Aberdeen (Scottish Gaelic: Obar Dheathain) is Scotland's third largest city, with a population of about 202,000. Aberdeen is the county town of Aberdeenshire, and the chief seaport in the north-east of Scotland.
Aberdeen is commonly referred to variously as "the Granite City", or the "Silver City" on account of the grey, occasionally sparkling building stone used in older buildings in the city; and the "Flower of Scotland", Aberdeen long having been famous for outstanding parks, gardens and floral displays. These days, Aberdeen also boasts the title of Oil Capital of Europe thanks to the supply of crude oil in the North Sea, and stands on a bay of the North Sea, between the mouths of the rivers Don and Dee.
Aberdeen is a relatively small city - much smaller than Glasgow or Edinburgh. It has a harbour and pleasant beach. It has a distinct identity from other Scottish cities, especially the two largest in the Central Belt. It has some of the oldest university buildings in Europe (King's College was founded in 1495), and its citizens were fond of boasting in centuries gone by that Aberdeen had as many universities (Marischal and King's) as all of England (Oxford and Cambridge). After the discovery of oil in the North Sea, the city expanded greatly and several new suburbs were formed. The city has seen continued growth ever since, and a range of new developments are planned over the next few years. The district of Bridge of Don has become, in just thirty years, one of the largest suburbs in Europe, and is one of many areas of the city which retain the feel of a village in parts. Perhaps the best examples of this are the line of suburbs stretching towards Royal Deeside, including Cults and Peterculter.
Although English is spoken, in many parts of the UK accents and local dialects can seem confusing to visitors, even native English speakers.
The local Aberdeen dialect is Doric, very different what is heard in other parts of Scotland. At first hearing it (and the distinctive accent) may seem utterly impenetrable, even to other Scots. It has its origins in the farming communities nearby and is not as spoken as widely as it used to be. However, there is still a good chance you will encounter the dialect on your travels, so here are a few commonly used words with translations:
- "Fit like?" - A greeting, essentially, "How are you doing?".
- "Nae bad yersel?" - A reply, essentially, "Not bad, how about you?".
- "Fit?" - "What?".
- "Fa?" - "Who?".
- "Far?" - "Where?".
- "Aye" - "Yes".
- "Na'" - "No" (usually, an n sound followed by a vowel constitutes "no".
- "Wee" - "Little", though this famous Doric word has become common in other areas worldwide nowadays.
- "Dinnae ken" - "Don't know".
- "H'min" - "Excuse me good sir?"
- "Fan"- When?
- "far aboot ye fae?" where are you from?
- "ben a/eh hoose" - "Through the house/in the other room"
- "gie" - "Very"
- "Here, will ye trap ma mate?" - "Excuse me, will you kiss my friend?"
If you politely suggest you don't understand, almost all Doric speakers will be able to regulate their dialect and adopt more standard English to converse with you. It should be noted that only a small minority actually talk in broad Doric, however the accent and dialect will influence the language of a good deal more local people to some degree or another. A good number will have no traces of it whatsoever in their speech, particularly in the middle and upper social classes.
In most of the north east, meals are named differently from other areas. First meal of the day- Breakfast. Second meal of the day- Dinner, sometimes pronounced "daenner" but however it is said, it is usually very easy to recognise. Last meal of the day- Supper
Aberdeen-Dyce Airport is situated 7 miles from the city centre. The airport offers a wide range of domestic and short haul European international flights. Buses run from the airport to the city centre throughout the day. The nearest railway station is Dyce (which is now connected via an Airlink bus 06:45 - 19:00 Mon-Fri, £1 each way), and connects to stations in Aberdeen and Inverness. Taxis are available outside the terminal and will cost around £20 to Aberdeen City Centre.
Major hub destinations include London-Heathrow (10 daily), Paris-CDG (3 daily) and Amsterdam (3 daily). Domestic destinations include Birmingham, Norwich, London-Luton (2-3 daily), London-Gatwick (3 daily), Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle. Other routes heavily cater to the oil industry including Scatsta-Shetland (12 charter flights daily), Stavanger (10 daily), Oslo (6 weekly). Occasional longer distance holiday flights also operate by the likes of flyglobespan.
The list of destinations can be found on the airport's website 
Aberdeen Station is located right in the middle of town, next to the Harbour and Bus Station, slightly down from Union Street, the main thoroughfare. Services come from the South via Perth and the North to Elgin, Inverness and similar places.
The three main operators serving Aberdeen are:
- National Express East Coast, . Three trains a day serve the major east coast cities (Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and terminate in London (King's Cross).)
- ScotRail, . Serves all the major Scottish hubs, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness. The Caledonian Sleeper to London (Euston) leaves every night except Saturdays at around 20.30.
- Virgin Trains, . Serves a range of destinations on the Cross-Country route, including Carlisle, Manchester and Birmingham. Some services stretch all the way down to Penzance in South West England - the UK's longest train journey.
Aberdeen lies halfway along the long A90 arterial road that hugs the eastern, North Sea coast of Scotland between Dundee and Peterhead. With relative ease this permits access by car from points across Britain.
There are quite a few of these located around the city centre, mainly in points of interest. They are very useful for navigating the rather random layout of the city centre and also give details of where to go to catch a particular bus.
Aberdeen does not have a particularly good rail service to the local outlying areas, but it does exist (there's talk of a Crossrail but that's years off). The station is located on Guild Street next to the bus station (just south of Union Street). The local services run to:
Dyce - On the north west of the city along the Inverness line. This is an option for travelling to the airport, but you have to catch a taxi (these are generally easily available but a bit pricey). Believe it or not, but the cheap day return (£2.60) is slightly cheaper than catching the bus (£2.70 for a day pass). This is certainly a preferable way to travel in rush hour too as the journey time is 10 minutes as opposed to the hour+ it takes on the bus. There are plenty of trains, though the frequency is quite scattered. The station is located just off the main street.
Inverurie - The next stop up the line from Dyce. Trains are less frequent than to Dyce, but the service has benefitted recently from the addition of some extra journeys. The station is located a short walk from the town centre.
Portlethen - The first stop south on the Dundee/Glasgow/Edinburgh line. There are extremely few services stopping here outwith rush hour. The station is located on the east of the town on the road to the old village. A walk from here to the main shopping area will take you around 10-15 minutes, there are buses that run every 20 minutes just outside the station if you need to use them.
Stonehaven - The next stop down from Portlethen. Trains are fairly frequent (at least once an hour). Buses to Stonehaven centre depart from the hotel across from the station, or you can walk. (takes 10-20 minutes depending on your speed)
Aberdeen has a fairly decent bus network, though it is expensive to use (there are no multi-operator tickets either). The city is served by 2 operators First  and Stagecoach . On the whole, buses are modern and fairly comfortable with a few dinosaurs still doing the rounds. If you are connecting buses, it should be noted that you'll probably have to change in the city centre as that's where the majority of services run through/terminate.
First's services are entirely within the city boundary, although they do serve the suburbs of Dyce, Cults & Culter and Kingswells. The network "branded as The Overground" is based on a colour coded system with all the main lines having a colour while the "less important" lines are left grey on the map, which is in the style of that of the London Underground. This makes it fairly easy to find your way around. Services begin around 5am and end close to midnight with night services run at weekends (currently run at a flat fare of £2.20 single).
Fares are based on a fare-stage system and cost from 70p for a short journey to £1.60 for a longer one. Day passes are available for £3 (£2.70 after 9am). Show a valid student ID for a discount on the day pass (£2).
First also run the popular (and rightly so) Park & Ride (National Park and Ride Directory) from Kingswells (just off A944) and Bridge of Don (off A90). The Bridge of Don service runs from the Exhibition and Conference Centre, which is easy to spot on the main northbound road. Parking is free, and the service costs £1.80 (per person) for a return journey to anywhere along the route. Up to two under 16s go free when accompanied. Day passes are available for purchase if you are planning to change buses.
Stagecoach run the services to outwith the city boundary. Locations closer to Aberdeen generally have more frequent services (for example, a 15 minute frequency to the suburb of Westhill) than those further out. In addition to this, they run 1 service wholly within the city boundary (the 59). For single fares, Stagecoach are generally a cheaper option within the city than First, but they lack the frequency and network of First. Fares are based on destination, however there is a day pass called the Explorer which, for £11, allows you unlimited use of the entire Stagecoach network in the area (as far out as Montrose or Peterhead for example).
Taxis are widely available from a number of ranks dotted around the city centre. The main ranks are located on Back Wynd, Market Street and the railway station. There are more located further up Union Street, they're easy enough to spot. Taxis can be difficult to come by at night due to a shortage of them (ranks are patrolled by marshals at night on special nights) and can actually be difficult to flag down on the street as many drivers do not give any indication if they're available for hire and will not pick up groups of males. Fares are expensive.
Due to the many narrow roads and inadequate lane provisions, this can be rather treacherous at times. Cycle lanes are appearing as are cycle "boxes" at traffic lights so the situation is getting better for those who cycle. It's getting easier to park a cycle too, the council are beginning to provide loops for chaining bikes to within the city centre streets and within the municipal multi-storey car parks.
It is possible to cycle from Aberdeen city centre to Peterculter along the Old Deeside Railway line. The line begins just outside Duthie Park and passes through Garthdee, Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber before ending at Station Road. It is mostly paved with very few breaks where it is necessary to cross the road. It is very scenic and relaxing, and is also used by people walking dogs, riding horses, other cyclists, and other people just enjoying a stroll so being courteous is a must. There are signs placed along the line with bits of history about the line and how it came to be.
- Aberdeen Art Gallery  Schoolhill. Tel: 01224 523700,  Open Tuesday-Saturday 10.00am-5.00pm, Sunday 2.00pm-5.00pm. The Aberdeen Art Gallery is set in a Victorian building with an exquisite marble and granite main hall. In the several large rooms there are housed paintings and sculptures numbering in the hundreds, featuring Impressionist pieces as well as modern art and works by the Scottish Colourists. There is also a display of antique silverware and decorative pieces. There are also numerous special exhibits by many acclaimed artists, a recent example being Quentin Blake. For those who like art, an afternoon could easily be spent here, but at least a quick browse is well worth it for anyone. Admission free.
- The Gordon Highlanders Museum  St. Lukes Viewfield Road. Tel: 01224 311200, . Open first Tuesday in April to last Sunday in October, Tuesday-Saturday 10.30am-4.30pm, Su 1.30pm-4.30pm (last admission 4pm). November-March open by appointment only. Closed Mondays. At the Gordon Highlanders Museum you can re-live the compelling and dramatic story of one of the British Army's most famous regiments, through the lives of its outstanding personalities and of the kilted soldiers of the North East of Scotland who filled its ranks. Exhibits include a real Nazi flag from Hitler's staff car, and there is a small cinema where you can watch a film on the history of the regiment. For the younger visitors there are a number of uniforms to try on, and there is also a coffee shop. For those interested in military history this small gem is a must. Admission: Adults: £2.50, Children: £1.00, Seniors: £1.50, Closed season: £3.00.
- The Maritime Museum  Shiprow. Tel: 01224 337700, . Open Tuesday-Saturday 10.00am-5.00pm, Sunday 12.00pm-3.00pm. This attraction, rated five-star by the Scottish Tourist Board, offers an extraordinary insight into the mechanics and technology of ships and oil rigs, Aberdeen's rich maritime history and the lives of some of the people who have worked offshore in the North Sea for the past 500 years. The newest part of the complex is a blue, glass-fronted building on the cobbled Shiprow, just minutes from Union Street. Inside is a spiral walkway, rising upwards around an eye-catching model of an oil rig. Connected to this structure are the much older buildings which take visitors through a series of castle-style corridors and staircases to reach the numerous room sets, historical artifacts and scale models. If your time in Aberdeen is limited, go and see this. There is so much to see, and even the buildings themselves are worth a look. There is also a restaurant - slightly expensive, but the food is pretty good. Admission free.
- The Marischal Museum  Broad Street (entrance through arch). Tel: 01224 274301,  Open Monday-Friday 10.00am-5.00pm, Sunday 2.00pm-5.00pm. Covering 8000 years of local and world history, this generally undiscovered museum houses the results of numerous expeditions by local people over the past two centuries. The collection, speread over several floors in the stunning Marischal College building, includes pieces from such diverse locations as the Balkans and Tibet. As well as the varied international exhibits, the museum also presents an insightful look at the history of the north-east of Scotland under the banner of The Encyclopeadia of the North-East. Very worthwhile, and considering the range of excellent displays the free admission seems all the better. Admission free.
The nearest Aberdeen has to a Bohemian Quarter is centred around Belmont Street, halfway down Union St. It has many nice bars, live music venues, a couple of second-hand book stores and an arthouse cinema, named The Belmont.
The Belmont Picturehouse on Belmont Street is also host to the City of Joy, the international church in the international cinema. A vibrant place on sundays, it is worth a look if you want to guage the religious temperature of the City. ?
- Satrosphere Science Centre(Aberdeen Science Centre), The Tramsheds, 179 Constitution Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5TU, ☎ 01224 640340, . Satrosphere Science Centre is Scotland’s first science and discovery centre, and first opened to the public in 1988. The centre has over 50 hands-on interactive exhibits and live science shows, which inspire the scientist within as well as entertain the whole family.
If you feel like a workout, a massage or a fun-filled swim, the Beach Leisure Centre  on the Beach Promenade is worth a visit. Access to the gymnasium is £4.40 (over 18's only). The swimming pool offers a wide range of attractions, including water slides, rapids and waves, and is suitable for the whole family. These are the admission prices:
- Adult: £3.10
- Child: £1.55
- Student: £1.55
- Family: £7.40
- 5 flume rides: £1.90
- 10 flume rides: £3.15
If spectating is more your thing, why not go and watch Aberdeen's home grown, Scottish Premier League football (soccer) team Aberdeen Football Club (or "The Dons") at work at their home ground of Pittodrie ?
Aberdeen's long beaches are also ideal for water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and Kitesurfing/kiteboarding.
If you want to go and see a show or a concert, there are five main venues in Aberdeen, each a distinct and atmospheric setting for any kind of performance:
- The Music Hall  on Union Street offers most of the classical music events, but is becoming a more popular venue for other forms of music.
- His Majesty's Theatre  on Rosemount Viaduct plays host to the vast majority of musicals and plays which visit Aberdeen. Recent examples include the famous Miss Saigon. If you are in town over the Christmas period with children, a trip to a showing of the annual pantomime is a must!
- The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC)  on the A90 (in Bridge of Don) is the venue for most of Aberdeen's pop and rock concerts. In frequent years wrestling has been a fixture as well. The venue has recently been dramatically expanded, and most functions are now held in the brand new building. If you are stuck for finding the AECC, look for the tall viewing tower, a fixture of the new structure. It is easily visible from most points close to the River Don.
- The Lemon Tree  was once regarded as a rather "fringe" venue, and indeed it still is the launching platform for many alternative acts, but the sheer variety of talent on display (blues, rock, comedy and dance, to name but a few genres) rivals that of the three venues above. The interesting location creates a great atmosphere, and is one of the main venues for the annual International Jazz Festival (see below).
- Moshulu (www.moshulu.net) This 650 Capacity Live Music Venue is now well established on the circuit, and has played host to some of the worlds most amazing bands such as As i lay dying, Ascension ( Local ) and Dragonforce! it seems to be the medium size venue of choice for touring acts. Recently purchased by the Barfly Chain (www.barflyclub.com), it is also a jumping club night for alternative and indie kids. It serves great cocktails in the back room and the customers tend to practice their poledancing skills to jaw dropping effect during the club nights.
The main street in Aberdeen is Union Street. It is wide and around a mile long with beautiful buildings on each side. It appears a bit worn and is mainly filled with standard British high street shops. However it is worth a walk. Local independents include Nova on Chapel Street but sadly, Esslemont and Mackintosh, an independant department store, closed in 2007.
Aberdeen has a number of covered central shopping centers including the Bon-Accord Centre (general high street shops), St. Nicholas Centre (general high street shops), The Academy (boutique shops) and the Trinity Centre (general high street shops).
The city has all the department stores and high street shops you would expect in any modern British urban area, clustered around the centres above and along the mile-long Union Street. The table below is a guide on where to find some of the major shops, and what they specialise in.
- John Lewis, Bon Accord Centre/George Street, department store.
- Debenhams, Trinity Centre, department store
- Marks and Spencer, St. Nicholas Square (off Union Street), department store and supermarket
- Next, St. Nicholas Centre/Berryden Retail Park, clothing and homewares
- Primark, Bon Accord Centre/Union Street, clothing
- GAP, St. Nicholas Square, clothing
- H&M, Union Street, clothing
- Waterstones, Union Street, books
- HMV, Trinity Centre/Union Street; music, movies, and games
- One Up, Belmont Street, brilliant music store
When shopping, don't be limited to the malls and chain stores! Aberdeen has a vast collection of small, tucked-away shops which can provide everything from Bohemian dressware to Indian furniture. If you are adventurous enough then you may uncover a hidden wonder.
Aberdeen has hundreds of restaurants, catering for every taste, to choose from. As with shops, there are well-known, easy to spot places, and out of the way ones. However, we'll leave the exploring up to you. Here is a list of more popular haunts in the central area, sorted by "cuisine":
If you want a lunchtime soup or sandwich try the Beautiful Mountain or Books and Beans on Belmont Street. Both are popular because of their good soup, sandwiches and atmosphere.
- Earl Of Sandwich, Market Street. The best sandwich shop in town playing the best music in town. Moving soon to just around the corner on 'The Green', the original village center of Aberdeen.
- Pizza Express, Union Street. A very good menu with great food. Modern setting. Not the cheapest, but reasonable.
- Lahore Karahi, King Street. A relatively new entrant to the established Aberdonian Curry Houses, Lahore Karahi offers arguably the most authentic Pakistani/Indian cuisine, and at the best of prices too.
- Musa art and music cafe, 33 Exchange St. A great reastaurant/cafe/art gallery with the best food in Aberdeen and sometimes with live music
- La Lombarda, 2-8 King Street. One of Aberdeen's most popular Italians, and with good reason. Good location next to Castlegate.
- Little Italy, 79 Holborn Street. A bit pricey, but a wonderfully rustic decor makes for great atmosphere. A bit out of the way.
- KURY, 22-24 King Street. Consistent rave reviews make this Indian restaurant a hotspot. Slightly overpriced, but it's worth it.
- The Royal Thai, . The oldest Thai restaurant in Aberdeen and it shows in how exceptional the food is.
- Yatai, 73-75 Skene Street, a short walk from Union street. Small and a little expensive, but excellent Japanese food including Sushi.
- Chinatown, 11 Dee Street, just off Union Street. Great Chinese food along with nice, vibrant decor and a bar make this restaurant highly recommended.
- Jimmy Chung's, 401-405 Union Street. Perhaps the best Chinese restaurant in Aberdeen. Good food, low prices, nice setting. Recommended.
- Yu, 347 Union Street. Reasonably-priced food. Good, but nothing to shout about. Convenient location.
- The Illicit Still, off Broad Street. Sensibly priced pub grub.
- The Bassment, Windmill Brae, off Union Street. Really good American grill reasonably priced. Also do excellent cocktails, served with more than a little flare!
- The Beautiful Mountain, Belmont Street. Fine sandwiches, soups, smoothies and Sunday breakfasts!
- Kilau, Little Belmont Street. Crepes, sandwiches, coffee, art and Irish Tony!
- Nazma Tandoori, Bridge Street. Alongside the Blue Moon, Holburn Street, this is the most authentic and finest Indian restaurant in Aberdeen.
Like any Scottish city Aberdeen has its fair share of bars and nightclubs here are hundreds of licenced premises in the city to choose from that cater for every taste. Due to the large student population there are always student deals around to find if you want them, that often extend to everyone and not just those with student cards.
The classiest and most approachable starting point for a night out is Belmont Street. Here you can find three nightclubs (the Priory, Exodus and Revolutions) all of which are respectable. There are a number of bars, again all respectable. Slains Castle is very popular and does a good range of cocktails. Set in an old church it has a Gothic feel and is normally quite busy. Across the road is Siberia, the Vodka Bar and Revolutions (a nightclub opens upstairs about 11pm). These are all open for lunches where they all serve meals for around £6 that are well made. They are normally quite at lunchtime and have a good atmosphere.
- Moshulu. Underground club.
- Liquid. Dance orientated.
- Soul in the converted Langstane Kirk. Uppermarket.
- Albyn Bar and Club. Upppermarket, for over 30's.
- The Prince of Wales, St Nicholas Square, Just off of Union Street. Boasting one of the longest bars in Aberdeen and eight Real Ale pumps, sometimes called the "PoW" or quite simply the "Prince", this pub is one of the hidden gems of Aberdeen packed with locals, oil workers and Students alike. They keep their beer exceedingly well.
- St Machar Bar, 97 High Street, Old Aberdeen. Not much more than a hole in the wall, but "the Machar" is an inexpensive and convenient (and hence popular) place with university students at the main campus in Old Aberdeen.
- Snafu. featuring live bands and DJ's.
- Five (Castlegate/Union Street) Meals and drinks for reasonable prices. Handy if you're on your way to Snafu (it's right above).
- The Mariner Hotel, 349 Great Western Road, ☎ 01224 588901, . A cozy hotel in Aberdeen's pretty west end. Rates from 70 pounds to 150 (for couple suite). The hotel features an amazing restaurant with excellent options both for meat-lovers and vegetarians.70-150.
- Aberdeen Youth Hostel, 8 Queen's Road, AB15 4ZT. Tel: 0870 004 1100. A SYHA Hostel in a historic building near the city centre.
- The Marcliffe of Pitfoddels is a 5 star hotel just outside the city center with a Spa and conference facilities
- Ardoe House is set in a Victorian mansion house, that looks somewhat like a castle. It is located just outside of town.
- Skene House has three hotels in the town, all set in old tenement blocks. Each room has its own kitchen and living room and is basically an apartment that is run like a hotel.
- The Queens Hotel was purchased by Malmaison and will be open in 2008.
- Hilton Treetops Hotel is a large comfortable hotel located in a suburb of Aberdeen
- Dreamhouse Apartments Aberdeen,  are self-catering serviced apartments on Baker Road in the northern part of the city.
- University of Aberdeen, . One of the oldest universities in the UK, it is renowned for its teaching and research.
- The Robert Gordon University (RGU), . Awarded university status in 1992, this university has very strong ties with industry and boasts a high level of graduate employment.
- Aberdeen College, . The largest further education college in Scotland, it has campuses within the city and without.
- Satrosphere Science Museum, . Satrosphere's exhibits offer interactive ways for visitors to discover more about the world around them and the science of how things work.
Aberdeen is a good location to stay if you want to see castles, play golf or go on a distillery trail. Within 30 miles you can visit Crathes, Drum and Dunottar Castles.
The Malt Whisky Trail route is about 30 miles north and involves a number of distilleries including the Glenfiddich and Glen Grant tours.
If you want to play golf, the Royal Aberdeen golf course was founded in 1790 and is the sixth oldest in the world and the Royal Deeside course in the River Dee's valley are both excellent.
This page was last edited at 11:25, on 12 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by James Yolkowski, David, Mark Sheffield and Jim Nicholson, Wikitravel user(s) AlasdairW, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.