Britain's largest National Park, the Cairngorms are the most extensive range of high mountains in the UK, with a vast, tundra-like wilderness plateau, girt with magnificent corries, at the heart of the region. This is encircled by the beautiful valleys of the Rivers Spey and Dee, each passing through stunning landscapes of ancient Caledonian pinewoods teeming with wildlife. Aviemore on the northern side is the best known centre, joined by the small towns of Kingussie, Newtonmore and Grantown-on-Spey, all close to or on the River Spey.
To the south is Royal Deeside. Ballater is the main centre here together with the attractive village of Braemar, with Balmoral Castle lying between. To the northeast are the more rolling hills of Glenlivet, famous for its whisky distilleries, and Strathdon.