Beating more than 7,000 competitors, five Aberdeenshire towns are now in the running to compete for the title of Most Beautiful Town in Scotland.
Ballater, Pennan, Braemar, Crovie and Stonehaven are the Aberdeenshire finalists going head to head with 30 other towns across Scotland.
Voted for by followers of Hidden Scotland – a platform for toursim information in Scotland – via social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the competition aims to showcase well-known locations and historic towns and villages too.
Hidden Scotland launched in 2015 and has more than 18,000 followers.
The area with the most votes will be announced on Friday, 10 August on Hidden Scotland’s Instagram account.
Jack Cairney, founder of Hidden Scotland, said: “I’m excited to start our search for Scotland’s Most Beautiful Town or Village.
“Our audience have picked some of the most charming and picturesque places you can visit in Scotland and it’s a delight to be able to showcase some of these places.”
Each area in the running holds its own unique character and iconic landmarks that make it stand out from others, whether it be a distillery site or scenic beach. With Balmoral Castle and the Cairngorms National Park, it has come as “no surprise” to Councillor Peter Argyle that two towns in his district, Ballater and Braemar, have been shortlisted.
Mr Argyle, who represents the Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside area on Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Both villages are fabulous and well deserving of being among the finalists and hopefully one receives the ultimate title.
“With the combination of iconic historical landmarks and stunning landscapes, it’s great to see that people have recognised this and voted.
“I hope this encourages more people to visit both Ballater and Braemar. You can really appreciate the beauty of the areas and their scenery when witnessed first-hand.”
Crovie is a fishing village which is known as one of the best preserved in Europe and Pennan is a dolphin watching hot spot.
Stonehaven and Lower Deeside’s Wendy Agnew added: “I’m extremely delighted and thank everyone who voted for Stonehaven.
“An advantage of the area is its uniqueness, boasting uninterrupted panoramic views from the north looking south towards the iconic war memorial and behind it the remains of Dunnottar Castle. Stonehaven is a friendly town with many attractions for people of all ages and is very welcoming to those visiting.”
For more information or to vote visit hiddenscotland.co/ scotlands-most-beautiful-town