John O'Groats has been branded a "seedy tourist trap" in a new edition of the backpackers' bible, Lonely Planet.
The much-photographed signpost at John O'Groats
The guide also disputes John O'Groats' label of "Britain's most northerly tip", claiming that honour goes to nearby Dunnet Head.
But Deborah Fermor, manager of John O'Groats Ferries, disputed the "tourist trap" label.
The guide is more positive about Scotland's cities, which it said had been transformed by urban renewal.
Glasgow is described as "the highlight of any trip to Scotland".
"It is almost a byword for style and chic," the book goes on.
Edinburgh "has a magic that seldom fails to captivate visitors... it is no exaggeration to describe it as one of the most loveable cities on the planet".
Aberdeen has become a "vibrant, prosperous place" with "excellent boisterous nightlife".
Dundee may not be a fashionable destination yet but "anyone interested in urban renewal or authentic Scottish cities will find plenty here".
Inverness is described as boasting a "striking location" whose people are "invariably friendly" to visitors.
'Honest and direct'
Author David Else said they had adopted a more positive approach after complaints last year when a Lonely Planet guide described Scotland as a sectarian-ridden society full of binge-drinking anti-English whingers.
"But we also encourage our authors to be honest and direct and if that's what they found about John O'Groats then that's what they found," he said.
Referring to the outpost, the guide says: "If John was a person, he'd be a second hand car salesman or a gerrymandering politician.
The ferry pier at John O'Groats
"How else to explain the seedy tourist trap that has grown around the like that is the most northerly place in Britain.
"It's not - that title goes to Dunnet Head further west."
Ms Fermor said: "I wouldn't say it was a seedy tourist trap, we have shops here like the Woollen Mill and souvenirs too.
"It's ridiculous, these Lonely Planet authors have obviously never been here. They're just making it up or copying it from previous guides.
"It's well worth coming to John O'Groats, there's plenty to do.
"You can walk down by Duncansby Head to see the puffins and seals. The Italians especially love that."