Last Updated on 5 July 2021
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Fancy a road trip through Scotland?
An enchanting place bound to capture your imagination the Scottish Highlands are one of the most unique places to visit in Europe! Full of mighty mountains and winding roads that snake across the moors and pass by roaring rivers and remote crofters cottages, Scotland is the perfect destination for a 7 day motorhome itinerary! It’s a land full of lochs, myths, distilleries, tweed, forests, wildlife, whiskey, waterfalls and castles, and boasts some of the most beautiful mountain scenery and natural wonders in Europe! So if your soul is yearning for wilderness, adventure and freedom, then a Scottish road trip is for you!
Tip: This one week road trip itinerary for Scotland includes both on and off site options for overnight parking. On site means on a campsite where there are facilities. Always phone ahead to check availability or pre-book these to avoid disappointment, and check which months they are open as some campsites close off peak. Off site means not on a campsite, so there may be no facilities, and availability cannot be guaranteed.
Scotland itinerary overview
|Day 1: Inverness to Ullapool via Lairg and Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve|
|Day 2: Ullapool to Kinlochewe via Gairloch and Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve|
|Day 3: Kinlochewe to Drumnadrochit via Eilean Donan Castle and Invermoriston|
|Day 4: Drumnadrochit to Fort William via Fort Augustus, Loch Lochy and the Commando Memorial|
|Day 5: Fort William to the Cairngorms National Park via Spean Bridge|
|Day 6: A whole day in the Cairngorms National Park|
|Day 7: The Cairngorms National Park to Inverness|
If you don’t want to spend all of your time driving but want to see some highlights of Scotland and experience a snippet of the NC500 (but don’t want to do the whole route), then this one week road trip itinerary is for you. Spanning ~690km (~430 miles) and on a mostly circular route (apart from a minimal detour off of the circular trail to/from Fort William, and to/from Drumnadrochit from Invermoriston for a campsite), this itinerary will allow you to see the best of Scotland in just 7 days with very little backtracking!
For ease, this 7 day motorhome itinerary for Scotland begins and ends in Inverness. Inverness is a good starting point for exploring the Scottish Highlands given its location and that it has a major airport. But you could arrive in Glasgow and begin this itinerary in Fort William (Day 4/5), or Edinburgh and begin in the Cairngorms (Day 5/6). If you are driving from other parts of the United Kingdom, then start at the point nearest to you!
Note: At the time of writing, the off site overnight spots noted on this itinerary for Scotland allowed overnight parking for motorhomes. But things can change quickly and no overnight parking signs may emerge in places which one allowed it. So do your own research and park at your own risk. The places with petrol stations and grocery shops may also change, as can campsites.
Know before you go
Always check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting to see if you will need a Visa to enter, and that you have enough validity left on your passport.
Always have a good level of travel insurance for every international trip. This is a non-negotiable part of any trip abroad, as the unexpected can happen.
When is the best time to visit Scotland?
Scotland is a year-round destination, but depending on your personal preference there are some months you may find better for travelling Scotland than others. Don’t expect tropical temperatures here (head to Balinese town of Ubud for those)!
Winter: From mid-November to early-March the temperatures can plummet, snow may fall (especially in the northern parts of Scotland) and the roads can be icy. Some campsites may be shut during this season.
Spring: Mid-March to early-June is a beautiful time to visit Scotland (and my personal favourite). The days are still crisp but the temperatures begin to climb (although it’s still a chilly time of the year). In early Spring, the foliage changes colour to pinks, oranges and yellows, which makes Scotland particularly picturesque!
Summer: From mid-June to mid-September you can expect temperatures to reach around 17°C (63°F). Prices in the Summer can rise as this is peak season. The Summer season in Scotland also coincides with Midge season (seriously), so if you don’t like getting chewed on by bugs, increased prices and general busyness, avoid the Summer!
Autumn (or Fall): Late-September to early-November sees the Autumn season. The colours of the landscape change and the Summer crowds fade away. Temperatures do begin to drop as Winter approaches, but like Spring, Autumn is an equally good time to visit Scotland!
What is the currency in Scotland?
The currency in Scotland is the Great British Pound (£).
In Scotland, the notes are printed by the Bank of Scotland so look a little different to those found in other parts of the United Kingdom. However they are still legal tender in the United Kingdom and should be accepted (it’s only in rare cases that they aren’t).
Day 1 of Scotland motorhome itinerary
Inverness to Ullapool via Lairg and Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve
Useful information for Day 1
Total distance: 149km (~93 miles)
Places with petrol stations: Inverness, Skiach Services, Lairg and Ullapool
Grocery shops: Supermarkets in Inverness and Ullapool, and convenience stores in Lairg
Overnight stop: Broomfield Holiday Park in Ullapool
Morning itinerary for Day 1
Get yourself to Inverness where you will begin your itinerary. Depart Inverness towards Lairg (79km/~49 miles). On your way, you will pass over Kessock Bridge which goes above the Beauly Firth and Moray Firth. Keep your eyes open for dolphins and seals, as they are residents here.
Tip: Fuel stations around the Scottish Highlands can be scarce, especially around the northwest coast. Top up your fuel tank before or in Lairg, as the next petrol station on this route after Lairg is in Ullapool (to my knowledge). You could also consider carrying some spare fuel with you just in case you run low.
Your first pit stop on this 7 day motorhome itinerary for Scotland is Lairg, where you can pause for lunch. There is a patch of hard ground on the A836 along the waterfront where you can park up just below Lairg Church of Scotland (GPS coordinates: 58° 1′ 28″ N, 4° 24′ 6″ W). Refuel with some lunch and take a wander to see The Wee Hoose.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 1
Continue on your road trip from Lairg to Ullapool where you will experience some dramatic Scottish scenery. This part of the itinerary will give you your first taste of driving the beautiful west coast of Scotland by motorhome, and offers a snippet of the famous NC500 (the Route 66 of Scotland) from Knockan to Ullapool! Be sure to make time for a stop at Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve for a cuppa and mountainside walk. Here you can learn more about the geology and early exploration of the area, and enjoy stunning views across mountains and lochs!
Tip: There is a parking area with toilets on the A835 for Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve. Just look out for the signs!
From Knockan Crag, hit the road again and take the short drive to Ullapool, which will be your first overnight stop on this one week road trip in Scotland. Stay at Broomfield Holiday Park for the night, and take the opportunity to wander down the picturesque Ullapool esplanade. Look out for resident seals in the harbour, enjoy the sunset over Loch Broom, grab some fudge or whiskey in one of the quaint seaside shops and perhaps indulge in some Fish and Chips before retiring to your motorhome bed!
Tip: There is an alternative campsite just before Ullapool on the A835 at Ardmair called Ardmair Point Caravan and Camping Park. Both have stunning coastal views, but Ardmair is out of Ullapool town. Both are popular touring sites on the NC500 route so be sure to phone ahead to check availability or book in advance.
Tip: There is a large supermarket in Ullapool so if you need to replenish your food, beer or other sweet treats now is the time to do so. Shops are few and far between on the next part of the route and are likely to be pricier convenience stores.
Day 2 of Scotland motorhome itinerary
Ullapool to Kinlochewe via Gairloch and Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve
Useful information for Day 2
Total distance: 122km (~76 miles)
Places with petrol stations: Ullapool, Gairloch and Kinlochewe
Grocery shops: Supermarket in Ullapool, and convenience stores in Gairloch and Kinlochewe
Overnight stop: Kinlochewe Club Site (non-member fee applies) or off site at Slioch Terrace Carpark in Kinlochewe (GPS coordinates: 57° 36′ 15″ N, 5° 18′ 0″ W)
Morning itinerary for Day 2
Welcome to Day 2 of this 7 day motorhome itinerary for Scotland! Rise and shine early and wander down to Ullapool quay to enjoy the sunrise over Loch Broom. After breakfast, it’s time to get back on the road and enjoy some more of the northwest coast of Scotland. Head along the winding coastal roads to Gairloch, which will be todays lunch stop. Follow the parking signs when you arrive in Gairloch to find a parking spot. After lunch, enjoy a walk along the sandy beach before getting back on the road!
Tip: If you’d prefer to stay in Gairloch because of its sheer coastal beauty, Gairloch Holiday Park is a wonderful place to spend the night and has stunning views across the beach.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 2
Seatbelts firmly on, proceed further down the northwest coast and back inland to Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve. Park in the layby on the A832 for Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve on Loch Maree (a sign denotes where this is) and hike the mountainside (warning: this mountain walk is steep and hard work but you will be rewarded with spectacular views).
Head back down the mountainside and after a cuppa and some Scottish tablet to replenish your energy levels, jump back in your campervan and head down the road to the small mountain village of Kinlochewe where you will stay overnight. In Kinlochewe you have an option of on and off site parking. You can stay on site at Kinlochewe Club Site (non-member fee applies) or off site at Slioch Terrace Carpark in Kinlochewe (do your own research to check overnight parking is still permitted as things can change).
Day 3 of Scotland motorhome itinerary
Kinlochewe to Drumnadrochit via Eilean Donan Castle and Invermoriston
Useful information for Day 3
Total distance: 161km (~100 miles)
Places with petrol stations: Kinlochewe, Inverinate, Shiel Bridge and Drumnadrochit
Grocery shops: Convenience stores in Kinlochewe, Dornie and Drumnadrochit
Overnight stop: Loch Ness Bay Camping in Drumnadrochit
Morning itinerary for Day 3
On day 3 of this 7 day motorhome itinerary for Scotland you will come away from the small section of the NC500 route that you have completed (Knockan to Kinlochewe via Ullapool and Gairloch) and see some famous Scottish sights! This morning, drive from Kinlochewe to Eilean Donan Castle where there is parking on site (note: driving via Achnasheen and along the A890 is a quicker route). Spend some time at Eilean Donan Castle, enjoying the magical surroundings and enchanting architecture!
Afternoon itinerary for Day 3
After lunch, continue your journey towards Drumnadrochit via Invermoriston where you can stop for a short time. Park at Invermoriston Falls Carpark (there are toilets here) and visit Invermoriston Falls and the Clog and Craft Shop for unique artisan items. You might even be lucky enough to see some Highland Cattle in Invermoriston, as they are sometimes in the field adjacent to the car park.
Jump back in your motorhome and continue your Scottish Highlands route towards Drumnadrochit for your first sight of the mighty Loch Ness. Spend the night in Drumnadrochit at Loch Ness Bay Camping on Borlum Farm. Before it gets dark, perhaps wander up to the Loch Ness Centre or walk to Urquhart Castle (both ~30 minute walk from Loch Ness Bay Camping). There are convenience stores in Drumnadrochit where you can replenish your stocks before heading back to your campsite for dinner.
Day 4 of Scotland motorhome itinerary
Drumnadrochit to Fort William via Fort Augustus, Loch Lochy and the Commando Memorial
Useful information for Day 4
Total distance: 84km (~52 miles)
Places with petrol stations: Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus and Fort William
Grocery shops: Convenience stores in Fort Augustus and supermarkets in Fort William
Overnight stop: Ben Nevis Holiday Park or Glen Nevis Caravan and Camping Park in Fort William
On this part of the journey, you will take a very short detour away from your pretty circular route across to Fort William (just 15km/~9 miles off of the circular route from Spean Bridge where you will continue the circular route tomorrow). But the few extra miles are worth it to visit Ben Nevis and you are in for more stunning mountain scenery along the way!
Morning itinerary for Day 4
Set off early for a leisurely drive towards Fort William from Drumnadrochit. Stop at Fort Augustus to take a wander along the Caledonian Canal and visit the shores of Loch Ness. Then, continue along the route past Loch Oich, and perhaps stop for a cuppa further on at one of the laybys along Loch Lochy. Pull in to the Commando Memorial (parking available) just before Spean Bridge which commemorates World War 2 commandos and offers stunning mountain scenery of Ben Nevis and adjoining peaks.
Afternoon itinerary for Day 4
Continue on to Fort William aiming to arrive around lunchtime at the Nevis Range Scenic Mountain Gondola. Spend the afternoon taking a ride up the Aonach Mor mountainside to enjoy panoramic views over the mountains, glens and lochs that surround! Once you return to ground level, head across to your chosen campsite for the evening!
Day 5 of Scotland motorhome itinerary
Fort William to the Cairngorms National Park via Spean Bridge
Useful information for Day 5
Total distance: 111km (~69 miles)
Places with petrol stations: Fort William, Newtonmore and Aviemore
Grocery shops: Supermarkets in Fort William and Aviemore, and convenience stores in Newtonmore and Kingussie
Overnight stop: Off site at the Cairngorm Mountain Lower Carpark (donations required and no facilities)
Morning itinerary for Day 5
Set off from Fort William towards the Cairngorms National Park which is one of the prettiest places in Scotland! Stop in Spean Bridge Woollen Mill on the way, where they stock woollen items, gifts, artisan food and of course whiskey!
Afternoon itinerary for Day 5
Continue on towards the breathtaking Cairngorms National Park and head towards Glenmore Forest Park. There are various Forestry Commission parking areas around Glenmore which are very cheap but overnight parking is prohibited (hence you will park overnight at the Cairngorm Mountain Lower Carpark).
Stop in one of the parking areas along Loch Morlich to enjoy loch-side and forest walks, and a spot of lunch. Then, proceed just up the road to Allt Mor Carpark which is in amongst the ancient trees. From here, you can enjoy an abundance of forest and riverside walks and beautiful mountain scenery (just don’t get stung by a swarm of wasps like I did). After you are all walked out, retire up the road to the Cairngorm Mountain Lower Carpark where you will stay overnight.
Day 6 of Scotland motorhome itinerary
The Cairngorms National Park
Useful information for Day 6
Total distance: N/A – dependent on how you chose to spend your day in the Cairngorms
Places with petrol stations: Newtonmore and Aviemore
Grocery shops: Supermarkets in Aviemore, and convenience stores in Newtonmore and Kingussie
Overnight stop: Off site at the Cairngorm Mountain Lower Carpark (donations required and no facilities) or on site at Rothiemurchus Camp and Caravan Park (if you want some facilities tonight)
Itinerary for Day 6
Day 6 of this 7 day motorhome itinerary for Scotland is a day with minimal driving, as you will spend the day around the Cairngorms National Park as you wish. If you need to shorten this itinerary to a 6 day road trip through Scotland, then skip Day 6 and head straight to Day 7. However, if you do want to allocate a whole day to the Cairngorms then I doubt you’ll be disappointed! You can stay again tonight at the Cairngorm Mountain Lower Carpark or can proceed to a campsite with amenities if you wish, such as Rothiemurchus Camp and Caravan Park near Aviemore!
Things to do in the Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms National Park is an expansive and beautiful area of Scotland, full of mountains, lochs and wildlife. A place for adventure and wilderness seekers, there are an abundance of things to see and do here, so spend your day doing whatever brings you joy! Here are some suggestions for things to do in the Cairngorms on Day 6:
- Visit Loch Garten Osprey Centre to go bird watching, or enjoy forest and loch-side walks
- Spend some time in the mountain town of Aviemore
- Further explore the forest walks around Glenmore Forest Park
- Visit the Reindeer Centre in the Cairngorms and do a hill trip to find the freely roaming Reindeer
- Do an adrenaline fueled activity such as a watersport or mountain biking
- Visit a local brewery or castle
Day 7 of Scotland motorhome itinerary
The Cairngorms National Park to Inverness
Useful information for Day 7
Total distance: 66km (~41 miles)
Places with petrol stations: Aviemore and Inverness
Grocery shops: Supermarkets in Aviemore and Inverness
Overnight stop: N/A – you have reached the end of your 7 day road trip through Scotland
Itinerary for Day 7
You have reached Day 7 of your 7 day motorhome itinerary for Scotland and it is time to return back to Inverness from the Cairngorms National Park. If you want to extend your trip to a 10 day itinerary, you could spend a few days in Inverness sightseeing and taking day trips from the city. If you are driving from other southerly parts of the United Kingdom you do not need to continue on to Inverness, but can begin your journey home from the Cairngorms.
Scotland itinerary summary
If you want to see some highlights of Scotland but don’t want to spend all of your time driving, then this 7 day motorhome road trip itinerary is for you! Although this is a motorhome itinerary, you could adapt this if you are touring Scotland by car for one week, just by booking hotels in the overnight stops. If you have less than 7 days in Scotland, this route could be shortened to a 5 day motorhome itinerary by cutting out Fort William and the full day spent in the Cairngorms. Ultimately, this is only a guide and is here to inspire your trip to Scotland, so pick the bits you like and roll with it!