The beaches on Iona are absolutely superb and the waters surrounding them have an aquamarine colour. This combined beauty makes them good for both the beach lover, and, photographer or artist. All of the beaches are accessible by foot, not that you have much choice, as visitor's vehicles are not allowed on the island.
Below, are a selection of the best beaches and their locations.
For location of the beaches click on the map link. To view larger images click in the beach image
From the ferry turn left, go past the cafe and you will reach Martyr's Bay or Port nam Mairtear. The granite memorial is not in memory of the 68 monks killed here by Vikings in 806AD, but of the two dozen men lost in the First and Second World Wars.
St. Columba's Bay
To make the pilgrimage to St. Columba's Bay follow the directions to Camas Cuil an t-Saimh, go along the machair heading south and follow the path that goes over the hill. Follow the dots on the map below for a rough idea of location.
Walk along the path on the side of the lochan keeping it to the right and this will bring you down to the bay where St. Columba landed in his coracle in 563AD.
This is a fabulous beach with pebbles rather than sand but there is a super grassy area for sunbathing and picnics. Map and Location
Traigh an t-Suidhe
Enjoy the beautiful white sands beaches of Iona's North beach, Traigh an t-Suidhe (Beach of the Seat). Follow the directions to Traigh Ban and continue to walk west, past the north headland, staying on the machair, to the beautiful white sands of Traigh an t-Suidhe (Beach of the Seat).
The land owned by the Iona Hostel at Lagandorain stretches down to this stunning, secluded beach. Even on a summers day there are few people about and it would be easy to pretend this is your own private beach Map and location Click here for a 360 degree image
The Bay at the Back of the Ocean
Bay at the Back of the Ocean, is on the west of Iona. From the ferry, turn left and follow the shore road which eventually bears right up the hill. This area is a great place to spot the Corncrakes which nest in the iris beds.
At the end of the road go through the gate, over the machair and Camus Cuil an t-Saimh stretches as far as the eye can see.
Traigh Ban beach
From the ferry terminal, turn right and walk through the Nunnery and past the Abbey continuing along the road until you reach the glistening white shell sand beach of Traigh Ban, one of the loveliest beaches on the island.
The full name of the beach is Traigh Ban Nam Monach which is Gaelic for 'white strand of the monks'.
At the jetty on Iona turn left and walk along the road by Martyrs Bay. On the shore you can see a glacial erratic boulder sitting on top of Torridonian sandstone. It was transported by ice across the Sound of Iona. The Torridonian sandstone beds can be seen to be almost vertical at this locality.
Walk further along the road and where it turns right then turn off onto the sandy beach at Traigh Mhor.
For more information on this geological walk click here to see the informative Mull Historical and Archaeological website.