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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Scotland (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Glasgow, Scotland


Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Scotland (Plus, Itineraries)

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Considering a move to Scotland but uncertain about where to settle? Venturing on an exploratory trip to visit multiple popular expat destinations can be incredibly enlightening. Here's a list of recommended places to consider during your exploration of Scotland.

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Scotland is an invaluable step for anyone considering relocation. This exploratory journey offers a firsthand experience of the Scottish lifestyle, culture, and communities. It allows potential expats, retirees, and digital nomads to assess the suitability of different areas, from bustling cities to serene towns, ensuring their move aligns with personal and professional aspirations. A Look-See trip is not just about visiting; it's about envisioning your life in a new place, understanding local amenities, and gauging the vibe of each potential new home.

Recommended Itineraries

For a comprehensive Look-See trip to Scotland, consider two itineraries based on the length of your stay. A 10-day trip could focus on the central belt and a few key locations, while a 20-day journey allows for a more extensive exploration. For the shorter trip, start in Edinburgh, then visit Glasgow, Stirling, and Perth. If time permits, a trip to Inverness or Aberdeen can provide a taste of northern Scotland. On a 20-day trip, add the Scottish Borders, Dundee, the Highlands, and some islands like Skye or Arran for a broader perspective. This extended itinerary offers a deeper understanding of the varied lifestyles across Scotland.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, is a favorite among expats and digital nomads for its vibrant cultural scene and historical charm. With a population of around half a million, it offers the amenities of a large city while maintaining a compact, walkable center. The cost of living is higher here compared to other Scottish cities, but the quality of life, employment opportunities, and access to international festivals like the Fringe make it appealing. The city is also well-connected, with beaches and hills nearby for nature enthusiasts.

Travel Tip: While in Edinburgh, visit The Elephant House café, where J.K. Rowling penned the early Harry Potter books, and take a stroll through the historic Royal Mile up to Edinburgh Castle for breathtaking views of the city.

Glasgow

Glasgow, known for its friendly locals and rich industrial heritage, is Scotland's largest city. It's a hub for creative types and entrepreneurs, with a lower cost of living than Edinburgh. The city boasts a thriving music scene, numerous parks, and a diverse food culture. With a population of over 600,000, Glasgow offers a more urban experience but still provides easy access to Scotland's stunning landscapes, like Loch Lomond, just a short drive away.

Travel Tip: Sample some local cuisine at the renowned Ubiquitous Chip in the West End, and don't miss the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum for a dose of culture.

Stirling

Stirling is a market town that exudes historical significance, with its castle playing a pivotal role in Scotland's past. It's smaller than Edinburgh and Glasgow, offering a quieter lifestyle with a strong sense of community. The cost of living is more affordable, and its central location makes it an excellent base for exploring the rest of Scotland. Stirling's population is around 36,000, making it ideal for those seeking a balance between city amenities and small-town charm.

Travel Tip: Visit Stirling Castle, one of Scotland's grandest, and enjoy a meal at the Portcullis, which offers traditional Scottish fare with a view of the castle.

Perth

Perth, once the capital of Scotland, is now a tranquil city on the banks of the River Tay. With a population of about 47,000, it's a great spot for retirees and those looking for a slower pace of life without sacrificing conveniences. The cost of living is moderate, and the city is known for its beautiful parks and gardens. Perth's location also provides easy access to the Highlands for weekend adventures.

Travel Tip: Enjoy a peaceful walk through Branklyn Garden, a small but exquisite garden with a notable collection of plants, and dine at The North Port Restaurant for locally sourced Scottish cuisine.

Inverness

Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, offers a blend of city life and proximity to some of Scotland's most stunning natural landscapes. With a population of around 47,000, it's a growing hub for the tech industry and a gateway to the Scottish Highlands. The cost of living is reasonable, and the city has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. It's an ideal location for those who love outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking.

Travel Tip: Visit the historic Inverness Castle and enjoy a meal at Rocpool Restaurant, which offers contemporary dishes with views of the River Ness.

Aberdeen

Aberdeen, known as the 'Granite City' due to its distinctive stone architecture, is a coastal city with a strong economy based on the oil industry. It has a population of approximately 200,000 and offers a mix of urban living and easy access to the countryside and beaches. The cost of living is on par with other major Scottish cities, and it has a vibrant expat community. Aberdeen is also home to two universities, adding to its cultural diversity.

Travel Tip: Explore the Aberdeen Maritime Museum to learn about the city's connection to the sea, and savor fresh seafood at Moon Fish Café.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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