Although Edinburgh, Scotia’s darling seat, deserves a standing ovation for numerous reasons, it’s important not to let smaller cities slip through the cracks of our fingers. Aberdeen, graced with grey architecture and filled with history, is quite the international hub. From two popular universities and jaw dropping architecture to the beautiful Old College, the city is inundated with a myriad of fun things to see and do. Here are the top reasons why you need to visit Aberdeen over Edinburgh.
The Buildings Sparkle In The Sunlight
It’s true. Aberdeen is known as ‘The Granite City’ due to the many buildings composed of locally quarried grey granite. Some view the swathes of grey as depressing, but those with a discerning eye for architecture and optimism will note that they appear silver due to the high mica content. Such buildings were constructed during the mid-18th to the mid-20th centuries and are responsible for making Aberdeen stand out from the crowd. Marischal College, which was opened by King Edward VII in 1906, is one of the largest granite buildings in the world.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Flowers Exist In Abundance
Amidst the glorious display of grey sits an impressive amount of flowers, each sporting a kaleidoscope of colours. From two million roses and 11 million daffodils to three million crocuses, Aberdeen has been bestowed with numerous accolades for its citywide floral displays. Unsurprisingly, Aberdeen has been granted the ‘Best City’ award for the Royal Horticultural Society Britain In Bloom competition 10 times, won Scotland in Bloom 20 times and the large city category since 1968 each year.
It’s Scotland’s ‘Sun City’
Due to its dull status as the grey city, Aberdeen gets lost in preconceived notions and false perceptions. In reality, it’s one of the sunniest cities in Scotland, receiving a much higher percentage of sun than other surrounding places. This sunny deposition, combined with the fact that it boasts 45 parks and gardens, makes it almost too good to be true. Sunglasses are advised for those majestic moments when the resplendent rays bounce off the sparkling granite buildings.
There’s A Strong Chance Of Witnessing Marine Life
Like many areas of Scotland, Aberdeen is home to a superb wildlife community. From all sorts of sea birds to vast amount of large bottlenose dolphins, it’s quite the haven for nature enthusiasts. Dolphin sightings are most common from Aberdeen Beach, Torry Battery and the harbour.
The Food Is Exciting and Varied
Catering to all types of foodies, Aberdeen is graced with some fantastic little eateries, many of which are hidden away from the naked eye. For a cracking gin selection and understated chic local cuisine and seafood, look no further than Moonfish, a stone’s throw away from Union Street. Those with a penchant for ethical eateries and intimate vibes will adore the vegetarian dishes at Food Story. Folk who favour fancy and cocktails will gravitate to the eclectic eats at Fusion Bar & Bistro.
The Surfing Is An Adventure Junkie’s Dream
Believe it or not, The Deen is a dynamite spot for surfing. After all, along with tumultuous weather come enticing waves. It may not be Thurso, Scotland’s surfing capital, but it certainly possesses some surfing pizzazz. The unpredictable elements and glacial temperatures make Aberdeen Beach a rite of passage for any adventurer.
The Nightlife Is On Point
From indie venues such as The Tunnels and Drummonds hosting a string of live bands, to hip arty hangouts with fine Scottish cuisine and boozy tendencies like Musa, suave watering holes like The Albyn, and buzzing beats and live DJs at Paramount, Aberdeen is a diamond in the rough when it comes to epic nights out. You may not remember it the next day, yet this fact alone places it into the ‘memorable’ category!
It’s A Perfect Place For A Game Of Golf
It seems only fitting to play a round of golf when in Aberdeen. After all, Scotland is the birthplace of the sport. Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, with its exciting traditional links course and North Shore views, has been around since 1780 and is known as the sixth oldest club in the world. Alternatively, serious golf fanatics must venture a short car drive from Aberdeen to experience the cult classic course at Cruden Bay, with its seaside holes, par-4 14th and renowned green.
They Have Their Own Dialect
Doric, sing-songy and soothing to the soul, is the traditional local dialect in Aberdeen, along with many other parts of north-east Scotland. Although not as common as it used to be, it is still used today, with the annual Doric Festival taking place in Aberdeenshire. Those lucky enough to witness it should savour it.
The Maritime Museum Is Worth A Visit
Situated in the heart of the city, the Aberdeen Maritime Museum hosts a splendid array of exhibitions, interactive displays and multimedia presentations, all of which tell the important story of the North Sea. From truths about offshore oil and fishing, to shipping, and life at sea, the multitude of collections, paintings and objects provide a riveting educational experience.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.