Sparkling under endless summer days and shimmering beneath the Northern Lights in winter...
... Aberdeen’s silvery granite heart merges centuries of history and a modern vibe. The oil capital of the UK, its rocking city nightlife is just a stone’s throw from bottlenose dolphins in the harbour. As the locals say, it’s braw.
Arriving at Aberdeen Airport
Step off your flight, collect your bags and you could be strolling down Union Street and chatting with the locals in Doric faster than you can say ‘fit like’.
The best way to reach the town is by bus. Services are regular, cheap and you’ll be in town in around 30 minutes.
Stagecoach Bluebird’s Jet Service 727 stops outside the terminal building, bound for Aberdeen Union Square bus station. There’s one every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes at weekends. Buy a single ticket on board, or a dayrider ticket for unlimited all-day travel.
First Bus runs a regular service to central Aberdeen and accepts contactless payment.
Taxis are a good option if you’re in a hurry. They’re right outside the front of the terminal and can get you to town in around 25 minutes. Expect to pay around £15 for your trip – all depends on the traffic, of course.
Want to let the train take the strain? The closest railway station is at Dyce, around two miles (3km) from the terminal. Aberdeen's main station is a 10-minute journey, while Inverness is two hours away. Beware, there can be a gap between services and they’re even less frequent at weekends.
If you’re planning to get behind the wheel, book your car hire in advance.
Winding cobbled lanes, pretty stone cottages and 500 years of history. Old Aberdeen combines ancient dwellings with a laidback student vibe, vintage book shops and artisan coffee. Compare medieval St Machar’s Cathedral and its magnificent Heraldic ceiling, with the swirling atrium of the 21st-century Sir Duncan Rice Library.
Frolicking on the beach in the UK’s most northerly city sounds crazy, but generations of Aberdonians swear by the benefits of a bracing walk along the sweep of golden sand. And who could resist a spin on Codona’s waltzers? The funfair’s big wheel is a must for its glorious views. Take a scarf.
Pronounced ‘fittie’, the delightful old fishing community at the eastern edge of Aberdeen harbour has curious cottages, colourful outhouses and busy gardens packed with flowers. Look for the cheerful artwork that harks back to the village’s seafaring roots, and quirky chimney pots, designed to keep the seagulls at bay.
Bottlenose dolphins are regular visitors – a harbour cruise is the best way to get up close. Head to Donmouth Local Nature Reserve where the seals love to sunbathe, or further north to Newburgh Beach, where they chill out on the banks of the Ythan Estuary.
One of Aberdeen’s oldest buildings and a stone’s throw from the city’s Maritime Museum, Tollbooth Museum is worth a visit for the incredibly well preserved 17th-century gaol. Exhibitions feature local history and crime and punishment.