We invite you to come and celebrate Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. With over 18,000 kilometres of coastline, stay a wee while and experience all that Scotland has to offer. Enjoy coastal cuisine, outdoor pursuits, and the best of Scottish hospitality - read on to find out more.
Experience Stunning Scottish Landscapes
Water is the life-blood that flows through and around Scotland. It's what makes our beloved landscape so special, our whisky so tasty and our watersports so much fun.
Sculpted by volcanoes, glaciers and the weather, some of Scotland's landscape is over 3 billion years old - you really have to see it to believe it. Glaciers in particular, have carved out beautiful lochs in Scotland, some deeper than our inshore seas, which are home to welcoming communities and the odd monster!
Through the centuries, our lochs and rivers have helped provide shelter from raiders and fearsome wildlife, travel routes to friendly neighbours, and food. Today our lochs and landscape are treasured by Scots and visitors alike, though thankfully we worry a wee bit less about clan rivals and wild beasties!
World-Class Beaches: Is it Scotland or the Caribbean?
Along Scotland's 18,672 km coastline, you'll find some of the world's best beaches. That might seem a bold claim, but the beautiful sight of sweeping pristine white sands against clear azure blue waters is a vision you'll never forget. Embrace the beauty of the Outer Hebrides, the Shetland Islands and the north Highlands, and dip a toe in!
These quiet strands may not offer Caribbean heat (though there are palm trees in some places along the west coast!), but they more than make up for this with stunning views and are ideal for family fun, romantic coastal walks, beach barbecues and adventures.
Explore Scotland's Enchanting Islands
There are over 800 islands dotted around the coast of Scotland, 117 of which are inhabited. Steeped in history and culture, a visit to these magical places is very special indeed.
Step aboard a CalMac ferry and explore the lovely Isle of Arran or some of the Inner Hebrides. Stretching from Gigha and Islay in the south, to Skye in the north, these islands are as enchanting and welcoming as they are diverse.
Venture further west to uncover the mysteries of the Outer Hebrides - an amazing and equally welcoming archipelago stretching over 130 miles (208 km) on the very edge of Europe. You can even land on Traigh Mhòr (big beach) on the Isle of Barra, the only beach runway in the world to handle scheduled airline services.
Or take a Northlink ferry or Loganair flight to Orkney or Shetland, where ancient history and island innovation are always in vogue. Shetland recently featured in the top 10 of Lonely Planet's 2019 Best in Europe destinations to visit.
If you're drawn to Scotland's islands, why not try 'islandeering' and see how many you can 'bag'? This involves circumnavigating your chosen island on foot, by bike, swimming, coasteering, kayaking, or any combination of these you prefer! WalkHighlands Scottish Island Bagging guidebook may also inspire you to visit these extraordinary havens.
If islandeering isn't for you but you're still looking for a challenge, head for the Isle of Colonsay and try the MacPhie's Challenge. This involves climbing the island's 22 peaks above 300 ft on one connected walk. It's about 20 miles in length and an amazing way to explore this hidden gem.