Edinburgh vs Glasgow: Which Scottish City Is Better and Why?

Edinburgh vs Glasgow

In this article

Glasgow and Edinburgh are Scotland's two major cities, and both get a large number of visitors each year. Although the distance between them is less than fifty miles, they are significantly distinct.

In general, Edinburgh (Scotland's capital), which has its own charm, is a wonderful option for anyone interested in traditional Scottish history, landmarks, or Harry Potter fans.

Glasgow, also known as an industrial city, is a fantastic choice for people seeking a modern, big-city feel with fantastic nightlife and a live music scene.

If you can't decide which city is better to visit or live in, you're in the right place. This article will answer this age-old debate. We will analyze Edinburgh and Glasgow in detail - comparing the most important factors such as cost of living, weather conditions, crime rate, architecture, and much more.

Glasgow vs Edinburgh Population and Size

Glasgow is a larger city than Edinburgh in terms of both size and population, also it is the biggest city in Scotland with 635,100 inhabitants. It has a population density of 3298 people per km2. The annual population growth rate is 0.54% here.

Edinburgh, with a total number of 526,500 residents, is the second-largest city. The population density is 1844 people per km2, and the population growth rate is 0.66% in this city.

Cost of Living in Glasgow vs Edinburgh: Which City Is More Expensive?

Although Glasgow is not cheap, it is certainly more budget-friendly than Edinburgh in many categories. Below is a comparison of some of the most important costs of living in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Utilities (Electricity, Cooling, Heating, Water, Garbage)

Glasgow - 206.86 £

Edinburgh - 175.94 £


Edinburgh vs Glasgow: Housing Prices Compared
Apartment with one bedroom in city centre
787.69 £
972.29 £
Apartment with one bedroom outside of city centre
621.59 £
751.82 £


Transportation Prices Compared
Ticket for one way (local transport)
2.50 £
1.80 £
Apartment with one bedroom outside of city centre
73.04 £
60.00 £

Markets prices

Markets Prices Compared
Milk (1L)
1.00 £
0.97 £
Eggs (12)
2.11 £
2.01 £
Cheese (1kg)
6.55 £
5.93 £

If you're looking for more affordable places in the UK, Liverpool also has more budget-friendly prices, especially when compared to London.

Getting Around the City: What Are the Transportation Options?

The bus, train, and subway systems, as well as other modes of public transport, are all provided by various businesses under the Glasgow transportation system. The simplest method to go about the city centre is on foot. However, visitors must use public transportation if they intend to travel outside the city center.

Edinburgh airport is developed. There are several airlines that fly into Edinburgh's international airport. The main train stations in Edinburgh, Haymarket, and Waverley, are both conveniently situated at opposite ends of the central city.

The bus station is very close to Edinburgh's High Street. However, people usually go around the city on foot because the city center is compact and all the tourist attractions are within easy walking distance.

Edinburgh has a tram system that efficiently serves the airport. The bus network in Edinburgh is preferable to the tram. Services are fairly regular and operate throughout the entire town, even at night.

Crime Rate in Glasgow vs Edinburgh: Safety Comparison

Given that Glasgow has the worst crime rate in Scotland, Edinburgh's crime rate is significantly lower than Glasgow's. According to the total number of crimes reported per 10,000 inhabitants, Glasgow has 768 instances and Edinburgh has 607.

Although violent crime has increased by 7% in Scotland despite a slight decline in overall crime, Glasgow remains the most hazardous city, with 2.5 crimes per 1000 residents. This city also has the highest number of sexual offenses, with 2.8 cases per 1,000 inhabitants.

Judging by these figures, Edinburgh is a safer city.

What Are the People, Language, and Culture Like?

In Edinburgh, visitors won't have any trouble understanding a Scottish person's accent. It is even possible that while walking the streets, they will not meet anyone with a Scottish accent. Numerous residents of Edinburgh come from affluent families and sound more like English than Scottish.

It's a very different story in Glasgow. There is no doubt that Glasgow has had difficulties in the past; the city's roots are in the industry. The city has been rebuilt, yet the same residents are still present. Glasgow locals love to have fun and are quite nice. They are warm, humorous, and a little cheeky. However, visitors could find it challenging to grasp what they are saying!

There are certain terms individuals won't recognize because of the thick Glasgow accent. Straightforward words, such as "aye" in place of "yes," are frequently said and are simple to comprehend. Others, like "gone ye go," which means "I don't believe you," could be a little trickier to understand.

Which City Boasts More Historical Landmarks and Attractions?

Entire Britain is booming with historical landmarks, and the same goes for Glasgow and Edinburgh. History lovers will definitely not be bored here.


A historical landmark and masterpiece of architecture in this city is the Glasgow Cathedral. Additionally, visitors should check out the adjacent Provand's Lordship home and museum, and George Square.

Glasgow is home to some great museums. The Riverside Museum houses vintage cars and other spectacular modes of transportation, while the Gallery of Modern Art serves as a source of inspiration. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and People's Palace are also great places to visit.


A visit to Edinburgh and learning about local history is not complete without taking a tour of Edinburgh Castle. The Real Mary King's Close and the Palace of Holyroodhouse are also great sites to see. Other historical places that are popular tourist attractions are Scott Monument, Georgian House, and Canongate Kirk.

The National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery are among the national museums of Scotland, and they are both located in Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a smaller city, so its museums and landmarks are much more centralized and easy to reach without going too far or using a vehicle. Other great attractions to see here are St. Giles' Cathedral, the National Monument of Scotland, and Dean Village.

For fans of Harry Potter, a walk through the old town of Edinburgh and along the Royal Mile will certainly be a great experience, because in addition to feeling that the history of the city lives and breathes around them, for a moment they will feel as if they are part of this popular film.

If you’re looking for more exciting attractions to see in the UK, Birmingham or London are good places to start. And outside of Britain’s borders, Dublin may interest avid travelers, so make sure to check out how it compares to London and whether it’s the right city for your next trip.

Which City Has More Things to Do: Festivals, Outdoor Recreation, and Shopping Options?

Glasgow has a number of festivals throughout the year. Celtic Connections, the West End Festival, the Jazz Festival, Pride Glasgow, Merchant City Festival, and the queer arts festival in Glasgow are the main festivals here.

The amazing views and nature make Cathkin Braes a popular destination for bikers and walkers in this region. The neighboring West Highland Way is another option for those who want to hike this fantastic route. However, rather than going outside to a quiet, secluded location, the majority of tourists choose to visit Glasgow for the city's vibe.

For shoppers on any kind of budget, Glasgow is a fantastic location. There are many vintage shops to check out at Style Mile (the combination of Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street, and Argyle Street).

If individuals like a nice summer festival, Edinburgh is the best place to be. The Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival are among the several notable events that take place here. The August Fringe Festival is a very creative occasion that attracts performers from all around the world.

Visitors should undoubtedly spend some time in Edinburgh's Holyrood Park, which is close to Arthur's Seat. For a simple adventure with lots of photo opportunities, it's fun to check out the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Edinburgh is a great place to get antiques and souvenirs. There are a lot of luxury stores located on Princes Street, George Street, Multrees Walk, and Victoria Street.

Architecture in Edinburgh vs Glasgow: What Is the Difference?

Edinburgh Has a more medieval look.

It's a real history lesson to walk around Edinburgh. In contrast to the Georgian-era architecture in the new town, Edinburgh castle is more than 900 years old. In the old town, medieval structures coexist with those from the 17th and 18th centuries, and even the streets provide a window into life about a thousand years ago. There are numerous beautiful instances of Gothic architecture, and the cobbled streets date to at least the 12th century.

Glasgow would seem to be far more modern in comparison, and it is, but it also has its own beauty and history. The majority of the city is Victorian because it was built in the 19th century in large part. There are numerous older tenement buildings. These were constructed in the 19th century to provide housing for the large number of individuals moving to the city in search of employment during the Industrial Revolution.

Food and Drink Scenes Compared

These two big cities have very different food and drink scenes.

Edinburgh offers upscale restaurants like the Number One in the Balmoral Hotel as well as unique and quirky eateries like Monteiths and Empires. Edinburgh's cuisine culture is sophisticated, yet when it comes to drinking, there are extravagant cocktail clubs like Casablanca Club and traditional bars like Doctors.

Glasgow's food scene is more laid-back, and gastropubs providing fantastic food while a local band plays in the background are very common. The well-known deep-fried Mars bar may be found here, together with deep-fried pizza and just about anything else visitors can imagine.

There is a really huge selection of places to eat because there are far more chain restaurants and takeaway places in Glasgow than there are in Edinburgh. The Ubiquitous Chip and Roastit Bubbly Jocks are among the best eateries in town.

Glasgow vs Edinburgh Nightlife and Entertainment: Who Is the Winner?

Glasgow has a really great nightlife, which will keep visitors busy and give them the chance to meet new people while enjoying the cool bars, clubs and gig venues. Gin71, Bamboo, and the Sugar Cube are a few popular places to check out in this Scottish city.

There are also many bars and traditional pubs in Edinburgh, especially for visitors who prefer live music. Among the most popular spots in the city to have a drink are Sandy Bell's and Electric Circus.

Edinburgh vs Glasgow Weather

Both Glasgow and Edinburgh experience similar seasonal trends, with mild winter days, cold winter nights, and cool not so hot summers. The minimum temperature doesn't typically go below zero.

The winter months in Edinburgh are the coldest The minimum temperature for the day during this time ranges between 1.3 and 1.5° C. The maximum daytime temperature is between 7.0°C and 7.5° C. The coldest winter nights occur in December at 1.3°C, and the warmest winter days occur in February at 7.5° C.

Edinburgh's summers are relatively pleasant, with daytime highs of 17.2° C (in June) and 19.1°C (in July). 9.7° C to 11.5°C are the typical minimum daytime temperatures.

Glasgow is also the coldest throughout the winter, when daytime lows average around 1 degree Celsius and daytime highs range from 6°C to 9°C.

Glasgow summers are relatively pleasant, similar to those in Edinburgh, with maximum daytime temperatures averaging between 19°C (in July) and 18°C (in August). In the summer, the minimum daytime temperature ranges from 9.4°C to 11.1°C.

The Verdict: Which One Should You Visit?

If you want to immerse yourself in Scottish history and choose a city with a medieval vibe and more traditional Scottish culture, visiting Edinburgh is the real thing to do. But, if you enjoy being in a lively, vibrant city and want to understand more about modern Scottish culture, then Glasgow is the right city for you.

Which city is better depends entirely on your preferences, but rest assured that whichever city you choose, you won't be disappointed because each one has a lot to offer.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


That depends solely on your preferences. If you’re into medieval vibe and more traditional Scottish culture, you may enjoy Edinburgh more. However, if you’re more inclined towards more lively and vibrant cities with a big-city feel and modern Scottish culture, Glasgow might be a better fit.
Glasgow is a more affordable location, both for accommodations and activities, as well as for restaurants and pubs.
Glasgow has more affordable prices.
Glasgow is better for shopping.
The distance between these two cities is only 42 miles.

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