Glasgow, or Glaschu in Gaelic, is Scotland’s biggest city nestled along the banks of the River Clyde. Today this one of Britain’s most interesting metropolises is home to numerous sights, activities and rich cultural scene. Although it is still one of the under-the-radar destinations in the country (thanks to super-popular Edinburgh), the city offers a perfect opportunity to experience the area in a less rushed and more authentic way, so don’t miss out on a chance to travel around the region, but before that check out which places are a must-see!
1) Loch Ness
The famous Loch Ness lake with a depth of 240 metres has the largest volume of fresh water in Great Britain. This fascinating site nestled along the scenic ride towards Inverness attracts visitors for years for the well-known legend of the Loch Ness monster (of which several reports and sightings have been made), but all they usually see is only her form of a cardboard cut-out at Drumnadrochit’s exhibition of monsters. Not far away (2.5 km east) from Drumnadrochit, you can visit the Urquhart Castle, a popular Nessie-hunting spot which offers outstanding views of the area. The site includes a large visitor centre (mostly underground) with a video theatre and display of items discovered there, dating back to medieval age, as well as a gift shop and a restaurant.
Getting from Glasgow to Loch Ness:
- Bus: In order to reach Loch Ness, you must take the bus to Inverness as there is no direct line to the site only. The ride takes approximately 3h 30min and the ticket costs from €1, depends on the carrier and time of departure.
- Train: There are several departures a day by train, but it is much more expensive option (starting from €10-€15).
The charming victorian town of Pitlochry is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Perth and Kinross area. With a population of only 2 500 people, it often goes unnoticed by tourists, but if you decide to come, you can enjoy major attractions like the Enchaunted Forest, a sound and light show taking place each October, and Pitlochry Autumn Festival with over 20 000 visitors. Another interesting event is the Pitlochry Highland Games organised by local during September. In Blair Atholl nearby you can visit the Blair Castle, a former ‘resort’ of Queen Victoria in 1842.
Getting from Glasgow to Pitlochry:
- Bus: 8 departures a day take you to Pitlochry in approximately 2 hours. One ticket costs €20.
- Train: There are many daily departures (approximately once per hour) to Pitlochry, but as already mentioned, they are quite pricey, starting from €28 per direction.
The beautiful city of Inveraray is mostly famous for its landmark, the Inveraray Castle built by the Duke of Argyll in the 18th century. For tourists, this huge, landed estate is one of the best places to become familiar with Scottish nobility and get an insight into their former lifestyle. The castle, inhabited even today by the current Duke and Duchess has recently opened its gardens to the public, but there is more – Tea Room in the castle is also interesting to visit. It is personally run by the Duchess and boasts fantastic food made daily in the castle from locally sourced Scottish ingredients. The castle’s gift shop is also full of lovely items personally chosen by the Duchess and her team.
Getting from Glasgow to Inveraray:
- Bus: There are 8 daily departures on this route. The journey is 1h 45min long and costs €15 per direction.
The small town of Oban is located directly on the coast of Scotland, looking over the islands far out to sea. Thanks to its incredible surroundings, the place has become a popular holiday resort which has been attracting a large number of visitors each year. The bay the city is built on is among the most magnificent ones in Scotland and offers breathtaking views of the coastal scenery. While you’re there, visit the Oban Distillery, learn how malt whisky is made and have a sample or two to complete your tour.
Getting from Glasgow to Oban:
- Bus: The 3-hour-long ride operates 6 times and a single ticket fare is €20.
- Train: This ride takes you along the famous West Highland Line and runs 6 times a day as well. The journey is 3h 30min long and costs €25 per direction (prices can be cheaper on some days).
5) Trossachs National Park
If you want a glimpse of the as-Scottish-as-it-gets atmosphere, then the wild area of forested glens north of Glasgow known under the name of the Trossachs is the place for you. Full of woodland and lochs, the region is ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities, but also for seeing Scottish landscape at its most spectacular. The Trossachs became known to public after the poet Walter Scott wrote ‘The Lady on the Lake’ describing the surreal scenery of the place – and the area is still as raw and wild as it ever was back then.
Getting from Glasgow to the Trossachs National Park:
- Bus: CityLink offers connections to destinations near the park. Key route is the Dundee – Oban route, which passes through St Fillans, Killin and Crianlarich.
- Train: In order to reach the national park, take the train which departs on the route Glasgow – Stirling.
6) St. Andrews
The lovely town of St Andrews is home to the oldest University in Scotland and, allegedly, the place where game of golf originated from. Located on the coast above Edinburgh, it is one of the most important places in the history of Scotland and one of the towns with the highest rate of students in the country to this day. Apart from the university and golf courses, St Andrews is known for its medieval streets, gorgeous buildings and splendid panoramic views across the North Sea.
Getting from Glasgow to St Andrews:
- Bus: The bus line Stagecoach X24 takes you from Glasgow bus station to St Andrews in 2h 30min.
Nestled on the River Tay in central Scotland, Perth is one of favourite destinations to visit and has been around ever since ancient times. It is known as a place where the Scottish Scone granted leadership to kings and where royal class held court throughout the history. This former capital of Scotland is home to some interesting sites, but we recommend you to visit the Huntingtower Castle, situated just outside of the city, which dates back to the 15th century, and Scone Palace, which used to be the seat of parliament and royalty, including MacBeth, but today offers a collection of rare and priceless artefacts.
From Glasgow to Perth:
- Bus: 8 daily departures take you to Perth in 1h 45min for €15.
- Train: There are many departures per day on this route as the journey takes only 1h. The cheapest ticket fare is €19 per direction.
You cannot say you have been to Scotland without visiting the country’s capital and seat of government. Edinburgh is a gorgeous historic city perched on volcanic rock with streets full of bars, pubs, street food and cheerful people. Start with the tour of Old Town and continue your way towards to the Edinburgh Castle, after which you can do some shopping on Victoria Street. Make sure to check out the city’s most important galleries and museums as it has a very interesting cultural scene and to have a glass of famous Scottish whiskey before leaving.
From Glasgow to Edinburgh:
- Bus: There are 8 departures a day from Glasgow to the capital, each lasting 1h 30min. One ticket fare is €9.
- Train: This 1h ride costs €15 per direction.