Glasgow, located just 46 miles west of Edinburgh, is the largest city in Scotland. The city’s variety of architectural styles, both classic and contemporary, reflect its status as a major center of industry and art in the British Isles—an influential reputation it has long retained.

A blend of old world sophistication and industrial grit run through the streets of Glasgow. Trade ships arriving from the Caribbean had easy access to its ports via the River Clyde, and merchants made a mint by selling the cotton and sugar shipped from the colonies. Avenues lined with Victorian-style buildings whisper of the wealth generated by the prolific trade, and the later industries of ship building and textiles. The discovery of coal and iron in the Lowlands of Lanarkshire thrust the city into the industrial age, and Glasgow reveled in this prosperity until the global economic depression of the 1930s.

The last 30 years have seen Glasgow reinvent itself, embracing its two pasts of commerce and industry, and attracting leaders in creative arts and capitalism to be a part of its constantly changing story. The annual Glasgow International festival of visual arts welcomes cutting edge exhibits, with artists from across the world overtaking the galleries and performance spaces throughout the city for nearly the entire month of April. Year-round, visitors can expect a bevvy of pubs and live music venues constantly abuzz, a shopping scene divided between contemporary designer boutiques and vintage thrift treasure troves, and famously-friendly locals.

Glasgow has been nicknamed “Little Scotland” by virtue of its concentration of historic sites and cultural attractions. Among the best is the Cathedral of Saint Mungo, an imposing medieval Gothic masterpiece of renown that is commonly known just as Glasgow Cathedral. On the other end of the architectural spectrum, you can inspect the streets of Georgian townhomes in Park Circus and take a walk across the “squiggly” Tradeston Pedestrian Bridge.

Like Edinburgh, Glasgow is full of beautiful parks and gardens, but visitors would be remiss to ignore the nearby countryside of the Scottish Lowlands. Fantastic views are the reward when hiking the Munroes of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Fishing ports and small villages dot both coasts, leading into the network of picturesque wild islands in the west.