Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba


  • Scotland has a diverse cycling offer which allows riders of all abilities to explore our nation on two wheels. One of the advantages of cycling on holiday is having the ability to explore the natural environment. Others include improving health and wellbeing, and reducing your carbon footprint
  • Key potential markets include Scotland and the UK and overseas markets such as the Netherlands and Germany
  • Key cycling trends include the rise of e-bikes, gravel biking, bikepacking and packrafting
  • Our topic paper on cycling tourism explores domestic overnight trips that involved cycling. It also focusses on audience segmentation, market potential, and cycling trends

Scotland. Made for Cycling

Published January 2023

Read our cycling topic paper

1. Why visitors choose Scotland for cycling

Scotland has an unbeatable access to land and national cycle trail networks. And that's not to mention its world-class mountain bike centres and indoor and outdoor track facilities. 

Scotland offers a responsible right of access to land and national cycle trail networks thanks to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. All play an important role in attracting day and overnight visitors to make a trip away from home.

Why Scotland is made for cycling

Over 1,600 miles

Scotland's National Cycle Network boasts over 1,600 miles of outdoor trails.

Stunning landscapes

World renowned scenery that provides unforgettable journeys.

Great facilities

Providing world-class facilities for track cycling, gravel biking and mountain biking.

Cycling events

A well-recognised track record of hosting some of Europe's best cycling events.

2. Executive summary

Browse some of the key takeaways from the full report, Scotland. Made for Cycling.

Domestic overnight trips

Cycling on a road or surfaced path is more popular among UK holidaymakers to Scotland than mountain biking.

Those who prefer to mountain bike do tend to stay for slightly longer periods of time. But they spend slightly less compared to those who choose to cycle of a road or surfaced path.

Cycling on a road / surfaced path and mountain biking made a recovery in 2017-2019. This followed a slight drop in popularity in 2014-2016. It's the highest level of associated overnight trips in the past decade.

The total annual spend from both activities also increased steadily over the years. It reached a record high of over £266 million combined.

Characteristics of overnight cycling trips (three-year annual averages 2017-2019) Source: Great Britain Tourism Survey, 2019
  Road cycling Mountain biking
Trips 338,000 251,000
Nights 1,322,000 1,234,000
Spend £154,000,000 £112,000,000
Spend per trip £456 £446
Spend per night £116 £91
Length of stay 3.9 nights 4.9 nights

International markets

Cycling is a very popular activity in several major international visitor markets to Scotland.

Based on their cycling habits, the following are interesting target markets for cycling tourism in Scotland:

  • Germany

  • India

  • The Netherlands

  • The Nordic countries

As they show a high level of participation in everyday cycling, visitors from these countries may be experienced cyclists. Thus they might be interested in opting for more specialised and intense experiences.

Visitors from Scotland’s other top overseas markets do not show such a high level of participation in everyday cycling. But they might still opt for cycling tourism packages aimed at less frequent leisure cyclists. These are countries such as France, Canada, or the US.

Read more about package travel regulations.

4. Additional research resources

Related links