Dense forests, deep valleys and idyllic glens complemented by an ancient heritage of Scottish clans and whisky production make Moray a great destination for a self-catering holiday. Located in the north-east of the country bordering the council areas of Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray is situated between the impressive Cairngorm Mountains and the stretching coastline of the Moray Firth. Small fishing villages, coastal routes and riverside towns characterise the landscape; take a holiday cottage in Moray and unwind on a relaxing retreat.
Grand guesthouses and rental apartments are available in the towns of Lossiemouth, Elgin, Forres and Findhorn. Enchanting cottages and chalets set within the superb countryside make for a peaceful self-catering holiday in Morayshire. Hostels and lodges are a great option for those looking to meet other travellers. The climate in Moray is not so typically Scottish, with the village of Burghead said to be the driest place in the country and the climate is generally mild and sunny in the summer months.
Moray is home to many pretty towns and villages. Explore the ports and harbours along the Moray Firth or hike through the woods near Forres and Findhorn. Aberlour is positioned on the east bank of the River Spey at the foot of the Ben Rinnes. Hill-walkers can enjoy the steep trails to Aviemore, Tomintoul and Dufftown. Spend an afternoon in Aberlour and visit the ruins of St Drostan's church and marvel over the ancient Packhorse Bridge. The nearby Linn Falls are an area of natural beauty; stop off at the Speyside Way Centre or sample authentic treats from Walkers shortbread factory.
Experience authentic village life in the conservation area of Archiestown - the locals here are proud of their heritage and have won numerous accolades for architectural preservation. Take a walk around the picturesque area including the Ballintomb moor and Elchies Forest. The town of Burghead is home to a sprawling five mile coastline and historical attractions. Bronze Age relics and remnants of a Pictish Iron Age fort are particularly popular with archaeologists. In the same area visitors will find The Burghead Well which historians have dated back to the Dark Ages.
Children travelling to Moray will enjoy recreational activities in The Highlander and Fiddich Park of Craigellachie. At night head to The Warehouse in Lossiemouth for theatre, comedy and music performances. Book tickets in advance to secure your seat in this small venue and chat to the locals over a dram. Quaint taverns and pubs are found in most villages in Moray; a friendly atmosphere and live music welcome all that stop in for a pint.
Moray is famed for which draws crowds from all over the globe every year. Starting at the Speyside Distillery, groups can opt for a guided tour or choose to visit in their own time. With over 50 distilleries in Moray, it's considered one of the best destinations for malt whisky in the world. The official trail has sign-posts and includes eight distilleries offering tasting sessions. Brands such as The Macallan, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich are based here as well as Johnnie Walker. Be sure to stop by the historical 19th century Dhalas Dhu Distillery; The Speyside Cooperage is a highlight where coopers demonstrate their craft.
Travellers to Moray can visit one of 6 castles; the impressive Auchindoun Castle offers views out over the hillside. Ballindalloch Castle is one of the few remaining inhabited seats and home to the Macpherson-Grant family from as far back as the 15th century. Discover the deep moat surrounding Duffus Castle and see the fortified tower of Brodie Castle. Elgin Cathedral is one of Scotlandís most beautiful medieval buildings, despite being a ruin, and dates back to the 13th century.
With a landscape of lakes, forest and mountains and magnificent coastline, Moray is a great destination for outdoor activities. Forestry Commission Rangers are available to take visitors on tours to see rare wildlife. Orienteering and walks along waymarked routes are ideal for getting out into the countryside. Cycling is an easy way to get about Moray; those with more adrenaline can brave the Monster Trails, a series of near vertical paths for mountain bikers. Alternatively The Dava Way is a pleasant 23-mile route across the Celtic province of Morayshire. The New Wave Surf School welcomes new members with introductory lessons in the Moray Firth, or try sailing instead - make sure you look out for bottlenose dolphins in the waters around the Cullen coast.
Food in Moray is centred on the fishing industry with many of the seaside restaurants serving lobster, langoustines, scallops and salmon. Caught daily by local fishermen, you are guaranteed the freshest produce around. The beed is also reputed to be some of the finest in the UK.
Two airports are available to those travelling to Moray; Aberdeen Airport and Inverness Airport operate domestic flights to Edinburgh and other cities in the United Kingdom. With flight links to London and Manchester, passengers can reach Moray from international destinations. Both airports are located about an hour's drive from the centre of Moray and Scottish City Link bus services run up and down the country. Moray has three railway stations - Elgin, Forres and Keith link up the Inverness-Aberdeen route while the Keith & Dufftown Railway Association run Britain's most northerly heritage railway line.
Numerous attractions, ancient structures and an active approach to the outdoors means Moray has a lot to offer those on a . A beautiful landscape, castles, delicious produce, Whisky Malt Trail and many other attractions ensure that it is a really memorable experience to have a vacation in Moray.