Top ten best beaches in Scotland

You'll find some of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the world here

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St Ninian's Isle tombolo, Shetland Islands, Scotland

If you're looking for beaches surrounded by spectacular views and boasting clean waters suited to everyone from surfers to children, you won't need to venture far.

Scotland has some seriously beautiful sandy beaches nestled away in its breathtaking scenery, from the Scottish Highlands to seaside towns.

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There's ample opportunity to find your dream staycation whether you're after a fun-filled family break or wanting a serene getaway with coastal walks and beaches away from the bustling crowds.

For example, Hushinsh Beach is very remote and boasts wildlife including dolphins, while West Sands in St Andrews continues to be a hit with tourists and locals alike for its vibrant atmosphere and views of the town.

The sheer amount of choice can be overwhelming, so to help you narrow down your options we've created the ultimate guide to Scotland's best beaches...

1. Loch Morlich , Cairngorms National Park

Credits: www.alamy.com

Not only is this freshwater loch surrounded by spectacular, lusciously green landscapes, but it also has some very beautiful sandy beaches.

There are car parks and campsites

There's a water sports centre and yacht club too right by Glenmore Forest, so if you're after an activity holiday you can try your hand at kayaking, sailing and windsurfing, or if you prefer, take a long hike through the beautiful forest.

The best places to book cheap hotels nearby:

  • TripAdvisor has rooms in hotels and hostels from £45 per night.
  • Hotels.com has rooms from £75 per night.
  • Booking.com offers hostels from £20 and hotels from £59 per night.

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2. Tombolo, St Ninian's Isle

Credits: Universal Images Group Editorial

This 500m long sandy tombolo - a natural causeway with sea on either side - at St Ninian's continues to draw in nature-lovers and hikers thanks to its picturesque backdrop and impressive formation.

During low tides the beach can be as much as 70m wide, but during the high spring tides the centre can become submerged!

It also makes for an unforgettable swim - and while the water temperatures may be a bit nippy, the incredible environment more than makes up for it.

Located on the west coast of Shetland, the nearest town is Bigton but despite being fairly remote it's definitely worth a trip to check out this unusual beach.

The best places to book cheap hotels nearby:

  • Expedia has rooms from £83 per night.
  • Airbnb offers properties from £55 per night.
  • Trivago.co.uk has a wealth of hotels on the Shetland Islands with prices from £82 per night.

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3. Luskentyre Beach , Isle of Harris

Credits: Universal Images Group Editorial

Universal Images Group Editorial

Although a fair part of the island's coastline is rocky, there are a few hidden gems such as this picturesque beach.

Boasting miles of white sand and striking blue waters, it's one of Harris's largest beaches and continues to draw in tourists looking for a calm yet fun day out by the sea.

Don't fancy getting into the waters? The island has plenty of other activities you can do to take in the scenery, from cycling trails to hikes up the hills.

The best places to book cheap hotels nearby:

  • TripAdvisor has hotels and holiday rentals from £77 per night.
  • Kayak.co.uk offers plenty of deals on Isle of Harris stays per night.
  • HomeAway.co.uk has self-catered cottages from £55 per night.

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4. Sango Bay , Durness

Credits: www.alamy.com

www.alamy.com

With its sand dunes, rocks and turquoise waters, not to mention a surrounding landscape boasting cliffs and rolling green hills, it's no surprise that Sango Bay is a popular beach destination in Scotland.

Easily accessible by car and with campsites nearby, the bay is particularly popular with surfers who take advantage of the lack of crowds to take to the waters.

For those staying onshore the beach offers panoramic views of North Minch, not to mention it's a stone's throw away from Smoo Cave , the largest cave in Scotland.

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5. Clachtoll Beach , Lochinver

Credits: www.alamy.com

With its fine white sands and crystalline waters, you'd be forgiven on a sunny day for thinking you'd been transported to the Caribbean.

Slightly secluded you won't struggle to find somewhere to lay down your towels, not to mention it's dog-friendly so your beloved pet can come too.

A hit with families after a fun day out at the beach, there are campsites a stone's throw away if you're thinking of making a long weekend of it.

And for those who don't like to spend a day lazing on the beach, the surrounding area offers plenty of stunning coastal walks and incredible views of its rocky coastline.

The best places to book cheap hotels nearby:

  • Airbnb has properties overlooking the beach from £92 per night.
  • Expedia has hotel rooms from £60 per night.
  • Clachtoll Beach Campsite starts from £5 a night for adult tickets per night.

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6. Hushinish Beach , Isle of Harris

Credits: Gallo Images

Gallo Images

Another hidden gem on the Isle of Harris, Hushinish sits on the island's west coast, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean as well as neighbouring Taransay and Scarp.

Its remote location means it offers the perfect escape from the crowds of beach-goers you usually find during peak season.

Meanwhile, nature lovers can try and spot some of the local wildlife - including dolphins and seals - that have been known to make an appearance.

The best places to book cheap hotels nearby:

  • Booking.com has hotels on the Isle of Harris from £90 per night.
  • TripAdvisor has a round-up of the region's best hotels per night.
  • Expedia has rooms from £83 per night.

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7. West Sands , St Andrews

Credits: David Cannon Collection

David Cannon Collection

If you've always wanted to explore the picturesque town of St Andrews, make sure to stop off at this family beach day hotspot.

Stretching out for miles, West Sands has plenty of space for every beach-goer whether they're swimmers, volleyball fiends, dog walkers, hikers or small children.

There are lifeguards flagging when the waters are calm enough to go swimming, and there are plenty of tide pools for kids to go wildlife spotting.

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8. Camusdarach Beach , Arisaig

Credits: Moment Open

Moment Open

If you're looking for somewhere peaceful to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, then this could be the beach for you.

Think breathtaking views of the sweeping landscapes, plenty of small pools for kids to explore, fine sand and calm waters - and if you can, try to stay for one of the spectacular sunsets.

While the beach is secluded you won't have to venture far to find civilisation: there are countless campsites and cheap hotels just a stone's throw away.

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9. Sandwood Bay , Sutherland

Credits: Robert Harding World Imagery

Robert Harding World Imagery

This remote beach is about a mile long, stretching along the freshwater Sandwood Loch and boasting some very impressive sand dunes.

There's no direct road access, but you can reach the sandy shores along a stunning coastal path - perfect if you're looking to make the most of the great outdoors.

Because of its secluded location, the bay is surrounded in myths and legends with everything from mermaid sightings to ghosts and shipwrecks.

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10. Eoropie Beach , Isle of Lewis

Credits: James Stringer/Flickr

James Stringer/Flickr

This beautiful sandy beach sits on the north coast of the island and is popular with both surfers and photographers thanks to the large waves that crash against the shore from the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, nature enthusiasts regularly go exploring in the surrounding sand dunes where if you're lucky you can spot a wide array of rare wildlife and plants.

The best places to book cheap hotels nearby:

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