Aviemore is a year-round tourist destination. The town hosts a range of activities and events during the summer and winter months. This guide explored the top things to do in Aviemore
This stunning Highland town is settled in the Cairngorms National Park.
Aviemore is best known for its great selection of ski locations, secluded lochs, enchanting forests and cycle trails. This attracts tourists from all over the world to this fantastic Scottish holiday location.
This resort is popular among winter sports enthusiasts due to it’s close proximity to the Cairn Gorm mountain.
The Cairngorms are home to 3 of the 4 highest mountains in the British Isles. An absolute haven for hikers!
During your stay here you can expect a warm welcome from its locals. There are several traditional pubs and restaurants to enjoy after a long day of exploring.
Where Is Aviemore?
Aviemore is a tourist resort and town situated one the western side of the Cairngorms National Park, 30 miles south of Inverness on the A9.
Things to do in Aviemore
Perfect for explorers, Aviemore is an excellent base for those that are visiting the Cairngorms National Park during a trip to Scotland.
Aviemore is a tourist hub and you will find many cosy lodges and bespoke hotels within this area.
That said there is so much to do here, everything from music festivals to sledge dog rallies!
Whether you are visiting the town during the summer or the winter – check out the great range of things to do in Aviemore below.
The Cairngorms National Park
The best things to do in Aviemore lie within the Cairngorms National Park.
Endless outdoor fun awaits you at the Cairngorms.
In the UK’s largest National Park you can experience it all: water sports, snow sports, wildlife watching, hiking trails and cycling routes.
There are many boutique hotels based within the park however many choose to sleep under the stars at the various campsites.
The Cairngorms National Park’s main tourist attraction is the Cairngorms mountain range.
A scenic landmark, the Cairn Gorm mountain is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding.
Interestingly enough the ‘Cairngorms’ used to be called ‘Am Monadh Ruadh’ (The Russet-Coloured Mountain Range). However, in Victorian times the area was named after Cairn Gorm, the most visited mountain on the Plateau.
The Cairngorms Plateau is the closest we can get to arctic, alpine, tundra and boreal conditions in Britain.
Within the Cairngorms sits three of the four highest mountains in Scotland, and indeed, the British Isles; Ben Mac Dui, Braeriach and Carn Toul.
Winter sports and hillwalking are the main activities in the Cairngorms mountains. However, trail cycling, mountain biking, and canoeing are all excellent options alongside less strenuous walks.
Highland Wildlife Park
The Highland Wildlife Park is 25 minutes drive away.
It is well worth a visit if you are looking for cool things to do in Aviemore.
The trip is well worth it as you will discover rare Scottish wildlife and endangered animals all in one spectacular setting.
Visitors to the Wildlife Park can drive around the main reserve and also walk-round the surrounding areas on foot.
Kids (and big kids too) love visiting the Wildlife Park.
The park is home to native species such as the Capercaillie and Scottish Wildcat!
There are also the park’s more famous residents such as the Amur Tiger and Polar Bear.
Glenmore Forest Park
You will find Glenmore Forest Park at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountains.
This is one of the stunning things to do in Aviemore.
The park attracts over 250,000 visitors each year
Many visit to enjoy walking, mountain biking and cross country skiing during the winter months,
This enchanting this forest its most famous for its native Caledonian pinewoods.
Loch Morlich which sits next to the woods attracts many visitors. This is due to its long sandy beach which has been awarded a Rural Beach Award by Keep Scotland Beautiful.
Loch Morlich is the first and only freshwater inland loch to have received this recognition.
Within the park is another hidden gem, the Pass of Ryvoan.
This scenic trail is loved by those with green fingers as it is surrounded by natural beauty and views of the hillside.
This secluded part of the forest is an excellent spot for relaxing and picnicking.
Aviemore Sledge Dog Rally
January is one of the most popular months for tourists visiting Aviemore. One of the best things to do in Aviemore in January is the local sledge dog rally.
Hundreds of huskies head for the Highlands every year to take part in the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain Rally.
Glenmore welcomes over 1000 Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Greenland Dogs and Canadian Eskimo Dogs to its grounds for the rally.
During the rally teams of between two and eight sledge dogs pull sledges.
These travel at up to 25 miles an hour over the track which is based near Loch Morlich and its surrounding areas.
Competitors from all over the world join in over 3000 spectators come to watch each year.
Breweries and Distilleries
Say ‘slanj” and check out what’s brewing in the Highlands of Scotland.
It is a rite of passage for those visiting this part of Scotland to enjoy a tour of a local brewery!
The Cairngorms National Park is home to the Cairngorm Brewery and six distilleries: Dalwhinnie, Glenlivet, Tomintoul, Royal Lochnagar, Balmenach and Speyside Distillery.
Royal Lochnagar, Dalwhinnie, Cairngorm Brewery and Glenlivet all have visitor centres where you can learn more about the art of brewing/distilling. Tomintoul, Balmenach (Caorunn Gin) and Speyside Distillery can also be visited on request.
With so many options available here, we advise that you drink responsibly. Also, children under the age of 12 are not permitted.
Aviemore’s Big Mix Festival
Another annual event which takes place in this buzzing town is Aviemore’s Big Mix Festival.
If you enjoy a tipple or two this is one of the things to do in Aviemore for you.
You will be spoiled for choice as event organisers bring the best mix of spirits and craft beers under the one roof.
Aviemore’s Big Mix Festival started in 2019. Locals loved it so much that they have decided to continue the three-day festival every year.
The festival is a great opportunity for those that live in Aviemore to showcase the region’s finest food and drink producers, venues, arts and crafts.
Macdonald Aviemore Resort
If you are looking for a spa break in Aviemore, look no further than the Macdonald Aviemore Resort.
Hanging out at the Cairngorms can be exhausting, especially if you are using up all of your energy on the slopes!
After all of that activity take some time for yourself – relax and enjoy a hot stone massage, or rejuvenating facial.
This is the perfect place to spend time with a loved one and a great way to end a trip to Aviemore in style.
Landmark Forrest Adventure Park
6 miles (10km) north of Aviemore is the Landmark Forest Adventure Park in Carrbridge. This is a must when looking at things to do in Aviemore.
Expect a fun-filled day in Landmark Forest Adventure Park!
Among the key attractions are family-friendly roller coasters, wild water coasters, the High Ropes Trails, and the Skydive.
The geographic variety here is also remarkable – in the park, you will see caverns, wild creatures, and gorgeous waterfalls.
Right on the edge of Aviemore and at the heart of Cairngorms National Park is the Rothiemurchus Forest.
This is yet another very special place to visit on a family trip.
Situated right next to the forest is the Rothiemurchus Centre boasting activities such as fishing, segway, quad bike trips, pony trips, paddleboarding, family rafting, a safari, and a number of other outdoor activities.
At the end of the day, you may hop into the Druie Cafe to enjoy local tea or a delicious slice of cake.
Fun House at Hilton Coylumbridge Hotel
One for the kids.
Whether you are staying at Coylumbridge Hotel or not, the Fun House is another excellent location to spend a day in with your family.
The Fun House offers activities to participate in both to children and adults.
Younger children will be able to have some fun at the soft play center and the games room. As for adults and older kids, they’ll be able to enjoy golf and bowling.
A remarkable site at the Fun House is a 1950s-themed licensed diner complete with colorful tables and vinyl seating. There’s even a pool table!
The Fun House also offers birthday party opportunities with a dedicated party room and meal plans.
Highland Folk Museum
A little south of Aviemore is Newtonmore, home to the Highland Folk Museum.
Lying on a mile-long stretch of land, the Highland Folk Museum is Britain’s first open-air museum.
The key attraction of the Highland Folk Museum is the Highland Township. The Highland Township features buildings interpreted from the 1700s.
You also have the Open Air Section with a selection of 19th- to mid-20th-century buildings.
Each area features staff members dressed as highlanders, reenacting the activities from the past centuries.
On certain days, the Highland Folk Museum hosts rope making, weaving, and other highland life demonstrations.
Some of the site’s buildings have been built here. However, most have been relocated from other areas of the highlands and rebuilt on site.
Taking in all this beautiful, quaint scenery is brilliant. However, you might be looking for something with a bit of buzz to it (assuming you’re not into Skiing or Snowboarding).
There are a couple of paintballing vendors in Aviemore. Check them out!
Boat of Garten Golf and Tennis Club
Love golf? Then you will find a number of excellent courses near Aviemore!
The 18-hole Boat of Garten Golf and Tennis Club, one of the best golf clubs and courses in Scotland.
Abernethy Golf Club
Another notable option is the Abernethy Golf Club located just next to the Nethy Bridge village.
Established in 1893, the Abernethy Golf Club is one of the oldest golf clubs in the country.
Built on natural moorland, this golf club is home to some challenging holes, gorgeous views, and a few wildlife species such as red squirrels or ospreys.
Loch Garten Osprey Centre
Again situated near Nethy Bridge north of Aviemore, Loch Garten Osprey Centre is a great afternoon out.
It is here that the ospreys returned in the 1950s after becoming extinct in the UK.
Ospreys can be seen here from March or April to August or September.
Check out the Osprey Nest Live Cam.
Aviemore Town Centre
Save the best for last eh?
One of the best things to do in Aviemore is to explore the town centre itself.
Aviemore Town Centre is pretty busy for a small highland town. The Town has a real buzz about it.
Be sure to check out the numerous cafes and restaurants scattered throughout Aviemore!
If you are in to hillwalking for some reason the outdoors shops here have the best deals in Scotland. I’ve bagged myself a bargain on a couple of really good jackets and hillwalking trousers in Aviemore.
The nightlife in Aviemore is surprisingly good. The pubs are reasonably busy in Winter when there is snow on Cairn Gorm mountain. In summer Aviemore is a popular destination for stag doos. However, it is by no means a loud, roudy Town.
You also have The Vault, a surprisingly ‘buzzing’ nightclub (coming from a Glaswegian!).