Are you planning on moving to Scotland and unsure what Scottish city you should move to? Edinburgh Vs. Glasgow: Which Scottish city Should You Move to?
Each city has its own distinctive feel and charm. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are great cities to move to and live in. But, depending on your preferences, one city might call out to you or fit your lifestyle better.
Whether you love the history, beautiful architecture, and incredible restaurants or want to do everything touristy – Edinburgh may be the place for you.
Or do you prefer a city full of friends that provides a modern and trendy feel? Or if you love seeing live bands, wandering around stunning museums and love spending a night out on the town, Glasgow may be the right fit for you.
How do you really decide if you should pick Edinburgh over Glasgow to move to? First, let’s look at the pros and cons of both cities to help you decide.
Edinburgh VS Glasgow: Which Scottish City Should You Move To?
Edinburgh VS Glasgow – Scottish Weather
Scotland is known for its rain, but did you know Glasgow has far more rainy days than Edinburgh?
According to The Scotsman news, Edinburgh averages about 124 days of rain per year, whereas Glasgow averages 170 rainy days.
If you are coming from a country that doesn’t experience much rain, it will seem overwhelming, but generally, the rain is relatively light, so you won’t get soaking wet the moment you leave the house.
While I loved the chubby rain that would come every so often, it was usually pretty light, but of course, if you were out for quite a while, you could get wet from the rain.
I recommend picking up a waterproof jacket and a small umbrella but check out what other things I recommend to pack for moving to Scotland.
When I walked to work on rainy days, I would tuck my trousers into my socks so the bottom wouldn’t get wet from the pavement. Of course, I looked silly, and my coworkers made fun of me relentlessly, but it worked! Dry feet all day is better than looking cool walking down the street, haha!
What about winter weather?
I also want to mention the weather during the winter months. Scotland does get some snow here and there, but the sleet and cold air make their winters so bad.
If you do a lot of walking, you will notice how brutally cold the air can get during winter.
Be sure to bring warm clothes with you – way more hoodies, sweaters and warm woolly socks than you think you need. If the weather is truly the deciding factor that will tip the scales between Edinburgh and Glasgow, you should know that Edinburgh is also slightly warmer than Glasgow!
Don’t be fooled, though, as Edinburgh still gets loads of rain. Those extra 46 days in Glasgow might be too much for some people.
Which Scottish City is Cheaper to Live In?
Both Edinburgh and Glasgow have their pros and cons when it comes to how much you will spend living in each city.
If you are wondering if it is cheaper to stay in Glasgow or Edinburgh, both are pretty much equal for most costs. Glasgow is classified as one of the top 20 most affordable cities in the UK.
Compared to Edinburgh, rent is often 20-30% more than in Glasgow. Although not every flat in Edinburgh is 20-30% more, you can still find some cheaper flats to rent in Edinburgh, but more often than not, they are generally a bit more expensive than in Glasgow.
Glasgow VS Edinburgh – Tourists
We are all tourists at some point, but we all equally hate tourists, right? While tourism in Scotland is incredible, and I highly recommend everyone visit both Edinburgh and Glasgow.
However, as a resident of Edinburgh, the overwhelming number of tourists that visit can get to you as you try to do your daily tasks of commuting to work, getting your shopping done or just hanging out with friends.
The number of people that visit Edinburgh compared to Glasgow is quite a big difference, especially in high tourist seasons like the Festival Fringe and the Military tattoo that comes to Edinburgh every August.
However, the number of tourists also benefits people living in Edinburgh. With so much history, incredible festivals, and ghost tours, it brings so many new things to the city that everyone can enjoy.
In Edinburgh, you will never be bored. People from all over the world come to Scotland to visit the city and experience the joys of Edinburgh. When you live there, you can enjoy it daily.
You will fall in love with Edinburgh and understand why it is so popular with tourists. If you love tourism and touristy sites – Edinburgh is the best place to live.
Tourism also brings in jobs! Edinburgh is the perfect place for you if you want employment in the tourism or hospitality industry. There are tons of attractions and hotels in the city looking for workers.
Glasgow still has a healthy tourism industry, with people flocking to the Scottish city every year, but it is far less popular with tourists than Edinburgh.
Do You Prefer a Big City Vibe or Small-Town Feel?
Do you want a small-town feel in a large city? Then, Edinburgh is the city for you. While it is the capital city of Scotland, it is much smaller than most capitals and smaller than its counterpart Glasgow.
Edinburgh feels really warm and welcoming everywhere you go. You find shops and restaurants you like, and you feel like as you become a regular, you become friends with the people that work there.
Everything you need is nearby in Edinburgh. It is a walkable city, people are friendly, and it doesn’t take long to get to most areas in and around the city.
If you don’t like larger capital cities like London, you will enjoy Edinburgh. It is still a large city with loads to do, but it has a small-town charm in a big city – at least, I thought so!
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and you can notice the size difference between the two cities.
Glasgow is still a walkable city in certain areas, but you will have to use public transport more often. Plus, Glasgow gives off a trendy big-city vibe as you walk around. Even walking through the city centre in Glasgow gives off a large metropolis vibe compared to Edinburgh.
Unlike Edinburgh, where the city centre is spacious, the stunning Princes Street Gardens offers an escape. Glasgow’s city centre is full of tall buildings and shops on both sides of the streets throughout downtown.
The only thing that makes Glasgow feel a little less “big city” than other places is that the people are very friendly in Glasgow! You will have no issues making friends or getting help with directions from the people in Glasgow.
Glasgow Vs Edinburgh – Which City is Easier to Escape?
No matter how much you fall in love living in Edinburgh or Glasgow, there will be a time you will want to expand your travels.
Both Edinburgh and Glasgow offer loads of options to escape. So whether you want to take a day trip from Edinburgh to North Berwick, Stirling, or Pitlochry – it is a simple train ride away.
Glasgow also offers fantastic day trips, including visiting Oban, Glencoe and Falkirk. It is easy to hop on a bus, take a train, rent a car, and venture as far as you want.
If you want to travel to other European countries or abroad, you may want to leave through Glasgow. If you are staying in Europe, Edinburgh offers several flights to various countries, but if you head across the pond, Glasgow has several more options and cheaper flights than flying in and out of Edinburgh.
Glasgow VS Edinburgh – Employment and Types of Jobs
Which city offers the best job opportunities for you? Edinburgh is perfect for people looking to work in the hospitality and tourism industries. Edinburgh is also ideal for people who want jobs in the arts and history-related jobs.
If you prefer a job in finance, business, and tech startups, Glasgow is the perfect city for you. Glasgow is known for being an industrial city, and it is easy to find jobs in most industries. So if you have a degree in engineering or finance, check out job opportunities in Glasgow.
Edinburgh VS Glasgow – Going to Shows
I will be completely honest with you. Glasgow wins, hands down, for seeing live bands, comedians, and musicians. However, while Edinburgh has fantastic venues, most bands will skip over Edinburgh and head straight to Glasgow.
Some venues in Glasgow include the Barrowland Ballroom, the Classic Grand, the Cathouse Rock Club, and the O2 Academy Glasgow.
Glasgow is also home to the OVO Hydro, the largest concert venue in Scotland and the venue all of the world’s biggest and most popular bands visit.
Edinburgh does have some fantastic comedians and bands that come to town during the Festival Fringe. However, chances are your favourite band will skip Edinburgh and have one show in Glasgow.
Worry not, though. A trip to Glasgow is a short train or bus ride away. So you can still live in Edinburgh and head to Glasgow to see the best bands, comedians and everything in between any time.
Glasgow Vs Edinburgh – Architecture
Glasgow and Edinburgh’s architecture are incredibly different. Both cities give off different feelings and vibes as you walk around.
Edinburgh has historic buildings, cobbled streets, and small closes, each with a different history. It is home to a 900-year-old Castle that leads down to a Palace still home to the British Monarchy.
Below the city streets sit historic vaults and streets that were once homes to plague victims. You can also easily live in a newer flat or get a place that is over 300 years old!
The Scottish Capital is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Old Town and New Town – both full of gorgeous shops, colourful houses,
Edinburgh is home to the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, and Holyrood Palace and has many historic Scottish monuments all around the city.
Glasgow has a more industrial and modern feel. At the same time, there are still loads of historic areas, including the Glasgow Cathedral and the Glasgow Necropolis.
Edinburgh is charming, with loads of narrow closes and cobblestone streets lined with traditional pubs and colourful houses. Edinburgh has incredible architecture and is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Glasgow is full of Victorian-style buildings with a modern feel. Walking around Glasgow, you will find buildings with incredible history, including the Glasgow Cathedral, located next to the Glasgow Necropolis. Then, you will turn the corner and find modern buildings plastered with beautiful street art. Glasgow is undeniably Glaswegian architecture.
Getting Around – Which City is Better?
Edinburgh Vs Glasgow – which city is easier to navigate, more walkable and quicker to get around?
Edinburgh is a very walkable city. It has good connections with bus routes, trains out of the city and the tram, but if you prefer walking and love everything being close by – Edinburgh is fantastic.
Glasows city centre is very walkable but to get around to other areas, you must take the train (underground) or buses.
One of the best things about travelling in Scotland is the bus drivers are really friendly. If you ask them to let you know when you arrive at your destination, they will let you know!
Glasgow Vs Edinburgh – Which Scottish City is Better for Students?
Which city should you move to? Regarding Edinburgh vs Glasgow for students, both cities have strong condensers for British and International students.
Both Edinburgh and Glasgow have world-renowned universities. Edinburgh University is well known for its outstanding medical, computer science, economics and law courses. My friends attended Edinburgh Napier University for zoology, and they all loved their experience at Napier.
Glasgow has multiple popular universities for locals as well as International students. I know people that have attended and loved Glasgow University.
Glasgow University is known for its excellent Finance courses, Business Studies, Civil Engineering and Chemistry.
Many students attend Glasgow’s other top universities, the two most popular being the Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Strathclyde. I don’t know anyone who attended either of these universities, but I have heard nothing but good things about both.
If you can’t decide between Edinburgh Vs Glasgow, you should look at the courses for each university and see which one has the best course you are looking for. I also recommend speaking to other International Students who have attended each university and getting a feel for what kind of University life you seek.
Which Scottish City is Safer? Edinburgh Verses Glasgow
I will preface this by saying I have never felt unsafe in Scotland. Crime still occurs in all cities in Scotland, and it is wise to use your common sense and street smarts when out and about.
Edinburgh and Glasgow have shady areas. However, if you avoid those areas, especially at night, you will be generally safe no matter when you travel.
The Scottish city with the most crime is Dundee, followed by Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Vs Glasgow – Things to do
Culture – Festivals, Museums and Theatre
Edinburgh is known for the world-renowned Festival Fringe, which causes flocks of tourists to come into town to see some incredible buskers, performers and comedians.
August in Edinburgh also brings the famous Royal Military Tattoo, one of Scotland’s most popular events.
Edinburgh is also home to the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh Science Festival, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival (check out my post about Books Set in Scotland to get excited!)
Glasgow is Scotland’s cultural capital and includes the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, FrightFest Glasgow, the Celtic Connections Festival and the Glasgow Film Festival.
TV, Theatre & Live Performances
Glasgow is an excellent place for live music, performing arts and all things creative. It is home to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the National Theatre of Glasgow. Glasgow also hosts the Scottish Ballet and the Scottish Opera and is the hub for the BBC Scotland Studio.
Edinburgh is home to the Festival Fringe, which features hundreds of theatre acts and live performances for an entire month.
Museums in Glasgow Vs Edinburgh
Glasgow and Edinburgh have wonderful museums, including free museums open to the public. Glasgow has the Kelvingrove, the People’s Palace, the Transport Museum and the Science Centre.
Edinburgh has the Scottish National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, and the Surgeon’s Hall Museums, which is the best way to spend an afternoon in Edinburgh.
Glasgow VS Edinburgh – Outdoor Spaces
Edinburgh and Glasgow have many outdoor spaces perfect for those who want to relax in the grass, have picnics, go on hikes and everything in between.
Edinburgh has stunning outdoor spaces like Calton Hill, the Pentlands, Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park, the Salisbury Crags, The Meadows, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Princes Street Gardens.
Glasgow has loads of accessible green spaces, which include over 90 gardens and public parks. I recommend spending time in Kelvingrove Park, Victoria Park Pond, and Queen’s Park. If you are interested in hiking in Glasgow, I recommend heading to Catkin Braes and Fossil Grove.
Edinburgh Vs Glasgow – Nightlife
While Edinburgh does have a thriving nightlife – nothing beats Glasgow. The cities have different vibes – and even different accents. The cities are very different, but both offer unique things to do at night.
In Edinburgh, you can find traditional Scottish culture full of bagpipes, men in kilts, whisky and the best-tasting haggis you can get. Edinburgh is also home to fun music spots like The Jazz Bar.
Another enjoyable part of Edinburgh’s nightlife is the ghost tours and pub crawls! So why not visit some of Scotland’s oldest pubs, complete with a side of spirits (both the ghosts and the drinks!)
Glasgow nightlife offers a lively yet chill scene. Complete with nightclubs where world-famous DJs play, Glasgow is the best city for people who love to party. Plus, Glasgow is home to the Sub Club, which is an insane underground dance club.
Conclusion – Is it better to live in Glasgow or Edinburgh?
While I can’t decide for you, I can give you the differences between each city, and you can decide which one better suits you and your lifestyle. For example, there are pros and cons to living in Edinburgh and the pros and cons of living in Glasgow.
In the end, both cities are close together and easy to visit. If you want to live in Glasgow but love the idea of being a super tourist in Edinburgh? It’s a short train or bus ride away!
If you are interested in history, beautiful grandiose and medieval architecture, incredible museums and public parks, and some of the best tourist sites in Scotland, you should pick Edinburgh.
Want to sip the best Scottish whisky any day of the week? Edinburgh is so close to the Pentlands, so it can feel like you are taking a trip to the Scottish Highlands without leaving the city.
It is perfect for students and for people who love to walk. Edinburgh is an excellent place for young workers looking to work in the hospitality or tourism industry. It is home to one of the biggest festivals in the world – The Festival Fringe and the Military Tattoo. There is always so much to do – you will never feel bored in Edinburgh.
Which Scottish City Would I Choose?
What would I choose? Why my opinion shouldn’t affect you, I loved living in Edinburgh. It was the best city that worked for me. It was home to a job I wanted (I worked at Edinburgh Zoo), and it was easy to engross myself in Scotland’s dark history.
I often would go on ghost tours in Edinburgh all the time or visit my favourite tourist attractions like Mary King’s Close anytime I wanted. Quite often, I would go to Glasgow to see my favourite bands play or do some shopping (no offence to Edinburgh, but Glasgow’s shopping is so much better).
I am a huge tourist and love all of Edinburgh’s tourism, so it really worked for me. Edinburgh worked for me and the life I wanted. Edinburgh does have its downfalls (very expensive to rent a flat), but it is a phenomenal city.
So please reach out to me and let me know which Scottish city you moved to and what you loved and hated about it – especially if I missed something essential in this list that I can inform other people about.
So – Edinburgh Vs Glasgow – which Scottish City did YOU choose to move to?
Are you ready to book your flight?
I use several different tools to find affordable airfare, but I often find myself returning to Skyscanner. It is a great tool for finding various flights around the world. It includes several airlines and shows you the cheapest flights for each day.
Are you looking for a hotel to stay at in Edinburgh? I highly recommend staying at the Market Street Hotel. It’s a really nice hotel, and the location is perfect for exploring the city.
More Information about Moving to Scotland
- The Pros and Cons of Living in Scotland
- Moving to Scotland from the US
- 16 Reasons You Should Move to Glasgow Scotland
- Things to do When You Move to Scotland – The Moving to Scotland Checklist
- Getting a job in Scotland for Expats
- 23 Reasons to Move to Edinburgh
- What to expect when you move to Scotland