Exploring Scotland by rail is one of the easiest and most eco-friendly ways to get around Scotland.
VisitScotland / Luigi Di Pasquale

Green Transport in Scotland

If you love to explore Scotland's majestic landscapes and wildlife and want to preserve them, it makes sense to reduce your carbon footprint while travelling.

Fortunately, there are plenty of green transport options for you to choose from.

Top Eco-Friendly Travel Options

Public Transport

Princes Street tram

Scotland is a small country which has an extensive public transport network. From getting around bustling towns and cities to reaching remote villages and ports, most places in Scotland can be accessed by rail, bus, coach, and ferry services. It can also be one of the most pleasant and picturesque ways of exploring. Simply sit back, relax, and take in the view.

Electric Cars

Scotland also has a wide-reaching and growing EV charging network which makes it ideal for exploring by electric car. In addition to reduce Co2 emissions, electric vehicles (EVs) are also a cost-effective way to get about with cheaper running cost than the average gas or diesel car.

Cycling

The carbon footprint of a bicycle is practically zero. What's more, some of Scotland's most beautiful areas are best explored on two wheels. There's also a choice of cycle networks spread throughout Scotland which make getting around on two wheels a breeze. Here are just a few you can explore.

  • 7Stanes - Mountain Biking - seven centres in the south of Scotland offer exhilarating mountain bike trails for all abilities as well as family-friendly routes for families
  • Edinburgh City Cycleways - explore gorgeous areas of Scotland's capital that other visitors seldom discover
  • Hebridean Way Cycling Route - this epic 185-mile (297 km) cycling adventure through the Outer Hebrides is features turquoise seascapes, white beaches and even palm trees
  • Perthshire Gravel Trails - take mountain biking to its extreme with these brand-new six-day rides, plus one epic four-day circular route though the Highlands of Perthshire

Explore On Foot

Southern Upland Way

It might not sound innovative, but there are boundless possibilities and huge benefits - not just environmental, to navigating Scotland's landscapes by walking. It's the chance to really immerse yourself in nature without the stress of getting to one location to another as fast as possible.

Fife Coastal Path - take in filming locations for The Avengers, Culross Palace, picturesque fishing villages, the iconic Forth Rail Bridge, beaches perfect for land yachting, Lady's Tower viewpoint, fresh seafood, and much more.

Whithorn Way - this newly mapped 143-mile route is a recreation of the old pilgrimage route from 1,600 years ago. It starts in buzzing Glasgow, a UNESCO Music City, and ends at the serene St Ninian's Cave.

Southern Upland Way - the UK's first coast-to-coast long-distance route cuts across towering hills, taking in the many gems of South Scotland, including Abbotsford, the home of famed novelist Sir Walter Scott.

Paddle & Snorkel Water Trails

Cullykhan Bay wooden canoe

Scotland's pristine coastline and waterways are renowned for their beauty and purity. They are also fantastic ways to get around, both above and below the surface.

Great Glen Canoe Trail - see Scotland unfold as you glide through the majestic Great Glen from Fort William to Inverness on the Caledonian Canal in your canoe, kayak or SUP. Check out Explore Highland's interactive map with useful markers such as places to spend the night, food and drink stops, things to do and safety information.

Snorkel Trails - delve beneath the waves on three underwater Berwickshire trails and discover an incredible array of marine life as thousands of gannets dive through the water beside you. Read the safety guidance and advice on the Snorkel Trails website before setting out.

Outdoor Explore - do your bit for the environment on a litter-picking kayak trip. This activity has everything; an epic kayak adventure with a special feel-good factor thanks to the knowledge that you've left a part of Scotland more beautiful than you left it.

Go Horseback (or Alpaca) Trekking

Alpaca walking

Horses and horse riding feature heavily in Scottish culture - our national animal is the unicorn. They're also a great way to experience a low-carbon break.

Ride Scottish Borders - the Scottish Borders has an ancient equestrian history. Experience this noble tradition yourself on trekking holiday and relive the era of the Border reivers, a time when people defended their lands from cattle thieves, bandits and rivals on horseback.

Alpaca Trekking - how can you say no to exploring with these adorable creatures? From the Borders to the far north, there are more and more places you can get acquainted with these Peruvian natives. Another provider is Senwick Alpaca Trekking.

What's More

If you're wondering how else you can reduce your carbon footprint on holiday, be sure to stay in eco-friendly accommodation, enjoy delicious vegan food or maybe even try foraging. With these small but significant actions, you could return home with a negative carbon footprint!

Browse these Scottish businesses which practice carbon off-setting and ensure your next Scottish break is greener than ever. Remember to #RespectProtectEnjoy