Press Area.


Number of travellers:
2 adults, 2 children

Vehicle type:  
Carado T459

Travel period:
3 weeks in August 2023

    Starting point: 
Leutkirch im Allgäu (Deutschland)

Malans (CH), Calais (FR), Dover, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Inverness, North Coast, Glasgow, Paris

North Coast 500



"How did you decide on Scotland?"...

A friend asked me shortly before the start of our three-week journey. I had to think for a moment about why we chose the northernmost region of Great Britain, and I came up with many reasons.

After traveling through Cornwall with our motorhome in the summer of 2019 and being so enthusiastic about the way of traveling as well as the country and its people, we already knew back then that our next long vacation had to lead us back to this country with the motorhome. And since my husband has always wanted to go to Scotland because he's fascinated by the landscape, our next destination was quickly decided. The climate was also a decisive factor because we have no desire for temperatures exceeding 40 degrees in the south. However, when we had another child in 2020, our travel plans had to be postponed for the time being because we didn't want to undertake the long journey with a baby.

In August 2023, the time had finally come. The dream of Scotland had come true, and it was SO worth it. I can only say: Caribbean beaches, magical Highlands, deserted areas, countless rainbows, the sea in its most beautiful colors, no midges in sight, and quite a bit of luck with the weather. In the entire three weeks, we only had one rainy afternoon. Scotland was really kind to us.

The Route

From Upper Austria, we headed through Leutkirch, where we picked up our travel companion, the Carado T459, then made a stop in Malans, Switzerland, before reaching Calais. From there, we took the ferry to Dover, and our journey continued through Cambridge (what a beautiful place to study) and Durham (following in Harry Potter's footsteps) on our way to Edinburgh. The journey to Scotland took four days. From there, we headed to Inverness, where we embarked on the centerpiece of our trip: twelve days along the North Coast 500, or NC500, to see the country at its very best. After that, we made our way back through Glasgow to Dover, Calais, and finally Paris, where we explored the city for the first (!) time. After a two-day stay, we headed directly back to Leutkirch, reluctantly returning "our" motorhome. In total, we were on the road for 21 days, which was the perfect duration for this route.

The motorhome

We opted for the Carado T459, a semi-integrated motorhome that felt like home from the very beginning. Modern, sleek design meets functionality – for the four of us, it was the perfect travel companion. Despite its compact 739 cm length, it was a true storage wonder. With a spacious rear garage and thoughtfully placed cabinets, there was more than enough space for the luggage of a four-person family. What we found particularly ingenious was the large, cozy living area that could be transformed into a generous living-dining room with just a few simple steps. The rear seats could be easily converted into two benches, the driver's seats could be turned around, and in the middle, there was a height and side-adjustable table that could be folded up or used open.

An absolute highlight was the bathroom with a shower, an indispensable comfort for us to not be reliant on campground facilities. Thanks to this feature, we had the opportunity to stay off-grid for up to three days and be independent (Note: In Scotland, you can't just park anywhere, but there are many fantastic places where overnight stays are allowed).

We also felt quite comfortable in the two double beds. One of them was a dropdown bed that could be raised to the ceiling during the day. The other was located in a separate bedroom. This was especially practical for us since our youngest family member usually fell asleep earlier while we played Phase 10 and other games with our 11-year-old daughter until late at night. We also liked the kitchen and its layout very much. Everything was within arm's reach – delightful! The large refrigerator with a freezer compartment is worth mentioning, especially as we appreciated it greatly in the far north, where supermarkets are sparse, and we had to buy provisions in bulk.

The road trip

The North Coast 500, or "NC500," is an 800 km long route along the coast in the northernmost part of Scotland, away from mass tourism and incredibly diverse. The combination of the Highlands and the sea was perfect for us. The drives from stop to stop were a highlight each time because the scenery is simply breathtakingly beautiful and so varied.


"The journey is the destination – in no vacation before have I felt this saying so strongly."


It's particularly noteworthy that we covered so many kilometers on this trip (a total of over 6,000) and were not traveling by plane. This allowed us to realize how far we actually were from home. It was exciting for all of us to observe how the vegetation and landscape gradually changed as we drove further north. This journey made us feel the meaning of the phrase "The journey is the destination" in a way that none of our previous vacations did.

Not only was Scotland itself impressive, but also the many unforgettable moments we experienced on the way there and back.

We used the "park4night" app to search for (almost) all of our parking spots, which proved to be very organized and helpful. We stayed almost exclusively at campsites or crofter sites and paid for our accommodations. Furthermore, we did our best to buy products from local producers to give something back to the country. Scotland provides well-maintained roads, parking areas, and waste disposal facilities, and most attractions are free to access.

Calais, Cambridge and Cromwell

When we arrived late in the evening at the port of Calais, we had the same luck as in 2019 to find an overnight spot right in the parking area within the premises. This time, we made our booking online (about an hour before our arrival) through Direct Ferries. However, it would have also been possible to purchase tickets on-site. The next morning, we set off for Dover just before 10 a.m. The coastal landscape around Calais is very picturesque, and the chalk cliffs at Dover are a must-see. I can only recommend taking the ferry (during daylight hours!). We had particularly good experiences this time with Irish Ferries. With a large play area and pretty good deck views, it appealed to us more than P&O.

After our arrival in Dover, we immediately headed towards Scotland. After a brief detour to Cambridge (I would love to take a closer look someday), we eventually reached Cromwell. By the way, the campsites in England were quite crowded. After some effort, we finally found an overnight spot at the Milestone Caravan Park. Not exactly cheap, but very well-maintained!

Following the Harry Potter trail in Durham and finally by the sea in Bamburgh

The next day, we continued our journey north, with our destination being Bamburgh, our first seaside stop. The children could hardly wait. At noon, we made a stop in Durham to explore the beautiful old city and the cathedral (entrance fee: £5). Scenes for the Harry Potter movies (Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban) were filmed here. The church and the cloisters were extremely impressive and definitely worth a visit. A little tip: Don't navigate directly to the cathedral; we felt like we were driving through a pedestrian zone. Eventually, we found ample parking spaces in front of Durham University (Elvet Riverside I).

Alnwick Castle, another hotspot for Harry Potter fans, was also on our route, but we decided to skip it because our little one was really eager to get to the sea.

Around 5 p.m., we reached Budle Farm Campsite – a simple field but with a fantastic location right by the sea. Until the evening, we spent our time on the huge sandy beach, where we stretched our legs after the long drive, tried out the drone, dug in the sand, and, of course, collected seashells.

A day in Edinburgh

The next day, we set off for Edinburgh early to see as much of the city as possible. Again, almost all the campsites were fully booked. Eventually, we managed to secure a pitch at Mortonhall Caravan & Camping Park. It was a beautifully landscaped site with a large playground and a bus connection to the center of Edinburgh right at the doorstep – perfect!

As always, when we have limited time in a city, we opted for a Hop-On-Hop-Off tour. This is the best way for us to get an overview of the city in a short time and get a sense of it. Plus, it's great fun for the kids. This time, we even did the tour twice in a row – once with the audioguide and once without. We were extremely impressed with Edinburgh and it would definitely be a worthwhile destination for a city trip.

Now it begins – The first leg of the NC500:

After a three-hour drive through the Highlands (although they were still quite low at this point), we reached Inverness, the starting point of the NC500. After a quick coffee break, we set off for the first stop on our Scotland journey: Brora.

Originally, we had planned to visit Dunrobin Castle. It's a beautiful castle with a stunning seaside garden and, with 189 rooms, the largest residential building in the northern Highlands. However, we drove right past it and then spontaneously decided against it as we all no longer felt like sightseeing. Instead, we went directly to the small but lovely Brora Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite and spent the rest of the day on the infinitely long, beautiful, and deserted beach. To get there, we had to cross the local golf course. By the way, our kids decided to turn their Scotland vacation into a beach vacation and went swimming in every body of water, regardless of temperature and wind strength. 😉

On the next stop: Durness

The next day, along the coastal road, we continued from Wick, John O'Groats, and Thurso to Durness. We didn't find the northwest particularly noteworthy. It's only shortly before Bettyhill that the landscape becomes spectacular, and every kilometer is a delight.


"When you think it can't get any more beautiful, the view after the next curve takes your breath away again – that's how we experienced our road trip."


If we were to do the route again, we would probably opt for the route through Altnaharra to Tongue through the inland instead. The area around Durness is wonderfully beautiful! However, since it was a bit colder, very windy, and cloudy, we only spent one night at a motorhome parking lot (H796+64C, Durness, Lairg IV27) right by the beach. The neighboring campsite, Sango Sands Oasis, is picturesque and certainly a place to linger longer in good weather. On the way, we made a brief stop at Balnakeil Beach. That's also a fantastic place to stay!

Paradise found: Three days at Oldshoremore Beach

After just a three-quarter hour picturesque drive, we reached the place we will probably never forget. Looking back, this was the absolute highlight of our trip – nestled in gentle dunes, surrounded by rugged cliffs between sheep and horse pastures: Oldshoremore Beach. Here, we spent two nights at a newly established site (5 pounds) with breathtaking views. It was with a heavy heart that we had to tear ourselves away from this place (but we will definitely return).

Heading to Achmelvich Beach for a five-night stay

I booked the next campsite a few days in advance, specifically for five nights. Just as with our first road trip through Southern England, we realized that it's especially important for the children to arrive somewhere and stay longer. Without knowing how beautiful Achmelvich Bay is, I booked a spot at the Shore Caravan Site right by the beach on a whim. It's a simple, wonderfully located, family-run campsite with a small shop and kitchen. Tip: Try the chips+cheese 😊


"Is there a sense of arrival on a road trip? ABSOLUTELY!"


It was a wonderfully relaxing time – even for us adults. We finally had time to read, played boules on the beach every day, climbed around the surrounding rocks, made bead bracelets, and even saw dolphins. And I went into the sea – with a wetsuit, but I went in.

The bright turquoise sea, the white, Caribbean-like sandy beach, and the barren rocks all around. The scenery was simply incredibly beautiful. Often, I just sat there and gazed out at the sea for hours. A place where you can easily stay for six days and more.

Our final seaside stop and our first Scottish breakfast

At the Sands Caravan and Camping Park overlooking the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides, we would have liked to stay longer than just one night. A huge playground, sand dunes, a beautiful long beach, and a nice restaurant with pretty good vegetarian haggis left nothing to be desired. While there was more tourism here, it was still very spacious.

Heading south and one more breathtaking highlight at the end

On the second-to-last day in Scotland, we drove through Inverness, past Loch Ness, to the Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter fans know what's up). Conclusion: The route to Inverness and thus the last part of the NC500 was really picturesque. However, Loch Ness can be skipped. Incredibly touristy, not a single free parking spot, and not particularly special in any way. The area around the Glenfinnan Viaduct was also crowded (which we weren't used to from the north). So, we didn't stay there long and instead enjoyed the area near Loch Eilt before heading towards Glencoe, where we unexpectedly had a fantastic ending to our trip.


"Loch Ness and the Glenfinnan Viaduct – you can do it, but you don't have to."


In Glencoe, we found a parking lot (Loch Achtriochtan Car Park) for overnight parking that left us speechless. Surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, a lake, a stream, and countless sheep. Absolutely stunning!

Bye bye Scotland! We'll definitely see you again!

The drive through Glen Coe on the last day made saying goodbye really tough. One postcard-worthy view after another. Who knows, maybe we'll come back here for hiking. We would have loved to see the valley from above!

We booked the last campsite in the UK the night before. The Lowther Holiday Park, a huge campsite by a river, is near Lowther Castle, which we visited for a walk on that day. A beautiful place that is gradually being renovated.

Back to Dover and ferry to Calais

The entire next day, we drove in several stages to Dover, from where we set off for Calais at sunset. We spent most of the journey on deck, and the view was a dream!

Since there was no space available at the parking lot at the port during the return trip, we slept at the Aire de camping-car Calais, just as we did in 2019.

For the first time in Paris

For the return journey, we planned two more nights in Paris since none of us had been there before. I can recommend Camping Sandaya Paris Maisons-Laffitte - the connection to the city center is good, and the campground is nicely situated along the Seine. Paris completely enchanted me, but that's another story 😊

After 21 days of road tripping, it wasn't easy for us to return our mobile home, the Carado T459. We have so many beautiful memories from these three weeks.

It certainly won't be our last motorhome vacation - on the contrary, we can't imagine a better way to vacation. We're already dreaming of our next trip: Southern France and the French Atlantic coast would be very appealing to us. We will definitely go back to Scotland someday. We'd like to see the Isle of Skye and the Hebrides, and Oldshoremore Beach and Achmelvich Bay will certainly be on the itinerary again. I'm already looking forward to it!


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