The year-round destination at the heart of the Highlands

April 21, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Destination Guide

Aviemore lies at the heart of the Scottish Highlands. With mountains, pine-clad slopes and a wide river valley setting, Aviemore and the Cairngorms provide a very distinctive Highland setting.

Britain’s largest National Park, the Cairngorms are Britain’s highest and most massive mountain range, with a vast, tundra-like wilderness plateau at their heart which forms the backdrop to every view in the locality. The Cairngorm massif is encircled by the beautiful valleys of the Rivers Spey and Dee, each passing through stunning landscapes of ancient Caledonian pinewoods teeming with wildlife. Aviemore lies on the northern side of the Cairngorms and is the best known centre for exploring the area. It is a year-round destination with a diverse range of pursuits available for visitors of all ages.

The popularity of Aviemore is reflected in the a good range of cottages to suit all tastes and budgets in Aviemore and the Cairngorms. Cottages4You have wide portfolio of properties in the area. Scottish Cottages also have a varied selection of cottages. Hoseasons have a selection of modern holiday homes in Aviemore most with free membership of a nearby country club with a swimming pool, sauna, gym, tennis and squash courts. Sykes Cottages have a small collection of cottages in Aviemore, including some similar to the Hoseasons properties with free membership of a country club, so worth comparing prices.

In the winter visitors head here for the skiing and snowboarding. This is Scotland’s most popular ski area, despite variable weather conditions. It has runs to suit all levels of ability, holds the snow well throughout the season and, for ease of access to the slopes, boasts the country’s highest and fastest mountain railway.

Around Aviemore there is a huge choice of walking at all levels, from challenging winter walking to gentle family rambles. The area offers a great variety of landscapes to walk in. As well as high mountain tundra and rocky passes, moorlands and forest, there are also extensive marshlands and lochs, whose best-known visitor in summer is the osprey – and one that is quite easy to spot, particularly around the Boat of Garten area.

Mountain bikers are spoilt for choice in the area. There are many well-marked cross-country routes to explore, with the added opportunity to take the funicular railway into the heart of the Cairngorms for an adrenalin-packed descent of nearly 3000 feet.

Those who prefer a much slower pace of life have a vast expanse of wild scenery to explore, enjoy a round of golf or attend one of the many festivals and events taking place in the town and surrounding villages.

For those venturing a little further afield there is plenty to discover. To the south is Royal Deeside with Ballater the main centre and the attractive village of Braemar, with Balmoral Castle lying between. To the north-east are the more rolling hills of Glenlivet, famous for its whisky distilleries. Or, follow the Spey Valley to Grantown, an elegant town with a broad, tree-lined main street and grand 18th-century Georgian buildings.

My pick of Aviemore cottages to rent

Aviemore cottages to rent choice

A comfortably appointed property for six just one mile from the heart of Aviemore. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms, one en suite. Click here for more details.