As Edinburgh is such a compact city and most of the sites are situated close together, the best way to get around is generally on foot. That being said, Edinburgh has a good transport infrastructure with a multitude of buses, trains and taxis servicing the city centre and a new tram line planned for completion in 2014.
Walking in Edinburgh
Most of the attractions in Edinburgh are located in the adjacent Old and New Town areas and are only a short walk from each other. Most hotels are situated no more than a 10 minute walk from the city centre so walking is generally considered the best way of getting around. Bare in mind – Edinburgh is built on several hills, but walking shouldn’t be too much of a challenge if you are of average fitness. The city has a number of Parks and Gardens where you can relax and enjoy a quite stroll, Prince Street Gardens being the most central. For the more adventurous, Arthur’s Seat is well worth a climb for great panoramic views of the city of Edinburgh. For those with money to burn, Princes Street in the city centre is Edinburgh’s main shopping area and only a short walk away from hotels and the main tourist attractions.
Cycling in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a “Cycle Friendly” city, with cyclists permitted to use the Green Bus lanes during peak time and an extensive network of free cycle routes located throughout the city and beyond. Cycling can be a little bit tricky at times, with hilly streets and cobbled roads around Edinburgh’s Old Town, but if you are generally fit and a little careful at first, you will soon get used to the changeable surface. Bikes can be rented in some of the larger hotels and at Biketrax, Cycle Scotland and the Leith Cycle Company.
Buses in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Bus station located in Elder Street sees buses and coaches arrive from destinations throughout Scotland, along with National express services from England and Wales. Lothian Buses are the main provider of local bus services and offer a Day Ticket (Adult £4, Child £2) which allows you daily unlimited travel in and around Edinburgh. Single journey tickets cost £1.60 (80p for Children) and stops are located at all of Edinburgh’s main tourist sites, major hotels etc. Day bus services run from 4am until midnight with a limited Night bus service running to some areas of the city from midnight until 4am. See lothianbuses.com for more information.
Lothian Buses also operate the Airlink service to and from Edinburgh airport. See our Guide on getting from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre
The Edinburgh Tourist Bus runs a number of tours throughout Edinburgh bringing visitors to the main tourist destinations in Edinburgh.
Trains in Edinburgh
The main train station in Edinburgh is Waverley Station which is centrally located right next to Prince Street and Princes Street Gardens. First Scotrail provide train services from Edinburgh to other destinations in Scotland. Virgin Trains and National Express East Coast operate routes between Edinburgh and destinations in England and Wales. See scotrail.co.uk, eastcoast.co.uk and virgintrains.co.uk for timetables and route information.
Taxis in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is considered to have a highly efficient taxi service with 2 distinct types of services, black cabs and private taxis. Black Cabs can be either hailed down on the street or at a taxi rank, private taxis have to be pre-booked in advance. Private taxis can be slightly cheaper for longer journeys, so it’s worth ringing some of the numbers below and asking for a fixed price for your journey before deciding who to use. As the city is compact and most of the sites are bunched together, it can often be much cheaper to walk or use the bus.
|Edinburgh Private Taxis|
|Capital Cars||0131 777 7777||capitalcarsscotland.co.uk|
|Edina Cars||0131 656 9888||edinacars.co.uk|
|Festival City Cars||0131 552 1777||festivalcitycars.co.uk|
|Edinburgh Black Cabs|
|Central Taxis||0131 229 2468||taxis-edinburgh.co.uk|
|City Cabs||0131 228 1211||citycabs.co.uk|
|ComCab Edinburgh||0131 272 8000||comcab-edinburgh.co.uk|
Driving in Edinburgh
As Edinburgh is such a compact city and public transport is generally very good, there shouldn’t be be any need to drive a car unless you plan to venture outside the city. Parking can be hard to find, can be expensive and most city centre hotels don’t provide parking – those that do, charge a premium for the service. If you still plan to drive, Edinburgh City Council’s website (www.edinburgh.gov.uk/parking) provides detailed information on car parks, on-street parking and car parking fees. Make sure to check out our Edinburgh Car Hire guide for a list of car rental companies.
Edinburgh has a tram system (similar to the Luas in Dublin) which provides transport from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre. Journey time from the airport to Princes street (Waverly Station) takes 30 minutes.