Beaches on the Outer Hebrides

20 Best Beaches in the Outer Hebrides

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Although travelling to the Outer Hebrides may be a little trickier compared to Argyll and the other Inner Hebrides islands, the beaches in the Outer Hebrides will make the journey completely worth it.

From hauntingly beautiful hidden coves to stretches of sand that go on for miles, the turquoise blue water meeting the pale white sand is truly a feast for your eyes. 

The most northerly, largest and probably best-known islands are the Isles of Lewis and Harris. This post will explore the best beaches in Lewis, Harris, North Uist, South Uist and Berneray

Which Hebridean Island has the Best Beaches?

Arguably, the Isle of Harris has some of the best beaches in the country. The beaches on the west coast of the island have pristine white sands and beautiful turquoise-blue waters.

Also, there is a large chance that these areas will be quieter compared to the beaches on the mainland. Therefore, the experience is even better due to the seclusion and raw beauty of the bays. 

What is the best time of year to visit the Outer Hebrides?

The best time of the year to visit the Outer Hebrides is from late April to late August. During this time of year the days are much longer, therefore you will have more daylight hours for exploring.

Also, this is the warmest time of year therefore there is more chance of nice weather. 

Isle of Lewis

The Isle of Lewis the most northerly and largest island in the Outer Hebrides. With the large coastline there is a large number of beautiful beaches in the Outer Hebrides.

Also, the Isle of Great Berera is just off the west coast of the Isle of Lewis. To get to the Isle of Lewis you can get on a ferry or a plane.

The ferries depart from Ullapool, Uig and Oban

Traigh Mhor Beach, Isle of Lewis

Location: Tolsta Beach

Traigh Mhor Beach on the Isle of Lewis is also known as Tolsta Beach. The Beach has beautiful fine white sands and is one of the biggest and best beaches on the Isle of Lewis.

Traigh Mhor faces north east across the Minch, the channel between Lewis and the mainland. Therefore, the beach is perfect for views out to the minch and is ideal for surfers. 

Nearby Accommodation: Remuera

Bosta Beach, Great Bernera 

Location: Bosta Beach

Bosta Beach is located on the small isle of Great Bernera which is just off the coast of the Isle of Lewis. This beach is a hidden gem which overlooks Little Bernera Island.

Also, the beach has beautiful crystal clear waters, and white sand and it is so tranquil. Additionally, there are facilities near the beach including a car park, toilets and a picnic area. 

Nearby Accommodation: Hollyburn

Uig Bay, Isle of Lewis

Location: Uig Bay

Uig Bay is one of the largest bays on the southwestern side of the Isle of Lewis. Interestingly, a Viking Chess set was found in a small stone chamber at the edge of the beach.

The chest pieces are believed to be crafted in Trondheim Norway and are made of MorseIvory, from the husks of Walrus teeth. 

Nearby Accommodation: Uig Sands Room

Valtos Beach, Isle of Lewis

Valtos Beach is on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis. Apparently, it is the quietest and least visited of the three beaches north of Miavaig.

The beach can be found by driving towards Uig on the B8011 and turning right at the end of Loch Roag.   

Isle of Harris

One of the best things that impresses visitors on the Isle of Harris is the spectacular beaches. The colour of the water and the purity of the sand is simply stunning.

Most of the beaches are in scenic coves on the west coast of the island and these make up the best beaches in the Outer Hebrides.

These beaches have stunning views across the bays to the Isle of Taransay and the Atlantic Ocean. Also, the Isle of Scalpay lies on the east coast of the Isle of Harris

You can get to the Isle of Harris by air or by ferry. You can get on a ferry from Ullapool, Uig and Oban.

There are also inter-island ferries from Barra and Berneray to Harris

Huisinis Beach, Isle of Harris

Location: Huisinis Gateway

Huisinis Beach is one of the most remote and secluded beaches in the Scottish Isles. If it was on the mainland it would be a very popular beach.

Huisinis Beach has stunning white sand and turquoise waters. Also, the beach is surrounded by grassy slopes and a huddle of Crofters cottages. 

The road along to the beach features an old tower of the whaling station and the 19th century Amhuinnsuidhe Castle which was home to the 7th Earl of Dunmore.

Huisinis Beach is a perfect location for surfing, water sports, kayaking and swimming. 

Nearby Accommodation: Taigh Thormoid

Luskentyre (Traigh Losgaintir) Sands, Isle of Harris

Location: Luskentyre Sands

Luskentyre Sands is the most popular beach on the west coast of the South of the Isle of Harris.

Due to the stunning white sands and turquoise water, the beach has been named one of the UK’s best beaches in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.

Also, there are impressive sand dunes on the north side of the bay. 

Nearby Accommodation: 1 Luskentyre

Seilebost Beach, Isle of Harris
Seilebost Beach, Isle of Harris

Seilebost Beach, Isle of Harris 

Location: Seilebost Beach

The Seilebost Beach offers spectacular views across Luskentyre and Taransay. Also, the beach is south and just across the bay from Luskentyre Sands.

Seilebost Beach was once selected as one of the top ten beaches in the world, and when you go there, you will understand why. Before you get to the beach it is worth admiring the beach from the road that stretches along the bay.

A tiny lay by on the side of the track road about half a mile west of the village provides amazing views across the Sound of Taransay, Ben Luskentyre and the North Harris Hills

Nearby Accommodation: George’s House

Beaches in the Outer Hebrides Scarista Beach Isle of Harris
Scarista Beach

Borve Beach, Isle of Harris

Location: Borve Beach

Borve Beach is on the western side of the Isle of Harris. This beach has pristine white sands, big open skies and endless views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Also, Borve Beach is great for wildlife watching. In the waters, you can look for usual crabs, jellyfish, seals, wading birds and dolphins. 

You can get to the beach from the car park just off the A859.

Nearby, you can view the Neolithic stone circle. From here you can get amazing views across to the Isle of Taransay and beyond.

Scarista (Traigh Sgarastaigh) Beach, Isle of Harris 

Location: Scarista Beach

Just along the coast from Luskentyre Beach is another Hebridean gem, Scarista. Scarista Beach is a must visit destination which you can mistake for a beach in the tropics.

Also, Traigh Scarista is a stunning golden sandy beach which looks out onto the Sound of Taransay and the open Atlantic Ocean. The Ceapabhal which is 339 metres tall is located on the southwest end of the beach.

From the top of the Ceapahbhal you can get clear views out to St Kilda on a clear day. Also, you can climb Maodal which will reward you with beautiful panoramic views of the beach. 

Nearby Accommodation: Corncrake Cottage

Horgabost Beach, Isle of Harris Beaches on the Outer Hebrides
Isle of Harris – Horgabost Beach

Horgabost Beach, Isle of Harris

Location: Traigh Niosaboist

Horgabost Beach is located on the South of Isle of Harris. This beach has the same crystal clear blue water and white sands as the famous beach around the corner, Luskentyre.

Also, this beach is easily accessible from the Horgabost campsite, and the facilities are located at the campsite. Camping is permitted here for a small fee. In addition, the locals call this beach Machair Beach.

Traigh Lar, Isle of Harris

Location: Nisabost Beach

Traigh Lar is Scottish Gaelic and the beach is also known as Nisabost Beach.

This picturesque beach provides stunning views across to the Isle of Taransay and towards the Harris Hills. Traigh Lar is just around the corner from Machair Beach

Isle of North Uist 

The Isle of North Uist is a larger island which is located south of the Isle of Harris. Several smaller islands surround this area including Berneray, Baleshare, Benbecula and Grimsay.

In this area, dozens of world-famous beaches exist in the Outer Hebrides. You can drive from Harris to North Uist, however, it might be quicker to get an inter-island ferry.

West Beach, Isle of Berneray

Location: West Beach

West Beach is a beautiful remote beach that runs along the west coast of a small island called Berneray. Berneray is a small island north of North Uist.

The West Beach contains three miles of white sand, crystal clear waters and magnificent sand dunes. In 2021, the beach was number three in Lonely Planet’s Top 20 Best Beaches in Europe.

On almost all areas of the beach the sand is more than a mile from the road therefore, you will be guaranteed crowd free escape.  

You can follow a way-marked trail around the coast of Berneray Island which also features East Beach. Also, the West Sands is a twenty-minute walk from Borve.  

Nearby Accommodation: Clachan Lodge

Clachan Beach, Isle of North Uist

Location: Clachan Sands

Clachan Sands Beach is a stunning beach on the west coast of the Isle of North Uist. Also, the white sands in good weather will almost look tropical.

Additionally, the crystal clear but very cold water will make it quite tempting to go for a swim. However, if you are lucky you might get to spot seals, dolphins, and the occasional otter. 

Nearby Accommodation: Skipper’s Retreat

Hosta Beach, Isle of North Uist

Location: Traigh-stir

Hosta Beach is decorated with white sand, which is made up of broken shells. The beach is also known as Traigh-stir in Scottish Gaelic.

Also, the beach is a haven for wildlife including orchids. If you are lucky enough to be there on a clear day you will get amazing views out to St Kilda.

Nearby Accommodation: Eagle’s Rest

Isle of South Uist

The most southern island in the Outer Hebrides is the Isle of South Uist.

Here you have access to smaller islands which also have beautiful bays including Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay. These islands have some of the best beaches in the Outer Hebrides.

Coilleag a’Phrionnsa, Isle of Eriskay

Location: Prince Charlie Bay

Eriskay has a stunning stretch of beaches which run along the west coast of the island.

One of the beaches is called Coilleag a’Phrionnsa has interesting rockpool towards the north end of the beach. Coilleag a’Phrionnsa is a paradise close to where the ferry docks and departs to Barra

Also, there is an interesting history behind Coilleag a’Phrionnsa, as this is where Bonnie Prince Charlie took his first steps on Scottish land in 1745, fresh off the boat from France.

In addition, it is the central location in the real-life story of shipwrecked whiskey made famous by Compton MacKenzie in Whiskey Galore.

Nearby Accommodation: An Taigh Mor

Eoligarry Beach, Isle of Barra

Location: Eoligarry Beach

Eoligarry Beach is one of the most remote beaches in the Outer Hebrides. This is due to the secluded location at the narrow north end of the offshore Isle of Barra.

Interestingly, during World War II this island was used as training for D-day. However, since then it has returned to farming solitude.

Also, the nearby farmhouse was abandoned in 1986. 

Traigh Mhor Beach, Isle of Barra

Location: Traigh Mhor

Traigh Mhor Beach has a stunning long white sand and shell beach. The beach is between the villages of Ardmhor and Eoligarry.

Also, the Traigh Mhor Beach on the Isle of Barra is the location of Barra’s Airport which is famous for being the only beach in the world to have three runways on the sand.

The first licensed beach airport was opened in 1936 and has been voted the world’s most spectacular landing. Interestingly, the runway is washed twice a day by the tide.

Also, not many airports use a tractor to retrieve passenger luggage. However, when the beach is not being used as a runway it is an excellent place to take a stroll and admire coastal scenery.

Also, at low tide, you will see the orange windsock flying near the airport terminal building to alert people that aircraft are approaching and no access is permitted.

Nearby Accommodation: Seaview

Halaman Bay, Isle of Barra

Location: Halaman Bay

Halaman Bay is on the west coast but it is not far from the capital, Castlebay. This beach is one of the finest and most popular beaches on the Isle of Barra.

Inside the bay is the rocky islet called Kalan Skerry and there are massive sand dunes behind the beach. 

From the road there is a three mile route to follow which will take you past World War II bunkers, along the shores of Loch Tangasdale and the iron-age fort of Fun Ban.

There is parking for this route just opposite the public phone box in Tangasdale

Final Note

The beaches in the Outer Hebrides are some of the least known and most secluded beaches in the world.

If you want to find some of the best beaches in Scotland to wow you Instagram followers I would recommend checking out the bays and coves in the Outer Hebrides.

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