Hotels in Speyside
Speyside lies in the old Scottish county of Moray in the north east of the country and is defined by the beautiful River Spey that runs through it. The area is also one of Scotland's great whisky producing centres.
The long broad swathe of landscape that follows the river towards Spey Bay contains the whole spectrum of wild Scottish beauty, from mountains and high moorland to Caledonian pine and quiet birch wood, rich farmland and tranquil valleys. It also encompasses the ever-popular resort of Aviemore in the Cairngorms, the historic centre of Elgin and names that will be very familiar to whisky lovers the world over, such as Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Aberlour, Grantown-on-Spey and Tomintoul.
Malt Whisky distilleries
Speyside is home to more than half of Scotland's malt whisky distilleries. For the whisky connoisseur it's the ultimate destination, and even if you only have a passing interest, these â€˜great-names' are fascinating to visit. From Speyside hotels you can explore The Malt Whisky Trail, a dedicated route that winds through the region, taking in seven working distilleries and a cooperage where the iconic wooden barrels are made. The trail is clearly marked and can be viewed in any order that suits you. Of course there are numerous distilleries that are not on the official trail which are also happy to welcome visitors, and you'll take in all sorts of wonderful scenery on the way.
An exciting time to visit Speyside is when one of the whisky festivals is in full swing. During spring there is Spirit of Speyside, while later in the year you can enjoy the Autumn Speyside Whisky Festival.
The Moray Speyside coast is dotted with picturesque fishing villages such as Buckie, quiet coves and stunning beaches. For the energetic, there is the Moray Coastal Trail, which is a sublime 50-mile waymarked coast path that meanders between Forres and Cullen. Keep your eyes open for dolphins out in the Moray Firth in addition to a wonderful variety of bird life. Findhorn is an attractive coastal town where sailing boats shelter, and Burghead is an ancient historic coastal village, which was once the site of a Pictish fort. From the lovely village of Portknockie you can gaze out to the extraordinary Bow Fiddle Rock, a mysterious, sculpted rock formation that's quite unforgettable.
This charming old town is well worth exploring. Straddling the River Lossie and surrounded by stunning scenery, it's packed with interesting sites, such as the ruins of Elgin Cathedral, which was once considered Scotland's most beautiful. Naturally the town has its share of famous distilleries, such as Glenmoray and Glen Elgin, plus there is the Elgin Museum, which is one of Britain's oldest and has occupied this site since 1843.
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