Edinburgh Essentials:

How big is Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and is the second-largest city in Scotland. The approximate size of the City of Edinburgh is 259 km².
How many people inhabit it?
There's almost half-a-million people who call Edinburgh their home.
What are the language and currency?
English is spoken in Edinburgh and the currency is the Pound Sterling.
  • Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle The Acropolis on Carlton Hill Old Town Edinburgh The National Gallery of Scotland Arthur's Seat

Things to see in Edinburgh

There is lots to see along The Royal Mile.
What is Edinburgh’s number one attraction?
Edinburgh Castle is definitely the city's most famous tourist attraction. As this is the most popular spot in Edinburgh, be prepared for crowds at the peak tourist months during the summer. Incidentally, it is also Scotland’s number-one attraction overall.
What makes it so special?
The castle is an impressive fortress and offers some amazing views of Edinburgh from its position overlooking the city. It also provides visitors with a great history of the castle and the city too. Guided tours are available of Edinburgh Castle and there are many events happening in the castle all year round also.
So you’d recommend it then?
Absolutely. To get in it costs £16 from June to September and £14.50 the rest of the year, but it’s well worth the money. Two hours is what you’ll need to properly appreciate all that this ancient fortress has to offer. Some of its highlights include the Royal Apartments, the Scottish National War Memorial and the Crown Jewels. If you’re going, do so before 1pm. It’s at this time each day that Mon’s Meg, an old canon, is set off.
Anything else which shouldn't be missed in Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is a beautiful city with a lot to see and do! Make sure you check out St Giles' Cathedral that stands on the Royal Mile. Also if you want to see a spookier side of the city then take a tour of the Edinburgh dungeons or a ghost tour of the city! A trip to The Scottish Whisky Centre is a must for those interested in the history and maybe also a taste of Scottish whisky.
What about art and culture?
Edinburgh definitely has a lot of art and culture to offer. As it is such a historic city, culture is greatly embraced! There are lots of museums and galleries to choose from, such as The National Gallery of Scotland, The Children’s Museum and the Royal Museum/Museum of Scotland, to name but a few. Edinburgh is also home to many festivals such as the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Arts Festival, Jazz Festival, and a lot more running all year round.
What’s all this about ‘Royal Miles’ and ‘Old Towns’?
Edinburgh is split into two sections – the Old Town and the New Town. The difference between both is quite evident. The New Town is full of high street shops and trendy bars. Its main street is called Princes Street. Old Town, on the other hand, is awash with shops selling touristy kitsch and the pubs are of the more traditional variety.
Anything else I need to know?
There are two spots in Edinburgh that offer breathtaking vistas over the city. The first is Carlton Hill. You can get to it from the west end of Princes Street. The walk shouldn’t take you anything more than ten minutes. The other vantage point is Arthur’s Seat. This is the extinct volcano which looms over Old Town. The walk up this steep incline will take you substantially longer thank Carlton Hill. Leave at least an hour to do this. And if you fancy a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city then take a trip to The Lothians in Edinburgh’s surrounding coast and countryside.
Where can you find Edinburgh’s best architecture?
Edinburgh is divided into the Old Town and the New Town. Obviously, the Old Town is where you will find the older side of Edinburgh’s architecture. The Royal Mile is home to some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as St Giles Cathedral and Parliament House to name but a few.

Going out in Edinburgh

Edinburgh's Grassmarket
Is it expensive to go out in Edinburgh?
Not at all. Thanks to over 20,000 students who study in the Scottish capital, socialising is extremely cheap in Edinburgh. Bars all over the city constantly have promotions and some bars have cheap drink all the time!
Where are most of the bars found?
There are bars all over Edinburgh. The Royal Mile is lined with traditional bars, while Cowgate in the Royal Mile has a number of bars popular with the backpacking fraternity. Grassmarket, also in the Old Town, is also full of bars. Over in the New Town you will find Edinburgh’s trendier bars.
Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
Not really. Bars around the Old Town don’t tend to have too many burly bouncers ready to question your age, but if you plan on going out in the New Town chances are you will encounter one or two doormen. In that case, have with you something that will prove you are the legal age to drink.
Is there anything to do that doesn't include alcohol?
Lots! Edinburgh always has great festivals on all through the year so you could plan your trip around one of these. There are also cinemas and theatres in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Playhouse runs a great variety of shows and there are plenty of smaller-scale theatres with productions all year 'round.
Anything else I need to know?
The smoking ban is enforced in Edinburgh so be prepared to go outside if you want a cigarette! Make sure you sample some local Scottish whisky while you are in Edinburgh, also.

Eating Out in Edinburgh

Traditional pub grub
Is it expensive to eat out in Edinburgh?
Depends on where you eat, really! Edinburgh is packed full of great restaurants, from award-winning chef-owned establishments to traditional fish'n'chips shops. You really can get something to suit any budget here.
Where is the best selection of restaurants in the city?
Edinburgh is often regarded as a food lover's paradise due to the amount of restaurants in the city. There are a lot of restaurants around the Castle and the Grassmarket but these are popular tourist eateries and can be very pricey. Leith and the West End are popular spots for food. Rose Street is also a great area if you are looking for some good traditional pub food.
Are international cuisines well represented?
International food is very well represented due to the large choice of restaurants in Edinburgh. You can get anything from European to Chinese and Thai - and, not forgetting, some quintessential Scottish dishes!
Anything else I need to know?
Do not leave Edinburgh without sampling some local cuisine. Most of these you will find in a traditional Edinburgh ‘chippy’ – a fish'n'chips shop. If you are ordering just chips then remember that in Edinburgh chips come with salt'n'sauce instead of the standard salt'n'vinegar found elsewhere. Also, Edinburgh chippies are fond of deep-frying almost everything! You can get deep fried pizza, deep fried black pudding, and - not forgetting - the infamous deep-fried Mars Bar!

Transport in Edinburgh

Edinburgh buses are a great way of getting around.
How many different modes of public transport are there in Edinburgh?
Three – bus, rail and taxi. There are two bus providers that share bus stops but do not operate in conjunction with each other. These are LRT and First Edinburgh and are relatively cheap, but remember to have the exact change when paying. The train is only really for suburban travel. Taxis are mainly black cabs or mini-cabs.
Is there one ticket which covers bus/train/subway?
No. But you can buy a Day Saver ticket for the bus if you are using it a lot in one day. These are available from the driver.
Will I need to use public transport at all?
If you are staying around the city centre then you won’t need to use public transport much. Edinburgh is a small and compact city so it is very easy to navigate on foot. But there is the odd hill or two along the sightseeing trails so be prepared with some comfy shoes! You will, however, be rewarded with some great views once you make it up these!

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Make your trip go further with Hostels.com. We offer the most comprehensive selection of hostels on the internet with over 35,000 hostels in 180 countries. Bringing you great value and providing a service that is fuss free, reliable and frankly brilliant! Hostels.com the ultimate resource for great value accommodation all over the world.

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