Cycling in the Shetland Islands

Thinking of taking your bike on holiday then head to the Shetland Islands with more than a thousand miles of road to explore, Shetland offers everything you could hope for on a cycling trip. Hop on a bike and you'll immediately give yourself easy access to the islands' many historic attractions and humbling coastal views. Cycling also pays dividends for those looking to island hop, something made even easier by the regular inter-island ferry service.

There are two circular routes that cover central Mainland and Whalsey, the northern loop and the southern loop, with the possible addition of exploring Lunna Ness and the island of Whalsey. The mainland loops tend to be hilly at times while Lunna Ness and Whalsey are much less hilly. There is a lot of attractive scenery and most of the time you find yourself cycling along the coast.

The West Mainland has an excellent network of quiet roads making it a great area for cycling. It is also one of the prettiest areas of Shetland with a number of prehistoric sites to visit. The best of these is the Scord of Brouster settlement near Bridge of Walls.

There are two suggested routes which cover all the main sites of interest in the southern peninsula of Shetland, the Bigton to Sumburgh Route and the Sandwick Circular. Both routes offer fine views of the cliffs and sandy beaches. The Sandwick Circular can be combined with a short boat trip to the island of Mousa to see the famous broch.

North Mainland offers miles of beautiful coastline, spectacular geological features, beautiful beaches and quaint fishing villages for you to explore. Popular routes in the area include cycling north to North Roe and between Ollaberrry and Eshaness. Another interesting route in the area is between Eshaness and Hillswick.

It is recommended that you purchase a map before exploring the islands of Yell, Unst and Fetlar.

We recommend using Sustrans national cycle network app, which is free on Apple and Android and enables the user access to over 25,000 miles of walking and cycling across the UK. Click here for a range of pubs with rooms catering for cycling holidays.

(Photo: ©VisitScotland/ScottishViewpoint)  

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