Edinburgh to Inverness Road Trip: Castles, Lakes and Epic Wilds

Difficulty

600 km

Distance

7+

Recom. Days

General

Trip type

Cora Harrison

Freelance writer for Indie Campers, currently trying to find herself in Indonesia but without much luck. Enjoys exploring weird and wonderful world cuisine — the less identifiable, the better.

Person standing on the right side of the picture admiring the National Park landscape in this Scotland Road Trip

Edinburgh to Inverness Road Trip Itinerary: A Round-Trip

Scotland is a land of kilts and ceilidhs, yes, but also ancient castles, remote islands, rugged mountain peaks, thick green forest, and vast, shimmering lochs. What better way to experience a place like that than with a road trip from Edinburgh to Inverness?

Set off in your Indie Camper on an adventure that begins in Scotland’s unique capital, Edinburgh, with its streets steeped in history and pubs filled with music. Then off into the countryside, to the natural paradise of the Trossachs and glorious Loch Lomond. Next, head north towards Fort William into more untamed wilds. 

And finally, finish this short road trip from Edinburgh to Inverness with the Britannia's most famous natural landmark, Loch Ness, home to everybody’s favourite mythical monster. 

Person standing on the right side of the picture admiring the National Park landscape in this Scotland Road Trip
Pick-up in
Edinburgh depot
1

Begin with the eclectic charms of Edinburgh

For history and mystery, panoramic views from craggy hill tops, and dimly lit pubs filled with the sound of impromptu ceilidhs, nowhere does it better than Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh.

Spread over seven hills, its dramatic cityscape made up of countless monuments, rich in legend and lore, is perfectly complemented by its cheeky sense of humour and full commitment to having fun. Begin your Edinburgh to Inverness road trip as you mean to go on with a visit to Auld Reekie.

Street in Edinburgh, the the starting point of your road trip to Inverness

Edinburgh’s best explored by strolling. Wander the refined elegance of the Georgian New Town and explore the ramshackle, hodge-podge of the medieval Old Town and the Royal Mile. Still got some energy? Power on up Arthur’s Seat for spectacular views. Or relax in Princes Street Gardens instead. 

When night falls, perhaps a ghost tour is in order? Or head to a traditional pub in Grassmarket, for a cocktail on George Street, or to the buzzing port district of Leith.

Visiting

Edinburgh

1

Recom. Days

Main route

15 km

from Edinburgh depot

20min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Edinburgh Castle

Historic fortress with views of the whole city

Real Mary King’s Close

17th-century subterranean labyrinth

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Queen’s official residence in Scotland

Eat at

The Witchery

€€€€

Gothic dining in chic 16th-century building

Fhior

€€€€

Scandi-style cuisine by husband and wife duo

The Scran & Scallie

€€€

Gastro pub by two Michelin-starred chefs

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Nicolson Square Car Park

€€€

Open 24/7, no height restrictions

Stay at

Edinburgh Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

€€€

Bus ride from city centre

2

The rustic delights of the Trossachs

Next up on your trip from Edinburgh to Inverness, trade Edinburgh’s cobbled roads for winding trails through thick forest and along glinting lochs.

This is the Trossachs, known as the Highlands in miniature. A land beloved by Romantic poets and roamed by plucky Scottish outlaw and folk hero, Rob Roy MacGregor — whose supposed grave can be visited in Balquhidder. Check out the epitaph: “MacGregor despite them.” Rob Roy’s very last middle finger to the authorities.

The Trossachs is home to three lochs — because why settle for one when you can have three? Go canoeing on Loch Venachar — or for a dip, if you’re brave. Snap an impressive photo of the glassy waters of Loch Achray. Or take a steam boat out on Loch Katrine.

Fed up of lochs? Pay a visit to the haunting ruins of Inchmahome Priory in the middle of the Lake of Menteith, with its stormy past including providing refuge to Mary Queen of Scots and King Robert the Bruce.

Visiting

Trossachs

1-2

Recom. Days

Main route

95 km

from Edinburgh

1h30min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Loch Lomond

Britain’s largest lake, home to Ben Lomond mountain

Hamilton Toy Collection

Nostalgic collection including dolls and model trains

Ben A’an

Climb to the summit for beautiful views of the National Park.

Eat at

Lake of Menteith Hotel and Restaurant

€€€

Loch views and regional dishes.

MHOR Fish

€€€

Upmarket fish and chip shop in Callander.

Venachar Lochside

€€

Lochside dining in Callander.

Stay at

Cashel Campsite

€€€

Beautiful campsite on the shores of Loch Lomond.

3

Keep it wild with a visit to Fort William

People don’t come to Fort William for the normal urban pursuits of coffee drinking and perusing the shops. Your next destination on your way to Inverness is the self-proclaimed outdoor capital of the UK and gateway to Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. 

And it’s not just about nature. Fort William and its surroundings have a dark history, the site of an enormous massacre in 1692, and it is undeniably something desolate and ghostly about this landscape.

One of the best ways to see the area is to hike part of the Great Glen Way. The whole track is 125 km, but you could try the stretch from Fort William to Gairlochy. Or if you’re up to it, attempt the Ben Nevis Summit. 

Not feeling it? Instead hop aboard The Jacobite, a steam train also known as the Hogwarts Express, and which travels to Mallaig and back. And at the end the day, finish off with some of the finest whisky in the world at the Ben Nevis distillery.

Visiting

Fort William

2

Recom. Days

Main route

150 km

from Trossachs

2h

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Glencoe

Picturesque glen, once the site of a bloody massacre.

Neptune’s Staircase

Staircase of locks along the Caledonian Canal.

Inverlochy Castle

Castle ruins and site of two important battles.

Eat at

Inverlochy Castle

€€€

Grand restaurant inside a castle.

Lime Tree An Ealdhain

€€€€

Rustic restaurant and art gallery.

Blas

€€€€

Modern cooking with a distillery in the cellar.

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Viewforth Parking

€€

Short walk from centre.

Stay at

Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park

€€€

5 minutes from Fort William.

4

Inverness and its infamous lake-dwelling monster

Leaving Fort William behind, continue on from Edinburgh to Inverness by taking the A82. This drive takes in some of the most spectacular scenery of your journey so far — by which we mean Loch Ness, of course.

Driving along the side of this vast body of murky water, pull over at one of the many viewpoints and gaze into those deep, dark, depths. Admit it. If you were going to spot a monster anywhere, it would be here.

And then there’s the capital of the Highlands itself. Inverness, sat where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth, is a down-to-earth, cheerful city, and the perfect base for exploring nearby sites. Pop in to see its cathedral, peruse the Victorian Market, and visit Leakey’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookstore swiped straight from Harry Potter.

Then head off to see Culloden Battlefield, the site of the final Jacobite Rising. And literature lovers should also visit Cawdor castle with its ties to Shakespeare’s dark Scottish tragedy, Macbeth.

Visiting

Inverness

1-2

Recom. Days

Main route

115 km

from Fort William

1h45min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Black Isle

Peninsula with charming villages and dolphins pods.

Clava Cairns

Ancient stone burial mounds over 4,000 years old.

Dalwhinnie

Small village famous for its whisky and distillery.

Eat at

Boath House

€€€

Michelin-starred country house and restaurant.

Café 1

€€

Chilled-out bistro with international menu.

Mustard Seed

€€

Scottish and French cuisine with balcony.

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Raining Stairs Parking

Free

Free parking close to centre.

Stay at

Bunchrew Caravan Park

€€€

Waterfront camping 15 minutes from city.

Drop-off in
Edinburgh depot

100 Miles

from Inverness

3h15

drive