Aviemore vies with Fort William as Scotland’s outdoor’s capital. The attractions are similar: here Cairngorm National Park rises all around and walking and mountain biking trails radiate in every direction. There’s good climbing and rafting too.
Cairngorm Mountain with its mountain railway is the centerpiece and great for summer sightseeing, while in winter it provides access to reasonable downhill skiing and excellent backcountry skiing (ski touring).
Sadly, Aviemore itself doesn’t really live up to its surroundings even if its strip-malls and coniferous backdrop give it a whiff of Rocky Mountain Canada. For the most part it’s a soulless place largely developed in the 1960s and not a place that justifies lingering. It does however have plenty of the kinds of outdoor shops, cafes and restaurants you’d expect, and so provides a useful pit-stop before heading to the hills.