Retire in Glasgow

Retire in Glasgow
Glasgow Things to Do!
–>Glasgow Free Old Town Walking Tour
–>Glasgow Day Tours
–>Glasgow Best Restaurants
–>Glasgow Nightlife (Bar Hopping) Tour
–>Glasgow Best (and) Cheap Hotels
–>Glasgow Livability Factors
–>Glasgow Cost of Living
Best Travel or Retire Cheap in Paradise Locations in the World

Retire in Glasgow

[kkstarratings]This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. This is my retire in Glasgow guide.

If you are following Vagabond Buddha you probably haven’t thought that you could retire in Glasgow, Scotland. I usually take you to warmer climates, where your Dollar, Pound, or Euro goes a long way. But this week I am in Glasgow visiting my little sister so I thought I would share the experience and cost of living with you.

As you know, I have been traveling the world since 2007. I have been to 65 countries so far in my life. My sister left the US about 10 years before me in about 1998. She started in London and moved to Glasgow recently. So I am gathering data about the cost of living here in case you are curious about living or retiring in Scotland.  But we are headed to Budapest, Portugal, and Morroco after this, so stay tuned.

My sister and I grew up in California, mostly near silicon valley but also the central valley. We both just love to travel and see the world. So I try to visit her every few years whenever I am passing through the United Kingdom.

I am cataloging the best retire cheap in paradise locations in the world. I just finished a tour of the best 18 places to retire early for cheap in Mexico. Here is my list of the top 10 places to live cheap or retire early in Mexico for cultural explorers. Subscribe to Vagabond Buddha or at our Vagabond Buddha Youtube Channel if you would like to learn about the cost of living or retiring all over the world.

Qiang Hui of Hobo Ventures has been discovering the world with me for the last 12 months now. She joined me one year ago. Here is her Instagram account.

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Glasgow Facts

Here are some interesting facts about Glasgow. It is beautiful, clean, and ancient, as you may imagine. Click on the below Google Map to zoom into Glasgow.

  1. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland with 621,000 people and largest seaport in the United Kingdom. The wider metropolitan area is home to 1.8 million people or 33% of the Scottish population.
  2. The Islands of Great Britain trace their names all the way back to the fourth century BC. Both the Greeks and Romans had a knowledge of and a presence in what is now known as the UK. The Greek explorer Pytheas referred to the islands as Brettania. Cesar himself spent time on the islands and even kidnapped the King’s son and took him back to Rome in 54 BC, to educate him.
  3. The Romans conquered what was then called Britannia in 43 AD. The Roman’s were unable to conquer what is now Scotland, so they built Hadrian’s Wall to keep the Scottish out of Brittania. Hadrian’s Wall is the largest Roman artifact anywhere in the world. It runs 73 miles and a significant portion of the wall still stands and has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1987.
  4. In the second century AD, Roman-controlled Britannia was personified as a goddess with Corinthian helmet, trident, shield, and lion at her side. The name Britannia still today evokes the national identity of the islands, and the Roman goddess remains on British coins.
  5. Glasgow was founded in the 6th century by Saint Mungo who built a church where the present Glasgow Cathedral stands. The first bridge over the Clyde was built in 1285 and The University of Glasgow was established in the 15th century. Glasgow’s fortunes grew rapidly with international trade, invention, and manufacturing in the 17th century, with the products of the Atlantic triangular slave trade.
  6. At the time of the union of Scotland and England in 1707, although England had thirty times more wealth than Scotland, there were four Scottish Universities (St. Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburg) against two in England. This virtually assured the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century.
  7. During the industrial revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow grew into one of the world’s preeminent leaders, especially in shipbuilding.
  8. Glasgow suffered a post-WWI recession and the Great Depression which led to the rise in radical socialism of the Red Clydesdale movement, but by WWII was in an economic rebound that lasted until the 1950s. Since the 1980s Glasgow city planners have engineered an economic renaissance that has resulted in the Lonely Planet naming Glasgow one of the world’s top 10 tourist destination in 2008. In 2008 Glasgow was ranked 43rd of the top 50 safest cities in the world to live.

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.   

Glasgow Free Old Town Walking Tour and Map

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

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

Buchanan St: This is a walking street with cars lined with clothing stores, coffee shops, restaurants, financial outlets, travel stores, etc.

Gallery of Modern Art: This is the modern museum of art which was opened in 1996. It was formerly the townhouse of William Cunninghame, a wealthy Glasgow tobacco lord who made his fortunes through the triangular slave trade. This triangle included slaves from Africa to America, sugar, tobacco, and cotton to Europe, and Textiles and Rum to Africa.

George Square: Civic square was planned in 1781 and named for King George III. However, because King George lost the American war of independence which caused considerable anxiety with the Tobacco Lords in the UK, the Glasgow city fathers decided to commemorate Sir Walter Scott in the center of the square. Scott was a Scottish historical novelist and playwright who lived from 1771 to 1832.

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Glasgow City Chambers: This municipal building was built in the 1880s in Victorian style architecture. It was inaugurated in 1888 and had its first council meeting in 1889. The entrance to the building displays Glasgow’s coat of arms.

Hutcheson City Grill (Restaurant, Cocktails):

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The Corinthian Club: (Restaurant, Cocktails):

Provand’s Lordship: This is a museum in the oldest medieval historic house in Glasgow Cathedral. It was built in 1471 as part of St. Nicholas’s Hospital. It was likely used to house the clergy of the Cathedral. Today the house is a museum furnished with 17th-century Scottish furniture.

Glasgow Cathedral: This is the oldest building in Glasgow of any kind. This was dedicated in 1136 AD. It was built while the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church was the spiritual leader of England. This is the only medieval Cathedral on the Scottish mainland that survived reformation with a roof. When Reformation ended in 1583, the city council agreed, and have kept their word, to take care of the Cathedral. Technically, it is no longer a Cathedral, but remains a place of worship as a Church of Scotland congregation. The Glasgow Cathedral Choir, professional adult singers, still sing here twice on Sundays.

Glasgow Necropolis: This is a 37-acre Victorian cemetery established in 1832, It is located just east of Glasgow Cathedral. There are 50,000 graves there with about 3500 monuments. There is a bridge to the main entrance to the cemetery called the “Bridge of Sighs” because it lies on the route of funeral processions. There is a statue of John Knox sitting above the graveyard that predates the cemetery by about 7 years.

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.   

Best Glasgow Day Tours

Guided Tours

Viator Tours: <<–Click the link to the left to see more than 24 trips originating from Glasgow. Here are a few that are the highest rated best values.

  1. Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands Small Group Day Trip from Glasgow: You have to see the highlands while you are Scotland.
  2. Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond, and Whisky Trail Small Group Day Trip from Glasgow: Do you know what gives Scotch its smoky flavor? Time to see in person.
  3. City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: I often start with one of these cheesy hop-on-off bus tours to help find what I want to investigate in more detail in my walking tours.

GetYourGuideTours: (Compare above prices) <<–Click here to see more than 40 trips originating from Glasgow. Here are a few of the best sellers. But there are many more listed here.

  1. Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands Tour
  2. Loch Lomond & Whisky Distillery Half-Day Tour
  3. Glasgow: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Self-Guided (Cheap Bastard) Tours

If you are an adventurous sort, you should try one of my self-guided (cheap bastard) tours.

Loch Lomond $7 Boat Tour from Glasgow: Jump in a car and drive to the dock under this bridge (Sweeney’s Cruise Co Loch Lomond). Buy a 5 Pound roundtrip ticket ($7 USD at this time) for a tour of Loch Lomond by boat. After the boat tour, which last about 1.5 hours, head north towards the highlands. Turn around and head back to Glasgow when it starts to get dark. Here is the video of our tour.

Here is the map of the drive to Loch Lomond from Loch Lomond.

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.   

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Glasgow Best Restaurants, Street Food, and Surprise Experiences

We are visiting my sister in Glasgow and eating at here home mostly. Her partner Chris and have been trading off cooking. Plus my sister has made some amazing comfort foods like veggie hamburgers and hot dogs. But we have snuck out to eat a few meals we would recommend to you.

Express Pizza: We had a nice pizza here on the day of our walking tour. It is just a block from George Square on the Glasgow Old Town Walking Tour.

BrewDog: We had a great veggie burger at BrewDog brewery.

Hillhead Bookclub: My sister and I had great vegetarian sloppy joes at this place. I ate meat when I was a kid and I haven’t had a sloppy joe since. This was a nice surprise. Qiang Hui really enjoyed her pork grill. It was just a starter but she said it was big enough.

Best Glasgow Nightlife (Bar Hopping) Walking Tour and Map

We didn’t sample the nightlife while we were in Glasgow. But my sister is like me usually. She never seems to grow up. She said that the two areas that you should investigate if you are young at heart or in fact, are as follows: 1. Dumbarton Road in Partick for 30-somethings, and 2. Finnieston at Argyle Street for 20-somethings. Here is the map of two the potential after dark adult beverage enjoyment zones:

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.

Glasgow Best (and) Cheap Hotels

I usually recommend staying in the old town area. That still holds true here, but there are also a bunch of other areas that are great in Glasgow. The whole place is relatively safe and beautiful. But I will start you out with some great choices, but once you are on the ground where you will have a better feel for the price, quality, neighborhood choices that suit you best. After following is for 4 months in Mexico, and before that SE Asia, brace yourself. You may feel a little sticker-shock. I will start expensive and work my way down to cheap, and then recommend a Hostel. Finally, I will show you an Airbnb where we would stay if we didn’t have a free ride at my sister’s house.

Native Glasgow (Amazing location. George Square.)

The Alamo Guest House (Another amazing location. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.)

The Z Hotel Glasgow (Just a few blocks from George Square.)

Hostel (Wow, check out the ratings.)

Airbnb House Share: This looks like a place we would book if we weren’t staying at my sister’s house. This is a house share on Airbnb. (If you are new to Airbnb, use this code for a big discount).

I started living internationally over 11 years ago. If you would like to learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha or get a free copy of my Ebook.

Glasgow Livability Factors

This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. Here are the factors I use to decide if I would want to live somewhere. I call them my livability factors.

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

Glasgow Desirability Score: Because of the cool winters and the high cost of living relative to Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia, Glasgow would not rate high in places to live for me. But it did rate very high for my little sister. She sold her flat in London and moved to Glasgow about a year ago. Because of the difference in costs of living as compared to London, she was able to get her house in Glasgow without a mortgage and still has money left over to buy one or two rental properties. She doesn’t like hot weather and feels generally more comfortable in the UK than the warm sunny places I love. That is the beauty of choice. Just figure out what you love and go after it. 🙂

Walkability: High. There are several neighborhoods in Glasgow that you could live where all of your needs will be within 20 minutes of walking. You will not need a car. You could even walk between most of the most interesting neighborhoods without a car. There is also great public transportation here if it is too cold to walk in the winter.

Internet Reliability: High. The WIFI at my sister’s house in Glasgow was an order of magnitude faster (10X) than anything I have experienced in Mexico or SE Asia.

Food: High. The food diversity is extreme here. It is like Mexico City or Bangkok.

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Weather: Low. July is the warmest month with an average high of 68F, 20C, and it cools down at night to 54F, 12C. This means your house almost never needs AC–big $$ savings. December is the coldest month with an average low of 35F or 2C at night, and it only warms up to 44F or 7C, so you will be paying for heat in the winter. The rainy season is September through March when it rains about 4 to 6 inches per month (112 to 150 mm). Because the average low for the day is below 50F, 10C for 8 months of the year, I am labeling Glasgow as a low for weather. But this could be labeled medium instead of low for you if you are allergic to heat.

Things to Do: High. Glasgow is a modern city surrounded by some of the most beautiful green mountains, lakes, and ocean vistas in the world.

Social Considerations: High. The Scots are lovely people and a joy to be around. There are also foreigners and expats of all colors, shapes, sizes, and religions. There are amazing Universities with all the diversity that implies.

Expats Penetration: High. Mostly it attracts students from all over the world that attend the world-class universities here. But it is also a socially liberal society that attracts and makes people feel welcome.

Real Estate: Medium. The prices have been creeping up here over the last few decades. Homes start at around 200k Pounds. But you could spend double or triple that for the close in nice neighborhoods. There are still 1 bedroom apartments in the 50k to 200k Pound range. I do not recommend buying until you have lived here for at least one or two years.

Glasgow Cost of Living

The rents for a close in 1 bedroom apartment could easily run you 1000 pounds per month. Including utilities, an Airbnb apartment with a per month rental discount could still run 1200 pounds per month. Once you here, you could negotiate a better deal.

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






Airbnb 1 Bedroom





Moderate Hotel










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 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. That will allow us to keep making these travel guides and videos for you.

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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.