Scotland is known for its Highlands and golf and gorgeous scenery, but lately its cities have been getting a lot of attention from international travelers as well. Sure, this is where to come to buy kilts and eat haggis if you want to tread in the cultural clichés, but urban Scotland is fast emerging as an important player on the global scene. Edinburgh in particular gets filled to the brim with festival-goers every August and the parties go all night.
What To Do
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and second largest city, but it’s the main tourist hub. The city is fairly compact, but it’s crammed with enough palaces and castles and cathedrals and squares to keep any history or architecture buff busy for days. And after dark Edinburgh really turns into something special. The city has long been a center of literature and culture, but now there are clubs and bars and other amusements that will impress even jaded residents of London
Glasgow is the largest city and while not as historic as Edinburgh, it does have more than its fair share of museums and other fascinating sights. The city’s center has been revitalized and is attracting travelers for its excellent shopping as well as restaurant and nightlife scene. But don’t neglect the Highlands. This district in the northwest is home to amazing scenery, Loch Ness, and the Great Glen.
Being near the border with England, many travelers arrive by in Edinburgh by train from England. But if you are coming from elsewhere you’ll want to book a flight into Glasgow International Airport (code: GLA). It’s the largest in the country and good deals are often available. There is another smaller and more remote airport, Gatwick Prestwick (code: PIK) that some budget carriers use so it’s worth comparing prices. You can also book a flight into Edinburgh International Airport (code: EDI), which is especially popular for flights from London and other closer cities.
Where To Stay
There are plenty of hostels scattered throughout Scotland, and especially in Edinburgh and Glasgow. There are obviously hotels in Edinburgh and in Glasgow as well, and they tend to get booked up early, particularly in the busy summer months and during festival season, so plan ahead.