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Ben Nevis is one of those must-do things that features near the top of many people’s Bucket List. And for good reason too, as it’s a hike that ticks all of the Big Challenge boxes: It’s a tough physical activity that you need to train hard for. It requires detailed pre-planning (including booking suitable accommodation, which we’ll discuss in a moment). And it also has to feature an obligatory slap-up post-hike meal with a glass or two of something alcoholic to celebrate your achievement.
I’d recommend that you book accommodation as short as possible a distance away from the start of the hike (which begins at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre PH33 6PF). Why? Well, the average return journey time for climbing the Ben via the main route, the Pony Track, is around 7-9hrs. By comparison, the first time I did the climb we took the route up via Càrn Mòr Dearg (the 1220m neighbour of Ben Nevis), with a largeish group of 16 people, in good clear and warm weather, returning by the Pony Track. Time taken? 11hrs return trip.
What does all this mean? Well, a day’s hike of anything between 7 and 11 hours is going to be quite tiring, no matter how fit you are. Topping and tailing this with a lengthy journey to and from your accommodation is going to be the last thing you need on the day. On the morning you’ll want to hang onto your bed for as long as possible. In the evening you’ll need to, ahem, rehydrate as quickly as you’re able.
Thankfully, even when you restrict the distance to travel, there are still lots of options to choose from. There are some excellent hotels, fab lodges, lovely AirBNBs, and picturesque campsites that have some of the best views anywhere.
If you’re ready, then let’s dive in and take a look at my recommendations.
Places to stay near Ben Nevis
In terms of the towns near Ben Nevis, there is one main one – Fort William. Fort William is around 2 miles to the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre (5mins by car), so it’s a handy location. It’s also got plenty of local amenities for the walker with bars, restaurants, outdoor gear retailers, and shops selling ‘I Climbed Ben Nevis!’ T-shirts. There are lots of accommodation options in Fort William too, so you can generally find a room even in the busier summer months.
There are other options as well if you want to get more into the countryside near Ben Nevis. In Glen Nevis itself there is an excellent campsite and also a Youth Hostel to choose from, amongst others great choices.
Hotels near Ben Nevis
I’m a big fan of Premier Inn and you too can feel just like Lenny Henry when you collapse onto one of those iconic big beds at the end of a day’s hiking. The Premier Inn hotel is located in the heart of Fort William. That makes it handy for the Ben, and very handy for your post-hike evening entertainment. If there’s a better way to fuel-up for climbing the highest mountain in the UK than a Premier Inn full breakfast, I don’t know what it is.
Premier Inn Fort William
Loch Iall, An Airds Way, Fort William, PH33 6AN
0333 777 7268
Campsite near Ben Nevis
There are lots of great campsites to choose from in this busy tourist area. One of the best (and closest) is the Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park.
There’s a restaurant and bar on-site and plenty of space available for tents, caravans/motorhomes. If you’re looking for options for glamping near Ben Nevis, then this site has you covered as well. A choice of self-catering static caravans for larger groups/families and high-spec 2 or 3 person glamping pods (with underfloor heating!) if you’re on the hunt for camping that’s a little more luxurious.
Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park
Glen Nevis, Fort William, PH33 6SX
AirBNB near Ben Nevis
Loads of options, but one of my favourites is the Hobbit House.
In the centre of Fort William, the Hobbit House is 500 yards from the Ben Nevis Distillery visitor centre, 3 miles from the start of the hike, and belongs to a former Fish ‘n’ Chip shop owner. What else do you need…?
Ben Nevis accommodation with hot tub
Yeah, I hear where you’re coming from. Big walk means tender feet. What better way to make them better than a long soak in a hot tub (possibly with a glass of something bubbly)? But is it possible to find suitable accommodation near Ben Nevis that also has a hot tub?
Well, actually, yes there is. Just on the Northern edge of Fort William (which is a small place, so it’s not far from the centre) is the Ben Nevis Holiday Park. Featuring two lodges sleeping 4 or 6 people, these each have a private hot tub on the decking area.
Ben Nevis Holiday Park
Camaghael Rd, Fort William PH33 7NF
Lodges near Ben Nevis
Just North of Fort William there are the fantastic lodges at Great Glen Holidays. These timber-built cabins have stunning views of the landscape round about. There are two options. One sleeping 8-9 people and one 6-7 people.
Great Glen Holidays
Tomacharich, Torlundy, by Fort William, PH33 6SP
Youth Hostel near Ben Nevis
The closest youth hostel is the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. This has 5-stars from tourist body VisitScotland and it’s not hard to see why. Recently constructed, this slots in beautifully to the surroundings with timber cladding and an amazing outdoor decking area with views-to-die-for. Inside it gets better. Top notch catering facilities with an open-plan living area and log-burning stove. Private en-suite rooms are available.
Glen Nevis Youth Hostel
Glen Nevis, Fort William PH33 6SY
Ben Nevis is a classic climb the everyone should tick off the list at some stage. But it isn’t for the faint-hearted and requires careful planning. Know what you’re doing and where you’re going and you’ll have a fantastic day’s hike in the Scottish Highlands. Then get back to your accommodation of choice, take your muddy boots off, and have a well-deserved rest.