For those who love history and visiting historical castles, taking a self-catering holiday in Aberdeenshire could make perfect sense. With the largest number of castles per acre in Scotland, it's easy to see why Aberdeenshire has been dubbed Scotland's Castle Country. From ruins to well preserved turreted houses, Aberdeenshire is home to a rich history and numerous magnificent historic houses.
• Find a holiday cottage in Aberdeenshire from which to base your holiday in Scotland's Castle Country.
Discover Castles in Awe Inspiring Locations in Aberdeenshire
With a superb coastline and beautiful countryside, some of these awe inspiring buildings are in the most amazing of locations such as Slains Castle with its cliff-edge location and Balmoral Castle with its majestic Cairngorms setting.
On this guide, enjoy our pick of some of the best castles to visit and discover in Aberdeenshire.
Some of the Best Castles in Aberdeenshire's Castle Country
Balmoral Castle, near Ballater
Any visit to Aberdeenshire would not be complete without a visit to the Queen's holiday home; Balmoral Castle. But don't plan a visit in August, September or October, the Royal family are usually in residence so visitors aren't allowed.
Always check opening dates as open dates may vary year to year and subject to availability, you can book a guided tour direct with the castle.
Balmoral Castle is a magnificent, extensive castle which dates back to 1853 and is set amongst the stunning scenery of the Cairngorms National Park and Lochnagar close to the village of Ballater
. Visit to discover a castle fit for a Queen!
Craigievar Castle near Alford
This castle is undoubtedly the most beautiful in Castle Country with its pretty pink exterior and fairytale style design. Dating back to the 1600s this beautiful castle is situated close to Alford and is a sight to behold. Cared for by the National Trust, the gardens and grounds are open year round and guided tours inside the castle can usually be booked from the end of March to the end of September.
If you want to visit one of Scotland's most romantic looking castles whilst on a cottage break, this is the one for you!
Fyvie Castle near Ellon
Said to be one of Scotland's finest castles, this huge castle is large, impressive and very well preserved. With a history that dates back to the 1300s (although the current building mainly dates back to the late 1500s) this castle has a rich and fascinating history and is reputed to be home to the ghost of the Grey Lady.
With tea rooms on site, as well as lovely walled gardens, Fyvie Castle is well worth a visit whilst enjoying a self-catering break in Aberdeenshire.
Slains Castle near Cruden Bay
Slains Castle may be a ruin but with an awe inspiring coastal location where it appears to cling to the cliff-edge, this ruined 16th century castle captures the imagination. Rumoured by locals to have been the real inspiration behind the story of Dracula; Bram Stoker visited the castle and holidayed in the nearby village of Cruden Bay
, visit and you might believe this story too.
See the gulls soar high above in the sky, hear the wind howl and watch the waves crash dramatically at the bottom of the cliffs and keep clear of the edge; there are no barriers next to this ruined historic building and both dogs and children unfortunately have fallen to their deaths at this beauty spot.
If you'd like to see what must be one of Scotland's most dramatically located castles whilst on a cottage holiday, Slains Castle is not to be missed.