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Scotland Travel Guide

Best Places to Visit in  Scotland - The Grampians and Fife

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                                                                     The Grampians       Fife 


Map of the best places to visit in Scotland showing the Grampian region.

Map Showing the Grampian Region  and Northeast Scotland



The Grampians    

 The Grampians and the Northeast

The countryside in this northeastern region of Scotland is mostly mountainous and always beautiful. The region takes its name from its highest point, which is in the rugged, Grampian Mountains. The Cairngorm Mountains, considered part of the Grampians, are now protected as a national park and we regard this area as one of the most attractive in Scotland. In the north and eastern coastal areas rolling hills replace the mountains.  Sections of the northeastern coast provide dramatic landscapes and stunning seascapes.

The Grampian region of Scotland offers a diverse blend of attractions that rise above the natural beauty of the area.

  • There are a number of enchanting, small towns and villages that prove to be wonderful places to stay.  Most offer good food, interesting shops and a number of worthwhile attractions.

The Aberdeen and Grampian Highlands section of Visit Scotland's website  details the  principal tourist attractions in the region.  Of interest to many visitors to  the Grampians is the fact that they are home to Scotland's only Malt Whiskey Trail.


You might want to consider a visit to the Cairngorms National Park as an alternate way to spend your time.  We think the Cairngorms provide the best natural beauty in the Grampian region and  several noted towns are located in this area.

  • Just within the western boundary  of the Park, you will find Aviemore and Grantown-On-Spey, two small towns that provide access to hiking, golfing, skiing and beautiful outdoor vistas.

  •     For those of you who are interested in trains, the Strathspey Railway steam engine runs from Aviemore to Boat of Garten and on to Broomhill (known as Glen Bogle in the old BBC television show the Monarch of the Glen). The ride is memorable for the fine views that can be enjoyed while the train winds its way through scenic countryside. 

  • Finally, the southern section of the Cairngorm National Park along the River Dee from Braemar   to  Banchory  , an area known as the Royal Deeside, is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable sections of Scotland.

  •   Ballater,  a small village several miles east of Balmoral Castle, is centrally located and, we think, one of the best places to base an exploration of the Royal Deeside.

     The River Dee has many trails from which one can view its beauty  The River Dee is worthy of further exploration

    • Accommodations include luxury hotels but we recommend choosing a bed & breakfast.  The townspeople in Ballater are good hosts and they can provide you with the best advice on where to tour at different times of the year. 
    • Many of the shops in Ballater have "Royal Warrants" and are licensed  suppliers to the Royal Family's  nearby Balmoral Castle residence.
    • The most enjoyable aspect of Ballater, however, is its country setting.  There are many surrounding areas that offer easy hiking and spectacular scenery.
      • Maps showing the  area's hiking and walking trails are available from most B&Bs, but one of the best paths is a leisurely walk along the banks of the River Dee,


  • The  notable castles in the Royal Deeside include
    • Balmoral Castle, the summer home of the Royal family. 
      • Balmoral Castle is open to visitors from the beginning of April to the end of July, but dates vary depending on royal schedules.

      • See the Royal Residences website for details on visiting.

    •   The gardens of Crathes Castle, just east of Banchory, are  regarded as among the finest in Britain  and include a 3.75 acre walled garden. 

      • The castle, which includes the mandatory ghost, is open for touring and features Jacobean decorative painted ceilings (an English style favored in the 17th/18th centuries) and fine furniture.

      • See the National Trust of Scotland for more details on visiting Crathes Castle.

  Dunnottar Castle is an impressive sight  Dunnottar Castle is a must-see attraction.

  •   The impressive Dunnottar Castle ruins provide one of the most photographed scenes in eastern Scotland.  The castle sits atop a tall rock knob with sheer, smooth-faced cliffs dropping precipitously to the sea. 

    • The Castle dates from the 14th Century and the location is believed to have been fortified for over two-thousand years.

    • Dunnottar Castle is along the coast just south of Stonehaven.  You may remember this castle, as it was shown in the background of Zeffirelli's movie version of Hamlet (1990).

    • See this site for more information on visiting





A lonely castle in its glen.  Named Castle Corgarff, this 16th century castle features  a star shaped defensive wall

Castle Corgarff has a unique star-shaped defensive wall






Visit Crathes Castle for its gardens.  They are spectacular.

Crathes Castle.

Out buildings behind the Keep at Dunnottar Castle on the east coast of Scotlandt.

Out buildings behind the Keep at Dunnottar Castle



Links to the Best Places to Visit in Scotland


Highlands and Skye
Glasgow and the Trossachs






Fife   Top of Page  

If you have toured the Grampians and are returning south towards Edinburgh, you might consider turning west for to visit Dewar's World of Whisky or continue due south for a quick tour of St. Andrews.

  • St. Andrews (Fife Region)  
    • A magnet for golfers, St. Andrews's provides little for those with other interests. Saint Andrew's is a quaint, compact university town that sits on a scenic area of the coast of eastern Scotland.  If you do not play golf (or do not have the handicap to play at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at Saint Andrews), you will find other towns of greater interest.


  • Dewar's World of Whisky  

    •  Dewar's is located near Aberfeldy, a beautiful section of Scotland celebrated in writing by Robert Burns. 

    • Aberfeldy was the birthplace of John Dewar, founder of Dewar's Whisky.  The tour  of the Aberfeldy Distillery includes a whisky tasting, for those of age, as well as several interesting creations from the company's past. See the Dewar's Worlds of Whisky website for more details on visiting.


More Scotland   Top of Page  


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