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Kayakers on Camusdarach beach
© VisitScotland / Chris Close


Fun Outdoor Activities in Scotland

Welcome to Scotland, the ultimate natural playground. Here you can have a go at all the activities the country is legendary for, as well as some you might not have heard of.

Think of outdoor activities in Scotland and golf may come to mind. Every year, our prestigious and ancient courses beckon thousands of golfers from all over the world to experience the sport.

However, this is also a land and coast made for exploration and adrenaline-pumping adventures! You can mountain bike down rugged alpine terrain, navigate an aerial assault course across a forest canopy, scale the lofty heights of the Cairngorms, or glide along the shoreline of a Hebridean island in a sea kayak. From world-class watersports, walking and cycling to aqualining, the possibilities for getting active in Scotland's magnificent great outdoors are endless!

Before you set off into the great outdoors, read up on our Guide to Safety Outdoors in Scotland and remember to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

  • 01 Walking

    Take a hike in Scotland! The country is filled to the brim with walking routes and trails just waiting for you to explore. Whether you're looking for a lochside stroll, a challenging Munro to conquer, a tranquil woodland walk or a freeing coastal trail - Scotland has hundreds to choose from.

    Why not wander through the historic capital and hike your way up Arthur's Seat? Or head away from the city and explore Scotland's National Parks - Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and Cairngorms have plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. If your legs are feeling up to it, why not venture along one of Scotland's long distance walking routes? Or take the wee ones and explore some family-friendly walks.

    Explore more walks

    Ben Lui from Cononish Water near Tyndrum, Argyll
  • 02 Cycling

    There are many ways to explore the hills, valleys, trails, woodlands and even cities in Scotland, but have you considered on two wheels? Cycling is a great way to soak in Scotland's mesmerising landscapes and fascinating attractions, all whilst getting a bit of healthy fresh air and not adding to your carbon footprint.

    There are new cycle routes popping up all over Scotland, meaning travelling around has become just that bit easier. Why not browse the Sustrans Cycle Route Map for more ideas and inspiration? You can hire bikes at many shops across our cities, islands and towns, so don't worry if you don't have your own! In Scotland there are 2,000 miles of National Cycle Network routes across country roads and cycle paths, as well as over 500 miles of traffic-free walking and cycle routes on railway paths, canal towpaths and forest trails for you to uncover.

    Explore cycling

    Tentsmuir Forest, Fife
  • 03 Mountain Biking

    A landscape covered in trails, tracks, woodlands, country roads and hills - we think that makes up the perfect mountain biking terrain! Scotland is home to world-class 7Stanes Mountain Biking Centres which span the south of Scotland and provides routes suitable for everyone - fom the complete beginners, to the experienced pros. Outwith these centres, there are also plenty of natural routes and trails you can explore at your own leisure across Scotland - just make sure you keep to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code along the way.

    Why not head to places such as Callendar Estate and Cuningar Loop where you can hire a bike and try out some lessons to get to grips with mountain biking. No mattter where you decide to visit in Scotland, there will be a wealth of mountain biking experiences for you to explore!

    Explore Mountain Biking

    Mountain biking at Glentress Forest, Scottish Borders
  • 04 Watersports

    Make a splash in Scotland as you uncover the incredible range of watersports on offer! The country is home to hundreds of serene lochs, fast flowing rivers, rocky coastlines, tranquil bays and swirling waves, so there are plenty of places where you can get out on the water. One way to explore Scotland from a distance is in a kayak or canoe. There are many activity providers that offer lessons or hire facilities so you can head out on our lochs or surrounding seas and soak in the remote wilderness. If you prefer something a bit more adrenaline pumping, why not try white water rafting, gorge walking, coasteering or windsurfing, to name a few? For those who would rather take watersports at a more calming pace, why not try sailing? Its the perfect option if you'd rather sit back and relax on your watersporting ventures.

    If you're a beginner, don't worry - why not check out Watersports for Beginners for all the useful steps and tips for becoming a pro on the water? Or have a watch of our Watersports in Scotland video for more inspiration!

    Try watersports

    A family participates in gorge walking
  • 05 Family Activities

    Scotland is the perfect destination for a family holiday! Think bundles of ancient history, fascinating attractions, native wildlife, thrilling activities and lots more that will suit even the youngest of family members. There are hundreds of things you can get up to, even in a short weekend break in Scotland - why not browse a few of our itineraries for more inspiration? Explore country parks, historic castles and outdoor activities in south west Scotland. Head to the beach, cosy up in a self-catering cottage and enjoy a bit of cosmopolitan culture in Fife and Dundee, or venture to the magnificent Highlands where you won't be lost for things to do! Why not enjoy some adventure in Scotland? With tree top trails, gorge walking, adrenaline activities and more that will add a splash of excitement to your holiday.

    Of course the family isn't complete without your beloved pooch - why not consider a pet-friendly break in Scotland?

    Browse Family Activities

    Horse Riding Blackstone Clydesdales on Ayr beach

Outdoor Activities to Try in Scotland

But that's not all! There are plenty more outdoor activities, sports, adventure activities, days out and more to try in Scotland that everyone can get involved in and enjoy. From making a splash in our exhilarating watersports, and exploring the rolling hills on horse back, to trying your hand at a spot of fishing and surfing the waves, and slopes, with surfing and skiing.