With summer on the horizon, what could be a better time to dive deeply into some of the many beaches available in Scotland?
If you type the phrase “Scotland beaches” into Google, you’ll be met with over 36 million results (at the time of writing), which is no surprise – you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding which beach(es) to visit. That’s why we’ve put together some information here to hopefully help you make the right decision.
Beautiful Scottish Beaches
Scotland has over 11,000 km of coastline, which means there are plenty of sandy spaces up for exploration. You’re also never more than 65 km from a shoreline, so there’s no excuse not to be able to take a trip to the beach!
Whether you’re on the hunt for wildlife, gorgeous scenery, or you just want to relax and enjoy a spot of sunbathing, there is sure to be a beach for you. An excellent place to start is by looking at some of our beaches that have won awards.
The “Keep Scotland Beautiful” charity has been recognising and awarding various beaches for the last 3 decades, with Fife taking the mantle for the area to receive the most awards.
Awards are allocated based on several criteria, and we don’t envy the judges having to make the final decision here, either! You can find out more about these awards and previous winners here.
Beautiful Scottish Beaches
Scotland hosts many gorgeous beaches –you’d be forgiven for thinking that some of our beaches would be more at home in the Caribbean than in Scotland! One such beach is Luskentyre Sands on the Isle of Harris. Visitors can enjoy golden sands as far as the eye can see and crystal-clear blue-green waters.
If you visit, and we hope you do, look out for the Machair, low-lying coastal plains that are carpeted in colourful wildflowers during the summer months.
A Northern treasure
Then there’s Sandwood Bay in Sutherland, reportedly the most beautiful beach in the UK. With no direct road access, pink sands that carry on for 1.5 miles sitting alongside freshwaters and even the Am Buachaille sea stack in clear view, it’s no wonder that Sandwood Bay has made the cut.
Loch Morlich Beach
And talking of freshwater beaches, a trip to Loch Morlich should be on your list when you plan your trip to Scotland. This beach is a juxtaposition, if ever there was one - sand underfoot and the Cairngorm mountains and fir trees in the background, all situated within the gorgeous Glenmore Forest Park.
Interestingly, the eagle-eyed amongst you may notice glass embedded within the sand. This is because the loch was utilised during World War 2 as a training ground, and the glass resulted from this.
The beach at Loch Morlich is the highest in the Britain and atracts many visitors for this reason.
So for a beach that combines traditional Scottish scenery with history (and even received a Seaside Award), Loch Morlich is where you’ll want to go.
Unusual Scottish Beaches
Have you heard of the term tombolo? The Encylopedia Britannica describes one as “one or more sand banks that connect an island to the mainland”. St Ninian’s Isle serves as the tombolo here in Scotland.
St Ninians Isle
Start your journey on the Mainland of Shetland before walking over the sandy strip that cuts through the sea across to St Ninian’s Isle. Known as an Ayre locally, it comes from the Norse language meaning “gravel bank”.
This beach is so unique and picturesque, it’s likely that you may have seen St Ninian’s Isle on websites, social media or brochures advertising what Scotland has to offer… even if you didn’t realise it at the time!
That causeway was made for walking, if you ask us.
Scottish City Beaches
Although you’re never far from a beach in Scotland, when you visit Aberdeen, you may be closer to a beach than you think… even if you happen to be right in the city centre! Yet despite being in the centre of a Scottish city, this beach is still ideal for spotting dolphins.
Not far from the heart of Scotland’s Capital City sits Portobello. This Victorian seaside resort that once boasted a pleasure pier has become an uber-trendy destination full of independent traders, bars and eateries.
Slip away from the bustling city centre, and you’ll be able to enjoy a couple of miles of sand between your toes in the morning, perhaps have a refreshing swim in the North Sea!
Beaches of St Andrews
St Andrews is well known for its golf courses, but did you know it also has several fabulous beaches to explore?
Of particular interest is St Andrews West Sands (not to be confused with St Andrews East Sands!), which despite its name, can actually be found on the east coast of the Kingdom of Fife.
St Andrews West Sands had a starring role in the famous 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire”, which tells the story of the famous Scottish runner, Eric Liddell.
As well as nearly 2 miles of white sand, this beach bounders the famous Old Course, which many aficionados consider the home of golf.
Why not explore St Andrews for yourself? Book a seat on our St Andrews and the Kingdom of Fife tour.
Scottish Beach Wildlife
Our beaches are perfect for nature enthusiasts to while away the hours. It may surprise you that a trip to our beaches could result in you spotting dolphins, Minke whales, otters or even porpoises. Of course, where you go in Scotland will determine the kind of wildlife you see. Bottlenose dolphins are commonly found on the east coast, whilst Minke whales call the west coast their home.
Then there are our seabirds. We play host to over 20 species of breeding seabirds, and some species to look out for include puffins, kittiwakes, oystercatchers and curlews.
Please remember these creatures call our beaches their home, so when you visit, leave them as you found them and don't forget to follow The Countryside Code.
Scottish Beach Holidays with Scottish Tours
So if you’re looking for a beach holiday this summer, why not add Scotland to your list of potential destinations? We may not have been the first place you thought of, but we hope that we’ve helped convince you that we have lots to offer where beaches are concerned!
We offer a range of tours that allow you to tour Scotland with professional guides to ensure you don’t miss anything Scotland has to offer.
Book your Scotland Tour today.