Edinburgh vs Glasgow – Which Scottish City Is Right for You?

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Edinburgh vs Glasgow – Which Scottish City Is Right for You?
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For people moving to Scotland, two prominent Scottish cities tend to stand out – the country’s capital, Edinburgh, and the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow, but which city is right for you and why?

Many different factors could determine which city is best, and it ultimately comes down to what you’re looking for in a new location. This could be swayed by the population of the city, what types of local attractions are available, and even how easy it is to get around the city via public transport.

Whatever your primary considerations for your new city, ultimately one will appeal to you more than the other. In this article, we’ll guide you through which city is more popular in terms of different factors, including some information on local property prices to give you an idea of expenses too.  

In terms of deciding which Scottish city is more popular between Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s important to break down the different aspects of each city as they are very different from one another.

In the below sections, we’ll discuss what Edinburgh and Glasgow have to offer in terms of types of attractions, accessibility within the city, whether the people are welcoming/accommodating, and what the local eateries/bars/restaurants have to offer.

There are some facts that are more black and white, such as that Edinburgh tends to be more popular with tourists for example, attracting three times more visitors than Glasgow. However, Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, with a population of over 1.5 million people as of 2023 which far surpasses Edinburgh’s population of just over 500,000 people.

Despite these facts, Edinburgh and Glasgow will be popular for different reasons which we’ll go into in further detail in the below sections.

What Does Edinburgh Have To Offer?

Let’s start with Edinburgh. Below we’ll analyse what Edinburgh has to offer in terms of some key factors, and then we’ll swap things out and do the same for Glasgow.

Types of Attractions

As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh has many different types of attractions on offer for tourists and residents alike. 

Some top attractions include Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Arthur’s Seat, plus a wide range of art galleries and museums. Edinburgh is also home to the annual Fringe Festival as well as many whiskey experiences taking place across the city.

These attractions make Edinburgh the second-most visited city in the UK (after London), making it a strong contender for those who require a city to jam-packed full of tourist attractions and things to do. 

Getting Around

Edinburgh is super easy to get around, with a wide range of public transport options available to visitors and residents.

Edinburgh Airport is a short distance from the city centre, and there are a number of major train stations/bus services available to make travelling around the capital city as stress-free as possible.

There is also a tram system that runs from the airport to the city centre, and as the city is smaller than Glasgow it tends to be easier to explore on foot. However, there are many hills in Edinburgh which may be off-putting to some.


People in Edinburgh tend to be very friendly and will generally have a softer accent than people from Glasgow. 

This is generally because there is a larger proportion of people from affluent backgrounds in Edinburgh, with an accent that sounds more ‘English’ and is perhaps easier to understand.

Eating & Drinking

As for food and drink, Edinburgh has many popular, high-end restaurants which will be very appealing if you’re into fine dining.

Some popular restaurants include The Number One within the Balmoral Hotel, Monteiths, and Empires. Edinburgh also has a great drinks scene with popular cocktails bars such as the Casablanca Club.

Restaurants and bars in Edinburgh do tend to get booked up quickly so you’ll find you’ll need to book in advance rather than being able to drop in and have a guaranteed table.

View of Victorian tenement housing in Edinburgh | sell your house fast in Edinburgh

What Does Glasgow Have To Offer?

Now let’s move on to Glasgow. Here’s the low-down when it comes to the discussed categories for the Glasgow area.

Types of Attractions

There are a range of great attractions in Glasgow, including a vibrant music scene, museums, and art galleries. 

However, while Glasgow has many good attractions, it doesn’t come close to the vast number of different things available to see and do in the capital city of Edinburgh. As Edinburgh is the second-most popular tourist city in the UK after London, it’s a difficult contender to beat in terms of local attractions.

Getting Around

Glasgow is a large city, but it’s incredibly easy to explore due to its extensive public transport options. The city is home to an underground system known as ‘The Clockwork Orange’, and allows you to get from one side of the city to the other incredibly quickly.

As with Edinburgh, there are a wealth of bus services and train stations, plus the city is easy to explore as a pedestrian. It’s flatter than Edinburgh, however, the city is larger so it’s worth bearing this in mind if you intend to walk – you may be better off hopping on the underground to save yourself some time and energy!


Glaswegians are known for their thick accents and cheeky attitudes. The city was built on industry and tends to be home to those from less affluent backgrounds than people in Edinburgh. 

However, this is preferable to many as people from Glasgow tend to be more relatable and are generally warm and keen to welcome people to their city. You might just need them to repeat the odd word if they have a particularly strong accent!

Eating & Drinking

Food and drink in Glasgow tend to be more relaxed than in Edinburgh, with more of a focus on gastro pubs and music venues.

Glasgow is famous for Scottish cultural classics such as the deep-friend mars bar and battered haggis and tends to offer more chain restaurants and takeaways than you’d find in Edinburgh.

While sophisticated diners may not find this as appealing, there’s no doubt that you’ll never struggle for somewhere to eat/drink in Glasgow, and you can be more spontaneous knowing that there will be somewhere for you to drop in and grab a table.

Which City Is More Affordable/More Expensive To Live In?

Below we’ve included some data on how affordable/expensive it is to live in the Glasgow and Edinburgh areas.

We’ve broken this down by average property price, as well as the average rental price PCM (Per Calendar Month) too. Some approximate cost of living for a single person and income figures have also been included to show how the cities differ in terms of being affordable/expensive.

CityAvg. Property PriceAvg. Rental Price (PCM)Avg. Yearly SalaryAvg. Monthly Cost of Living

From this data, it’s clear that Edinburgh is the more expensive area to live in when comparing it with Glasgow, and the average yearly salary while higher is not significantly higher when looking at the higher cost of living figures and rent/property prices.

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