While Scotland may not be the first place you think of for gorgeous beaches, you better think again. With long stretches of beautiful sands, perfect surfing conditions, and jaw dropping surrounding scenery, Scotland’s beaches offer the perfect summer escape. Here are the seven best beaches in Scotland that are definitely worth a visit.
Armadale Bay Beach
Located on the north coast of mainland Scotland in the Sutherland region, this beach is famous for its pure sand and great surfing conditions. Thanks to the two rocky headlands on either side of the beach, the area is sheltered from the normally strong Scottish winds. The village of Armadale is an ancient town with a very small population, making for the ideal remote vacation spot.
Sandwood Bay Beach
This small, mile long, beach is often considered to be the best beach in all of the UK. Situated near Kinlochbervie on the northwest coast, the gorgeous and meticulously clean beach is reached via a path that runs through the dunes that sit behind the beach. The beach is a favorite due to its jaw dropping natural beauty, off the grid location, and huge waves that come in from the Atlantic.
Coldingham Sands Beach
Situated on the lower east coast of Scotland and sheltered from winds by headlands, this tiny beach holds a Seaside Award and a prestigious Blue Flag. The beach has been selected due to it being a clean, rural, and quiet beach that also offers lifeguards on duty in the summer and fantastic water conditions for surfing and body boarding. The beach also has beach huts that you can rent from the Scottish Borders Council, some of which are almost 100 years old!
Seacliff is a privately owned, half mile long, beach known for being home to the smallest harbor in the UK, Seacliff Harbor. Located on the lower east coast, the beach is perfect for a stroll along the shore, taking in the breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding landscapes. After the beach, wander through the two castles that sit along the beach then explore the tiny harbor.
Just outside of Lochinver is this lovely beach where you can spend the day on the beach then set up a tent at the campsite and sleep under the stars. The small stretch of clean sand and beautiful turqiose water make for the ideal place to bring the family for paddling, sand castle building, and swimming. Its location in the small village of Clachtoll means you have the convenience of nearby shops with the luxury of a nearly secluded, beautiful, beach.
St. Ninian’s Ayre
Hidden all the way up on the Shetland Islands, the most northern part of Scotland, this beach can only be reached from walking across the ayre, or sand bar. After crossing the 500-meter-long ayre, wander about the island, exploring St Ninian’s chapel and walking through the shell sand beach. The incredible beauty and serenity of the area helped it win a Keep Scotland Beautiful Seaside Award.
Rackwick Bay Beach
This incredibly scenic pebble beach is surrounded by some of the best views on Orkney Islands. The bay is situated in the Hoy Hills and makes for a great picnic spot before heading to the Old Man of Hoy. Or, spend the day wandering the beach, Rackwick Cliff, and the Cra’as Nest Musuem, then camp under the stars by the traditional bothy building.
Olivia is a travel writer currently living in Scotland, and spends her days exploring the country and all it has to offer. When she’s not out exploring, you can find her snacking on macarons and planning her next adventure. She has recently taken up photography and documents her travels on her Instagram, extraordinaryordinaryme.