Glasgow will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s the first place I ever visited in Scotland, a land I’ve come to love. I can even envision myself coming back to Scotland to live, but we’ll see where the wind carries me…
My first time in this gorgeous land was 2 years ago, right after my semester abroad in Barcelona. This time, I went back to Glasgow and got to discover the city all over again. Here are my top things to see and do in Glasgow in a couple of days!
Coming from the airport, you have three options. If you’re traveling alone and prefer to spend less, then I’d go for the 500 airport bus. You’ll see it parked right next to the official airport taxi line. It’s 8 GBP per person, and the best deal you’ll get as a solo traveler.
If you’re in a group, especially of 4 or more, then get a taxi or Uber. You’ll save a few pounds each including tip if you take this option instead of paying for the bus separately. When we were leaving GLA, I noticed that Uber was quoting the same price or maybe even a little more than our taxi driver charged. I’d check both, because it really depends on the day and time!
Regardless, I’d expect to pay a total of 25 to 30 GBP on a taxi or Uber to the city center.
I stayed in Airbnbs on both my trips to Glasgow. There are many nice apartments on the site, and it’s preferable if you’re in a bigger group. Both times, I was with 3 other people. Most hotels can’t accommodate more than 2 people per room, so we saved major bucks with Airbnb.
I’m happy to recommend our first place in the University of Glasgow district! When we stayed there, the listing was titled “Bright and Airy Apartment.” If I can find it again, I’ll link it! (Edit: You can find the Airbnb I’m raving about here.) It’s in an apartment building that was converted from a centuries-old house. The whole place is beautiful. I don’t recommend it if you can’t climb stairs, because there’s no elevator and it’s on the top floor. If that’s no issue for you and if you pack light, then book away! Since we only had a mediocre experience at our second Airbnb, I won’t recommend it. I picked it because the photos looked lovely and its location was perfect, right near Buchanan Street.
Bottom line, pay attention to places that are close to Buchanan Street if you’re wanting something more central, and make sure the place has a lift if you have a lot of luggage or stairs are difficult for you.
This place is my favorite restaurant in Glasgow, and the best I’ve had in the UK as of right now. It’s in my top 5 around the world. Their mocha is the creamiest, most perfect balance of espresso and chocolate flavor. I dream about their food, the cozy atmosphere, and a warm mocha on a cold, rainy Scottish day. I’d move to Scotland for the food at this place alone! Our Airbnb host told us about it, saying it’s so good that non-vegan locals frequent the place. Now that’s when you know it’s good!
I visited this museum with my mom and grandparents. We so enjoyed getting to walk through this museum’s layout that follows Scottish history with art, musical instruments, clothing, old letters, and so many other aspects of Scottish culture that have survived the centuries. Our time here was so informative, and it’s free to go enjoy a few hours that will take you to another time!
We did a quick pit stop inside this library to see it and have a bathroom break. I’m so glad we did! This library is huge, with a café, theatre, multiple meeting rooms, and shelves upon shelves of books to lose yourself into. I love walking around libraries and bookstores when I travel, looking at the covers of some reads that sound riveting, and marking them down later in a notes page for my Amazon book list.
Glasgow Cathedral is the centerpiece of my experience and should be on any visitor’s Glasgow itinerary. Wow. It’s everything mixed into one: history, culture, art, architecture, grandiosity, and beauty. It’s free to enter, but there’s a recommended donation of 3 GBP for the maintenance of the cathedral. Any experience here will be a great one. The stained glass alone had me in awe and wonder. You won’t even need Google Maps on Cathedral Street; once you see it in the distance, you’ll know you’ve arrived. The architecture is just that incredible!
I don’t know about you, but I love a good train ride. There’s something so nice about being able to get well-priced transportation on a whim, and be in a new place in a few hours. On my second trip, we took the train from Glasgow Queen Street Station to Edinburgh Waverley. We literally decided we were done with sightseeing in Glasgow for the day, walked to Queen Street Station, picked up our luggage from the left luggage window (only 7 GBP for 5 suitcases, by the way–a total steal!), bought tickets from the self-service kiosk, bought some drinks in the station, and hopped on the train.
Pro tip: You can buy tickets online at scotrail.co.uk, but you’ll pay much more than if you just buy in-person at the station. There are so many departures between the two cities that there’s no need to worry you won’t catch a train. Save money and printer ink–buy at the station!
The whole preparation took ~20 minutes. Music to my ears.
That’s it for this travel guide, at least for now! I know I’ll be back in Glasgow someday, for a vegan mocha from The 78 and another peek at that stained glass in Glasgow Cathedral.
One of my favorite things about this city is there’s so much to see and do, yet it’s not so overwhelmingly big that there’s never enough time to see all its attractions. This one’s a place where you can relax, enjoy, and take it at your own pace. So savor it all, and the Scottish kindness that comes along with any trip to Glasgow. You’ll be hooked from the start!
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