At the base of the Cairngorm Mountains, Aviemore is the region’s primary hub for accommodations, shopping and dining. This bustling town offers easy access to some of Scotland’s most beautiful natural scenery. Hike, cycle and climb during the warmer months or enjoy skiing at one of the country’s top resorts in winter.
In summer, most visitors to Aviemore come to explore nearby Cairngorms National Park. This massive 1,740-square-mile (4,500-square-kilometer) park has 52 mountain summits greater than 3,000 feet (900 meters), including many of Scotland’s highest peaks. Start at the Aviemore Information Centre and pick up maps or ask the staff for trail recommendations.
For a rewarding, low-intensity walk, head to Loch an Eilein and follow the gentle trail that wraps around its waters. Visit the crumbling 13th-century castle set on an island at the loch’s center. The loch is located within the grounds of the Rothiemurchus Estate, known for encompassing some of Scotland’s last remaining Caledonian forest. Look for red squirrels and Scottish wildcats as you walk through groves of Scots pines, some up to 300 years old.
Find additional scenic trails around nearby Loch Morlich. Relax on the loch’s sandy beach or rent a canoe to explore its fresh waters. Many of these trails transform into wonderful spots for cross-country skiing in the winter.
Visit during the colder months to enjoy the CairnGorm Mountain ski area, which is a 25-minute drive southeast of Aviemore. Scotland’s largest ski area, CairnGorm offers over 30 runs and 19 miles (30 kilometers) of slopes, as well as a separate terrain park for skiers and boarders.
Ride the CairnGorm Mountain Funicular Railway to see dramatic views across the Valley of the Spey and the Cairngorms. Enjoy a meal in the restaurant at the mountain’s peak while admiring the vista from 3,500 feet (1,100 meters) above sea level.
Aviemore is about a 150-mile (240-kilometer) drive north of Edinburgh. Access it easily on Inverness-Edinburgh bus and train lines. Get active at one of Scotland’s loveliest outdoor destinations.