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8 Scottish Twin Towns and Cities

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The idea of planning a holiday can be very exciting but where do you even begin? This year, pick Scotland! Does your home town have a link to Scotland? Our wee country has history, heritage and cultural connections to many of our international neighbours, making it a fascinating place to explore for visitors from all corners of the world. Get to know some of the most intriguing connections, from Dundee and Dubai to Glasgow and Marseille.

Dundee and Dubai

Although Dundee might not experience the same soaring temperatures as Dubai, both cities develop programs and activities in fields such as economics, trade, science and technology, as well as culture and arts. With Dundee being awarded the UNESCO City of Design, and the recent opening of the V&A Dundee, it has helped the city take centre-stage with millions of visitors from around the world flocking to see this spectacular attraction. Dubai is also no stranger to notable architectural masterpieces with the city being home to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

Edinburgh and Florence

Twin cities since 1964, Edinburgh’s Old and New Town and the historical centre of Florence have been named as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Florence is also considered the birthplace of the Renaissance with the city adopting the nickname ‘the Athens of the Middle Ages’ which is similar to Edinburgh’s ‘Athens of the North.’

Glasgow and Marseille

Marseille and Glasgow both boast a very rich and industrial history. Marseille is the biggest Mediterranean Port City in France, making it the main hub for maritime activity, while the River Clyde in Glasgow played an important role in the city’s shipbuilding industry. The international image of Scotland has long been associated with its rich history and heritage, but it also takes great pride in its food and drink, just like France, to create some of the very best culinary delights. To help keep this momentum, City of Glasgow College and Lycee Hotelier in Marseille have recently engaged in a hospitality partnership which sends students to work in French hotels and restaurants, while students in Marseille do the same in Glasgow. Both cities have also been hosts to some major sporting events throughout the years, with Marseille hosting football matches in the 1998 World Cup and Euros 2016, and the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the upcoming UEFA Euros 2020 in Glasgow.

St Abbs and New Asgard

Fans of the Avengers might be familiar with the Scottish Borders village of St Abbs. That’s because the village recently made a starring role in Avengers: Endgame, acting as the fictional movie village New Asgard. Locals have been lapping up the film’s Box Office success by taking selfies around the village where some of the scenes were filmed. Even the Scottish Borders Council have gotten on-board, creating new signs proclaiming the twin connections.

Dull and Boring

Not taking life too seriously is the village of Dull in Perthshire. Twinned with the town Boring in Oregon, USA, it is believed that Dull’s name derives from the Gaelic word for meadow, but others have speculated it could be connected to the Gaelic word ‘dull’ meaning snare. Elsewhere, Boring was named after William H Boring, an early resident of the area and former Union soldier in the American Civil War.  Since Dull’s connection with Boring in 2012, there have been around 60,000 visitors a year to the village.

Glasgow and Havana, Cuba

A sweet harmony! The twinning of Glasgow and Cuba’s capital in 2002 brought together two cities which thrive from their music scenes. The most obvious connection being the Havana Glasgow Film Festival, screening films from Cuba to a Glasgow audience, where even the daughter of Che Guevara attended once.

Aberdeen and Stavanger, Norway

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You might be surprised to find that Aberdeen also has twin city connections too. Twinned with the city of Stavanger on the west coast of Norway in 1990, these two cities have some striking similarities. Aberdeen and Stavanger both heavily rely on its oil and fishing industries, as well as tourism. Population levels are quite similar, and both cities also have a major airport and a university. With Stavanger renowned for its wooden buildings and Aberdeen for its granite buildings, it’s no doubt that both cities take great pride in having buildings of architectural importance.


Edinburgh and Dunedin, New Zealand

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The worlds steepest street

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Two peas in a pod, it’s as if Dunedin is almost a mini replica of Edinburgh. Named after the city using the Gaelic spelling, many Scots settled here in the 1840’s where the city was designed just like Edinburgh’s New Town, with many of Dunedin’s streets adopting the same names too. Dunedin’s Baldwin Street boasts steep residential streets similar to Edinburgh’s Old Town and are both UNESCO Cities of Literature too.

We hope that we have convinced you to take a short staycation in one of Scotland’s twin towns and cities! Still looking for some more inspiration? Check out our top picks for rooftop views in Scotland’s cities, beautiful & historic towns in Scotland or the most inspiring Instagram accounts that are worth a follow. Fancy visiting a few unique attractions amongst the popular ones? No problem! Scotland have a whole list of fun things to see and do off the beaten track. Whatever you decide to do, your trip to Scotland will certainly be worthwhile nonetheless.