15 Stunning Walks in Fife for Scenic Adventures

I like hiking. I like Scotland. I like Fife.

So in this stroll-stacked guide, I’ve appropriately combined those three passions, to bring you the 15 best walks in Fife.

The region (which sits on the peninsula sandwiched between Edinburgh and Dundee) has way more walks and wanders than most people realize. So coming up, you can expect simple strolls, multi-day epics, coastal wanders, inland stuff, little peaks, and plenty more.

Smash out your hiking boots and come join the two-footed frenzy!

Stunning walks in Fife for scenic adventures

1. The Fife Coastal Path

Fife Coastal Path in Scotland

We’re kicking things off with the biggest beefiest behemoth of them all.

The Fife Coastal Path is a massive shoreline wander measuring in at 113 miles (183 km), and it runs from southern-Fife Kincardine to northern-Fife Newburgh.

One of Scotland’s official so-called ‘Great Trails,’ it’s among the best coastal walks in Scotland, and it’s brimming with a tasty selection of great stuff. Obviously, because it’s a seaside walk, you hit loads of great beaches. But other varied highlights include cozy fishing villages, underrated industrial towns, castle-y ruins, woodland stretches, and loads of welcoming locals.

Allegedly, around 35,000 people walk the thing in its entirety every year (source). If you have time, I massively recommend joining them.

For people who don’t want to tackle the full thing (which, let’s be honest, is probably most of you) I’ve covered some of the best shorter stretches in other parts of this guide. And the most famous of them all is coming up next…

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Itinerary: Long-distance linear route running from Kincardine to Newburgh
  • Distance: 113 miles (183 km)
  • Time: 5-10 days
  • Highlights: St Andrews, lots of under-the-radar beaches, Crail, Anstruther, and seeing basically all of the Fife coastline in one lengthy challenge 

2. Crail to Anstruther

A beautiful sunset over Anstruther in Fife, Scotland

Very-probably the most popular section of the Fife Coastal Path (although I could be wrong, I’ve never undertaken an official survey), this short stroll is easy but beautiful, and it takes you between the two of Scotland’s most charming fishing villages.

You can’t tackle this wander without falling in love with both places. The two of them offer rudimentary harbors, orange-topped roofs, old-school homes, and lots of friendly faces. Between them, they have a cumulative population of around 5,500 people.

A mother and her son walking along a coastal path in Crail, Fife, Scotland

Because Crail is a bit prettier than Anstruther, most people do this walk in the opposite direction to what I’ve recommended—but those people are wrong. Cos if you instead end your hike in Anstruther, you can munch on some fish and chips at the iconic Anstruther Fish Bar, which always wins awards.

If you’re looking for easy, or little-dog-friendly, or something you can do with kids, you’ll think this is one of the best walks in Fife. It’s cozy and I love it.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Itinerary: Linear route from Crail to Anstruther
  • Distance: 4.5 miles (7 km)
  • Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Highlights: Quiet beaches, hitting two Fife Coastal Path highlights in one tiny wander, beautiful sights without much effort, and munching on some post-walk fish and chips

3. Crail to Kingsbarns

Kingsbarns Golf Links on the east coast of Fife, Scotland

For this one, you’ll head north out of Crail, instead of south out the place.

It’s similar to the walk I’ve just outlined above, but a little quieter, a little longer, and a little lesser-known. But it’s still flat and simple—so it’s another easy option.

It’s another good hike for people who strictly want to stroll along the coast. The entire 6.5 miles (10km) of this one sticks tightly to the shoreline. It passes quiet beaches, two golf courses, Constantine’s Cave, little Fife Ness lighthouse, and the most easterly point of Fife.

When you reach the shores of Kingsbarns, head west for a little while to reach the center—then do some much-needed munching at The Inn at Kingsbarns. Some of the food is basic, but it’s a cozy and welcoming spot.

Pro Tip

Some parts of this coastal stretch are impassible (and therefore impossible) when the tide is high. Check here for tide times, and don’t risk it when you shouldn’t.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Itinerary: Linear route from Crail to Kingsbarns
  • Distance: 6.5 miles (10 km)
  • Time: 2.5-3.5 hours
  • Highlights: Lovely lovely Crail, bird-filled Kilminning Coast Nature Reserve, Constantine’s Cave, pretty Cambo Sands, hitting the most easterly part of the region, and tackling a lesser-known from-Crail hike

4. Kingsbarns to St Andrews

A view of St Andrews on the coast in Fife, Scotland

If you head north out of Crail, you hit Kingsbarns. And if you head north out of Kingsbarns, you hit St Andrews (which, as you probably know, is one of the most famous coastal settlements in Scotland).

Again, cos this is another coastal jaunt, it’s quite flat, with a total elevation gain of around 150 meters (500 feet). It’s a good choice if you want to combine your shoreline strolling with a little bit of farmland—around 1.5 miles (2.5 km) of this hike heads inland.

Again, a section of this walk is unpassable at high tide (it’s the part near Buddo Rock, a strange rocky outcrop not far from St Andrews).

Pro Tip

You’ve probably worked this out for yourself. But if you want a big challenge, you can hike all the way from Crail to St Andrews in one day. Flat and accessible, that long wander clocks in at only 15 miles (24.5 km), so it’s possible as a one-dayer if you’re reasonably fit.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Itinerary: Linear route from Kingsbarns to St Andrews
  • Distance: 8.5 miles (13.5 km)
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Highlights: The eerily-sanded ‘Red Beach,’ lumpy Buddo Rock, more golf courses, lots of quiet shorelines, the panoramic mini-descent into St Andrews, and reaching the famous town on your own two feet

5. St Andrews Circular

Beautiful embankment in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland

This gentle jaunt has never been accused of being the most exciting walk in Fife, but it’s a nice way to tick off some of the town’s top sights and views.

If you’re overnighting in St Andrews and you want something relaxing, you’ll think this is one of the best walks in Fife. If you hate low-intensity adventures, you absolutely won’t.

The wander takes in golf courses, university buildings, cobbled streets, beachy views, the town’s cathedral, the scenic pier, a load of colorful homes, some of St Andrews most famous and photogenic streets, plenty of en-route munch-spots, and loads more. It’s only 3 miles (5km), but it packs in plenty of highlights.

For a detailed description of exactly where you want to walk for this one, here’s your best resource.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending from a car park just outside St Andrews’ center
  • Distance: 3 miles (5 km)
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Highlights: The atmospheric streets of the town, some nice shoreline views, and seeing loads of St Andrew highlights in one quick jaunt

6. St Andrews West Sands Loop

West Sands Beach in St Andrews, Scotland

Another St Andrews loop, but this one is more remote and rural, and it takes in quiet sands (rather than town-center hotspots).

Look at a map of St Andrews, and you’ll see a small peninsula jutting north, out of the town and into the sea. Head north out of the town, following the shores of West Sands (which actually sit on the eastern side of the peninsula—confusing!). When you get to the most northerly point, head back to where you started in a loop. Simple.

Clouds over the Estuary of the River Eden in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

Depending on which part of the town you start in, the walk will clock in at around 5 miles (8km). You’ll see the massive long sprawl of West Sands beach, the wide estuary of the River Eden, and some of the best St Andrews views you can get.

If you want a fix of beaches without having to take a day trip from St Andrews, this is one of the best walks in Fife.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending in the center of St Andrews
  • Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
  • Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Highlights: Great views of St Andrews, a pretty walk without having to take a day trip from the town, and the beautiful beautiful shores and dunes of West Sands

7. The Isle of May Circular

Victorian lighthouse building on the Isle of May in Scotland

If you like wildlife, or if you’re just on the hunt for something a bit different, you’ll think this is one of the best walks in Fife.

The uninhabited Isle of May is a tiny little place. Measuring in at only 1 mile (1.6 km) by 0.3 miles (0.5 km), it sits around 5 miles (8 km) off the mainland coast of Scotland, and can only be accessed from Anstruther.

Head to Anstruther between the beginning of April and the end of September, and you can catch a boat to the island. It’s possible to book a ride at the harbor, but it’s usually best to get yourself a ticket in advance. These guys offer great trips.

Puffins on the Isle of May in Fife, Scotland
A seagull on the Isle of May in Fife, Scotland

The island is home to a massive variety of animals, including seals, puffins, razorbills, and a load of other seabirds. Come here for the circular stroll (you’ll get a map, so just cover all the paths in whatever order you want), and you’ll see all the animals, all the barren shores, and all the lumpy cliffs. Highly recommended.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Itinerary: Circular trail beginning and ending at the tiny Isle of May harbor
  • Distance: 3 miles (5 km)
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Highlights: Strange lighthouses, hiking around an uninhabited island, a massive amount of wildlife, riding to (and from) the island in a boat, and some atmospheric cliffs

8. The Loch Leven Heritage Trail

Geese fly over Loch Leven in Scotland

Alright boys and girls, we’re heading inland for the first time, and away from all the seas and shores we’ve been covering so far.

This walk is a bit of a weird one; some people love it, some people hate it.

The inland town of Kinross is situated halfway between Edinburgh and Perth. Very close to Kinross, you have the massive Loch Leven (one of the best lochs in Scotland). It has a hefty perimeter of around 12 miles (19.5 km), and this walk takes you around the entirety of it.

That said, adventurous people shouldn’t get too excited: the whole walk takes you along a cycle path, which (mostly) runs around the perimeter of the loch. So I’d rather cycle it, cos I reckon there’s nothing more dull than doing a big long ‘hike’ on tarmac. But if you’re the type of person who likes gentle walks with variety and good views, you’ll love it.

There are loads of cafe stops along the way, and the area is particularly well-known for feather-toting wildlife. Like birds? You’ll love this wander.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending from the car park at Kinross’ Kirkgate Park
  • Distance: 12 miles (19.5 km)
  • Time: 4-6 hours
  • Highlights: Endless lochside views, lots of local and migrating birds, seeing all of Loch Leven in one big bumper trip, and stopping along the way for loads of coffees and cakes

9. West Lomond (from Craigmead Car Park)

Hike Around West Lomond Hill

West Lomond is the highest point in Fife, measuring in at a surprisingly-small 522 meters (1,710 feet). If you like tackling the loftiest hikes in whatever place you’re visiting, you’ll think this is the best walk in Fife.

West Lomond sits at the westerly end of Lomond Hills Regional Park, which serves up some of the other hikes coming up on our list.

There are a few different ways to get up the little peak of West Lomond, but this ascent is the most popular by far.

Park up in Craigmead Car Park & Picnic Area, head west out the back of the car park, and you’ll be able to see the peak from afar. The well-worn trail takes you to it (and back from it) in a loop. It’s super scenic, and I highly recommend it.

In total, this walk has an ascent of less than 300 meters (980 feet), so it’s a relatively easy stroll.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending in Craigmead Car Park
  • Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Highlights: Varied views of West Lomond all the way up the approach, flat atmospheric moors, little lochs, and ticking off the highest peak in the region via its most popular and simple route

10. West Lomond Again (But Via the Bunnet Stane)

Bunnet Stane at the Foot of West Lomond

If you like a challenge*, this is one of the best walks in Fife.

*(I use the term ‘challenge loosely—cos with a total ascent of only 420 meters/1,400 feet, this is still very doable and simple for any experienced hikers).

Anyway, this hike takes you up to the same peak as our last wander. But it’s a bit longer, a bit steeper, a bit tougher, and a bit lesser-known.

But it’s also prettier and more interesting, so (if you’re fit enough for it), this is the West Lomond walk I recommend.

Park up in the small ‘Bunnet Stane Car Park’ layby (it only has space for 3 or 4 cars), walk past the strange lumpy formations of the Bunnet Stane, ascend the peak, then head back to your car in a big loop.

The paths for this West Lomond ascent aren’t as well-marked as they are on the other trail, but you can find a great description of the details here. I love this walk.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending in the Bunnet Stane Car Park
  • Distance: 6.5 miles (10 km)
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Highlights: The strange ol’ Bunnet Stane, a West Lomond ascent with few other people, lots of sheep, lots of farmland, and taking (what I reckon is) the best route up to the area’s highest peak

11. East Lomond Loop (From Falkland)

The village of Falkland with a view of the Lomond Hills

Okay, we’ve already clambered up the biggest peak in this park.

Next, we’re heading up to West Lomond’s cousin, the slightly-smaller East Lomond (which has a height of 448 meters/1,470 feet).

This is a pretty easy walk, but it packs in loads of variety and highlights. You start from the lovely village of Falkland (the skyline of which is dominated by the peak of East Lomond).

Starting from anywhere in the village, head south, and follow the easy-to-find southwest trail up to the peak. Head down the back of the hill (you get great views of West Lomond here), cross the road, then head east on the trail running parallel to the road.

You’ll then follow a little river, pass a strange sheer-drop waterfall, and return back to the town in a different direction.

If you want lots of variety, this is one of the best walks in Fife.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending in the village of Falkland
  • Distance: 4.5 miles (7.5 km)
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Highlights: Lovely Falkland, excellent views of both Lomond peaks, a pretty-easy ascent up East Lomond, a strange waterfall, and ticking off all the Falkland sites along your stroll

12. Another East Lomond Loop (But from Glenrothes)

East Lomond, aka Falkland Hill, from Rind Hill near Glenrothes

Here’s another East Lomond choice for you.

Honestly, I think the previous option is the better walk, and the prettier ascent. But if you’re overnighting in Glenrothes, or if you just like longer walks, this is for you.

Starting in the Pitcairns car park in the pretty-big town of Glenrothes, head north, through the horrendously named ‘Hairyholes Plantation.’ Keep wandering through fields and plantations, along an easy-to-find path. Eventually, East Lomond will come into view. Your path will then take you west, while the landscape becomes a bit more barren and atmospheric.

From here, get to the top, have a picnic, then head back to Glenrothes.

Pro Tip

The second half of this walk (that’s the part from the peak to Glenrothes) can be tough to navigate. So either download a good offline map (I always recommend Maps.me), or just retrace your outward-section steps to take you back to where you started. Your choice!

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending in the Pitcairns car park in Glenrothes
  • Distance: 7 miles (11 km)
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Highlights: Views of both Lomonds, heading up to East Lomond without any crowds, and overnighting in Glenrothes

13. Both Lomonds in One Day

Hike around West Lomond Hill

For pedantic completionists like me, this isn’t just one of the best walks in Fife—it’s THE best walk in Fife.

Want to tick off both Lomond peaks in one bumper day? This is the stroll for you.

As you’ve probably worked out from the several Lomond options we’ve covered, you could hit both Lomonds together in a load of different ways.

But here’s what I recommend: start in Falkland, then head southwest up the peak of East Lomond (as already outlined above). After your ascent, keep heading west until you hit (and cross) the small road. Here, you’ll hit Craigmead car park. Keep heading west to reach the peak of West Lomond.

When you hit West Lomond’s peak, complete the loop as outlined in the West Lomond Craigmead hike above. After your return to Craigmead car park, finish your hike by retracing your steps back to Falkland.

I totally recommend this one—why wouldn’t you want to hit both these big peaks in one long walk?

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending in Falkland
  • Distance: 10 miles (16 km)
  • Time: 4-5 hours
  • Highlights: Great views of both Lomonds, spending some time in Falkland, covering loads of the Lomond Hills Regional Park in one day, and ascending the two biggest peaks in the park

14. Bishop Hill Circular (From Scotlandwell)

Bishop Hill in Scotland

Bishop Hill is actually taller than East Lomond (which is the second-biggest peak in Lomond Hills Regional Park). But because Bishop Hill technically sits outside the park, it doesn’t attract as much fame and footfall as either of the Lomonds.

So this stroll is a lot quieter and more remote than most others we’ve covered.

On the A9, just outside the tiny village of Scotlandwell, you’ll see a little church, with a little car park. Park in it. From here, the walk takes you through moors, farmland, brief patches of forest, and plenty more. The route can be tricky to navigate, so here’s a good description.

Remember Loch Leven, which I mentioned earlier? From this side of Bishop Hill, you get great views of the place—if you’re on the hunt for good panoramas, this is one of the best hikes on our list.

Although it’s not particularly tough, this wander is a little steeper than most others we’ve covered.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending from a church car park just north of Scotlandwell
  • Distance: 4.5 miles (7 km)
  • Time: 2-3.5 hours
  • Highlights: Hiking up the underrated Bishop Hill, excellent panoramas of vast Loch Leven, tackling one of the quieter walks on our list, and some of the best views Fife has to offer

15. Auchtermuchty Common Circuit

If you want good views of the Lomonds without having to actually clamber up the Lomonds, this is the walk for you.

The route takes you along farm tracks, country roads, sparse woodland, and rural village stretches. This is an “I’m doing a gentle stroll through civilization” type of walk rather than an “I’m tackling something super adventurous” one.

Head northwest out of the town on Leckiebank Road. Follow the trails until you reach Pitmedden Forest Car Park. From here, head northeast then southeast to reach the B936 road. Head north on this road for a while before taking the right turn to Auchtermuchty Common, on a trail which brings you back to the town.

It’s one of the best walks in Fife if you’re adventuring with kids—it’s easy, you walk right from the center of a town, and it’s close to the popular Fife Zoo.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Itinerary: Loop beginning and ending in the town of Auchtermuchty
  • Distance: 4.5 miles (7.5 km)
  • Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Highlights: Strolling through Auchtermuchty, hiking with kids, a gentle civilisation-based wander, and great views of both East and West Lomond without having to tackle anything tough

Pro Tips for Hiking in Fife

  • Watch out for midges: if you’re hiking during Scottish midge season (that’s summer months), take some precautions. Wear midge spray and long sleeves, and consider buying one of those ridiculous headnets. Midges are horrendous little creatures—if you’ve never encountered them before, you’re definitely underestimating them.
  • If it’s your thing, do some wild camping in Fife: because of Scotland’s ‘Right to Roam’ laws, you can wild camp in the nation pretty much wherever and whenever you want. Buy a good camping tent for Scotland, pick out some serene spots, and pitch up peacefully. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Scotland.
  • Book up early, if you’re traveling in summer: Scotland is becoming more and more popular with travelers (from both inside and outside the UK). In peak months (that’s summer), accommodations are often fully-booked. So book up in advance, to make sure you can stay where you want to stay.
  • You’ve got plenty of good bases: there are loads of pretty towns and villages in Fife. Some of the best coastal picks are Crail, Anstruther and St Andrews. For inland action, Glenrothes and Falkland are usually your best options. Fife is home to some of Scotland’s prettiest towns and villages.
  • Pack for all weather: soz to be serving up big fat slices of bad news, but Scotland is a pretty rainy place. Even if you’re hiking in summer, there’s a good chance you’ll get drizzled upon. And encounter strong winds. And cloud. And… I’m sure you can work out the rest. What I’m saying is… hope for good weather, but don’t expect it.
  • In this part of the world, the sun rises in the east: and because Fife has loads of shoreline spots, it’s home to many great places for nabbing lovely sunrises. Any of the far-eastern towns and villages are great, so head to St Andrews, Kingsbarns, Crail, and all the beaches around them.
  • Check for tide drama: on some of the coastal walks, short stretches might be unpassable when the tide is high. So check in advance, and don’t risk it if you shouldn’t. To get your eyes around up-to-date tide times, use this website.
  • It’s possible to use Edinburgh as a base: I wouldn’t personally recommend using Edinburgh as a base for trips in Fife, cos that’ll require a lot of driving. But since many tourists just can’t seem to tear themselves from Scotland’s capital, I’m just letting you know it’s an option. No part of Fife is much more than a 1-hour drive from Edinburgh.
  • Most trails in Scotland aren’t waymarked. All the routes in this guide are low-level and pretty easy to follow, so you’re probably not gonna die or get eaten by wolves (I’m joking, obviously—there are no wolves in Scotland). But it’s still nice to wander with some direction, so I recommend using an offline map. Maps.me is my favorite.

Before You Go

And just like that, we’ve wandered along the 15 best walks in Fife.

If you only have time for a couple of hikes, I recommend doing one coastal walk, and one inland stroll. If I could only pick two, I’d go for West Lomond (via the Bunnet Stane), and the Isle of May Circular.

For more on-foot exploring, check out our wander-filled guide to the 15 best hikes in all of Scotland. Thanks for reading, thanks for being you, and thanks for choosing Travelness!

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