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Best beaches to Wild Swim on Islay

Top Islay swimming spots

Long sandy beaches, sheltered bays and 130 miles of Atlantic coastline. Here are our favourite wild swimming spots off Islay’s coastline. 

Be aware that not everywhere is safe for swimming on Islay due to the strong tides and currents, always swim with a buddy and check the tides beforehand.

1. Laggan Bay

Location: 5 minute walk from the Machrie

On the west coast of Islay, a short walk from the hotel’s front door lies The Big Strand. A 7 mile expanse of sandy beach located in Laggan Bay. It’s a popular spot for swimming, fatbiking and sunset picnics and stretches from Laggan Point through Machrie to Kintra.

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2. Black Rock on Loch Indaal

Location: 20 minute drive

Sheltered with fairly shallow water, located at the head of Loch Indaal.

3. Kilnaughton beach

Location: 10 minute drive

Kilnaughton beach is calm, sheltered and shallow making it ideal for small children. Walk round the ruins of an old chapel and after, there are restaurants, cafes, car park and toilets nearby in Port Ellen.

4. Loch Gruinart

Distance: 30 minute drive

On the west coast of Islay is a large loch, surrounded almost entirely by hills and trees providing shelter from the wind and waves. Perhaps the warmest spot to go for a swim on Islay thanks to its land-locked nature.

Tips for swimming on Islay

  • Check the weather forecast, swim in company, be aware of tides and currents.
  • Dress for the weather and bring a towel and change of clothes.

Explore the rest of Islay by car, boat, fatbike or foot, find inspiration with Another Place at The Machrie.