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Scottish Island Hopping by Bike

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Homepage > Scotland > Scottish Island Hopping by Bike
  • Duration: 6 or 7 Nights
  • Difficulty: Level 2
  • Tour Type: Self Guided
  • Availability: Departure on a Sunday (7 nights) or daily (6 nights – not on Sundays) April - October
  • Location: Ardrossan then transfer by ferry to Arran
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Scottish Island Hopping

Tour Details

Experience the Scottish Isles on our Scottish Island Hopping cycling holiday.  This self-guided biking vacation takes you by bike around the Isles of Arran, Jura, Islay and Colonsay (7-night trip only). Explore on this biking tour the whisky distilleries on Islay and the unique Island culture and hospitality which only the Islanders can provide. This Scottish  Island Hopping cycle tour is ideal for couples as well as a family holiday.

You will experience fabulous quiet country lanes, remote coastal scenes, fabulous long sandy beaches (on Islay), historic landmarks such as Brodick castle.  Many restaurants, particularly on Islay, will hunt the local produce, venison, pork, beef, lamb and fish are all in abundance. This is a self-guided cycling holiday in Scotland like no other. Visit the distilleries such as Ardbeg, Bowmore,  Bruichladdich, Laphroaig, Caolila to name but a few.

Starting Location

Ardrossan then transfer by ferry to Arran

Price Includes

  • 6 or 7 Nights Bed and Breakfast
  • 3/4 star Hotels or Guest Houses
  • Information Pack
  • Navigation by Smart Phone App.
  • Luggage Transfers (carry own luggage onto ferries)
  • GPS Files on request
  • Route Turn by Turn Cue sheet

Price Excludes

  • Transport before and after tour
  • Single Rooms
  • Flights
  • Ferry Fares
  • Hybrid Rental Bike
  • Travel Insurance
  • Road Bike Rental Bike
  • E-Bike Rental Bike
  • Tandem Rental Bike
  • Extra Nights
  • Upgrade (7 nights – 3 nights 5 star, 6 nights 2 nights 5 star)
Trip Info

Bike Rental

We believe we have the best rental bikes available in this region. They are 24/27 speed Scott hybrids, Scott E-bikes, Scott racing bikes and Dawes tandems.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Hooked on Cycling that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the chosen activity and for emergency evacuation and hospital care.


Day 1Arrival on a Saturdays (7 nights) and daily (6 nights – not on Monday or Fridays)

Arrive in Ardrossan and pick up your rental bikes just before 5.30pm. Then take the 6 pm by ferry to the Isle of Arran. The ferry journey takes just under the hour. Your accommodation shall be a short walk from the harbour. Now you can start to enjoy Island life.

Day 2Brodick South Island Loop 34 miles (54 km)

The Isle of Arran has it all, mountains, coastal cliffs, rolling and flat roads, that’s why many people say that Arran is a Scotland in miniature. Before setting off on today’s cycle ride why not visit the 13th century Brodick Castle and gardens or the Arran brewery. Today you cycle around the southern half of the Island. The road south provides you with ever-changing views. Small villages intermix with spectacular coastal scenes.

Lamlash provides the link to Holy Isle, where a ferry can be caught to the monastery still occupied by Buddist monks. The Isle has had a spiritual heritage since the 6th century.  Return to Arran and continue your ride clockwise before you head back across the ‘String’ the link road across the centre of the island. This day is hillier than other days and does involve some short steep climbs.

Day 3Brodick – Lochranza – Cloanaig – Kennocraig -Isle of Islay 20-23 miles (32-37 km)

A day to cycle and relax on ferries. You cycle north, firstly on a flat section of five miles before climbing over to Lochranza. If you have time visit the ruined castle and then catch the ferry to Cloanaig (carry own luggage onto the ferry). Then it is back on your bike for the short ride across the Kintyre peninsula to catch your second ferry from Kennacraig to Port Askaig on Island of Islay (carry own luggage onto the ferry). This two-hour ferry crossing passing some stunning coastal scenes. The fast flowing  Sound of Islay, the waterway between Islay and Jura is a great habitat for whales and dolphins. Once on Islay we normally stay in Ballygrant a few miles inland.

Day 4Day trip to Isle of Jura various up to 50 miles (up to 80 km).

Today a short ferry crossing to the Island of Jura. On Jura navigation is easy, there is only 1 road. The Island of Jura is populated by some 5000 deer and 250 people. Jura House can be visited with some wonderful walled gardens and exotic plants. The road east gradually gets smaller and smaller until eventually turning into a footpath. Here you will feel you have reached nowhere and the solitude will be something you will remember forever.

You might start to hear the noise of the Corryvreckan whirlpool a very dangerous effect where three tidal waters meet and create a whirlpool. For a short additional trip visit Finlaggan near Ballygrant on your return to Islay, the home of the ancient seat of the Lord of the Isle’s, the rulers of the Western Isles once the Vikings had been removed.

Day 5Day trip to Isle of Colonsay 20 miles 32km (Wednesday’s – 7 night tour only)

Catch the ferry at Port Askaig to Colonsay in the morning. Colonsay being 10 miles long will allow you to explore most of the Island. Cycle to Ornasay across the tidal causeway to visit the ancient priory. The north section of Colonsay has some of the finest beaches in the Western Isles. Catch the evening ferry back to Islay.

Day 5/6 Port Askaig to Port Ellen / Bowmore surroundings 36-43 miles ( 57-68 km )

Today you will explore by bike the north-west of Islay, known as the Rinns of Islay before cycling to the south of the Island. Today you will pass the Bruichladdich distillery before arriving in Port Charlotte. Then to the north coast where you shall find Kilchoman distillery just before a wonderful sandy beach, ideal for a picnic, pass the wildlife centre, rural life museum or RSPB centre then cycle the quiet lanes south to either Port Ellen or Bowmore.

Day 6/7Isle of Islay south coast 22-34 miles (35-54km).

Today there are a few options, for whisky lovers, heaven has arrived in Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. If you are staying in Bowmore first you cycle to Port Ellen or you may decide to stay in Bowmore and visit the distillery which has been refining whisky for over 240 years. For those wanting to cycle further, the coastal road to Claggain Bay passing Kildalton cross is totally stunning or if you are into Golf then just outside Port Ellen is Islay’s only Golf course. The whisky tour in Ardbeg is extremely interesting, you shall not only find out about how whisky is made but also the fascinating history of whisky production on the Island.

Day 7/8Departure Bowmore / Port Ellen to Arran. 23-30 miles 37-49km

After breakfast, you will take the 9.45 am ferry (or 12:45 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Mondays) from Port Ellen to Kennacraig (carry your own luggage onto the ferry). If you stayed in Bowmore you shall first have the cycle ride to Port Ellen. Once in Kennacraig, it’s back on your bike to cycle across the Kintyre peninsula to Cloanaig. Then it is back on the ferry to the Island of Arran (carry your own luggage onto the ferry) and your last cycle ride to Brodick this time along the not yet explored north-west coastline, where you shall catch the ferry around 19:20 back to Ardrossan where you shall hand back you bikes just around 8.15 pm. From Ardrossan, there is a train service which leaves after each ferry arrival back to Glasgow


How to get there

By air, train, bus to Glasgow or by air to Prestwick and then by train to Ardrossan. By car to Ardrossan where parking is available.

Book Now

2024 Prices – For a complete tour price breakdown please click the book now button and select your holiday tour date. Prices will then be listed.

 Tour Code Prices From (per person) Book Now
AR01-WI Independent
Standard (6 Nights)
 from £1154 Book Now
AR01-WI Independent
Standard (7 Nights)
 from £1239 Book Now
AR01-WI Independent
Upgrade (6 Nights)
from £1769 Book Now
AR01-WI Independent
Upgrade (7 Nights)
from £1879 Book Now

NOTE: Ferry plus bike fares will be approx £46 and £39 for the 6-night tour (2023 fares).

Tour Images
Beach on Islay
YouTube video
YouTube video