For centuries prior to the collapse of local marine fisheries in the 1900s, Portlethen Village derived its livelihood from use of small oceangoing wooden boats in pursuit of North Sea fish. It also has a small public house called The Neuk.
It has been noted that Portlethen Village once had a castle nearby similar of that to the one in Muchalls. Legend has it that Portlethen castle had a secret underground cave leading to the sea likewise to the one at Muchalls Castle. No one is sure why this 17th-century building exists no more. It stood at the site of the Mains of Portlethen farm as remains of the castle's walls are present in the farmhouse. The castle may have been L-Plan likewise most castles in the area such as Muchalls. The castle was built by Robert Buchan, who owned the estate of Portlethen in the 17th century.