Digital Nomad in Edinburgh Scotland

Digital Nomad in Edinburgh Scotland
Edinburgh Things to Do!
–>Edinburgh Free Walking Tour
–>Edinburgh Day Tours
–>Edinburgh Best Restaurants
–>Edinburgh Best (and) Cheap Places to Stay
–>Edinburgh Flights, Buses, Trains
–>Edinburgh Livability Factors
–>Edinburgh Cost of Living
Best Travel or Retire Cheap in Paradise Locations in the World

Digital Nomad in Edinburgh Scotland

[kkstarratings]This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. This is my Digital Nomad in Edinburgh Scotland guide.

We are digital nomads on our way from Mexico to Portugal and Morroco. Along the way, we are visiting my sister in Glasgow and Qiang Hui’s friend from Malaysia that now lives in Budapest.

While visiting my sister Kathleen in Glasgow, she took us on a day trip to Edinburgh. While there I took pictures and videos and created this digital nomad in Edinburgh Scotland guide.

The truth is, not everyone likes warm weather, year-round. Many people like all 4 seasons. My sister is one of those people, so she plans on retiring in Scotland. I totally get why she loves it so much.

Digital Nomad 

I am a digital nomad presently traveling year round. I don’t go back to an empty bed after each trip ends. I keep moving forward. Someday I may want to have a home base for part of the year. I could have a home base for about half of the year, and travel the rest of the year. If I picked somewhere like Scotland for my home base, I would stay here in the summer and fly south for the winter. In the USA we call people who do this–snowbirds. If you have the resources to travel, then Scotland might serve as a base for you. It is so green and beautiful, why not Scotland? No matter what, you need to visit Scotland during your life, even if just for a holiday.

Live Cheap in Paradise

I am cataloging the best live cheap in paradise locations in the world for digital nomads and international retirees. Fortunately, the same places often turn out to interesting for people who want to retire cheap in paradise. This information is also relevant to people visiting Edinburgh on vacation. Subscribe at Vagabond Buddha or our Youtube Channel if you would like to learn more. Also, check out Qiang Hui’s Instagram account. She is fun to follow.

If you would like to learn how to flourish internationally in the new digital economy, please grab a free copy of my Ebook.  Okay, back to my discussion about Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Facts

Here are some interesting initial facts about Edinburgh. I am here now as I type these words. 🙂 Click on the below Google Map to zoom into Edinburgh.

  1. I covered interesting facts for Scotland’s in my Retire in Glasgow Guide. These following facts focus more on Edinburgh.
  2. The earliest evidence of human inhabitation was found in a Mesolithic campsite near the Edinburgh Castle was carbon dated at 8500 BC.
  3. When the Roman’s arrived at the end of the 1st century AD, they found a Celtic tribe called Votadini. In the 7th century AD, descendants of the Votadini called the Gododdin, built an early version of a hill fort. It was probably on the spot we now call the Edinburgh Castle.
  4. The Royal Burgh was founded by King David I in the 12th Century.
  5. Despite the destruction of the Edinburgh Castle by the English in 1544, the town flourished rapidly soon thereafter and was at the center of the Scottish Reformation in the 16th century.
  6. Walter Scott wrote, “… yonder stands Auld Reekie–you may see the smoke hover over her at twenty miles’ distance.” Auld meaning “old,” and “Reekie” referring to the black clouds in the air above the city from the coal people burned to keep warm and the rank air that occupied the city from open sewers.
  7. Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since the 15th century. It is the seat of the Scottish Parliament, the Supreme Court of Scotland, and Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland.
  8. In 1603, King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne, thereby uniting the thrones of Scotland and England.
  9. England and Scotland merged parliaments in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
  10. Edinburgh is the second largest financial center of the United Kingdom (UK) behind London.
  11. Edinburgh is the second largest population in Scotland, second to Glasgow. Edinburgh City has about 520,000 people with a metropolitan population of about 1.4 million.
  12. Both Edinburgh Old and New Town are UNESCO World Heritage sites, since 1999.
  13. Edinburgh was also referred to as the Athens of the north. This is due to similar terrain and philosophical enlightenment. They have similarity of terrain with Castle Rock in Edinburgh and the Acropolis in Athens. The enlightenment of philosophy and reason in Athens was followed by the Scottish Enlightenment of many Scots such as David Hume and Adam Smith.
  14. In 1998, the Scottish Parliment was reestablished to govern local Scottish matters while the UK parliament still handles defense, taxation, and foreign affairs. The Scottish took back control of local spending because they felt more emphasis should be placed on building the middle class and providing a safety net for citizens at risk.

If you book my recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations, you will pay nothing extra, but we will earn a small commission.

Edinburgh Scotland Free Old Town Walking Tour and Map

Here is the Youtube video of our Edinburgh Free Old Town Walking Tour.

Click the interactive Google Map on your smartphone to be guided on this tour.

George Street: George Street was initially proposed as a residential area when designed in the 1700s. It was created to ease congestion inside the castle walls. Residential buildings in the castle had grown to 10 to 16 stories high. Since 1700s, George Street has slowly converted from residential use to commercial use including bars, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and retail shopping.

Scottish National Gallery: This gallery built in 1859 houses the national collection of fine art spanning the period of time from the Renaissance through the 20th century. There are many museums and galleries in Edinburgh but I picked this one because it includes my favorite genre, impressionism.

Edinburgh Castle: The castle sits on top of an extinct volcano. Archaeologists estimate human inhabitation of this rock since the 2nd century AD. There has been a royal castle here at least since David I in the 12th century. When David’s older brother Alexander died in 1124, David fought Alexander’s son, David’s nephew, to win the Kingdom of Scotland for himself. David was backed by Henry I of England. When Henry I died, David I supported Henry’s daughter to ascend to the throne of England. The castle remained a royal residence until 1633 when it was converted to a military barracks. Recent research has confirmed that it is the most attacked place in the world but has never been taken by an invading force.

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High Court: Parliament House was the home of the Parliament of Scotland before the union with the English Parliament in 1707. It was designed to function as the parliament and was completed in 1693. Even while the parliament was operating, parts of the building functioned as civil courts in session.

St Giles Cathedral: This Cathedral is the religious center of Edinburg for approximately 900 years. The church was built in the 14th century though it had extensive restorations in the 19th century. John Knox was chosen minister of St Giles in 1559 during the Protestant Reformation. The reformation movement was started in part because of perceived corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. John Knox is said to have died penniless which many believe was proof that he had not taken corrupt advantage of his high position in the reformation movement.

City Chambers: The Edinburgh City Chambers was originally built as the Royal Exchange in 1761. There is a prominent bronze statue of Alexander Taming Bucephalus in the quadrangle.

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Canongate Kirk: The Kirk of Canongate serves the Parish of Canongate in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The parish includes the Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament. The church was founded in 1688 and completed in 1691.

Scottish Parliament: The original Parliament of Scotland existed from the early 13th century until the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England in 1707. In 1997, the Scottish people voted to reestablish the Scottish legislature to make laws not explicitly reserved to Westminster. The first meeting of the new Parliament took place on May 12, 1999.

Queen’s Gallery: The Queen’s Galery is an art gallery in Edinburgh Scotland. It is part of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It was opened in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II and exhibits works from the Royal Collection. It was originally built as the Holyrood Free Church of Scotland.

Palace of Holyrood: The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarchy of Scotland, now Queen Elizabeth II. It has served as the official residence of Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer. It is open to the public except when members of the Royal Family are in residence.

Please book using my recommendations. 🙂 If you book my recommendations such as flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations, you will pay nothing extra, but we will earn a small commission.

Best Day Tours From Edinburgh

Guided Tours

Viator Tours: There are some really great day tours originating in Edinburgh. Here are a few that remain top rated by hundreds of people over many months:

  1. Edinburgh Historical Walking Tour Including Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle
  2. St Andrews and Fife Small Group Day Trip from Edinburgh
  3. Royal Edinburgh Ticket with Hop-On Hop-Off Tours, Edinburgh Castle Admission
  4. Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small-Group Day Trip from Edinburgh

GetYourGuideTours: There are some really great day tours originating in Edinburgh. Here are a few that remain consistently top rated over many months:

  1. Ghostly Underground Vaults Evening Tour with Whisky
  2. Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands Tour from Edinburgh
  3. Edinburgh Castle Ticket (Skip the lines!)
  4. Edinburgh: The Royal Yacht Britannia Ticket & Audio Guide
  5. Edinburgh Castle Ticket

Edinburgh Best Restaurants, Street Food, and Surprise Experiences

As I mentioned above, we were just on a day trip from Glasgow to Edinburgh. So we only had two meals in Edinburgh. Both were great. So here are our two recommendations:

Hanam’s Middle Restaurant: Qiang Hui, my sister Kathleen, and I, all love Middle Eastern Foods. This place was right along the mile just outside the castle. It was a great lunch.

Dishoom: (Indian) My sister had been trying to get into the London branch of this Indian restaurant for months before moving to Scotland. We were able to just walk into the Edinburgh branch at 5:30 PM for dinner. It was amazing. We loved it.

Edinburgh Best (and) Cheap Hotels

You should stay close to Old or New Town Edinburgh, if possible. The following recommendations go from most to least expensive.

The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square (Lovely place to experience Edinburgh.)

Destiny Scotland – Chisholm Hunter Suites (Live the dream.)

Edinburgh Central Rooms (You’ll survive. What are you doing in the room anyway?)

Hostel (Can you afford a dorm?)

Airbnb Entire Apartment (Where we would stay for a week if not day-tripping from my sister’s house in Glasgow. If you are new to Airbnb, use this code for a big discount.

I started living internationally in 2007. The world is changing and you might be curious about how you could live the laptop lifestyle. Maybe you will be a digital nomad someday? If you would like to learn how to flourish in the new digital economy, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha, our Youtube Channel, or get a free copy of my Ebook.

Edinburgh Flights, Buses, Trains

Trains: We took the Train from Glasgow to Edinburgh and back for 16 Pounds per person. You can find trains, tickets, and locations here at ScotRail.

Edinburgh International Airport (EDI): Fly into EDI and take an Uber to your accommodations in Edinburgh. It takes about 20 minutes and costs 6 to 10 pounds. I have provided a list of 5 great places to stay above.

Flights (International or Domestic): I always use Skyscanner to book domestic and international flights. If you allow a range of dates to fly, you will often save hundreds of dollars.

Smartphone Internet Access: Get a SIM card for your smartphone when you land. Get your phone unlocked before leaving your home country.

Edinburgh Scotland Livability Factors

This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. I wouldn’t consider living in some places. Here are the factors that I look for when considering living somewhere. Where you a digital nomad looking for places to hang out for a few months or a potential retiree, you are likely to care about these factors.

Livability Factors: Food choices, walkability, internet reliability, social considerations, cost of living, things to do, real estate prices, weather, and expat opportunities.

Edinburgh Desirability/Livability Score: Edinburgh has my highest desirability score but with two warnings. I will mention the warnings first. 1. Edinburgh is expensive relative to many of the other places that I suggest for retiring early or retiring cheap. 2. Edinburgh is too cold for much of the year. However, if you have a healthy retirement budget you should be fine. You will be able to live in Edinburgh during the summer and head south for the winter. Please subscribe here on Vagabond Buddha or on our YouTube Channel to see where we go next.

Walkability: High. Edinburgh is mostly walkable. I almost labeled it medium because of the short distance between the old and the new town, but that is mostly a covered walkaway through the train station, so I have rated walkability as high.

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Internet Reliability: High. The Internet is extremely fast and reliable in Edinburgh.

Food: High. Almost all of the World’s food has found its way to Edinburgh, in delicious fashion.

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Weather: Medium or Low. July is the warmest month with an average high of 66F, 19C, and it only cools down at night to 51F, 10C. This means you will not need AC. January is the coldest month with an average low of 33F or 1C at night and only gets slightly warmer during the day, averaging 44F or 7C. So you will be paying for heat much of the year. It rains all year. That is why it is so green. It rains 50 to 80 mm per month (2.4 to 3.2 inches), except in April when it rains 40 mm (1.6 inches).

Things to Do: High. People from all over the world love Edinburgh and come here if they can during their life. This includes world-class entertainers and everyone else. So your favorite entertainers are likely to show up here and perform for you, whether rock stars, comedians, classical musicians, plays, book tours, artists, writers, political activists, and House DJs. The food here is amazing. And you are surrounded by some of the most beautiful nature in the world. Most everything is available here, other than laying on the beach for a suntan or scuba diving without a wetsuit. Luckily there is an international airport here so you can fly south for white sand beaches and sun.

Social Considerations: High. This place is fun. Technically, they speak English here. But it may take some time for your ears to hear English. Understanding the Scottish version of English can be a challenge. But you will be fine after a few months if you decide to move here.

Expats Penetration: High. Edinburgh is full of expats from all over the world.

Real Estate: Low. The prices are high which makes the livability factor of owning your own less likely, or low. Plus the rents are high, so this factor has a low desirability.

Edinburgh Cost of Living

For the central part of Edinburgh, you could easily pay 800-1000 pounds per month for a 1 bedroom apartment. Utilities would be another 130-ish including the Internet, averaged year-round. A long-term lease at that rate would convert to about $1200 USD for your apartment, or $40 USD per month. That is why some Airbnb landlords are easily able to get $55 to $75 USD per night for their daily rates which include utilities and a profit. But if you are going for a few weeks or a month, you should be able to make offers to multiple Airbnb landlords and get a weekly or monthly discount. The below Airbnb price assumes you do some bargaining.

Monthly Cost of Living, Edinburgh, Scotland ($USD)






Airbnb House Share





Moderate Hotel





Backpacker Hostel





High-End Restaurant





Neighborhood Restaurant





Food Cart





















Per Month





Per Day




The above table is just my notes from my time here. The above numbers are for one person and do not include alcohol, tours, or extras. I do not guarantee these prices for anyone.

For more information about how the above “Cost of Living Monthly Multiplier” works, please visit the bottom of this page at Vagabond Buddha.

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If you have learned anything new or been entertained at all, could you please book using my links to my recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations? You won’t pay a penny more, but we will earn a small commission.

Thanks for watching our video. If you would like to learn how to live internationally or make money online, please grab a free copy of my eBook. Also, please contact us if you would like to collaborate with us on social media. We would feature your place or service in our videos and photos on social media.

This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. Thank you for stopping by. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?

Warning: I am not offering you these prices.  These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post.  Your costs will likely be drastically different if significant inflation or deflation occurs or the market changes after this post.  I will not update these numbers until I am on the ground again here, if ever.   

2 thoughts on “Digital Nomad in Edinburgh Scotland”

  1. Very well written information. It will be valuable to anyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – can’r wait to read more posts.

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