10 secret beaches to visit on the NC500

Scotland's north coast is interspersed with secret paradise beaches - the majority of which can be easily reached from Scotland's North Coast 500 (NC500).

Achmelvich beach near Ullapool
Achmelvich beach near Ullapool

Take a look at the ten most stunning beaches on the NC500.

Plockton Beach

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Located on the shores of peaceful Lochcarron, Plockton is best known as the growing location of palm trees. As you stroll in the shadow’s of the exotic plants along the beach and look out over the turquoise waters, you would be forgiven for thinking you are in the Caribbean, rather than Wester Ross.

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Applecross Beach

After driving the winding road over the famous Bealach na Ba, drivers of the NC500 descend to the beautiful village of Applecross. The golden sand beach which lines the north of the village’s shores offers incomparable views over to the Isle of Skye.

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Everything you need to know about Scotland's North Coast 500

Achmelvich Beach

Located to the west of the hugely remote region of Assynt, Achmelvich Beach is one of the highlights of any tour of the NC500. The impossibly white sands of the beach curve in a crescent shape along the bright blue northwest coast. While in the area, visit an obscure castle structure built by a local hermit in the 1960s.

Achininver Beach

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In the very northern reaches of the country, to the east of the village of Durness and just off the NC500, lies the wonderful Achininver Beach. During low tide views to the north are at their best, as the full beauty of the beach is revealed.

Balnakeil Bay

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This gorgeous stretch of sand is just outside the village of Durness. The beach is best known for its spectacular sunsets and its sizable sand dunes. Herds of cows can often be found on the immaculate beach, offering an unusual photo opportunity.

Clachtoll Beach

Also located on the Assynt coast, Clachtoll gives Achmelvich a run for its money in the beauty stakes. The stunning and unspoilt pint-sized beach is located next to a campsite, making it ideal for those who don’t mind a rough night’s sleep.

Dornoch Beach

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While driving the NC500 a stop in the charming village of Dornoch is essential. The jewel in the village’s crown is a quite stunning stretch of immaculate sand. From the beach you can enjoy views east, of the North Sea.

Kearvaig Bay

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A short distance from the wild and rugged Cape Wrath lies the placid and peaceful Kearvaig Bay. The sheltered beach is surrounded by imposing cliffs and sea stacks, all of which can be admired from the comfort of the remote beach. The beach can only be reached by a long walk or a ferry journey, so consider staying at the wonderful Kearvaig Bothy if planning a trip.

Strathy Bay

Located on the country’s north coast, Strathy Bay’s sands are a wonderful golden brown. There are countless caves and stacks to admire along the beach, as well as views over the Pentland Firth.

Torrisdale Bay

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This beach near the village of Bettyhill is a haven for Scottish surfers due to the challenging tides which pummel the north coast. Beyond the beach’s dunes are a number of ancient hut circles well worth a visit in themselves.