Top 8 reasons to visit Aberdeenshire - Scotland's hidden gem

By TravelWiseMar 2, 2024 10:53 AMNews
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Top 8 reasons to visit Aberdeenshire - Scotland's hidden gem
Aberdeenshire offers a great vacation for tourists. Source: VisitAberdeenshire, dailyrecord.co.uk/

This spring, head to one of Scotland's most exciting vacation destinations with stunning scenery, mouthwatering food and drink, breathtaking beaches, and a special city atmosphere.

With spring rapidly approaching, it's the perfect time to think about a vacation, and in the North East, you'll find a place to spend a spring break that will surely remain in your memory for a long time. Aberdeenshire is a region that offers a vacation experience like no other in Scotland," writes the DailyRecord website.

Aberdeenshire offers spectacular views of the Cairngorms combined with wild coastline and golden beaches, and in Aberdeen itself, you will discover a city with a rich history, mouth-watering food and drink, and many exciting shopping opportunities.

For a hidden gem without the noisy crowds, we can't recommend Aberdeenshire enough - here are just some of the reasons to visit that will make you wonder why it took you so long to get here.

1. A city by the sea with historic buildings

One of Scotland's most unique cities, Aberdeen is located close to the sea, making it the perfect base for discovering this magnificent coastline, while its two historic old towns - Footdie and Old Aberdeen - offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the region's rich history.

Discover stunning buildings such as St. Machar's Cathedral and King's College, and the Powys Gateway offers enchanting photo opportunities that are perfect for that all-important Instagram shot.

Top 8 reasons to visit Aberdeenshire - Scotland's hidden gem
The beautiful St. Machar's Cathedral is part of the appeal of Old Aberdeen. Source: VisitAberdeenshire, dailyrecord.co.uk/

Speaking of memorable shots, the beautiful and highly photogenic fishing village of Footdee (known locally as Fitty) is just a twenty-minute walk away, or just under 5 minutes by car.

Combine this with the modern appeal of the town's exciting shops and the fact that it is home to some of the country's best restaurants, and you can see why influential writer Sarah Marshall recently named it one of the UK's top holiday destinations, noting that few people realize how much it has to offer.

2. There are a lot of festivals and entertainment

The silver lining of the Granite City has taken on a vibrant new look in recent years with the award-winning and world-renowned Nuart Street Art Festival, which returns to the city this June and has previously featured some of the world's best artists, including Brazilian artist Thiago Mazza and German-based NeSpoon.

And it's not only a feast for the eyes, but also for the ears, as the 10-day Aberdeen Jazz Festival, which begins in March, brings together more than 100 artists playing a variety of styles from blues and big band to swing and soul.

Those looking for something more traditional can head west to the beautiful town of Banchory, where they can enjoy the North of Scotland Bagpipe Championships, featuring over 20 of the best bagpipe bands from across the north of the country and more than 30 exciting performances.

3. You will find a place full of art and culture

Art lovers will find all the inspiration they're looking for at the Aberdeen Art Gallery, which is housed in a striking example of Aberdeen's granite buildings and is home to one of the finest collections in the country.

Current exhibitions highlight the lives and work of such notable artists as Scottish-born William Gillies and French-born American Louise Bourgeois, as well as the Voices of the Granite Industry exhibition, where you'll learn how the Granite City earned its name.

4. It really is a gourmet's paradise

The city of Aberdeen and the surrounding towns and villages are a true food and drink lover's paradise, as this bountiful region supplies some of the finest produce in the country and its natural resources are the envy of most, meaning local chefs have plenty to choose from when it comes to cooking up the most mouth-watering dishes.

Look out for vibrant dishes from beloved Thai specialist Madame Mews, innovative plant-based dishes at Foodstory, succulent seafood dishes at Moonfish Cafe or a sumptuous dinner with city views at The Silver Darling.

Outside the city, you can dine in the luxurious countryside setting of Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course, enjoy award-winning ice cream at Portsoy, the best fish and chips in the country at Stonehaven by The Bay Fish and Chips, and the pioneers of the Scottish craft beer revolution at BrewDog.

And Eat on the Green in Udney, Kildrummy Inn in Alford, and Fish Shop in Ballater are the pearls of Aberdeenshire that are worth discovering.

5. Discover the romance and rich history of this fantastic regio

Top 8 reasons to visit Aberdeenshire - Scotland's hidden gem
Dunnottar Castle on top of a cliff overlooking the North Sea. Source: VisitAberdeenshire, dailyrecord.co.uk/

Home to more than 260 castles, Aberdeenshire is full of historical significance and has helped shape the country that Scotland has become.

From the intriguing legacy of the Picts and their reminders in the form of mysterious standing stones, to the impressive cliff-top ruins of Findlater Castle and Dunnottar Castle overlooking the North Sea, to the imposing Slains Castle, which reportedly inspired the castle in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

And don't forget about the grandeur of Aberdeenshire's most famous landmark, the majestic Balmoral Castle, the Scottish residence of the royal family.

Visitors with a true sense of adventure can even go in search of their own Scottish pyramid - a majestic mound built by the Queen (Victoria) in honor of the man she lost (Prince Albert).

6. It is the birthplace of the Scottish national spirit

Aberdeenshire is the place where you will find some of the best distilleries in the country. Pay attention to the historic Glen Garioch (pronounced Glen Gary) in the heart of the idyllic village of Oldmeldrum, the breathtaking Glendronach surrounded by the stunning Huntly countryside, or the majestic Royal Lochnagar in the wilds of the Cairngorms, which was loved by Queen Victoria herself (hence the impressive name).

If you want to get the full tasting experience, visit the atmospheric 1236 Cave Bar at Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course. This 13th-century manor house is home to an almost 800-year-old whisky lair that has been transformed into a bar filled with over 120 varieties, and you'll be spoiled for choice - just ask the experienced bartender for help if you feel a little lost.

7. You can walk in the fresh air and discover the wildlife

Top 8 reasons to visit Aberdeenshire - Scotland's hidden gem
This is a great place for walking and contemplating the beautiful scenery. Source: VisitAberdeenshire, dailyrecord.co.uk/

For those looking to get up close and personal with nature, the Cairngorms are home to epic hikes and offer not one, not two, but 30 (!) incredible Munros, ranging from easy climbs like Carn Aosda to the mighty Ben Macdui, which is said to be home to the supernatural Grey Man.

A trip to Greyhope Bay will be rewarding for wildlife enthusiasts, as it is considered the best place in the UK for dolphin watching, and the center at Torry Battery offers the best place to watch bottlenose dolphins frolic here all year round.

Often referred to as "the most popular mountain biking destination in Scotland," Aberdeenshire is also where you'll find incredible trails for all levels of ability, from families to professionals, with options such as Heartbreak Ridge and purpose-built bike parks such as Tarland Trails and Aboyne Bike Park.

8. Scenic route to a historic landmark

When it comes to road trips, forget about the North Coast 500, because Aberdeenshire offers its own route that is more than worthy of attention.

A few years ago, this route was included in Lonely Planet's list of the world's 500 best road trips, a 250-mile circular journey that first started in 2017 and starts in the Cairngorms National Park, then skirts the northeast coast of Scotland and ends in whisky country Speyside, where whisky is produced.

You can enjoy the stunning wilderness of the Cairngorms, as well as see sights such as the impressive Drum Castle, cliff-top New Slains Castle, and the idyllic town of Ballater.

As previously reported by TravelWise, 12 hotels in Scotland that travelers should visit: from quiet cottages on the charming coast to noble castles with a vintage atmosphere.

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