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15 Greatest Cities in Scotland To Go to in 2023

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Scotland is among the world’s most sought-after places. The northernmost nation of the UK is thought for its tales of Scottish kings and queens, patriotic sense of tradition, and artistic abilities. And whereas rural areas just like the Scottish Highlands have engaging, windswept views, cities in Scotland are among the greatest locations to embrace Scottish life – previous and current. You’ll discover museums, galleries, eating places, hikes, and historical past galore.

The Very Greatest Cities and Cities in Scotland

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This information will cowl the perfect cities in Scotland, with just a few of probably the most unmissable cities sprinkled in for good measure. Scotland’s cities and cities are internationally famend, which is unbelievable contemplating that some have such small populations. Excited? Try to be. Let’s get began.

1. Edinburgh

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Edinburgh is the plain beginning place when planning to go to Scotland. The capital metropolis of Scotland is probably the most well-known of all of the cities within the nation. It is stuffed with historic buildings and wealthy historical past. Edinburgh is an exquisite metropolis with a photogenic metropolis middle. You’ll have to dedicate time simply to stroll the streets in Edinburgh Previous City – belief us, you’ll be determined to maximise time on the cobbled streets with Edinburgh Fort above you.

Once you aren’t within the Previous City or visiting Edinburgh Fort, there are many different actions in Edinburgh. Because the second largest metropolis in Scotland, it has probably the greatest attraction scenes and a vigorous ambiance, added to by Edinburgh College. We advocate mountain climbing the brief stroll to Arthur’s Seat for dawn or sundown, procuring on the Royal Mile, climbing the Scott Monument, and visiting the Sheep Heid (one in every of Scotland’s oldest pubs).

Edinburgh was all the time assured a spot on our listing. The enduring capital metropolis is just not solely one of the lovely cities in Scotland but additionally one of the thrilling for numerous sights and issues to do. Edinburgh is definitely accessed by worldwide guests. Additionally it is well-connected to London by prepare in case you are touring from England.

Learn extra of our Edinburgh guides

2. Aberdeen

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Aberdeen is the third most populous metropolis (take a look at the official Aberdeen inhabitants right here) and probably the greatest cities in Scotland. Aberdeen is thought for being a port metropolis positioned on the shores of the North Sea. Town can be famend for producing native granite and has an industrial however cosmopolitan ambiance. Its historical past of granite manufacturing has given town centre a particular look, with eye-catching silvery-grey buildings which might be gorgeous to admire whereas wandering round on foot.

One of the best issues to do in Aberdeen embody visiting Duthie Park, the Gordon Highlanders Museum, St Machar’s Cathedral, and Aberdeen Artwork Gallery. Town has a mix of outside and indoor sights, with loads of museums and historic sights. Total, Aberdeen gained a spot on this information for its sense of character and lingering industrial historical past.

3. Glasgow

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Glasgow has a popularity for being Scotland’s ‘different metropolis’, often coming second behind Edinburgh. Nonetheless, over the previous few a long time, Glasgow has actually come into its personal, and it’s now thought-about probably the greatest cities in Scotland. Glasgow is located inland, slightly below Loch Lomond and The Trossachs Nationwide Park, and ideal for nation day journeys. Town has numerous museums. It’s Scotland’s largest citiy, providing loads of leisure to sink your enamel into. Glasgow has nice inexperienced house, too, with the River Clyde operating by means of town centre and parks like Glasgow Inexperienced, Richmond Park, and Pollok Nation Park.

One of the best issues to do in Glasgow are Glasgow Cathedral, Kelvingrove Artwork Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Science Centre, George Sq., and the Folks’s Palace. Whereas if you’d like a extra laidback expertise, you’ll be able to spend an hour or two hopping between the outlets and nice eating places within the bustling metropolis centre. Glasgow has a various and fast-paced ambiance, touchdown it in our information.

4. Perth

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Perth is a riverside metropolis located alongside the banks of the River Tay. It’s a lovely metropolis with a regal ambiance and distinguished historic structure. Perth is nicknamed the ‘Truthful Metropolis’ of Scotland as a consequence of its shut hyperlinks to Scottish royalty all through historical past. Earlier than Edinburgh rose to stardom, Perth was Scotland’s capital metropolis till round 1452. Many contemplate it Scotland’s ‘first metropolis,’ dwelling to many traditions and historic occasions. For example, the Stone of Future was housed at Scone Abbey, and plenty of monarchs have been topped there within the metropolis’s youthful years. For these all in favour of Scottish historical past and royalty, a go to to Perth needs to be on the playing cards.

One of the best issues to do in Perth are to go to Elcho Fort, Branklyn Backyard, Black Watch Museum, Fergusson Gallery, and Perth Museum and Artwork Gallery. In fact, to understand town’s royal historical past to the fullest, a go to to Scone Palace can be a should. The palace has over 1,000 years of historical past and was the designated crowning place of Scottish kings. As you might have guessed, Perth’s shut ties to Scottish royalty and royal historical past earned it a high place in our information. It’s a distinctive and interesting small metropolis to go to in Scotland.

5. Dundee

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Dundee is one other metropolis on the jap coast of Scotland and a unbelievable place to go to. Dundee is the fourth largest metropolis within the nation and well-known for its inventive industries, being a UNESCO Metropolis of Design and internet hosting the one V&A museum, not in London. In order for you a dynamic expertise in a Scottish metropolis with numerous artwork, design, and artistic tradition, Dundee is the one for you. Its inventive tradition makes it one of the thrilling cities in Scotland and has secured it a spot in our information.

So, what’s there to do in Dundee? Briefly, quite a bit. You possibly can go to the Discovery Level and RRS Discovery, Up to date Arts Museum, Glamis Fort, Scotland’s Jute Museum, Dundee Science Centre, and Mcmanus Artwork Gallery & Museum. Prioritize a go to to Dundee’s artwork museums, that are unbelievable locations to spend a moist and windy day.

6. Stirling

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Stirling is among the most historic cities in Scotland and a massively photogenic metropolis break. Stirling is thought for its political historical past – be that the crowning of Mary Queen of Scots or rebellions in opposition to the English. Town is laid out with Stirling Fort on an remoted crag above Stirling Previous City and the spire of the Nationwide Wallace Monument on Abbey Craig. Talking of William Wallace, Stirling additionally overlooks the battleground of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, the place William defeated the English in 1297. Stirling is a legendary metropolis – full of tales of fights for Scottish independence and massively related to the Scottish warrior hero William Wallace. The quantity of emotionally participating Scottish historical past in Stirling assured it a spot on this information.

The Nationwide Wallace Monument is Stirling’s hottest attraction and hosts quite a few reveals in reminiscence of William Wallace. Probably the most prized artifact is Wallace’s longsword, which is an enormous 1.63 meters in size. Other than the monument, the perfect issues to do in Stirling embody visiting Stirling Fort, the Holy Impolite, Previous City Jail, and Robert the Bruce Statue. Spend at the least two days in Stirling, as this metropolis has quite a bit to unpack.

7. Inverness

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Inverness is one other metropolis central to Scottish historical past. The small metropolis is among the most northern Scottish cities and is only a brief drive away from Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield. These two sights draw most individuals to Inverness, with Loch Ness rumored to be the house of an ideal sea monster and the Culloden Battlefield, the hallowed final standpoint of the Jacobite Rebellion. A go to to Inverness is coming head to head with darkish tales and tragic historical past. It is among the greatest locations in Scotland to study in regards to the historical past of the UK and formative years in Scotland.

Other than visiting Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield, you could possibly tour Urquhart Fort. This fairytale-like citadel is positioned simply an hour’s drive north of Inverness, making it an easy day journey. Within the metropolis, there’s additionally Inverness Fort, Inverness Cathedral, the Ness Islands, and the notorious Leakey’s Bookshop.

Learn extra about visiting Inverness

8. Fort William

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Fort William is technically a city, however it’s such a major spot within the Highlands we needed to embody it. It’s a gateway to Ben Nevis, Loch Linnhe, and Scotland’s main snowboarding scene. Mountain climbing lovers will adore staying in Fort William as Ben Nevis is the very best peak within the UK – recognized all world wide. Whereas in winter, skiers descend on town to benefit from the slopes. Fort William can be simple to go to if you wish to expertise the Highlands with out renting a automobile, as it’s related to Glasgow and Edinburgh by public transport.

Fort William is an thrilling city in Scotland and probably the greatest locations for out of doors adventures within the UK. Whether or not you wish to go mountain climbing, snowboarding, or fishing, it’s a peaceable however adventurous vacation spot. And, whenever you aren’t conserving lively, you’ll be able to calm down within the quaint streets with loads of unbiased outlets and cafes. There’s additionally the West Highland Museum and Ben Nevis Whiskey Distillery to discover.

9. Kirkwall

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Like Fort William, Kirkwall lacks the Scottish metropolis standing. Nonetheless, this city has quite a bit to supply – beginning with a singular location on the Orkney Islands, north of the Scottish mainland. Kirkwall is the biggest city on the Orkney Islands and was initially a Norse settlement. These days, it has a inhabitants of round 7,000 individuals and is a picturesque little port ‘capital’ of the archipelago. It’s nonetheless stuffed with Viking historical past and character, although.

Kirkwall’s placing location and attention-grabbing historical past bagged it a spot in our information. Nonetheless, it has some sensible sights as nicely. One of the best issues to do in Kirkwall embody visiting the St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney Museum, Highland Park Whisky Distillery, Ring of Brodgar, and Orkney Wi-fi Museum.

Kirkwall is a superb alternative if you’d like a lesser-visited, distinctive vacation spot in Scotland. Kirkwall is greatest reached by ferry, and common ferry providers depart off the north shoreline – what higher solution to channel your inside Viking?

10. Portree

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Portree has an identical vibe to Kirkwall, regardless of being simpler to achieve. Portree is the biggest city (and unofficial capital) on the Isle of Skye. It’s reached by crossing over a big bridge connecting the island to the mainland. It’s thought-about the gateway to all Skye has to supply – together with the magical Previous Man of Storr hike – and is characterised by its famed row of colourful homes overlooking the harbor. For a cute, slow-paced introduction to Scottish island life, Portree is an easy and delightful possibility. It’s ideally suited for individuals who wish to keep on the primary vacationer trails however get off the Scottish mainland.

One of the best issues to do in Portree embody visiting the enduring harbor, the Lump, and mountain climbing the Scorrybreac Path. In fact, you must benefit from Portree’s location to discover the Isle of Skye, with sights just like the Fairy Swimming pools, Kilt Rock, Mealt Falls, An Corran Seaside, and Fairy Glenn inside driving distance. Portree made our listing as the perfect city to make use of as a base to expertise the Isle of Skye.

11. Oban

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Oban is a big city in Argyll and Bute. It’s a resort hotspot, with its inhabitants ballooning every summer time with the drastic inflow of visiting vacationers. Oban wears many caps; some check with it as Scotland’s seafood capital, and others because the gateway to the Western Highlands or Hebridean Isles. No matter you select to affiliate Oban with, you’ll benefit from the port views and gorgeous ruins on Battery Hill above the city centre.

Issues to do in Oban embody visiting McCaig’s Tower and Battery Hill, going whisky tasting at Oban Distillery, stress-free on Ganavan Sands, and exploring Gylen Fort, Dunstaffnage Fort, and Dunollie Museum. Oban has numerous historical past and is extremely walkable. It’s lovely and compact – good for individuals who desire a Scottish city with which they’ll rapidly turn into acquainted. Oban can be ideally suited for taking day journeys from close by Scottish islands when you really feel extra adventurous. The most well-liked are Lismore, Mull, and Iona.

Learn extra about Oban

12. Ayr

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Ayr is an exquisite place to go to in Scotland and is called a summer time holiday-style vacation spot, with lengthy sandy seashores and that barely tacky seaside attraction. The city is walkable and stuffed with enjoyable. For these all in favour of poetry, Ayr additionally has a declare to fame by means of Robert Burns, Scotland’s nationwide bard. Robert was born in Ayr, and you’ll go to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum throughout your keep.

Ayr is a ‘seaside city’ getaway. Nonetheless, it isn’t simply arcades and seashores – which is why it made it onto our listing. Ayr has many sights, akin to Burns Cottage, Alloway Auld Kirk, Rozelle Property, Belleisle Conservatory, and the Wallace Tower. It additionally has a robust sense of tradition by means of its literature hyperlinks to Robert Burns. For a lighthearted, enjoyable seashore getaway, Ayr has some good sightseeing to steadiness out the seashore days.

13. St Andrews

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St Andrews sits on Scotland’s east coast, simply above Edinburgh. The city has many constructive qualities. Nonetheless, it’s most recognized for its golf programs and unbelievable {golfing} tournaments. St Andrew’s most famed golf course is the Royal and Historic Golf Membership of St Andrews, which you’ll ebook to go to. St Andrews can be recognized for its college, so whenever you aren’t on a golf course, you’ll be able to expertise a sociable, youthful nightlife.

Additional sights in St Andrews embody St Andrews Museum, St Andrews Fort, the Wardlaw Museum, and (to not stray too removed from its {golfing} id) the R&A World Golf Museum. You can even go to the Previous Course, which homes an historic 18-hole course based within the fifteenth century.

14. Dunfermline

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Searching for extra royal historical past and perception into early Scottish life? Dunfermline acted as one other capital metropolis of Scotland, protecting the time interval between Perth and Edinburgh. The city was favored within the reign of Malcolm III and was seen as a royal stronghold. These days, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover Dunfermline Abbey and Palace, albeit in ruins. It’s a unbelievable metropolis to flee the crowds of Edinburgh but nonetheless embrace royal historical past and notable structure. This steadiness of a lesser-trodden vacation spot with famend sights gained Dunfermline a spot in our information.

You possibly can go to the Dunfermline Abbey and Palace, take a stroll in Pittencrief Park, or cease by the Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries. On town outskirts, Townhill Nation Park can be gorgeous to stroll round on a sunny day. Dunfermline is a a lot quieter metropolis to expertise in comparison with others on our listing, and you’ll simply sightsee all the metropolis centres in a day or two.

15. Falkirk

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One other vacation spot simply exterior of Edinburgh, Falkirk is a city most famed for its colossal statue of kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel. The Kelpies are two large horse heads depicting a Scottish mythological legend that drew males into water to drown. The 30-meter-high statues are fabricated from metal and are fittingly set subsequent to water options in true conserving with Scottish legends. Falkirk is extremely related to its relationship to water. It’s proper subsequent to a sequence of canals, together with the Union and Forth, and Clyde canals. The Falkirk Wheel famously connects these two with a rotating boat elevate system.

Falkirk is an excellent place to go to and expertise extra residential life in Scotland. The city is greatest skilled by the canal – who is aware of, you’ll be courageous sufficient to sort out the Falkirk Wheel. You possibly can keep a few nights within the city centre after which ebook a few nights on a canal vacation, exploring the environment independently by boat.

Scotland FAQs

Scotland Cities FAQ TeamJiX

What are the 7 most important cities in Scotland?

The primary cities in Scotland are Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, and Stirling. These cities are all essential centres of inhabitants, tradition, and business in Scotland, and every has its personal distinctive character and historical past.

What’s Scotland’s largest metropolis?

Glasgow is the biggest metropolis in Scotland when it comes to inhabitants. It has a inhabitants of roughly 600,000 individuals and is positioned on the River Clyde within the nation’s west-central lowlands.

What number of cities are in Scotland UK?

There are roughly 79 cities in Scotland. Among the largest and most well-known cities in Scotland embody Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee.

Which metropolis is extra lovely in Scotland?

It’s tough to find out which metropolis in Scotland is probably the most lovely, as magnificence is subjective and completely different individuals might have completely different opinions. That being stated, there are a lot of cities in Scotland which might be recognized for his or her pure magnificence and historic allure. Some cities which might be continuously cited as being notably lovely embody Edinburgh, with its citadel and historic Royal Mile; Inverness, positioned within the Scottish Highlands and recognized for its pure magnificence; and St Andrews, a coastal metropolis recognized for its lovely seashores and historic college.

To Conclude

Scotland is a massively widespread nation within the UK, and after listening to extra about its greatest cities, you now know why. Scotland’s cities and cities make up the numerous hearts of the nation. A metropolis break is an ideal solution to immerse your self in Scottish tradition.

Have an exquisite journey to Scotland. And in case you have additional time, why not mix a metropolis break with the North Coast 500 street journey?

Plan Your Subsequent Journey to Scotland With These Sources

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