Hebridean Way Cycling Route
So, you've decided to discover the enchanting Outer Hebrides. Fabulous choice! Why not travel by bike, and have the ride of a lifetime? The Hebridean Way Cycling Route is a 185-mile (297km) route, crossing 10 islands in the archipelago.
Our itinerary highlights exciting things to see and do and attractions along the way which will sometimes include slight detours from the official route. You can find more information on cycling the Hebridean Way, including maps and mileages per day, as well as bike hire and other travel tips.
- Start / Finish
- Vatersay / Lewis
- Distance185 Miles
- Main themeIslands
- Luskentyre Sands
- Calanais Standing Stones
- Kisimul Castle
- Traigh Mhor Beach
- Harris Tweed
- Isle of Harris Distillers
- Areas covered
Day 1 Vatersay & Barra
These two quiet islands are the Outer Hebrides' most southerly inhabited islands. With fresh legs, you'll be introduced to the incredible landscape of the Outer Hebrides, passing beautiful coastlines and navigating through tiny island villages.
The ride starts at the obelisk in the village of Vatersay, and then travels over a causeway to Barra.
If you're travelling by ferry, sail into Castlebay on Barra before travelling southwards to the route start point.
This small isle boasts views across to the uninhabited isles of Sandray, Pabbay and Mingulay, and is the home to large colonies of migrating seabirds. Stop by the fascinating Dun Caolis burial chamber, which survives from the Neolithic era.Find out more about VatersayVatersay
Barra The Outer Hebrides
Barra has some of Scotland's most stunning beaches, famous for their white sands and Carribbean-like azure seas.
From Castlebay, go for a wander up Heaval, Barra's highest point at 383 m. Or take a five minute boat trip from Castlebay to the medieval Kisimul Castle, also known as the 'Castle in the Sea', which sits dramatically on a rocky islet in the bay.
You can watch scheduled flights fly into Barra Airport - this unique runway sits dramatically on the sands of Traigh Mhor Beach.Find out more about BarraThe Outer Hebrides
Day 2 Eriskay & South Uist
The next isle along the route is the delightfully hilly Eriskay, which can be reached via ferry from Ardmhor in Barra to Eriskay, and measures just 3 miles long. From there, you'll travel up to South Uist, where you'll discover a mixture of crafts, ancient history and towering peaks on the east side.
Eriskay The Outer Hebrides
In 1941, cargo ship S.S Politician sank off the north coast, whilst carrying rather a lot of whisky. The goods were salvaged by the islanders, inspiring the novel Whisky Galore by Sir Compton Mackenzie. Learn all about it and enjoy a dram in the Am Politician, the island's only pub.Find out more about EriskayDon't miss
Don't forget to look out for the native Eriskay ponies.The Outer Hebrides
South Uist The Outer Hebrides
Discover the fascinating history of South Uist - the birthplace of Flora MacDonald, who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie evade capture, and home to the crumbling ruins of Ormiclate Castle, believed to date back to the 1200s.
Travel north over the causeway across the picturesque Loch Bee, and can admire the local craftsmanship and purchase a gift or token from the little shop, Hebridean Jewellery.
Stop for a well-earned bite to eat in the cosy Orasay Inn, which offers a delicious range of meals.Find out more about South UistThe Outer Hebrides
Day 3 Benbecula & Grimsay
Benbecula is a small, flat island dotted with pretty lochs and lochans. Keep on pedalling towards the peaceful Grimsay, on a calm and gentle section of the route.
Benbecula The Outer Hebrides
The secluded location and low levels of light pollution on Benbecula make for some very dark night skies. There's a Dark Island Hotel and a campsite, so you can rest while admiring the inky black night sky.
Benbecula is linked by causeways to the neighbouring Uists.Find out more about BenbeculaThe Outer Hebrides
The rocky terrain of Grimsay is a tranquil place to pass through. High quality seafood is caught off shore including lobster, which you can taste in restaurants across the Hebrides.Find out more about GrimsayGrimsay
Day 4 North Uist & Berneray
The route follows the stunning west coast of North Uist and then onwards to the little island of Berneray. This stretch is an absolute paradise for beach lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. From Berneray, you'll catch the second ferry of the trip over to Harris.
Hebridean Smokehouse Grimsay
Discover the tastes of the locally reared and smoked seafood at the Hebridean Smokehouse at Clachan. The shop sells a huge variety of local produce from the islands to businesses across Scotland.Find out more about Hebridean SmokehouseClachan, Isle Of North Uist, Grimsay, HS6 5HD
RSPB Balranald Reserve The Outer Hebrides
The 'drowned landscape' of North Uist means it is more damp and boggy than some of the other isles, thus its a haven for wildlife. See what species you can spot at the RSPB Reserve at Balranald.Find out more about RSPB Balranald ReserveThe Royal Society For The Protection Of Birds, Balranald, The Outer Hebrides, HS6 5DL
The little community at Berneray is home to only 130 inhabitants, many of which are native Gaelic speakers. Practise the language while you're here!Find out more about BernerayBerneray
Day 5 Harris
Harris is actually part of one island, joined with Lewis to the north. With mountainous scenery, dramatic coastlines and plenty of creative spirit, cycling through Harris will leave you with long-lasting memories.
One of the largest and most spectacular beaches on Harris, the award-winning Luskentyre Sands is a fabulous place to stop and walk along the glittering white sands, or perhaps refuel with a picnic on the beach.Find out more about LuskentyreHarris
Tarbert Tarbert - Harris
Tarbert is a creative hub, home to the Harris Tweed shop, whose woollen wares and accessories are in high demand around the world. A truly artistic community, you can purchase a little piece of Harris from several of the shops around Tarbert.Find out more about TarbertTarbert - Harris
Isle of Harris Distillers Isle of Harris
The Harris Distillery is one of the newest distilleries in Scotland, opening in 2015. In keeping with the location, the distillery has fittingly decided to call its signature single malt The Hearach - Gaelic for a Harris local.Find out more
Day 6 Lewis
Now, for a final challenge! Once you've pedalled over the steep North Harris hills you will arrive in Lewis, the most northerly part of the archipelago. Lewis is characterised by its rich cultural heritage, spellbinding wildlife and mystical standing stones.
The Butt of Lewis is the finishing point of the route so take a moment to reflect on your achievements and absorb the incredible surroundings that welcome you.
Calanais Standing Stones Lewis
No trip to the Outer Hebrides would be complete without a visit to the towering Calanais Standing Stones, an alluring group of nearly 50 megaliths, dating from around 3000 BC.Find out more about Calanais Standing StonesCalanais Visitor Centre, Calanais, Lewis, HS2 9DYKey facilities
- Pets Welcome
- Hearing Loop
- Accessible toilets
- Level Access
- On Public Transport Route
- Cafe or Restaurant
Gearranann Blackhouse Village Lewis
The Gearrannan Blackhouse village is a coastal crofting settlement hidden in a secluded bay, where you can witness the traditional methods of the village and see the way the crofters lived and worked.Find out more about Gearranann Blackhouse VillageStay overnight
Gearranann Blackhouse Village also has self-catering accommodation.5a Gearrannan, Lewis, HS2 9AL
Butt of Lewis Lewis
The Butt of Lewis is situated at the very northerly tip of the island. There's a lighthouse at the top of the cliff, and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins off the coast.Find out more
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