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Top 10 Hidden Beaches in Scotland to escape the crowds

Updated: Mar 14

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track beaches scattered across Scotland.


We all tend to picture craggy mountains and sprawling forests when considering Scotland's exquisite natural beauty, and these features are well-known.


However, we frequently overlook the breath-taking sandy beaches that line the coastline. These beaches are on par with those in the Maldives, and what they lack in warmth they make up for in peace and natural beauty.


Here are 10 of the best white sand beaches in Scotland, a country with breath-taking scenery that goes far beyond its mountains, lakes, and rivers.


Image of Achmelvich Bay in Scotland


1) Camusdarach Beach


The beach, which has three light-coloured sand beaches that run end to end, is frequently referred to as one of the most beautiful in the country, if not the entire world. It's also possible to camp at this beach, and in the same location also makes sea kayaking and launching small boats simple.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Camusdarach Beach


1) Where is Camusdarach Beach located?

Camusdarach Beach is situated on the west coast of Scotland, near the village of Arisaig in the Highland region. It offers stunning views of the Small Isles of Rum, Eigg, and Muck, making it a popular destination for visitors seeking picturesque coastal scenery.


2) Is Camusdarach Beach suitable for swimming?

Yes, Camusdarach Beach is suitable for swimming, especially during the warmer months. The clear waters and sandy shoreline make it an inviting spot for a refreshing dip. However, visitors should always be mindful of changing tides and currents and swim within their abilities.


3) Are there facilities available at Camusdarach Beach?

While Camusdarach Beach is known for its natural beauty, it does not have extensive facilities. Visitors will find a small car park nearby, but amenities such as toilets and shops are limited. It's advisable to bring along any necessities, such as food, water, and sunscreen, for a comfortable beach visit.


Places to stay near Camusdarach Beach


Image of Camusdarach Beach in Scotland


2) Traigh Seilebost


On the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, there is a gorgeous hidden gem of a beach called Traigh Seilebost. This lovely beach has a machair in the background and offers many wonderful walking opportunities. Visitors can enjoy taking in the views of Taransay and Luskentyre, and also keep an eye out for sand dunes to the east!


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Traigh Seilebost


1) Where is Seilebost Beach located?

Seilebost Beach is located on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Situated near the village of Seilebost, it boasts pristine white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters, offering visitors a stunning coastal escape.


2) Is Seilebost Beach dog-friendly?

Yes, Seilebost Beach is dog-friendly, making it a fantastic destination for pet owners looking to enjoy the outdoors with their furry companions. However, it's essential to keep dogs under control and clean up after them to maintain the beach's natural beauty for all visitors.


3) What facilities are available at Seilebost Beach?

Seilebost Beach is known for its unspoiled beauty and remote location, so facilities are limited. Visitors won't find any cafes or shops directly on the beach, but there is a car park nearby for convenient access. It's recommended to bring along any essentials like food, water, and sunscreen for a comfortable beach visit.


Places to stay near Traigh Seilebost



Image of Traigh Seilebost in Scotland

3) Lunan Bay


Along with Sandwood Bay, Achmelvich Beach, and Balnakeil Bay, Lunan Bay has to be included on any list of Scotland's top beaches! A broad, east-facing beach with lovely sand, dunes on either side, and low cliffs to the north and south is what visitors can look forward to when visiting Lunan Bay.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Lunan Bay


1) Where is Lunan Bay located?

Lunan Bay is situated on the Angus coast in Scotland, approximately 5 miles south of Montrose. It's known for its expansive sandy beach, backed by dunes and surrounded by rugged cliffs, offering stunning coastal views.


2) Is Lunan Bay suitable for swimming?

Yes, Lunan Bay is suitable for swimming, but it's essential to be cautious of strong currents and changing tides, especially in certain areas. Lifeguards are not present on the beach, so visitors should be cautious and swim within their abilities.


3) Are there facilities available at Lunan Bay?

Lunan Bay offers some facilities for visitors, including a car park and toilets near the beach. However, there are no shops or cafes directly on the beach, so visitors are advised to bring along any essentials they may need, such as food, water, and sunscreen.


Places to stay near Lunan Bay



Image of Lunan Bay in Scotland


4) St. Ninian's Isle


On a nice day, St. Ninian's Isle is among the most picturesque places on earth. A perfect 500-meter symmetrical stretch of glorious golden shell sand connects the island to the Shetland mainland.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting St. Ninian's Isle


1) Where is St. Ninian's Isle located?

St. Ninian's Isle is located in the Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland. It is connected to the mainland of Shetland by a narrow tombolo, or sand spit, which is submerged at high tide.


2) Is St. Ninian's Isle suitable for swimming?

Yes, St. Ninian's Isle is suitable for swimming, particularly during low tide when more sandy areas are exposed. However, visitors should be aware of strong currents and rapidly changing weather conditions common in the area.


3) Are there any amenities near St. Ninian's Isle beach?

While there are no facilities directly on St. Ninian's Isle beach, visitors can find amenities such as parking, toilets, and possibly a cafe or shop in nearby areas like Bigton or Scalloway. It's advisable to bring food, water, and other essentials along when visiting the beach.


Places to stay near St. Ninian's Isle



Image of St. Ninian's Isle  in Scotland

5) Elie Beach


Elie Beach is the heart of a long, curved sandbar that stretches from Earlsferry around to Elie Harbour. The rich golden sand here is perfect for dinghy sailing, pleasure boating, windsurfing, and other water sports and is surrounded by dunes and beach huts.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Elie Beach


1) Where is Elie Beach located?

Elie Beach is located in the charming coastal village of Elie, in the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. It is situated on the northern shore of the Firth of Forth, overlooking the North Sea.


2) Is Elie Beach suitable for swimming?

Yes, Elie Beach is suitable for swimming, especially during the warmer months of the year. The beach offers clean and clear waters, making it a popular spot for swimmers and water sports enthusiasts alike.


3) Are there any amenities near Elie Beach?

Yes, Elie Beach is well-equipped with amenities to enhance visitors' experiences. Nearby facilities include car parking, toilets, cafes, and shops, ensuring that visitors have everything they need for a comfortable day at the beach.


Places to stay near Elie Beach



Image of Elie Beach in Scotland

6) Arisaig Beach


Arisaig Beach is a fantastically remote beach. A secluded bay, really gentle slope, and crystal clear water make it ideal for children. Numerous animals including crabs, hermit crabs, sole, squid, shrimp, and grouper can be found at this beach too.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Arisaig Beach


1) Where is Arisaig Beach located?

Arisaig Beach is situated in the picturesque village of Arisaig, on the west coast of Scotland, near the town of Fort William. It is nestled along the stunning coastline of the Scottish Highlands, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.


2) Is Arisaig Beach suitable for swimming?

Yes, Arisaig Beach is suitable for swimming, particularly during the summer months when the water temperature is more comfortable. The beach boasts clean sands and clear waters, making it an ideal spot for a refreshing dip or a leisurely paddle.

3) What amenities are available at Arisaig Beach?

Arisaig Beach offers basic amenities to visitors, including car parking facilities and public toilets nearby. While there are no cafes or shops directly on the beach itself, visitors can find various eateries and shops within the village of Arisaig, just a short distance away from the beach.


Places to stay near Arisaig Beach



Image of Arisaig Beach in Scotland


7) Baleshare Beach


Baleshare Beach is an unusually calm and flat island with very few visitors. This undiscovered hidden gem location is just south of the North Uist circuit and is accessible by a minor road and causeway. One of the best beaches in the Outer Hebrides is nearby, and the island's highest point, the sand dune off the southern tip, also offers stunning views.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Baleshare Beach


1) Where is Baleshare Beach located?

Baleshare Beach is situated on the island of Baleshare, which is part of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. It is located off the northwest coast of North Uist, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding landscape.


2) Is Baleshare Beach suitable for swimming?

Yes, Baleshare Beach is suitable for swimming, particularly during the warmer months of the year. The beach features soft white sands and clear turquoise waters, providing an inviting environment for swimming and other water activities.


3) What facilities are available at Baleshare Beach?

Baleshare Beach offers limited facilities to visitors, including car parking areas nearby. While there are no amenities directly on the beach, visitors can find basic services, such as cafes, shops, and accommodations, in nearby villages on the island of North Uist.


Places to stay near Baleshare Beach



Image of Baleshare Beach in Scotland

8) Dornoch Beach


At Dornoch Beach, visitors can take in the lovely stretch of golden sand. The beach wraps around the point to the south and continues all the way up to the northern village of Embo. Visitors can enjoy golden sands and dunes as well as some peace and quiet when at Dornoch Beach.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Dornoch Beach


1) Where is Dornoch Beach located?

Dornoch Beach is situated in the town of Dornoch, in the Highland region of Scotland. It stretches along the Dornoch Firth, offering visitors panoramic views of the coastline and surrounding landscape.


2) Is Dornoch Beach suitable for swimming?

Yes, Dornoch Beach is suitable for swimming, especially during the summer months when the water is relatively warmer. The beach features pristine sands and clear waters, providing an ideal setting for swimming and other water-based activities.


3) What facilities are available at Dornoch Beach?

Dornoch Beach offers various facilities to enhance visitors' experiences, including car parking areas, public toilets, and picnic areas. Additionally, the nearby town of Dornoch boasts a range of amenities, including cafes, restaurants, and shops, ensuring visitors have everything they need for a day at the beach.


Places to stay near Dornoch Beach



Image of Dornoch Beach in Scotland

9) Sandwood Bay


One of the best walks in Scotland can take you to Sandwood Bay, a secluded sandy bay in the northwest Scottish Highlands, north of Kinlochbervie. Due to its remote location, Sandwood's magnificent beach may be the best and most pristine beach in all of Britain.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Sandwood Bay


1) How do I get to Sandwood Bay?

Sandwood Bay is located on the northwest coast of Scotland, near the village of Kinlochbervie. Access to the beach requires a roughly 4-mile walk from the nearest parking area at Blairmore. Visitors should follow a well-marked trail through rugged terrain, which takes approximately 2 hours to reach the beach.


2) Is Sandwood Bay suitable for swimming?

While the beach itself is stunning with its pristine sands and dramatic cliffs, swimming at Sandwood Bay is not recommended due to strong currents and unpredictable weather conditions. However, the beach is perfect for coastal walks, wildlife spotting, and photography.


3) What facilities are available at Sandwood Bay?

Sandwood Bay is a remote and unspoiled location with no facilities available on-site. Visitors are advised to come prepared with essentials such as food, water, appropriate clothing, and sturdy footwear for the walk. There are no toilets or shops nearby, so it's essential to plan ahead for a day trip to this beautiful and secluded beach.


Places to stay near Sandwood Bay



Image of Sandwood Bay in Scotland



This gorgeous beach is absolutely stunning, with its white sandy setting and turquoise sea colour, it's no wonder it's regarded as one of the best beaches in Scotland.


If you're a lover of golden sandy beaches with crystal clear water, then you should definitely be heading to Achmelvich Bay. If you're lucky, you might even see a seal! It can get a bit busy during the summer, but it'll be a lot quieter than the majority of Scottish beaches.


On a clear day, Achmelvich Bay is often described as a beach that looks like it's from the Mediterranean Sea. Even though the water is clear and coloured light blue, please take caution as there may be some jellyfish lurking around.


FAQs/Things to know before visiting Achmelvich Bay


1) Where is Achmelvich Bay located?

Achmelvich Bay is located on the northwest coast of Scotland, near the village of Lochinver in the Scottish Highlands.


2) What makes Achmelvich Bay a hidden gem?

Achmelvich Bay is considered a hidden gem due to its remote location, pristine sandy beach, clear turquoise waters, and stunning surrounding scenery of rugged coastline and rolling hills.


3) How do I get to Achmelvich Bay?

Access to Achmelvich Bay is by car or public transportation. Visitors can drive along the A837 road from Lochinver and follow signs for Achmelvich. There is a car park near the beach for visitors.


Places to stay near Achmelvich Bay



Image of Achmelvich Bay in Scotland

There you have it! These are 10 of our favourite hidden beaches located in Scotland, perfect for your next adventure! Whether you plan to do the NC500 or another road trip, we definitely recommend stopping and taking the world in at one of these beauties!


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