The best cities and towns in Scotland

Inverness, photo by conner395

Scotland is a beautiful country with a famously wild and picturesque countryside, but wide open spaces are not the only thing that attract visitors to this magical place. Scotland is also known for its bustling cities teeming with cafes, restaurants, museums and pubs, with rich cultural and historic heritage. The land of bagpipes and kilts, turbulent past, warrior clans and deliciously dreary legends has all of these things spread out in its countryside, but crammed in small but strong doses in its cities too. Visiting a few of Scotland’s cities will appeal to even the most persnickety traveler, and that’s quite an achievement. Edinburgh and Glasgow are well known to everyone, but there’s more of these amazing places – here’s a list of some of the best cities and towns in Scotland.


Aberdeen, photo by Sylvain Sangla

Aberdeen goes by many names, one more intriguing than the other: the Silver City, the Rainbow City, the Granite City, which allude to the grey buildings of the city that are sometimes prone to bouts of sparkling. Another name for the city is the Flower of Scotland, thanks to its various parks and flower displays which give it an air of merriness in summer and spring. Any way you look at it, Aberdeen is a thoroughly enjoyable destination.


Dundee is the fourth largest city in Scotland, which doesn’t mean that it’s overly large – it’s a comfortable size but with not shortage of attractions. Dundee has its own dialect that might not be readily understandable to those who are no from Scotland (or the UK), but people are really friendly. Dundee is famous for its three Js – jam, journalism (home to the Beano comics) and jutes, i.e. boats importing jute from abroad.


Stirling, photo by javilopr2002

History buffs will instantly feel like they’ve arrived to history heaven as soon as they’re in Perth, the most historic city in Scotland. Stirling is the gateway to the Scottish highlands, so if that’s where you’re headed, you will probably pass through Stirling too. Stirling has an amazing castle, an old jail, an abbey and countless other historical monuments.


If you are in the Highlands, visiting Inverness is a must. This city is the beating heart of the highlands, and also the northernmost city in the British Isles. Inverness Castle is fairly new but charming nonetheless, there’s a very nice pedestrian zone, churches and art galleries. Plus, Loch Ness is only 20 miles away.

St Andrews

St Andrews, photo by wooiwoo

St Andrews is unquestionably one of the best cities and towns in Scotland, not only because it has a very old and prestigious university. The city is imbued with an unmistakable atmosphere and it has a lot to offer even to the most critical eye, especially when it comes to all manner of historic and cultural sights.

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