A couple cycling take in the view over Sands of Wright, South Ronaldsay, Orkney
A couple cycling near Newark Bay, Mainland, Orkney
Cyclists on the beach near Easting, North Ronaldsay, Orkney
Taking a rest at Taversoe Tuick, Chambered Cairn, Rousay, Orkney
It’s almost as if Orkney was created especially for cyclists. The landscape of many of the islands is flat and smooth with occasional hills to test your skill and stamina. Your reward for making it to the top? Spectacular views out over the neighbouring islands and sea or, if you’re on the Mainland, the expansive waters of Scapa Flow.
The archipelago certainly offers variety with lots of sights to stop at and explore, including the archaeological treasures of the Neolithic UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Mainland. They act as great staging points along your route and also give you a chance to have a quick swig from your water bottle and re-energise with a banana.
As an added incentive, all bikes go free on inter-island ferries and there’s no need to book passage in advance. Simply turn up and queue to board with foot passengers. Alternatively, a cycle to St Margaret’s Hope on South Ronaldsay not only lets you see historic sunken wrecks in Scapa Flow and Second World War barriers built by Winston Churchill; you’ll get to visit four different islands without getting your wheels wet or the need of a ferry.
There's so much to see on the island of Hoy that it's recommended you stay overnight. With a name derived from the Norse word for 'high,' in many respects Hoy is the odd one out of the Orcadian islands and skerries due to its varied and rolling terrain. The north is marked by tall, towering cliffs while the south slopes down to the sea to the old anchorages of the British Navy and naval cemetery at Scapa Flow.
The local roads are well surfaced and quiet and in many cases, like on the island of Rousay, they skirt the coastline so you can access all corners of the islands. Most villages also have a local shop or café to keep you fuelled on your cycle.
Browse the listings for bike hire shops and cycle routes to plan your cycling trip on Orkney.