May 21, 2021 4 min read

Kylesku Bridge on NC500 By Cameron Prentice

Kylesku Bridge on NC500 By Cameron Prentice

Beautiful coastal trails, rolling hills, glittering expanses of open water – Scotland really has it all. The awe inspiring, ever changing landscapes on offer make it a cyclists heaven. This has led to an expansive list of catalogued routes spanning from the Firth of Forth all the way to the Outer Hebrides and everywhere in between.

We’ve narrowed the list done to five routes to help inspire your next adventure!

1. The Hebridean Way:

Luskentyre Beach from Visit Scotland

Luskentyre Beach from Visit Scotland

Start – Vatersay | Finish – Butt of Lewis | Distance – 185 Miles

Following part of the National Cycle Network Route 780, this spectacular, long-distance route spans the length of the rugged Outer Hebrides. The route hops between 10 islands, using six causeways and two ferries. This route begins on the island of Vatersay which lies on the southern tip of the archipelago and navigates north, passing paradise beaches and the Calanais Standing Stones all the way to the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse. The Hebridean Way can take anywhere from 4-7 days, dependant on how tempted you are by the various attractions. The route is home to some of the UKs most spectacular beaches including Luskentyre Sands – one of Scotlands best kept secrets.

Find out more about The Hebridean Way here.

Watch as Mark Beaumont complete the ride in under 24 hours:

2. Coast to Coast

Forth Bridge by Kenny Lam

Forth Bridge by Kenny Lam

Start – Annan | Finish – South Queensferry | Distance – 124 Miles

Coast to Coast (C2C) is one of the newest long-distance cycle routes in Scotland and runs just over 120 miles through the wonderful rolling countryside of southern Scotland. Enjoy two-three days of riding from Annan on the Solway Firth to South Queensferry on the Firth of Forth. The C2C is a great way to experience the lowlands of Scotland and is linked by three beautiful river valleys, the Annan, the Tweed, and the Esk. The route features two challenging climbs, through the Moorfoot Hills and over the Devil’s Beef Tub. It might be a struggle to think of a much more picturesque end to a cycle than this one, on the shores of the iconic Forth Bridge.

Find out more on the Coast to Coast route here.

3. Five Ferries:

Ettrick Bay, Isle of Bute from Visit Scotland

Ettrick Bay, Isle of Bute from Visit Scotland

Start/Finish – CalMac ferry terminal, Ardrossan | Distance – 70 Miles

It is often claimed that West is best, this may be true, at least when it comes to Scotland’s best cycling routes. Five Ferries is another popular cycling route on Scotland’s west coast. The 72 Mile tour tackles two islands (Bute and Arran) and two peninsulas (Cowal and Kintyre) – linked by CalMac ferries and utilising their free bike carriages. The route takes in some breathtaking Argyll scenery from Islands, sea and mountains. Five Ferries can be split over several short days or one whole day challenge if feeling brave - just be sure to keep to your timings so you don’t miss the ferry!

Find out more on the Five Ferries route here.

4. North Coast 500

NC500 by Challenge Sophie

NC500 by Challenge Sophie

Start – Inverness | Finish – Inverness | Distance – 500 Miles-ish

Often referred to as Scotland’s very own Route 66, the NC500 explores 500 miles of stunning coastline, taking you to remote corners of Scotland’s north-west. First created for drivers, the route has become a popular route for cyclists. Most choose to navigate the route over the course of a week, although if you want to test your limits, some take on the challenge over a long weekend. The circular route is scattered with some very challenging sections including Bealach na Bà, branded as one of Britain’s toughest climbs. Never-ending back roads and gorgeous bends through some of Scotland’s finest coastal scenery are just a few things you can expect from this challenging cycle.

Find out more on the NC500 here.

For motivation, here you can see the challenge completed over three days:

5. Four Abbeys

Melrose Abbey by Visit Scotland

Melrose Abbey by Visit Scotland

Start/Finish – St Boswells, Melrose, Kelso, or Jedburgh | Distance – 55 Miles

This challenging route links four of Scotland’s famous Abbeys in Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh. The history and wonder that you can experience along this route make it one of Scotland’s most special. This 55 mile circular cycle route of the Scottish Borders utilises mainly quiet minor roads and cycle lanes, allowing you to enjoy the wonderful views of the countryside surrounding the rivers Tweed and Teviot. The rolling borders hills make for a a couple steep incline and a solid day on the saddle.

Find out more on the Four Abbey’s route here.


If you think we’ve missed any or want to share your favourite route, let us know in the comments!

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