This heatwave is sure to have you wishing you were on a beach in the Med sipping a cold drink — but you don’t have to travel that far! When you think of Scottish holidays your mind may wander to mountains and midges but you can find your very own slice of paradise right here. Scotland boasts a number of the most stunning shores and we have pulled together a list of the best beaches in Scotland…
The 10 Best Beaches In Scotland
Vatersay Bay, Vatersay
This half-mile stretch of white sand and aquamarine waters can easily be mistaken for a more tropical locale. Vatersay Bay, located to the South of Barra in the Outer-Hebrides, is one of the most isolated beaches in Britain. Flanked by high dunes covered in Machair grass, there is perfect shelter for picnics and barbeques. Vatersay Bay is also the perfect Scottish beach for history buffs as the remains of RAF Catalina flying boat JX273 can be found nearby. Follow the three-mile road from the South of Barra and grab your own slice of the tropics, right here in Scotland.
Achmelvich Beach, Lochinver
Three-miles north of Lochinver on the Assynt Coast, this white sand beach is perhaps one of the most popular beaches in Scotland during the tourist season and the beach is popular with water skiers, windsurfers and kayakers. At the peak of the season you’re asked not to bring your dog down to the busy shores. The beach sports a spectacular view of the Suilven, one of the most distinctive mountains in Scotland. If you’re interested in a bit more sightseeing, Almelvich is home to the ‘Hermit’s Castle’, Europe’s smallest castle. Built in 1950 and promptly abandoned by the architect, David Scott, the castle was vandalised in the 1970s and has since fallen into disrepair.
Uyea is an uninhabited tidal island located to the northwest of Mainland, Shetland. Just off the Northmavine peninsula, Uyea is connected to the Mainland by a tombolo beach and is reached after a three and a half mile walk from the village of North Roe. The beach is perhaps one of the most picturesque beaches in Scotland with its sands flanked by sea stacks, cliff faces and sea on both sides. The beach itself can only be reached by a climb down the cliff face, but for those more into sightseeing or not as confident with climbing, the cliffs provide an excellent view of seals playing in the water below.
Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris
Harris is famed for its beaches, and is one of the best Scottish islands to visit. Nestled deep in the west side of South Harris, Luskentyre Beach provides spectacular views, with white sands and blue water to rival any tropical beach. If you’re really looking to appreciate the beach, there are frequent walking trips and a three-mile single track cycle road. These expansive waters and sand dunes are flanked by the mountains of North Harris; a reminder of the hiking the island has to offer. At high tide much of the Bay is submerged and the sea looks out to the island of Taransay, one of the most scenic islands in Scotland. If you continue along the coast road, you’ll find a series of smaller beaches which each offer a different variation of blues and turquoises against the whites of the sand.
West Beach, Berneray
This beach is located on the western rim of Berneray, an island between Harris and North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, and not to be confused with the Berneray on the most southerly island of the Western Isles. Often isolated, you can enjoy the white sands and crystal clear water without having to fight for space. The three-mile long stretch of white sand beach is backed by a view of the Harris mountains and high dunes covered in Machair that is home to hundreds of wild flowers — even a rare variation of orchid. The beach is a haven for wildlife, including the elusive migratory bird, the Corncrake. Accessed by either a minor road through Borgh or a three quarter mile walk from the Borgh Community Hall, this beach is a spot of paradise much closer to home.
Sango Bay, Durness
Sango bay is one of the most varied beaches in the Highlands. With cliffs, rock formations, sheltered outcrops and sand dunes, this beach offers visitors the best of everything. A beautifully formed cove, the golden sands and clear blue waters are located on Durness, at Scotland’s far north coast. Sango bay offers breathtaking views of the North Minch and the beach is easily accessible and overlooked by a campsite — Sango Sands Oasis — and a visitor centre. If you can bear it, tear your eyes from the beach and to the skies, keeping an eye out for a glimpse of the Northern Lights. If you’re interested in really exploring the area, sign up to tour the nearby Smoo Cave or journey there yourself — home to a spectacular 20m high waterfall!
Mellon Udrigle Beach, Wester Ross
The main attraction of Mellon Udrigle, a remote settlement on the north west coast of Ross-shire, this beach is a beautiful expanse of white sand sloping gently into a sparkling turquoise sea. Backed by Machair dunes, it is one of the most attractive pieces of coastline you’ll fine in Wester Ross. What makes the beach really special is its unparalleled views of the highlands — a distant mountain vista including views of the Suilven, Coigach and An Teallach.
Sandwood Bay, Sutherland
While there is no road access, don’t let the four-mile walk from Blairmore deter you — this pink hued beach offers breathtaking scenery. Sandwood Bay is nearly a mile and a half of soft sand and crystal water. The beach has a backdrop of sand dunes, breathtaking cliffs and Sandwood Loch. For those avid and experienced climbers, the beach is guarded by Am Buachaille, a 213ft sea-stack who’s easiest climbing route is graded ‘Hard Very Severe.’ The silver-blue waters of this bay come with their fair share of ghost stories, lending a unique charm to the area and a surprising twist to a beach that has you thinking of more tropical climes.
Sanna Bay, Lochaber
Situated on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, the most westerly point in mainland Britain, Sanna Bay is well-known for its breathtaking scenery. The waters can change from a deep dark blue to a light turquoise, depending on the weather. Each beach is broken up by rock pools for you to explore. The dunes that back the beaches are home to a spectacular array of plants, insects and wildlife. While here, keep an eye out for otters, coastal birds and the whales and dolphins commonly spotted in the water.
Langamull Beach, Isle of Mull
One of Mull’s best secrets, Langamull Beach offers white sands, turquoise waters and a wealth of hidden coves to explore. Langamull beach is reached by a short 20-minute walk. The beach is backed by dunes and a small freshwater burn that trickles into the ocean. The bay itself is well sheltered from the wind, offering visitors a fantastic spot for swimming.
Written by: Emma Arthurs