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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: North East of Scotland Coastal Tour

3. From Aberdeen: North East of Scotland Coastal Tour

Explore the northeastern coast of Scotland on a day trip from Aberdeen. Travel through Aberdeenshire countryside towards the historic town of Banff, known for its silver work and beautiful architecture. Stop to explore Duff House and learn about the building’s turbulent history. Visit the exhibition of the Scottish National Gallery on the top floor of the house. Afterwards, enjoy a delicious lunch of freshly-prepared local food at Duff House Café. The tour will continue along the coastal route, visiting the charming village of Pennan that hugs the rugged cliffs. Wander through this pretty village, before continuing to your next stop in Fraserburgh. Here you’ll visit the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, to admire its unique collection of lighthouse memorabilia, lenses, and technology. Enjoy a guided tour of Kinnaird Lighthouse that takes you into the light itself. Walk outside and take in the 360-degree views of the town, harbor, and the North Sea.

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

4. 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.

Edinburgh: 5-Day Outer Hebrides and Highlands Tour

5. Edinburgh: 5-Day Outer Hebrides and Highlands Tour

Day 1: Your tour will begin as you depart the cosmopolitan city of Edinburgh and travel into the Highlands. Your first stop of the day is in the village of Dunkeld. There you can stretch your legs and admire the cathedral’s unusual mixture of architectural styles, before you venture through the shadows of the great and gorgeous Grampian Mountains and stop for lunch at a Highland town in the Spey Valley. After lunch, head to Loch Ness where your driver/guide will help you attempt to catch a glimpse of Scotland’s most famous mythical monster. Corrieshalloch Gorge is a lesser-known Scottish sight, but it’s sure to be one that you’ll also love. In the early evening, you will arrive in the scenic fishing port of Ullapool for your overnight stay. Day 2: First on your second day's agenda is a ferry journey across the sea. This 2.5-hour boat trip takes you through the Summer Isles to Stornoway, the main town of the Western Isles. Once you’ve arrived on Lewis and Harris, you will head to the north-west coast. Your driver/guide will make the most of what weather you’ve been blessed with, taking you through traditional crofting towns and seaside ports. You will later spend the evening in Stornoway; a bustling port town and the home of Scotland’s most delicious black pudding. Day 3: On your third day, it will be time to enter the region of Harris. Harris boasts the highest mountains in the Outer Hebrides and is home to one of the most beautiful white-sandy beaches in Britain, Luskentyre. After a morning of exploring the dramatic landscapes, you will stop for lunch. Depending on the weather, you may even go for a picnic on the beach. Back onto the Isle of Lewis, you will visit the Callanish Stone Circle, a prehistoric sight which still mystifies archeologists today. A little down the road, you will visit the stone fort of Dun Carloway, before heading back to Stornoway in the late afternoon. Day 4: On your fourth day, you will travel through a landscape littered with crofting villages to Arnol Blackhouse. There you can experience what traditional farming life was like in these remote reaches, without getting your hands too dirty. Following lunch, you will head back to Stornoway where you will take a ferry back to the mainland. You will then head straight for Inverness, the capital of the Highlands and your final overnight stop. Day 5: On your final day, you will leave Inverness and head for Tominoul, the highest village in the Highlands. You will then head into Royal Deeside where you will pay a visit to the Royal Lochnagar Whisky Distillery. There you can witness the craftsmanship of the distillers who make one of Scotland’s finest 12 year old single malts. Following the distillery visit, it will be time for lunch in the charming village of Braemar in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. From there the route south passes over Scotland’s highest mountain pass, Highland Perthshire, before stopping at Scone Palace, the home of Scotland’s legendary Coronation Stone (also known as the "Stone of Destiny"). From there, it will be a short journey back to Edinburgh.

Isle of Skye and the Highlands 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

6. Isle of Skye and the Highlands 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Experience the dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye on a 5-day tour from Edinburgh. Visit historic sites and discover remote sandy beaches. Marvel at stunning seascapes and enjoy exploring picturesque villages. Travel in comfort in a small group, enjoying personalized attention and accommodation in guesthouses and B&Bs. Detailed Itinerary Day 1 Head north over the Forth Road Bridge to the charming highland village of Dunkeld on the banks of the river Tay, and then into the Cairngorm National Park and to the ancient pine forests of the Rothiemurchus Estate. After lunch you’ll spend time on the shores of Loch Insh and then take a short forest walk to the ruins of Loch an Eilean castle. Panoramic views of Loch Ness follow as you travel down to the banks of the famous loch to village of Dores where you can do some Nessie spotting! Overnight in Ullapool. Day 2 Visit the highlands of the far north-west and marvel the grandeur and expanse of the Mountains of Assynt. This was the first crofting area to be bought by local crofters – the Assynt Crofters’ Trust. See the ruins of the 15th-century Ardvreck Castle, once the stronghold of the MacLeods of Assynt. See some of Europe’s oldest landscapes, from the stunning white sand beach at Achmelvich Bay to the traditional fishing village of Lochinver. Be on the lookout for wildlife throughout the day. Overnight in Ullapool. Day 3 You’ll head south from Ullapool to take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60 meters down into the Corrieshalloch Gorge. Travel past the mountains of the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and along the picturesque coastline of Loch Torridon. The tranquil setting of Applecross is your destination for lunch. Experience a drive on one of the highest roads in Scotland, Bealach nam Bo, known for its jaw-dropping views, hairpin bends, and precipitous cliffs. In the afternoon you’ll stop in Plockton, where you can see palm trees growing alongside Loch Carron. Then it’s over the sea to Skye and the delightful harbor town of Portree. Day 4 Enjoy a flexible day on Skye. Depending on the prevailing conditions you might travel north to the stunning Quiraing mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk through some of Skye’s extraordinary geological scenery. You might visit the Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns, with water cascading over the cliffs and down into the sea below. After lunch you might travel to Neist Point for a walk out to the lighthouse at the most westerly point on Skye. Alternatively your driver/guide might choose a visit to Dunvegan Castle, the ancient ancestral seat of the Clan McLeod. Return to Portree for a free evening and to your overnight accommodation. Day 5 Travel south from Skye, making a stop at the famed Eilean Donan Castle, situated at the head of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. The stronghold was used in the filming of the movie Highlander. Continue eastward through the rugged mountains of Kintail, past Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. You’ll stop in Fort William for lunch. In the afternoon you’ll explore spectacular Glencoe, scene of the massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692, before stopping in Killin for refreshments beside the Falls of Dochart.

Scotland: Northern Highlights Sightseeing Pass

7. Scotland: Northern Highlights Sightseeing Pass

Experience some of North East Scotland's top attractions and tours and get up to 50% off admission with the Northern Highlights Pass. With a 3 month pass enjoy discounts at over 25locations. Decide what you feel like doing on the day, from castles to museums and whisky to coastlines, and make the most of your savings. Here's where you can save: • Macduff Marine Aquarium - 20% off admission • Balmoral Castle and Estate - 10% off admission • Grampian Transport Museum - 50% off admission • Maryculter House - 30% off afternoon tea • Craggan Outdoors - 10% off activities • Bothies and Bannocks - 10% off food and drink tours • Kincardine Estate - 10% off fishing • Peterculter Golf Club - 25% off a round of golf • Peterhead Prison Museum - 10% off admission • Sixt Car Rental - 15% off car rental • Gordon Castle and Walled Garden - 10% off afternoon tea experience • House of Mulben - 15% off activities • Ride In Peace Adventures - 20% off bespoke RIPA Deeside MTB tours • Strathisla Distillery - 10% off tours • The Gordon Highlanders Museum -10% off admission • Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery Tour - 10% off tour • Aberdeenshire Highland Cattle Ltd - 15% off admission • Still Tours Scotland - 10% off a selection of tours • Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery - 10% off admission • Blair Castle and Gardens - 15% off admission • More Moray Tours & Transport - 10% off bookings • Cullen Sea School - 10% off • Timberbush Tours - 15% off selection of tours • City of Aberdeen Distillery & Gin School - 10% off tours and Gin School • E Guide - 10% off mountain bike tours and bike hire • Ogilvy Spirits Distillery - 10% off tours • Toll House Spirits - 15% off Gin Experiences and Gin School

Scottish Highlands 4-Day Castle Tour From Edinburgh

8. Scottish Highlands 4-Day Castle Tour From Edinburgh

Day 1: Depart from Edinburgh and travel north into the ancient Kingdom of Fife. Visit Falkland Palace, built in the 16th century and is set in the medieval village of Falkland. Continue to St Andrews and explore the cobbled lanes and ancient university buildings. Travel north towards Aberdeen and admire the House of Dun, a beautiful Georgian mansion located within a woodland estate. In the afternoon, visit Dunnottar castle - a ruined fortress on the top of the cliffs. Day 2: Spend the day in the Royal Deeside area, famous for its many castles. Visit Castle Fraser, one of the grandest of the Scottish baronial tower houses. Round off your visit with a walk through the beautiful 18th century walled garden. Later on, visit Banchory and look for salmon jumping at the Falls of Feugh. After lunch, explore the house and stunning gardens of Crathes Castle at your own pace. Wander through the outstanding, world-renowned June Borders, and admire beautiful vistas of the castle through the fusion of colourful flowers. Return back to Aberdeen for the night. Day 3: Heads further north and start the day with a visit to Fyvie Castle dating back to the 13th century and holding a fine collection of arms and armour as well as 17th century tapestries. Continue on and travel through beautiful scenery towards Nairn, and enjoy a lunch at nearby Brodie Castle. Explore this imposing castle’s unusual plasterwork and art collection. In the afternoon, take The Clan Stone Walkway which was designed to commemorate the Scottish Clans and their clansmen who fought at the battle of Culloden. After the visit, continue to Forres for your overnight stay. Day 4: Travel south through some of the most stunning scenery Scotland has to offer to Dalwhinnie Distillery and taste the ‘Water of Life’. After a lunch stop in Pitlochry,  head to Loch Leven. Next, you head south to Blair Castle. Here, you can learn about Mary Queen of Scots, discover a ballroom adorned with 175 antlers, and roam the 9-acre Georgian garden at your own leisure before you return back over the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh.

Other Sightseeing Options in Aberdeenshire

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What people are saying about Aberdeenshire

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 257 reviews

This tour was nothing short of magical! James was an amazing tour guide and a wonderful story teller. You can feel the love of Scotland he has in every story he tells. Tours can be tough and sometimes feel rushed but this did not at all. We had adequate time in each location, spending the most in Skye which is exactly what I’d hope for. Cannot recommend this tour enough and if you’re lucky enough to have James as your guide, you’re in for a treat!

A little girl's dream come true... set foot in Scotland, thanks to our guide Steve, a really great guide, friendly, funny, passionate and proud of his origins! It was a pleasure to be with him and the whole group. The group was really great thanks to them, great atmosphere. Sublime places, a road trip worthy of Scotland which is a summary in 3 days of this magnificent country. Thank you and see you soon, I highly recommend it! #thehairycoo

The driver cum guide was very professional and polite, providing information and history of the places we went. The group consisted 15 tourists, a reasonable size for mobility. The whole trip was well coordinated and arrived back at Aberdeen as stipulated in the trip details. Thanks Douglas !

Amazing experience : the itinerary was evocative and we have discovered incredible and hidden coins of highlands. Thanks to our special guide : available, nice and proactive, he made the experience truly magical with his stories and accurate explanations.

better than expected, splendid nature and super guide, Brian Smith, well prepared, funny and caring, made us fall in love with Scotland