The moody, romantic Scottish Highlands create the best possible backdrop for hiking and biking. However, when you are enjoying a holiday or short break in the area, there may be days when you fancy some mental stimulation, cultural experience or hardy Scottish fayre.

One of the best places to spend a day within easy travelling distance from self-catering accommodation in the Cairngorms area is Aviemore. The town is traditionally associated with Scotland’s fantastic skiing opportunities, but don’t be fooled into thinking that in summer snowless means there’s no fun there. By the way, if you want to check the weather in the area, and decide on a “rainy day” exploration of Aviemore, click here.

Town with a view

The tourist town of Aviemore is worth a visit for the views alone. It provides a great vantage point to see the Cairngorms, without stepping in to the wild hills and moors.

One of the best places to see the mountains at their best is from Aviemore’s Victorian railway station. While you are enjoying the vista, you may also want to check out the station itself, as it is a heritage railway and the station dates back to 1898.

As you wander around the town there will be a great choice of places to eat, including cosmopolitan offerings and of course good Scottish fayre. On cooler days, you could seek out fine teas and coffees and local cakes in one of the cafes with log burners.

Contemporary, ancient and unique sights

Aviemore features a high proportion of modern buildings due to its rise in popularity as a ski resort. But if you travel just outside the town centre you will quickly step back into ancient history. And that includes the fascinating Aviemore Stone Circle, which should feature on your local to do list.

As you explore the area you may also want to keep your eyes open for the grazing reindeer herd at Glen More. It is believed to be the only place in the UK where reindeer roam free.

Year-round events in Aviemore

Make sure you research local events before you set out on your self-catering holiday in the Aviemore area. The town offers a varied calendar to suit a wide range of interests. The type of event clearly depends on the season but covers things as diverse as a Husky Rally, to the ‘Thunder in the Glens’ Harley Davidson Motorbike Rally.

Scotland is a golfer’s paradise, so there are often tournaments in the region, and of course parades and activities to make the most of Christmas, Easter and lighter evenings.

As Scotland prides itself on a thriving cottage industry, local listings can also point you towards crafts fairs, art exhibitions and food festivals too.

Don’t forget that the Scottish love their music. So in any season you will find local bars with live performances and various annual events to get your feet tapping on your visit to Aviemore.

Aviemore fun for families

The town and its surrounding attractions are great for all ages. This guide provides some ideas for family fun in the area.

Skiing in Aviemore is not the only physical activity on offer. The area has abundant outdoor pursuits companies, as well as of course the marvellous walks that nature has provided for us.

If you want to keep children happy for a day, then the Landmark Forest Adventure Park near Aviemore is one of seven top tourist attractions in the Cairngorms area. The list of activities at the reasonably priced adventure park include aerial challenge courses, a rollercoaster, log flume ride, puzzles and illusions.

Glenmore Forest Park is also a terrific place, particularly if you enjoy water sports and long walks amidst ancient trees. It is situated on the banks of Loch Morlich, a freshwater lake which boasts sandy beaches and a yacht club too. The award winning beach on one side of the Loch Morlich provides incredible views, as it literally sits at the foot of the Northern Cairngorms. This article announces a recent accolade for the lovely beach.

If you would prefer to be actually up in the trees rather than admiring them, then it’s not just Landmark Forest Adventure Park that offers high ropes and aerial challenges. In Your Element, which has facilities in other parts of Scotland too, has not surprisingly chosen Aviemore to create some of its outdoor experiences, including Tree Zone aerial adventures.

Local wildlife opportunity near Aviemore

If you prefer to watch birds with your feet on the ground rather than climbing trees, the RSPB centre at Loch Garten is a splendid place to spot feathered “locals”. During breeding season in Scotland ospreys return to this ancient pine forest. The Loch Garten Osprey Centre can provide “a bird’s eye” view of the magnificent birds, undisturbed in their natural environment, thanks to the wonders of modern technology.
For opening times and other information, visit their website.

Lots more to do too

These are just a few of the things to do in and around Aviemore.

It is sometimes justifiably referred to as the adventure capital of Scotland. However, if you are staying in self-catering accommodation in the Cairngorms, it is also a great place to go for quieter, leisurely pursuits, good food and authentic local entertainment.

Clearly a relatively small town, that packs in hundreds of reasons to visit. There is more local information on this site.