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Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a Vacation in Aberdeen, Scotland

Nestled along the rugged northeastern coast of Scotland, Aberdeen beckons travelers with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene. From its iconic granite architecture to its picturesque seaside promenade, the “Granite City” offers a diverse array of attractions and activities to suit every traveler’s taste. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know to plan the perfect vacation in Aberdeen, from top attractions to dining options and practical tips for making the most of your trip.

Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a Vacation in Aberdeen, Scotland

Getting to Aberdeen:

  • By Air: Aberdeen is served by Aberdeen International Airport (ABZ), located just 7 miles northwest of the city center. The airport offers direct flights from major UK cities as well as select international destinations.
  • By Train: Aberdeen is well-connected to the UK rail network, with regular train services operated by ScotRail and LNER. The journey from Edinburgh takes around 2.5 hours, while the trip from Glasgow takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  • By Road: Aberdeen is easily accessible by road via the A90 and A96 highways. The city is approximately 130 miles north of Edinburgh and 145 miles northwest of Glasgow, making it a convenient destination for road trips.

Accommodation Options:

  • Aberdeen offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. From luxury hotels and boutique guesthouses to budget-friendly hostels and self-catering apartments, there’s something for everyone.
  • Popular areas to stay include the city center, where you’ll find a mix of historic hotels and modern accommodations, as well as the beachfront district of Aberdeen Beach, known for its scenic views and lively atmosphere.
  • Be sure to book your accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons and major events such as the Aberdeen International Youth Festival and the Aberdeen Highland Games.

Top Attractions in Aberdeen:

  • Marischal College: Admire the stunning architecture of Marischal College, one of the largest granite buildings in the world and home to the University of Aberdeen.
  • Aberdeen Maritime Museum: Explore Aberdeen’s maritime heritage at this fascinating museum, which features interactive exhibits, historic ships, and artifacts dating back to the city’s heyday as a bustling port.
  • Duthie Park: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Duthie Park, a beautiful green space featuring floral displays, a boating pond, and the David Welch Winter Gardens, home to exotic plants from around the world.
  • Footdee: Wander through the charming fishing village of Footdee, with its colorful cottages, narrow lanes, and picturesque harbor views.
  • Dunnottar Castle: Take a day trip to Dunnottar Castle, a dramatic cliff-top fortress located just south of the city. Explore the castle ruins, which date back to the Middle Ages, and enjoy stunning views of the North Sea coastline.

Dining and Nightlife:

  • Aberdeen boasts a vibrant culinary scene, with a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars offering everything from traditional Scottish fare to international cuisine.
  • Sample local specialties such as Aberdeen Angus beef, fresh seafood, and traditional Scottish dishes like haggis, neeps, and tatties.
  • For a taste of Aberdeen’s nightlife, head to Belmont Street and Union Street, where you’ll find a plethora of pubs, bars, and clubs catering to all tastes and preferences. Be sure to try a dram of Scotch whisky or a pint of locally brewed ale.

Outdoor Activities:

  • Aberdeen is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, making it the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the rugged coastline with a coastal walk along the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail, which stretches from Aberdeen to the quaint fishing village of Stonehaven.
  • Visit the Cairngorms National Park, located just a short drive from Aberdeen, for hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife spotting. Don’t miss the chance to ride the Cairngorm Mountain Funicular Railway for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Enjoy a round of golf at one of the city’s world-class golf courses, including Royal Aberdeen Golf Club and Trump International Golf Links Scotland.

Practical Tips:

  • Currency: The currency used in Scotland is the British Pound (£ GBP). Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but it’s a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases and tips.
  • Weather: Aberdeen has a maritime climate, with mild summers and cool winters. Be prepared for changeable weather, and pack layers and waterproof clothing, especially if you plan to spend time outdoors.
  • Transportation: the city has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and trains, making it easy to get around the city and explore the surrounding area. Consider purchasing a DaySaver ticket for unlimited travel on local buses.


With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, Aberdeen offers a unique vacation experience that’s sure to leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re exploring historic landmarks, dining on delicious Scottish cuisine, or enjoying outdoor adventures along the scenic coastline, Aberdeen has something for everyone. So pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and get ready to discover the beauty and charm of Scotland’s Granite City on your next vacation.