Getting Around Edinburgh
The best way to get around Edinburgh is by foot. This hilly city may have you a little out of breath at certain points, but it's still small enough that walking makes the most sense. When you grow tired or want to explore out-of-the-way areas, the city's efficient bus can cart you the rest of the way. A bus – Airlink Shuttle, to be exact – can also bring you from Edinburgh Airport (EDI) into the city center in about the same time as a cab, but for fewer pounds. Once there, you can hop on the city's tram system or explore the city via bus or black cabs, which can be found on high streets (main thoroughfares) and other points of interests throughout town.
Edinburgh's intimate size makes walking the best way to get around. Plus, many of the top attractions are huddled close together in New Town and Old Town. When you want to explore the farther-flung neighborhoods, you can rely on Edinburgh's efficient bus or tram system.
Next to walking, the bus is the next best way to journey around Edinburgh. A single journey costs 1.60 pounds (about $2.35), but if you're planning to use the bus frequently, it makes more sense to buy a DAYticket, which costs 4 pounds (approximately $6) for adults and 2 pounds (about $3) for children. Likewise, if you're planning to be in Edinburgh for more than a few days, purchase a one-week Ridacard pass (18 pounds or about $26). Tickets can be purchased on the bus, at Travelshops or online.
Hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tours are another convenient option as the tours make stops at all the major attractions.
Edinburgh’s tram system is another great way to get around. Having debuted in 2014, it's still developing and at present only has one line that stretches from the Edinburgh Airport in western Edinburgh to York Place in the city's center. The tram stops at points of interest throughout the city, including Princes Street, Murrayfield Stadium (if you fancy watching a game of rugby) and St. Andrews Square right near Edinburgh Waverly station. Tickets are available at every tram station, and must be held onto throughout the entire ride, as random ticket checks can happen. Tickets for adult single City Zone travel, which includes all stops except Edinburgh Airport), are 1.60 pounds (about $2.33); tickets for children cost 0.80 pounds (about $1.16). Single tickets for Airport Zone tickets (all stops) are 5.50 pounds (about $8) for adults and 3 pounds (about $4.40) for children. DAYtickets are 4 pounds for adults ($5.82) and 2 pounds ($2.91) for children between the age of 5 and 15 years old.
Taxis are available and can be hailed on the street or at popular attractions throughout the city. But visitors should know that these get to be a bit pricey; taking the bus or tram is more economical. Fares depend on the day of the week and time of day. Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., fares start at 2.10 pounds (about $3). At night, fares increase, starting at 3.10 pounds (about $4.55).
Having a car during your stay is not recommended. Many of Edinburgh's streets are one-way, some are pedestrian-only, and if you're in Old Town, you'll be terrorized by compact, oftentimes winding roads. Besides, walking is the best way to experience the city's charming cobblestone streets, interesting boutiques and inviting pubs. If you must drive, you can find a number of rental agencies at the Edinburgh Airport; remember to drive on the left. You do not need an international driver's license.
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