Vanilla or chocolate, tea or coffee, east- or west-Coast – there are some things about people will always argue which one is better. The same goes for the two major cities in Scotland: Glasgow and Edinburgh. So after a few days in London we headed towards the northernmost part of the United Kingdom. Since we couldn’t really decide beforehand which of the cities we wanted to see we ended up visiting them both. Thus, I try to give you my views and impression of both cities in the following paragraphs, even though I already have my personal favorite.
Let's start with the more populous, Glasgow: it said to be a dynamic metropolis with a lot of shopping possibilities and vibrant nightlife – which is all true. Glasgow is a “city city” with a lot of things going on there. The center with its wide streets and its imperial buildings almost reminded me of some areas in the inner districts of Vienna.
Apart from that, you have huge parks and a modern riverside with a bunch of architectural gems. Another highlight are the botanical gardens that charge no entrance fee. Even with no knowledge on plants, you could spend hours in these lush gardens.
The designer in me was also fascinated by the consistent city branding. The pink “People make Glasgow” campaign can be found throughout the whole city. It immediately sticks to your mind and makes Glasgow stand out from other towns.
Some people claim that Glasgow is a quite rough place – that I don’t really understand. Maybe it was due to the nice weather – even got my first sunburn of the year there – but we never felt uncomfortable strolling through the city. (Except for the smell in the reception of our hotel – but that’s another story)
60 kilometers east of Glasgow is the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh which more historical and touristy than the first one. The city center seems like the Scottish Version of Salzburg. There is the big castle that sits enthroned on a hill over the city looking down on the numerous historic buildings.
Due to its compact size, it’s easy to navigate through Edinburgh. You can find a lot of sights with a great number of tourists and an even greater number of Scottish gift shops and bagpipe players. However, because of the size the place is generally much calmer than Glasgow and you wouldn’t even think that you’re in a city – it almost appears idyllic.
My favorite spot in Edinburgh is definitely the hill that is located on the opposite side of the castle. From the top you have a stunning view over the center as well as over the surrounding mountains and the sea. Despite the heavy winds we sat there quite a while enjoying some typical and utterly delicious shortbread.
Well, as you can see, Glasgow and Edinburgh are very different cities and are honestly not easy to compare. Therefore, you can’t really make a universal decision on which one is superior to the other. It more depends on what the individual prefers – for me it would be the livelier Glasgow. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a good time in Edinburgh too- rather the opposite was the case.