I stayed in Ballater one year and was sorry to see this fire had occurred. The visitor center moved to Cairngorm National Park Authority offices in Ballater. The visitor center had interesting info on the area.
I found Ballater to be a great base for exploring castles. I liked the town and stayed in one of the small hotels that is Deeside. I visited Drum Castle, Kildrummy Castle, Craigievar Castle, Corgarff Castle, and Cullerlie Stone circle! I also enjoyed the Knock Gallery and one in Alford.
I like Kildrummy, Drum Castle, and Cullerlie. What are your favorite spots in Aberdeenshire?