Many travelers think of Edinburgh or Glasgow when Scotland comes to mind, but the historical old city of Aberdeen is a worthwhile attraction in its own right. The sparkling building stone found on many of the castles and churches here make the city light up during the day, and the city is often referred to as the "Flower of Scotland" for its variety of parks and gardens.
Visit the beautiful buildings and high-end shops on Union Street, Aberdeen's main street, try authentic Scottish dishes at the restaurants around St. Nicholas Square, and at night, hit the clubs around Belmont Street.
Also be sure to check out some these main cultural and historical attractions that have made Aberdeen so popular:
- Aberdeen Art Gallery: This free art gallery features a number of impressionist pieces and modern works from some of the finest artists of Scotland, both past and present.
- The Maritime Museum: One of the most popular attractions in Scotland, this museum gives visitors a closer look into the mechanics of ships and oilrigs, as well as the extensive maritime history of Aberdeen.
- Bohemian Quarter: Head to the areas around Belmont Street for vast warehouses full of old books, vintage clothing stores, and authentic Scottish pubs with local music most nights.
- Try the Cuisine: Haggis is just one of the many dishes that is native to Scotland.
- The Lemon Tree: An alternative theater venue with performances ranging from rock shows to improv comedy, this entertainment venue has become one of the most popular in the city.
- University of Aberdeen: One of the largest and oldest universities in the UK, the university offers free daily tours of the sprawling and beautiful campus.
Whenever you decide to visit Aberdeen, there's bound to be a major event-taking place! Listen to spoken word poetry and book readings from some of the best writers in Scotland and the world during the Aberdeen Word Festival in May, sample Scottish cuisine from top chefs in the country during the Thainstone Taste of Grampian in June, or enjoy the folk singers and free instrument lessons at the Stonehaven Folk Festival in July.
Whether you want to be in the middle of downtown or more removed in the Scottish countryside, there's a vacation rental that will put you within close proximity of all the city has to offer. Choose from a vast array of properties ranging from condos just steps from Belmont Street and all the activity of downtown, to apartments in the leafy suburbs just outside of Aberdeen.
If you have some extra time to explore the area, use Aberdeen's extensive and reliable public transportation to visit many of Scotland's most famous attractions just outside of the city. Take a 20-minute trip and play 18 holes at the Royal Aberdeen golf course, the sixth oldest golf course in the world, sample whiskey at the array of distilleries 30 miles north of the city known as the Malt Whisky Trail, or visit the Drum and Dunnottar castles that are 45 miles outside of Aberdeen.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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