Glasgow, Scotland

Nobody will ever come to dispute the proclamation that Glasgow is the friendliest place on the planet, whether they’ve ever been there or not. Legendary in its reputation of a rigid tradition of universal acceptance, Glasgow is a place where even tourists become a transitory part of the spirited community of Scotland’s biggest city.

The strong historical industrial tradition has left the city with relics from a time when trade brought a lot of wealth to the city. Ornate buildings, decorated with ostentatious displays of grandeur are scattered throughout the vibrant cityscape, lending an ambiance of formal stiffness to the city’s appearance. But on closer examination, Glasgow’s anything but formal. The city is bustling with an earthy energy, showcased in the upbeat bars, hip clubs and first-rate restaurants. Casual and easy-going is the signature vibe, with a healthy dose of edgy to keep things interesting.

Speaking of edgy, no visit to Glasgow would be complete without a rendezvous with the work of city’s most beloved architect – Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The city was transformed by the art nouveau designs and the cultural footprint of his legacy that had imprints of Glasgow’s proud industrial heritage.

For a bite of Glasgow’s taste in art, look no further than the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum which houses an impressive but a manageable collection that ranges from the best of Scottish art, to a repertoire of French Impressionist masterpieces and Renaissance creations. Salvador Dalí’s work of genius Christ of St John of the Cross is a major crowd magnet into this otherwise perfect museum for relaxed cultural meanderings.

Down to earth is Glasgow’s mantra, and nowhere is that characteristic as blatantly apparent as by the River Clyde. The waterfront is a monument to the city’s working-class roots and a pleasure to experience. The modern sculptural supplants lends both continuity and Renaissance to Glasgow’s community pride and an iron-clad spirit of socialism.

When it comes to live music, musicians in Glasgow rarely leave a night of the week without a performance. Stroll into King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut for a night of guaranteed foot-stomps and air guitaring. If classical music is more up your street, Artà. Housed in a traditional baroque setting, the place has a casual vibe despite allusions to old-world glamor.

The proletariat overtones notwithstanding, Glasgow is a pretty good destination for shoppers of all dispositions. From earthy vintage deals to decadent designer wear, the choice is strangely surprising. Perhaps it is to do with the unconditional friendliness, but the urbane sophistication of the city of the deep-fried Mars bars is a bit disconcerting at times.