In this post we will analyze the main strategic points for an ideal stay in Edinburgh, possibly the most beautiful city in the UK
Traveling to Scotland? Check our guide to the best areas to stay in Edinburgh, one of the most fascinating cities in the British Isles.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland in the UK. A relatively small city, it has a population of less than 500,000. However, the numbers of tourists top 4 million a year.
Tourism in Edinburgh: Overview
Edinburgh is known throughout the world as the “Festival Capital”. The city holds 12 major festivals a year, mostly focused on the Summer months. Most of the city’s tourists arrive then, making it a very busy time of year, but the atmosphere is electric. The Festivals cover topics from film, comedy, books, art, the international festival, the military tattoo and, the largest of the year, the Edinburgh Fringe.
However, aside from the major festivals, Edinburgh has a lot to offer visitors in terms of history and culture, if not weather. Split into two distinct districts, the city centre is an array of 15th century tenements rising above 18th century symmetry. They are also both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Getting to Edinburgh might not be the easiest task though, as the city is located in the northern part of the United Kingdom. If you are coming from other parts of the UK, you have a good number of options with trains or buses to Edinburgh. If you are coming from other parts of Europe the easiest way is to catch a flight to the Edinburgh Airport (IATA: EDI).
If you are flying to Edinburgh you can find the cheapest flights on Jetradar
For those traveling by train or bus, you can also compare prices and options on GoEuro. Trains from London to Edinburgh take somewhere between 4 to 5 hours, and there are direct routes available. If you are renting a car, the best is to check the options on RentalCars.com.
Where to Stay in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a rather compact city, and once in the center most attractions are at a walking distance to one another. The Waverley Train Station is right next to the old town and close to the Edinburgh castle.
The Old Town of Edinburgh is probably the best area to stay in Edinburgh. It is where all the action happens, in an area full of restaurants, pubs, and various entertainment options. The famous Royal Mile is a good reference point to your stay in Edinburgh. It starts from the Edinburgh Castle all the way to the Holyrood Palace. Staying in this area is certainly an excellent idea to enjoy Edinburgh to the fullest.
The Waverley station surroundings are probably the best option to stay in Edinburgh, both in terms of logistics and comfort.
Budget Accommodation Options in Edinburgh, Scotland
The Baxter Hostel – A great option for a budget stay in Edinburgh, right next to the Waverley station.
CODE – POD Hostel Edinburgh – This hostel is just a short walk to the Edinburgh’s Old Town and all of its attractions.
Reasonably Priced Accommodations in Edinburgh, Scotland
Gifford House – Located in the Newington area, this property is ideal for guests looking for a peaceful Scottish holiday.
Alba House – A family run property located in the Newington area, in a house built in the XIX century.
Luxury Hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland
The Witchery by the Castle – A property that offers unique experiences right in the Royal Mile.
The Balmoral Hotel – An unique property in New Town featuring some rooms with a view to the Edinburgh Castle.
Cost of Travel in Edinburgh
For a small city, Edinburgh is quite expensive in terms of transport. Buses and trams cost £1.60 a trip, dearer if you want to go to the airport. A day ticket costs £4 and a week long pass is £18. Despite this, the city is well connected and the buses run regularly.
Flights, however, have gotten cheaper in recent years, making it easier for tourists to get to the city. The number of routes to the Edinburgh Airport is rising in recent years, with low cost airlines like Easyjet, Jet2 and Ryanair making it easy to reach the city from Europe. The Edinburgh Airport has also some intercontinental flights to North America and the Middle East.
Food is delicious in Scotland, and can be pretty affordable. That is especially the case if you enjoy eating traditional pub food. While accommodation can be quite pricy in Edinburgh, the low season can be an alternative to maximize your budget in Scotland.
Best Months to Visit Edinburgh
Scotland is not the warmest or sunniest place on Earth, however Summer and late Spring can still be quite warm and sunny. Summer in Edinburgh is crowded due to the number of festivals carrying on all at once. Really, whether that is a good thing, depends on the tourist.
If you want a sedate time, sightseeing all the historical buildings, try to go in between April and July or in September. If you want a lively time, filled with culture and a whole lot of weird, then go in August. If you want a Scottish winter full of snow, probably try somewhere further north than Edinburgh. Winter in the city is lovely, full of Christmas cheer, markets and fun.
Despite its high latitude, winter in Scotland is not so harsh as in other parts of Europe like Scandinavia or Central and Eastern Europe.