Scotland Campervan Guide | 5 - 7 Day Itinerary
Scotland is understandably one of the most popular places to tour in a campervan. It has oodles of fantastic park ups, a vast area to explore and some of the most stunning scenery in the UK.
You could spend a year in Scotland and still have places to explore – so how do you choose where to go on a campervan holiday road trip? That’s where we come in!
We have spent a lot of time in Scotland over the years in campervans, tents and cottages and like to think we can offer advice on some of the best places to visit in Scotland in a campervan. We are also pretty good at staying away from the crowds (we are not miserable – just like a bit of peace and quiet!) so you can be sure we will find you some wild places to frequent! It's also good to spread out the places you visit as popular spots like the NC500 have now become very popular and congested at certain times of the year.
The aim with this Scotland campervan guide is not to provide just 5 or 7 places to visit but to give different options which you could feasibly fit in to a 5-7 day tour without breaking the land speed record! The idea of campervan travel is to take the slow road and take in the sights and sometimes spend a few days somewhere rather than racing around trying to fit everything in. You can use our guide to pick the places you really like the look of and choose a route to suit you.
First things first here are some general Scotland tips:
General Scotland Campervan Tips
If you are touring Scotland between May and September – take midge repellent and a headnet. They are seriously evil. Generally they are worse on the west coast than the east coast and love warm and moist conditions. They don’t like the wind so the best way to escape them is to go high or go to the coast where the wind generally keeps them away. They also don't like campfire smoke so if you are in a suitable place this can help but please be responsible with any fires.
- Park Considerately
You will find in peak season that some of the hot spots like Loch Lomond and Glen Coe will be very busy and parking may be limited. Our best advice is either get to places early to make sure you can get a spot or go somewhere less busy. The great thing about Scotland is you don't really have to plan park ups - you can just drive and stop when you want as generally wild camping rules are very relaxed up there.
- Take Waterproofs!
Scotland is notoriously wet so make sure you take a waterproof jacket and trousers and an umbrella!
- LPG advice
If you have an underslung LPG tank on your campervan then when you get to the depths of Scotland it can be tricky to find places to refill. It’s best to fill up before you go but if you get stuck there are a few dotted around including Fort William, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh. You can use the following app to locate gas stations: https://www.mylpg.eu/
- Avoid Popular Spots in the Summer
There are so many places to visit in Scotland so why go to the busy spots in peak season where you will end up queuing and have fewer places to park? We would also advise avoiding popular routes like the NC500 – Why not make your own route up where others aren’t likely to be? We will be giving some options below for places that aren’t so busy and just as beautiful as the hot spots.
- Check the Forecast
If the forecast is bad for where you were planning to go you may want to change your plans. The weather can be very different on the coast compared to inland. Sometimes it’s better to change your plans completely (we certainly have) and go somewhere different like Northumberland or the Lake District where the weather can be much more settled.
With all that in mind here are our top places to visit in a 5-7 day Scotland Campervan tour:
Isle of Mull
Isle of Mull? What about Skye I hear you say! We much preferred touring Mull than Skye. There were miles of open quiet roads, beautiful beaches, big mountains and some stunning islands to visit like Staffa. We found Skye busy, park ups and campsites full and the weather was pretty foul! Yes it’s got some amazing places but it is always busy in peak season with coach loads of people visiting attractions. Skye is also quite far north so it's a long way to go on a 5-7 day tour.
What I would say is - if you plan to include Mull in your itinerary maybe think about skipping one or two of other areas out from your trip so you have plenty of time to explore. You could easily spend 5 days on Mull alone.
To get to Mull you need to catch the ferry from Oban which is easily combined with a visit to Glencoe and Fort William en-route.
With beach park ups like this why would you want to go anywhere else?
You will think you are in the med on this beach – the sand is so white and the water so clear and blue it’s simply stunning. Combine a visit here with a trip to the cute little town of Tobermory.
Fingals Cave & Staffa
Staffa is a fascinating island to visit and worth every penny of the trip cost. The island is formed from huge basalt hexagonal columns and is a great place to spot puffins. Fingals cave is located on staffa which is famed for it's natural acoustics and the eerie sounds it makes with the crashing waves that flow into it.
Eas Fors Waterfall
The parking is right next to the waterfall and within a 5 minute walk you are at the top of this absolutely amazing waterfall. If you have a drone – take it, you will no doubt get some stunning shots.
Arisaig is a must for beach lovers. It has white sands and stunning blue seas. It is on the far west coast and is accessed easily from Fort William. There are plenty of campsites in the area to stay and a few park up’s where overnight stays are tolerated.
If you like kayaking then you are in for a real treat here – the little islands that are dotted around are gorgeous and great for exploring and you are bound to see plenty of sea life including seals whilst out paddling.
The road through Glencoe is one of my favourites in the UK. Firstly you pass the gatekeeper of the north – the massive beast that is Buchaille Etive Mor. Then the road winds through the stunning mountains that are the Three Sisters on the left and my favourite ridge walk in the UK – Anoach Egach. This is a knife edge grade 2 scramble so isn't for the faint hearted but for those who like a thrill it's the best!
The Lost Valley Walk
There is a gorgeous walk up into the lost valley which is accessed from the main large car park next to the three sisters. Here is more info on the walk itself.
The hanging valley is historically where a Scottish clan hid their rustled cattle. It’s a stunning spot and would be a great place to take a picnic or even wild camp for the night if you have a tent.
The Ice Factor – Kinlochleven
If climbing is your thing then there is also a fantastic climbing centre in Kinclochleven which is between Glencoe and Fort William. It has an ice climbing wall and you can park in the car park for free overnight. There is a tap for water around the back of the centre and showers (payable) inside so is a great stopping point to freshen up!
Fort William is a great place to have a wander on a wet day. There are plenty of shops to peruse (including lots of outdoor shops!) it has a great little bouldering wall called three wise monkeys if you like climbing.
It also has one of the best vegan cafes we have ever been to called The Wild Cat.
This is a beautiful valley down the bottom of Glen Nevis which has a lovely waterfall and rope bridge. It's a fairly narrow drive to get up to the parking area but it's ok in campervans up to 3 tonne.
The walk in is lovely as you walk up alongside a gorge with a view down Glen Nevis on your way up. This is a great one to fit in when you want to fit in a short 1-2 hour walk on a showery day. More info on the walk here.
Fancy climbing the highest peak in the UK? The start for the route is from Fort William and it’s a very rewarding but long climb. There is a relatively easy but tiring tourist path up (called the pony track) with more details here.
If you are an experienced walker and want to try a more spicy route then why not take the CMD Arete route up via The North Face car park? This is a grade 1 scramble and offers an amazing view over the craggy north face of the Ben. More info here.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs
We have included Loch Lomond in this Itinerary as generally you will be driving through it to get up to attractions further north.
Loch Lomond is stunning however it has been affected by people visiting and not being respectful by leaving rubbish and generally trashing the place. You will therefore notice a camping ban in place for the most part during peak season.
Our recommendation is to stick to a campsite stay here if in peak season or go slightly further out and visit and the Trossachs. There are a couple of little mountains in the area which are well worth a climb:
This small little hill (350m) is very easily attained but offers panoramic views over Loch Lomond and is one of the best view points in the area. More details for the walk here.
I love this little mountain and have climbed it many times. It’s craggy, has a fabulous profile and is generally pretty quiet compared to the more popular Ben Lomond in the area. The true summit is on top of a pinnacle (seen in the photo at the top of this area section) which to get to you have to go through a gap in the rock (Known as threading the needle) and then a very airy scramble up onto the summit. Good fun but a bit scary for those who don't like heights. If scrambling isn't your bag then a walk to the top of the mountain not including the true summit is still phenomenal.
I could go on naming more beautiful places to visit but in truth – the above places would be a real rush to fit in 5 days. As I previously said - I would recommend picking a few of the above and spending plenty of time exploring that particular place.
The good news is we will be writing 10 & 14 day Scotland Guides can help you plan a slightly longer trip to fit more in so be sure to check those out as they get released.