We're staying a week in Fraserburgh, and a week in Blairgrowrie. The last time we were in Scotland we thought Dunnotar was the coolest place in the world. We also really enjoyed the various pubs along the way. So we are wondering about the things we should not miss that may not be the "normal" tourist places. We will have a car and no exact plans................
Have a look at this site for some inspiration. There's a lot to see and do here in Aberdeenshire and plenty to keep you occupied for a week during your stay in Fraserburgh. With 300 castles to choose from you will have to decide which ones to leave out ;-)
Somewhere I'd recommend as a place not to miss would be Burn O'Vat on Royal Deeside where one Gilderoy MacGregor bandit and cattle thief hid from the authorities. He wasn't successful because they found and executed him thereafter.
A couple of other natural beauty spots are Linn of Dee and Linn of Quoich just outside Braemar
At the Linn of Quoich is the Earl of Mar's Punchbowl a naturally eroded pothole in the schist rockbed worn out by the rotation of stones as the water washed over. It was the scene of the celebration of the Jacobite rising in 1715 when the Earl of Mar mustered his army to the Jacobite cause and they marked the occasion by filling the pot with hard liquor and raising the standard for King James Francis Edward Stuart (The Old Pretender). Since then the river has worn away the bottom of the pothole.
Ballater and Braemar are pretty highland villages and worth a visit for the day. If the weather is in your favour and it's something which interest you then a circular walk of Loch Muick (pronounced "Mick" as in Jagger) just outside Ballater would take about three hours. You'll need £4 to pay for the car park and the funds go to upkeep pathways in the area.
Two "pubs" in the area which might interest you are The Boat Inn in Aboyne and The Potarch between Aboyne and Banchory
If you do find yourselves in Braemar I recommend The Bothy as a place to have lunch or coffee and cakes.
Hope this is all of interest :-)
If there's anything else which I can help you with, then feel free to send me a private message if you wish.
The Castle Tour might interest you. https://www.absoluteescapes.com/CastletoCastleOverview.html
Whisky tour is interesting too. http://maltwhiskytrail.com/?age-verified=53a0c74ae2
I just copied this from another of my responses. Castles: Alnwick castle (in the UK but parts of a couple Harry Potter movies were filmed there) and Bamburgh (also in the UK). Castles in Scotland we liked include, Craigmiller, Sterling, Glamis (more manor than castle), Dunnottar, Urquhart, Eilean Doman, Threave, Caerlaverock, Dumbarton and Dunvegan. We also liked Melrose Abbey and Jedburgh Abbey.
Definitely if you're staying in Blairgowrie, Glamis Castle is right down the road. You'd also be not too far to take a day trip to Balmoral. For fans of (or those with curiosity about) the current royal family, both are of great interest.
Definitely agree with the recommendation to visit Glamis Castle. It's a great tour. Kirriemuir is not far either and has the J.M. Barrie house which is quite interesting. Head west over to Dunkeld and do some Tayside Walks or a bit up into the hills. If you want to go a bit further west head to Aberfeldy and the Birk's of Aberfeldy walk and visit the Crannog Centre.
Up north, if you are a Local Hero fan, visit Penan. (and if you've not seen Local Hero, by all means download it and watch before you go. It's charming and funny.) Elgin is interesting to visit as well. The cathedral ruins offer some history and views. In toward the Cairngorms Kildrummy Castle--it is ruins--is very impressive. There are lots though that are not ruins. I enjoyed Syllavethy Gallery. Also there are a lot of stone circles. This site might help you find some. They are fascinating and you can walk right amongst the stones and usually no one else is there but you.