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scottish beaches

Rivalling the pearly white sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean and Mediterranean is this collection of the best beaches in Scotland.

Hidden away in the quiet corners are several deserted paradises and history-rich bays. With gorgeous sands and waters, and endless opportunities for dolphin spotting, these Scottish beaches could easily be mistaken for far-flung tropical locations!

Continue reading to discover the 10 best beaches in Scotland…


1. Achmelvich Beach, Scottish Highlands

Achmelvich beach

Perfectly positioned on the Highland coast is Achmelvich Beach, often considered the most beautiful beach in Scotland.

Unwind on the pristine sands of this exotic beach and capture the views of the islands of Lewis and Harris just offshore. This large crescent of white sand can be busy in the summer months and is a popular spot for rock pooling, windsurfing and kayaking.

Whilst in the beautiful turquoise waters, you may catch a glimpse of porpoises, dolphins and the occasional minke whale!

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Dog restrictions apply between April – September
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: IV27 4JB

Beach bag already packed? Find your perfect Scottish Highlands accommodation to enjoy one of the best beaches in Scotland! 


2. Sango Bay, Durness, North-West Highlands

Sango Bay in Durness

Next on our guide to the best beaches in Scotland is Sando Bay, one of the most northerly beaches in mainland Scotland. With a varied landscape of cliffs, rocks and sand dunes, this stunning beach offers its visitors the best of everything.

Offering a panoramic view of North Minch – the channel between the mainland and the Hebrides – this beach is great for spotting dolphins and whales.

Alternatively, you can venture to the famous Smoo Cave, which is the largest cave in Scotland, whilst avid ramblers can explore the towering cliffs and rugged mountains that surround it.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Yes, all year round
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: IV27 4PY

Take a look at Durness cottages and plan your perfect Scottish adventure today! 


3. The Silver Sands of Morar, West Highlands

Silver Sands of Morar

Resting on the banks of the River Moidart and peppering the coastline from Arisaig to Morar is The Silver Sands of Morar.

This collection of sandy beaches along the west coast offers breath-taking views out to the Small Isles of Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna, as well as the opportunity for dolphin spotting.

Here, you can dip into the crystal-clear waters or simply relax upon the pearly white sands of this spectacular destination. However, if you are feeling more adventurous, take to the Moray Coast Trail or visit Loch Morar, which is one of the most beautiful Scottish lochs.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Yes, all year round
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: PH39 4NT

Use Fort William accommodation as a base to enjoy this series of stunning Scotland beaches. 


4. Gruinard Bay, Ross-Shire, Scottish Highlands

Gruinard Bay

Enveloped by the Coigach hills and enchanting woodland is the hidden beach of Gruinard Bay. This bay plays host to three beaches, each one boasting pink sand, rocky coves and crystal clear waters.

This secluded Scottish bay is ideal for escaping the usual crowds of UK beaches, with far-reaching views towards Gruinard Island to savour. As well as lots of islands to enjoy, be sure to look out for Eider ducks, Northern divers and seals.

Alternatively, history buffs can visit the Chapel of Sand and visit the site where scientists during the Second World War were in the development of biological weapons. Today, however, the area is popular for fishing, sea angling, and hillwalking, ideal for a steadier pace of life!

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Yes, all year round
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: IV22 2NQ


5. Luskentyre Beach, South Harris, Outer Hebrides

Scotland

You would be forgiven for thinking that you had just stumbled across the sands of those in Western Australia when you visit our next Scottish beach.

Found on the west coast of South Harris in the Outer Hebrides lies the impossibly pretty, Luskentyre Beach, truly one of the best beaches in Scotland. With its combination of green-blue water, incredible views and the rhythm of crashing waves, this destination is sure to spark some magic.

After the three-mile journey along the single-track road, you are rewarded with striking vistas and ever-changing colours. Take a moment or two to enjoy the pretty sight before taking the coastal path towards Tràigh Rosamol, another beautiful beach.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Yes, all year round
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: HS3 3HL

To enjoy these unparalleled landscapes, take a look at this collection of Scottish islands cottages


6. Whitemill Bay, Sanday, Orkney

Whitemill Bay, Sanday, Orkney

Hidden away on the northern coastline of the island of Sanday is Whitemill Bay.

This Scottish beach offers quieter moments with a correspondingly wild feel. So be sure to explore the sweeping bay, backed by beautiful sand dunes before dipping your toes into the deserted waters.

After admiring the sublime beach, be sure to enjoy the seemingly never-ending selection of walks, as well as immersing yourself in the island’s strong sense of community. On the island, you will find a distinctive lighthouse at Start Point. The black and white-striped building is a fascinating site, whilst the beach at Lopness features the wreck of an old ship!

With its eclectic mix of things to do and a stunning beach or two, the venture to Orkney’s isle is well worth it.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Yes, all year round
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: KW17 2AZ


7. St Ninian’s Beach, Shetland Islands

St Ninian's Beach, Shetland Islands

Featuring a long natural sand causeway split, with the sea on either side is our next best beach in Scotland. St. Ninian’s Beach connects the small isle of St Ninian’s to Shetland via the large curving tombolo, easily accessible from Bigton.

Take to the pristine sands, where you can be sure to spot weathered sea glass, seashells and sea rockets along the way. At the far end of the beach, uncover a small cave to take shelter in, offering a unique picnic spot!

Afterwards, brush up on the local history with a visit to the archaeological site located on St. Ninian’s Isle. Here, you can uncover the kirk ruins, where the local religious community buried treasure during the 9th century Viking raids.

Alternatively, relish in an icy dip in the clear waters or stay long enough to watch the sun setting across the sea horizon.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Yes, all year round
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: ZE2 9JA

Take a look at this collection of Scottish coastal cottages to discover even more of the best beaches in Scotland. 


8. Balnakeil Beach, near Durness, Highlands

Balnakeil Beach

Perfectly placed at the western tip of mainland Scotland is Balnakeil Beach, sitting within striking distance of Durness and Cape Wrath.

The wide sand and azure waters are backed by towering mountains and grassy dunes, home to a large range of habitats. Here, you will find endless opportunities, from peaceful bathing, unspoilt walks and catching breath-taking sunsets.

Continuing to impress, this Scottish beach makes a superb stop off on the North Coast 500, one of Britain’s top scenic drives!

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Yes, all year round
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: IV27 4PX

Find your perfect place to stay amongst this collection of Balnakeil holiday cottages


9. Oldshoremore Beach, Scottish Highlands

Oldshoremore beach

Next up on our guide to the best beaches in Scotland is the beautiful Oldshoremore Beach, enjoying a remote location in the Scottish Highlands.

With glistening sands and sparkling clear water, this Scottish beach is simply stunning. And when the weather is on-side, it’s hard not to imagine that you’re basking in the sunshine abroad!

Meander along the curving bay, formed from eroded sandstone and seashells before dipping into the water, considered one of the best places to swim in Scotland.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Dog restrictions may apply between April – September
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: IV27 4RS

Stay local to this Scotland beach with an Ullapool self-catering cottage


10. Traigh lar Beach, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides

Traigh lar beach, Isle of Harris

Graced with pure white sands and exotic blue water is our final location on our best beaches in Scotland guide!

The often-deserted Traigh lar Beach is perfectly placed on the Outer Hebrides, offering the perfect secret stop on your Scottish adventure. Soak up the views across to the Isle of Taransay and towards the Harris Hills or uncover the standing stone Clach MhicLeoid for stunning photo opportunities!

Relish in the fresh Atlantic breeze as you stroll across this peaceful haven.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Yes, all year round
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: HS3 3AE


If these best beaches in Scotland have left you feeling inspired, find even more wonderful things to do with our free Scotland travel guide! Alternatively, secure your perfect holiday amongst this collection of unusual places to stay in Scotland

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