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- 15 Dec 2019, 3 nights
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Aberdeen is known as the Granite City because of the local stone used to create the vast majority of its buildings. On a cloudy day, you'll marvel at the depth and variety of grey, but sunny weather gives the streets a sparkle that feels magical. This port city in north east Scotland is surrounded by wild countryside and majestic castles, right in the heart of whisky country. It's an entirely modern place too, with a thriving student population, fantastic nightlife and surfing off the coast. Listen out for residents speaking Doric, a local variant of Scots.
You can stay at a hostel in Aberdeen in an 1879 building, complete with period features among the modern renovations. To make the most of the hostel experience, get to know your fellow travellers in an Aberdeen hostel with an on-site bar or a cosy lounge with huge bay windows: perfect for admiring the view. Go for an en-suite room for extra privacy. You can find places with free Wi-Fi too, so it's easy to stay connected.
Aberdeen's two old towns each hold a different part of the city's story. Old Aberdeen is paved with cobbles and is home to the university, which was founded in 1495, as well as historic bridges, churches and lush green parks. Footdee (known locally as Fittie) is where the city's connection to the sea is most tangible, with tiny fishing cottages and quirky outbuildings from the early 19th century. In the city centre you'll find the nightlife hub of Union Street, while the nearby West End is full of eclectic boutiques.
From history to sport to culture, there's plenty to do here. There's a variety of coastal golf courses, including Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links. Bring a scarf, as the wind can be brisk by the sea. The free Maritime Museum explores the Scottish city's seafaring history and modern relationship with the oil industry. An hour-long trip on public transport will take you to Dunnottar Castle, a medieval ruin on a spectacular clifftop. For the evenings, you'll find lively and contemporary bars, clubs and restaurants in Aberdeen city centre.
You can fly into Aberdeen International Airport from all around the world, then take the 25-minute train ride into the city centre. If you're coming by train, Aberdeen railway station will land you right in the middle of town. Much of the centre can be navigated on foot and the bus network is easy to use for longer journeys.