Aberdeen is the powerhouse of the northeast, fuelled by the North Sea petroleum industry. Oil money has made the city as expensive as London and Edinburgh, and there are hotels, restaurants and clubs with prices to match the depth of oil-wealthy pockets. Fortunately, most of the cultural attractions, such as the excellent Maritime Museum and the Aberdeen Art Gallery, are free.
Known throughout Scotland as the granite city, much of the town was built using silvery-grey granite hewn from the now abandoned Rubislaw Quarry, at one time the biggest artificial hole in the ground in Europe. On a sunny day the granite lends an attractive glitter to the city, but when low, grey rain clouds scud in off the North Sea it can be hard to tell where the buildings stop and the sky begins.
Royal Deeside is easily accessible to the west, Dunnottar Castle to the south, sandy beaches to the north and whisky country to the northwest.
Best places to stay in Aberdeen
10 of the world’s unsung places
Some places stay persistently off the beaten track, despite their many charms. Here’s a sampling of places overlooked because of geography, chance and the presence of more glamorous neighbours. 1.
Aberdeen destination guides
Wildlife Cruise from John O'Groats
Enjoy a spectacular afternoon Wildlife cruise from John O'Groats this summer. Pass rugged cliff scenery and see arctic skuas, storm petrels, colonies of guillemots, puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes, Atlantic grey seals and much more! This Wildlife Cruise departs every summer afternoon from John O'Groats.