Away from the larger city centres of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen, some of the best small towns in Scotland are not as packed with tourists during summer and have cheaper house prices to match their quieter locales.
Their small size often belies the surprising amount on offer; from good schools and friendly communities to a wealth of independent eateries, outdoor activities and outstanding scenery.
We look at some of the best small towns in Scotland that are proving popular with home buyers.
Kingussie, Cairngorms National Park
A small town in the Cairngorms National Park, Kingussie is the capital of Badenoch in the Highlands.
It’s a lovely, lively town set beside the River Spey offering stunning countryside and rugged mountains around the area.
Outdoor enthusiasts are attracted to live in Kingussie because of the range of activities available.
Hill walking, horse riding, cycling, skiing, shooting and fishing are all popular pastimes, while birdwatching and pleasant rambles about the countryside can be had in the summer months.
For keen golfers, Kingussie has a challenging 18-hole hillside golf course that rises to 300 metres above sea level, and offers spectacular views of the National Park.
The town itself, though small with a population of under 1,500, has award winning eateries with local products being showcased on menus.
Kingussie is on the main railway line to Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Inverness airport is also accessible from the town at just over 30 minutes drive.
Fortrose, Black Isle
Located on the Black Isle peninsula, 20 minutes’ drive north of Inverness, the quaint Highland town of Fortrose, offers spectacular ruins, picturesque churches and breathtaking landscapes.
It has lovely ornate Victorian homes, especially surrounding Cathedral Square.
Fortrose is popular with families as Fortrose Academy, a six year secondary school, is based here and the primary school in Avoch is a five minute drive from the town.
Much wildlife can be spotted here, with dolphins at Chanonry point, and seals and otters in Moray Firth inlet. Rosemarkie Beach is a 10 minute walk from the town.
In August, the annual St. Boniface Fair draws in visitors to celebrate Highland culture and features crafts, performances and music. Locals often wear traditional costumes for the celebrations.
Fortrose offers several tearooms and restaurants, a selection of small shops plus a leisure centre and a gym near the school. Supermarkets will also deliver to the area.
Inverness Airport is a half hour’s drive from Fortrose and receives flights from London, Manchester and Belfast.