Plan your trip to the northern coast of Scotland and enjoy a road trip around the most scenic landscape in the world with this relatable and reliable guidebook, detailing not only the best and most popular sights along the route but also the hidden gems that most overlook.
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Achmelvich Bay, white soft sand and the clearest blue water, this stunning beach attracts thousands of visitors every single year. Located in one of the most remote regions of Scotland, Achmelvich Beach has some of the most incredible scenery you will come across in the country. So that has us asking, is Achmelvich Beach the best beach on the NC500?
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Complete Guide to Achmelvich Beach
Achmelvich Beach is the perfect place to go ion the NC500 on a warm, sunny day either for a walk around the footpaths or for a dip in the sea. In this guide, we will discuss the best time to go to Achmelvich Beach as well as the following
- What is Achmelvich Beach?
- Where is Achmelvich Beach?
- How to get to Achmelvich Beach?
- Why Should I go to Achmelvich Beach?
- When Should I go to Achmelvich Beach?
- Preparing for your trip to the NC500.
What is Achmelvich Beach?
Achmelvich Beach is an award winning beach on the NC500 with white soft sand and crystal clear blue water. It is the most popular and well known beach on the NC500 that is visited by thousands of visitors every year.
The beach itself is sheltered by rocky outcrops on on either side and spiky tufts of Marram grass behind it.
Where is Achmelvich Beach?
Achmelvich Bay is located in Sutherland on the north west coast of Scotland. Situated only a short 3 mile drive north from the small fishing town of Lochinver, Achmelvich beach sits in one of the most remote parts of the country. The beautiful scenic beach could have you believing you are abroad somewhere tropical, especially on a warm day and not at the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean.
There are no shops or amenities in Achmelvich, only accommodation options so you will need to travel to Lochinver for food shopping at the local Spar.
How to get to Achmelvich Beach?
Achmelvich Beach sits at the end of a single track road off the B869. Follow the narrow road past Loch Fasg an t-Seana Chlaidh, using the passing places to share the road if you meet another vehicle. You will pass the NC500 Pods on your left hand side as the road starts to flatten, follow the road past the campsite and you will see a small sign directing you to the beach car park on your right. The car park is free and can become very busy during the summer months. There are toilet facilities here and a Youth Hostel sits nearby.
Just off the road that you will have driven down to reach the car park, is a short boardwalk used to access the beach, making it accessible for those with mobility impairments to view the beach.
Why Should I Visit Achmelvich Beach?
Achmelvich Beach is commonly known as the best beach on the NC500 which is why it is such a popular place to visit by those travelling the NC500. The road to access the beach isn’t the easiest due to how narrow it is but it is well worth the drive. The white sand contrasting with the turquoise blue water makes it one of the most beautiful beaches to wild swim on the NC500. Due to how secluded and sheltered the bay is, it is popular with those who enjoy watersports.
If you don’t fancy getting in the water, there are some beautiful walking trails around the beaches, one of our favourites being the trail to the right of the beach that takes you over the hill to a secluded cove on the other side. This beach is just as beautiful but a lot quieter and you don’t have the view of the caravans behind the beach.
When Should I Visit Achmelvich Beach?
The best time to visit Achmelvich Bay would be during the summer months, due to the temperatures being higher and more comfortable for being on the beach. That being said, this is when the beach is at its busiest and it doesn’t feel as wild and isolated so we would prefer to visit in Spring or Autumn months when it is a bit quieter yet still just as beautiful. Well behaved dogs are allowed on Achmelvich Beach all year round as long as they are kept under control and the owner cleans up any mess that they make.
Before You Leave on the North Coast 500
Before you head off on your trip around the NC500, there are certain things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth trip. These include how to get around the route, including being aware of single track roads, etc., what to pack for Scotland, where to stay along the route and what travel insurance to book.
How Do I Get Around the NC500?
Given the remote location of the NC500 and the majority of the sights along the route, the best way to get around this road trip is by driving. There are of course other methods that are still popular, such as cycling and hiking, however, if you have a short amount of time on the route, neither of these are very suitable.
As for public transport, the use around the NC500 is understandably difficult due to how remote each location is, however, with the increasing problem of congestion along the route, this is a good option to research if you have time. If it is something that interests you, you can read a public formed itinerary of how to get around the NC500 by public transport over here.
If you are looking to rent a cosy, reliable and luxurious campervan for your trip along the NC500, we highly recommend hiring through Bunk Campers. We toured with these guys around the up-and-coming Heart 200 road trip in Scotland’s central highlands and could not believe the comfort and customer service we experienced with their vans.
What Should I Pack for the NC500?
When it comes to packing for a trip along the NC500 there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your 7-day NC500 road trip you will probably experience at least a drizzle of rain. Due to this, the number one item on any Scotland packing list is a good waterproof jacket.
As for the rest of the year, the temperature in Scotland and the central heartlands is reasonably mild for most of the year. During the winter months, you will most likely experience snow, however, temperatures usually sit around freezing, so it is not too cold. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season.
Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C
Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C
Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C
Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C
As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. The best way to pack for your trip to the highlands is with layers that can be added and removed as you need them. You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the colder months and will most likely need sunscreen to protect you on the long days in the open.
Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Scotland, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.
Where Should I Stay on the NC500?
The remoteness in the highlands of Scotland will leave you with little choice of accommodation in each location along the NC500, however, there are still enough options to choose from to ensure a comfortable trip. These are mostly in the shape of B&Bs, Airbnbs, converted cottages and other quirky accommodations.
Depending on how adventurous you are, there may be more accommodation choices than just the above, often with an even better view. Caravan and camping sites are abundant along the NC500, drawing camping enthusiasts from all over the world. For some of the most spectacular bedside scenery along the North Coast 500, we recommend packing a tent and getting in touch with nature for the week.
As we travelled along the North Coast 500, camped in our trusty Vango tent on a mixture of campsites and wild sites. Wild camping is a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of the highlands, however, it must be done respectfully. Read our full guide to Wild Camping if you wish to give it a go so you know everything you need to for a comfortable and sustainable trip.
What is the Best Travel Insurance?
No matter what type of adventure you are heading on, whether it is a mountain adventure or a relaxing beach destination, one thing we all need to be aware of is that accidents can happen. The last thing you want is for an unexpected medical emergency to ruin your trip of a lifetime. Luckily, that is what travel insurance is for.
Whenever we travel abroad, we get covered with World Nomad’s Travel Insurance, a reliable, friendly and extremely affordable method of covering yourself on any adventure. With years of experience working for backpackers around the globe, the service they provide is perfect for whatever type of trip you have planned.
So there you have it, a guide to visiting Achmelvich Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland. Let us know if you have been to Achmelvich Bay in the comments below.
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- Unmissable Things to do on the NC500 Route
- North Coast 500 Packing Guide – What You Will Need for the NC500
- 7-day North Coast 500 Itinerary – FREE, Detailed and Unforgettable!
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