Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

There’s an entirely different world to be explored along the north and north-east coastlines – and woodlands.

Whether you’re raring to get your feet wet beneath glorious waterfalls or stroll along sandy shores, these hidden spots are the perfect escape from reality.

Hidden gems to explore in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Cove Bay Harbour, Aberdeen

Every kayaker’s dream. Credit: Shutterstock

Find a peaceful getaway on these dainty shores.

Cove Bay Harbour is situated less than a 15-minute drive from Aberdeen, making it easily accessible to those looking for a momentary break from their day-to-day activities.

And it’s even ideal for kayaking when you start to feel a little bit restless, as well as offering adventures to be found across the rock pools and caves.

Den Finella Waterfall, Aberdeenshire

Den of Finella is a hidden gem tucked away in St Cyrus. Image: Sean Harrower

Widely regarded as “the lost waterfall of Scotland”, the roaring falls takes its name from a noblewoman who allegedly leapt to her death after murdering the king in 995.

The spectacular sight has a drop of around 65 feet and is found hidden between St Cyrus and Johnshaven.

Visitors are advised to avoid the area during bad weather and must be wary of the steep path before attempting a venturous hike.

Falls of Glas Allt, Loch Muick

A sight fit for a queen. Credit: Shutterstock

Embrace history while you breathe in the beauty of Loch Muick.

This impressive 160-foot waterfall was once a frequent escape for Queen Victoria.

The late Queen would trail along the stream from Lochnagar to Loch Muick before building her own cottage – Glas-Allt-Shiel – with a view of the Falls.

Findlater Castle, Aberdeenshire

Spectacular landscapes with a touch of history. Credit: Shutterstock

Perched atop a 50-foot cliff, the ruins of Findlater Castle overlook the Moray Firth along the Banff and Buchan coast.

Findlater Castle dates back to the 13th Century with information boards providing an insight to what the castle was once like.

Despite the tricky landscape to navigate, the view is fantastic and makes every moment worth the challenge.

Balmoral Pyramids, Deeside

Swap Cairo for the countryside. Credit: Shutterstock

You might be baffled by the idea of there being pyramids in Scotland. But they were in fact commissioned by Queen Victoria herself.

So, grab your best hiking gear because all 11 of these landmarks, including Prince Albert’s Cairn, are only accessible on foot.

The route takes you along a woodland path through the countryside before you reach the awe-inspiring view across the estate.

Hackley Bay, Ellon

Hackley Bay, or the Sands of Forvie, are a hidden gem of Aberdeenshire beaches.
A blissful escape hidden by the dunes. Credit: Shutterstock

Admire the sandy shores of Hackley Bay (otherwise known as the Sands of Forvie).

The beach is sheltered by cliffs and an impressive dune system stretching across the coast.

Park the car at Forvie National Nature Reserve and set off on a scenic walk – markers are in place to guide you to the sea.

Crawton, Stonehaven

Capture the roaring falls before venturing to the beach. Credit: Shutterstock

This former fishing community, three miles south of Stonehaven, has been left deserted since 1927.

The short trail leads to a view of the Crawton Waterfall in addition to opening onto the beach below.

Burn O’Vat, Aboyne

Follow the stone trail to uncover a fantasy. Credit: Shutterstock

Burn O’Vat is a very surreal rock formation close to Loch Kinord.

Visitors must use stepping stones to access the Vat, which initially appears to be closed off by large rocks.

Formed by glacial meltwater, the natural beauty of the area is a worthy sight to behold.

But do pack your wellies for this small adventure.

Hidden gems to explore in the Highlands, Islands and Moray

Glen Feshie, Cairngorms National Park

Can you spot any wildlife on your travels? Credit: Shutterstock

While Cairngorms National Park isn’t exactly a hidden gem, the lesser-known and once-cited “loveliest Glen in Scotland” certainly is.

Glen Feshie is home to an array of wildlife, including eagles, wildcats, pine martens, otters and thousands more. The area is committed to rewilding and preserving its land.

Eventually, if you’re daring enough to extend your journey, you will find yourself crossing over into Deeside.

Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie

Bow Fiddle Rock from a hill, one of Moray's hidden gems.
Admire the peculiar sculpture formed by nature itself. Image: Visit Moray Speyside

Drop by the north-eastern coast to visit this magnificent sea sculpture, naturally formed by the force of the waves.

The name Bow Fiddle Rock derives from its unique appearance in which it closely resembles the tip of a bow.

Enjoy the view and snap up the landscape, or wander through the caves to spy hidden treasures.

Ardclach Bell Tower, Nairn


Tucked away at the north-west corner of Ardclach is where you’ll find this fortified monument.

Built in 1655, Ardclach Bell Tower is believed to have been used as a watch tower and small prison.

Following a steep climb to the building, there are several rooms filled with centuries of history to be uncovered.

Neist Point, Skye

Watch the sun set from Skye’s desired viewpoint. Credit: Shutterstock

Located near the township of Glendale, the walk to Neist Point offers a stunning view of high cliffs and the lighthouse.

Capture the photogenic scenery of Skye and watch the sunset before exploring the field of stone towers – maybe you could even catch a pollock by the rocks next to the lighthouse.

Do take extra care upon arrival. Ensure you do not travel during high winds, especially if the lighthouse is part of the itinerary.


By Lala