tips for where to stay when cycling the NC500?
Let us know in the comments if you know of any other gems in the Scottish Highlands or anywhere around the north coast that welcomes cyclists.
In the meantime, happy NC500 cycle holiday planning!
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