Posted: 9/15/2023 | September 15th, 2023
Edinburgh is fabulous. Famed for its beauty, museums, castle, historic university, and literary past, it’s also a moody city but with a cozy feel. I think Edinburgh is a magical destination, from the pubs with live music to the cafés where you just want to snuggle up with a book to the cobblestone streets that seem to shine brighter on a cloudy day.
It’s also pretty compact and easily walkable. That’s great for travelers. And considering that everything you might want to see or do is within a small area and easily connected by bus, there are only a few areas in which to stay. (Of course, you could stay farther out and then take the bus, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s not worth the extra time and potential taxi/bus costs.)
Here’s a breakdown of the three neighborhoods you should stay in and my favorite accommodations in each:
This area is the main center of the city. Here, along the Royal Mile, you’ll find a lot of the main tourist sites, historic streets to wander, and a number of cool bars and restaurants. This is the oldest part of town (hence the name), and it’s where most people stay. You’ll be in the center of the action and, while prices are little higher than elsewhere, you’ll likely spend most of your time wandering the area, so it’s super convenient.
Best places to stay in Old Town:
This is the lower section of town, built on the outside of the castle area. Dating to 1767, it is the more “modern” part of the city, with neatly laid-out streets (as opposed to all the winding cobblestone lanes of the Old Town). Here you’ll find beautiful town squares and parks, a lot of shopping, and more accommodation options. It’s a cheaper part of the city to stay in, but it’s not as quintessentially charming as the Old Town.
Best places to stay in New Town:
I view this area as a separate part of town, though others might lump it in with the Old Town. It’s pretty close to the historic center but I think a far enough walk that it has its own vibe. Given that it’s the location of the university, it has a lot of cheap restaurants and pubs, and is close to the famous lookout, Arthur’s Seat. I like staying here, because there are fewer tourists, so it has a more local vibe to it.
Best places to stay in Southside/University:
Edinburgh is small, so there are not a lot of places to explore. More distant neighborhoods do have hotels, and prices drop a lot the farther out you stay, but you’ll spend more of your trip on the bus (or too much money on Ubers) and away from the city’s best things to see and do. When visiting Edinburgh, just look at these three neighborhoods and pick the one that suits your plans best. You won’t go wrong.
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Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
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