The Scottish capital was founded in the early 12th century, although the area had already emerged as the kingdom’s major center as early as the 6th century AD. It has a rich history, and their resistance against domination by the British is one of the Scots’ distinctive traits, even if they are part of the United Kingdom. Nowadays, it’s the cosmopolitan center of Scotland’s economy, politics, and cultural life.
Here’s what you need to know for planning a hassle-free trip to Edinburgh:
ARRIVING in Edinburgh
Realistically, on a short trip, you’ll arrive in Edinburgh by plane. But it’s also reachable by train, bus or car, as well.
If you arrive by plane, you’ll land in Edinburgh Airport (EDI), 10km away from the city center — for this post, the area of Princes Street. There are some different transport options but the most convenient is definitely the tram.
It connects the airport (the stop is right outside the main terminal) directly to the city center, going through Princes Street. They run at least every 15 minutes (between 06:07 and 22:48), with a journey time of 30min. Tickets cost £6.50 each way or £9 return (open-ended!). You can save 50p by purchasing online, but it’s also available at the tram stops ticket machines.
Alternatively, there’s the Airlink 100 to St. Andrew Square, close to Princes Street. It departures every 12 minutes (between 04:25 and 01:00), with average journey time of 30 minutes. Single tickets cost £4.50, while the open-ended return is £7.50. Considering the risk of traffic and small price difference, there’s really no advantage to the bus.
Depending on your schedule, you might also consider the Adult Network DAYticket, valid for the entire network, including the airport buses and tram. See the ‘Getting Around‘ section below.
If you’re coming from Britain, the train is a practical way to reach Edinburgh as well. The main terminal in the city is Waverley Railway Station, a stone’s throw from Princes Street.
There are a few international bus routes to Edinburgh. But unless you’re coming from Britain, beware of your fitness to this kind of journey before jumping into the chance to “save time” and take an overnight trip. With this warning in mind, if you decide to go for it, you’ll likely arrive at Edinburgh Bus Station on Elder St., just 500m from Princes Street.
Surprisingly enough for a coastal capital, there are no passenger ferries to and from Edinburgh. The closest terminal serving mainland Europe would be the Port of Newcastle, in England, around two and a half hours away.
GETTING AROUND Edinburgh
The public transport system is a combination of buses and one tram line that connects the airport to the city center, finishing at York Place.
It’s important to note that most of the points of interest in Edinburgh are easily reachable on foot if are staying around Princes Street. But if you prefer to be on the safe side and always ready to hop on, you can get a time-based ticket, allowing unlimited travel:
- Adult DAYticket (excluding airport): £4.50;
- Adult Network DAYticket (incl. airport): £10.00; or
- Adult 3, 4, or 5 Multi-Day Ticket: £14.50, £17.50, and £20.50, respectively.
Alternatively, you can buy single tickets covering the city zone (excl. airport) for £1.80.
Beware! If you use cash at the ticket vending machines at the tram stops, make sure to have the exact coins, as they do not give change.
The easiest way to manage public transportation is with m-tickets, through the official Transport for Edinburgh app. [Download for iOS or Android] Lastly, don’t forget to validate it each time you start a trip.City-Centre-ROUTE-map