If traveling from outside the UK, Edinburgh has a decent sized airport that is located about 30 minutes from the city center. Airlink bus is a double deck blue bus that travels between the airport and the city center, making stops along the way. It runs every 10 minutes during most of the day and every 30 minutes at night. This is a very easy way to travel from the airport downtown, just find the stop closest to your destination.
If traveling from within the UK, traveling by train (or even car) might be easier depending on where you are coming from. For reference, if traveling from London, the train takes 5.5 hours and the drive would take about 7 hours.
When it comes to traveling around the city, it is a very walkable city. If you fancy a break or do not enjoy walking, there are trams, taxis, and buses that can be used to access the city.
If possible, stay near the city center. It will allow everything to be fairly walkable and make getting around easier. We stayed near the Edinburgh Castle and Prince Street. Anywhere near the large sights or in Old or New Town is perfect.
Very nice hotel located in the city center. This hotel is part of the Marriott brands and is equipped with a nice gym, spa, and overall amenities.
Hill located at the end of Prince Street providing a nice view over the city at the top. It only takes about 5 minutes to walk up the stairs and reach the few different viewpoints.
Larger Hill at edge of city overlooking Edinburgh. Starting from the bottom, climbing to the top takes about 15 minutes. There are three different “tops” so you can do all three or just choose the highest one to go up
Royal park located in the city that is not a far walk from the Royal Mile.
Cute area that has a medieval feel to it. It does not feel like part of the city and is a nice way to get away from the hustle and bustle, and enjoy the gardens along the river.
We did a trip called “Best of Scotland” with Heart of Scotland tours. Make sure to pick your trip correctly so you ensure it hits the areas you are interested in. Another commonly used tour group is Rabbie’s, also with about 15 people per trip
Area of the city with countless cobblestone streets, narrow alleyways, historic sites, pubs and restaurants.
Elevated from much of the city, the castle overlooks Edinburgh and can be spotted from all around the city. The castle offers tours or visitors can enter and explore on their own. Tickets to enter cost about 17 pounds
A statue of a dog to represent the Skye Terrier who watched over his owner’s grave. There is a pub named after the dog where you find the statue. It is known to be good luck when you rub its nose
Visitor attraction with different “experiences” to pick from. We opted for the Gold Tour which included the barrel tour about how whiskey is made, the video, the tasting, and the “extra” tasting in the bar
Running from the Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood, the Royal Mile is at the heart of the capital. The stretch includes many pubs, shops, restaurants and other historic sites making it a nice street to stroll along. The Scottish Parliament is also found along here.
Located near Arthur’s Seat and at the end of the Royal Mile
The Queen’s Scottish residence. The palace welcomes visitors and is located near Arthur’s Seat and at the end of the Royal Mile.
Street located in Old Town with some colorful houses along the road
Area in the Old Town known for being lively and upbeat, with a bunch of restaurants and shopping
Two public parks that separate the Old Town from the New Town providing a nice place to walk or stop for a bite to eat
Shopping and commercial area of the city that is known for having more high-end shops, fancy restaurants, and large squares
Busy street located in New Town with high end shops stretching for about a mile
High end and busy shopping street found in New Town
City Square on George Street in New Town
Large Victorian monument located on Prince Street in the New Town.
Located between Prince Street and George Street, Rose Street is a narrow strip found in New Town with nice Scottish pubs lining the road
Pubs are spread all across Edinburgh, all with their own charm. Be sure to walk around and pop into any that appeal to you.
With its inspiration situated right outside, the pub named after the Skye Terrier has a lovely ambiance. It is located in the heart of the city center and a great spot to stop for a pint
Nice Scottish pub located right along the Royal Mile
Fancy cocktail bar and restaurant with pricey drinks and upscale atmosphere
Typical pub food
Bar and restaurant located with a variety of options near Prince Street
Thai restaurant found near University of Edinburgh
Italian restaurant in Grassmarket area
Delicious cookie chain with a location on Prince Street
A weekend or long weekend in Edinburgh is a perfect amount of time to explore the city. You can hit most of the major attractions in 1-1.5 days depending on how interested you are on doing tours and exploring the exhibits inside the Palace and Castle. We preferred spending time out and about more so than a lot of time inside at exhibits. On top of stopping in any assortment of the Scottish pubs, another must do while visiting is a day trip (or longer) to the highlands. It is not feasible to see a lot of the highlands in just one day, but at a minimum, you can get a taste of all it has to offer.
Come expecting rain and dreary skies as this is typical weather for Scotland.
Everyone we met was incredibly friendly and kind, and are not shy to chat you up when you are out and about.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks