Things to do in Aberdeenshire

Our most recommended things to do in Aberdeenshire

From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye and The Highlands Tour

1. From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye and The Highlands Tour

Embark on a 3-day guided tour of the Scottish Highlands and visit highlights, including Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye. Learn the history of this lush region from your guide and spend two nights in Inverness. Day 1: Departing Edinburgh, we will take our first short drive heading north and stop at the mysterious Kelpies. Scotland’s largest piece of outdoor art depicting mythical creatures of Scotland’s folklore that your driver will tell you all about. We’ll then continue on our journey and pass Stirling Castle. Be inspired by tales from your guide of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Continuing north, into the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, admire the scenery as your tour guide explains the remarkable tribal clan history of the Highlands. Discover beautiful Glencoe, the most famous valley in Scotland, and hear of its tragic history. Admire the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct then head north and arrive on the southern banks of Loch Ness to get photos of the infamous monster Nessie! Stop for photos of Urquhart Castle before arriving in Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, where you'll stay for 2 nights, choosing from a local guesthouse, hostel, or hotel. Day 2: After breakfast, depart Inverness and drive across the Kessock Bridge to the Black Isle and marvel at the spectacular scenery of Achnasheen and Loch Carron. Arriving on the Isle of Skye, venture north to explore the highlights of the island, including; the Cuillin Mountains, Trotternish Peninsula, Portree, the Old Man Storr, Kilt Rock and the famous Quiraing. In late afternoon, stop for photographs of the most beautiful castle in Scotland, "Eilean Donan Castle." Backdrop to many famous films, such as 'Highlander' and 'Made of Honor', this castle is another must-see iconic landmark! A scenic drive through stunning Glen Shiel follows, returning to Inverness to stay your final night. In the evening, visit a local Highland Pub to drink some Scotch whisky or beer and eat some traditional Scottish food, whilst listening to some local musicians perform. Day 3: Visit Culloden Battlefield, site of the last Jacobite Rising, then 'Clava Cairns', incredible 4,000-year-old, Bronze-Age standing stones. Travelling south, stop at the Highland Folk Museum. Here you'll experience highland life in the 17th century. See the buildings, the clothes and weapons, and how people lived 300 years ago. Then, drive through the dramatic Cairngorm National Park. You will have the chance to experience a Scotch Whiskey tasting before you visit the historic village of Dunkeld on the banks of the mighty River Tay. Your journey back to Edinburgh takes you across the famous Forth Bridges. The expected arrival time back in Edinburgh is around 6:30 PM.

Dunnottar Castle and Royal Deeside 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

2. Dunnottar Castle and Royal Deeside 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

Travel in style in a Mercedes luxury 16-seat mini-coach from Aberdeen to one of Scotland’s archetypal structures, Dunnottar Castle. Witness the stunning fortress set on a cliff by the sea. It’s seen more battles than you’ve had cups of tea and is an essential Scottish destination. Your next stop is the Falls of Feugh. These cascading falls are mesmerizing; and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a salmon jumping up the river. It’s now time for lunch in Braemar, a lovely little village in the Cairngorms National Park with royal connections and plenty of local delicacies to try. After your delicious lunch, you'll then head to the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve and get the opportunity to go for a stroll. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, birds, and adders on this quintessential woodland walk. You leave the Cairngorms National Park and arrive in Aberdeen in the early evening.

From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle and Royal Deeside Tour

3. From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle and Royal Deeside Tour

Join our small group tour and experience the beauty of the royal deeside with it's connections to the monarchy and stunning scenery. The first stop on this tour will be at Balmoral where you will walk in the footsteps of generations of royals who have called this castle home. Balmoral castle was the late Queen Elizabeth's private country retreat and a beloved home. King Charles, who has his own private home on the estate, has a great affection for the castle and grounds. When visiting we highly recommend the audio tour where you will hear stories from people who lived and worked at Balmoral as they guide you around the estate. Scotland is iconic for its beautiful rugged mountains, hills of heather and cool clear rivers running through the countryside. On this short scenic drive we detour through the fringes of the highland moors and heath lands of the east Cairngorm national park. Ballater will be next on your tour and is is a picturesque Victorian village. This planned agricultural town dates back over two hundred years and is set around a central village green and the impressive Glenmuick Kirk which held its first service in 1800. A stroll around the town reveals an interesting range of many specialty shops and good selection of restaurants and cafes to enjoy some of the local food & drink. As we start to make our way back to Aberdeen we will visit the iconic Cambus O'May suspension bridge, a very popular outdoor destination for visitors walking in the area. A walk up to the Tomnaverie recumbent stone circle, is a breathtaking experience. A characteristic feature of this type of circle is a large stone on its side, flanked by two upright stones, usually on the south or south-west arc of the circle. The stone circle surrounds a burial cairn dating to about 4,500 years ago. Finally a visit the Queen's view just outside Tarland. The view gained its name from Queen Victoria who quickly fell in love with the view of the lower valley of the Dee which includes a view of the peak of Lochnagar. The view is particularly loved for its unspoiled beauty which has not changed greatly for hundreds of years making it even more remarkable, and a view which is iconic of Aberdeenshire.

Inverness and The Highlands 2-Day Tour from Edinburgh

4. Inverness and The Highlands 2-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Enjoy a 2-day tour encompassing the very best of the Scottish Highlands. Admire spectacular mountain scenery as you are transported in a comfortable mini-coach from Edinburgh to the Highlands, where you will discover the magic and charm of this beautiful region. Admire Doune Castle, Glenfinnan Viaduct (the 'Harry Potter' bridge), Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis, explore the magical Loch Ness, visit Britain’s northernmost city Inverness, and discover Scotland’s violent history at Glencoe. Detailed itinerary Day 1 Leaving Edinburgh the tour passes Stirling Castle and the National Wallace Monument before a first stop at Doune Castle. Protecting the gateway to the Highlands and with spectacular views from the medieval tower, the castle has recently been seen as Winterfell in the TV series Game of Thrones, but is probably most famous for featuring in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As you continue north the mountains and lochs provide a dramatic backdrop for the journey to Glen Coe. After lunch visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct (Apr-Oct only) which famously features in several Harry Potter movies as the Hogwarts Express train crosses the bridge. Historically this stunning viewpoint also marks the spot where Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) landed on mainland Scotland and raised his standard prior to the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. As we travel along the Great Glen admire Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and then along the banks of Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle. Stay overnight in Inverness, the northernmost city of the United Kingdom and the pretty capital of the Highlands. The tour provider will contact you for your preferred accommodation choices once you have booked. The accommodation is reserved for you and should be paid for on arrival.  Day 2 After being collected from your accommodation it's only a short drive to Culloden Moor where the Jacobites were finally defeated by government soldiers in 1746, the last battle to be fought on British soil. You will have time to walk on the battlefield and learn more about this tragic event that killed 700 Highland clansmen in 3 minutes. From there, visit one of Scotland's most evocative and sacred prehistoric sites, the nearby 4,000-year-old stone circles and burial mounds at Clava Cairns. As you drive south through the Cairngorms National Park, you'll hear about the flora and fauna of this wonderful wilderness which was officially protected in 2003 and is the largest national park in the British Isles. After lunch in one of the charming villages inside the national park, arrive at the lively Highland town of Pitlochry. During your break here there is an option to visit the Blair Athol Distillery (sorry, no children under 8). Alternatives include a short walk to the famous hydro electric dam and salmon ladder, or Black Spout waterfall. Your final stop is a gentle riverside walk through Big Tree Country at Dunkeld, a beautiful way to finish the tour all seasons of the year. Return to Edinburgh by the iconic Forth Rail Bridge.

From Glasgow: 2-Day Loch Ness, Inverness and Highlands Tour

5. From Glasgow: 2-Day Loch Ness, Inverness and Highlands Tour

Enjoy a glorious 2-day sightseeing tour of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, with comfortable bed and breakfast accommodation. Your guide will show you all the stunning historical sights such as the towering mountain of Ben Nevis, the site of the Glencoe Massacre, Glenfinnan Viaduct, and Glen Coe. Day 1 Leaving Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh behind, the journey north takes you to the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and the quaint village of Luss on the western banks of Loch Lomond, best known as a haven for wildlife and stunning flowers, so keep your eyes peeled. You can wander the shore, walk past pretty cottages and do a bit of shopping here if you like. As you travel further into the Highlands, visit Glen Coe, one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. Feel the past come to life as your guide tells you about the massacre of the MacDonald clan. Then depart Glen Coe via the Great Glen, another one of Scotland's majestic valleys which stretches 62 miles from Inverness all the way to Fort William. Fort William, the second largest town in the Highlands, lies in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain's tallest mountain. Your driver-guide will decide the best spot for lunch depending on your group, weather, and local events. The journey will continue west to Glenfinnan, made famous by the 'Harry Potter' films, which feature the iconic Viaduct. In the summer months, you may catch a glimpse of this magical train crossing the Viaduct. Glenfinnan is also home to the impressive Glenfinnan Monument. Surrounded by spectacular Highland scenery at the head of Loch Shiel, the monument is a striking tribute to those who fought in the Jacobite Risings. Overnight: Near Loch Ness Day 2 Explore Loch Ness, Britain's largest body of water by volume. The size and depth of the loch make it a perfect hiding place for Nessie, the famous monster. Why not take a boat tour from Urquhart Castle, a ruined castle perched on the edge of Loch Ness, or monster hunt from the shore? Then drive through Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, to visit Culloden, the last stand of the Jacobites against the British government forces. A visit to the battlefield is a poignant experience; walk the earth where the battle took place and see the headstones that mark the graves of hundreds of clansmen who gave their lives for the Jacobite cause. Travel south and enjoy the stunning scenery as you pass through the unique wilderness of the Cairngorms, Scotland's largest National Park. Its mountain range has five of the UK's highest mountains within its limits. Before returning to Edinburgh, make one last stop at a beautiful Highland town chosen by your driver-guide. You may be provided with train tickets for returns to Glasgow.

Loch Ness, Inverness, & Highlands 2-Day Tour from Edinburgh

6. Loch Ness, Inverness, & Highlands 2-Day Tour from Edinburgh

See the beauty of the famous Loch Ness and stay in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, on this 2-day small group tour. Detailed Itinerary: Day 1: Depart Edinburgh and head north across the River Forth towards the Highlands. A short stop in Dunkeld is followed by a walk along the River Tay, or perhaps at the nearby Hermitage, before you head for the holiday town of Pitlochry for lunch. From here the tour now takes you past Blair Castle into the Cairngorm National Park, where you will spend some time taking in the majesty of this amazing area, deep within the ancient Caledonian Pine Forests of the Rothiemurchus Estate. You then continue north and arrive at your destination of Inverness, where you will be dropped off at your accommodation. The evening is free for you to explore the capital of the Highlands. Day 2: After a leisurely breakfast you will be picked up from your accommodation in Inverness and explore the surrounding countryside en route to Loch Ness. Here you have the chance to take a boat trip along the loch with great views of Urquhart Castle, or to stay on shore and visit the impressive ruins of the castle, overlooking the loch. You will spend your lunchtime on the southern shore of the loch in the charming village of Fort Augustus. The Caledonian Canal, which links the lochs of the Great Glen, dominates the town and makes a great place to relax and watch the boats sail by. You now continue south past Ben Nevis and Fort William to Glencoe. This haunting glen was the scene of a terrible massacre in 1692, where many of the Clan Macdonald were slaughtered. The return journey continues over the wild and remote Rannoch Moor and into the countryside around Stirling, before finally reaching our starting point of Edinburgh.

From Edinburgh: Isle of Skye & The Highlands 3-Day Tour

7. From Edinburgh: Isle of Skye & The Highlands 3-Day Tour

This 3-day tour takes you on a discovery of the beautiful mountain scenery and fascinating sights of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Visit numerous glens, lochs and castles in some the most dramatic landscapes in the country, including Eilean Donan Castle, the Fairy Glen, Loch Ness and Glen Coe. You will be transported from Edinburgh through the highlands and the Isle of Skye in a comfortable minibus. Learn about the long and violent history of the Scottish Highlands with your tour guide, from the bloody massacre of the Macdonalds at Glen Coe to Scotland’s great patriot William Wallace, whose name has resounded through British history for 700 years. Detailed itinerary Day 1 The tour first stops off at the delightful village of Dunkeld where you can explore the ancient cathedral grounds and walk through the mature woodland alongside the mighty River Tay. Continue north to the wild mountain scenery and misty locks of the Pass of Killiecrankie, Cairngorm National Park and Laggan. Admire Scotland’s highest mountain Ben Nevis along the Great Glen to Invergarry before travelling onwards through the stunning Glen Shiel (Five Sisters of Kintail) to Eilean Donan Castle. Enjoy the great views from the Skye Bridge as you drive onto the island under the shadow of the Cuillin Mountains to Portree where you will be dropped off at your accommodation. Please let the tour provider know your preferred accommodation choices when booking. The accommodation is reserved for you and should be paid for on arrival. Day 2 Today is spent touring the Isle of Skye, a flexible itinerary at the discretion of your driver/guide * (see below). Enjoy a half-day scenic drive along the dramatic Trotternish Ridge with its spectacular cliffs and rock formations. Stops can include Lealt Waterfall, Kilt Rock sea cliffs, the Old Man of Storr rock pinnacle and a walk at the Quiraing mountain pass. Another popular stop is the Fairy Glen, a delightful miniature Highland landscape and legendary home of the 'wee people'! The second half of the day explores the stunning southern part of the island which includes well-known sights and some hidden gems discovered over the years. Nestled under the Cuillin mountains is beautiful Glen Brittle. Rugged scenery surrounds you and there are several fantastic options for this section of the tour, including a short walk in the iconic mountain landscape. Another popular excursion is the drive to Neist Point lighthouse for spectacular views to the Western Isles. The 13th century home of the famous Clan McLeod, Dunvegan Castle offers guided tours, a useful wet-weather option because of Skye's famously changeable weather. It's not called the 'Misty Isle' for nothing! Day 3 After returning to the mainland you drive past the Five Sisters of Kintail before stopping at the world-famous Loch Ness. Enjoy lunch in Fort Augustus at the southerly tip of Loch Ness before continuing on through Fort William to Glencoe. Learn about the bloody history of the famous glen and admire the wild scenery before heading on to Tyndrum for a break. Return through the Lowlands and Stirling to Edinburgh in the evening.

From Edinburgh: 2-Day Loch Ness, Inverness & Highlands Tour

8. From Edinburgh: 2-Day Loch Ness, Inverness & Highlands Tour

Day 1 Travel north to Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and the lovely village of Luss on the western banks of Loch Lomond, best known as a haven for wildlife and stunning flowers. Stroll along the shore and walk past pretty cottages during your time here. Travel further into the Highlands and visit Glen Coe, one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. Feel the past come to life as your guide tells you about the terrible massacre of the MacDonald clan. Depart Glen Coe via the Great Glen, another one of Scotland's majestic valleys which stretches 62 miles from Inverness all the way to Fort William. This is the second largest town in the Highlands and lies in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain's tallest mountain. Continue west to Glenfinnan, made famous by the Harry Potter films, which feature the iconic Viaduct. In the summer months, you may catch a glimpse of this magical train crossing the Viaduct. This landmark is surrounded by spectacular Highland scenery at the head of Loch Shiel. Stay overnight in accommodation near Loch Ness. Day 2 After a delicious Scottish breakfast, you have time to explore Loch Ness, Britain's largest body of water by volume. Then, visit Culloden, the last stand of the Jacobites against the British government forces. A visit to the battlefield is a poignant experience. Walk on the grounds where the battle took place and see the headstones that mark the graves of hundreds of clansmen. Travel south and enjoy the stunning scenery as you pass through the unique wilderness of the Cairngorms, Scotland's largest National Park. Its mountain range has five of the UK's highest mountains within its limits. Before returning to Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, make one last stop at a beautiful Highland town chosen by your driver-guide.

From Aberdeen: Coastal Villages of Aberdeenshire

9. From Aberdeen: Coastal Villages of Aberdeenshire

The first part of our journey is to make our way through the Aberdeenshire countryside to the coastal villages of Gardenstown and Crovie. Built into the red sandstone cliffs the villages have a quaint and remote atmosphere. The village of Gardenstown recently celebrated their 300th naming anniversary, so there is a lot of history in this small village balanced on the edge of the hillside. There are walks along the coastal path that will take you to Crovie, the smallest and most remote of Buchan cliff-foot fishing villages, it comprises a single row of houses, most gable-end to the sea. Pennan came into existence as a fishing village in the 18th century and the people of Pennan were dependent on the sea for their livelihood. Pennan became famous in the 1980s for being used as one of the main locations for the film Local Hero, and representing the fictional village of Ferness. Film enthusiasts have come from all over the world to make a phone call in the red telephone box which featured in the film. New Aberdour beach is a small but interesting beach, with limestone caves once used to help conceal contraband smuggled into the northeast by fishermen and business men who had a thriving economy along the craggy coastline. One of the caves was also home to an infamous cave dweller, "Jock". Fraserburgh means 'burgh of Fraser', after the Fraser Family that bought the lands of Philorth and built their castle at Kinnaird Head. Kinnaird Castle was later altered become one of the first lighthouses in the northeast of Scotland in 1787. You will have some time to walk around the headland and see the lighthouse for your self. Fraserburgh has some several impressive civic buildings and very ornate civic fountain as well as being home to Scotland's largest shellfish port. William Hay, 18th Earl of Erroll, established the fishing community of Port Erroll, later becoming Cruden Bay in the 1840s. The long pink curve of the Bay of Cruden sands and scenic cliffscapes have long attracted visitors. An iconic attraction in Cruden Bay is the ruin of New Slains Castle perched on the edge of the cliffs. Most of the building was constructed and extended between 1597 and 1664 but the castle fell in in ruin in the late 19th century and was eventually abandoned in the 1920s. Collieston was the first safe harbour in over fifteen miles of beaches and dunes stretching north from Aberdeen. The numerous sea caves and small coves with shingle beaches provided ideal terrain for smugglers. Learn about notorious smuggler Phillip Kennedy and his exploits while trying to outrun the excise man. With several stories about shipwrecks and sunken submarine there are countless stories to tell about this little harbour just a stone's throw from the bustling city.

Inverness: Fort George, Culloden, and Cairngorms Day Trip

10. Inverness: Fort George, Culloden, and Cairngorms Day Trip

Discover Northern Scotland on a guided coach tour from Inverness. Take in military history at Culloden Battlefield and Fort George, step back to the Bronze Age at Clava Cairns, and explore the quaint Scottish towns of Aviemore and Nairns. See the spectacular scenery of Cairngorms National Park. Start with a short tour of Inverness before heading to your first stop, Culloden Battlefield – one of the most important battlefields in Scotland’s history. Learn about the history of the battlefield, step onto it yourself, and see if you have family connections to the area at the visitor center. Continue on to Clava Cairns – the remains of a much larger complex used to house the dead – for a glimpse of what life was like over 4,000 years ago in the Bronze Age. Outlander fans may want to explore the prehistoric stone circle, the inspiration for Craigh Na Dun in the book and TV series. Then, travel to Fort George, an imposing fort built in the wake of the Battle of Culloden and now home to the largest regimental museum outside of Edinburgh. Fort George is still in use as an active army base and home to the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Next, head to Nairn on the north coast, where you will have time to grab lunch and take in the relaxing seaside town. Then, continue to explore more beautiful scenery in the Cairngorms, stopping at Loch an Eilein for a photo of the stunning loch, local wildlife, and island with its own castle ruins. Continue to the final stop of the day, Aviemore, where you will have a while to explore the beautiful village in the northwest corner of the Cairngorms National Park, surrounded by mountains and lochs. Explore and grab a coffee before journeying back to Inverness, where your tour ends.

Other Sightseeing Options in Aberdeenshire

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What people are saying about Aberdeenshire

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 387 reviews

This highland experience tour was amazing! I highly recommend it to everyone, Eddy (not sure spelling) our guide was fantastic, lots of knowledge throughout the whole trip and he went above and beyond to make sure everyone was happy and had the best experience, he even got us there in time to see the harry potter train go across at Glenfinnan, the b and b guesthouse was also amazing accommodation and I recommend paying extra to do the castle and boat at Loch Ness in the morning as it was the highlight of the second day. frequent stops along the way for toilet breaks as no toilet on bus. really well organised as a whole and an epic experience!

I really enjoyed whole trip. Our guide and driver was Brian. He was amazing and funny. He is a truly Scottish man and I am so happy that I met him. He told us many interesting legends and tales. We saw many wonderful places - for example Skye (such a beautiful island). I wish we had more time there. But I know I have to come back and visit this beautiful country again. Thank you Brian ✌

Great trip, great guide, amazing scenery. So much to see and do in the Highlands and on the Isle of Skye that 3 days only allows brief stops at many places, but amazing places they were! Wouldn't hesitate to return and I'd be happy to use the same tour company again!

Wonderful tour - lovely day. Our tour guide Alice was very knowledgeable and shared many interesting facts and many with a great Sense of humor. Highly recommend

It wws a very well planned tour, we saw many beautiful things, and our tour guide managed to capture the magic of the place!