Edinburgh is really easy to get around. Most of the city’s main attractions are within walking distance of each other, but there is an excellent public transport system to help you get to where you want to go. Operated by Transport for Edinburgh, the city’s main public transport options include trams, buses and bicycle hire. You can also rent a car or jump in a cab, but when the city is so compact and the public transport is cheap, it’s not always necessary. Here’s what you need to know about getting around Edinburgh.
One of the best ways to discover the beauty of Edinburgh is by walking. The city is compact and many of the city’s iconic buildings and attractions are located in the same areas or on the same streets. The beauty of walking is that you’ll be able to stumble on hidden cobbled lanes that are only accessible to pedestrians, like the labyrinth of alleyways in Royal Mile, the heart of the Old Town.
Getting around by bike
Cycling is a fun, fast and eco-friendly way to nip around the city. There are loads of cycling paths ranging from roads and former railway lines to canals and esplanades with great sea views. Many of the paths are traffic-free so you can relax and take in the views.
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, find a bike (the app will tell you where the closest station is) and unlock it using your phone. When you’re done, simply park it at one of the 63 stations around the city and end the trip. You can choose between electric bikes and pedal bikes (£1.50 for single trip access £3 for multi-trip access). The first zero to three minutes is free on electric bikes with a fee of £0.10 per minute after that. Pedal bikes are free for the first 60 minutes with a fee of £0.05 per minute after. Visit Edinburgh Cycle Hire for more information.
Getting around by bus
Edinburgh has an excellent public bus service. The main bus company is Lothian Buses (operated by Transport for Edinburgh) which provides over 50 routes throughout the city centre, the outskirts and Edinburgh Airport. You can buy tickets onboard using a contactless debit/credit card or cash (drivers don’t offer change so try to have the exact amount if possible). You can also buy tickets on the Lothian Bus travel app. Single adult fares are £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 and are designed with safety and accessibility in mind.
Getting around by tram
Edinburgh Trams are comfortable and convenient. The tram route runs from Edinburgh Airport to York Place in the city centre every seven minutes (07:00-19:00) and every 15 minutes (19:00-07:00) with regular stops along the way including Haymarket, West End and Princes Street. The total journey time is around minutes. Tram fares start at £1.80 for a single trip, £3.40 return or £4.50 for a day ticket. If you are travelling to/from the airport, an adult ticket costs £6.50 one way or £9.00 return (a return ticket is 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.
Getting around by car
You can hire a car in the city or at Edinburgh Airport. The drive from the airport to the city centre takes about 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’s busy and 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 travelling to/from other destinations around Scotland on your trip.
Getting around by taxi
There are several taxi companies that operate in the city centre. You can hail a cab quite easily on the street, or book online or by phone. Popular taxi companies include Central Taxis, City Cabs, Starcab, Direct Cabs, Capital Cars and Comcab. 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 are usually cheaper than taxis.
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