Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Advice from a local travel blogger about the best neighborhoods to stay in Edinburgh, Scotland! (Plus 30 hotel and apartment recommendations)
We created this guide in collaboration with travel blogger Sonja Thomson of Migrating Miss. We’re happy she agreed to share her passion and knowledge of Edinburgh as our local city expert for this Where to Stay in Edinburgh Guide! And if you’re also planning on visiting Glasgow, don’t miss our Where to Stay in Glasgow guide, too!
Edinburgh is a vibrant city in which history rubs shoulders with modern culture, everywhere you look.
The cosmopolitan capital of Scotland has a diversity of attractions bound to capture any visitor’s attention, with festivals taking place throughout the year, and plenty of year-round attractions to keep you busy: the medieval Old Town, crowned by Edinburgh Castle, is worth getting lost in; the classical Georgian New Town turned shopping and high-end restaurant district is the perfect spot for a night out; and the abundant museums and galleries are perfect for cultural travellers. For those who love getting outside and great vistas, the sweeping views across the city from Arthurs Seat and the Salisbury Crags, or Calton Hill, make the walk up worth the effort!
I’ve spent most of the past few years living in Edinburgh, and I’m yet to uncover all its secrets! Every now and then I’ll wander down a different alley (or close, as they’re known here) off the Royal Mile and discover another hidden gem. A visit to Edinburgh should include all the usual top things to do, plus a stop at some of Edinburgh’s quirkier attractions, and at least several pauses at the ample eateries that are giving Edinburgh a name amongst foodies.
Deciding which neighborhood to stay in Edinburgh can be tough, especially when there is so much to do! We hope this Where to Stay in Edinburgh neighborhood guide helps you find the best area to stay in Edinburgh for your own trip, and you end up loving the city as much as we do!
Best Areas to Stay in Edinburgh: Our Picks for the 9 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Edinburgh, Scotland
- The Old Town: The heart of majestic Edinburgh, the city’s Old Town dates back hundreds of years, with narrow closes (alleyways) forming a veritable labyrinth between the neighborhood’s main streets. Filled with cozy pubs, loads of souvenir shops, and history galore, Old Town is one of the most convenient, romantic, and magical areas to stay in Edinburgh! If you’re visiting the city for the first time, Old Town is one of the best areas to stay in Edinburgh!
- Princes Street & New Town: Separated by Princes Street Gardens (and a steep hill) from Old Town, New Town isn’t actually new at all, dating back to Georgian times when 18th C. Scots tired of the narrow alleys and lack of space, and decided to build the wide boulevards and gorgeous, spacious buildings of this part of town. Princes Street is the main shopping street in New Town, and is filled with high street favorites like H&M, Primark and the Apple Store. New Town is also a very convenient area to stay in Edinburgh, especially in and around Princes Street, from which you can walk up (literally) to Old Town in about 10 minutes.
- The West Side: The West Side of Edinburgh is a well-kept secret, and you’re sure to run into more locals than tourists if you stay in this upscale part of town.
- The West End: The West End starts just beyond the edge of Princes Street, and Princes Street Gardens, and is known for its boutique shopping and eateries, hip bars, and great cafés. If you want to see a cool, urban, and upmarket part of the city, the West End might be the best area to stay in Edinburgh for your tastes!
- Stockbridge & Dean Village: Whenever we (Geoff and Katie) go to Edinburgh, we stay in Stockbridge. It’s cute as can be, and together with Dean Village, is a highly desirable area of the city to live in. Filled with young families, cute pubs and shops, and the conveniences of a local neighborhood, Stockbridge is about a 15-minute walk to Princes Street. Dean Village is even cuter than Stockbridge, but is much, much quieter, and is primarily residential in the immediate area. If you want to live like a local, Stockbridge or Dean Village are some of the best neighborhoods to stay in Edinburgh!
- The Southside: Offering more of an ‘out of the center’ feeling than any of the other neighborhoods listed so far, the Southside is a great area to stay in Edinburgh for those looking to get away from city hustle and bustle, while still having access to the centre and some great spots for food and drink.
- The North Side
- Broughton & Calton: Just beyond Princes Street, Broughton is an area of the city most tourists don’t venture too far into, but one that offers just as many spots to shop, eat and drink. If you like the hustle and bustle of New Town and want to be centrally located, but are looking for something a bit more ‘local,’ Broughton might be the best area to stay in Edinburgh.
- Leith: Once rather rough around the edges, Leith is now firmly in the ‘up-and-coming’ category of Edinburgh’s best neighborhoods. It’s still got an edgy vibe to it, but is filled with lively cafés and pubs, and the shipping docks area is a fun spot to spend an afternoon or evening. Offering more affordable accomodation than the other neighborhoods listed, Leith is still remarkable convenient: just a 10 to 15-minute bus ride from the centre!
- So….Where Should You Stay in Edinburgh (A Summary)?
- How to Get Around Edinburgh (including getting to and from the airport)
- A Note About the Hotels in This Guide
- Further Reading and More Where to Stay Guides
Where to Stay in Edinburgh: The Old Town
Great area for: ✓ Historic Buildings ✓ Souvenir Shopping ✓ Central & Convenient ✓ Great Pubs
Edinburgh’s Old Town is one area you shouldn’t miss. It’s the centre of historic Edinburgh, with medieval buildings and sights. Edinburgh Castle looms over the city from its perch on Castle rock at the top of the Royal Mile, so go and view the Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny before wandering down to Holyrood Castle, where the Queen stays when she’s in town, browsing for souvenirs along the way. Stop by the Real Mary King’s Close for a glimpse into the hidden past of “Auld Reekie”, and a chance to step into the lives of Edinburgh’s past citizens, by walking a medieval street that’s been frozen in time. The Old Town has hotels and serviced apartments, and offers the most central accommodation in Edinburgh, as well as plentiful pubs and restaurants to eat in. The Grassmarket, situated below the Castle, is the perfect spot for a pub crawl in some of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs, but be warned: it can get pretty loud as a place to stay. Walk back up Victoria Street, regularly cited as one of the prettiest streets in Edinburgh with its colourful facades and boutique shops (and a key stop on Edinburgh’s Harry Potter Tours). Howie’s Restaurant offers local produce and traditional Scottish fare for excellent prices with both lunch and dinner deals.
The Witchery By the Castle
The Witchery By the Castle – If you want a taste of old-world luxury, then this boutique is the hotel for you. Four-poster beds and silver baths make the rooms feel fit for a prince, and the restaurant is equally opulent, with candlelit dinners in an intimate setting. Located just seconds away from Edinburgh Castle, and along the world-famous Royal Mile, it’s in the perfect place for visitors who want to get straight to the heart of this ancient city.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh
Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh – The traditional exterior of this 4-star hotel masks an exceedingly modern interior, complete with a spa and fitness center. Guests praise the comfy, spacious rooms, and impeccable standard of food. The grand building sits in the heart of the Royal Mile, and is just a few minutes away from Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh Waverley station. Plenty of cozy pubs and eateries near by!
North Bridge Lofts at 28 North Bridge
North Bridge Lofts at 28 North Bridge – Hosted in the historic Scotsman (newspaper) buildings, these lofts combine luxury accommodations with the privacy of your own apartment. Each studio/apartment features fully equipped kitchens and modern devices (Nespresso machine and 42-inch flat screen TVs, to name a few). And they’re just a short walk to the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle.
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Stay Central Hotel
Stay Central Hotel – With a quirky modern decor and funky furniture, this 3-star budget hotel provides comfort with an extra touch. If you don’t feel like going out, you can relax in your room, which provides everything you might need including a tea/coffee maker and an iPod docking station, or in the common courtyard which has a big plasma screen. Located in the Cowgate area, all major attractions can be reached with a short 10-minutes walk. This is a lively area: think young and fun!
ibis Ediburgh Centre South Bridge – Royal Mile
ibis Ediburgh Centre South Bridge – Royal Mile – Offering rooms with a minimalist design, this is a clean chain hotel offering comfortable accommodation in a great location! Past guests were pleased by the size of the rooms and the amenities, which include tea and coffee making facilities. Located within 5 minutes to Waverley Train Station, guests will find it easy to visit Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket and the Museum of Edinburgh, which are just a short 10-minute walk away.
Fraser Suites Edinburgh
Fraser Suites Edinburgh – Featuring rooms with a kitchenette, this is a 4-star boutique hotel which offers amazing views of the city and Princes Street Gardens. Previous guests were pleased by the friendliness of the staff and by the modern bathrooms, which feature rainfall showers. Right in the heart of the Old Town, the location of the hotel is perfect for first-time visitors who want to explore the most famous of Edinburgh’s many lovely landmarks.
Hilton Edinburgh Carlton
Hilton Edinburgh Carlton – Recently refurbished, this 4-star is a lovely modern hotel with a touch of luxury. The rooms are good sized and feature HD Tvs, feather pillows and duvet. If you are a light sleeper, though, ask for a room that doesn’t overlook the Royal Mile, especially in the weekend. A 5-minute walk from Princes Street and right by Waverley Railway Station, the location of this hotel is hard to beat.
Also Visiting Glasgow? Be sure to check out our Where to Stay in Glasgow Guide for recommendations about the best neighborhoods in Glasgow. Also be sure to check out our Scotland page, for a list of other places we’ve been and written about!
Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Princes Street & New Town
Great area for: ✓ Dining and Nightlife ✓ Boutique and High Street Shopping ✓ Cozy Pubs & Local Drinks
Deceivingly called the New Town, this part of Edinburgh was built in Georgian times when Edinburgh’s inhabitants were sick of living piled on top on one another in the Old Town, in tiny spaces with little daylight. The wide streets are now the centre of Edinburgh’s shopping and hotel district. Separated from the Old Town by the beautiful Princes Street Gardens, you’ll find plenty of pubs in New Town, and in particular Rose Street, to satisfy your hunger and thirst after a day spent exploring.
The bars and restaurants on George Street make it a great place to while away an evening, or even stay out dancing if you like that. Check out some of Edinburgh’s best cocktail bars in the New Town, like Panda & Sons, disguised as a barber shop, or the almost hidden Bramble. The Dome Edinburgh also has a gorgeous bar worth checking out!
The Balmoral – An iconic, luxury property in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, the Balmoral offers old-world luxury and world-class service in a top location for enjoying the city. If you don’t feel like leaving the hotel, there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant on-site, and a highly-rated afternoon tea service, as well. Many of the rooms offer spectacular views, and the hotel has a complete fitness and spa set-up for health and wellbeing during your visit.
The Roxburghe – Well-appointed rooms, plenty of amenities, and modern, Socttish-inspired decor make this hotel a great choice for a visit to Edinburgh. Guests can have meals in the bar & grill restaurant, get active in the fitness center, or relax by the swimming pool. Previous guests liked how the mini fridge is stocked with complimentary snacks, milk, and bottled water, and the location: located in New Town, it’s just a 5-minute walk to Waverley Station and steps from Princes Street.
The Principal Edinburgh George Street
The Principal Edinburgh George Street – Housed in one of the gorgeous Georgian buildings typical of New Town, the Principal sits a few blocks beyond Princes St. on one of Edinburgh’s most upmarket streets: George Street. Offering top-notch rooms, staff, and food and drink, decor follows an elegant Scottish theme, channelling a nice combo of cozy and luxurious. Located in a perfect location that blends quiet with convenience, this is a lovely hotel in the heart of New Town.
Elder York Guest House
Elder York Guest House – Hosted in a historical building, this guest house mixes period furnishings with a welcoming, feel-at-home vibe. Rooms feature everything you might need, including a coffee maker, but are only accessed by 3 to 4 flights of stairs. Situated a 2-minute walk from Princes St, and close to Broughton/Calton, the hotel is right in the city centre, while also being tucked away enough to offer a good night’s sleep!
Motel One Edinburgh-Princes
Motel One Edinburgh-Princes – Featuring funky but tasteful decor with turquoise and beige finishes, this model offers basic but comfortable accommodation in the city centre, while also channelling an ‘affordable boutique’ vibe. Past guests appreciated the lobby bar which is open 24/7 and the large, modern bathrooms. The location is awesome, located at the very beginning of Princes Street next to Waverley station and the National Gallery.
Haggis Hostels – If you’re looking for budget accommodation and a friendly atmosphere, or want to stay somewhere social to meet fellow travellers, this looks like a good option. Offering both shared and private rooms, Haggis also has a large and fully-equipped shared kitchen, good Wi-fi throughout the hostel, and comfortable beds. Only a few minutes’ walk from the Old Town and the Royal Mile, the hostel is located right at the end of bustling Princes Street.
Where to Stay in Edinburgh: The West End
Great area for: ✓ Independent Shops ✓ Hip Bars & Restaurants ✓ Upmarket Local Living
The West End is one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets. While most visitors flock to the New and Old Town, head to the West End of Princes Street and find yourself amongst independent boutiques, hip bars and restaurants much-loved by the locals. The Jolly Botanist is a gin bar with friendly service and delicious cocktails..
The Rutland Hotel
The Rutland Hotel – An elegant and modern boutique property straddling West End and Princes Street, this hotel offers lovely rooms and an on-site lounge for unwinding at the end of the day. Past guests mention the comfort, staff and location as key features, offering a quiet stay while still being convenient for shops, food and drink, and sightseeing. If you’re looking for an upscale ‘home away from home’ boutique, this might be it!
Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa
Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa – Offering a luxurious, resort-eque experience in the heart of the city, this Sheraton offers pampering and convenience, along with some amazing views of Edinburgh Castle. Lux rooms feature walk-in showers and a media hub, and guests have access to the 19m swimming pool, gym and fitness studios. Book a club room to get access to the lounge (with complimentary snacks and drinks). Walk to Princes Street in 5 minutes.
The Randolph Rooms
The Randolph Rooms – Located on a Georgian Crescent in a typical Edinburgh building, the Randolph Rooms offer the comforts of a B&B in a quiet, yet still very convenient, area of the city. The interior has a homey, elegant look to it, and past guests mention the excellent breakfasts and location as the big draw to this property. Just beyond Princes Street, this is well-located for exploring Dean Village, Old Town, New Town and the West End.
Mercure Edinburgh Haymarket
Mercure Edinburgh Haymarket – A new and very modern choice with a nice dose of character, this 4-star hotel features modern facilities and amenities, such as Apple TVs, USB charging, high-speed Wifi, and in-room coffee and tea facilities. Rooms are spacious and soundproofed, and also offer a seating area for a comfortable stay. Past guests mention friendly staff, comfortable rooms, and a great on-site bar. From the hotel, it’s 15 min on foot to the Castle and about 25 minutes to the Scott Monument.
The Bonham – Combining elegant decor with attentive service, this 4-star is housed in a beautiful Victorian town house. Past guests love the gorgeous views over Edinburgh and the excellent breakfast, and the fact the hotel is located on a quiet street within a 20 minutes’ walk to main attractions such as Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle, and The Royal Mile. A beautifully-styled boutique with an upmarket feel.
Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Stockbridge & Dean Village
Great area for: ✓ Upscale & Trendy ✓ Bohemian Vibe ✓ Coffee Culture ✓ Boutiques
Stockbridge has a bohemian vibe, as it’s long been inhabited by artists, musicians, and poets. It’s now become one of Edinburgh’s more upmarket suburbs. The village feel disguises the fact that you’re within walking distance of the city centre, and the great cafe culture will have you wondering if you even need to make the journey there.
Browse boutique shops and visit the popular Stockbridge Market set up every Sunday, featuring street food and artisanal goods from local producers. Check out Hamilton’s for gastro-pub fare, and don’t forget to peak down Circus Lane, another of Edinburgh’s most beautiful streets.
The nearby Dean Village, now of Instagram fame, is a former milling area on the banks of the Water of Leith, and worth the walk. Instead of going by road, walk along the Water of Leith from Stockbridge, or venture even further to discover more of Edinburgh’s suburbs.
The Raeburn – Set within a beautiful Georgian mansion at one edge of Stockbridge, the Raeburn is a classic Stockbridge property offering luxury accommodations and service, in a local neighborhood set away from most other tourists. With rich textures and colours, it has a luxuriously Scottish feel to it, with past guests mentioning exceptional comfort, service and food. Step outside the front door to vibrant Stockbridge, or take 15 minutes to walk to Princes Street.
Nira Caledonia – Situated in a magnificent Georgian townhouse, this 4-star offers sumptuous and romantic rooms. Previous guests were extremely pleased by the the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, who were always ready to give advice, and by the comfortable goose feather beds. In a great location that’s slightly secluded off the main street, the hotel is within a 10-minute walk to Princes Street.
A Georgian Residence
A Georgian Residence – Set within a lovely Georgian building, this is a charming bed & breakfast that offers great views of the city and a very homey feel. Past guests rave about the homemade delicious breakfast, and felt like they had stepped back in time thanks to the antique furniture. This B&B is situated on a very quiet street just off the main street, yet within walking distance to all the historical sites of Old and New Towns.
Where to Stay in Edinburgh: The Southside
Great area for: ✓ National Museum of Scotland ✓ Parks ✓ Cafès & Restaurants
The Southside is framed by the Salisbury Crags and Arthurs Seat on one side, and the Meadows on the other, making it a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There are some fantastic bars and cafes if you know where to look, like The Potting Shed or 56 North, where you can relax after perusing the nearby free National Museum of Scotland.
Hotel du Vin
Hotel du Vin – Technically in Old Town still, it’s on the southern edge, making it convenient for getting into town, but also for heading to the Meadows. The real story here, however, is the fact that this hotel is in a former city asylum, making it a boutique with a backstory! Tastefully decorated rooms and an on-site French Bistro round-out the offering. Comfort, staff, and quality of food seem to be high points in past guest reviews.
My Quartermile Apartments
My Quartermile Apartments – Offering floor-to-ceiling windows, Meadows Park views, and luxury furnishings, these offer more than your typical holiday rentals. Every unit includes a fully-equipped kitchen, a dishwasher, and a washing machine, plus LCD TVs and Wi-fi. The apartments are tucked away in a quiet street, yet most attractions can be reached in just 15 to 20 minutes on foot. Plenty of conveniences near by!
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Residence Inn by Marriott
Residence Inn by Marriott – Offering bright and modern hotel suites that are larger than your typical hotel room, and include a kitchenette, Residence Inn is a good bet for an affordable stay that combines bends your typical hotel stay more toward apartment living. Add to that a 24-hour front desk, free breakfast, on-site bar and fitness centre, and the fact that you’re a 10-minute walk from the Royal Mile!
Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Broughton & Calton
Great area for: ✓ Amazing Views ✓ Bars & Restaurants ✓ Laidback Atmosphere
The unmistakable monuments on Calton Hill make it a regular feature of photographs of the city, and part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage status. Head up close to sunset for spectacular views across Edinburgh.
After soaking it all in walk to nearby Broughton Street for yet more of Edinburgh’s best bars and restaurants. You could spend your entire vacation on this street alone! Check out Treacle for a laid back atmosphere and fair trade meals.
Ramsay’s Bed & Breakfast
Ramsay’s Bed & Breakfast – This sunny, contemporary hotel was recently renovated with stylish and colorful rooms. Previous guests fell in love with the complimentary breakfast, which offers a choice of Full Scottish, continental, or a salmon dish. Located within walking distance of two train stations and less than a minute from over 30 highly rated restaurants.
Apex Waterloo Place Hotel
Apex Waterloo Place Hotel – This designer 4-star hotel is modern and pristine. The rooms are large and have walk in showers. Other hotel amenities include a gorgeous indoor pool, a 5–star restaurant on-site, and a full spa. Located within a 15-minute walk to the Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile, the hotel is in a great location if you plan on seeing the best that Edinburgh has to offer.
The Broughton Hotel
The Broughton Hotel – With brightly colored rooms and sleek shower rooms, this is a quaint 3-star hotel that seems very cosy. Past guests mention the owners being very welcoming and providing great tips on where to go and what to eat. They also liked the small touches such as free coffee, tea, and shortbread cookies. Conveniently located in the city center, the hotel is less then a 1km from the castle.
Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Leith
Great area for: ✓ Local Living ✓ Canals by the Docks
Leith isn’t likely to be on your radar when you visit Edinburgh, but it’s an up-and-coming neighbourhood full of diversity and a bit of edge. Leith will give you a break from the touristy centre of Edinburgh, and accommodation options are more reasonably priced. If you want the comforts of home, it’s a great place to book a holiday apartment and live like a local. There are plenty of bus connections that travel down Leith Walk,when you want to get into the city centre; if you’d rather walk, it’s a pleasant place for a stroll, great for exploring the diverse shops and eateries.
Constitution Street has one of my favourite cafes in Edinburgh, Rock Salt. If the weather is nice, head along to The Shore to enjoy a drink on the canals near the old shipping docks. Teuchters Landing is a local favourite, but get in early for a table! A Room in Leith next door is run by the same owners, and offers delicious Scottish fare.
Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh Waterfront
Holiday Inn Express – Modern, comfortable rooms, vibrant colors, and all the conveniences you might expect from a Holiday Inn. Past guests loved the complimentary buffet breakfast and in-room amenities, such as satellite TV, power shower, USB ports and coffee and tea facilities. Just next door you will find the Ocean Terminal shopping center and the Royal Yacht Britannica.
Edinburgh Waterfront Apartments
Edinburgh Waterfront Apartments – Featuring a modern decor, these fully-equipped apartments have open, bright rooms. All apartments have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, which makes this a great choice for families. The kitchen comes fully equipped with all major appliances. The complex is located within walking distance of many fine shops, restaurants and the bus station. Easy access to the city center (15 minutes by bus).
The Sandaig – Set in a Victorian house, this boutique guesthouse offers elegantly designed rooms, each uniquely decorated. Past guests mentioned they got more than they could have ever expected out of this 4-star hotel, including four-poster beds. Overlooking Leith Links Park and 10 minutes by bus from Edinburgh city center, the hotel is well linked and allows you to explore all the main sights such as the Edinburgh Castle.
Popular Edinburgh Tours & Activities
Royal Mile Guided Walking Tour in Edinburgh
5 / 5 from 86 reviews
Whisky-Tasting Day Trip from Edinburgh
5 / 5 from 45+ reviews
Full-Day Trip to Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands
Edinburgh Night Walking Including Underground Vaults
4.5 / 5 from 145+ reviews
Edinburgh Tips & Frequently Asked Questions
So Where Should You Stay in Edinburgh?
If you’re still wondering what is the best neighborhood to stay in Edinburgh, we’ve tried our best to summarize it below!
- For first time visitors, Old Town and New Town (more or less around Princes St.) are the best places to stay in Edinburgh. Both offer the ultimate in convenience, as well as being some of the most beautiful areas in all of Edinburgh. If you stay in Old Town near the Royal Mile, you’ll be at the top of the hill, around the same height as the Castle. If you stay in Grass Market area of Old Town, you’ll be down a fairly short hill. If you stay in New Town around Princes Street, you’ll be looking up at the Castle, across Princes Street Gardens.
- Another beautiful area for first timers (and second timers, and third timers!) is Stockbridge/Dean Village area. These are great neighborhoods to stay in Edinburgh, because you’ll get a taste of local life, while also being close enough to walk to the city centre. These neighborhoods are also both very pretty, and Stockbridge in particular is filled with lovely shops, pubs and cafés!
- The West End is another lovely area of Edinburgh, and is still only a quick walk to Princes Street. If you’d like to get a feel for modern Edinburgh, filled with upmarket boutiques and bars, then West End is a nice area to stay in Edinburgh.
- On the other end of Princes St., Broughton and Calton Hill area offer similar conveniences, being very close the city centre while also having a slightly more local feel to it. Broughton St. itself has plenty to keep you busy, and climb to the top of Calton Hill is a must during your visit to Edinburgh.
- The South Side, in particular around the University, will show you a different side of Edinburgh, with a few high-rise residential buildings made out of glass, and a feeling not dissimilar to university areas in North America. If you’re looking for something totally different, the South Side is a nice area to stay in Edinburgh. South Side is also a good area to stay for visiting the University of Edinburgh.
- If you want something with a bit more edginess to it, be sure to consider Leith. Very much an ‘up-and-coming’ neighborhood, Leith has a lovely waterfront, some great shops and pubs and cafes, and a different feel to the city centre. It’s also very convenient to reach, taking just 15 minutes on one of the frequent buses. If you want to see a different and less polished side of Edinburgh, or you want to save your cash for shortbread and whisky tastings, then Leith is worth considering!
How to Get Around Edinburgh
The compact nature of Edinburgh and the close proximity of the major tourist attractions means it’s an easy place to get around, just watch out for the occasional hill!
Edinburgh has one airport, and getting to city centre from the airport is simple. The 24/7 Airlink 100 Bus Service is my favourite because it’s fast, efficient, and reasonably priced at £4 one way or £7 open return. The journey will take about half an hour, and you can buy the ticket when you arrive or, for a small premium (about £0.50 one-way, depending on the exchange rate), you can buy your ticket in advance via Get Your Guide.
In terms of other public transport options beyond the Air Link bus, there’s the new Skylink 200 Bus Service (for Edinburgh’s northern suburbs), or the newer Edinburgh Tram Service, which is also very convenient. The local Number 35 bus is a cheap alternative at only £1.60, but it’s a much longer journey unless you’re staying in the western suburbs.
If you’d prefer to not take public transportation, you can arrange a private transfer through Viator starting at around US $17.50. It looks like this company had some service issues when they first got started on Viator (which is a re-seller owned by Trip Advisor…kind of like Booking.com for tours and activities), but all recent reviews are excellent. Alternatively, you can take a cab when you arrive. Expect to pay somewhere around £20 (US $26 at time of writing) to the city centre.
Regarding stations, Edinburgh Waverley Train Station is located between the Old Town and New Town, and Haymarket Train Station is most convenient if you’re staying closer to the West End, or if you’re heading to Glasgow.
Once you’re in Edinburgh you can explore most of the city on foot, and you’ll find it’s the fastest way to get around the central areas. Local buses run frequently and have plenty of routes if you want to go further afield (check Lothian Buses for more information), or cab stands can be found on most main streets.
More Reading & Where to Stay Guides
A Note About Our Hotel Recommendations In This Edinburgh Neighbourhood Guide
Our hope with this Where to Stay in Edinburgh Guide (and all our Where to Stay Guides, including Where to Stay in Glasgow, Where to Stay in Dublin, Where to Stay in Belfast…you get the idea) is to make trip planning a little easier, by helping you find the best area to stay in Edinburgh for your particular budget, goals, travel style and more.
To do this, we mostly hire locals to write the guides, because we want to be sure we’re giving the best info about each neighborhood, and we feel locals are in the best position to do so. But, of course, locals live in their own homes, not hotels. And so we have to rely on research to fill in the hotel info in this post. We’ve researched each neighborhood, and chosen some of the highest rated hotels in each. When it comes down to it, our sniff test is whether we’d personally want to stay in that hotel or apartment, and also whether we’d feel confident recommending it to a friend or family member, no matter how much they wanted to spend.
Our goal with this post is for you to have a fantastic vacation to Edinburgh, whether it’s a grand, Scotland-wide trip or a short Edinburgh city break. And, we want you to be able to do so without having to spend hours on the internet, reading reviews and cross-checking locations on a map. Hopefully we’ve done a good job…but please don’t blame us if we haven’t – at the end of the day, we expect you to check the most recent reviews and specific conditions in the city, using our recommendations as a starting point and framework, and then selecting the best hotel and area to stay in Edinburgh for your own trip!