Aviemore is a town in the Highlands of Scotland, in the area of Badenoch and Strathspey. It's the main base for skiing and other outdoor activities in Cairngorms National Park. The town mushroomed in the 1960s and 1970s as winter sports became popular: initial developments were ugly, but these have been replaced by buildings more in keeping with the surroundings.
The main part of town is along the loop of old road (now bypassed by the A9) near the railway station. There's another straggle of places to stay for a couple of miles along the B-road towards Cairngorm, as far as the village of Coylumbridge.
In October 2018, the Cairngorm mountain railway suffered weather damage and closed, so access to the ski areas was lost. The company subsequently went bust. As of June 2019 the funicular is still out of service, with no re-opening date announced.
Inverness (INV IATA) is the closest airport, with connections across Europe and the UK. Edinburgh (EDI IATA) is a longer drive but has far more flights, and the airport is west of the city so you drive straight out onto M90 then A9 north.
Aviemore is on the main railway line from Edinburgh and Glasgow via Perth, then north to Inverness, with Scotrail trains every hour or two.
Reaching Aviemore from England usually involves changing in Edinburgh, but there is one direct daytime train from London Kings Cross, via York, Newcastle and Edinburgh, taking 7 hr 30 min.
Occasional "Heritage Trains" run up the line through Aviemore, often switching onto the steam-hauled branch line to Boat of Garten.
Buses run every hour or so from Edinburgh and Glasgow via Perth, continuing north to Inverness. The main operators are Citylink, Parks of Hamilton and Megabus.
Change in Inverness for Citylink buses to Ullapool and Skye, thence to the Hebrides.
Aviemore is just off the A9, which runs north to Inverness and Thurso, and south to Perth and Edinburgh.
- There is one main taxi company in Aviemore and there are also a few private drivers.
- Geordies Taxis, ☏ .
Useful local bus routes run by Stagecoach Highland are:
- Bus 31 from Aviemore via Coylumbridge and Glenmore to Cairngorm ski area: daily, hourly 07:30-17:30.
- Bus 32 from Carrbridge via Aviemore and Kingussie to Newtonmore: every two hours M-Sa.
- Bus 34X runs every couple hours from Aviemore via Boat of Garten and Nethy Bridge to Grantown; three per day continue to Dulnain Bridge, Carrbridge, Tomatin and Inverness.
- There are many official paths around Aviemore including the Aviemore Orbital and walks around the Lochs and the Cairngorm Mountain.
- 1 Cairngorm Reindeer Centre, Glenmore, ☏ . See reindeer.
- 2 Loch an Eilein and Castle. A lake in the Rothiemurchus Forest with a ruined castle on an island. A 7-km walk around the lake is described on Walkhighlands.
- The Strathspey Railway operates a 10-mile (16-km) preserved railway and has its southern terminus at the Railway Station at Aviemore. Bikes can be taken for free on the train.
- Hillwalking. Many mountains nearby, the Cairngorms includes 4 of 5 of Scotland's highest mountains.
- Mountain biking & Quad Biking. Numerous forests nearby, with tracks and paths suitable for off-road cycling and riding, e.g. Rothiemurchus, Glenmore, Glenfeshie.
- Golfing. There are several golf courses in Aviemore and the Cairngorm area.
- 1 Cairngorm Brewery Company, Dalfaber Industrial Estate, PH22 1ST, ☏ . Brewery established in 2001. Offers tours. £5 for tour.
- Skiing and mountaineering at 2 Cairngorm Mountain, 10 miles east of Aviemore. The funicular railway has been closed since 2018, and the managing company has gone bankrupt. See Cairngorms National Park for details.
- 3 Glenmore Lodge, PH22 1QZ, ☏ . Outdoor training centre.
- Whisky distilleries: there are lots of these along the Spey valley towards Grantown-on-Spey. Two that are open to visitors and within a 15-min drive from Aviemore are Speyside at Kingussie, and 4 Tomatin, IV13 7YT (between Aviemore and Inverness), ☏ . Tours from £7.
- Laggan Wolftrax. A network of purpose-built mountain bike trails, with a cafe, shop and bike hire. About 35 km south west from Aviemore on the A86. See Cairngorms National Park for details.
- Thunder in the Glens is a Harley-Davidson motorbike rally held on the last weekend in August, based in Aviemore but with much gunning of bikes all around Speyside. The 2020 event was cancelled so the next is probably 28-29 Aug 2021, tbc.
The main shopping point in Aviemore is the local Tesco. Apart from that the village mainly contains outdoor and sporting equipment shops located on the main street, Grampian Road (with a few exceptions):
- Fat Face. Fashionable outdoor leisure clothing and footwear. Trendy & fairly expensive.
- Bothy Bikes (at Inverdruie on the Ski Road to Coylumbridge). Great stock of quality bikes, cycle clothes and accessories with local cycle trails right on the doorstep. Repairs and servicing also available. Knowledgeable & friendly staff.
- Nevisport. Outdoor and sporting equipment and clothing.
- Blacks. Camping and outdoor equipment and clothing.
- Sue Ryder Charity Shop. Secondhand clothing charity shop. Sometimes good for bargain skiing/sporting gear. Also good for cheap books.
- Fat Treads (Located at the rear of Myrtlefield Shopping Centre). Quality cycling gear and bikes available as well as a repairs service. Good advice to be had, if a little on the expensive side.
- Ottakars. Book shop with a fairly good range of stock including local OS maps and games.
- Semi-Chem. For toiletries and personal care items.
- G2 Outdoor, Unit 3 Plot 10, Dalfaber Industrial Estate, PH22 1ST, ☏ . G2 Provide Outdoor Activities such as rafting and gorge walking through summer and a ski school through winter.
Aviemore has lots of cheap & cheerful places to refuel cold hungry skiers and hill-walkers.
- 1 The Cairngorm Hotel ("The Cairn"), Grampian Road (opposite railway station), ☏ . Traditional pub/lounge and restaurant. Good range of beers, food is more expensive than normal pub fare but good quality. They also have hotel rooms (from £90 pn), but these are over the bar and can be noisy.
- 2 The Old Bridge Inn, Dalfaber Road (South end of village below main street), ☏ . Su-Th 12:00-00:00, F Sa 12:00-01:00. Traditional pub with open fire in the evenings. Has outdoor seating area facing the river during the summer. Good food & beer, but a bit expensive for your average backpacker.
- 3 The Winking Owl, 123 Grampian Road, ☏ . Su-Th 12:00-23:00, F Sa 11:00-01:00; food to 21:30. A bit drouthy, but serves yummy pub grub and has a good atmosphere.
- 4 Skiing Doo, 9 Grampian Road (near the Post Office). Su-Th 12:00-23:00, F Sa 12:00-00:00. Theme bar with old signs, posters, skis and various other items adorning every surface. Grills and burgers, the garlic burger is commended.
- 5 Happy Haggis (Harkai's), 45 Grampian Road (just south of railway station). M-Th 15:00-21:00, F-Su 12:00-21:00. Fish restaurant with connecting chip-shop take away. Good range of fish and good quality food.
- 1 The Vault, Grampian Road (north of station, down the stone steps near the public toilet/showers). Th-Sa 22:30-03:00. Night club with mainly popular chart music however also has an electronic/techno music scene, with the club having various electro nights, with acts such as Cagedbaby and DJ Fergie playing here.
Aviemore is the main accommodation centre for the west side of Cairngorms National Park. Lots of small B&Bs in and around the village.
- 1 Aviemore Youth Hostel (SYHA), 25 Grampian Road PH22 1PR (south end of village), ☏ . Hostel with budget dorms as well as limited private/family rooms. 02:00 curfew. Dorm beds from £16, rooms from £41.
- 2 Old Bridge Bunkhouse, Dalfaber Road, PH22 1PU (South end of village below main street), ☏ . Hostel, self-catering only but meals available next door at Old Bridge Inn. Dorm sleeps six. Room only, dorm bed from £23, double from £55.
- 3 Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostel (SYHA), Glenmore PH22 1QY (8 miles east of town on road up Cairngorm), ☏ . Open Feb to mid-Oct. Beds from £17, rooms from £39.
- Ravenscraig Guest House, 141 Grampian Road, PH22 1RP (On main street), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small comfy B&B, all rooms are ensuite with TV and tea and coffee making facilities. B&B double from £90.
- Macdonald Aviemore Resort, PH22 1PN, ☏ . Big boxy 4-star in centre of village. Activity centre opposite but be sceptical about what's available: their website considers "nearby" to include Blenheim in Oxfordshire. B&B doubles from £90.
|Routes through Aviemore|
|Inverness ← Carrbridge ←||N SW||→ Kingussie → Perth|