Some exposed, others lining the remote fringes of the country, the many beaches of Scotland exist like a glorious nexus of coastal paths and sea. From glistening silver sands to secret rock pools, explore our edit of the most beautiful and underrated Scottish beaches, many of which are regarded as the world’s finest.
Laced with lines of sand as white as snow and rippling turquoise waters, the beaches on the west coast of South Uist are one in a million. Set amidst a backdrop of dunes and machair overrun with flowers, these sandy stretches are both wonderfully remote and breathtakingly beautiful. The lack of crowds is an added bonus.
Just a stone’s skim from its more famous counterpart Luskentyre Beach, Scarista resembles a snapshot from a dream. The Sound of Taransay boasts mind-reeling hues of blue, while the sands are folded with gold tones for days. Perfect for walks or wild swimming, Scarista is also a prime place for spotting local wildlife like seals and eagles. You can go there with Culture Trip on our week-long tour of the Hebrides Islands – led by a local insider and full of outdoor activities.
Surrounded by peach-tinted golden sands and cerulean swells, Saligo Bay is one of Scotland’s prettiest beaches. Come rain or shine, it never fails to take your breath away with its dramatic scenery and wild ways. Situated on Islay, this one is a must-visit for wanderlusters.
Adored by wanderers and wild campers alike, Ceannabeinne Beach sports dramatic cliffs and spellbinding sea views over to the nature reserve island of Eilean Hoan. Graced by famous Scots novelist Sir Walter Scott during the 1800s, this sandy sanctuary is unrivaled inspiration for even the most mundane of minds. Ceannabeinne’s former title ‘Traigh Alt Chailgeag’ translates as ‘The Beach of the Burn of Bereavement and Death’ and derives from the tale of a drowned woman who was washed up on the beach. Today, however, only positive vibes surround it!
Elgol Beach on the Isle of Skye is an otherworldly coastal pocket and playground for photographers with a discerning eye. With the omnipresent Cuillin as a backdrop and sculptural stones forming a puzzle, this beach is less of a lounging spot and more of an endless adventure zone. A visit to Elgol Beach and a boat ride across the loch are included as part of our small-group adventure to the Hebrides Islands.
A place of untamed beauty and pristine vistas, Vatersay in the Outer Hebrides is one of those memorable places set to steal hearts for all eternity. Beautiful swatches of soft, silky sand meet with crystal aquamarine seas and mimic many desirable beach haunts in the Caribbean. A magnet for bird watchers and sea seekers, sightings can span from puffins to razorbill.
St Ninian’s Isle
A place suited to epiphanies and thoughtful strolls, the sands blanketing the edges of St Ninian’s Isle are a sight for sore eyes. This vast tombolo on bonnie Shetland’s west coast is engulfed with strong Scottish sea on both sides. The fusion of colours mixed with the vast endless sky make it postcard-worthy material.
Oldshoremore Beach in Sutherland, with its frosting of wispy sand and smug crystal clear waters, is wholly magical. Suited to peaceful meanderings and mindful meditations, this slim beach evolved from sandstone and seashells that eroded over time. Gazing outwards across the vast open sea and rocky coastline could never lose its lustre.
Sanna Bay is a seascape of shelly sands and royal blue sea, making it one of those life-affirming places every wanderluster must visit. It also happens to bask on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula teetering at the most westerly tip of mainland UK. The mind-blowing views expand to Rum, Canna, Eigg, and Muck and are only outdone when a curious dolphin or whale decides to stop by and embellish the already breathtaking scene!
Made for moonlight musings and counting the constellations, Calgary Beach near Dervaig on Mull is a magnet for wild campers, adventurers and stargazers. Its tiny size doesn’t detract from the overwhelming beauty displayed in the Scottish skies, both at night and during daylight hours, and its brilliant blue basin of sea water. With a carpark, unofficial camping spot and reels of spirited machair, visiting Calgary is like coming home for the first time.
A hotspot for water sports (think water skiing, windsurfing and kayaking) and those in the know, Achmelvich Bay has it all — that is if you’re on a quest for secluded slices of Scottish paradise devoid of noise and people pollution. Located a short distance from Lochinver near Suilven, buckets of ivory sand and artistically appealing rocky patches beckon beach lovers to reap the liberating benefits of the beach at Achmelvich.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.