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Cheap Things to do in Aviemore (& Walking Trail Guides)

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Aviemore is full of things to do and you can get lost trying to find what is best for you. We have made it easy to find the cheap things to do in Aviemore so that you can just get on to enjoying yourself.

Finding things to do in Aviemore can be very easy but the trick is to find things that you won’t pay an arm and a leg for.

Saying that, Aviemore is famous for it’s snowboarding and skiing in the winter which is not cheap to do. This guide is aimed more for the things to do in Aviemore during the summer.

If you’ve never been to Aviemore then this could be a great tool to help you start your adventure here. We love visiting and always finding new things to get up to. It is fair to say that you wont be stuck on ideas if you’re staying for a long time.

Getting to Aviemore

There’s is not an airport in Aviemore so if you’re planning on visiting from outside of Scotland you may be wondering the best way to get there. If you’re flying in, we feel that coming into either Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness will be your best bet to getting there.

Edinburgh To Aviemore

Amy & Liam in the car on the way to the camping site in Aviemore

If you have landed in Edinburgh then you have two main options in our opinion which is to either drive or take the train.

It could be more beneficial for you to rent a car prior to arriving into Aviemore. This way when you get to Aviemore you will have more freedom to get around and enjoy areas outside of Aviemore.

On the way from Edinburgh to Aviemore, you will pass a city called Perth. This is a great place to stop off and enjoy some of the sights whilst stretching your legs.

Perth itself has many things to offer so if you get there at a good time you could go exploring the area. If you have time, you can even enjoy a walk down the River Tay taking in the views.

After Perth you’ll hit the famous A9 Road that takes you into the highlands where you get to enjoy the sights of the rolling hills.

One of the best parts about Scotland is that a lot of the land is protected so no one is allowed to build on it. This means that you will always get to see the beautiful hills for the foreseeable future. If you don’t stop in Perth the trip should only take 2 hours 30 mins.

Glasgow to Aviemore

If you decide to fly into Glasgow, we feel that either a train or renting a car is the best way to get to Aviemore. The car is the better option because of the reason we gave before for Edinburgh  (you’ll have more freedom).

When you leave Glasgow, the first place you will reach is Stirling, a city in Scotland full of history. It was once known as the gateway to the highlands.

If you have the time to stop off here we would recommend visiting Stirling Castle. It has really interesting history and is absolutely beautiful to see.

After that you will be back on the road and heading to Perth which is another city that is worth a stop. As long as you’re not on a time crunch it is a great place to visit. If not, you can always stop by Perth on the way back instead.

Once you have passed Perth, you’ll be hitting the A9 And enjoying the beauty of the highlands. This is one of the best parts about Scotland because you it is rare that you find gorgeous natural views like this.

As we mentioned in the Edinburgh to Aviemore section, a lot of the land is protected. No one is allowed to build on this area so that means that the beautiful hills will always be there. The drive from Glasgow to Aviemore will take 2 hours 40 mins to 3 hours.

Inverness to Aviemore

Inverness is the best place to fly into and travel to Aviemore because it’s a shorter distance. When driving out of Inverness you’ll hit the A9 straight away and start to drive down the the highlands taking in all she has to offer.

You will get to see the beautiful outdoors the way it’s meant to be. It will certainly get you ready for Aviemore and all the adventures you’ll have there.

The drive itself only takes around 40 minutes to 1 hour so you won’t have to be in the car for long. It will be just long enough to take in the sights of the highlands.

Staying in Aviemore

Camping in Aviemore

Camping in Aviemore was our preferred way to stay as it was cheaper and a lot of fun where we were.

Aviemore tends to be more of a camping area anyway so there’s loads of people doing the same thing especially in the Summer.

As it is well known area for hiking, this is usually the preferred option for people to stay.

Amy, Liam and 3 of their friends toasting to an ultimate camping weekend in Aviemore.

There are at least 16 campsites around Aviemore that you can choose from. They are all family friendly and a fun place to be.

We stayed at Dalraddy Campsite and it was absolutely brilliant. They have their own zip-wire and bike rental service as well as a shop and food vans on site.

Depending on your take on a campsite, you can normally choose from staying in a caravan or take a tent to camp in. They all are good choices and make for a fun getaway.

Before choosing to camp, make sure that you check the weather in Aviemore for when you’re due to visit. It can get a little cold in Scotland so we would only recommend camping during the Summer.

Cost: £50-£60 Per Day

Where to Stay in Aviemore

You can stay in either a hotel or a hostel when visiting Aviemore. If you don’t want to go camping then there are plenty of good options. We’ve included some recommendations below for both a hostel and hotel to save you some searching!

  • Aviemore Youth Hostel – This is the only proper hostel in Aviemore but it has some really good reviews and a great social atmosphere. It’s around 1.5km from the town centre so the location is perfect for the outdoors. You’re able to have both private rooms or a 6-bed dormitory. The vibe here screams out RELAX and comes with a great reputation.

  • Macdonald Highlands Hotel at Macdonald Aviemore Resort – If you’re looking for luxury then this is the place for you. We would recommend staying at this hotel if you are skiing / snowboarding or out walking for long periods. As this hotel is very luxurious and relaxing, this is what you will need when your muscles are sore! From all you can eat buffets to a big leisure pool, it has it all! After a long day out skiing or out hill walking what could be better than chilling out in a hotel like this getting all warm, eating good food and enjoying the view?

Cheap Things to do in Aviemore

There are so many things to do in Aviemore, some are free and some may cost a bit but they are all are enjoyable. From hillwalking to kayaking, even just enjoying good food and a drink, it has it all.

Free things to do in Aviemore are pretty common but for the most part they are walking and enjoying the outdoors. The nature here is phenomenal so we have listed all the cheap and free things to do while visiting Aviemore.

1. Go Karting

Go Karting is one of the top things to do in Aviemore in our opinion. Aviemore has an outdoor go kart circuit with all manner of twists and bends to keep you on your toes.

They have options on what kind of kart you may want for the circuit. They have some for kids and then a 200cc and a 270cc kart that you may choose from.

For those that don’t know “cc”, it is the size of the engine so the bigger the number next to it, the more power.

You can also have the option for a tandem kart. However, this is only for 1 adult and 1 child so you can’t have your partner in the kart with you if that’s what you thought. We made this mistake the hard way!

Go Karting is one of the cheap things to do in Aviemore on our list and this photo shows 2 of our friends go Karting in this stunning location with mountains in the background.

When arriving, you’ll be told to sit down and watch an instructional video on the rules of the road when it comes to racing. This will include what each flag means and what you must do if they are shown. They will talk you through how to stay safe and then get you in to size you up for a suit and helmet.

Once all that is done, no doubt you will want to get some photos of you dressed up in your gear with your friends.

You’ll then be taken into the “garage” area to wait and get seated in your kart. This is when the fun really begins and you’ll prepare to race against your friends (now the competitors) during the laps.

Once the race is finished you’ll then get instructed to get in your kart and when ready you’ll be allowed to head out and start the race! This is so much fun to do especially if you are with someone as you get to race against each other and see who is best!

Price: £12-£18 PP

Time: 15-20 mins

2. Kayaking

Liam enjoying the views of Lake Morlich on the row boat we rented.

If you’re looking for a fun way to go exploring then kayaking is a wonderful way to do it.

This is one thing that everyone should try whilst they’re in Aviemore. The best thing is that you can rent a kayak for the day and go around exploring different islands.

If you’re feeling up to it and the weather is on your side then you may want to go swimming as well!

You can pack yourself some lunch or even a picnic for you and your partner if you’re feeling romantic and go for the day kayaking.

This is one of the best ways to enjoy nature at its finest and you’ll be surprised how much tranquillity you will find from this activity in Aviemore.

Depending on where you rent the kayak from will depend on what you can get up to. There are so many small rivers that you can kayak on or you can spend your time seeing some of the lochs around Aviemore.

The price will vary for the kayak depending on where you rent it from and how long you wish to have the equipment for. Most places will rent the kayak and paddles then you’ll also be able to rent any other equipment such as a wetsuit, lifejacket and helmets.

The cost of rental will add up but as you can have companies that will rent it to you for the day, it works out to be one of the cheap things to do in Aviemore.

Price for kayak, helmet & paddles: £40

Time: All Day

3. Zip Park

If you’re looking for things to do in Aviemore then why not try something a bit more adventurous? A zipline is one of the best ways to get an adrenaline rush with some beautiful scenery to match.

Some of the zipwires are just on the outskirts of Aviemore so you will need to arrange transport there if you’ve not rented a car.

Imagine flying in the air over the trees and seeing the beautiful highlands in a way you couldn’t imagine.

Once again depending on who you go with will depend on the experience you have. There are a few different ways to go zip wiring believe it or not! You can zipwire the generic way by being up in a high area and zip wiring to the opposite end.

Alternatively, there are also awesome zip courses and treks that you can also do. You will get the chance to move around to different points through zip wiring.

This takes a bit more effort as you are controlling yourself throughout the course. The best part about these treks is that you get to see so much more of the area you’re in. You will be going over water features and the woodland areas, it really is a magical experience.

      The only problem that some people may have is that you will need to find a way to get to these places that offer the zip wire. Not all of them are within Aviemore and are actually a short drive away so you will need to plan in advance to do this.

Price: £40

Time : 1 – 2 Hours

4. Quad-Biking

Going Quad-biking is fun no matter where you go but doing this in Aviemore is a bit more unique.

You get to ride around off-road in the highlands going over streams and racing over mud trails. This is all whilst taking in the beauty of the Scottish highlands.

Most places will offer group rides so even if you go alone you will find yourself with other people that are also looking for the same experience. This is a great way to meet new people whilst travelling.

Alternatively, you can book the experience with a group that you’re with and enjoy your time with the family and/or friends.

Most of the time they will ask you to arrive a bit early so they can run down the safety and how to use the bikes if you haven’t done so before.

You can have your pick of places to choose when it comes to quad-biking. If it just so happens that you are camping, some campsites have their own quad-biking experience for people to do so you won’t have to travel far at all to take part in it.

If you’re not as lucky to have quad-biking on your doorstep then don’t worry! The places where you can go quad-biking are not far for you to travel within Aviemore.

We will say that you are better off having a way to get around like your own car or maybe a rental as it makes life a bit easier for you.

Buses and taxi can get you around but after a while, the cost will build up. It may be best for you to plan what you want to do then figure out if you will benefit from taking a car with you to help get around.

Price: £40-£50

5. Wildlife Safari Park

The Highland Wildlife Park is a perfect place to spend the morning or afternoon. There are loads of different animals from wolves to polar bears.

The wildlife park doesn’t have just animals but also a play area for kids and plenty of places to grab some food and enjoy the park. You’ll be able to drive through the safari park and see the animals as you go. This is easily one of the best places for any families on a road trip around Scotland.

One of the wild horses we saw on the drive through wildlife park.

It is a really enjoyable day out for everyone no matter whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple or with friends/ family.

The park has an area where you get to drive around and see some of the animals roam about. You will see animals such as bison, elk, wild horses and yaks.

After your drive you will have the chance to walk around and see the rest of the animals. One of the best things is that the Wildlife Park is only a 15-20 min drive from Aviemore so it is easy enough to get to when staying in there.

Cost: £20.95 for adults / £15.75 for kids between 3-15 years

Free Things to do in Aviemore

The amazing thing is that there are plenty of things to do in Aviemore for families and on your own.

If you’re looking for free things to do in Aviemore then we hope you like beautiful walks along some of the best scenery in the world! Around 1.92 million people visit the cairngorms every year. Most of them will have visited or at least gone through Aviemore to visit the lochs nearby for walks.

Not only that but there are castle ruins, hills and munros nearby that people go up all year round.

We have come up with a list of some of the nature walks you can do while you visit Aviemore. Theses are only some of the MANY walks you can do. The best part about this is that they are all completely free to take part too. Thankfully nature hasn’t been monetised too much yet!

These are awesome things to do in Aviemore for couples because it is so beautiful. You can have a romantic stroll together and potentially even take a picnic to enjoy along the route.

1. Loch an Eilean Loop

The loch is quite a short loop in all fairness as it is only around 3.37 miles. The loop will take you around the full loch so you will have plenty of views along your walk.

Along the loch you will be able to see a small island with old ruins on it that makes for a really nice photo. On a nice sunny day the water looks so lovely and clear you feel like you could drink it.

The good thing about this walk is the its pretty flat so it is perfect for first time hiking enthusiasts. If you’re looking for an easy walk then this would be right trail for you.

Whilst going around you’ll see wildlife like different birds, possibly a deer running around and also red squirrels climbing the trees. We had an awesome time here and you will too.

Time : 1 hour 30 mins 

Loch Morlich, Reindeer and Glenmore Forest loop

If you’re looking for a nice long walk with a chance to see some reindeer and other cool animals then this is the walk for you.

This trail starts off walking around the loch before heading up through the hillside with some of the best views you’ll see. The highlands are full of great views plus you get the chance to see the reindeer.

The walk itself is around 8.50 miles and is bit more hilly so if you’re looking for a nice flat walk this may not be what you’re looking for as you will need to climb.

Time: 4 hours

Ben Macdui

Walking the Bens is a great walk and Ben Macdui is awesome. It is a long walk but once you get to the top, you get to have a cool photo at the viewpoint to make it worthwhile.

You will be looking over the highland hills feeling like you are in the movie Braveheart. If you’re looking for things to do in Aviemore with a dog then this is highly recommended especially if you have a hyperactive dog!

The walk is 10 miles altogether and even though it is a longer walk, it is worth it! Its fair to say if you’re looking for a challenge then this is a good place to start.

It isn’t the highest Ben but it is up there for one of the longer ones in miles. Have a try of this if you dare!

Time: 6 hours

View of Loch Eilean with some sandy beach and wide views of the loch.

There are many more trails and hills to walk but this is just a small list to get you started on your adventure in Aviemore. If you’re travelling as a couple then this is one of the most romantic things that you can do together. In our opinion, Aviemore is a great place to visit for Valentine’s Day due to this. We’ve even met a couple that got engaged in the exact spot the photo above was taken.

Eating Out in Aviemore

Aviemore has many places to go out and eat or even just to have a takeaway night.

There are loads of things to do in Aviemore and one of them is to eat some wonderful Scottish food. You can find yourself a restaurant that will serve some traditional Scottish food like Haggis, black pudding or treat yourself to some Scottish tablet.

All you need to do is walk down the Aviemore High Street and find somewhere that jumps out at you and go in. Depending on when you visit, you may have to book a table in advance.

If you don’t book a table then do not despair as you will find somewhere even if it is just a bar. You will find that some of the best food in Scotland is actually pub grub.

A little add on is if you have decided to go camping you are able to cook yourself a BBQ. Now we know that it isn’t the same as eating out but it makes for a good atmosphere. Even more so in a group setting! Just picture sitting under the stars with a fire, maybe some beers, and good food.

In our opinion, sometimes simple things like this can make for a better night out than hitting the town. This is especially on a clear night with some music in the background looking out into the highland beauty.

Plan Your Trip to Aviemore

Did you know that when you book an activity or accommodation through our links that we receive commission at no extra cost you? This helps us to continue to provide helpful guides on Plain2Plane and so we can make travel mistakes so you don’t have to!

  • Book Your HOSTEL here – we frequently use HostelWorld to book for our hostel and you will find plenty of cheap finds here!
  • Book Your HOTEL here – if you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious than a hostel then this is the place to find some great deals!
  • Find CHEAP FLIGHTS here – if you’re looking to compare flights then this is the perfect spot to.
  • Book TRAIN TICKETS here – we use trainline for our train travel which is great for the UK and around Europe!
  • Book your BUSES here – if you need to book a long bus journey, this is our favourite supplier to compare prices and purchase.
  • Find an INCREDIBLE GUIDED TOUR here – if you’re looking for tours whilst you’re away then Viator definitely has the biggest range with affordable prices.
  • Find EXCITING ACTIVITIES here – we use Get Your Guide and Viator when purchasing one-off activities or attractions.
  • Purchase CITY PASSES here – this is our favourite place for city passes as you will save much money on attractions using these passes!
  • Buy TRAVEL INSURANCE here – our favourite place to search for affordable travel insurance!
  • Find RENTAL CARS here – this site is great to compare different rental companies so that you’re getting the best for your money.

FAQs

Is Aviemore worth visiting? 

In short YES, there are countless things to do in Aviemore for everyone! If you’re travelling as a family, couple, group of friends or on your own there is something for you here. Everyone is welcome and there is plenty of fun for everyone!

What is Aviemore famous for?

Outdoor activities are the main things that Aviemore is famous for especially during the summer months. You can go hillwalking and do all kinds of water sports. During winter months you can go skiing and snowboarding too! It is also a good break away in winter as you can rent cabins with hot tubs surrounded by snow just makes for a beautiful atmosphere.   

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