Edinburgh is a compact city. Most of the main attractions are within walking distance, but there's also an excellent public transport system operated by Transport for Edinburgh, including trams, buses and bicycle hire. Here’s everything you need to know about getting around Edinburgh.
Walking is one of the best ways to explore Edinburgh. The city is small and the main areas with bars, restaurants and tourist sites are located within a short walk of each other. The beauty of walking is that you’ll discover places only accessible to pedestrians, including the hidden alleyways, shops and pubs along the Royal Mile.
Cycling is a fun, fast and eco-friendly way to nip around the city. There are cycling paths throughout the city, many of which are car-free so you can ride at your own pace.
There's no need to rent a bike from a bicycle shop. Transport for Edinburgh has partnered with Just Eat Cycles for hassle-free bike rental. All you need to do is download the app, buy a pass and find a bike (the app will tell you where the closest one is). When you’re done, simply park it at one of the 63 stations around the city and end the trip. Rental costs start at £1.50 for single-trip access, or £3 for a multi-trip pass. Visit Edinburgh Cycle Hire for more information.
Edinburgh has an excellent bus network. The main bus company is Lothian Buses (operated by Transport for Edinburgh) which provides over 50 routes throughout the city centre and outskirts. You can buy tickets onboard using a contactless debit/credit card, on the Lothian Bus travel app, or with cash.
Note that drivers don’t offer change, so try to have the exact amount if possible. Single adult fares start from £1.80, or you can buy a day ticket for £4.50 which gives you unlimited day travel on Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams. All buses have at least one wheelchair-accessible space.
Trams are comfortable and convenient. The tram route runs from Edinburgh Airport to York Place in the city centre every seven minutes between 07:00-19:00, and every 15 minutes between 19:00-07:00. Fares start at £1.80 for a single trip, £3.40 for a return or £4.50 for a day ticket. If you're travelling to/from the airport, an adult ticket costs £6.50 one way or £9.00 return (returns are open-ended so you can use it whenever). You can buy tickets on the Transport for Edinburgh mobile app and ticket vending machines on tram platforms.
You can hire a car in the city or at Edinburgh Airport. The drive to the city from the airport takes around 25 minutes. Popular car rental companies include Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Budget, Alamo and Europcar. Parking in the city can be a little tricky as it can take a while to find a spot. Many on-street parking spaces are restricted or reserved for residents, so you’ll need to find pay-and-display car parks. Renting a car might be a good option if you’re also travelling to other destinations in Scotland.
There are several taxi companies that operate in the city centre, including Central Taxis, City Cabs, Starcab, Direct Cabs, Capital Cars and Comcab. You can hail a cab quite easily on the street, or book online or on the phone. Fares are usually based on a meter. If the traffic is busy and you’re only going a short distance, it’s usually quicker and cheaper to walk. You can also use rideshares like Uber which may be cheaper than taxis.
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