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The 20 Best Places to Live in Scotland

Killearn, Stirling

Scotland is a beautiful and diverse country that combines historic cities, vibrant towns, and vast landscapes with tiny hamlets. Regardless of whether you want to live in a city apartment, buy a cottage on the coast, or live in a mansion surrounded by hills and mountains, you will find somewhere that suits your needs.

When deciding which is the best location for you, there are many factors that you need to consider. Which of these is most important depends on your personal circumstances. Just some of the factors that you may consider are the geography of the area, the leisure activities available, crime rates, public schools, transportation links, and the cost of living.

The following is an overview of the 20 best places to live in Scotland.


20. Dundee

The fourth-largest city in Scotland, Dundee is an interesting city that has features that will appeal to different groups of people. There are leisure activities to suit people of all ages and interests, and there is a vibrant nightlife.

Both the community and the properties are diverse, so there are options to choose the lifestyle you want depending on which Dundee neighborhood you choose.

It is more affordable than the other large cities in Scotland, and the low crime rates mean that this city is considered a safe place to live. Job opportunities in this city are plentiful, and the transportation links in and around Dundee are excellent.

Western Isles

19. Western Isles

Also known as the Outer Hebrides, the Western Isles are one of the most remote areas of Scotland. If you like spending time in restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, then this is not the location for you.

However, what the area lacks in amenities it makes up for in natural beauty. Life in the Western Isles is ideally suited to those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and get back to nature.

Almost anywhere you stand, you can enjoy water views, and the hills are dotted with traditional Scottish cottages. Moving to the Western Isles is a lifestyle choice rather than simply a change of location.

The Shetland Islands

18. The Shetland Islands

Those who live in Shetland enjoy the feeling of space. There are stunning landscapes and pretty, traditional properties on this island. Although some people think it can feel a little isolated from the rest of Scotland, there is everything you need in terms of amenities and leisure activities.

There are also plenty of jobs available. The top industries in the Shetland Islands include tourism, renewable energy, fisheries, oil, and gas. Hopping from one island to the next is relatively easy, as is traveling to mainland Scotland.

17. Orkney

The Scotsman says that Orkney is one of the best places to live in Scotland. If you want to experience life on a Scottish island, then this is somewhere that you should consider making your home.

This island has one of the highest employment rates in Scotland, as 88 percent of those aged between 16 and 64 are in employment. Studies have also revealed that the residents of Orkney are some of the happiest people in Scotland thanks to the lifestyle they enjoy on the island.

Strathbungo, Glasgow

16. Strathbungo, Glasgow

Now that Glasgow is a greatly improved and up-and-coming city, it has several neighborhoods that are fast becoming desirable places to live, and one of these is Strathbungo. The two things that make this part of Glasgow stand out from the rest of the city are its architecture and the strong sense of community.

If you live in Strathbungo, you will have access to a vast array of amenities and attractions to enjoy in your leisure time. There are also many job opportunities in various industries, and the transport links in and around the city are excellent.

Morningside, Edinburgh

15. Morningside, Edinburgh

Morningside is the third area of Edinburgh to make it onto the list of the best places to live in Scotland. The downside is that because it is one of the most desirable parts of the city, the house prices and cost of living are high compared to the national average.

It is a great area for people who enjoy an active social life as there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. Residents of Morningside can also enjoy all the attractions and amenities of Edinburgh.

Black Isle, Highland

14. Black Isle, Highland

There is a long list of reasons to consider making Black Isle your home. There is a combination of towns and villages, so you can find somewhere that best suits your preferred lifestyle. It is a fantastic place to enjoy the outdoors, as the landscape is diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

Black Isle is also home to a brewery and several traditional pubs. Despite the rural feel of Black Isle, it is only a half-hour drive to Inverness, where you will find a hospital, supermarkets, and many other amenities.

The arts play an important part in the culture of Black Isle, and it hosts events throughout the year relating to arts and culture.

Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

13. Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

Aberdein Considine describes with Aboyne as an idyllic rural retreat. There is an excellent community spirit, some great local businesses, plenty of family-oriented activities, and It is commutable to several towns, which opens up job opportunities.

Aberdour, Fife

12. Aberdour, Fife

Aberdour is a coastal village in Fife. One of the predominant reasons that this is one of the best places to live in Scotland is because of the strong sense of community among the residents.

The pretty beaches and the traditional properties are also features that will appeal to many people. There are plenty of community activities, and most residents enjoy spending time outdoors taking part in a variety of activities that take advantage of the diverse landscape. The Queensferry Crossing means that Edinburgh is easily accessible.

Melrose, Scottish Borders

11. Melrose, Scottish Borders

On the list of best places to live in Scotland published by the Daily Record is Melrose, which is a city in the Scottish Borders. This historic city is famous for Melrose Abbey and many other historic landmarks.

It is also famous for its rugby team, as rugby is an important part of the culture of this town. There are excellent schools in the area, and employment opportunities are plentiful.

St. Boswells. Scottish Borders

10. St. Boswells. Scottish Borders

A pretty village, St. Boswells combines hills, valleys, tree-lined streets, period properties, and a busy high street. There is something that will appeal to everyone in this village, whether you like the historic charm and the sense of community, or you love the fact that there is no shortage of amenities. There are also plenty of leisure activities to enjoy in this area, such as fishing kayaking, hunting, tennis, and cricket.

St. Boswells. Scottish Borders

9. Port Appin, Argyll & Bute

Located on the west coast of Scotland, Port Appin boasts splendid scenery as it is surrounded by locks and hills. Living in this area will suit those who enjoy outdoor activities in their spare time.

It will also appeal to nature lovers, as some of the native creatures include sea eagles, otters, seals, and porpoises. Popular activities among those who live in Port Appin include kayaking, sailing, fishing, hiking, and cycling.

North Berwick, East Lothian

8. North Berwick, East Lothian

It is the stunning setting od North Berwick that has landed it a spot on the list of the 20 best places to live in Scotland. It is set against the dramatic backdrop of North Berwick Law and boasts two beautiful beaches.

This seaside village boasts traditional fishermen’s cottages in pretty colors along with larger family homes. It is just half an hour by car to Edinburgh, so it appeals to people who work in the city but prefer living in a rural location.


7. Mull

The seventh best place to live in Scotland is Mull, says The Telegraph. It is worth noting that this also ranks Mull as the best Scottish Island on which to live. So, if you want to try island living, then this is the best one to choose.

It is praised for being a quiet location that is not too remote as it has easy access to mainland Scotland. The island is known for its picturesque beaches, and its most significant natural landmark is Ben More. It is a brilliant place to live for those who want to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.

Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire

6. Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire

Those who prefer a suburban lifestyle should consider living in Killmalcolm. It is a popular place to live for those who work in Glasgow but do not enjoy the urban lifestyle. The area has many appealing features that make it perfect for both young professionals and families.

There are excellent schools in the area, diverse housing options, and excellent restaurants. The downside is that there is a high price tag for living in this area.

Killearn, Stirling

5. Killearn, Stirling

Killearn is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, such as the Whangie rock formation, the Campsie Fells, lochs, rivers, and mountains. This makes it a popular location for those who enjoy outdoor activities. It is a pretty, rural location where the residents enjoy a strong sense of community.

However, it is just 15 miles from Glasgow, which means that amenities and attractions are easily accessible. Likewise, Killearn is a commutable distance from the job opportunities in the city.

Finnieston, Glasgow

4. Finnieston, Glasgow

In the past, Glasgow has had a bad reputation. However, many areas of the city have been transformed and experienced a resurgence. One such area is Finnieston, which is now considered one of the coolest areas in Europe.

Many young professionals flock to this part of Glasgow because of the wide range of social activities, employment opportunities, and excellent transport links. Life in Glasgow offers many of the same benefits as Edinburgh, but the cost of living and property prices are lower.

Stockbridge, Edinburgh

3. Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Stockbridge is the second-best place to live in Edinburgh and the third best place to live in Scotland. This area is particularly noted for the style of its properties, which are generally either sandstone townhouses or Victorian cottages.

Although it is one of the most expensive places to live in Scotland, those who live there believe it is worth the high cost to live in such a beautiful part of the capital. Residents love the lifestyle that this area offers to people of all ages as there is everything from children’s playgrounds to golf courses to enjoy in their spare time.

Leith, Edinburgh

2. Leith, Edinburgh

Edinburgh came in a close second to Dundee, and the best neighborhood in which to live in Scotland’s capital is Leith. This area has been recognized predominantly for its culinary scene, as there are many outstanding restaurants in this area.

The neighborhood has also been praised for its creativity. Leith is the docklands area of the city, and it is described as the residents as being an atmospheric area. Although it is only a few miles from the city center, Leith feels as though it has its own community. There are plenty of things to see and do in this area, so it suits those who want an active social life that offers variety.

Village of Dundee

1. Village of Dundee

According to The Telegraph, the best place to live in Scotland is Dundee. This was once a run-down industrial city, but it has been completely transformed to become a vibrant creative hub that is a UNESCO city of design.

One of the highlights of the city is the V&A museum. This vibrant city is just one hour from Edinburgh by train, so it is a commutable option for those who work in Scotland’s capital.

Education in Dundee is one of the factors that has led to this city being ranked so highly. Not only is it home to some of the best schools in Scotland, but it also has a high-ranking university.

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Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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