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Aberdeenshire, or the County of Aberdeen, is a rugged, naturally beautiful area located on the northeast coast of Scotland. Rich in history and legend, Aberdeenshire is home to many relics of ancient cultures, from pagan monoliths and druidical circles to stone sculptures from early Christian times.

The county’s most striking natural feature is its abundance of mountain peaks, which include Ben Macdhui, which at 4500 feet is the second tallest peak in the U.K, and Bennachie, a centrally located landmark that is visible from many different parts of the county. The region is criss-crossed by rivers, including the 90 mile long Dee and the Ythan, which has pearl-bearing mussel beds at its mouth. Not surprisingly, fishing is one of Aberdeenshire’s most lucrative industries, netting an annual catch of herring, salmon and trout worth about one million British pounds.

Aberdeenshire is one of Scotland’s most populous regions and has a flourishing economy based on agriculture, commerce, and a robust tourist trade. Its gorgeous coastline is dotted with vast sandy beaches, quaint fishing villages and cliff-side walking trails.

The town of Portsoy in western Aberdeenshire boasts a 17th Century harbor, and is home to the Scottish Small Boats Festival, an annual celebration of Aberdeen’s maritime food, music and culture, which celebrated its 20th birthday in 2013. In northern Aberdeenshire, the over 4500 acre Cairngorms National Park - the largest national park in the United Kingdom - boasts a wide array of recreational activities, from hiking in the highlands to water sports of all kinds. The park is literally teeming with native wildlife, including deer, red squirrels ospreys, and wildcats and the rivers are nearly bursting with salmon and trout. For those who prefer less adventurous pastimes, the park also houses a number of golf courses and - for the colder winter months - three ski areas as well.

The bustling hub of Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, is known for its restaurants, pubs and thriving business community. The city boasts no fewer than 25 restaurants, pubs and cafes and one nightclub, Club Snafu, a popular boutique club in the historic Castlegate. With an eclectic menu of top-shelf wine, liquors and champagne and a vibrant mix of live entertainment and DJ dance music, Club Snafu is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Known as the commerce capital of northeast Scotland, Aberdeen City accounts for over 25 percent of Scotland’s annual private sector sales. The city, like Scotland itself, boasts extremely low unemployment and is home to over 16,000 businesses, including literally hundreds of retail shops. Four major shopping malls dot the city, housing popular retailers like Apple, The Disney Store, Halfords, and Curry’s, and hundreds of smaller specialty stores. Shoppers come from as far away as Norway to visit Aberdeen City's wholesale outlets and stores.

With all that it has to offer, Aberdeenshire is certainly one place that any visitor to Scotland, whether tourist or would-be resident, most certainly will not want to miss.