Whisky-flavoured Speyside is a dream for the cyclist and whisky connoisseur. Pedalling along the beautiful Moray Coast, your 7 night whisky pilgrimage combines beautiful cycling in the Scottish Highlands with the chance to visit the many famous distilleries and sample their world-renowned tipples along the way.
Pedal past the fast-flowing salmon-rich River Spey, and before a glass even meets your lips, your routes expose you to all the elements that combine to make whisky loved around the world. Moving at a leisurely pace, breathe in the sweet scent of barley from the fields that provide whisky's essential ingredient, and cycle past the mountains and glens of Speyside, which provide the pure, clean water required to produce Scotland's most important and revered export.
You'll start in Inverness, which although is a modern town, has historical links stemming back as far as Neolithic times, and is home to an 800-year-old castle. Heading by bike through many towns (and stopping for a wee dram en route!), you'll explore distilleries including Glen Moray and Glenfiddich, and encounter spectacular woodland, coastline, lochs and wildlife. Culminating at Aviemore, here you can marvel at the mighty Cairngorm Mountains that tower above the clear waters below.
This trip allows you to re-trace bygone times with a visit to Culloden where Bonnie Prince Charlie saw his hopes dashed, and the 14th century Cawdor Castle, where Shakespeare's Macbeth plotted his unnatural deeds. You may even spot dolphins from Fort George's ramparts at Moray Firth!
Your accommodation for the week includes a range of high-quality, friendly guesthouses, Bed & Breakfasts and private houses, with either ensuite or private facilities. There is a choice of places to eat in the evening, with a three-course evening meal typically costing £20-£25.
Arrive at your hotel then explore this modern town, which has historical links going back to Neolithic times. Visit the 800-year-old castle, museum and art gallery. Your evening meals are taken at local restaurants this week (payable locally).
You stay at the Fairfield Lodge or similar (breakfast included)
Cycle to Culloden for a poignant historical experience. Discover the Visitor Centre (entry payable locally) for an insight into the last hand-to-hand battle fought on British soil, the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Continue to the spectacular 14th century Cawdor Castle (entry payable locally) and explore its three gardens - the Walled Garden, the Flower Garden and the Wild Garden - before heading on to Nairn.
You stay at the Glen Lyon Lodge or similar (breakfast included)
Visit three distilleries today: Benromach, the smallest malt whisky distillery in Moray; Dallas DHU Historic Distillery and Glen Moray. Explore Brodie Castle then pedal past the River Findhorn, the town of Forres and on to Elgin and its ruined cathedral.
You stay at the St Michaels Guest House or similar (breakfast included)
At Spey Bay you'll find the long-distance Speyside Way and the start of the whisky trail. Following the River Spey on footpaths, quiet roads and disused railway tracks, encounter spectacular scenery and plenty of wildlife. Visit the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Tugnet or the Glen Grant Distillery in Rothes, founded in 1840. You have the option to take a diversion from Craigellachie to Dufftown, often referred to as the 'Malt Whisky Capital of the world', to visit the Glenfiddich Distillery, built by William Grant and his family; the Macallan Distillery and the Speyside Cooperage, the only working cooperage in the UK where they still shape, shave and char oak casks for the whisky industry throughout the world (approx 5 miles each way).
You stay at the Bridgeview guest house or similar (breakfast included)
Cycle along the quiet roads of Banffshire, never far from the River Spey, to reach Grantown-on-Spey. This picturesque, traditional Highland town sits on the northern edge of the Cairngorms National Park and is surrounded by ancient woodlands.
You stay at the Norwood B&B or similar (breakfast included)
Pedal to the nature reserves at Loch Garten and Abernethy Forest. The mighty Cairngorm Mountains tower above the clear waters of Loch Morlich. Perhaps take the chance to try some watersports or explore the many forest tracks.
You stay at the Park Guest House or similar (breakfast included)
There are various options in Aviemore today - with cycle hire still included you could perhaps take a ride through Rothiemurcus forest to the water sports centre at Loch Morlich and continue on to the funicular railway. Alternatively cycle to the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, following Sustrans route no.7. If you don't want to cycle on your last day, you could always enjoy a ride on a steam train past heather-clad hillsdies of the Cairgorms National Park, to nearby Boat of Garten.
You stay at the Park Guest House or similar (breakfast included)
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
NEARBY:This large, stone-built house, with a walled garden and car park is in a quiet residential area of Inverness just 10 minutes' walk from the city centre. The five bedrooms have either ensuite or private shower facilities and have been upgraded to offer guests modern comforts, such as Wi-Fi access, whilst keeping the charm of a Victorian villa. The atmosphere at this Bed & Breakfast is one of 'nothing is too much trouble' and the warm Highland welcome comes as standard!
NEARBY:Set on the corner of a residential street in the quiet little village of Nairn, the Glen Lyon Lodge Bed & Breakfast is a traditional Scottish family home with beautifully maintained gardens, six very clean and spacious rooms with ensuite bathrooms and a friendly welcome. Full Scottish breakfasts are cooked to order using locally sourced ingredients. The Lodge is situated within a 5 minute walk to a choice of pubs and restaurants for evening meals.
NEARBY:St Michaels Guest House was originally built in 1911 for the Holy Trinity Episcopal church as a new home for their rector. It was later converted into a doctor's surgery that existed for 62 years before being purchased by the current owner to convert into this luxurious guesthouse, which opened in 2016. Your host Hazel has been in the hospitality trade for over 20 years and offers a friendly welcome, comfortable accommodation and an excellent spread at breakfast. Choose from a continental style breakfast, creamy Scottish porridge or hot dishes that include a traditional full Scottish breakfast.
NEARBY:This guesthouse is a traditional Scottish family home, set in an elevated position, overlooking the River Spey and the surrounding countryside. The 3 cosy, ensuite bedrooms are centrally heated with free Wi-Fi, flat screen TV and tea & coffee making facilities. A full Scottish breakfast is included and served in a classic dining room. The property is just 2.4 miles from The Macallan Estate whisky distillery, 4 miles from Balvenie Castle and 7 miles from Auchindoun Castle.
Find out more on the hotel website.
NEARBY:You're sure to receive a warm, Scottish Highland welcome at the Norwood Bed & Breakfast. With just 2 bedrooms, this 130-year-old Victorian home is set on a quiet residential street close to Grant Park and the River Spey. The rooms have recently been renovated and are comfortable and tastefully decorated. The property has a guest sitting room / breakfast room with TV and DVD player as well as a hospitality tray. Both rooms come with ensuite bathroom, free Wi-Fi and customers enjoy a hearty, full Scottish breakfast.
NEARBY:Situated in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, the Park Guest House is located at the north end of Aviemore's main street, surrounded by picturesque mountains and is in close proximity to all local amenities including a range of shops and restaurants. This contemporary bed & breakfast is run by Erik and Emma who offer a warm welcome and are happy to provide advice on the local area.
NEARBY:Hotel Upgrade Option - Days 6 & 7
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
This was a well-planned holiday. The pre-trip arrangements were timely and efficient. The Headwater staff was responsive to questions we had. The tour itself was done with a local provider, Scottish Cycles. They were good. The bikes were heavy but of good quality and suitable for the varied terrain. Some aspects of the trip were excellent, including the routes and the GPS navigation. There was one day which turned out to be difficult because of very wet, unrideable conditions in one part, which we were not alerted to. The baggage transfer always worked well. The major issue we had was with the accommodations at the last two stops which were not close to the standard we expected, given the information we had been provided about the tour, both on the website and in communications from Headwater.
Not as good as expected
Be prepared for bad weather in Scotland .
Electric / power assisted bike proved invaluable up some tough hills.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
This 7 night self-guided cycling holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of , and hotels
Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
GPS route directions and maps
RideWithGPS navigation app
High quality bikes
Luggage transfers between hotels
How to book:
Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 25th Oct 2019 to 26th Oct 2019, for 7 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £77 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment.
This holiday does not include any flights or rail.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Cycling the Moray Coast and Whisky Trail. Simply complete the form below (fields marked * are mandatory) and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.