If you’re looking for a breathtaking beach that’s off the beaten path, look no further than Balnakeil Beach in Durness, Scotland. Balnakeil beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world which is known for its stunning scenery and crystal clear water. This hidden gem is located in the far north of the country, and it’s well worth the journey to get there. Here’s everything you need to know about Balnakeil Beach.

The History of Balnakeil Beach

Balnakeil beach has a long and interesting history. The beach was first inhabited by the Picts, an ancient Scottish tribe. The Picts were known for their unique style of painting, which can still be seen on the rocks at Balnakeil beach. In the 8th century, the Vikings invaded Scotland and they also settled at Balnakeil beach. You can still see evidence of their presence on the beach today.

In the 12th century, a group of monks from England came to Balnakeil beach and built a monastery. The monastery was destroyed during the Reformation in the 16th century. Today, all that remains of the monastery are a few ruins. However, these ruins are still worth visiting. 

What to Expect When You Arrive

Balnakeil Beach durness
source: pinterest

When you finally arrive at Balnakeil Beach, you’ll be blown away by its beauty. The sand is white and soft, and the water is a deep blue. The beach is flanked by towering cliffs, and there are plenty of places to explore along the coastline. Balnakeil beach is renowned for its natural beauty. The sand on the beach is white and the water is crystal clear. The cliffs at Balnakeil beach are also very impressive. If you love nature, then you will definitely enjoy spending some time at Balnakeil beach. Even on a busy day, there’s plenty of room for everyone to spread out and enjoy the views. 

Things to Do at Balnakeil Beach

Balnakeil Beach things to do
sorce: getyourguide.com/

There’s more to do at Balnakeil Beach than just sunbathe and swim (although those are both great options). The beach is also a great place for hiking, birdwatching, and photography. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go rock climbing or sea kayaking. 

  1. Take a dip in the water: Balnakeil Beach has some of the clearest water in all of Scotland. So why not take advantage of it and go for a swim? If you’re feeling really brave, you can even jump off the cliffs into the water below! Just make sure to check the tide times before you go so you don’t get stranded on the rocks.


  1. Go for a hike: There are plenty of hiking trails in the area surrounding Balnakeil Beach. So put on your hiking boots and explore! You might even be lucky enough to spot some wildlife along the way.


  1. Relax on the beach: Sometimes, all you need is a good book and a towel and you’re set. Luckily, Balnakeil Beach has plenty of both. So find yourself a spot on the sand and relax to your heart’s content.

Camping at Balnakeil Beach

Balnakeil Beach camping
source: campsited.com

Balnakeil Beach is a great place to camp, with two main camping areas located at each end of the beach. Both sites have toilet and shower facilities, as well as a water tap. There is also a shop on site where you can buy basic provisions like food and drink. The campsites are open all year round, but please be aware that they can get very busy during peak season (July-August). If you’re looking for a quieter camping experience, it’s best to visit outside of peak season. either way, you’re sure to have a great time at Balnakeil Beach!

Must Read: Surf Tuamotu Islands

Best Balnakeil Beach Accommodation 

Are you looking for the best Balnakeil Beach accommodation? Well, look no further! This list of 10 options has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a cosy B&B or a luxurious hotel. Keep reading to find out more.

1. Seashells Guesthouse

This quaint guesthouse is located just a stone’s throw from the beach. It offers six en-suite rooms, each with its own unique charm. The guesthouse also has a lovely garden where you can relax and take in the sea air.

2. Driftwood Cottage

 This is a great option for families or groups of friends travelling together. The cottage can sleep up to eight people and has two bathrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a comfortable living area. Plus, it’s just a short walk from the beach.

3. Rockpools Bed & Breakfast

If you’re looking for a B&B with character, then this is the place for you. The three guest rooms are all individually decorated, and there’s even an honesty bar in the lounge where you can help yourself to drinks and snacks.

4. Coastal Views Hotel

This hotel offers stunning views of the coastline, as well as easy access to the beach. It has a range of room types to choose from, as well as a restaurant, bar, and garden terrace where you can enjoy breakfast or evening drinks while taking in the view.

5. Duncansby Head Lighthouse

If you’re looking for something a little different, how about staying in a lighthouse? Duncansby Head Lighthouse is now a holiday rental property and can sleep up to six people in three bedrooms. As well as being right by the beach, it also has incredible views of the surrounding coastline.

6. Sandside Hotel

Another great option for those wanting easy access to the beach, Sandside Hotel is located right on the seafront with its own private beach access path. The hotel has 37 en-suite rooms as well as a restaurant, bar, and outdoor terrace area overlooking the sea.

7. Balnakeil House

This large holiday home is perfect for groups or families wanting self-catering accommodation near the beach. It sleeps up to 12 people in six bedrooms and has two kitchens, three bathrooms, and two living areas. Plus, there’s an enclosed garden with BBQ facilities where you can relax after a day spent exploring the area.

8. Croft 103

This is another great self-catering option that’s perfect for families or groups of friends travelling together. Croft 103 sleeps up to eight people in four bedrooms and has two bathrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and an enclosed garden with BBQ facilities and sea views. 

9 .Seaview Cottage

Seaview Cottage is another charming self-catering option that’s just minutes from Balnakeil Beach. It sleeps up to four people in two bedrooms and has one bathroom, a fully-equipped kitchen/dining area ,and stunning sea views from both the cottage and its enclosed garden . .

What to do near Balnakeil Beach, Durness

nearby activities
source: sangosands.com

Visit the Balnakeil Craft Village

The Balnakeil Craft Village is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs. There are a variety of shops and galleries, as well as a cafe where you can grab a bite to eat. You can also enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

Explore the Durness Smoo Cave

The Durness Smoo Cave is one of the largest sea caves in Britain. It’s an impressive sight, and definitely worth a visit. You can take a guided tour of the cave, or explore it on your own. Just be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring a flashlight!

Check out Dunnet Head Nature Reserve

Dunnet Head is the most northerly point in mainland Britain, and it’s home to some amazing wildlife. The nature reserve is a great place for birdwatching, and you might even spot some seals basking on the rocks. 

How to Visit to Balnakeil Beach

Balnakeil Beach is located in the far north of Scotland, in an area known as Sutherland. The closest town to the beach is Durness, which is about a 20-minute drive away. The easiest way to get to Durness is by car; however, there is also a bus that runs from Inverness (the nearest city) to Durness once a day. Once you’re in Durness, follow the signs for Balnakeil Beach. 


Balnakeil Beach is a hidden gem in the Scottish Highlands that’s well worth a visit. With its stunning scenery and multitude of activities, there’s something for everyone at this beautiful beach. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Balnakeil Beach today! The beach is the perfect place to relax and take in the natural beauty of the Highlands, or to get active and try something new. There are plenty of walks to go on, both along the beach and in the surrounding area, so you can really explore all that Balnakeil has to offer. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try your hand at some water sports? There’s plenty to keep you busy at Balnakeil Beach, so start planning your trip today!

Similar Posts