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Cute fishing villages. Sprawling beaches. Quirky buildings. Lobster pots and fish and chips. These are the things visitors expect from a weekend in the East Neuk of Fife. What they don't expect to see is somewhere that can bring you back down to earth while feeding their senses with incredible, modern experiences but without the masses.

Often regarded as one of Scotland's most beautiful areas, the East Neuk is scattered with iconic harbour villages, golden beaches, sea views, historical ruins and a network of stunning pathways. But for those looking to step beyond the trodden visitor path, we have a few recommendations for how to spend a weekend in this hidden gem.

If it's head space you're needing, Elie Seaside Sauna - perched on the dunes at Elie Harbour - provides an off-grid escape perfect for a digital detox or just a relaxing place to chat with friends. The sauna is angled towards the setting sun and the full-length glass side overlooks the marram grass of the dune, over to Elie beach and beyond. Heavenly.

You may have enjoyed your fair share of fish and chips by the beach, but have you tried the toasties from the Cheesy Toasty Shack at Kingsbarns Beach? Open at weekends, their signature cheese toasties warm the soul and have become a local staple for dog walkers and wild swimmers alike.

Next door to Kingsbarns Beach is the magical Cambo Estate and if you're lucky enough to visit in January, the Snowdrop Festival is a must. The estate offers enough activities to fill a day trip, between the cafe, gardens, woodland walks, golf course and tours of the their Kingsbarns Distillery and Visitor Centre.

A favourite hang-out for our Cow Shedders is the wondrous Bowhouse market, open on Saturdays and Sundays and hosts a wide selection of local food and drinks makers all under one covered roof. The market is free to enter and is always bustling with locals and visitors alike, pulling in a range of traders from local fruit and veg farmers, to charcuteries, smoked fish, artisan bakers, coffee roasteries and a menagerie of cakes and condiments. We are yet to leave empty handed.

We can't talk about local food without coming back to fish, and for those after a really exciting sit-in or takeaway option we recommend visiting East Pier in St Monans. It's a rustic experience - takeaway food is served in cardboard boxes and cutlery is made available for anyone 'desperate for such fripperies'. But you need to read the menu to get a real sense of what's in store. With 'fresh local lobster made by someone who cares' and 'whole seabass, hot-smoked until the skin is the colour of tarnished bronze' it's a little wonder this is the place everyone's talking about.

If your visit isn't just about food and drink and hanging out at the beach, the Fife Coastal Path provides 63 miles of epic coastal walks (from Kincardine in the Firth of Forth to Newburgh in the Firth of Tay) which takes roughly 5 days to complete. Fortunately, there are plenty of fishing villages and towns where you can stop off and and rest your weary legs. Feel free to pick our brains about where to eat and drink along the coastal path and we'll do our best to find you a hidden gem.

Thinking about this area, 'Neuk' is the Scots word for nook or corner, but there's no feeling that anyone wants to get out of Fife's famous corner. On the contrary, everyone is trying to get in and we know exactly why!

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