Deserted beaches and wild remote islands abound on this discovery tour
Feel the peace of the Hebrides as you cycle tour the islands
Explore fantastic and diverse biking over 7 distinct isles
Pedal and explore with a group of like-minded individuals
Spot the highland cows and other native wildlife along the route
Ride the seas in a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) to explore by land and water
Get stuck into new routes each day, traversing the spectacular Hebrides
Visit this atmospheric site, as you ride the Isle of Lewis on day 5
Idyllic views saturate the Hebrides
Feel the power of the history on these very special islands
Traverse 7 islands on a mountain biking intrepid adventure

Hebridean Explorer

7 days
Site savings
$3,122 USD

Crowned the 'Hebridean Explorer', this 280km bike journey weaves its way through seven islands on a variety of ancient paths, historic by-ways, mountain tracks and impossibly quiet roads. Travel through one of Europe’s last true wilderness regions, the Outer Hebrides, a superb location for a mountain bike holiday in the UK. More than any other bike ride, the Hebridean Explorer offers the opportunity to experience life on the islands, where the landscapes are wild and untamed, golden eagles and red deer roam free, and human history dates back over 5000 years. This tour runs from Glasgow-Glasgow.

  • Category
    Trail Riding
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    7 days
  • Culture Level
  • Skill Level
    3 - Intermediate
  • Activity Level
    3 - Active
  • Elevation
    3 - Intermediate
  • Terrain
  • Distance
    174 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    34.8 miles
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  • Where does the tour start and end?

    The tour starts and ends at Glasgow International Airport (GLA) on the early morning of your arrival day, you will then be taken to connect with the island ferry. There is easy access by plane, train or car. You will be returned here in the late afternoon of your departure day to collect your car or connect with your onward travel.

    Please note that the exact travel arrangements are dependant on ferry timetables.

  • How long is the tour? How many days cycling?

    The tour is 7 days long with 5 days of cycling.

  • What's the tour like?

    This tour is aimed at regular cyclists who have a degree of off-road experience. Some moderate and difficult technical sections. While there is the occasional intermediate level trail, the riding is not overly challenging, allowing you to relax and enjoy the superb wilderness scenery. Island hopping means that you will be using a combination of ferry trips and exciting boat trips to link up the paths you'll ride across this diverse archipelago.

    The first part of the trip is largely flat and on sandy terrain but as you head north to the Islands of Harris and Lewis, the trails become increasingly harder and hilly. This trip is only suitable for mountain bikes with a wide range of gears, front suspension and disc brakes. A lower tread tyre will make the road sections easier but be prepared for some challenges on the rocky trails of Harris and Lewis!

    In terms of distance, the trip totals 280 km /174 miles and this breaks down into 60% on-road and 40% off-road. Day 3 offers the more technical day of riding of this trip with some steep ascents/descents and some rocky trails.

  • Can I find out more about the bikes and equipment?

    If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own there are bikes available to hire. These bikes are typically very good mountain bikes featuring front suspension, disc brakes and good quality components. The tour operator can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets at the time of booking. If you choose to rent a bike you are welcome to bring your own saddle with you, and if you would like to use SPD/clipless pedals you will need to bring these with you.

    If you are traveling with your bike:
    The vast majority of airlines will charge you to transport your bike. This amount varies from carrier to carrier but the tour operator recommends always booking and paying for this in advance which will usually save you money compared to paying at the airport. Please contact your airline for specific details. Most airlines will also require your bike to be properly packaged for transport. Most commonly this will be in a bike bag or box specifically designed for the job.

    The tour operator provides everything except a bike (unless you have opted to hire), personal equipment and clothing. If you are taking your own bike it should preferably be a mountain bike with a wide range of gears and at least front suspension as well as tyres with an appropriate level of tread for the trip.

    It is imperative that your bike is in good mechanical order. If you are not mechanically minded, they advise you to take your bike to a local bicycle dealer for a service.

    You will need to bring your own accessories including, helmet, gloves and hydration pack/bottles for drinking water. It is also a good idea to bring shoes suitable for walking along with your cycling shoes as well as a light but waterproof rain jacket and a fleece / warmer layer for mornings and evenings.

    While riding on this tour it is compulsory that you wear a helmet. If you don’t have a helmet or don’t intend to bring your own we may, subject to availability, be able to provide one on request. You will not be permitted to ride unless you wear a helmet.

  • Is there any vehicle support on the tour?

    At strategic points (where access allows), you have the security of a support vehicle. In the vehicle there will be some space for tired bikers, allowing the chance of a well-earned break if needed. You will also be able to leave extra gear or spare kit here during the day meaning there is no need to carry any equipment other than that you would carry on a normal day ride.

  • What's the weather like?

    When cycling in the UK it’s best to come prepared for sun and rain, warm and cold all in the same day – spring, summer and autumn. Although there can be wide variations the monthly average temperature in the UK ranges from 9 degrees centigrade in April through to 17 degrees centigrade in July and then 11 degrees in October.

    At the beginning and end of the season (in March and late October) the weather can be a little less predictable and there could be some cooler days.

  • Please read here for a message from the tour operator concerning Covid-19:

    Book with confidence

    With travel restrictions and changing government guidance still present in our lives, the Tour Operator is are committed to doing everything they can to help more of you to enjoy fun on two wheels in the most enjoyable and responsible way possible.

    To help you better plan ahead with peace of mind, they want to reassure you that your holiday is financially protected and that you will be well looked after by them, no matter what happens. 

    Our promise to you…
    - If the Tour Operator has to cancel a tour because of COVID-19, you will have the option of a full refund. They will only run tours in destinations that are safe and will always follow the most up-to-date government guidance. They will cancel any tours where the FCDO advises against all but essential travel.
    - Your money is protected by ABTOT, whether as a payment for a specific holiday or as a credit note. This means if you are entitled to a refund this is guaranteed, no matter the circumstances.

    In addition, it’s essential that you…
    - Have appropriate travel insurance so that if you fall ill and test positive for COVID-19 prior to (or during) your tour (whether in the UK or overseas), you will be financially covered for cancelling your trip or any extra costs you might incur. Please contact our team if you need some advice. In doing so, the Tour Operator can ensure the local communities are impacted as little as possible and can continue to deliver the excellent holidays we know you love. This extended team are predominantly small businesses and the aim is to honour our commitments to them, so we can all rebuild after COVID-19.
    - Keep up to date with local requirements in your chosen destination. This might relate to testing or vaccination requirements for entering your destination or using facilities such as hotels and restaurants while you are there. These requirements can change often and the Tour Operator will do their best to keep you up to date, you need to ensure you are aware of, and can comply with, any requirements which might be in place at the time you travel. Depending on the circumstances the Tour Operator may not be able to offer a refund if you can’t comply with these kinds of requirements. For UK based travelers, the best source of information is the Government’s foreign travel advice.

    Social distancing, enhanced hygiene and face coverings
    For the safety of everyone, the Tour Operator will be ensuring the cycle tours comply with local guidelines. In reality, you’ll be out on your bikes most of the day enjoying the great outdoors, so you’ll have plenty of time to relax and unwind.
    - The group tours are limited to small groups – on average 10 people (maximum 16 people) as we believe this is the most responsible – and enjoyable – way to travel.
    - Face coverings should be worn in compliance with local guidelines, which in many destinations includes when using public transport, in shops and certain attractions, and whenever social distancing cannot be observed. Please be aware of face covering requirements for travel to your destination and contact us if you have any questions. In the absence of any legal requirements, we ask you to respect the wishes of any private businesses you might visit such as cafes or hotels. Please let us know at the point of booking if you are unable to wear a face covering.
    - Our team continues to observe good hygiene practice, including regular handwashing and sanitising, and request that customers do the same. Depending on where you travel, you may not be able to purchase supplies locally, so best to come with adequate supplies of hand sanitiser for use throughout your holiday.

    If you display symptoms or test positive
    For the benefit of yourself, the people you are traveling with and our team, please let us know as soon as possible if you test positive for COVID-19 or display any symptoms.
    - We recommend testing before joining any of our trips.
    - It is essential that you are in good health when embarking on your holiday. Under certain circumstances, we may ask you to take a test or provide proof of having had the vaccines. In the rare event you fall ill before or during your tour, it is essential you follow the guidelines provided by us in your pre-departure information.
    - If you are symptomatic or if you test positive this is likely to mean you are unable to join your trip.
    - If you test positive whilst on the holiday then we will assist you in reporting the illness and making appropriate arrangements, whether that be to quarantine or return home. In most circumstances, this will mean your participation in the tour will have to come to an end.

    Vaccination status
    In many destinations, you may need to be fully vaccinated to be able to join our trips.
    - If you are traveling to another country you may need to be fully vaccinated to enter, or to use facilities such as cafes or hotels. Some destinations may allow testing in place of vaccination, but the nature of our trips means this often isn’t a practical option.
    - There may be some situations where social distancing isn’t possible or where you will come in contact with people who aren’t part of our group or team, such as hotel and restaurant staff. Because of this, we recommend being fully vaccinated to make sure you are as safe as possible.
    - Some destinations we visit have less developed public health facilities which can impact local residents’ ability to access the same protections we might enjoy. In such cases, we strive to weigh up entry requirements and recommendations from our local partners to establish a responsible company policy on vaccinations that protects our customers, local teams and the communities we visit as much as possible.
    - Please let us know as early as possible if you aren’t fully vaccinated so we can discuss any implications, including if you are able to join the trip.

    Bikes, vehicles and equipment
    We know you love the extra support we offer on tour and so we’ve made sure you continue to have access to all these essential holiday components.
    - Our team will guide you through any relevant protocols when using bikes, equipment and vehicles on your trip.
    - All transfer staff will be adhering to recognized local hygiene guidelines and these vehicles will be regularly deep cleaned, with extra attention paid to regular touchpoints.

    Food and accommodation
    Amazing food and lovely places to stay are a big part of the tour experience. All accommodation providers are following relevant local guidelines relating to COVID-19. The impact of new measures should be minimal and may vary from place to place, however, these will always be clearly communicated to you by our team on the ground.
    - You may notice increased and enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices, in guest rooms and communal areas.
    - In some places, temperature checks will be conducted upon entering.
    - Measures promoting social distancing may be in place and you may be asked to avoid communal areas and touchpoints.
    - We will offer our usual high-quality lunches and snacks but you may notice a few changes to how these are delivered to allow for any local guidance.

    Updated: 27 Jan 2023

Overall Rating:
Ian, Hertfordshire, UK
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Day 4 in particular was our favorite, the variety of riding, differing terrains, stops and the rib rides were all terrific. And how on earth did [the tour operator] arrange the varying weather conditions culminating in glorious sunshine. Is there nothing you guys cannot do?!

All of the days provided different challenges with variety, concluding with a more relaxed day in the saddle with a few more sightseeing stops. Almost perfect in my opinion! The guides were all friendly and extremely helpful throughout and the tour leader had very clear instructions on and off the road, with the riders safety paramount in his mind.

The pre holiday service was very good, we received all the info required, and the pre-holiday phone call and email from [the tour operator] was a nice personal touch, very reassuring.

Christine, North Yorkshire
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

I have always wanted to see the Western Isles & the combination of ferry, inflatable boat, on-road, off-road and travel in the [tour operator's] van was perfect to experience the variety of scenery, historic features, island culture, bird and sea life, and something of ordinary life in Outer Hebrides. It was an adventure and challenge for both my husband and I, and would have been impossible without the support from the other cyclists and the guides. The weather & prevailing wind certainly helped too!

Travel arrangements were good; briefings as needed; good rapport between the guides and cycling group. Technical and mechanical assistance freely & willingly given. Four very understanding & patient guides. Not hassling those of us riding at the back but always encouraging when needed. Guides who obviously love the outdoors, cycling and sharing their experiences. Guides who know the hoteliers; local weaver; historic and local features – be it community hall lunch or distillery. And knowing which lay by or rest place is best for the next “catch-up” Enjoyed the mix of accommodation; B&B + hotel; and welcomed the two-night stops. The snacks and lunches provided from the  “refreshment” van were excellent; plenty of variety and well presented. Loved the salads.

My favorite day was probably on the Isle of Harris with its coastline contrast from west to east; golden road; the “hidden” modern homes; and the mountain bike bridge and hill challenge. The South Uist sand dunes were also a marvellous introduction to what was to come. The impromptu music group on Mallaig ferry crossing helped to set the scene. Other highlights were yoga on the sand dunes; challenge of blowing the post horn. The pre holiday information was always sufficient to help make decisions, and the office staff were understanding and answering any queries.

I’d definitely say that this holiday was good value for money when you see the level of support  provide during the week and the standard of accommodation!

Miles, Surrey
(Review obtained from Tour Operator)

Thank you for a unique and wonderful tour of the Outer Hebrides! A magical trip in which changed every day. From the birds, seals, otters and other wildlife in South Uist to scenic Lochmaddy with its numerous Lochans. A ferry trip progressed us to Harris with its sweeping hills and valleys with stunning singletrack accompanied by Sea Eagles aloft. Moving North, high mountain passes took us across to Lewis by boat and bike and the ancient stones of Callinish. History and culture followed with Brochs, Blackhouses and weavers cottages before a final tour across moorland to the Butt of Lewis, cliffs and more sealife. Great weather, good company and super guides made this an unforgettable trip!