179km (111 miles) N of Edinburgh; 66km (41 miles) W of Aberdeen; 108km (67 miles) NE of Perth; 113km (70 miles) SE of Inverness
Located on the Dee River, with the Grampian Mountains in the background, Ballater is a resort center, but most visitors come here with only one goal in mind -- to walk the grounds of Balmoral Castle, the far northern home of the Windsors. The town still centers on its Station Square, where the royal family used to be photographed as they arrived to spend holidays. (The railway is now closed.) From Ballater, you can drive west to view the scenery of Glen Muick and Lochnagar, where you'll see herds of deer. Incidentally, the drive between Ballater and Braemar is very scenic.