Curious travellers seeking the best beaches in Scotland are in for a pleasant surprise: the perpetually overcast country has a plethora of gorgeous coastlines to explore. Granted, Scotland is no tropical playground – its frigid North Atlantic waters are rarely warm enough for a swim. But if breathtakingly beautiful beaches and windswept rocky outcrops are what you seek, then the Scottish coastline is your wonderland.

    From the Isle of Skye to the Northern Sea and the smattering of archipelagos wedged in-between, here are great ideas for a road trip or an adventurous journey to the great Scottish beaches. And for the avid surfers out there, we also include a few world-class breaks to sweeten the deal.

    1

    St Ninian’s

    A wonderful sandbar connecting the island to the archipelago

    Tiny St Ninian’s Isle lies in the southern Shetland archipelago, whose star attraction is the lovely tombolo – or ayre as locals call it – which connects the island to the mainland. The long and narrow sandspit shrinks to a sliver at high tide, yet travellers can still wander right through the middle to enjoy marvellous ocean views. Keep an eye out for sea trout on the hunt for minnow, plus the weather-worn local fisher boats that trawl through the bay.

    Upon arriving at the other end of St Ninian’s Beach, embark on a stunning 6-km coastal walk to circumnavigate the isle. Stop by the ruins of the St Ninians Chapel, where a schoolboy uncovered a millennia-old treasure trove back in 1958.

    Lokasi: Bigton, Shetland ZE2 9JA, UK

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    2

    Luskentyre Sands

    The top beach on the Isle of Harris

    Whatever the weather, Luskentyre Sands will tempt you to take the plunge into the frigid Norwegian sea. The sugary-white sands and turquoise-tinged waves of this scenic spot are reminiscent of the Caribbean – although unfortunately, the water temperature isn’t entirely on par.

    Luskentyre Sands is the biggest and the best beach on the Isle of Harris while there are also plenty of other picturesque options. Riding along the scenic Hebridean Way Cycling Route is the best way to explore the area and soak up the scenery.

    Lokasi: Harris, Isle of Harris HS3 3HL, UK

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    3

    Seilebost Beach

    A gorgeous spot to overnight on the Isle of Harris

    Seilebost Beach, situated opposite Luskentyre Sands on the Isle of Harris,  straddles a charming crofting village and boasts stunning coastal views. The picture-perfect spot features the same Caribbean-style scenery as its big brother across the cove, but with sufficient lodging and dining for an overnight stay.

    If the weather’s playing nice – or if you’ve got a watertight motorhome – then head to the beachfront campground and arise to sweeping views of Luskentyre and Taransay. Next, visit the layby vantage point a half-mile west of the village, where fields of primroses bloom from late spring to midsummer.

    Lokasi: Seilebost, Isle of Harris HS3 3HP, UK

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    4

    Lossiemouth East Beach

    A long white sand beach opposite a pretty port town

    The uncrowded Lossiemouth East Beach sits across the estuary from the quaint Moray town of the same name (‘Lossie’ to the locals). A lingering white-sand stretch with scores of undulated dunes, it’s the perfect spot for a long afternoon stroll. Views of the shimmering Spey Bay, grass-clad dunes, and the adjacent port town make for a great day out.  

    The passage is a footbridge that connects East Beach to the mainland, though it is sometimes closed for maintenance. Paddleboarders and surfers will have no trouble wading across the channel, but everyone else will have to make do with viewing it from afar. A scoop of creamy gelato from Miele’s on the riverfront is a worthy consolation prize.

    Lokasi: Lossiemouth IV30 8NQ, UK

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    5

    Nairn Beach

    A thriving vacation destination with lovely Bay of Firth views

    Beautiful Nairn Beach, a half-hour east of Inverness, has been a popular holiday spot since the 19th century – Charlie Chaplin adored visiting here as a child. These days, the highly-developed seaside village boasts a lively local promenade and rows of restaurants and cafes, plus a busy marina on the eastern edge for the seafaring crowd.

    Views from the beach across the Moray Firth are spectacular, but you’ll need to wander a little further west in summer to escape the crowds. Bring your binoculars to spot the dolphins that frolic offshore – your best bet is to hit the coastal walks that wind through the nature reserve at Kings Steps. Nairn enjoys one of the driest climates in Scotland, making it an attractive choice when the rest of the country gets soaked.

    Lokasi: Nairn IV12 4EN, UK

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    6

    Tyninghame Beach

    An attractive coastal area near the bustling Scottish capital

    Tyninghame Beach is a popular day trip from Edinburgh for its spectacular seaside scenery. City-stressed Scots and foreign travellers alike come in search of coastal tranquillity, so you might have to bustle for space with other holidaymakers during the summer months.

    Wild campers will find plenty of secluded spots to pitch a tent within a short jaunt of the Limetree Walk Carpark. Woodland hikes, crustacean-filled rock pools, and the wide-open beach leave plenty to be explored. There are no amenities in the area, so remember to leave no trace. The beach is just 45 minutes east of Edinburgh.

    Lokasi: Limetree Walk, Dunbar EH42 1XP, UK

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    foto dari Magnus Hagdorn (CC BY-SA 2.0) dimodifikasi

    7

    Machrihanish Beach

    A remote surfing spot with the best swell in the UK

    Secluded and serene, pretty Machrihanish Beach is the best place to hang ten in the entire UK. Right throughout the year, a small contingent of diehard surfers descends on the sleepy village to hit its exhilarating left and right breaks. Head out around mid-tide when the tide is rising to relish in the optimal swell.

    Its far-flung location on the southern edge of the Mull of Kintyre Peninsular keeps most punters away, so it’s rarely crowded despite the excellent conditions on offer. If surfing isn’t your thing, walk along the near-deserted dunes or play an 18-hole round at the superb Machrihanish Golf Course.

    Lokasi: Campbeltown PA28 6PT, UK

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    foto dari easylocum 2.0 (CC BY 2.0) dimodifikasi

    8

    Tolsta Beach

    Some of the finest surfing in the Outer Hebrides

    Tolsta Beach on the Isle of Lewis is known for its rugged coastal landscapes and ample swell for the bodyboarding and surfing crowd. Serious wave riders will find the best conditions between September and April, although the water temperature is much more tolerable during the summer months.

    While in town, wander through the charming crofting village of Tolsta for a taste of authentic Scottish rural life. The main Lewis Island town of Stornoway is just 20 minutes down the road if you’re looking for somewhere to stay.

    Lokasi: Sruthan a’ Phuirt, UK

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    foto dari Colin Macdonald (CC BY 2.0) dimodifikasi

    9

    Loch Morlich

    The only freshwater beach in Scotland

    Loch Morlich is the only freshwater beach in Scotland and offers postcard-perfect views of the sparse Cairngorm Mountains. Swimming and watersports like kayaking are popular pastimes at the scenic spot, not to mention sunbathing in its pristine golden sands.

    The family-friendly area is popular with campers during the warmer months, with amenities like toilets and a picnic area to make life easier. Once you’re done lounging around on the sand for the day, there are plenty of wooded nature trails around the Loch to explore. The kids will love the chance to pet Santa’s steed at the nearby Cairngorm Reindeer Centre.

    Lokasi: Glenmore Forest Park, Inverness PH22 1QY, UK

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    10

    Coldingham Bay

    A scenic beach attracting hikers and surfers from Edinburgh and beyond

    Coldingham Bay resides an hour east of the Scottish capital, and its proximity makes it a popular place for Edinburgh surfers to catch some waves. The left and right beach breaks are brilliant for beginners, and the distinct lack of crowds makes it a top spot to learn.

    The quiet bay in the Berwickshire county is a favourite for hikers too, with secluded coastal walks passing hermit crab-filled rockpools. For the best wildlife spotting and beach views, take the Creel Path from Coldingham to St Abbs.

    Lokasi: The Mt, Coldingham Sands, Coldingham, Eyemouth TD14 5PA, UK

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    foto dari Nigel Swales (CC BY-SA 2.0) dimodifikasi

    Harry Stewart | Penulis yang Berkontribusi

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