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Things to do in Aberdeenshire

Our most recommended things to do in Aberdeenshire

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

1. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

Depart Edinburgh on an air-conditioned luxury coach (max 57 seats). Pass Stirling Castle and hear your tour guide tell tales of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and the bloody battles fought out on these lands. First, arrive at Callander town, nestled at the foot of the Trossachs. Next, drive through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Your Scottish guide will tell you about Rob Roy MacGregor, the infamous Highlander. Follow in the footsteps of James Bond ("Skyfall") and Harry Potter ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban") as you travel to the stunning Highland valley of Glencoe. Hear the eerie story of the Clan MacDonald massacre of 1692. Travel through Fort William, home to Ben Nevis, which at 4,409 feet is the highest mountain of the British Isles. Arrive on the south bank of Loch Ness in the charming village of Fort Augustus, where lots of cafes, shops, and restaurants offer a relaxing lunch. Stroll along the banks of the Caledonian Canal, then experience Loch Ness on an optional 1-hour boat cruise. Try to catch a glimpse of "Nessie," the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Admire the impressive Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge with views of the Nevis Range. Enter the Cairngorms National Park and discover "Monarch of the Glen" country. Drive along Loch Laggan before the roads climb above the Grampian Mountains. Travel over the Pass of Drumochter, linking the northern and southern Central Highlands. Experience the majesty of a mountain pass created by glacial activity during successive Ice Ages. Finally, stop briefly in the beautiful Victorian town of Pitlochry before heading back to Edinburgh city center, arriving at approximately 8:30 PM.

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

2. 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.

From Edinburgh: 2-Day Highlands Tour with Hogwarts Express

3. From Edinburgh: 2-Day Highlands Tour with Hogwarts Express

This 2-day guided tour takes you from Edinburgh to the gateway of the Highlands at Fort William, and on a world-famous steam train ride that passes Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, and other natural wonders of Scotland. Stay overnight in Fort Augustus at a B&B. Itinerary Day 1 Travel past the Forth Railway Bridge, then take a woodland walk in the Highlands at Dunkeld. Continue through the breathtaking Drumochter Pass, skirt the stunning peaks of the Cairngorm National Park, and visit Culloden, the last stand of the Jacobites against government forces. The first day ends in Fort Augustus, a quaint highland town. Overnight at a B&B in Fort Augustus.   Day 2 Take a steam train journey back in time. The Jacobite steam train route has been rated as one of the world's great train journeys. Travel past Britain's highest mountain, deepest loch, shortest river, and westernmost train station. Cross the viaduct featured in the Harry Potter movies and pass the Glenfinnan Monument, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard at the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite rising. Have lunch in the west coast town of Mallaig, where you can taste the best of Scottish seafood. Head back to Edinburgh via Glen Coe. Visit Glen Coe, where the MacDonalds were betrayed, and then experience the beauty of Rannoch Moor and Stirlingshire en route.

From Aberdeen: Balmoral Castle and Royal Deeside Tour

4. 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.

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

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

6. 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 Glasgow 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 towards 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 features the iconic Viaduct. In the summer months, you may catch a glimpse of the magical Jacobite Steam 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.

From Aberdeen: Aberdeenshire Guided Day Trip & Castle Visit

7. From Aberdeen: Aberdeenshire Guided Day Trip & Castle Visit

The Falls of Feugh Just before joining the River Dee at Banchory, the Water of Feugh tumbles over a jumble of boulders and rock steps to form an attractive set of rapids with an old stone road bridge over the top. These are the Falls of Feugh, and they’re a popular beauty spot for locals and Aberdonians alike. The falls have a reputation for being a good spot to watch salmon running upstream. The Highlands in miniature Cairn o' Mount is the name of a prehistoric round cairn in Aberdeenshire. The winding road takes us through National Forestry Woodlands to heath land and heather covered hillsides. The route passes along Clachnaben and its granite Tor which is a popular walking trail to the top of the the Cairn which offers spectacular views over the Aberdeenshire countryside. We like to call it our highlands in miniature as it offers similar landscapes and hillside views closer to Aberdeen. Discover how whisky is made Sir Alexander Ramsay, the founder of the distillery, was one of the Scottish landowners who campaigned to license Scotch Whisky distillation and in 1824 the Fettercairn distillery was opened. Fettercairn distillery lies in the heart of rich farming land which has always attracted visitors. Fettercairn distillery has a unique still which creates their iconic character along with working closely with local barley producers and using their own spring water. This visit will include a tour of the distillery as well as a tasting of two of their whiskies in their visitor centre. Explore beautiful seaside Stonehaven Stonehaven, originally a fishing village but evolved into a Victorian resort town in the 1800s. You will be taken on a short guided walking tour of the harbour area and old Stonehaven before having some free time to explore the village and enjoy lunch. Be sure to stroll the boardwalk and Stonehaven beach to see the sculptures created by artisan Jim Malcolm, who for years was dubbed the Stonehaven Banksy for the sculptures he created anonymously. Spectacular Castle Ruins Dunottar is easily one of Aberdeenshire's most iconic castles. For over 1000 years Dunnottar Castle played a crucial role in Scottish history. The Castle has played host to some of the nation's historical figures including William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots and for its role in saving the Honours of Scotland from Oliver Cromwell's army in the 1650s. The castle ruins are extensive with many rooms and buildings to explore. Envision what life would have been like as you walk through the settlement, part military barracks and part stately home for the Earls of Marischal. ***There are a lot of steps/stairs up to the castle, so this is not suitable for people who have mobility issues. There are some wonderful photo opportunities along the coastal path and a great walk over to the war memorial on Black Hill above Stonehaven.

Dunnottar Castle and Royal Deeside 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

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

9. 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.

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 671 reviews

Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! I am not someone who likes organised tours and especially 12 hours but this one was awesome thanks to our guide Brian Smith!!! The detailed stories and history of the areas we visited, the wonderful jokes and great humour, and The perfect playlist! And incredible driver…safety first and I couldn’t have felt more safe with Brian at the wheel on those sketchy roads! I wish I had known..I would have booked all my tours with Hairy Coo!!! This particular tour had it all to get a first taste of the highlands. Brian thank you for making my day visit of such a breathtaking place even more perfect and amazing!!! I could not I have asked or wished for more! Perfect! Recommend this tour 110%

This tour with guide John was spectacular, I had never met a guide with such a sense of humor and tireless as this one. He made a day of bus travel fun. The landscapes are spectacular, and the stops also make sense, there aren't those stops to foist things on. The village where we stopped to see Loch Ness has many services such as cafes and places to eat, and it is beautiful. We caught snow and it even snowed while we were in the village, which made the experience even more interesting.

Good choice if you are not spending much time in Edinburgh. In one day you can get to Highlands and Loch Ness in a cool atmosphere (traveled with Steve, highly recommend) while listening to many interesting facts about Scotland. Considering you make around 500 km and the guide is there for you for 12 hours straight, it is a great value for money. I really had a good time.

Great release! So yes, there are a lot of buses, but for a first discovery of Scotland it's perfect! Sublime landscape, full of explanations told by the guide making the bus journey lighter! I totally recommend!

Great tour! Wonderful guide with a real sense of humor. Gave photo stops anytime he could. Very knowledgeable of what we were seeing. The bus was very comfortable and there were adequate restroom stops.