Glaswegians claim that their city shows the true face of Scottish culture and traditions and by the time you're ready to board your flight home, you might just end up agreeing with the locals.
With one of the best music scenes in the entire country, nightclubs galore, and plenty of theatre performances and arts events, culture vultures will be hard pressed to fit it all into just one trip. The city is not short on history either and from Glasgow Cathedral to the Glengoyne whisky distillery, everyone can worship at their shrine of choice.
Whether you spend your days browsing for cheap clothes at Barras Market, strolling along the banks of the Clyde River, or admiring the exhibits at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the city's wide range of attractions and activities has visitors booking return flights to Glasgow again and again. Come for the music, art, and theatre, and stay for the people, culinary delights, and incredible energy of this vastly underrated city.
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Glasgow International Airport (GLA) is a the main hub for Glasgow flights as well as most long-haul flights to Scotland. Located approximately 13 kilometres away from the city centre, the airport is served by several international carriers including United, British Airways and Virgin as well as low-cost airlines such as Easyjet and Flybe. Air Transat offers direct flights to Glasgow from Toronto and passengers can also book connecting services from Vancouver.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK) is a smaller airport located approximately 48 kilometres from downtown Glasgow and is served largely by charter and budget airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz.
Glasgow flights are cheapest in the wintertime, although prices do rise around Christmas and New Year's due to Scots heading home for the holidays or visitors coming here to experience the famous Hogmanay celebrations at the end of December. Unless you're here for the New Year's parties or Christmas festivities, this is not the best time to travel to the city as you will not be able to enjoy many of Glasgow's outdoor attractions.
Summertime flights to Glasgow are expensive, but this is when the city comes to life with oodles of festivals and events. The huge crowds can be daunting so if you're not good at waiting in line at museums and historic sites, plan a trip in the shoulder seasons instead. Airline fares are cheaper in April, May, and September, and with temperatures averaging a pleasant 19°C, you will still have enough warm weather to spend as much time as you like outdoors.
Arriving at Glasgow International Airport (GLA)
The airport has a large, single terminal with four wings marked A to D. International Glasgow flights bring passengers to the A wing, which is located on the ground floor of the terminal building. For more information on ground transportation options to the city, consult the airport's website.
Public Transit and Shuttles: First Glasgow operates the airport's official shuttle service and takes passengers to a few main stops in the city centre. Shuttles operate every 10 minutes 24/7 and the journey to downtown Glasgow takes less than half an hour. One-way fares cost approximately £5 and you can also buy tickets for shuttle services between GLA and Edinburgh.
First also operates buses every 20 minutes on Route 747 which makes several stops along the way to Glasgow. While the journey time is approximately 50 minutes, fares are cheaper than the shuttle bus and cost about £4 for a one-way ticket. On both of these services, discounts are available for passengers buying tickets for children or return fares.
Buses operated by Arriva take passengers to smaller towns in the area such as Paisley and Largs and all bus stops are located at the forecourt in front of the airport terminal. While there are no direct train services from the airport, passengers can take trains to Glasgow Central station from Paisley's Gilmour Street Station.
Hotel Shuttle: Unless you're staying with friends and family, check with your hotel if they provide complimentary pick-up services from the airport. Pick-up areas are usually located at Car Parks 1 and 2.
Taxi: Taxis are easily available from outside the airport terminal and all fares to Glasgow are metered. A one-way trip to the city centre will cost between £20 and £22 but might be more expensive depending on the traffic. If you are carrying a lot of luggage, this is the most convenient way to travel from the airport.
Car Rental: Several companies offer car rentals from the airport, including Enterprise, Budget, Alamo, Avis, and Europcar. Booking in advance is advisable, and remember that you will have to drive on the left side of the road!
Arriving at Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK)
This L-shaped airport has a single terminal with designated areas for international and domestic flights to Glasgow. Check Prestwick Airport's website for more details on the ground transportation options listed below.
Train: The airport has its own train station with regular services to Glasgow Central Station between 5:48 a.m. and 11:07 p.m.. From Monday to Sunday, trains run at 20 and 50 minutes past the hour and on Sundays, services run once every 60 minutes. Fares vary depending on the time of day but on average, a one-way ticket to the city centre will cost between £7 to £10. Discounts are available for round-trips and children's tickets.
Bus: Buses on Route X77 operated by Stagecoach Western run between the airport and Glasgow Buchanan Street Station. X99 and X100 buses also operate on this route but do so early in the morning and late at night, when the trains aren't in service. The journey takes approximately 50 minutes and one-way fares cost between £9 and £16 depending on whether you buy tickets online or at the airport.
Taxi: Cabs operated by Ayr Black Taxis are available outside the airport terminal 24/7 and most of these accept payments via credit or debit card. You can also book these cabs in advance online or via telephone. A one-way trip to the city centre will cost you approximately £40 to £50, and you should expect to pay more if you get stuck in traffic. This is not a cheap travel option if you're on your own, but is convenient for groups travelling to the same destination.
Car Rental: For those wishing to drive, companies like Europcar, National, Avis, Hertz, and Alamo operate car rental desks at Prestwick airport's arrivals area.