15 Greatest Cities in Scotland To Go to in 2023

Scotland is among the world’s most sought-after areas. The northernmost nation of the UK is understood for its tales of Scottish kings and queens, patriotic sense of tradition, and inventive skills. And whereas rural areas just like the Scottish Highlands have engaging, windswept views, cities in Scotland are a number of the finest 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

This information will cowl the most effective cities in Scotland, with a number of 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? You need to be. Let’s get began.

1. Edinburgh

Best cities in Scotland Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the apparent 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 attractive metropolis with a photogenic metropolis heart. You’ll must dedicate time simply to stroll the streets in Edinburgh Outdated City – belief us, you’ll be determined to maximise time on the cobbled streets with Edinburgh Fortress above you.

Whenever you aren’t within the Outdated City or visiting Edinburgh Fortress, there are many different actions in Edinburgh. Because the second largest metropolis in Scotland, it has among the best attraction scenes and a vigorous ambiance, added to by Edinburgh College. We suggest climbing the quick stroll to Arthur’s Seat for dawn or sundown, purchasing on the Royal Mile, climbing the Scott Monument, and visiting the Sheep Heid (considered one of Scotland’s oldest pubs).

Edinburgh was all the time assured a spot on our listing. The enduring capital metropolis shouldn’t be solely some of the stunning cities in Scotland but additionally some of the thrilling for varied points of interest and issues to do. Edinburgh is well accessed by worldwide guests. It’s also well-connected to London by practice in case you are touring from England.

Learn extra of our Edinburgh guides

2. Aberdeen

Top Cities in Scotland Aberdeen

Aberdeen is the third most populous metropolis (take a look at the official Aberdeen inhabitants right here) and among the best cities in Scotland. Aberdeen is understood for being a port metropolis situated on the shores of the North Sea. Town can also 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.

The very best issues to do in Aberdeen embrace visiting Duthie Park, the Gordon Highlanders Museum, St Machar’s Cathedral, and Aberdeen Artwork Gallery. Town has a mix of out of doors and indoor points of interest, with loads of museums and historic points of interest. Total, Aberdeen received a spot on this information for its sense of character and lingering industrial historical past.

3. Glasgow

Best Cities in Scotland Glasgow

Glasgow has a fame for being Scotland’s ‘different metropolis’, repeatedly coming second behind Edinburgh. Nonetheless, over the previous few many years, Glasgow has actually come into its personal, and it’s now thought-about among the best cities in Scotland. Glasgow is located inland, just below Loch Lomond and The Trossachs Nationwide Park, and excellent 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 area, too, with the River Clyde operating by town centre and parks like Glasgow Inexperienced, Richmond Park, and Pollok Nation Park.

The very best issues to do in Glasgow are Glasgow Cathedral, Kelvingrove Artwork Gallery and Museum, Glasgow Science Centre, George Sq., and the Individuals’s Palace. Whereas in order for you a extra laidback expertise, you possibly can spend an hour or two hopping between the retailers and nice eating places within the bustling metropolis centre. Glasgow has a various and fast-paced ambiance, touchdown it in our information.

4. Perth

Best Cities in Scotland Perth

Perth is a riverside metropolis located alongside the banks of the River Tay. It’s a stunning metropolis with a regal ambiance and distinguished historic structure. Perth is nicknamed the ‘Truthful Metropolis’ of Scotland on account 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 take into account it Scotland’s ‘first metropolis,’ dwelling to many traditions and historic occasions. For example, the Stone of Future was housed at Scone Abbey, and lots of monarchs have been topped there within the metropolis’s youthful years. For these concerned about Scottish historical past and royalty, a go to to Perth must be on the playing cards.

The very best issues to do in Perth are to go to Elcho Fortress, Branklyn Backyard, Black Watch Museum, Fergusson Gallery, and Perth Museum and Artwork Gallery. After all, to understand town’s royal historical past to the fullest, a go to to Scone Palace can also be a should. The palace has over 1,000 years of historical past and was the designated crowning place of Scottish kings. As you will 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

Beautiful Scotland cities Dundee

Dundee is one other metropolis on the japanese 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. If you’d like a dynamic expertise in a Scottish metropolis with plenty of artwork, design, and inventive tradition, Dundee is the one for you. Its inventive tradition makes it some 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 Fortress, 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

Best Cities in Scotland Stirling

Stirling is among the most historic cities in Scotland and a massively photogenic metropolis break. Stirling is understood 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 Fortress on an remoted crag above Stirling Outdated 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 partaking 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 a large 1.63 meters in size. Other than the monument, the most effective issues to do in Stirling embrace visiting Stirling Fortress, the Holy Impolite, Outdated City Jail, and Robert the Bruce Statue. Spend a minimum of two days in Stirling, as this metropolis has quite a bit to unpack.

7. Inverness

Best Cities in Scotland Inverness

Inverness is one other metropolis central to Scottish historical past. The small metropolis is among the most northern Scottish cities and is only a quick drive away from Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield. These two points of interest draw most individuals to Inverness, with Loch Ness rumored to be the house of an incredible 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 finest locations in Scotland to study in regards to the historical past of the UK and adolescence in Scotland.

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

Learn extra about visiting Inverness

8. Fort William

Best Scottish Cities and Towns Fort William

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

Fort William is an thrilling city in Scotland and among the best locations for outside adventures within the UK. Whether or not you need to go climbing, snowboarding, or fishing, it’s a peaceable however adventurous vacation spot. And, while you aren’t preserving lively, you possibly can chill out within the quaint streets with loads of impartial retailers and cafes. There’s additionally the West Highland Museum and Ben Nevis Whiskey Distillery to discover.

9. Kirkwall

Best Scotland Cities Kirkwall

Like Fort William, Kirkwall lacks the Scottish metropolis standing. Nonetheless, this city has quite a bit to supply – beginning with a novel 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 good points of interest as properly. The very best issues to do in Kirkwall embrace visiting the St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney Museum, Highland Park Whisky Distillery, Ring of Brodgar, and Orkney Wi-fi Museum.

Kirkwall is a superb alternative in order for you a lesser-visited, distinctive vacation spot in Scotland. Kirkwall is finest reached by ferry, and common ferry companies depart off the north shoreline – what higher strategy to channel your inside Viking?

10. Portree

Scotland Cities Portree

Portree has an identical vibe to Kirkwall, regardless of being simpler to succeed in. 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 Outdated 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 a simple and exquisite choice. It’s excellent for individuals who need to keep on the primary vacationer trails however get off the Scottish mainland.

The very best issues to do in Portree embrace visiting the long-lasting harbor, the Lump, and climbing the Scorrybreac Path. After all, it’s best to make the most of Portree’s location to discover the Isle of Skye, with points of interest 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 most effective city to make use of as a base to expertise the Isle of Skye.

11. Oban

Scottish cities Oban

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 discuss 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 embrace visiting McCaig’s Tower and Battery Hill, going whisky tasting at Oban Distillery, stress-free on Ganavan Sands, and exploring Gylen Fortress, Dunstaffnage Fortress, and Dunollie Museum. Oban has plenty of historical past and is very walkable. It’s stunning and compact – good for individuals who need a Scottish city with which they’ll shortly grow to be acquainted. Oban can also be excellent for taking day journeys from close by Scottish islands if you happen to really feel extra adventurous. The most well-liked are Lismore, Mull, and Iona.

Learn extra about Oban

12. Ayr

Best Cities in Scotland Ayr

Ayr is an attractive 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 enchantment. The city is walkable and stuffed with enjoyable. For these concerned about poetry, Ayr additionally has a declare to fame by Robert Burns, Scotland’s nationwide bard. Robert was born in Ayr, and you may 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 points of interest, comparable to Burns Cottage, Alloway Auld Kirk, Rozelle Property, Belleisle Conservatory, and the Wallace Tower. It additionally has a powerful sense of tradition by its literature hyperlinks to Robert Burns. For a lighthearted, enjoyable seaside getaway, Ayr has some good sightseeing to steadiness out the seaside days.

13. St Andrews

Best Cities in Scotland St Andrews

St Andrews sits on Scotland’s east coast, simply above Edinburgh. The city has many optimistic qualities. Nonetheless, it’s most identified 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 be able to guide to go to. St Andrews can also be identified for its college, so while you aren’t on a golf course, you possibly can expertise a sociable, youthful nightlife.

Additional points of interest in St Andrews embrace St Andrews Museum, St Andrews Fortress, the Wardlaw Museum, and (to not stray too removed from its {golfing} identification) the R&A World Golf Museum. You can too go to the Outdated Course, which homes an historic 18-hole course based within the fifteenth century.

14. Dunfermline

Best Cities in Scotland Dunfermline

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 possibly can 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 points of interest received 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 also 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 may simply sightsee the entire metropolis centres in a day or two.

15. Falkirk

Cities in Scotland Falkirk

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

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

Scotland FAQs

Scotland Cities FAQ

What are the 7 important cities in Scotland?

The principle 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 situated 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. A number of the largest and most well-known cities in Scotland embrace Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee.

Which metropolis is extra stunning in Scotland?

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

To Conclude

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

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

Plan Your Subsequent Journey to Scotland With These Assets

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