EDINBURGH.

Surrounded by volcanic hills, overlooking the sea and offering some of the most picturesque landscapes in all of Europe, Edinburgh is a city straight from a fairy tale. Its beauty and the unique atmosphere are further enhanced by the traditional architecture. From the medieval charm of the Old Town, the bull-nosed Castle rock and the palisade of Salisbury Crags, to the modern appeal of the New Town, Edinburgh is a city of great variety, in which everyone will find something to fall in love with. Often called the Athens of the North, Edinburgh fully deserves the nickname, for it is a city of high culture and bright ideas, of literature, art, philosophy, and science. But the Scottish capital is not only for the thinkers, as it’s just as popular for the abundance of crowded pubs, decadent restaurants, and wild nightclubs. Edinburgh’s diversity is what draws thousands of tourist every year, many of which visit it several times in a row, eager to find something new by exploring it even deeper, as Edinburgh never ceases to surprise and entertain.

Money Saving Tips

Money Saving Tips

Best Period to Visit Edinburgh

Best Period to Visit Edinburgh

Accomodation Tips for Edinburgh

Accomodation Tips

Getting Around Edinburgh

Getting Around Edinburgh

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Edinburgh

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Edinburgh

Other Things to See and Do

Other Things to See and Do

Money Saving Tips

Take a walk in a park!

If you're on a budget but still want to have an enjoyable vacation with plenty of sights to see, take a stroll along the numerous parks of Edinburgh. The Princes Street Gardens provide a great connection between the Old Town and the New Town, making it a perfect spot to escape from the loud noises of the city.

Travel along the Water of Leith Walkway

The Water of Leith Walkway is an over ten-mile long sidewalk which runs along the river, running just across the middle of Edinburgh. Start from the Dean Village – a historical hamlet – and follow the walkway all the way to the beautiful neighborhood of Stockbridge, with its plentiful of cosy and affordable cafes and bakeries.

Look up the free attractions

If you’re not sure which attractions are pay-to-view and which of them come without an admission fee, just Google it, and you’re bound to find a lot of hits to choose from. Among others, you can visit the National Museum of Scotland for a brief lesson on history, or hang at the Royal Botanic Garden and admire the nature.

Avoid August!

August may not be the best time to visit Edinburgh if you're on a tight budget – it is the time of the largest festival in the world, The Fringe Festival. The festival lasts three weeks, and during that time the prices of every hotel and accommodation spot skyrocket as thousands upon thousands of visitors swarm to the city each day.

Get walking

Since almost all of Edinburgh’s attractions are located in or in the vicinity of the Old Town and New Town, you can easily wander around on foot from place to place. If you really want to avoid exercising yourself and use the public transport instead, buses are a convenient option for a day ticket costing around four pounds.

Look online for cheap apartments

Since Edinburgh is a highly tourist-oriented town, the prices of most hotels and hostels are quite high. Still, there is plenty of cheap options to choose from, like budget hotels of Cityroomz and Motel One, and if you’re really looking to save some money on accommodation, search on Airbnb where you can rent a cheap room from the locals.

Affordable eating

Dining out in Edinburgh can be a heavy burden for your wallet since most of the restaurants are built with tourists in mind, but there is still a hefty amount of budget-friendly eateries. If you’re looking for a meal under five pounds, try the Oink in the Old Town for their famous pork rolls, or the Piemaker for traditional pies.

A cheap evening out

While visiting Edinburgh you absolutely have to visit its historic pubs, but the beer and drinks in such places do not come in cheap. Still, there is quite a number of alternatives if you're on a budget, for example, the Lucky Liquor, located in the New Town, which offers a beer and bourbon for only five bucks, or The Basement with its cheap cocktails.

Do not use taxis!

Since Edinburgh is so frequently visited by foreigners and outsiders, taxis tend to overcharge customers very often. Not only do the taxis have an especially high tariff, but they also take the longest possible route for the unknowing tourists, so if you have no other alternative for transport – use Uber instead, which is much cheaper.

Look for vouchers online

The restaurants, shops, and pubs in Edinburgh often run online promotions where if you show the coupon to the cashier you get a special discount. Look on sites such as Vouchercloud UK for current information on the coupons, and you are sure to save a lot of money while not resorting to lower quality of service.

Best Period to Visit Edinburgh

Tourism

Being one of the most popular cities in the UK, Edinburgh is attractive all year round. The best time to visit it depends on what you’re looking for in your trip. Edinburgh is always busy, but the crowds peak around August, and then again during the Christmas holidays.

Weather

Edinburgh is the warmest between June and August, with around 17 °C to 19 °C highs. Between November and early March, it gets colder, but the temperature rarely falls below 0 °C. As such, the weather in Edinburgh can be called timid.

Money

If you wish to visit Edinburgh on a tight budget, it’s best to look for winter deals. The busiest (and most expensive) time for tourism in Edinburgh is between June and August. Winter, which lasts from November to March, offers great low-season deals. However, during the city’s New Year’s celebration, prices peak again.

Events

Edinburgh International Festival (August)
Edinburgh Fringe Festival (August)
Edinburgh Military Tattoo (August)
International Storytelling Festival (October)
Hogmanay (December)
Burns Night (January)

Accomodation Tips

Apartments

Renting an apartment in Edinburgh may be an alternative to staying in a hotel. This is especially true for bigger families, who value both the privacy and convenience. Keep in mind, this can lead to substantial savings, as apartments usually come with kitchen annexes, which allows you to cook your own food. Prices for renting a serviced apartment in Edinburgh depend on the standard and size but generally start around £150 per night.

Budget (1-2 star) hotels

Traveling to Edinburgh on a tight budget? Don’t worry, the city offers a wide choice of budget hotels. 1-star and 2-star hotels may not offer the most stunning degree of service, but they are inexpensive and clean. The prices per night start around £25 and go up to about £100 per night.

Standard (3-4 star) hotels

The middle range of hotels in Edinburgh offers satisfactory service, better than average facilities and convenient location. Of course, this is reflected in the prices, as these start at around £40 per night for a 3-star hotel, and go as high as £190.

Luxury hotels in Edinburgh

From the Radisson Collection Hotel to Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, the city offers a wide choice of luxury hotels. These provide the best location, right in the thick of things, as well as the highest level of service and comfort. Prices for luxury hotels in Edinburgh start at about £200 and reach around £470 per night.

Getting Around Edinburgh

Bicycle

Edinburgh is rapidly becoming more bike-friendly, and that’s due to the efforts of the city council, as well as local cycling enthusiasts. More and more cycle tracks and bike lanes are being added each year. Maps of all the cycle routes within Edinburgh can be bought at most bike shops.
Hybrid bikes, road bikes, and folding bikes can be rented at Biketrax, but be prepared to leave a £100 deposit, and have a photographic ID with you.

Bus

Buses are the primary mean of public transportation in Edinburgh, offering you a relatively cheap and fast way of getting around the city. To make navigating throughout the city less confusing, bus timetables, maps and fare guides are posted at all tram and bus stops.
Adult fares within Edinburgh cost £1.60, paid directly to the bus driver. Children under the age of five can travel for free, and those between the age of five to 15 pay £0.80.
Night-service buses run between midnight and 5 a.m. and charge a flat fare of £3.50.
Those staying in Edinburgh for more than a few days should consider getting themselves a Ridacard, which can be purchased at Travelshops and offers unlimited travel for one week at a price of £18.

Car

The car is not the best way of getting around Edinburgh, given the amount of restricted access areas, including Princes St, Charlotte Sq, and George St. There is also an abundance of one-way streets, and parking place is scarce. It is also important to remember that Queen’s Dr around Holyrood Park is free of motorised traffic on Sundays.

Tram

Trams serve a supplementary role to the buses. The tram line runs from Edinburgh Airport to York Pl, Leith Walk, via Haymarket, Princes St, and the West End.
Tickets for trams and buses are integrated, and cost £1.60 for a single journey within the boundaries of Edinburgh. A fare to the airport is £5.50.
Trams run every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday, and every 12 to 15 minutes on Sundays, from 5.30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

A fantastic tour of the world-famous castle, which is the most prominent icon of Scotland in the city. The castle was recently voted as the top UK Heritage Attraction in the British Travel Awards and is the most renowned castle with its complex building history – its oldest part, St Margaret's Chapel, was built as long ago as the 12th century.

Holyrood Park

This site is the perfect place to admire the landscape and cityscape of Edinburgh, as it is a natural vantage point with an overlook on the city. The historic landscape lies in the heart of the city, and its hills and cliffs provide Edinburgh with a unique spot, and the surroundings of it have plenty of medieval forts and fortifications.

Craigmillar Castle

The Craigmillar Castle is one of, if not the most, well-preserved fortifications in Scotland. The castle remains the character of a true medieval structure to this very day – its construction began in the 15th century and took over two hundred and fifty years to become complete, built around an L-shaped tower house.

Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands

Take a relaxing day trip through the most well-known landscapes of Scotland, starting from Loch Ness and ending in the Scottish Highlands. The trip comes with a well-oriented guide, who explains the history of the impressive landmarks. You can travel in a luxurious Mercedes minivan in a small group and you may even opt-in for a cruise along the lake of Loch Ness.

West Highland Lochs and Castles

This one is sure to take a whole day off of your mind with its full-day sightseeing trip along the West Highlands of Scotland, starting from Edinburgh. The trip takes only a handful of people so you can make sure the guide will pay attention to your every question and inquiry. You also get a discount card for selected Edinburgh attractions at the end.

Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian's Wall

Book a guaranteed spot on the trip through legendary locations of Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian’s Wall, which provides an interesting bit of history while keeping you comfortable inside of the ventilated travel vehicle. You can focus on the scenery inside of the open-roof car and later on admire the Chapel which was the filming place of The Da Vinci Code.

The Royal Yacht Britannia

This tourist attraction allows you to see first-hand the former floating palace of The Queen. Britannia has sailed more than a million miles during its forty years of service and has been a host for banquets and parties for the most important people in the country, as well as being the home to the Royal Family for some time.

1-Hour Real Mary King's Close Underground Tour

Explore the underground beneath the city of Edinburgh and delve deep into the labyrinth of nooks and tunnels dug beneath the Royal Mile. The tour includes an educated guide in a costume who will tell you the stories of 17th-century Scotland – all for an affordable price. You can expect a lengthy lecture on captivating mysteries of the subterranean streets of the underground.

Edinburgh Gin Distillery

The Gin Distillery of Edinburgh is located in the heart of the city and is a unique and unusual attraction. Edinburgh is well-known for its exquisite gin, and this is exactly the place where all of those opinions stem from. Here you can both get a lesson on the history of gin and the distillery itself, as well as taste the products of the renowned brand.

Locked in Edinburgh

This one is the most famous and well-received escape room in Edinburgh, based around real rooms and not purpose-built sets of decorations. The action of the escape room takes place in the now abandoned Edinburgh’s old Vet School. You can expect an old-fashioned laboratory, as well as an anatomy theatre and even an animal hospital.

Other Things to See and Do

National Museum of Scotland

Not only is this one the most admired museum in all of Scotland, but it is also in the top 10 of UK visitor attractions and in the top 20 of the most visited museums and galleries all over the world. The museum is fresh after an expensive renovation and redevelopment and houses a wide array of over twenty thousand artifacts from different time periods.

Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden is located only a mile from the centre of the city and offers over seventy-two acres of marvellous scenery to admire. Being one of the finest botanic gardens of the world, this one provides entertainment for the whole family with its gorgeous view of the capital’s skyline. The glasshouses of the garden each depict a different climate zone.

Scottish National Gallery

Being one of the top visitor attractions of Scotland, the National Gallery houses its biggest collection of art from the early Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. The gallery is free to visit and holds masterpieces of such famous artists as Raphael, Velasquez, Vermeer, Monet, Cézanne and even some of Van Gogh, having one of the most appealing collections in the entire world.

St Giles’ Cathedral

Discover the history of a thousand years old Church of Scotland right in the middle of the city. The Cathedral was founded by St Giles in the 1120s and was the primary church of John Knox during the Reformation, being referred to as the Cradle of Presbyterianism. Admire the beautiful stained windows of the Cathedral and the impressive Rieger organ, installed in 1992.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

If you’re looking for some contemporary art piece to look at, you certainly must see the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art. The modern art part is located in a neoclassical building, constructed in 1825, with a lawn in front of the building designed by Charles Jencks. The lawn itself is home to a sophisticated sculpture park, which is a must-see on its own.

The Scottish Parliament

Just like the British Parliament, the Scottish one is free to visit by every tourist, whether foreign or not. You can take a tour through the debating chamber and see the court in action on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. There are also guided tours of the building on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, which themselves are also free of charge.

City Art Centre

This art gallery is probably one of the most refined in all of Scotland and has as much of six separate exhibition locations, providing a most impressive arrangement of visual arts of all kinds. Come visit the Art Centre if you’re an appreciator of culture, as you will surely find something to fit your palate.

National War Museum

The walls of Edinburgh Castle hide in their midst a site worth visiting – the National War Museum. The museum lets you discover the impact of war on Scotland and the histories of veteran soldiers. Find out why the Scots went to war and how they did it, trace the warfare technology and gaze upon the military armament displayed on the site.

Upright Gallery

While most of the famous and well-renowned art resides inside of the City Art Centre or the National Gallery, the Upright Gallery is a home for independent artists all over Scotland to display their works. This small art gallery is located in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, and specialises in promoting up and coming contemporary artists.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

This exceptional art gallery specialises in portraits, displaying exhibits which range across the years. Located in one of Edinburgh’s most recognised buildings, the gallery is on Queen Street in the middle of the city and presents portraits of Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, among numerous other pieces, such as Alan Cumming.

National Library of Scotland

If your strive for knowledge is your propelling motor, you absolutely must visit the National Library of Scotland, which homes the most extensive collection of literature in the country with over twenty-four million printed items, including around a hundred thousand manuscripts and more than two million maps from different periods.

The Fruitmarket Gallery

This one is yet another home for contemporary artists, displaying not only Scotland's domestic artists but also ones from all across the globe. The gallery, located in the middle of the renowned Edinburgh's Market, is free of charge to visit and works directly with artists to create exhibits, commissions, and publications to celebrate modern art.

Museum Collections Centre

This relatively new addition to the attractions of Edinburgh now holds the historical artifacts from the reserve collections, which is not permanently shown to the public. Until now, such items were stored in warehouses, but now they have gained public access due to the Collections Centre, which assembles all of them in a specially adapted spot on the Broughton Market.

Queensferry Museum

If you're passionate about yachts and ships and ferries, take a walk to the Queensferry Museum, located in the South Queensferry burgh. The museum is situated near two magnificently-built great bridges spanning over the Forth. The collections of the museum trace the history of the people of Queensferry and retrace the historic ferry ride to Fife.

Museum of Childhood

A perfect place to visit with kids – the Museum of Childhood presents a wide arrangement of objects and stories related to childhood, whether contemporary or historical. Take a walk along exhibits of toys and games which children in the past used to pass the time and entertain themselves – all of that and more for no admission fee.

Surgeons’ Hall Museums

This award-winning museum is home to the largest and most famous pathology collection in the United Kingdom. The Surgeons’ Hall was recently reopened in 2015 after a redevelopment project, leaving one of the oldest museums in Scotland fresh and renovated with its collection which has begun amassing as far as in 1699.

Dynamic Earth

Witness the history of planet Earth in this unique museum dedicated to the development of our home world. You can experience and learn about the forces of nature which shaped and created our planet, take a journey through space and time to the beginning of the universe, and even take the 4D digital adventure through the history of the galaxy.

The Writers’ Museum and Makars’ Court

This museum is dedicated to the great works of Scotland’s most renowned writers across the years. These include Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote the famous Treasure Island, Sir Walter Scott, with his Lady of the Lake, and Robert Burns, probably the most recognised Scottish poet who wrote such masterpieces as Tam o’ Shanter or Ae Fond Kiss.

Museum on the Mound

You may not believe your eyes – this museum is fully dedicated to money and its history! Here you can see a million pounds, take a try at cracking a safe by yourself, build a model house of your own and see the oldest banknote of Scotland. The museum was opened in 2006 and is open all throughout the year – without any admission fee.

Jupiter Artland

If you’re looking for a calm spot to relax and unwind after all of that sightseeing and touring, take a tranquil walk through the green space of Jupiter Artland. The park is located just outside of the city centre and features long roads of green grass and trees, surrounding the swirly river, and providing an outlook on the displayed works of art.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the best hotels for Edinburgh city break?

    Our list of the best hotels in Edinburgh are: Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel Edinburgh, The Dunstane Houses, InterContinental Edinburgh The George and The Scotsman Hotel. Discover the full list of best hotels in Edinburgh.

  • What are the luxury hotels in Edinburgh?

    The finest examples of luxury hotels in Edinburgh include Novotel Edinburgh Centre, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, Holiday Inn Edinburgh, Edinburgh Marriott Hotel, Doubletree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre, Hilton Edinburgh Carlton and Mercure Edinburgh Haymarket. Discover the full list of luxury hotels in Edinburgh.

  • What are the cheap hotels in Edinburgh?

    Those trying to visit Edinburgh on a tight budget will find everything they need in hotels such as Motel One Edinburgh-Princes, Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge, Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre, Ibis Styles Edinburgh Centre, Leonardo Hotel Edinburgh Murrayfield, Best Western Kings Manor and Holiday Inn Edinburgh City West. Discover the full list of Cheap hotels in Edinburgh.

  • What is the best period to visit Edinburgh for a city break?

    Taking factors such as weather, crowds and prices, the best months to visit Edinburgh for a city break are February, July, August and December.

  • What are top 5 things to see and do in Edinburgh?

    Edinburgh offers plenty of exciting attractions and things to do. Must-sees in Edinburgh include: Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Park, Craigmillar Castle, Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands and West Highland Lochs and Castles.

  • How much does an Edinburgh city pass cost?

    A city pass in Edinburgh costs around €55.

  • How much does public transport in Edinburgh cost?

    24-hour ticket for public transport in Edinburgh costs around €21.

  • What are the best night clubs in Edinburgh?

    The best night clubs in Edinburgh include: Sneaky Pete’s, Cabaret Voltaire, Lulu, The Mash House and The Liquid Room.

  • What are the best bars in Edinburgh?

    Judging on the reviews and customer opinions, the best bars in Edinburgh are: KIN, The Last Word Saloon, The Lucky Liquor Co, Nightcap and The Bon Vivant.

  • What are the best places to eat in Edinburgh?

    Your choice of the best restaurants in Edinburgh may vary depending on your taste, however, Belushi’s, Red Box Noodle Bar, El Cartel and Wings are some of the most popular choices.

  • What are the top 5 best restaurants in Edinburgh?

    Top 5 restaurants in Edinburgh include: Fhior, L'Escargot Bleu, The Little Chartroom, Timberyard and Edinburgh Food Studio.