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Coast and Castles (North)

Coast and Castles (North)

A cycling holiday from Edinburgh to Aberdeen along scenic coastal cycleways.

4 to 6 nights
170 miles
Moderate to Demanding

From £475 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

The northern section of the Coast and Castles route picks up where Coast and Castles South left off: in Edinburgh, where the volcanic bulk of Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park looms above a varied and gabled skyline. It heads into Fife, commonly described as "fringed with gold" with its sandy beaches and prosperous fishing villages, and samples rocky headlands, historic castles and dense forests along quiet roads as it crosses Angus on the way to Aberdeen, the Granite City.

There's nothing better than riding through the sea breeze on long, smooth roads like this, overlooking sandy bays cradled by the cliffs. The Coast and Castles is a gentle route, and your front wheel will lead the way alongside lochs and through the shadows of historic castles.

From its wilding landscape and battle-scarred past to its varied birdlife and fish cuisine, the Coast and Castles is a fantastic Scottish ride for anyone looking for a gentler route with plenty to see along the way.

You'll explore on surfaced roads primarily, with loads of traffic-free cycle paths to make Edinburgh a breeze, and one well-maintained forest track through Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve. The ride along the coast is largely dedicated cycle path, too.

Find the southern half of this Scottish cycling holiday here.

© Contours Walking Holidays Coast and Castles (North) map
Edinburgh / Aberdeen
170 miles (272 km)
19th March to 15th October

Holiday highlights

Swooping and climbing through beautiful Edinburgh, tucked away safely from the traffic.

Ascending to the route's highest point in Blairadam Forest for a great, undulating descent through classic countryside.

Riding through Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve on hard-packed forest paths, never far from the shore and its sandy dunes.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
C-CCN1 From Edinburgh to Aberdeen 4 nights, 3 days riding Demanding£475
C-CCN2 From Edinburgh to Aberdeen 5 nights, 4 days riding Moderate / Demanding£585
C-CCN3 From Edinburgh to Aberdeen 6 nights, 5 days riding Moderate£695

Coast and Castles (North) 4 nights, 3 days riding

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Elevation & terrain
  • Travel info
  • Weather

Travel to Edinburgh where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Edinburgh to St Andrews. 64.5 miles (103km)

Day 2

St Andrews to Montrose. 52 miles (83km)

Day 3

Montrose to Aberdeen. 54 miles (86km)


Depart from Aberdeen after breakfast

Your Itinerary

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than 2.5 miles from the trail to your accommodation.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

Solo Traveller Supplement
£45.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£35.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£50.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Edinburgh)
Price on request

What's included?

  • 4 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

As you cycle through the dramatic Scottish landscape, you will undoubtedly come across a variety of areas that invite further exploration, from fascinating historical towns to lively cities packed with invaluable facilities. Adding in a few extra nights into your cycling holiday will give you ample time to discover all the hidden gems along this remarkable trail.

The capital city of Edinburgh at the start of the trail is a fantastic choice for an extra night's stay, offering a vast amount to see and do. Walk between the stone townhouses in the World Heritage Site of Old Town and New Town; visit Edinburgh Castle, perched atop the remains of an extinct volcano; or take in the incredible city skyline from Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park, not to mention the countless museums, galleries, theatres and other landmarks that Edinburgh offers. There is certainly something here to satisfy everyone's tastes, including modern and traditional shops, markets, bars and restaurants galore, as well as plenty of health centres and spas for those in need of a little TLC to get warmed up for the adventure ahead.

Finally, the striking granite city of Aberdeen, nestled amongst the hills and stretching out to the coast, is a perfect place to spend an extra night, especially if you want to extend your holiday that little bit longer. Whether you're after a shopping trip, a chance to discover art and culture or simply time to explore the many great attractions, Aberdeen has entertainment in abundance. While the coastline is one of the best places to spot wildlife such as seabirds and dolphins, the Cairngorms National Park is full of peaks and deep glens that are also home to rare animals such as red deer, golden eagles and red squirrels, giving wildlife lovers plenty to look out for.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£50.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Edinburgh)
Price on request

Tour Facts

Total distance: 170 miles (272 km)
Duration: 4 nights, 3 days riding
Minimum daily distance: 52 miles (83 km)
Maximum daily distance: 64.5 miles (103 km)
Code: C-CCN1 Grade: Demanding
Season: 19th March - 15th October
Start of holiday: Edinburgh
End of holiday: Aberdeen

Elevation & Terrain

Route profile

Coast and Castles (North) Route Profile

The route undulates at its start in Edinburgh and begins a steady climb shortly after departing Queensferry to a peak in Blairadam Forest. It would be a long, steady descent from here if not for the interruption of a few lesser climbs, the sharpest of which occurs shortly after departing Falkland.

Once past St Andrews, the ride levels out; three hills pose pleasant challenges on the way to Montrose. The route regains its undulation on the way to St Cyrus, diving sharply into Johnshaven and climbing abruptly before Inverbervie, and retains this hilly nature all the way to the final slow slope and level section into Aberdeen.


  • Cycle lanes
  • Quiet roads
  • Traffic-free cyclepaths
  • Forest track

Predominately traffic-free on its way through Edinburgh to Inverkeithing, the route follows back roads through Fife all the way to Falkland. From here, minor roads press on to and through St Andrews. Well-maintained forest track leads through Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve.

A section of road-riding gives way to traffic-free cyclepaths into and through Dundee, all the way out to Arbroath and reoccurring when the route reaches Montrose. A section of smooth main road provides staggering views between St Cyrus and Inverbervie, interspersed with minor roads through to Stonehaven until they take over altogether, with a few further traffic-free sections between Portlethen and Aberdeen.

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air – The most convenient major cities and international airports are Edinburgh International Airport & Aberdeen International Airport.

By Rail – There is a railway station at the start of the route (Edinburgh), and one at the end of the route (Aberdeen).

From London – Trains run regularly from London Euston/Kings Cross stations to Edinburgh.

Return to the Start – The easiest and fastest way to return to the start of the tour is to take a direct train from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. Alternatively, local taxi companies may be available. Please get in touch via our Contact Us page if you require further information.

Please note:

Most train lines will allow for bikes to be taken on board. We advise that you check on as you may need to book a space for your bike or there may be a limit as to how many bikes the train can store.

Most buses in the UK are unable to store bikes on board, so we would recommend avoiding this form of transport.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.