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Edinburgh

Cycling around Edinburgh

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Dangling its toes in the Firth of Forth and occupying an absolutely beautiful patch of Lothian, cycling in Edinburgh never fails to impress. Scotland’s capital is a wonderfully bike-friendly city and riding gives you the perfect opportunity to discover everything that’s magical about this ancient area. From pedaling around Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Castle to heading up into the majestic Pentland Hills or speeding along the shoreline, exploring on two-wheels is endless fun.

You’ll find more than enough cycle routes in Edinburgh, with disused railway lines, cycle paths and designated trails criss-crossing the whole region. Fancy a flat bike ride? Head north to Leith and idle along the shore of the Firth for as long as you like in either direction. In the mood for climbs and glorious views? Strenuous cycle trails will lead you out of the capital and up into the Pentland Hills. 

Wherever you go, Edinburgh will reward. 

Intermediate
02:30
24.5 mi
Difficult
03:41
29.8 mi
Intermediate
02:01
20.6 mi
Intermediate
04:16
44.6 mi
Intermediate
02:28
22.8 mi
Difficult
05:39
59.0 mi
Intermediate
02:48
25.7 mi
Intermediate
01:38
14.4 mi
Intermediate
02:20
24.0 mi
Difficult
05:16
52.6 mi
Intermediate
01:36
16.2 mi
Intermediate
03:09
31.7 mi
Intermediate
01:35
16.0 mi
Intermediate
01:31
14.8 mi
Difficult
02:32
21.8 mi
Difficult
03:27
28.3 mi
Intermediate
02:11
22.9 mi
Intermediate
02:39
26.8 mi
Difficult
04:11
42.1 mi
Difficult
04:21
42.7 mi

Top 20 cycling routes around Edinburgh

    1
    Intermediate
    02:30
    24.5 mi
    9.8 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,125 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    2
    Difficult
    03:41
    29.8 mi
    8.1 mph
    1,600 ft
    1,600 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    02:01
    20.6 mi
    10.2 mph
    800 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    4
    Intermediate
    04:16
    44.6 mi
    10.5 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    5
    Intermediate
    02:28
    22.8 mi
    9.2 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,150 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    6
    Difficult
    05:39
    59.0 mi
    10.4 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    7
    Intermediate
    02:48
    25.7 mi
    9.2 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,150 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    8
    Intermediate
    01:38
    14.4 mi
    8.8 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,250 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    9
    Intermediate
    02:20
    24.0 mi
    10.3 mph
    725 ft
    725 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    10
    Difficult
    05:16
    52.6 mi
    10.0 mph
    1,875 ft
    1,875 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    11
    Intermediate
    01:36
    16.2 mi
    10.2 mph
    600 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    12
    Intermediate
    03:09
    31.7 mi
    10.1 mph
    750 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    13
    Intermediate
    01:35
    16.0 mi
    10.1 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    14
    Intermediate
    01:31
    14.8 mi
    9.7 mph
    900 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    15
    Difficult
    02:32
    21.8 mi
    8.6 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,075 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.
    16
    Difficult
    03:27
    28.3 mi
    8.2 mph
    1,475 ft
    1,475 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    17
    Intermediate
    02:11
    22.9 mi
    10.5 mph
    725 ft
    725 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    18
    Intermediate
    02:39
    26.8 mi
    10.2 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,150 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    19
    Difficult
    04:11
    42.1 mi
    10.1 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,650 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.
    20
    Difficult
    04:21
    42.7 mi
    9.8 mph
    2,225 ft
    2,250 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

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Exploring Edinburgh’s stunning surroundings

Scotland’s capital grew out of numerous strongholds and has developed over thousands of years into the thriving city it is today. Two-wheeled adventures give you the opportunity to really get to know the area, as cycle routes throughout Edinburgh take you to a variety of landscapes. 

The Water of Leith is a river which flows from the Pentland Hills and runs all the way to the Firth of Forth, immediately to the north of the city. This river provides you with a perfect natural route to follow and you’ll see the sea, the city and the summits of Pentland. 

Perhaps cycling around Edinburgh truly comes into its own up in the Pentland Hills. Lying a little to the south, climbs here reward you with unrivalled panoramas of the capital and the Firth. While the ascents are tough on the legs, you’ll be on traffic-free trails, allowing easy resting points. 

Cutting across the low-lying landscape, the Union Canal is a fantastic flat route, or explore lanes between fields and meander your way around the city outskirts. With castles, woodlands and old quarries, there’s something intriguing around every corner. 

Historic sites for sandwich stops

Bike rides in Edinburgh and its pretty surroundings always include historic sites. If you’re not in the immediate vicinity of a castle, you might be on a Roman Road, pedaling past an old mill or pausing for water on the site of a hill fort. 

The fascinating history of the area gives you brilliant objectives on rides and provides impressive lunch spots. Within the city itself, two-wheel your way through ancient history from Arthur’s Seat to Edinburgh Castle and the cathedral. 

Craigmillar Castle to the south east and Lauriston Castle in the north west are both beautiful objectives for rides through Edinburgh’s past. Rosslyn Chapel featured in the Da Vinci Code film and can be found on the banks of the River North Esk. You’ll find woodlands, designated cycle paths and plenty more historic sites in this area, just east of the Pentland Hills and within easy reach of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh's best cycling routes on the map

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