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Guide to Aberdeen Outdoors

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Aberdeen is a thriving city on the northeast coast of Scotland. Situated between the beautiful Scottish Highlands and the North Sea, there are ample opportunities for visitors to make the most of the great outdoors. Aberdeen is extremely accessible and also serves as an excellent launch pad from which to explore the beautiful Scottish Highlands. This guide focuses on the rugged open spaces both within and around Aberdeen. Experience the Granite City's greener side.

Good for
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer

11 Places

10 City Tips

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Map

11 Places

Brig 'o' Balgownie

Nature & Wildlife Areas, Bridges, Caverns & Caves

Balmedie Beach

Nature & Wildlife Areas, Beaches

Bennachie Hill Walks

Walking Tours

Kirkhill Forest and Tyrebagger Wood

Forests, Historic Walking Areas

Craigievar Castle

Castles

Cruden Bay (Port Erroll)

Destinations

Bullers of Buchan

Geologic Formations

Dunnottar Castle

Castles

Cairngorms National Park

National Parks

Linn O' Dee

Geologic Formations

Duthie Park Winter Gardens

Gardens, Parks

Mercyfcb's City Tips

  • People in Aberdeen generally tip 10%.
  • Aberdeen is often called the Granite City, however it surrounded by beautiful beaches, forests and mountains.
  • The centre of Aberdeen is not very big, so the easiest way to get around is to walk.
  • Aberdeen is extremely accessible by both bus and train. First Bus is the main operator in the city centre. Check their website for more information.
  • Aberdeen can get extremely cold so be sure to pack appropriately. The city is also very windy, so during rainy weather a rain coat may be more use than an umbrella.
  • Sample Scottish staples such as haggis and whisky in one of the many pubs in Aberdeen, or visit a local distillery.
  • It is possible to do day trips from Aberdeen to Loch Ness and other areas in the Scottish Highlands.
  • Taxis are relatively expensive in Aberdeen. If you are planning on doing a few trips further afield, I would recommend hiring a car.
  • Stagecoach is the main bus operator in the area surrounding the city.
  • The Tourist Information Centre can be found on Union Street.
  • Save
    Brig 'o' Balgownie
    Nature & Wildlife Areas, Bridges, Caverns & Caves
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    The Brig 'O' Balgownie is a 13th-century bridge that crosses the River Don. While the bridge has a rich history, nowadays it is also a fantastic place to escape the pace of city life and enjoy some fresh air. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the River Don to admire this beautiful Gothic bridge.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The bridge is best accessed on foot.
    • This bridge is a perfect spot for a romantic moment.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 160 things to do in Aberdeen
    • Olde Worlde 25/04/2018
    • Historical part of Aberdeen but never busy with people 04/03/2018
    • Brig 'o' Balgownie
    Address:
    Bridge of Don
    Old Aberdeen
    Aberdeen
    Scotland
  • Save
    Balmedie Beach
    Nature & Wildlife Areas, Beaches
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Balmedie Beach is an award winning beach that is located just 5 miles from Aberdeen. Escape the noise of the city and simply relax on this stunning beach. This long stretch of sand is the perfect place for a picnic or to simply enjoy a blustery walk along the seashore.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The beach goes on for miles, making it a great place to go running.
    • The large waves on Balmedie Beach make it popular with surfers; if you surf be sure to pack a board.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 160 things to do in Aberdeen
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful Beach 18/06/2018
    • Always a treat 07/06/2018
    • Balmedie Beach
    Address:
    Balmedie
    Aberdeen
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1358 742396
    Other:
  • Save
    Bennachie Hill Walks
    Walking Tours
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Bennachie is a range of hills in Aberdeenshire, and it's proximity to Aberdeen makes it a popular destination for walkers. The peaks are not as daunting as other Scottish mountains and thus the walking routes are fairly accessible. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a day spent exploring the area and admiring the views from the summit.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Forestry Commission maintains pathways in the surrounding area and various car parks. Bennachie is therefore extremely accessible.
    • Although the climb is not especially arduous, it requires a moderate level of physical fitness and will not be suitable for all.
    • Check the weather forecast prior to setting out and be sure dress accordingly.
    • There are a variety paths and each varies in difficulty.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 19 Tours in Aberdeen
    • Bennachie climb 20/06/2018
    • Walk up Bennachie 18/06/2018
    • Bennachie Hill Walks
    Address:
    Hillcroft Pitcaple
    Inverurie
    Aberdeen AB51 5HY
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1467 681470
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Kirkhill Forest and Tyrebagger Wood
    Forests, Historic Walking Areas
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Enjoy a variety of activities in the Kirkhill Forest such as running, walking and biking. Kirkhall is a beautiful forest where visitors can enjoy views over Aberdeen, and spot the sculptures scattered through the forest.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The mountain biking may appeal to those craving a more adrenaline filled experience.
    • It is possible to access Kirkhill Forest by bus.
    • Head to the Tourist Information Centre for more details.
    • The walking routes vary in difficulty.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #49 of 160 things to do in Aberdeen
    • Great Forest Walks! 22/05/2018
    • No dog poo bags 15/05/2018
    • Kirkhill Forest and Tyrebagger Wood
    Address:
    Dyce
    Aberdeen AB21 0TU
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1224 790432
    Other:
  • Save
    Craigievar Castle
    Castles
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Craigievar Castle greatly resembles a picture-perfect fairytale castle and it has been beautifully preserved. The spectacular grounds wrap around the castle, making this the perfect destination for those who want to enjoy the scenic Aberdeenshire countryside, as well as a little history. The estate includes both woodlands and parklands and provides spectacular views of Bennachie.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It is possible to get guided tours of the castle interior; large groups are recommended to book in advance.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 9 things to do in Alford
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Love love love! 18/06/2018
    • Personal guide was incredible 14/06/2018
    • Craigievar Castle
    Address:
    Craigievar Castle
    Alford AB33 8JF
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1339 883635
    Price range:
    US$ 13 - US$ 13
    Hours:
    Fri - Tue
    10:30 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Cruden Bay (Port Erroll)
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Drive north of Aberdeen and you will arrive at Cruden Bay; a small village on the coast. Visit Cruden Bay for spectacular coastal walks and to enjoy the beach - one of the most beautiful in Aberdeenshire. One of the fantastic things about Scotland is that visitors get to enjoy stunning beaches without the hordes of tourists that one usually encounters on beaches elsewhere.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Beach Goer
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Visit Slains Castle which is located on the rocky coastline just north of Cruden Bay.
    • Walk along the cliffs to admire the Bullers of Buchan.
    • Golf enthusiasts may enjoy a game in a beautiful setting at the Cruden Bay Golf Club.
    • It is possible to get the bus here from the centre of Aberdeen.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    • Cruden Bay (Port Erroll)
  • Save
    Bullers of Buchan
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Take a walk along the cliff tops and enjoy some bird and seal watching. The views are spectacular, and the geological features are extremely impressive. Bullers of Buchan is a large blowhole, formed by the sheer force of the sea, and is surrounded by several arches. The cliff top walk snakes past the imposing ruins of Slains Castle.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The cliff edge is unprotected, so be cautious if you are travelling with children as the cliffs are extremely steep.
    • Wrap up warm as this area is extremely exposed and during the cooler months it can be bitingly cold.
    • Get the bus here from the centre of Aberdeen.
    • Look out for the nesting puffins!
    • The walk is sadly not pushchair or wheelchair friendly.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 160 things to do in Aberdeen
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • beautiful place and great view of the sea - slightly have to be cautious if with kids 18/06/2018
    • Spectacular 12/06/2018
    • Bullers of Buchan
    Other:
  • Save
    Dunnottar Castle
    Castles
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Dunnottar Castle is a medieval ruin on the northeast coast of Scotland. The site is of great historical significance owing to its strategic location and its impregnability. The castle is surrounded by the sea on three sides, with a narrow land bridge connecting it to the headland. Despite it's distance from Aberdeen, I would recommend that any visitors wishing to experience the spectacular scenery of the Scottish coast pay Dunnottar Castle a visit.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Check the informative website for opening times, prices, and other relevant information.
    • Various events are held at the castle such as gigs, dances, and recitals. Check the website for more information.
    • The walk from Stonehaven is relatively long so be sure to wear practical footwear.
    • Check the weather forecast before planning your trip and ideally visit on a nice day as the views are wonderful when the visibility is high.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 25 things to do in Stonehaven
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Hike, But So Worth It! 23/06/2018
    • Picturesque Ruin 22/06/2018
    • Dunnottar Castle
    Phone:
    +44 1569 766320
    Other:
  • Save
    Cairngorms National Park
    National Parks
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    The Cairngorms are the highest mountain range in the UK. The area is home to a vast array of forests, rivers, and mountain peaks. I would advise any outdoor enthusiasts visiting Aberdeen to visit the neighbouring Cairngorms National Park in order to make the most of the beautiful Scottish countryside.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Visit the informative website for more information.
    • During the winter months there are often opportunities to ski, however it must be noted that this is very much weather dependent.
    • I would recommend hiring a car for visits to the Cairngorms.
    • The weather can vary greatly so be sure to pack appropriately.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 79 things to do in Badenoch and Strathspey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing place 20/06/2018
    • Magnificent 18/06/2018
    • Cairngorms National Park
    Phone:
    +44 1479 873535
    Other:
  • Save
    Linn O' Dee
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Linn O' Dee is a beautiful example of the spectacular highland landscape that surrounds Aberdeen. Enjoy the peace and tranquility as you admire this fantastic geological feature. The River Dee has carved a 300m long gorge through solid rock, dropping into pools below. Pack a picnic and relax by the water's edge.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is an information point located in the car park.
    • Visit the website to find out more information about the various trails.
    • Be sure to pack warm clothing as it can get extremely cold.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 14 things to do in Braemar
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Hidden Gem 19/06/2018
    • Fantastic Scenery and close to Braemar 06/06/2018
    • Linn O' Dee
    Address:
    7 Miles Beyond Braemar
    Past Inverey on the Linn O' Dee Road
    Braemar AB35 5YB
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1339 720164
    Other:
  • Save
    Duthie Park Winter Gardens
    Gardens, Parks
    See more photos
    Mercyfcb Says:

    Duthie Park is the perfect destination for visitors who appreciate nature. The Park is situated on over 40 acres of land with an array of facilities, and visitors can explore features such as fountains, ponds, and statues. Plus, when the biting cold weather of Aberdeen becomes too much, it is still possible to admire beautiful flowers inside the warm Winter Gardens, which houses a vast number of tropical plants and cacti within its green houses.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is a car park, but due to the park's popularity it often fills up extremely quickly.
    • Pack a picnic (weather dependent) and spend some time relaxing in this beautiful park.
    • There is a restaurant onsite where visitors can refuel.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 160 things to do in Aberdeen
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best Park in Aberdeen 18/06/2018
    • All in all a lovely visit 18/06/2018
    • Duthie Park Winter Gardens
    Address:
    Duthie Park Polmuir Road
    Aberdeen AB11 7TH
    Scotland
    Phone:
    +44 1224 583155
    Other:
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