The northeast of Scotland boasts stunning castles, endless sandy beaches, picturesque lighthouses and quaint harbour towns like no other region in Scotland. Go off the beaten track with this North East Scotland Itinerary including the best routes for Aberdeenshire and Fife, useful travel tips and plenty of inspiration for your trip.


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North East Scotland lies mostly off the beaten track. While the majority of visitors head west and north to discover the Highlands and islands, the east sees significantly fewer visitors.

Until now!

This itinerary for North East Scotland covers Aberdeenshire, Fife, Dundee and parts of Perthshire. I followed this itinerary on a road trip with my mum in June 2016, but have added a few more tips and stops since returning to some of the locations.

Using this itienrary, you will…

  • visit some of Scotland’s exciting cities (Aberdeen + Dundee),
  • and relaxed seaside towns such as St Andrews, Stonehaven and Crovie,
  • hike in the Cairngorms National Park,
  • discover the Fife coast,
  • follow the Scottish Castle Trail and
  • visit an official Royal Residence in the Royal Deeside.

All in one week!

If you love going off the beaten path, you will love this road trip to North East Scotland. Let’s go!

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If you are here for inspiration for a Scotland staycation, you should also read my guide to adding oomph to your staycation!

 

North East Scotland Map

Scotland’s east coast has a lot to offer. Up and down the coast, there are fairytale castles and vast sandy beaches, colourful lighthouses and quaint harbour towns, beautiful hiking areas and lots of habitat for Scottish wildlife.

Further inland, the Cairngorm mountains frame lush valleys and serene lochs, farmers grow strawberries and big estates offer castles, adventure parks and tranquil woodlands.

Check the map below for all the scenic stops, activities and places mentioned in this post.

 

 

 

Travel Guide: North East Scotland

Getting around North East Scotland?

The best way to explore the northeast of Scotland is by car. It gives you more flexibility and allows you to reach even the most remote beaches, hikes and villages.

However, it is possible to explore Scotland’s northeast coast by public transport too – you might just have to slow down a little and choose places that are easy to reach.

The train lines that connect Aberdeen with Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen stop for example in Leuchars (near St Andrews), Dundee, Stonehaven and Elgin, which are all beautiful places to visit.

There is also an extensive bus network in Aberdeenshire and Fife, which makes it possible to explore further off the beaten track.

You could also spend a few days in Aberdeen and book guided day trips to visit castles and other sites in the area with tour companies like Rabbie’s.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Practical Guide to Hiring a Car in Scotland

 

How many days do you need in North East Scotland?

This itinerary covers one week (7 days) which is a good amount of time to get an overview of what the northeast of Scotland has to offer.

If you can, I recommend spending a few additional days to explore more in-depth. 

For example, if you have 8 days in Scotland, add a day in northern Aberdeenshire (Banff), spend a night in Aberdeen to explore the city more in-depth or add a night in Edinburgh if you’ve never been before.

While distances are not incredibly overwhelming, driving can take up a significant amount of time, as many of the minor roads are winding and narrow. You will find yourself stop a lot for sights along the way.

Why should you visit Scotland’s northeast?

Let me ask you: why not? 

The west of Scotland is without a doubt the more famous part of the country – who has not heard about Loch Ness, Glencoe, the Jacobite Steam Train or the Isle of Skye? But these regions can also be incredibly busy, especially during the summer.

The east coast offers a lot more tranquillity and a feeling of exploring off the beaten path.

The mountains in the west work their magic on the east – the east coast is blessed with a much drier climate, lush and fertile landscapes and beautiful sandy beaches.

Here are some of the highlights you can expect on the northeast coast of Scotland:

  • Less rain, drier climate.
  • The Scottish Castle Trail with 19 castles & many more castles on top of that.
  • Endless sandy beaches along the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail and the Fife Coastal Path.
  • Stunning lighthouses with a fascinating history.
  • Delicious whisky from the Speyside whisky distilleries.
  • Hiking for all levels in the Cairngorms National Park.
  • Golf and history in St Andrews. 
  • The freshest produce from local farmers.
  • Thriving cities like Aberdeen and Dundee.
  • Quaint seaside towns and fishing villages up and down the coast.
  • Lovely locals who are passionate about their beautiful regions.

I could go on and on! Many of these things are reasons to visit all of Scotland, but why not try something new and go off the beaten track?

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: The Ultimate Packing List for Scotland

The small village of Crovie in Aberdeenshire

One Week Itinerary for North East Scotland

Day 1: From Glasgow the Royal Deeside

Our journey began in Glasgow, although you could just as easily leave from Edinburgh or either of the airports. If you leave in the late morning or early afternoon, you will have plenty of time for stops on the way to the Royal Deeside.

We made our way through Perthshire and the southern Cairngorms to the lush valley of the Royal Deeside.

Stop 1: Dunkeld

The Highland village of Dunkeld is a popular stop along the A9 road. There are several bakeries and restaurants in the village – I recommend the Atholl Arms Hotel for great vegan options. 

The grounds of Dunkeld Cathedral make for a lovely walk, but the real highlight is The Hermitage just outside the village (£3 parking fee, FREE for National Trust for Scotland members. Join here!). A 15-minute walk from the car park leads you to the stunning Black Linn Falls which look particularly stunning from the balcony of Ossian’s Hall [Outlander site].

Stop 2: Detour to Pitlochry

A little further up the A9, stop in Pitlochry, a bustling Victorian town with a lively high street, two nearby whisky distilleries (Blair Atholl and Edradour) and lovely walks along the River Tummel. For tea and cakes head to Hettie’s Tearoom.

Nearby Blair Castle & Gardens is well worth the detour (£14 Castle + Gardens, £7.70 Gardens only).

Plan a trip to Perthshire to see the autumn colours!

The Hermitage in Scotland

Stop 3: Into the Cairngorms National Park

From Pitlochry make your way through the hills towards Glenshee and the Cairnwell Pass road – one of the highest mountain roads in the UK.

Stop to see the iconic Devil’s Elbow hairpin bend which is still visible next to the main road about 1 km south of the Glenshee ski centre. 

You are now deep in the Cairngorm mountains and thus the Cairngorms National Park. The road descends down at the other side of the pass and soon you will reach the beautiful valley of the Royal Deeside.

Overnight in Dinnet (2 nights)

We booked 2 nights at the Loch Kinord Hotel in Dinnet, a traditional Scottish hotel with a lovely beer garden and an on-site restaurant.

ROYAL Deeside Travel essentials

ACCOMMODATION: Loch Kinord Hotel in Dinnet, from £95 per double room, Book it here!

FOOD & DRINK: Light lunches from The Bothy in Ballater, dinner at the on-site restaurant at Loch Kinord Hotel and picnic supplies from Deeside Deli Shop and Chalmers Bakery in Ballater. 

THINGS TO DO: Balmoral Castle, Muir of Dinnet walking trails, hiking in the Cairngorms National Park, bicycle hire, other castles on the Scottish Castle Trail.

 

Day 2: Explore the Royal Deeside

We spent a whole day discovering the Royal Deeside, the lush valley along the River Dee. 

Stop 1: Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle has been an official Royal Residence since 1852 when Prince Albert bought the estate and re-modelled the castle for Queen Victoria. 

She had fallen in love with Scotland and particularly this region on her trips north, and together they built a stunning castle with many fascinating gardens (flowers, vegetables, leisure).

I highly recommend visiting first thing in the morning to beat the crowds (£12). You can’t visit the inside of the castle, but the audio-guided tour leads around the beautiful castle gardens and to a ballroom in a side-wing of the castle. 

Find out what else to consider & expect when visiting Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle is the summer residence of the Queen until today. You can visit this castle near Ballater in the Royal Deeside between May and July.

Stop 2: Lunch in Ballater

Back in the day, Queen Victoria would have arrived in the charming village of Ballater on the train from Aberdeen and taken a coach from there to her castle. Naturally, Ballater became a popular holiday town for anyone who wanted to spend their summers near the Queen.

We visited Ballater for a short walk through the village and lunch at The Bothy.

We also picked up treats from Deeside Deli and Chalmers Bakery for the afternoon.

Stop 3: Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve

The Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve near the village of Dinnet offers many family-friendly trails and picnic areas. 

Loch Kinord Trail is around 4 miles long and very easy to walk. It circuits the lake, leads through bright birch woodlands, up and down the gentle hills of the lakeshore, and across gorgeous meadows covered in flower carpets and rabbit burrows.

Another popular like at the Muir of Dinnet leads to Burn o Vat, a deep “bowl” that was carved by rain and water over thousands of years. You can enter the bowl through a short tunnel and inside you’ll find a hidden waterfall. It’s truly a hidden gem.

Other Things to do in the Royal Deeside

Scottish Castle Trail: You could visit more castles on the Scottish Castle Trail. From Ballater, it is a 35-minute drive to Craigievar Castle (£14.50) or 45 minutes to Crathes Castle (£14.50), which are both FREE for National Trust for Scotland members – join here!

Cairngorms National Park: For more strenuous hikes with more rewarding views, choose a more challenging trail in the Cairngorms National Park

Hire Bikes: Rent bicycles from one of the bike rental shops in Ballater (Bike Station or Cycle Highlands) and follow the trail along the old railway which brought Queen Victoria and the British aristocracy to Ballater in the 1850s.

Day 3: Road trip along the East Coast

Instead of taking the fastest route to our next stop on the northeast coast, we opted for the longer, yet much more scenic drive along the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail. 

The coast of North East Scotland is dotted with beautiful beaches and picturesque lighthouses, a real paradise for beach bums and photographers. We spend the entire day on the road with multiple stops.

Stop 1: Old Aberdeen

Aberdeen is a bustling city – the third biggest in Scotland. You could spend an entire day here – and I highly encourage you to do so, if you can add another day to your Scotland trip. There is a lot to do and see, but because this itinerary focuses more on scenery and small towns, we decided to only include a short stop in Old Aberdeen.

Old Aberdeen is a historic part of Aberdeen and home to the main campus of the University of Aberdeen.

While the buildings of the university are beautiful to look at, it is also important to acknowledge the ways in which the institution has benefitted from wealth related to historic slavery. You read more about this here and here.

Park your car near St Machar’s Cathedral (paid street parking), a marvellous Gothic church with twin towers and a beautiful nave. From there, take a walk down to the main building of the University and discover the small cobbled lanes around the campus. 

For a small scenic detour, drive on to the Brig o’ Balgownie which lies in a charming historic village within Aberdeen.

Brig o' Balgownie in Old Aberdeen

Stop 2: Balmedie Beach

Balmedie Beach lies just north of Aberdeen and is easily accessible by car. We made our way to the sea through the high sand dunes and spent some time walking up and down the beach, watching dogs play in the waves and digging our toes into the sand.

Stop 3: Rattray Head Lighthouse

The iconic Rattray Head Lighthouse had been on my bucket list for ages. Technically, it is a “rock house”, built on a rock off the shore. 

During high tide (which we were lucky enough to witness), the lighthouse is surrounded by the crashing waves of the Atlantic – it’s a brilliant photo op! At low tide, you can walk much closer to the lighthouse.

To reach Rattray Head you definitely need a car and some guts, as the beach’s lies at the end of a very bumpy single track road with huge potholes and few passing places. The view was worth the effort though!

The north east coast of Scotland is more off the beaten track than the Highlands and Isles in the west - yet there is so much to see! Follow the Castle Trail in Aberdeenshire, see the lighthouses along the northern coast and spend time in beautiful St Andrews with this week-long Scotland itinerary!

Stop 4: The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses is located in the small fishing town of Fraserburgh which sits at the north-easternmost point of Scotland (£8.80). 

The museum exhibits an impressive collection of lighthouse lenses, some twice as wide in diameter as I am tall, and tells the story of the Stevenson family who built over 93 lighthouses in 150 years. 

Make sure you join a tour of the old lighthouse of Kinnaird Head which is included in your museum ticket – they begin every hour between 11 am and 4 pm during the summer. 

From the top of the lighthouse, you don’t only get an amazing view, but you also learn more about the hard labour it took to keep the ships at sea safe before lighthouses were automated.

Overnight in Banff (1 night)

We arrived in Banff just in time for a wander through the historic town centre, sunset at the harbour and a well-deserved dinner after a packed day on the road.

We spent only one night in Banff, but if you can, I recommend staying two. 

That would give you more time to visit local attractions such as Duff House (£9, FREE for Historic Environment Scotland members & Explorer Pass holders) with or the Museum of Banff. You would also have an additional day to explore the north coast of Aberdeenshire, the Moray Coast and the Speyside. You could visit scenic places such as Portsoy, Cullen and Bow Fiddle Rock in Portknockie.

BANFF Travel essentials

ACCOMMODATION: Carmelite House Hotel, from £75 per small double room, Book it here!

FOOD & DRINK: The Fife Restaurant (Scottish cuisine)

THINGS TO DO: Duff House, Museum of Banff, Crovie, Cullen and Bow Fiddle Rock on the Moray Coast.

 

The colourful town centre of Banff.

Day 4: From Banff to St Andrews

Time to head south again and make our way to the final region on our itinerary – the Kingdom of Fife. But first, a few more iconic landmarks in Aberdeenshire.

Stop 1: Crovie

Crovie is a tiny village nestled against the cliffs of northern Aberdeenshire. And when I say “nestled against the cliffs”, I mean literally clinging on to the steep rocks. 

The village is built on a very narrow strip of land between the cliffs and the sea. There is a narrow road that leads down to the small pier (only to be used by locals), but there is no road in the village – just a narrow footpath in front of the houses.

That makes a trip to Crovie a true adventure not to be missed.

Stop 2: Stonehaven + Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle is an iconic ruin on the Scottish Castle Trail. It sits on a headland that is connected to the mainland by just a narrow strip of land. On the other three sides, it is surrounded by the sea. 

The cliffs of the headland are steep and waves crash relentlessly against them – the castle seems impenetrable. 

Yet, the ruin is open to the public (£7) and one of the most fascinating castles to visit in Scotland.

The best way to reach the castle is on foot from the nearby seaside town of Stonehaven. The walk along the coast to Dunnottar Castle takes about 40 minutes to one hour.

Before or after,  stop for lunch at Molly’s Cafe Bar and ice cream from Aunt Betty’s (vegan options available at both).

Stop 3: Dundee

Dundee is an underdog among Scottish cities, but ever since the opening of the V&A Dundee no one can argue any longer – it is a great idea to stop in Dundee. If only for a few hours.

Visit the V&A Dundee (FREE) and the RRS Discovery (£11.50), follow the open/close street art trail and grab some coffee and cake at one of the many cafes in town.

From Dundee, it’s a half-hour drive to St Andrews.

Overnight in St Andrews (2 nights)

We stayed in my partner’s family’s caravan at East Sands. Caravans are available to rent at the St Andrews Holiday Park, but there is a 4-night minimum. There are many hotels and B&Bs around St Andrews that also provide shorter stays.

ST ANDREWS Travel essentials

WHERE TO STAY: St Andrews Holiday Park (min. stay 4 nights from £147); Find more accommodation in St Andrews!

FOOD & DRINK: Doll’s House (French-Scottish cuisine), Zizzi (Italian), St Andrews Brewing Company (burgers), Fisher & Donaldson (patisserie – fudge doughnuts), Jannetta’s (ice cream), Keys Bar (traditional pub), The Cellar Bar (bar & live music).

THINGS TO DO: St Andrews Cathedral and Castle, St Rule’s Tower, East Sands beach, historic Old Course.

 

the V&A Dundee

Day 5: Explore St Andrews and Fife

There are many things to do in St Andrews – it definitely pays off looking at my travel guide for St Andrews for a full list of options.

I recommend spending half the day exploring St Andrews and then heading to the fishing villages on the East Neuk of Fife in the afternoon.

Things to do in St Andrews

Highlights in St Andrews include the ruins of the Cathedral (£6, FREE for Historic Environment Scotland members & Explorer Pass holders), climbing St Rule’s Tower for views of the town, St Andrews Castle (£9, FREE for Historic Environment Scotland members & Explorer Pass holders), grabbing a fudge doughnut from Fisher & Donaldson or ice cream from Jannetta’s and heading to East Sands beach for a wander. 

If you love gold, make sure to also visit the historic Old Course.

East Neuk of Fife

The fishing villages on the East Neuk are Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem, St Monans and Elie – and one is more scenic than the other. Here you will find fresh fish & chips (for example at the Anstruther Fish Bar), scenic harbours with colourful boats, ruins like Newark Castle or Lady Janet Anstruther’s Tower and endless beautiful beaches between.

You can even walk from Elie to Anstruther in 2-4 hours in order to experience the Fife Coastal Path at its best.

Other things to do in Fife

Of course, there are many more things to do in Fife and near St Andrews, such as visiting a whisky distillery (Kingsbarns or Eden Mill), visiting Outlander sites such as Falkland or hiking in the Lomond Hills Regional Park.

The view from the tower near St Andrews Cathedral in Scotland.

Day 6: St Andrews to South Queensferry

South Queensferry is a great place to end this itinerary. From there, it is an easy journey into central Edinburgh if you have time left at the end of your trip. Or just a 15-minute drive to Edinburgh airport – handy for those pesky early morning flights.

Even though it takes just one hour to drive from St Andrews to South Queensferry, I recommend spending the majority of the day “on the road” – there is plenty to do and see.

Stop 1: Isle of May Boat Trip

During the summer (mid-April to mid-August), I highly recommend you return to Anstruther in order to join a boat trip to the Isle of May. The island is home to a thriving puffin colony.

Standard trips take 4 to 4.5 hours and include 2.5 to 3 hours on the island, which is plenty of time to see puffins and take a million photos.

Stop 2: Dunfermline

Dunfermline is the ancient capital of Scotland and Scottish Kings were crowned and buried here for centuries.

The last King to be buried in Dunfermline was Robert the Bruce, whose grave can be visited at Dunfermline Abbey. Legend has it that his heart, however, was buried at Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders.

Take some time for a walk at Pittencrieff Park, stop for afternoon tea at the Carnegie Library and Galleries and explore the ruins of the old Abbey (£6, FREE for Historic Environment Scotland members & Explorer Pass holders).

Dunfermline Abbey and the surrounding cemetery.

Stop 3: South Queensferry

Eventually, you will cross the new Firth Road Bridge and reach South Queensferry. 

The new road bridge only opened in 2017 (hence it’s still in construction on our photos), but the most iconic one might just be the bright red railway bridge, which is a masterpiece of Scottish engineering. 

We spent the late afternoon strolling through the quaint village of South Queensferry and dipped in and out of bars and restaurants along the High Street which all offered magnificent views of the bridges.

Overnight in South Queensferry (1 night)

We booked a night at the Dakota which lies just outside the village centre, but still in easy walking distance to the high street. 

From here it was just a 15-minute drive to Edinburgh Airport, which made it the perfect final hotel before my mum’s flight home.

SOUTH QUEENSFERRY Travel essentials

WHERE TO STAY: Dakota Hotel, from £80 per double room, Book it here!

FOOD & DRINK: Antico Bar at Orocco Pier Hotel has a lovely view of the bridges and lovely food (incl. a vegan menu).

 

North East Scotland is slightly more off the beaten track than the Highlands and Isles, but with this one week itinerary you get the best out of it!

Day 7: Departure Day

Time to pack your bags and head back to the airport – or maybe you have some more time to explore Scotland a bit longer? 

How to extend this trip:

Day 8: Extend your stay in Banff to 2 nights in order to explore more of northern Aberdeenshire, the Moray Coast or the Speyside.

Day 9: Spend a night in Aberdeen to see more of the city.

Day 10: Visit Edinburgh or other nearby hidden gems such as Linlithgow Palace, the Kelpies or Blackness Castle (Outlander site).

Buchness red and white lighthouse by the coast of Scotland in Aberdeenshire.

A trip to Scotland does not necessarily have to visit the Highlands and Islands. Exploring North East Scotland can be just as rewarding and beautiful as a road trip on the west coast. 

Aberdeenshire and Fife have so much to offer and you will experience a completely different side to Scotland. With this itinerary and plenty of ideas for things to do and see, all that is left to do is to book your flight and go!

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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.

Disclaimer: VisitScotland provided my mum and me with a rental car free of charge and two ASVA cards which grant free entrance to many of Scotland’s visitor attractions, including Balmoral Castle, St Andrews Cathedral & Castle and the Lighthouse museum in Fraserburgh.

52 thoughts on “One week in North East Scotland: Itinerary for Aberdeenshire and Fife

  1. Louise says:

    I am so thrilled to have found your blog.
    My daughter and I are visiting Scotland (we are from New Zealand so about as far away as you can get!) in July for 8 days and we had already decided to concentrate on the East Coast. Having read all your posts and seen the photos I am so glad this is going to be the area we explore. I can feel it beckoning us.
    We will be arriving in Edinburgh and departing from Glasgow and so hope to do a bit of a loop but not quite sure what route we should take?
    We have a car. I have accommodation booked in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow but have 1 night yet unbooked.
    Any suggestions? Thanks so much

    • Kathi says:

      Hi Louise, I really enjoyed the route I describe in this post. We started and finished in Glasgow, but you can do the same if you start in Edinburgh. Take a look at this post also: https://watchmesee.com/blog/aberdeenshire-itinerary-three-days/ You could add a stay on the way from Edinburgh to Aberdeen – somewhere in Fife or near Dundee; or on the way from Aberdeen towards Glasgow, maybe around Aviemore, Pitlochry or even Stirling. I hope you have a fantastic trip to the north east of Scotland 🙂

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  3. Susan Rivers says:

    I’m so glad I stumbled on your blog… I’m planning my fantasy road trip to Scotland and am trying to combine some ancestor research while there, which means north and east coasts. Will have to include the castle trail for me, and the distillery stops for Dear Husband. Thank you!

    Susan

    • Kathi says:

      It’s a great area – and the weather is usually better! I just returned from a week in the Speyside area – definitely try to visit Cullen and Aberlour! Delnashaugh Hotel by Ballindalloch was my favourite! Have fantastic trip!!

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  5. Cassandra says:

    Oh my gosh, east Scotland looks beautiful! Also, this itinerary is SO detailed, I couldn’t believe it. Thanks for creating your own interactive map – I’ll definitely be returning to this post when I make it up to Scotland!

    • Kathi says:

      It’s so beautiful up there! I can’t wait to return to the north coast this June, and hoping to do another road trip around the North East 250 soon too!! It’s definitely worth checking out – even for Scots!

  6. Anisa says:

    I would love to see more of Scotland so this sounds like a great way to spend a week. It’s nice to know that the east is less rainy and less touristy, but there is still a lot to see

    • Kathi says:

      It definitely shows you a different side of Scotland, and leads you to areas not many people will know. You get it all to yourself!!

  7. Anne says:

    The East and North coasts of Scotland get neglected by tourists. It’s a shame because there are so many nice places to see, but also rather good because it means I get them to myself!

    • Kathi says:

      True – that’s the sunny flipside of everyone blindly migrating to Skye and Loch Ness (also pretty places, just way too busy during the summer)!

  8. Sarah says:

    I love this post – I’d have never thought to do a road trip through the North East. I’m getting married just outside Edinburgh in September and have been looking for a good road trip itinerary not too far away as we only have around a week to enjoy our honeymoon. Will definitely keep this in mind!

    • Kathi says:

      I think your honeymoon would be the perfect occasion to drive this route! With all the castles, sandy beaches and quaint little towns, it’s super romantic 🙂 Have a fab wedding and honeymoon!!

  9. Gabriela says:

    Your photos are stunning! I still haven’t been to Scotland so I’ll save this for later. I was planning to go there when I went to Northern Ireland but then decided to leave it. Next time!

    • Kathi says:

      Sometimes it’s better to just focus on one destination – even if it looks so close 😉 You’ll have to come back though – it’s too beautiful to miss!!

  10. Ellie says:

    God, Scotland is so beautiful. I’ve never thought about doing this route before – hadn’t heard of the castle trail either, so I’ll have to look into it more. Such a shame that people who live in the UK (i.e. me) don’t explore more in our own backyard. Thanks for this great post!

    • Kathi says:

      That side of the country is brilliant – not many tourists, but so much to do!! Definitely check it out – it’s like its own little world!

  11. Annika says:

    This looks awesome, Kathi! I am not quite ready to return to Scotland yet but I can start to see another trip on the horizon. If only so we can finally meet 🙂

  12. Sarah says:

    I did a more typically touristic month in Scotland a couple years ago. It was magnificent. And now you’ve made me want to go back even more and see the other side of the country! What a gorgeous looking trip. Thanks for all the inspiring photos and helpful tips!

    • Kathi says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! The west of Scotland is gorgeous – but yeah, to be more off the beaten track, the east is inevitable! It’s so different, but so beautiful!

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  15. Rachel Heller says:

    Thank you for this! My son is starting university at Aberdeen in September, so I’ll have four years of opportunities to explore Scotland. I’m so looking forward to it!

    • Kathi says:

      All the best for your son – studying Aberdeen university is great, and so beautiful 🙂 Hope you get to visit often and see as much as you can!

    • Kathi says:

      Oh, absolutely! It’s right by the coast, almost like a little island – I could imagine aerial views are amazing! Make sure you’re allowed to use drones in the area, but I think it’s fine!

  16. Ameeta Pathak says:

    Absolutely loved the places you have highlighted. I have been to Scotland twice, once to the Inverness region and once to Isle of Skye after spending a few days in Edinburgh. Now looking at your pictures, I can’t wait to go back again but this time to the North East.

    Ameeta xx

    • Kathi says:

      Love to hear that you’d like to come back! There’s just never enough time to see everything. Let me know of you need any more tips!

  17. Nina Danielle says:

    This is awesome! It never occurred to me that there were beautiful beaches in Scotland, and Duntottar Castle looks absolutely amazing. I would definitely go to these places. Nice to see another side of Scotland.

    • Kathi says:

      There are so many beaches here – not like, sunbathing beaches, but warm enough for a barefoot walk! The islands on the west coast also have beaches, that look almost Caribbean in the sunshine, but the weather is definitely more predictable on the east coast!

  18. Carrie says:

    Great post for learning more about off-the-beaten-path Scotland. It sounds like you had a few long driving days on this itinerary — what was your typical amount of time in the car each day?

    • Kathi says:

      Hm, that’s a good question. I’d say it wasn’t so bad; driving from the Royal Deeside to Banff definitely felt the longest, but we stopped in three locations on the way and spend at least an hour in each. The drive to Rattray Head off the main road took about 45 minutes each way because it was a rather adventurous dirt road for most of the way… I was knackered in the evening, hence no sunset pictures at Bowfiddle Rock… I think no day was more than 3.5-4 hours pure driving time! You could probably drive faster routes, but we drove along a lot of little country roads to see more of the landscape!

  19. Ania says:

    Great post! I really love how you focused on the Northeastern coast of Scotland! Like you said yourself, people usually hear a lot about the Highlands and Isles, so thank you for showing me more of Scotland! Your photos are wonderful!

    • Kathi says:

      I’m glad I could show you a corner of Scotland you don’t know so much about – that’s exactly what I hope to do more 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

  20. Pam says:

    Think you need some proof reading on your article!! It’s a MINE under the Castle in St.Andrews, not a MIN!
    And to say there is not much to do in Anstruther….did you miss the extremely interesting Scottish Fisheries Museum at the harbour?? It’s not even the best Fish and Chips. Cromars in St.Andrews takes some beating but the Anstruther Fish Bar is still very popular, granted!
    Queensferry… It’s the Forth BRIDGES, not BRIDES!!
    I’m sure you will be back in Fife at some point. Kellie Castle outside Pittenweem and Falkland Palace in Falkland are both stunner
    Haste Ye back!

    • Kathi says:

      Thank you for pointing out the two typos – I don’t always catch them all, seeing that I run this blog in my spare time while working two jobs and English isn’t my first language. Thanks also for the tips regarding Kellie Castle and Falkland Palace – I hope to return to Fife at some point!

      However, I think you need to consider how your comment comes across. Just because you don’t think they’re the best fish & chips (which I never said, if you read my words carefully), doesn’t make the one in Anstruther any worse in my partner’s experience (who recommended this particular place). I haven’t personally tasted either chippy in the area as I was vegetarian at the time of the trip. I am vegan now. You can maybe understand that a fisheries museum wouldn’t be something I would necessarily put on my itinerary considering my dietary choices – I found walking by the crab traps bad enough…

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