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There are multiple ways to stay when exploring the fabulous circular Route 500 in the Scottish Highlands. Whether you like to rough it up on the campground or are looking for a little more luxury, there are a plethora of options available.
Camping and Caravanning
The abundance of camping and caravanning sites lays witness to the popularity of the route for outdoors enthusiasts. Things to look for are heated facility blocks with private showers and bathrooms and possibly even toddlers blocks for young children. Most are pet-friendly, it is, however, prudent to check, as some will have a maximum limit on two dogs and some may not allow them at all, or charge a premium fee. Campsites will have many different rules, so make sure to check out their requirements in the context of your journey.
Youth Hostels are no longer the sole domain of the young. They have gone from the days of yore of providing dusty dorm rooms to offering fresh, clean dorms to private rooms with en suite bathrooms. They are great for individuals, couples and families and provide fabulous holiday opportunities for those with an extremely tight budget. Most hostels are affiliated to a hostel association, will have minimum standards and provide access to a small shop or be close enough to one for you to keep your supplies stocked up. There several SYA hostels along the route, but be sure to book, they fill up quickly.
B&B and Guesthouses
There are probably enough guesthouses and B&Bs in the Scottish Highlands to accommodate an army. From basic warm, clean and neat accommodation, to super luxurious B&B’s with Jacuzzis and warm fires to rest those weary souls after a day taking in the scenery you’re sure to find something to suit your pocket. There are plenty of places with good disabled access too, all along the route. If you’re after a hearty Scottish breakfast to start your day of travelling, then a charming B&B will be just what you’re looking for.
Hotels and Inns
If you like to take in the fresh air, shoot with your camera, but still want everything else done for you, there is no shortage of hotels and inns along the way. From room-only to full board you won’t be disappointed by the legendary warmth of Scottish hospitality. Those that are new visitors to Scotland may want to try out the Haggis and establish whether it truly is a shy Scots animal or simply a fabulous dish surrounded by legend. Of course, there’ll be plenty of whiskies, and you’re sure to come across some excellent craft beers too.
Many of the fine hotels Scotland have to offer are actually castles, so you can live like royalty, if only for a night. Don’t think that the wildness of Scotland will give you basic accommodation; there are many luxurious and sumptuous places to stay if you need a VIP getaway.
If you love the wilderness or have a small budget, you may resort to rough camping. While it is legal, remember always to ask for the landowner’s permission and leave the campsite as you found it. There are rules in different boroughs about open fires and conservation, so be sure not to find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
With so many places to stay, as well as the hidden treasures you’ll stumble upon during your journey, it is best not to limit your time on the North Coast 500. There is more to see and do everywhere and with ample accommodation, an extra night here and there might be necessary, particularly if you find a place to stay that you love.
This route is made up of such magnificent beauty that no matter how you travel it or how you choose to stay overnight, whether you blow the budget or scrimp, you should experience it at least once in your life.