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Scotland isn’t your typical digital nomad destination – but here’s why it could be.

Normally digital nomads head to sunny destinations with low costs of living. This makes total sense as your ‘home currency’ goes a lot further.

However, those seeking true adventure should not pass up Scotland as a digital nomad destination.

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SCOTLAND FOR DIGITAL NOMADS AND ENTREPRENEURS
 


Why you should consider living in Scotland

Scotland has a history for innovation. Watched TV today? Turned on a light? Taken a train recently? All of these inventions were made possible by Scots to some degree or another.

This innovative buzz is still felt around Scotland’s two major cities: Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Scotland is famous for its start up scene in both Glasgow and Edinburgh (more about each to follow).

However, despite famous innovation, there is a real digital skills gap in Scotland. For digital nomads, this is great!

 

 

Freelance gigs are in abundance in Scotland – all you need to make it in this beautiful country is a laptop and a digital skill.

All the above being said, the main pull towards Scotland is the scenery. From the striking glens, to the awe inspiring peaks and dreamy Caribbean-esque islands, Scotland has a lot to offer for the outdoorsy digital nomad.


Aerial view of a river and green hills at Banchory Lodge in Aberdeenshire
Scotland’s incredible landscapes make it great for outdoorsy types

Where to base yourself in Scotland as a Digital Nomad

The Central belt is where it is happening in Scotland. This part of Scotland is the industrial part of the lowlands in Scotland.

There are two main cities here: Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, and Edinburgh, the capital.

For argument’s sake, you could base yourself in The Highlands – somewhere like Ullapool or Fort William – but the Central Belt is your best bet.

 

 

Bear in mind however that the cost of living in The Highlands is loosely around 20% less than that of Glasgow.

If you fancy visiting Ullapool or Fort William, check out these guides below:


Cost of living in Glasgow

  • 1 bedroom flat rent 1 mile outside the city centre: £400
  • Cost of a pint of lager: £3.50
  • Cost of a glass of wine: £3
  • Cost of a 2 course meal: £15

Scotland’s largest city is down to earth and vibrant.

It might not have a castle, but it feels more like a home that a generic tourist destination.

Per head, Glasgow has more parks than every other city in Europe save Stuttgart in Germany.

The city has a cool, hip vibe, with pop up restaurants, regular food festivals and unique, quirky bars on every corner.

 

 

Start-up culture is seriously big here. Organisations like Bridge 2 Business, Young Enterprise Scotland and JBG host regular networking events and there is always something happening on Meet Up.

Glasgow is also close to the Highlands. You can be in Glen Coe by car in an hour and a half and Loch Lomond in 30 minutes.

This makes it the perfect base for those looking to work a bit during the week and explore during the weekend.


Motorway Bridge across the River Clyde in Glasgow City Centre at Night. Other Bridges Spannig the River are Visible in Background
Glasgow has a vibrant city centre – and affordable living costs, too.

Cost of living in Edinburgh

  • 1 bedroom flat rent 1 mile outside the city centre: £700
  • Cost of a pint of lager: £5.50
  • Cost of a glass of wine: £5
  • Cost of a 2 course meal: £24

Edinburgh is the capital and thus pulls in the majority of investment. However, the cost of living in Edinburgh is significantly higher than anywhere else in Scotland.

 

 

The old town in Edinburgh is truly spectacular. Think cobble stone streets with towering Gothic architecture overhead.

You also have the ‘new town’, a modern, sophisticated part of the city. It’s an excellent spot to park your laptop and put a few hours in.

Disclaimer: Glasgow is my home town. I love Edinburgh but it just doesn’t beat the dear green place in my opinion. I thought I would point this out. So much for objectiveness…


View of monuments on Calton Hill in Edinburgh - Scotland


Things to do in Scotland when you arrive

Moving to a new place for me is always a bit intimidating. I’d be lying if I said I never get home sick the first few days.

Follow my steps to make sure you start your Scottish nomad odyssey with solid momentum.

1 – Make some pals

First things first, drop your bags off at your chosen Airbnb or hotel and get down to a pub.

This might sound like a weird one, but if you’re in Glasgow talk to a stranger. Glasgow has been voted the friendliness city in the world by Rough Guides.

Being from a friendly city caused me some problems when living abroad. I soon realised that saying hi to random people when waiting for the bus isn’t the global norm…

 

 

2 – Plan an adventure

Get on to Airbnb or booking.com and book a weekender. Get out of the city. The cities in Scotland are nice but its The Highlands and Islands that you want to visit.

My personal bucket list would include:

  • Torridon (highly underrated)
  • Glen Coe (slightly overrated)
  • Skye (rated highly and well deserved)
  • Aviemore and the Cairngorms
  • Sutherland
  • Pitlochry and the surrounding area
  • Loch Lomond
  • Arran
  • Any of the Scottish Isles – trust me, the Outer Hebrides look straight out of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie

RELATED READ: 7 reasons why adventure seekers will love Aberdeenshire.


3 – Explore the nightlife

Glasgow, and to a lesser extent, Edinburgh, have excellent night life. Both are packed with trendy pubs and bars.

Glasgow also has a lot of nightclubs, if that’s your thing.

4 – Bag some Munros!

A Munro is a Scottish mountain over 3000ft high.

It’s a local pastime to climb up and down big mountains.

There are 282 Munros in Scotland. And trust me, if you climb one, climbing all 282 will become your obsession!

Do take care if hiking in winter however. The weather can deteriorate rapidly and it can be terrifying.

Make sure you have proper winter hiking gear before setting out.

 

 

5 – Go Wild Camping

As you can guess, Scotland is a big one for anyone interested in the outdoors.

We have pretty unique camping laws here due to a land reform act. This means that you can camp on most unenclosed land. I won’t go into the law here but you can read more on the official site.

We do have an outdoor code in Scotland as follows:

“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but memories.”

Be nice – take your litter with you.

There are also hundreds of dedicated campsites with the added benefits of toilets and showers up and down the country for those looking for a bit more comfort.

When it comes to glamping, I can personally recommend Howe of Torbeg – a fantastic wee getaway in the heart of Royal Deeside.

 


Glen Tanar estate in Aberdeenshire Scotland


Things to consider when moving to Scotland

Scotland is stunning. Even in the rain. Spoken like a true Scot!

However, do keep in mind that we get only two seasons in Scotland – winter and July.

Just kidding – it isn’t that bad. We get sunshine May through to September and when the sun shines Scotland is a thing to behold.

It can get cold in winter and it rains a fair bit. But it’s all balanced by the landscape and people.

 

 

I wasn’t joking when I said Scotland is stunning in the rain.

Also consider the fact that you might fall in love with Scotland and never want to leave. The country is a true cultural melting pot.

It’s more full of other European nationals and people from further afield who have visited and fallen in love with the country and the people than it is full of mad bagpipe playing kilt wearers.

Though you do get a few of the latter.


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DIGITAL NOMAD GUIDE TO SCOTLAND