Scotland's stunning locations include far more than just mountains, lakes and rivers – here's our pick of 10 of the country's finest white sand beaches.
When thinking of Scotland’s exquisite natural beauty, we all tend to think of craggy mountains and sweeping forests – and they’re justifiably famous.
But we often forget about the magnificent sandy beaches which dot the coastline, the equal of anything you’ll find in the Seychelles or Maldives – and what they lack in temperature, they make up for in tranquility and unspoilt charm, as we were reminded by an email we received from Premier Inn.
North Coast of Iona
The small island of Iona lies off the southwest coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. Just 1.5 miles wide and 3 miles long, it has a population of just 120 permanent residents who, in addition to enjoying the island’s scattering of stunning beaches, also live alongside an array of incredible wildlife including seals, puffins, dolphins, whales and basking sharks.
Luskentyre sands, Isle of Harris
Located on the west coast of South Harris in the Outer Hebrides, Luskentyre is one of the largest and most spectacular beaches on Harris. Boasting miles of white sand and stunning green-blue water, this unique place was named as one of the UK’s best beaches in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.
Camusdarach beach, Morar
On the West coast of Scotland, north of Fort William and a few miles from Morar, you’ll find Camusdarach. Famous for its stunning silver sands and crystal clear turquoise water – and also the film Local Hero – the beach has shallow water to paddle in and views out to the Isle of Skye.
Langamull beach, Isle of Mull
This beach is one of Mull’s best kept secrets, treating visitors to an expanse of glistening white shell sand and hidden coves to explore. It’s a stunning secluded beach that requires a good 20 minute walk to get there, but the spectacular views out to Rum on a clear day make a trip well worth it.
Eoligarry Beach, Isle of Barra
This white shell sand beach can be found near the most northerly point on the Isle Of Barra. Magnificent sand is backed by dunes, and the sands connect the rocky northern part of Barra to the rocks of Ben Eoligarry Mór.
Traigh Lar, Isle of Harris
The expansive beach provides stunning views across to the Isle of Taransay and towards the Harris Hills. A great spot for bracing walks and at the north end of the beach, you will find the legendary standing stone of Clach MhicLeoid, up a short, steep slope, which is rumoured to have been erected around 5,000 years ago.
Bhatarsaigh Bay, Vatersay
Vatersay is the southernmost inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides, and this beach on its eastern side is absolutely beautiful. The island is just three miles by three, and indeed is almost two separate islands – it’s deeply indented by the sea from the east and west, with only a narrow strip of sandy grassland and dunes at its narrowest point.
Mellon Udrigle, Wester Ross
Backed by dunes, Mellon Udrigle is an incredibly attractive piece of coastline in Wester Ross with unparalleled views of the Highlands. The mixture of clear, turquoise water, clean white sand and the distant mountain vista makes this a truly unique spot.
West Beach, Berneray
Stretching for a massive three miles, this expanse of white sand is ideal for walking – especially in summer, when it’s a haven for wildlife. The grassland is also dotted with an assorted variety of wildflowers, including some rare orchids that make a visit well worth it.
The Monks, Iona
The full name of this incredibly striking landscape is Traigh Ban Nam Monach, Gaelic for ‘white strand of the monks’. Iona can get quite busy in the summer months, but this beautiful beach is generally peaceful regardless – a perfect retreat for a more tranquil experience.