Is it better to do the North Coast 500 in a motorhome or campervan?

Highland Auto Campers Stocklist

So you’ve decided you want to drive the North Coast 500 or tour Scotland in a motorhome, but is this the best way to do it? Whilst there is no denying a motorhome is a great way to holiday, will you be able to access all areas in a motorhome?

First, let’s talk you through the differences between a campervan and a motorhome. This should help you decide which will make your Scottish road trip one to remember!

North Coast 500 in a motorhome

What is the difference between a campervan and a motorhome?

What is a Campervan?

There is no official standard that determines what a campervan or motorhome is. A campervan is usually based on a standard panel van, like the VW Transporter, or the Ford Transit Custom. These are generally only a bit bigger than the average family car. With widths no more than 2.1m, they are easy to drive and park. In fact very much like a large family car!

A campervan is usually fitted with a rock and roll bed and a small kitchen with a hob, fridge and storage. When you’re ready to go to bed the rear seat opens up into a good-sized double bed. During the day the floor space is quite generous, giving a roomy living space to relax, eat and socialise.

Campervan sales scotland

What is a Motorhome?

A Motorhome is generally bigger than a campervan. Often based on a much larger vehicle such as the Fiat Ducato or similar sized van. They are generally between 2.1m to 2.5m in width and come in lengths anywhere between 5.4m to 8m. They will usually have at least 1 fixed bed. Extra beds can take the form of bunk beds which may fold away. Some can be converted from the travel seats or dining area.

Think of a motorhome as a caravan with a cab and engine on the front! They will have a kitchen, extra storage space and larger appliances. It’s worth noting that floor space can be surprisingly small in many motorhomes. So if you are looking for a social space for several people bear this in mind when comparing layouts.

Also, consider if you will be able to drive a large motorhome. Some motorhomes are over 3.5 tons so need a C1 driving licence, which not everybody has.

motorhome landscape journey 1511765

When we were choosing vehicles for our hire fleet, we looked at many options for vehicles to use. We have to say from the start we were very tempted by the larger motorhomes. Especially with their extra luxuries. But after seeing so many damaged motorhomes, we decided a small campervan was the best option. It’s also worth noting that some of the roads on the NC 500 are not advised for large motorhomes. This means some of the best sections such as the famous Bealach Na Ba pass are not suitable for motorhomes.

That is why we chose the Auto-Campers Ford transit campervan. As it offers a balance of luxury and space and is better suited to the Highland roads.



If you want to experience all the hidden gems of the Scottish Highlands, then hire a campervan.

If you are confident driving a larger vehicle and are happy keeping to the main roads, then consider a motorhome.

If you would like more details about our all-inclusive campervan hire. Why not head over to our hire page for more details

If you would like more information about the styles of campervans and motorhomes. Why not check out this Out and about live article.

For more advice about driving in Scotland, please visit CaMPA the official campervan and motorhome association. 

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