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The best beaches to visit on the west coast of Scotland

Monday, 31 July 2023


Scotland is home to some of the most breathtaking and scenic beaches in the world. If you find yourself walking on one you could be mistaken for being in the Caribbean with the crystal-clear aquamarine seas and white sands. While you might see tropical forests leading on to beaches in the Caribbean, the beaches in Scotland are fringed with vast sand dunes, colourful machair and mountainous backdrops.

If you are lucky enough to be on a Majestic Line cruise, beach landings are a common occurrence. Our tender boats are equipped with clever bow platforms that lower onto the beach for easy disembarking. There is something quite magical about stepping foot onto a deserted beach with no other evidence of life except the call of the seabirds in the distance. To give you an idea of the varied and beautiful beaches there are, we've selected a few that you can visit on our stunning west coast of Scotland.

Calgary Bay, Isle of Mull

This remote beach is situated on the northwest coast of Mull, 5 miles from Dervaig and 12 miles from Tobermory. Framed by hills, woodlands, and an imposing castle, it is one of the most stunning and largest beaches on Mull. When going ashore at Calgary, there is the opportunity to take the woodland walk to Calgary Art in Nature, complete with sculptures and wood carvings. Or, head uphill to the deserted township of Inivea where over 20 ruins, dating back to the early 18th or 19th century, are well preserved. The best chance to visit this beautiful bay is on our 6-night Mull and Her Inlets and Islands cruise.

Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris

Famous for its white golden sands and turquoise waters, Luskentyre beach is a photographer’s dream. Situated in South Harris, Luskentyre boasts incredible views across to Taransay on one side, while the other view showcases heather-covered hills and sand dunes as far as the eye can see. The beach stretches for 2 miles, making it a fabulous beach to enjoy a long coastal walk. If it wasn’t for the cold waters, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Cuba. It’s no wonder it has been voted one of the best beaches in the world by Tripadvisor.

Scalpsie Bay, Isle of Bute

Located on the southwestern coast of the island of Bute, lies Scalpsie Bay. Unlike the white sands famous in the Outer Hebrides, the red sand here is a stark contrast to the mountainous Isle of Arran in the distance. Once used for military purposes during World War 2, this is now the perfect beach to spot wildlife. Head to Seal View, where you can watch large colonies of seals while taking in the stunning views across to Holy Isle and Arran. The best chance to visit Scalpsie Bay would be on our 6-night Enchanting Argyll: Islands, Lochs and Wildlife cruise departing from Dunoon in April and October.

Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan

The Ardnamurchan Peninsula is accessed by a long stretch of single-track road leading to the most westerly point in mainland Britain. When you arrive by car or boat you are transported to beautiful Sanna Bay. On a clear day, the beach hosts breathtaking views across to the small isles of Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna while it can be a haven for wildlife such as sea eagles, pine martens and otters. Go ashore here for coastal walks with wild and mountainous scenery. This is a popular shore stop on our 6-night Skye and the Small Isles cruise.

Berneray West Beach, Isle of North Uist

Berneray west beach is vast. At just over 3 miles long it is a sight to behold with its turquoise sea on one side, white sands in the middle, and the wildlife-loving machair on the other. Once mistaken by the Thai Tourist Board for one of their own beaches, Kai Bae, (they mistakenly posted a photo of Berneray) it is clear to see why this beach is truly remarkable. Located on the west coast of Berneray, it is connected to North Uist by a causeway and is one of the most unspoiled areas in the world. Keen bird watchers may spot corncrakes, greylag geese and oystercatchers on these clean and deserted sands. A little walk may take you to ancient sites and historical buildings dating back to the Vikings. For the best chance to witness this incredible beach why not try our 10-night Idyllic Isles of the Outer Hebrides cruise.

Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye

On the west coast of Skye, lies Talisker Bay. Near to this is the village of Carbost, home of the world-famous Talisker whisky. It is a great bay for paddling, swimming, and even surfing. The landscape is spectacular from its broody dark sands to its high cliffs at each end. At one side you can see towering offshore sea stacks while on the other the Talisker waterfall encompasses the cliff face. When the sun shines the black, grey sands are warm underfoot and are best viewed at low tide, while at high tide you can enjoy the crystal clear waters, perfect for some open water swimming. Talisker Bay is a regular anchorage on our 6-night Isle of Skye and the Inner Hebrides cruise.


Tags: Scotland / beach / Mull / skye / outer hebrides / Bute / West Coast Scotland /

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— Beccy Beaumont: Jun 2023 - Read Full Review

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