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January 20, 2023

How many cities are there in Scotland?

The next time you're planning a trip to Scotland, why not take some time to explore each of its cities.... if you can name them all.

By City Monitor Staff

Scotland is home to several cities, each with their own unique character and charm. But just how many cities are there in Scotland? The answer to this question may surprise you.

Scottish cities
Dunfermline is Scotland’s newest city, receiving that status in 2022. (Photo by Albert Pego/Shutterstock)

Cities in Scotland

There are eight cities recognised by the UK government: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Stirling, Perth and Dunfermline.


Edinburgh is a city renowned for its old town, architecture and culture. Scotland’s capital is a popular destination for tourists, who are drawn to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which sees an influx of visitors on top of the city’s near-500,000 population each August. For those looking to explore the natural beauty of Scotland, Edinburgh is a great spot to begin, with its nearby parks, hills and coastline.


Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city with the iconic Glasgow Cathedral and bustling George Square. The city has a thriving art and music scene (it is a UNESCO City of Music) and a range of top-notch restaurants, pubs and clubs. Shopping can be found in the city centre and in the West End, while visitors can also explore the many parks and open spaces nearby. Glasgow is home to almost 600,000 residents.


Aberdeen is the third most populous city in Scotland with just under 200,000 residents. Located on the north-east coast of Scotland, the ‘Granite City’ is a major industrial, cultural and educational centre for the country. The city’s economy is based largely on the oil and gas industry, and the University of Aberdeen is a major contributor to the city’s education and culture. Aberdeen is also home to a variety of other industries such as tourism, finance and retail. The city is well connected to other major cities in the UK, with easy access to the main roads and rail links. Additionally, Aberdeen is home to a number of historical sites and attractions, including the Castle of Aberdeen, the Cathedral of St Machar, and the Brig o’ Balgownie.


Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland with approx 150,000 residents and is located on the banks of the River Tay. The ‘City of Discovery’ is home to a range of attractions, including the iconic Dundee Waterfront, the V&A Dundee, and the Camperdown Country Park. Dundee also has a thriving economy, with a range of industries, including higher education, tourism and technology. It was also the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design.

[Read more: How many cities are there in Wales?]


Inverness is a city in the Highlands of Scotland, located on the banks of the River Ness. It is the administrative centre of the Highland region, and the largest city in the area. With a population of around 50,000 people, Inverness is a popular tourist destination and a base for exploring the surrounding area. As well as being home to some of Scotland’s most famous attractions, it is also the gateway to the scenery of the Highlands.

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Perth is a city in Scotland located on the River Tay with 50,000 residents. The ‘Fair City’ is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross and was historically known as St John’s Toun. It is one of the most important cities in Scotland and has a long history dating back to the 12th century. Its economy is largely based on tourism, retail and manufacturing, and it is home to several universities and colleges. The city is well connected to the rest of Scotland and the UK by rail, road and air. It is also a hub for businesses, with a variety of start-ups and multinationals.


Stirling is a city steeped in history and culture, located in the centre of the country’s central belt and has a population of 37,000. It is known as the Gateway to the Highlands, with its dramatic fortress dominating the skyline and its picturesque cobbled streets. The city boasts a range of attractions, including Stirling Castle, the National Wallace Monument, and the renowned Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. It is home to a thriving arts and culture scene, with its numerous galleries, theatres, and live music venues.


Dunfermline received city status in May 2022 and is home to almost 55,000 residents. Located in the heart of Fife, the former capital of Scotland has a long and rich history dating back to the 12th century. Dunfermline is known for its ancient abbey, St Margaret’s Cave, Pittencrieff Park, and the Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries. The city is also home to a number of events and festivals, such as the Saint Margaret’s Fair and the Festival of Music and Light.

The author generated this text in part with GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model. Upon generating draft language, the author reviewed, edited, and revised the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.

[Read more: How many cities are there in Northern Ireland?]

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