Scottish Islands

5 Top Beaches in Scotland

Best Beaches on the Scottish Coastline

Scotland has over 8000 miles of coastline which means lots of beaches!

In May this year, more than 60 beaches in Scotland were granted official recognition for high standards of cleanliness, safety and water quality.  Eight of these are now able to fly the Blue Flag which means more holidaymakers!

The East Coast of Scotland boasts miles of unspoilt sands while the North and West coastlines are more rugged and have small coves and a lot of cliffs with stunning white, soft, sand beaches.

A bit of local dialect you’ll need to read the maps is the word ‘traigh’!

Scotlands beaches are great for beachcombing as almost everything washes up there eventually and they’ve found coconuts, lobster bouys from Maine and pumice from Iceland!

When we say the beaches are endless, we mean it.  The Big Strand on Islay is about 12km long!   Here are a few for you to consider:

1.  Gruinard Bay, Wester Ross

Great beach for dogs and humans alike!  This sandy beach is large and has shallow waters for everyone to enjoy.  Seafood abounds on this coastline so you can collect cockles and muscles to have as a treat later in the day.  Situated along the rocky Wester Ross coastline this area has three beautiful beaches with pink sand which comes from the Torridonian sandstone rocks. It is surrounded by magnificent rocky scenery.

Offshore lies Gruinard Island which has a chilling story behind it dating back to WWII.

2.   Mellon Udrigle

Camas a’Charaig is a really clean beach near a camping ground and good accommodation. It’s a good family beach and pets are welcome but so are the sheep!

It’s a wide white sandy beach that slopes gently into the turquoise sea and is backed by dunes and surrounded by rocks.  A great beach for sailing, canoeing and windsurfers as well as snorkelling

3.  St Andrews

St Andrews boasts that they have the sunniest and driest of beaches due to their excellent sunshine record!  Suffolk would deny that but there is a lot to be said of this golfing towns beaches.

The West Sands is one of the finest beaches in Britain with golden sands that stretch for miles to the hills in the North. You may remember this beach from the award-winning film ‘Chariots of Fire’.  It’s a great beach for kite surfers and sunbathers.

4.  Sandwood Bay, Caithness

If you like the sort of scenery that makes you gasp at the magnificence and sense of drama, then Sandwood Bay is the beach for you. As one of the most northerly beaches on the Scottish mainland, the bay faces out into the wilds of the Atlantic and its imposing cliffs give the impression that this coast of Scotland will stand proud against the encroaching sea until the end of time.

Saying that the experience of exploring Sandwood Bay can be very peaceful and private. The silvery sea, pinkish sands and the isolated sea stack, Am Buachaille, are perfectly framed by the bay’s cliffs and great rolling sand dunes, with a loch behind.

It is no surprise that the beach is said to be haunted by the ghost of a mariner who bangs on the windows of nearby Sandwood Cottage or walks the dunes in search of hidden treasure.

5.  Sinclair’s Bay, Caithness

Just eight miles south of John O’Groats in Scotland but – when the sun comes out – the white sand and sparkling blue sea of Sinclair’s Bay look more like the Caribbean than Caithness. Framed by a 16th-century castle at each end and with a spectacular array of wildlife including plovers, dunlins, porpoises and occasionally orca – both on and offshore, Sinclair´s Bay has the lot.

There are so many gorgeous beaches in Scotland it’s hard to decide which to see so do your homework before going and look at Anstruther and Crail too!

Feature Photo by Robert.Pittman