Great Places in Scotland for Remote Holidays Without the Crowds

Cape Wrath Lighthouse. Picture by Cameron Swanson

With COVID-19 still lurking around, local holidays in Scotland are currently probably a better idea than going abroad. Scotland might not be as sunny as Spain or Italy but still has beautiful white-sand beaches. You don’t need to travel far to get to stunning remote places, far away from the city and any crowds that might eventually carry the Coronavirus.

Scottish islands are generally more vulnerable to the virus since they don’t have huge medical capabilities. Thus, here is a list of places that are on the mainland and don’t attract tons of people.


Ardnamurchan

The peninsula Ardnamurchan on the West Coast of Scotland is your address if you want to enjoy your holiday in wild, beautiful scenery. It takes about 3.5 hours to drive up there from Glasgow, so this spot is better to reach for any of you living in Fort William or Oban.

There are a few Airbnbs and hotels in the local villages where you can stay during your holiday. From there, you can visit Sanna beach for example. The water is blue like the Caribbean sea and eventually, you share the sand with a Highland cow.

If it’s rainy, you can take a day trip to the Ardnamurchan Distillery that produces excellent Single Malt Whisky and hopefully reopens soon for visitors.


Applecross Peninsula

Another beautiful spot in the North West of Scotland is Applecross. A bit further North, the region around the short row of houses is surrounded with spectacular mountains. You will most likely recognise the region for its famous pass, the Bealach na Bà. The road is known for its curvy shape and goes uphill to about 626 meters.

There are only a few Airbnbs and hotels in the area, so you might be best with a tent. But you will be rewarded with beautiful landscape, Munros and beautiful lochs such as Loch Hourn. Perfect for those who enjoy mountaineering and action.


Sands of Forvie

If you prefer a calm holiday at the beach with good chances of sun, then the Scottish East Coast is your address. If you look for accommodation there, try to find one that is close to the Sands of Forvie. They are the fifth largest sand dune system in Great Britain, so you can enjoy long walks along the white-sanded beaches with the sea to the one side and flora and fauna to the other.

Right next to the Sands of Forvie is the Balmedie Beach which is just above Aberdeen. With its flat sandy beach in front of long sand dunes, it is just as beautiful.


South Ayrshire

If you live in Glasgow, then the area of South Ayrshire is the closest for a beach escape. Chances for rain are a bit higher than on the East Coast, but that’s reflected in cheaper accommodation prices. The beaches of Troon and Ayr are probably the most well-known ones with their long sweeping stretches of sand. But also Croy Beach between Maiden and Dunure is great for a long walk in the sand.

South Ayrshire also offers lots of different castles such as the picturesque Culzean Castle on the coast or the Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock. Unfortunately, both castles are closed for now but are still great for a day out to take pictures and walk around through the gardens.


Highland Perthshire

You love hiking but don’t want to drive up too far North and prefer staying in a wee village rather than a tent? Then Highland Perthshire might be ideal for you. You can look for accommodation in the beautiful towns of Pitlochry or Aberfeldy.

There, you are surrounded by dramatic mountains, lochs and ancient castles such as Balmoral or Blair Castle. Take a walk to the Queen’s view to look over Loch Tummel and the mountains around it.


Fife

The area of Fife in the East of Scotland is mostly known for St. Andrews but has much more to offer. Compared to the Highlands, the region is relatively flat, but isn’t as rainy and has landscape, beautiful fisher villages, coastline, landmarks and nature to offer.

It’s not too far away from Edinburgh or Glasgow, so perfect for a short weekend trip out of the cities.


Sutherland

If you want to make sure that you are definitely far away enough from any people, then you can drive all the way up to the top of Scotland. Even though Sutherland is a relatively huge region, it has only about 13 000 inhabitants. You are probably more likely to meet a sheep than a human being.

The dramatic scenery up there features magnificent landscape and beaches. One of them is Sandwood Bay. The beach lies in between high cliffs and has white sand and turquoise water for more than a mile. You will need to be good by food as there is no road access. But you will be rewarded with unspoilt, fabulous views.

Sutherland has a small number of Airbnbs and hotels, but it’s probably best if you bring your own tent to protect the remote area from contracting the virus.

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