Scottish Highlands Beaches

#8 in Best Things To Do in Scottish Highlands
Scottish Highlands Beaches picture1 of 4
Scottish Highlands Beaches2 of 4
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Key Info


Price & Hours



Beaches, Free Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
  • 5.0Value
  • 1.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

If you really want to take in the full spectrum of the Highlands' geographical grandeur, make time for its beaches. Some of the beaches feature waters so clear and sands so white they resemble the kind of shorelines you'd find in the Caribbean. In contrast, there are also a plethora of beaches in the Highlands that are much more dramatic in landscape, akin to the rocky, mountainous coastline you'd come across in the Pacific Northwest.

If you're on the west coast, start at Camusdarach Beach in Morar. Camusdarach Beach is a lengthy shore backed by soft dunes and flanked by green hills and craggy bluffs. The beach also offers views of the mountains on distant isles, including the Isle of Skye. For a more Caribbean feel, head to Achmelvich Beach, located in the northwestern town of Lochinver. It features clear, turquoise waters and nearly white sands. For something a little more remote (with far fewer crowds), trek to Sandwood Bay. This beach requires visitors to traverse an 8-mile round-trip coastal hike, but is consistently lauded as one of the best beaches in Britain for its rich blue waters and striking cliffs situated on either side of the shore. If you'd prefer a shorter walk, Sango Bay in Durness offers similar scenery.

The Shetland Islands are the northernmost collection of Scottish Isles and are known for their knockout shores. St. Ninian's Isle Beach is by far the most stunning, with a natural causeway separating the sea in two. The beaches of the Inner and Outer Hebrides receive acclaim as well, offering gems such as the Isle of Harris' Luskentyre or the Isle of Mull's Fidden Bay.

Getting around the different towns in the northwest coast as well as the island of Scotland varies, so be sure to read our getting around guide before you go. Beaches in Scotland are free to visit and don't have set hours, but swimming at night isn't recommended. And due to the remote nature of the Scottish Highlands, don't expect these beaches to be outfitted with lifeguards either, so swim with caution. For more information about the many beaches Scotland offers, visit the Scotland tourism board's website

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Isle of Skye1 of 10
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Time to Spend
#1 Isle of Skye

If you only had time to visit one part of the Scottish Highlands, let it be the Isle of Skye. Located on the west coast of the Highlands, Skye is the largest island of the Inner Hebrides. The island is filled to the brim with otherworldly landscapes. There's a lot to see on this island, but travel experts and visitors say you can't leave without peeping these gems: the Quiraing, the Old Man of Storr, Neist Point and the Fairy Pools.

The Quiraing is the perfect introduction to Skye's spellbinding geography. As you descend down the Quiraing, you'll be greeted with sweeping views of stunning geography: Cracked plateaus with craggy cliffsides lead the way to an expansive valley of verdant rolling hills, stately rock formations and alpine lakes. Situated 13 miles south is the Old Man of Storr, a single, pinnacle-shaped rock which stands out for its looks; it's so tall and distinct, it can easily be spotted from sea level miles away.

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