Scotland road trip: Is NC500 the best route ever?

Daniel Allen, for CNNUpdated 4th August 2017
(CNN) — Great road trips are about many things: good company, rocking soundtrack, decent food -- and a set of wheels that may or may not last the journey. But what really seals the deal is the scenery. Epic landscapes = epic road trip.
That's why the new North Coast 500 route is destined to become an instant classic in Scotland.
The NC500, attracting growing numbers of drivers, cyclists, hikers and bikers, is already being compared to the picturesque Amalfi Coast in Italy and Norway's Atlantic Road.
The route starts and finishes in the city of Inverness, itself a scenic, three-hour train ride across the Cairngorm mountain range from Edinburgh. Traveling clockwise, it follows Scotland's western coastline, plowing upward through the northwest Highlands, and then continues across the very top of mainland Britain.

Ruined castles

Travelers then drop down the east coast, closing the loop on the 120-mile journey from John O'Groats -- Britain's most northerly village -- back to Inverness.
The highlights of the NC500 are as diverse as they are numerous.
The route boasts some of the most dramatic scenery in Europe, with everything from snow-clad peaks, wind-ruffled lochs and ruined castles to soaring sea cliffs, sheltered coves and rolling moorland.
With no time limit on completing NC500, those making the journey can cover the 500 miles in a long weekend, or take things more slowly and savor the experience over the course of a couple of weeks.
Click through the gallery atop this article to get a taste of what this route offers.
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