How To Get Around Glasgow
Glasgow is the biggest and the most populous city in Scotland but fortunately, it's hard to get lost in it. There is easy, fast and inexpensive public transport making navigation around the city a breeze. The streets are also built on a grid system, which makes getting around on foot the best way to explore the city.
From George Square and Glasgow Cathedral to the famous People's Palace and Kelvingrove Art Gallery, there are hundreds of things you'd want to see and do in and around the city. But before you go through our ultimate guide on how to get around the biggest city in Scotland, make sure to drop your belongings at a safe luggage storage location in Glasgow.
How to get to Glasgow from the airport
Being only eight miles away from the City Centre, getting to Glasgow airport is as easy as it gets. There are several means of transportation, with the Glasgow Airport Express bus being the fastest. This is a 24-hour service that runs every 10 minutes from station 1 at the airport bus station. It takes less than half an hour to get to Buchanan Street bus station.
The First Bus Glasgow Airport Express bus offers free WiFi and USB ports. A one-way ticket goes for a little less than $10, while a child ticket costs about $5. You can buy tickets in several ways: one is to visit one of the Scotland desks at domestic arrivals, the second is to pay the driver using a tap-to-pay card or give him exact change. You can also buy the tickets online and via the mTicket mobile app.
Another public transport you can use to get to Glasgow International Airport and back includes local buses that run from the main terminal building at the airport and drop you off close to the City Centre. Single fares cost about $4.5o, with return tickets going for a little less than $7. Bus numbers to look for are 77, 757, 915, X24 and 977.
And of course, you always have the option to grab a taxi to get to the airport, but it will cost you double the price. There is an Official Airport Taxi at each terminal, or you can call other taxi companies. Luckily, taxis in Glasgow operate 24 hours a day.
How to get around Glasgow by train
Glasgow has a rather extensive train network with two rail stations. The main one is Glasgow Central, connected to London and the rest of England. The second and a little smaller station is Glasgow Queen Street Station connecting mainly the north and east of Scotland, with cities like Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Trains operating from both stations are ScotRail and Virgin trains. To make the most of the Glasgow public transport train, it's best to purchase a roundabout ticket. This ticket gives you one-day unlimited travel to more than 110 stations in the Greater Glasgow area, not only on ScotRail but the Subway too.
You need to have your ticket before you board the train, which you can purchase from several places including online, a ticket office, a ticket vending machine or via the ScotRail app. The cost of a roundabout ticket, valid from 9 am workdays and all day at weekends is around $8 for one adult, and half the price for a child.
A perk of riding the rail is that on trains with catering service you get a free drink and a snack. But you can also buy whatever you want from the trolley service. However, this is only available on trains offering catering.
Here is an interesting fact about Scotland's Railway or ScotRail. They are working on building a low-carbon sustainable railway network that should be completed by 2035. This way ScotRail hopes to encourage people to use the railway more and have fewer cars on the streets.
How to get around Glasgow by bus
With over 100 bus routes connecting the Greater Glasgow area, navigating the city by bus can't get any easier. In addition, 9 buses are operating at night during the weekends, so you can easily get home after a night out in the City Centre. Run by First Bus Glasgow, public bus transport in Glasgow is the most common way of commuting for locals and tourists alike, as it's frequent, fast and inexpensive.
A few tips to remember when waiting for your bus at a bus stop: Raise your hand to notify the driver you want to get on that bus, and when you want to get off the bus, simply press the red button. There are a few ways to buy your bus tickets: one, you can give exact change to the driver, or two, you can buy your tickets online via the First Bus mobile app. Bus tickets available for purchase include a day ticket with unlimited travel all day long, for around $6, or a weekly ticket for those staying in the city a bit longer at nearly $24.
You also have the option to buy a Daytripper ticket which costs around $16 and gives you one-day unlimited access on all public transport including buses, the subway and trains in the greater Glasgow area, including Loch Lomond, and Lanarkshire.
How to get around Glasgow by subway
Glasgow subway system, or the Clockwork Orange as tourist guides often refer to it, is one of the fastest and easiest public transport in Glasgow, especially if you need to get around the City Centre and West End. The subway system, however, is relatively small. There are two circular routes and with 15 stations only, concentrated in Glasgow's City Centre and West End area, it will take you 25 minutes to complete the entire six-miles long loop line.
You can buy your tickets at the subway stations. Prices are inexpensive, starting at around $2.50 for a single, one-way ticket. But if you are staying longer, buying a Subway Smartcard is the best option. You can use it for multiple rides and can be easily topped up as you go. Subway trains run every day, from 6.30 am to 11.30 pm except on Sundays, when they operate from 10 am to 6 pm.
How to get around Glasgow by car
If you are planning on taking regular day trips outside Glasgow, you may want to get a car, especially if you are traveling with your family. It is completely unnecessary to own a car in Glasgow. In fact, Glasgow is one of the cities in the UK with the lowest average number of cars per household.
But a car will come in handy, especially on a rainy day. If you decide to rent a car, you can do so at Glasgow airport, or other agencies in the city. Remember that driving here is on the left side and you don't even have to have an international driving permit. A valid driving license will do.
When it comes to parking, you can do so on the street, but only for about two hours. Paying is done at the meters, costing up to $6 an hour. Other than that, you can find parking at multi-level car parks which are less expensive.
Driving around Glasgow you will come across some of the most polite drivers in the world as Glaswegians wouldn't even honk their horn, no matter what.
Getting around Glasgow by taxi
Glasgow Taxis is the major taxi company in Glasgow, but you can hail other taxis around the city too. Uber and Lyft are also popular, but getting a taxi in Glasgow is only done on rare occasions as you have easy and convenient public transport. If you want to ride one, it will most definitely be the iconic UK cab.
Taxis take up to 6 people and they can be flagged down on the street or you can order one via phone. Expect to pay anywhere from $8-$10 for a ride from the City Centre to the West End of the city. Keep in mind that there may be an extra surcharge if you ride late in the evening or early in the morning.
You can pay using a credit card when you ride Glasgow Taxis, but only if you ordered a taxi by phone, using their app. One of the best things about riding a cab in Glasgow is the friendly taxi drivers, perhaps some of the friendliest you've ever met.
Getting around Glasgow on a bicycle
If biking is your thing, you are in for a treat. Glasgow is excellent to get around on a bicycle, available 24/7 with prices starting at less than $2 for the first half an hour and going up to $13 for the entire day. You will find many Glaswegians cycling, especially on a sunny day. The city bike-sharing system is called Nextbike. You can register online and start your biking adventure riding on 300km dedicated cycle lanes in and around the city.
There are 400 bikes and 43 docking stations all over the City Centre and Glasgow's West End. For easier navigation and to rent a bike quickly, you can download the Glasgow Cycling app. Guided bike tours are also available unless you want to explore the city on your own.
Can I get around Glasgow by foot?
If your trip to Glasgow doesn't include trips to the outskirts, then the best way to get around the city is on foot. With the excellent grid layout of the streets, exploring the city by walking will be your favorite thing to do during your stay. Moreover, you can download the Glasgow Walking app and explore every corner of the city with guided walks.
Buchanan Street Bus Station and Beyond
Now when you know how to navigate around Glasgow, which public transport are you going to use? Some of Glasgow's landmarks, shopping, and the best things to do are scattered around the City Centre, which is easy to explore on foot. But if you want to take day trips and see other attractions outside the city, using convenient public transport or driving are your best options.
Getting to the city from the airport can be done using the Glasgow Airport Express bus, or local buses. And for all of you looking for other means of transportation, the iconic black cabs can be found all around the city. For those of you who feel more fit, cycling is a great way to get around Glasgow too.