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Great ideas for places to stay on a skiing break in Scotland

Written by Fiona

March 18 2019

With five Scottish ski resorts to choose from, there are plenty of options for places to stay during a skiing break in Scotland. I have created a guide to some of the more obvious places, as well as those that are lesser known.

It’s also worth considering the locations that offer access to more than one ski resort. The weather in Scotland can be localised so if you are keen to ski every day, your best option is to have a choice of travelling to other nearby resorts.

Many skiers also like to try different resorts and if you locate yourself in the right place, you’ll be able to sample the delights of more than one ski centre during your Scottish holiday.

This is my guide to some of the best places to stay for a skiing holiday in Scotland. 

Scotland’s five ski resorts

There are five main ski areas in Scotland:         

Great places to stay for a Scottish ski break

You can take the train to Aviemore. Credit: Nick Bramhall

Aviemore

Aviemore, an outdoors town located in the Cairngorms National Park, is always popular with visitors. The range of accommodation covers camping and caravan sites, hostels, B&Bs, guest houses and hotels.

From Aviemore, it’s a drive of nine miles to reach Cairngorm Mountain. The no31 bus, operated by Stagecoach Highlands, offers a regular service between the town and the mountain and takes around 35 minutes. 

What’s more, a stay in Aviemore offers access to other ski resorts, including The Lecht, some 34 miles away by road, and Nevis Range, around 60 miles away. Surprisingly, Glenshee Ski Centre is also within a drive of 1hr 45 minutes being 68 miles form Aviemore.

The beautiful Uath Lochans, near Kingussie. Credit: VisitScotland / Damian Shields

Kingussie

To the south of Aviemore and situated in the same Highlands’ area of Strathspey and Badenoch, the village of Kingussie offers an attractive place to stay.

It has the advantage of being close enough to Cairngorm Mountain to enjoy a full day or half day or skiing (30 minutes by car) yet also only an hour from Nevis Range and an hour from The Lecht. This means that on any given day you can choose where to ski according to the weather, snow conditions or your personal fancy.

Looking across the River Spey to the snowy mountains from Newtonmore. Credit:  VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

Newtonmore

Another three miles south of Kingussie is the village of Newtonmore. It is close to a location that is claimed to be the exact geographical centre of Scotland. This makes Newtonmore an excellent place for a skiing break with several ski resorts no more than 80 minutes away.

It’s less than 40 minutes by car to Cairngorm Mountain, an hour to Nevis Range and around an hour and 10 minutes to The Lecht.

Grantown-on Spey

Just 14 miles north of Aviemore, the historic Highlands town boasts a beautiful location on the River Spey. Staying in this genteel town is a great option for families because it is less than a 40-minute car journey to Cairngorm Mountain and around 35 minutes to The Lecht.

Both Cairngorm and The Lecht have snow-making and family friendly beginner runs on the lower slopes.

If you fancy a day out, Glenshee, another family friendly resort, is around 1.5 hours away. On a fine day, the views are a delight as you drive through the Cairngorms National Park.

Drinking Fountain in The Square, Tomintoul. Credit: VisitScotland / David N Anderson
Carrbridge and the village’s famous historic bridge. Credit: Aaron Sneddon

Three more villages

Fairly close to Aviemore, too, are the villages of Boat of Garten and Carrbridge, with Tomintoul some 27 miles away, which all offer easy access to The Lecht and Cairngorm.

View from The Lecht on the road from Tomintoul to Braemar. Credit: VisitScotland / David N Anderson

Ballater and Braemar

Ballater and Braemar, both on Royal Deeside and set amid beautiful southern Cairngorms countryside, are closest to Glenshee, Scotland’s largest ski resort.

From Braemar, it’s a drive of just 12 minutes to Glenshee, while from Ballater it’s less than 40 minutes.

Another option, if you would like a change of scenery or to take advantage of a different weather front, is to head to The Lecht. From Braemar, The Lecht is a 40-minute drive and from Ballater it’s around 35 minutes.

Wide glens and rounded summits on the road from Spittal of Glenshee to the ski centre.

Spittal of Glenshee

 Spittal of Glenshee is to the south of the Cairngorm National Park and just a 10-minute drive along the dramatic Old Military Road to Glenshee Snowsports Centre.

There are several accommodation choices on offer in the Spittal area. Another skiing option from the Spittal is The Lecht, around an hour’s drive north.

Follow the signs.

A little further south

Booking accommodation in Perth and Kinross, such as in the town of Blairgowrie, or Kirriemuir, in the region of Angus, makes sense if Glenshee is your first choice for skiing.

Within 40 minutes to an hour you will be parking up and heading towards the chairlifts and tows.

It is also possible to drive a couple of hours to Glencoe Mountain from Blairgowrie, although another tip is to look for accommodation in the tourist town of Aberfeldy.

From Aberfeldy, it’s 1.5 hours to Glencoe and 80 minutes to Glenshee, so you can choose on the day which resort to ski.

Looking towards Glencoe Village and Mam na Gualainn from Ballachulish. Credit: Douglas Milne

Glencoe

Glencoe Mountain Resort has its own on-site accommodation. In winter you can book microlodges and if you have a campervan or motorhome there is electric hook up. Showers are available, too.

Glencoe village, along the A82, has other accommodation options available and the newly opened Kingshouse Hotel is located within walking distance of to the mountain resort.

While the most obvious choice if you are staying in Glencoe is to ski at Glencoe Mountain, you are just 22 miles from Nevis Range, which broadens your options depending on the weather, snow conditions and what you fancy skiing.

The end of the famous walking trail, the West Highland Way, is located in Gordon Square in Fort William. Credit: John Allan

Fort William and Lochaber

Self-proclaimed as the Outdoor Capital of the UK, Fort William and Lochaber offer a range of possibilities for skiing break overnights.

Nevis Range is a 12-minute drive away by car. There is a bus service between Fort William bus station and Nevis Range. See Traveline.

It is around 40 minutes to drive to Glencoe Mountain and a regular bus service (Citylink) travels from Fort William, en route to Glasgow.

If you fancy skiing three different Scottish ski resorts during one holiday, Cairngorm Mountain is an hour and 40 minutes away.

Please note: I have not covered every small settlement in the areas around the ski resorts. The official Ski-Scotland website gives access to the full range of accommodation on the powerful VisitScotland website, searchable by ski area.

Travel times can also be affected by the weather, so you should use this blog as a guide to getting to the Scottish ski resorts.

Also see 10 tips for successful family skiing in Scotland

How to get fit for skiing in Scotland

Skiing in Scotland: Where is the steepest, longest, highest, oldest, newest.

To find out more about all of the Scottish ski resorts see Ski Scotland.

  • This blog post is published in association with Ski-Scotland.

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