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The beach at Aberdeen

Despite its location at a latitude more northerly than Moscow, Aberdeen in the summer is not only a fun city but also a great beach destination. The water is a tad cold for swimming but the expansive beaches are perfect for walking or flying a kite. The sun often shines, the weather is mild and the sky frequently is a bright blue. This is the ideal destination for long beach walks, water sports and whale watching.

The Coastal Trail of Aberdeenshire leads through picturesque villages with long, deserted beaches. Children build sandcastles, play ball or dive in the surf. For a thrilling adventure, ride a horse across the beach or brave the waves with a surfboard. The sand dunes are enormous; the Rattray Head dunes can reach heights of 23 metres. The rugged landscape is continuously in motion, shaped by the water and wind.

A stone hut on the Aberdeen coast
A stone hut on the Aberdeen coast

Aberdeen

Rugged nature in Rattray Head

The beach near the Loch of Strathbeg nature reserve stretches for 17 kilometres and is a true bird and butterfly paradise. In these wetlands, bird watchers may spot numerous winter visitors, such as pink-footed geese from Spitsbergen, wild swans from Iceland and puffins from Nova Zembla. Porpoises are regularly seen in the bay.

The most striking building is undoubtedly the 37-metre-high lighthouse in the water which is only accessible at low tide. These days, people are no longer cut off at high tide though; the lonely beacon on the coast has been unmanned since 1982. However, the light signal is now automated and the lighthouse is still in service. Hardly a luxury, evident from the many shipwrecks that dot the coast.

Rattray Head lies between Peterhead and Fraserburgh, an hour drive north of Aberdeen. An idyllic remote corner of Scotland, far from the crowds and perfect for breathing in the fresh ocean air.

With a bit of luck, bird watchers may spot puffins
A seal on the seafront

Boat tour

The cold dark waters of the North Sea are home to dolphins, whales, porpoises and sharks. These animals often surface near the coast of Aberdeen and are quite a sight. High above the waves there is also plenty to see: hundreds of seabirds and even the occasional rare puffin. Clyde Cruises offers regular boat tours from Aberdeen Harbour to observe the wildlife and the experienced guide will be able to point out all the highlights. The boat tours depart from the Eurolink dock, near the fish market.

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Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire