The meteorological Summer might be over but that doesn't mean there won't be any beautiful days left to spend on the beach this Autumn. Often September, and even October, can have a some really nice summer days. Now Islay has many beautiful beaches but what if you have little time to spend on Islay or don't know which one to choose? Here's a wee list, or guide, of some of the nicest beaches on Islay keeping in mind the weather and prevailing winds. This list of course a very personal view, so hopefully this post will help you to find your favourite beach on the island.
Kilchoman Beach is probably one of the best beaches on Islay. It is a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach backed by high dunes on Islay's Atlantic Coast. There is ample parking, although you are usually on your own, and it's a 25 minute car drive from Bowmore. This beach is perfect to enjoy the beautiful Islay sunsets but it can be rather unsheltered. The same applies for Saligo Bay. This beach is smaller, it has a few more sheltered spots behind the rocks and is also a 25 minute car drive from Bowmore. Mind you, these beaches are not safe for swimming due to strong currents. Continue reading....
Funny enough Kintra Beach, or The Big Strand, is also a 25 minute car drive from Bowmore and it is the largest uninterrupted stretch of sandy beach on the island. This beach is also facing west so it's great for sunsets, sunbathing and for fabulous walks.
With the prevailing winds blowing from the south-west it can be pleasant on windier days to stay on a more sheltered beach. The Port Ellen area has a few beautiful and rather sheltered beaches. The nicest one is Kilnaughton Beach facing east, which is a beautiful sandy beach opposite Port Ellen on the Oa. Further down the Oa, behind the Lighthouse, are the Singing Sands, even more sheltered from the westerly winds but require a 15 minute walk from the car park at Kilnaughton cemetery to the beach behind the Carraig Fhada lighthouse. Then there is the lovely wee beach in the village of Port Ellen opposite the Co-op and the less sheltered beach opposite the White Hart Hotel.
Kilnaughton Beach opposite Port Ellen on the Oa
The last two beaches require a bit more travel time, 45 minutes from Bowmore. They are located on the south-east coast of Islay. The first one is Claggain Bay, a small but lovely east facing sand and shingle beach with beautiful views over the Sound of Jura and the Scottish Mainland. A but further down the road is Ardtalla Beach, a wee gem, and the most sheltered beach from cold westerly and northerly winds.
Aren't there anymore beaches on Islay? There certainly are. In fact there are many more smaller and larger beaches on the Island. Have a look at the Beaches on Islay page for a map and more Islay beach tips. Have fun!