The Top 5 Cities to Visit in Scotland
Updated: Sep 7
Believe it or not, the cities of Scotland are quite progressive or advanced and no longer tied to a reputation for fried food and grey buildings. Aside from the fine dining restaurants, there are galleries and coffee shops on every corner, and more than enough attractions for visitors to stay for two or three days in each one.
But what cities should you actually prioritize on a trip to Scotland?
Let’s take a look at the top five cities in Scotland…
The Top 5 Cities to Visit in Scotland
Edinburgh is arguably the most prestigious city in Scotland and best known for having medieval roots and an especially large student population. Situated on the side of a rocky series of hills, the town is also aesthetically appealing, with ancient tenement-style buildings and youthful faces at every turn. For this reason, you have a distinct mix of old and new, and a contemporary atmosphere in what many refer to as the “Athens of the North”. It’s true, an imposing castle and city walls are matched by an equally impressive parliament building which brings a great sense of glamour to the skyline. Meanwhile, the busy pubs and clubs produce a lively atmosphere and there are few cities in Europe that manage to offer something for everyone in the same way as the city of Edinburgh.
Stirling is located right on top of an extinct volcano and consists of a beautiful old town with cobblestone streets. At the very focal point of these streets, you will find an incredible castle and unrivaled views of the surrounding city. Meanwhile, the William Wallace memorial is always busy with tourists wanting to pay homage to the hero from “Braveheart” and not far away is the famous battle ground on which Robert the Bruce defeated the English. Anyway, the point is, Stirling is steeped in history and this is one that you can actually see as you wander through the city. That being said, Stirling is also home to a modern center with anything and everything that any visitor could ever need!
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and most often viewed as a rather industrial urban area. However, things have changed significantly over the past twenty years and a certain style seems to have taken over the city streets during this time. That is to say, Glasgow has also embraced quite a contemporary image with designers stores and high-end coffee shops cropping up on every corner of the city center. At the same time, the Scottish capital is still best known for having a friendly reputation and the locals are often the most colorful encounter according to those who visit the city. As with Edinburgh, you will find several impressive art galleries, theaters and things to do in Glasgow, while the city nightlife is just as vibrant as anywhere you are likely to visit.
Aberdeen is another city in Scotland that’s busy shaking off the shackles of the past.
But what do I mean by that exactly?
I mean that a once working class city is now a powerhouse which is largely due to the petroleum industry in the north sea. For this reason, Aberdeen is also an expensive city and home to a thriving cafe culture and plethora of places to eat or drink.
For visitors, there are many attractions including the Aberdeen Art Gallery, Dunnottar Castle and the Maritime Museum. Meanwhile, most of the architecture is granite based which brings a rather grey appearance to an otherwise pleasant and colorful city. Meanwhile, Union Square offers a great shopping experience and just outside the city, you will find a nice lineup of sandy beaches which feels quite unusual for Scotland.
Inverness is situated next to the mighty river which flows into Loch Ness, the lake famous for being home to the Loch Ness monster. As you can imagine, this makes Inverness a very popular city for tourists and an excellent selection of bars and restaurants in particular take advantage of this influx. Founded in the 12th Century by King David, this is also a medieval city with ancient churches, walls and buildings at every turn. However, away from these famous landmarks, you should also find that Inverness is one of the most picturesque cities in the United Kingdom, not to mention Scotland.
As you can see, Scotland has more than a few exciting cities to explore but with something slightly different in each one, there is every reason to visit them all!
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