11 of the Best Cycling Routes in Scotland

Imagine the wind streaming through your hair as you pedal through the open countryside on one of the best cycle routes in Scotland. There are many awe-inspiring landscapes which make awesome places to cycle in Scotland. We've got a variety of routes and trails that are suitable for every member of the family, no matter what cycling experience you have.

  1. Formartin and Buchan Way Aberdeenshire

    Fortmartine and Buchan Way

    © @laura_sherriffs_

    Set on a former railway line, this cycle route passes through the sweeping north east countryside away from the hustle and bustle of road traffic. At Maud you can travel on to either Fraserburgh or Peterhead, both boasting beautiful beaches.

    • Departure point: Dyce train station
    • Finish: Fraserburgh or Peterhead
    • Terrain type: off-road cycle path
    • Distance: 40 miles/64.37 km
    • Approximate time to cycle: 4 - 6 hours one way (the route can also be done in shorter sections)
  2. Hebridean Way Cycling Route Outer Hebrides

    The beach at Liniclate, Benbecula

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Following part of the National Cycle Network Route 780, this terrific, long-distance route spans the length of the enchanting Outer Hebrides island chain. Sites you'll see along the way include paradise beaches, the Calanais Standing Stones and the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse.

    • Departure point: Vatersay
    • Finish: Butt of Lewis
    • Terrain type: road
    • Distance: 185 miles/297 km
    • Approximate time to cycle: 6 days (the route can also be done in shorter sections)
  3. Assynt Achiltibuie Circular Highlands


    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    This stunning (but challenging) loop in the north west of Scotland travels through some of the country's wildest and most idyllic landscapes. See famous mountains such as Sula Bheinn, Cùl Mòr and Stac Pollaidh, as well as tranquil beaches and glittering lochs, creating the best experience for cycling in Scotland's Highlands.

    Departure/end point: Achiltibuie

    • Terrain type: road
    • Distance: 70.06 miles/112.55 km
    • Approximate time to cycle: 7 hours
  4. Devilla Forest Fife

    Devilla Forest, Fife

    © @lori.1507

    If you go down to the woods today … you might just be lucky enough to see a cheeky red squirrel! The paths at Devilla Forest pass through atmospheric expanses of woodland which are the perfect habitat for these elusive little animals. There are hundreds of forest cycle trails in Scotland that you can enjoy.

    • Departure/end point: Devilla Forest car park
    • Terrain type: off-road forest paths
  5. Ayrshire Coast Cycle Way Ayrshire

    Culzean Castle

    © Barry Dawson / Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Group

    This beautiful linear route along the coast from Irvine to Ayr takes in some of Ayrshire's most picturesque scenery, from the glittering coastline with views out to the Isle of Arran to the thriving marshland and woodland of two Scottish wildlife reserves, Gailes Marsh and Shewalton Wood. It's the perfect way to start your adventures with cycling in Arran.

    • Departure point: Irvine 
    • Finish: Ayr
    • Terrain type: mostly off-road with some on-road sections
    • Distance: 19 miles/30.58 km
    • Approximate time to cycle: 2 hours
  6. Edinburgh City Centre to The Shore Edinburgh

    Leith Shore

    Edinburgh cycle paths include a huge range of continuous, traffic-free routes, many following old railway lines, creating many opportunites for bike rides around Edinburgh. Use the Innertube map to follow paths such as the one from the New Town in the city centre to the Shore in Leith where you can enjoy a delicious bite before visiting The Royal Yacht Britannia.

    • Departure point: Scotland Street
    • Finish: Sandport Place
    • Terrain type: Off-road cycle path
    • Distance: 1.8 miles/2.9 km
    • Approximate time to cycle: 10 minutes
  7. Lerwick to Scalloway Shetland

    St Ninians Isle, Shetland Islands

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Travel from Shetland's principle town of Lerwick to the ancient capital of Scalloway. Soak up the stunning island scenery as you cut through a ridge of hills and across wild moorland before being rewarded with a panoramic view of Scalloway and the glittering sea.

    • Departure point: Lerwick
    • Finish: Scalloway
    • Terrain type: road
    • Distance: 5.9 miles/9.5 km
    • Approximate time to cycle: 40 minutes
  8. Loch Leven Heritage Trail Perthshire

    Pink-footed geese at Loch Leven

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Look out for the rich variety of wildlife (such as osprey, kingfishers and otters) on this flat, circular route around the banks of Loch Leven. Enjoy the views out to Lochleven Castle, which is situated on its own island in the middle of the loch, and stop for a tasty lunch at places such as Loch Leven's Larder.

    • Departure/end point: various points on the banks of Loch Leven
    • Terrain type: off-road path
    • Distance: 12.12 miles/19.5 km
    • Approximate time to cycle: 1 hr 20 minutes

    Visit Loch Leven's Larder

  9. Montrose Basin Angus

    The Montrose Basin, Angus

    Cycle around this stunning tidal estuary and soak up beautiful views of this wildlife haven. Look out for summer highlights such as osprey and kingfishers, or waders and ducks in the winter months, and pop into the Montrose Basin visitor centre for a refreshing cup of tea or coffee.

    • Departure/end point: Montrose caravan site, near the beach
    • Terrain type: road
    • Distance: 10.65 miles/17.14 km
    • Approximate time to cycle: 1 hour
  10. Isle of Bute Argyll

    A cyclist at The Serpentine on the Isle of Bute

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Absorb magnificent sea views as you travel around this beautiful island on two wheels (bikes can be hired locally or you can take your own on the ferry). Challenge yourself to the 23 mile loop around the island or use pedal power to visit attractions such as Mount Stuart House and Ettrick Bay.

    • Terrain type: road
    • Distance: 23 miles (shorter sections available)
  11. 4 Abbeys Scottish Borders

    Melrose Abbey

    Tour the Scottish Borders' four famous abbeys - Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh - on this scenic (but fairly demanding) route through the glorious Borders countryside. Why not make a day of it and stop off at attractions as you pass by?

    • Departure/end point: Jedburgh, Kelso, Melrose or St Boswells
    • Terrain type: road
    • Distance: 55 miles/88.51 km
    • Approximate time to cycle: 5 - 6 hours

Did you know?

Kirkpatrick Macmillan, the inventor of the world's first pedal powered bicycle, was Scottish.

Visit stunning Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway, where he worked as a blacksmith, to see a replica of his bike.

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