Ahh, Bonnie Scotland. Few other places in the United Kingdom offer such beauty and scenery.
Scotland seems like a mystical, far away land. Yet, when you do your homework, it suddenly looks so much more accessible, especially when you're aboard your campervan or motorhome and ready to explore the outer reaches of this beautiful country.
In this post, I will help you unlock some of Scotland's best-kept secrets to give you the holiday of a lifetime without breaking the bank.
The North Coast 500
Let's start with the big one. If you want to see everything in one go, then your starting point must be the North Coast 500, or NC500 for short.
Why is it called the North Coast 500, you might ask?
Because it's a 516-mile round trip. Starting and finishing in Inverness in the far north of Scotland, it closely follows Scotland's scenic coastline, offering breathtaking views which each seem more impressive than the last.
See if you can spot the fabled monster of Loch Ness as you set off, working your way around the coast until you stumble across John O'Groats, famous for being almost the most northerly point of mainland Britain and 876 miles from Land's End in the very South of England. Don't forget to take your photo with the famous John O'Groats signpost while you're there.
Walk the bracing cliffs at Caithness and stroll the pristine beaches of Sutherland. Pencil in a good week to complete this trip, to make sure you get the most from it. See Visit Scotland for more details.
The North East 250
If 500 miles seems a little excessive for your first voyage, perhaps start with the North East 250 to ease you into your camper van road trips.
Circling the Highlands, you can start in many places, including The Spittal of Glenshee and Aberdeen.
You can take in whisky distilleries (you'd be well advised to take an evening off the driving if you head here because it's moreish stuff!), and lose yourself in the impressive Cairngorms National Park, which is actually twice the size of the Lake District.
Visit stately homes and castles, including the Queen's Scottish residence Balmoral, just over an hour from Aberdeen, and perhaps even pop into the Walkers Shortbread shop in Aviemore to feed your sweet tooth.
While you could do this route in a day, there are plenty of reasonably priced caravan parks along the way in fantastic coastal locations to make your trip last a few days and give you more happy memories.
Visit the North East 250 website to find out more about planning this route.
Explore the West Coast
Heading to the West Highlands of Scotland and a beautiful road trip from Glencoe to Fort William.
Drive your camper through an ancient volcano along the route through the glen before arriving in picturesque Fort William, a coastal town nestled in the shadow of Ben Nevis. It is from here that you can witness the spectacle of the UK's tallest mountain, and maybe if you're feeling energetic, you could tackle a hike up the mountain? No, me neither!
Perhaps a spot of seafood by the waters of Loch Linnhe instead, while you take in the atmosphere of the town dubbed the Outdoor Capital of the UK.
Time permitting, many stunning locations should be featured in any west coast adventure. Including the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Without a doubt, one of the most magnificent bridges in Scotland. If you time your visit well, you can even see the Jacobite steam train making its way across. If you want to increase your odds, check out West Coast Railway's website for timetables.
Firth of Forth
Go forth across the Forth Bridge over the Firth of Forth! Get used to the word "Forth" if you head here.
Seriously though, no driving tour of Scotland is complete without crossing the newly-completed Queensferry Crossing as you drive north from Edinburgh into Fife.
It sits alongside the Forth Road Bridge and the Forth Bridge. Just before heading on to the crossing, stop off at the Forth Bridges Viewpoint to get a magnificent view of all three bridges across the estuary because it really is quite a sight to behold, especially when you consider that each bridge was built in a different century.
Use this as a route to St. Andrews along the coastal roads if you fancy a spot of golf at the world-renowned golf course. Again, there are plenty of campervan-friendly caravan parks along the coast, so why not park up for the night and admire the incredible scenery.
The Seven Cities
If you're a fan of city breaks, why not visit all of Scotland's 7 cities in one trip? Experience the natural Scottish way of life in each city, Edinburgh, Stirling, Dundee, Glasgow, Perth, Inverness and Aberdeen.
If someone suggests a city break in Scotland, you immediately think of Edinburgh, but each of the other cities has its own atmosphere, charm, history and culture.
They are all very accessible, with some fantastic driving roads to travel between each of them. The other great benefit of being in your campervan is the sheer choice of caravan parks near to each city, allowing you to stay just outside each city, for far less money than it would cost for a hotel.
The Malt Whisky Trails
If you were asked to name something Scotland was famous for, you would be pretty sure that malt whisky would be high on the list!
So why not follow the Malt Whisky Trail, a series of nine distilleries across the Speyside whisky region between Forres and Glenlivet. The trail features famous names such as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Glen Moray, and some smaller, more intimate producers.
Find out more about the history of one of Scotland's most famous industries, meet the masters of the craft, buy some bottles of single malt at the source to enjoy at the end of your campervan road trip, and perhaps sample a wee dram along the way.
Be careful if you're driving through. It might be worth designating a driver for this particular tour! Visit Malt Whisky Trail for more details.
Bag some Munros
Yes, Munro bagging is really a thing! Let me explain. There are 282 mountains in Scotland with a peak of at least 3000ft, compiled into a list by a mountaineer called Sir Hugh Munro in the 19th century.
These mountains are dubbed Munros, the tallest of which is Ben Nevis, and reaching the summit of one is known as bagging. Munro bagging has become something of a Scottish pastime, with the ultimate aim to conquer all 282 of them.
While this is perhaps a rather unlikely achievement during your campervan tour, if mountaineering is your thing, then pencil a few in along your journey because you can guarantee there will be some near to wherever you happen to be in Scotland.
With it being such a popular pastime, you're sure to find a friendly caravan park not too far away from the Munros you've set your sights on. To learn more, see Visit Scotland.
Rest and be Thankful
The A83 is almost 100 miles long and connects Glasgow with the south-west of Scotland, and it's fair to say that few arterial routes are quite as incredible as this one.
One of the most famous parts of this journey is the Rest and be Thankful pass, so named after a commemorative stone placed by soldiers upon completing a military road there in the mid 18th century.
The pass is known for its dramatic views, stunning scenery and moody weather, and it also suffers from landslides surprisingly often.
You are guaranteed an eventful and awe-inspiring journey as you wind your van along the pass. Before you visit, check the weather conditions and ensure there are no closures due to landslides, but there is usually a diversion in place if this is the case.
If you happen to fall in love with the pass as many of its visitors do, there are places to park larger vehicles such as motorhomes or campervans overnight for a reasonable fee.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
Renowned for its breathtaking views and rugged landscape, Loch Lomond is a crucial destination for any Scottish road trip. Located close to the Rest and be Thankful route above, it makes to tick both off your list together.
Loch Lomond sits on the boundary between Scotland's high and lowlands and measures 36km in length and 8km wide. It is nearly double the size of any other loch in Scotland and holds the largest inland water body in the UK.
Simply put, there is not enough time to discover all that this wondrous spot offers. This does mean that if you are looking for scenic footpaths, heart-pumping cycle trails, or awe-inspiring locations, you are spoiled for choice.
There are too many walks and hikes to mention in detail. But here are the top three we recommend fitting into your visit to Loch Lomond.
The Devil's Pulpit comes straight at the top of the list. It's a 100-foot deep gorge where the river at the base runs blood red! Unfortunately, this can't be attributed to being a supernatural phenomenon. But owes its red hue to the sandstone it runs across. Still, this makes for a great photo opportunity.
Next is one for those looking for a little adventure. Get your climbing gear together and head to Ben Lomond for a 7-mile walk to the summit. Best to schedule around 5 hours for the climb. The most popular path to the top is the Tourist Path which is accessed from Rowardennan car park. There are many paths up to suit mountain bikers or those looking for a chilled family walk alike. Ben Lomond doesn't satisfy you'll be pleased to learn that there are a further 21 Munros and 19 Corbetts to conquer. Best get those boots on!
Looking for some family-friendly activities to mix into your day? Climb the trees in style with Go Ape Aberfoyle, book a cruise down the loch, or even a trip to Buchanan Castle golf club for a few rounds. Undoubtedly something for everyone.
Ready to Get Started?
There is simply so much to do in Scotland, and this post just scratches the surface.
Seeing all these sights by camper van is one of the most intimate ways to see the real Scotland, and also one of the most cost-effective ways because campsites start from less than £10 a night, in some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful locations.
Even if you aren't lucky enough to have your own campervan to climb aboard and head north right this moment, check out one of our VW Campervan's so you don't miss out.
Why should you sit in a hotel in the city when you can just load up one of our vans, hit the road and explore the outer reaches of this glorious country?