Cycling Scotland: The best routes for cycling tours.

Cycling Scotland: The best routes for cycling tours.

Scotland's beautiful landscape is perfect for cycling tours. Open countryside, forest trails, breathtaking coastlines, and of course how could you forget the Lochs? If you want to tour Scotland then there is only one way to do it and that is by bike.

Cycling Scotland

Bike touring can be different for each person. Some prefer to pack everything they need to be self-sufficient for a few days, including a tent and cooker, where some take the opportunity to precisely plan their routes from point-to-point with a warm bed and shower at the end of each day. Whatever takes your fancy, there is an exhilarating route waiting for you.

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Five Ferries Challenge

The 72 Mile tour tackles two islands (Bute and Arran) and two peninsulas (Cowal and Kintyre) with a CalMac Island Hopscotch free ferry ticket for cyclists which makes it very accessible. The popular touring route can be split into shorter days for a multi-touring trip or done in a whole day if feeling brave. There are various options of routes on each so that you can suit it to your ride.  

The ride starts at Ardrossan, the Brodick will take you to Lochranza. After this, it’s time to hop on the ferry. 

  • Lochranza to Claoniag on the Kintyre Peninsula.
  • Tarbert to Portavadie on the Cowal Peninsula 
  • The final ferry is Rothesay to Wemyss on the Mainland.

The final stretch is demanding ride back to Ardrossan, this can be cut out via train to Glasgow.

Five Ferries Challenge - FionaOutdoors

Five Ferries Challenge route - FionaOutdoors


Hebridean Way Cycle Route

The 185-mile Hebridean way crosses 10 islands, 6 causeways and two ferries which are spread along in the Archipelago, the route will take 6 days so you will need to pack well and be prepared! The waymarked route on the western Isles will allow you to explore the beautiful countryside, rough and rugged terrains while enjoying the fresh breeze of the coastline. The ride starts at Castlebay, and finishes at the Butt of Lewis and can be done both ways.

If you want some motivation, watch Mark Beaumont complete the gruelling challenge in under 24hrs below


North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 (NC500) is one of the most amazing cycling tours in Scotland. It's an official route created by the North Highland Initiative to “bring the best of the North Highlands of Scotland into one iconic tour”. The 516-mile tour will start and finish at Inverness, it will take you through some breathtaking and exhilarating trails which will lead you around the rugged North Scotland hillside. 

There are various routes you can take while on the NC500 which will allow you to explore and discover, in addition to making it easier or harder along the way. The challenging mixture of terrain, weather conditions and various activities along the way means that it can be enjoyed by all. Allowing you to take in your surroundings and explore throughout.

North Coast 500

North Coast 500 route

The Capital Trail

The Capital Touring route was named ‘Best New Trail 2015’ for its challenging terrain and exploration around the hillside of Edinburgh. The route is for advanced and expert mountain bikers that want to try something unique in Scotland.

The 148-mile journey with 6,000 meters of climbing makes it a rewarding challenge that offers amazing potential and variety of forest roads, lanes and singletrack. The route is designed to be ridden clockwise over two days and ends with some amazing scenic views of Edinburgh that not many people will have seen before.