Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

11. University of Glasgow. Credit University of Glasgow
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If you’re heading to Scotland as an international visitor, you’re likely to run into the question at one point or another: should you visit Glasgow or Edinburgh? These are two extremely different cities and both have so much to offer, but depending on your personality and what you’re looking for out of your trip, you’ll be able to make a decision! Better yet: visit both!


The Balmoral, Edinburgh

Glasgow vs. Edinburgh

The Architecture

Glasgow has some great free museums (don’t miss GoMA), as well as Glasgow University, The GSA Building, The necropolis and more. However Glasgow is also a much more cosmopolitan city with motorways, large shopping centres, and more modern buildings.

Edinburgh has the Castle and the Old Town which is like a time-warp with all of its’ gorgeous architecture and flair. As you walk through Edinburgh you will be spoiled with centuries old architecture that transports you to another time, so let the imagination run wild!

Who wins? Edinburgh.
The People

Glaswegians are laid back, friendly, love toΒ have a conversation, and incredibly casual in their approach to life and its daily happenings.

Edinburghians are more reserved, private and less likely to approach you for a conversation. Though still friendly, they don’t have the enthusiasm or humour the Glaswegians are famous for.

Who wins? Glasgow
The Culture

Glasgow is bursting with life on the cultural scene with so many talented musicians, great bars, pubs, clubs, etc. There are also some great brewerys in Glasgow to visit, great art galleries and museums… so Glasgow is really full of culture every which way you look.

Edinburgh has the month-long Fringe Comedy festival which is great if you’re in town on that month, but the vibe in the bars here is much more sophisticated and reserved.

Who wins? Glasgow.

Glasgow’s food palette is limited at best… because there needs to be room for all those cheeky pints! Food here is typically a pub grub meal or some potato chips with your drinks and bar conversation. Nothing fancy.

Edinburgh is quite the contrary – home to some of the world’s finest Michelin chefs and quite the culinary extravaganza! The only downside being you’ll blow your budget in one meal.

Who wins? Edinburgh.
Drinks & Dancing

Glasgow has a great nightlife on every day of the week. There are the “hotspots” to go each night, so be sure to ask a local where to go for an up-to-date rundown. Nights out can be a lot of fun even if a low-key affair and you won’t have any trouble meeting new people on your own.

Edinburgh’s nightlife is a mix of locals and tourists, so can be a little hit and miss.

Who wins? Glasgow.

Glasgow – Taxis here are cheaper and everything is central enough to get around on foot.

Edinburgh – Also possible to explore the city on foot, however taxis are slightly more expensive.

Who wins? Fairly equal.
Kelvingrove Art Museum

Kelvingrove Art Museum, Glasgow

So Which City is For You!?

If you’re after an old city with fantastic architecture and are willing to pay the price, head to Edinburgh. This is a beautiful city with so much to offer, especially for Harry Potter fans visiting Edinburgh!

If you want something more low-key, full of young students and a cosmopolitan city, head for Glasgow. This is a fun, happening, and incredibly easy to enjoy city. There’s no other city like it in Scotland and perhaps the UK!

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    April 9, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Scotland is not in England!! don’t make that mistake when you are in Glasgow. Scotland has so much to offer town and country.

    Milana I The Backpackers
    November 10, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I visited last year both Edinburgh and Glasgow. They are both charming in their own way and you experience them differently. Of course, it depends from a person, which one they prefer, but I can say that my personal favorite is Glasgow. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like Edinburgh, I would definitely recommend it and visit it again, both of them. πŸ™‚

      November 10, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Spot on! They are such different cities, it can sometimes be difficult to compare them straight up against the other πŸ™‚

    Kimberley Laing
    October 30, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    For a Scottish girl living in Edinburgh, I would say that you got this pretty much on point! Except that people in Edinburgh are Edinburgers πŸ™‚

    October 24, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Both cities has there own specialties, I prefer both to visit. Thanks for sharing info about both..!!

    October 24, 2015 at 12:03 am

    I’ve lived in Edinburgh for 5 years – and I still have a longing for Glasgow! Still my preference! πŸ™‚ but I will say the only thing I disagree with on this is the bars. There’s actually a lot of really cool, unique bars in Edinburgh that are the opposite of sophisticated and reserved. Just need to find them! Down the Cowgate, the bars are far more eclectic, and if you venture further out, you’ll hit some crazy local bars that’ll let you dance on the bars – just know when the time to leave is! πŸ™‚ great post, I wish I could move over to Glasgow right this moment!

    October 23, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I visited both but I prefer Edinburgh!

    October 23, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    To be honest, Glasgow hadn’t been on my list to visit but definitely is now. I’ve been dying to explore Edinburgh, but I have heard about the reserved part though. Great guide!

    Rekha Rajan
    October 23, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    I think it is criminal to decide on one of these two spots. I will visit both….in the summer

    October 23, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I definitely think I’ll be visiting both!

    October 23, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Great post. CanΒ΄t wait to go to Scotland and explore other parts of England, especially the countryside. So far had been only in London.

    October 23, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I lived in Glasgow for a year, and it is definitely a city full of surprises, you just need to know where to look!

    October 23, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Love how you’ve broken this down! I think I’d definitely have to find a way to squeeze in both cities!


    Maddy @ Travel Alphas
    October 23, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Visiting Scotland in a few months and will definitely be visiting both cities, likely with a longer stay in Edinburgh! Thanks for sharing!

    October 23, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Loved reading this post! I am visiting Scotland for the first time next month and would love to visit both cities! I feel that Edinburgh would definitely be my style. Great tips πŸ™‚

    October 23, 2015 at 8:20 am

    And I have just booked my train up to Scotland! Can’t wait to explore Edinburgh and the environment πŸ™‚