Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. With around 450,000 inhabitants, it is considerably smaller than Glasgow, but with its towering castle it has been the political center of Scotland for centuries.

Edinburgh not only houses the world-famous Edinburgh Castle as the former seat of the Scottish kings, but also the Scottish Parliament, which was reconvened in 1999. The two are linked by the Royal Mile, which stretches from the foot of Arthur's Seat to the castle. At its foot is Holyrood Palace, a residence of the British royal family.

Edinburgh city center can be roughly divided into Old Town and New Town. The medieval old town is dominated by Castle Hill, which slopes gently to the east towards Holyrood Palace. The Royal Mile stretches along the castle hill. Typical of the old town are the closes, small winding streets that often descend from the Royal Mile to the south and north with many stairs. The Georgian new town was redesigned from 1766 according to plans by the architect James Craig. It originally consisted of three parallel streets (Princes Street, George Street, Queen Street) north of the old town and was later expanded to the north. Edinburgh's New Town is considered one of the best preserved examples of Georgian urban architecture.

The city center consists mainly of historical buildings and therefore attracts a large number of tourists. Furthermore, Edinburgh is known for its numerous festivals, in particular the Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh Tattoo and the Edinburgh Hogmanay.


Travel Destinations in Edinburgh


St Giles' Cathedral . St. Giles' Cathedral, also known as "High Kirk", is Edinburgh's main church. Built in the 15th century in Gothic style, the church is 63m long and 30m wide. Located on the High Street, it has served e.g. as a weaving workshop, prison, courtroom, police station, school and depot for gallows(!). The tower helmet, which is modeled on a crown, is particularly striking.
Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh (Midlothian).


Castles, palaces and castles

Edinburgh Castle, Castle Hill. At the top of the Royal Mile. Surprisingly large area with many winding streets, has more the character of a medieval village than a classic castle. Inside there are several exhibitions, e.g. the Scottish crown jewels and their history or "Prisoners of war" about the living conditions of the prisoners of war in the fortress. You should plan at least 3 hours. Admission £16.50 - those wanting to see more of Scotland's historic buildings should consider purchasing an 'Explorer Pass' from Historic Scotland. Feature: Disabled toilet. Open: Apr-Sept 0930-1800, Oct-Mar 0930-1700. Price: Adults £16.50.
Palace of Holyroodhouse. At the bottom of the Royal Mile. Famous by Maria Stuart, among others. The Queen's Scottish residence, who is here every June. If she is not there, you can visit parts of the palace and receive an (electronic) tour in German. Duration approx. 2 hours. Feature: Disabled toilet.
Craigmillar Castle. A bit outside, preferably buses 8 and 33 from North Bridge to the "New Royal Infirmary" and from there continue on foot. Small castle ruins, quite well preserved. Price: £5.50.



Scottish Parliament. Parliament reintroduced in 1999 opposite Holyrood Palace. In addition to an exhibition, the architecturally attractive plenary hall can be visited. Guided tours are offered. Queuing at peak times, security check at the entrance.
Edinburgh City Chambers. Royal Mile: Built against the mountain, it is ten storeys high (natural stone!) when viewed from the train station, but only two when viewed from the Royal Mile. The staircase is worth seeing.



Scott Monument. In honor of the writer Sir Walter Scott. On Princes Street, right by the train station. The four floors can be climbed. The stunning view costs £5.
Greyfriars Kirkyard and Greyfriars Bobby. Picturesque historic cemetery in the southern inner city. At the entrance is the memorial to Greyfriars Bobby, a dog famous for guarding its owner's grave for 14 years.
Calton Hill wikipediacommons. with the Nelson Monument and the Acropolis, which never got beyond a row of columns, offers a view over Princes Street and New Town towards the Castle, Palace of Holyrood House, Arthur's Seat and the new Scottish Parliament to the port of Leith. A wonderful place to end the day, especially at sunset.



Royal Museum/Museum of Scotland, south parallel to the Royal Mile. Double Museum on Chambers Street. The Royal Museum is a natural history museum with an impressive Art Nouveau hall. The Museum of Scotland (opened in 2000) is dedicated to the history of Scotland from the Stone Age to the present day. Feature: Disabled toilet. Price: Admission free.
National Gallery (Scottish National Gallery), Mound (between West and East Princes Street Gardens). Phone: +44 (0)131 624 62 00 . Entrance from East Princes Street Gardens: small but fine picture gallery. Feature: Disabled toilet. Price: Admission free. Special exhibitions in the annex cost around £5.
National Portrait Gallery (Scottish National Portrait Gallery), 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JD. Phone: +44 (0)13 1624 62 00 . Feature: Disabled toilet.
National Gallery of Modern Art / Dean Gallery (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art), Behind Dean Village (from there walk along the river or take the free shuttle bus from the Mound). Tel.: +44 (0)13 1624 62 00 wikipediacommons. National Gallery is free entry, special exhibitions at Dean Gallery between £5-£10. Feature: Disabled toilet.
Museum of Childhood, Royal Mile
Writers' Museum, High St. Feature: Disabled toilet.


Streets and squares

Princes Street. Main shopping street, between the Old and New Towns along Princes Street Gardens and overlooking the Castle, Old Town and Arthur Seat.
RoyalMile. famous street between the Castle and Holyrood Palace with historical backdrop. Interesting are the numerous small alleys (most of them are called Close), some of which lead under the houses on both sides. Definitely take the time to roam up and down some of these, and you'll discover just how short it is to Newtown. Anyone interested in the origins and earlier life in the houses between the narrow streets can follow a guided tour through the underworld of Mary King's Close (in small groups every 20 minutes, admission £10, advance booking is recommended, duration approx .1 hour). What is special is that the underworld you are visiting was created around 1750 when the current town hall was built over it. Otherwise, the Royal Mile impresses with numerous souvenir shops. If you really want to buy there, you should compare carefully. There are price differences of more than 100% for the same items between the individual shops.
Grassmarket. The pub street in Edinburgh. Located below the castle and offers an impressive atmosphere, especially on weekends. Originally the place was a gallows place where the sentences were carried out. A small monument in the middle of the square commemorates this today. In summer, a stage and music are used to upgrade the square even more.



Many of Edinburgh's inner city areas have retained their own character. It's worth just walking through.

Dean Village. Below Dean Bridge on the northwest edge of New Town.
2 stock bridge. Considered an artists' quarter. Adjoins the new town north to north-west.
Marchmont . Similar to Neustadt, also 3- to 4-storey natural stone houses, but more ornate. Student area, south of the Meadows.



Princes Street Gardens. share the east-west valley between the old town and the new town with the railway. Well-kept garden and park landscape with a beautiful view of the old town and castle with lots of green spaces. Pure relaxation with the muted city noise enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
The Meadows. on the southern edge of the city center between the university district and Marchmont invites you to go for a walk with its wide lawns. Somewhat discredited after dark despite some lighted trails.
Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh. a little north of the city center impresses with its grounds and the plants exhibited there in the open air as in greenhouses. Admission to the garden is free, but not to the greenhouses. There is also a café with a beautiful view. Feature: Disabled toilet.
Holyrood Park at the bottom of the Royal Mile with the prominent Arthur's Seat hill. The site has little to do with a park in the usual sense - as a former royal hunting ground the area is largely unspoiled and many a picture one would expect more in the Highlands than in the capital. A climb up Arthur's Seat (approximately 30 minutes) in fine weather is rewarded with stunning 360-degree views of the city, from the harbor to the Royal Mile, Old and New Town to the Castle and beyond.
Water of Leith Walkway. Tel.: +44 (0)131 455 73 67, +44 (0)131 455 73 67. Walking and cycling path along the Water of Leith, a small river through the city. The path connects the districts of Leith to Balerno along the shore. Easiest to get to from Dean Village and Stockbridge.



Edinburgh Zoo. Tel.: +44 (0)131 334 91 71. Mainly concerned with species conservation, therefore more unusual animal species. The Penguin Parade, where the penguins (voluntarily) walk around their enclosure behind the keepers, is famous.
Camera Obscura, Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND. Phone: +441312263709 . Located directly at the castle, offers a nice overview of the city. Price: £15.75.
Scottish Whiskey Heritage Centre, Royal Mile, 354 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE. Tel: +441312200441 wikipedia. Guided tour (also with German translation) and a rehearsal. In addition, in the bar at the end of the tour you can get four whiskeys from different areas of Scotland together for another 8 pounds and the differences in taste are explained. In the end you may not be an expert, but even the layman will be surprised at the clear differences between the different varieties. But you should buy the whiskey somewhere else, it's much too expensive here (possibly even at home or duty-free). The tour lasts approximately 1 hour plus a stop in the bar and closes at 5.30pm. Price: from £17.
Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Drive, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ. Former Royal Yacht, available to visit in the harbour, accessed via the Ocean Terminal Shopping Center. Since you can even look into the (separate) bedrooms of the queen and her husband, who both furnished themselves, you probably get closer to royalty here than anywhere else on the "island". Queues form at peak times, so it's best to show up either very early or very late. Duration of the visit approx. 1-2 hours. The dining room can also be rented.


What to do

Edinburgh is nicknamed Festival City. In summer, especially in August, the city is in a state of emergency, as several festivals are held there at the same time, attracting visitors from all over the world.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A festival with cabaret, theatre, music, comedy, street performance etc.
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Book festival
Edinburgh International Festival. Here it is more about the "classical" arts such as opera, ballet, concerts. The final concert accompanied by fireworks in Princes Street Gardens is worth seeing (tickets for the park only by postal raffle, but you can listen and watch from the cordoned off Princes Street).
Edinburgh Tattoo. A military music festival on the Esplanade in front of the Castle. Worth seeing, but very tight seating!
Especially during the festival time you should reserve the (then more expensive) accommodation in good time in advance.


Getting here

By plane

Edinburgh has one International Airport (IATA: EDI) located on the western outskirts about 10km from the city centre. Edinburgh Airport is Scotland's busiest airport and is connected to most UK airports, most European airports and some overseas airports.

Lufthansa flies three times a day from Frankfurt am Main and Munich, Eurowings from Cologne/Bonn Airport and Düsseldorf, easyJet from Hamburg, Berlin, Geneva, Basel and Munich. Ryanair flies from Berlin, Frankfurt-Hahn, Hamburg, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Weeze and Bratislava. Edelweiss Air flies from Zurich (as of 2021).

When entering via Edinburgh Airport, sufficient time should be allowed for in the event of an onward journey, as the airport is completely overwhelmed with regard to passport control. Even if only two planes arrive at the same time, very long queues form and progress is extremely slow. After that, the luggage of all travelers is usually already on the output belt.

There are several ways to get from the airport to the city center:
by the newly built tramway running via Haymarket, Princes Street to York Place (upper Leith Walk). 6.50 pounds one way, 9 pounds return. Approximately 30-35 minutes drive, departures every 8-12 minutes. The tram is so expensive only to the airport. If you have more time than money, you can walk almost 2km to the Ingliston Park and Ride tram station and only pay 1.80 GBP one way.
by bus: The Airlink (100), takes 25 minutes from the airport to St Andrew Square bus station with just a few stops directly in the city. Departure is every 10 minutes. In addition, the Skylink 200 line connects the north and port district of Leith, Skylink 300 the west and south downtown area, and Skylink 400 the south and east of the city directly to the airport, albeit significantly more slowly than the Airlink 100 express line. A one-way journey with The bus routes to and from the airport are £4.50 and the return ticket is £7.50. Children travel at a discount.
Taxis to the city center cost around £25.
An environmentally friendly method is to travel by bicycle. This can be parked at the international arrivals terminal. The easiest way to get to the airport by car is via the A8. Parking tickets can already be booked online.

Buses also run from Edinburgh Airport to Glasgow, Fife, Dundee, Stirling and Newcastle upon Tyne.

Alternatively, you can fly to Glasgow (IATA: GLA) to the west and then continue by bus and train. It should be noted that from the airport you have to take a train or bus to Glasgow (journey time approx. 45 minutes) and from there you have to take a train or bus to Edinburgh. Most trains to Edinburgh service Queen Street train station and all buses depart from Buchanan Bus Station.


By train

Edinburgh's Waverley Station in the city center is on the East Coast Main Line, which runs from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh and beyond. The service is operated by the railway company GNER. Scotrail connects Edinburgh with Glasgow, Aberdeen and Perth and further into the Scottish Highlands. Almost all trains also stop at Haymarket Station in the West End, 1km west of the castle.


By bus

Scotish CityLink connects virtually every significant location in Scotland.
MegaBus connects Edinburgh to a number of major UK cities. If you book online, you can get unbeatable prices, even by German standards. Examples: Edinburgh - Glasgow, travel time approx. 1 hour, price 1-2 pounds! Edinburgh - Inverness, journey time approx. 3½ hours, price approx. 7 pounds.
The very large St. Andrews Square bus station is tucked away in the courtyard of a block. If you want to travel by bus, you should find out about its location beforehand.


In the street

Edinburgh is accessible from Glasgow, Stirling and Perth via the M8, M9 and M90 motorways. Edinburgh can be reached from London via the east coast (A1/A1(M)) approx. 600 km, or via the west coast M6/ A74(M)/ A701 approx. 650 km.

In 2022, Edinburgh city center was declared a Low Emission Zone (environmental zone), in which cars are only allowed to enter with Euro 4 and higher (petrol) or Euro 6 and higher (diesel). The zone includes the entire New Town and Old Town as well as the Canongate area up to Arthur's Seat to the east, Meadows to the south and Tollcross to the west (see map here. Motorists still enjoy puppy protection until June 2024, after which illegal entry into the area costs 60 GBP.


By boat

From mainland Europe (Ijmuiden near Amsterdam) you can take the overnight ferry (DFDS) to northern England (Newcastle) and then drive north on the motorway for 120 (2.5 hours) miles. From Ireland to the west coast of Scotland. From there continue on the country roads.

Cruise ships calling at Edinburgh disembark (depending on size and traffic) in the Newhaven area in the north of the city or in South Queensferry with disembarkations or call at Rosyth about 20km north-west of Edinburgh.

Houseboat skippers or paddlers can reach Edinburgh on the Union Canal from Falkirk. Canal terminus and mooring is at Fountainbridge, south west of the Old Town.


By bicycle

As a city on the North Sea coast, Edinburgh is of course also connected to the international North Sea Coast Cycle Route. This runs from Aberdeen in the north via Dundee on National Cycle Route 1 (NCN1). From the English border at Berwick upon Tweed, take the NCN 76 along the coast to get here.


Getting around

Public transport in Edinburgh is almost entirely based on buses. Lothian Busses (with burgundy buses) and First Edinburgh (pink/purple buses) compete with each other. Both have a similar price structure: tickets are bought from the bus driver, there is no change. Lothian Busses currently (3/2021) cost £1.80 for a single journey and £4.50 for a day ticket. If you are in Edinburgh a little longer, a Ridacard can be worthwhile. The card costs £3 and can then be used e.g. B. be charged £19 with a weekly ticket. You can get these in the Lothian offices. It is valid for 7 days from the day of first use. In contrast to the normal day ticket, it is also valid for the Airlink 100 and night bus journeys (£3) cost only half as much with the card. Double-decker buses run at regular intervals on the main routes (route network maps at the bus stops), the secondary routes are used every 15-30 minutes. Line maps and timetables are available from the Lothian Travelshop on Waverley Bridge or from Tourist Information. The retention of the unit price system is discussed again and again.

It should be noted that on busy routes not every bus stops at every stop: the stops are staggered, signs at the stop indicate which buses stop there. Buses run approximately from 5am (8am on Sundays) to midnight, plus there are hourly night buses on the main routes.

In addition, since 2014, the tram has operated on a line that runs from the airport via Haymarket, the West End, Princes Street to York Place in the north-east of the city centre. The fare within the city corresponds to the price of the buses (1.80). A tidy surcharge of 4.70 (up from 6.50) has to be paid for the trip from the airport. The original plan was to run the tram across Leith Walk to Ocean Terminal Leith. After massive time and cost overruns, this part was not completed. The Edinburgh tram project is just as traumatic for the city as the new major airport in Berlin. In March 2019, Edinburgh City Council decided to complete the line to Newhaven, with this part scheduled for completion in 2023. A stop at the Ocean Terminal with the Royal Yacht Britannia is also planned.

The bus tours offered are particularly recommended for exploring the city centre. The tourist destinations of the city are approached on four different routes. The particularly courageous can even combine the four different routes. The double-decker buses, which are open at the top, travel around the round trips every 30 minutes. You can get on and off the buses at any stop on the chosen round (hop on hop off). The 24-hour bus tickets are available for adults, seniors/students, children and families. Tickets can be purchased online, at special ticket offices around town, or on the buses themselves. In some cases, discounts are granted on admission prices after presentation of the tickets.

Alternatively, there are many taxis and, for a few suburbs, the train.

Parking in Edinburgh city center is expensive (around £0.40/15min) and hard to find.



The main shopping street is Princes Street with clothing shops and department stores (Bhs, Debenhams, Marks&Spencer, House of Fraser). The Royal Mile has mostly tourist kitsch. Small grocery stores are scattered throughout the city (supermarkets too, of course). Close to the center there are some supermarkets in the Newington district (1-2km out of town follow the North Bridge), such as a Lidl, Tesco Metro and 24h Alldays on Nicolson Street (extension of the South Bridge, 5 minutes walk from the Royal Mile).

There are several large shopping centers in Edinburgh. In the city center, the Waverley Mall directly at Waverley Station, it shines above all with a lot of vacancies. Just around the corner is the St. James Shopping Center with a John Lewis department store, at the end of which you end up in one of the parallel shopping streets to Princes Street. In the port district of Leith you will find the ultra-modern but somewhat oversized Ocean Terminal. You can also eat here in a modern ambience with a view of the water or go to the integrated multiplex cinema center. Significantly cheaper offers can be found in the Cameron Toll shopping center in the south of the city and in the GyleCentre in the west.

Valvona & Crolla, 19 Elm Row (Leith Walk). Phone: +44 131 556-6066. Known far beyond the city limits With a wide selection of Italian and local specialties that are stacked up to the ceiling in the narrow and always crowded shop. An Edinburgh institution since 1934, where you can often hear different European languages at the same time and because of the smell you buy more than planned anyway. Now also offshoots at Jenners and in the House of Fraser on Princes Street and with Royal Warrant, because the Queen also bought cheese here when she was in town. Open: Mon-Sat 9-18.

A shopping experience of a special kind are Ramsay Cornish Auction House's Lane Sales, every Thursday at The Stores, 15-17 Jane Street, Leith. Everything that the auction house does not consider worthy enough to be included in the "right" auctions is cleared out on Thursdays and goes under the hammer from the 11th stroke. The auctioneer walks around and doesn't stop until everything is gone, often including the tables on which the pieces are presented. The helper with the brown leather bag collects cash immediately, the only accepted payment method. Even if you don't intend to buy, it's an event full of character. From 1 pound.



Scottish butter biscuits (shortbread) are everywhere. Another national specialty is haggis, cooked sheep innards in (today mostly artificial) stomachs. Scottish breakfast is hearty with vegetables and meat.

To improve occupancy, many restaurants have cheap (by British standards) lunchtime specials. The Pizza Hut chain (several times on Princes Street) offers e.g. For example, consider an all-you-can-eat buffet for £3.99. Soft drinks are available 24 hours a day for £1.79 with unlimited free refills.

Buffet King, Nicolson Street 6a (approx. 200m from the Royal Mile) is also unbeatably cheap until 4.30 p.m. An all-you-can-eat Asian buffet for £5.49 (prices up at night). For non-Asia fans there is also lasagna, fries, fish fingers and even a soft ice cream machine! Since some dishes are cooked very oily, you should try them beforehand. The ambience is more like that of a canteen, but everything looks clean. A sign hangs in the entrance stating that J.K. Rowling started writing her Harry Potter series here. While that's true, management has since changed (it used to be a café).


Night life

Edinburgh has a vibrant nightlife with a wide range of classical opera and theatre, musicals, cinemas, pubs and clubs.

Stages for opera, concerts, theater and musicals are mainly found in the West End, such as Usher Hall (Lothian Road), the King's Theater (Leven Street), the Traverse Theater (Cambridge Street), or the Royal Lyceum Theater (Grindlay Street). ). The large newly built Edinburgh Festival Theater (Nicolson Street) is south of the old town, the Playhouse (Greenside Street) on the eastern edge of the new town.

A higher concentration of pubs can be found around the Grassmarket (old town, now a bit touristy), in the adjacent Cowgate (old town, wild mix of various clubs and bars), in George Street (new town, for the stylish fraction), Broughton Street (north of the new town, various scenes) and the Leith Walk (especially in the lower part, drinking is still real work here, invitations to bar fights can be turned down as a foreign visitor) and the adjacent side streets.

In any case, the Three Sisters (139 Cowgate) is free and, in addition to the "best" music of the last 30 years, offers authentic Scottish party culture, i. H. drinking a lot, little clothing, flashy costumes. The best thing is to adapt quickly to the general alcohol level. Either way an experience.

In the Left Bank (37 Guthrie Street) there are often good concerts or cabaret evenings. Admission is mostly free. Otherwise you can also have a drink there.

The Stramash Live Music Bar hosts cèilidhs, traditional Scottish dance nights, on Wednesdays at 9:30pm. The steps are explained before each dance to live music. Prior knowledge is therefore not necessary. Admission is free. Dates of other concerts can also be found on the website.



Edinburgh offers accommodation in all price and comfort categories, from simple hostels to 5-star castle hotels. Accommodation options are adequate most times of the year. Things can get tight during the Edinburgh Festival (late July to mid-September), around Christmas and New Year's Eve ("Hogmanay") and during major rugby internationals (usually in February/March). At these times you have to book early, plan an increased budget if you cannot or do not want to avoid them.

The large city hotels are usually located in the old town or on its western and northern edges. Simpler quarters can be found everywhere in the city with a focus on the south (Newington Road/Minto Street, in Leith (Pilrig Street/Newhaven Road) and partly in the west (Queensferry Road)

There are various privately run youth hostels (hostels) of varying quality in Edinburgh. There is an external list that does not claim to be exhaustive.

High Street Hostel, High Street Hostel, 8 Blackfriars Street, Edinburgh EH1 1NE Scotland. Tel: +44 (0)131 557 3984 Email: highstreethostel@scotlandstophostels.com. Showers are disguised as closets in the unisex washroom. Breakfast costs extra. Open: 24/7. Price: Shared room (dorm): from 13 pounds; Twin rooms from 40 pounds (both pp).
The two youth hostels of the Scottish Youth Hostel Association offer the usual standard of the youth hostel movement (excl. breakfast). However, the Edinburgh Metro Youth Hostel is only open from the beginning of July to the end of August, the rest of the year it functions as a student residence.

Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel, 9 Haddington Place, Edinburgh EH7 4AL Scotland. Tel: +44 (0)131 524 2090 Email: central@syha.org.uk. Open all year, wheelchair access possible without assistance.
Edinburgh Metro Youth Hostel, 15 Robertson's Close, Edinburgh EH1 1LY Scotland. Tel: +44 (0)131 524 2090 Email: edinburgh.metro@syha.org.uk. No elevators, only stairs.

There are three campsites around Edinburgh that offer tent pitches as well as caravan sites, with the sites in Musselburgh and Mortonhall being well outside the city. On the northern outskirts, not far from the Forth Bridge and the banks of the Firth of Forth is the only campsite relatively close to the city:

Edinburgh Caravan Club Site, 35-37 Marine Drive. Tel.: +44 131 312 6874. Well-kept campsite with very clean, new sanitary facilities, very friendly and dedicated staff. Small tourist information, sale of some groceries. The shortcoming of the field is that it is located in the flight path of Edinburgh Airport, which means that during peak times a plane flies relatively close every three or four minutes, with the corresponding background noise. But if you like planespotting, you've come to the right place. At night it is mostly quiet, but even then two or three planes fly. Good hard standing gravel pitches for motorhomes/caravans (156 pitches). The campsite is supposed to offer space for 50 tents, but it is so hilly that this can hardly be possible. In addition, it is located directly on the winding road, where some motorcyclists and car drivers like to turn it up - this is definitely not a place for quiet and restful nights, earplugs are recommended! For cyclists, however, it is the only place around Edinburgh from which you can easily reach the city on very beautiful cycle paths (about 8km one way).

Scotlandflats.de brokers holiday apartments right in the center of Edinburgh.
University of Edinburgh. The University of Edinburgh rents out student accommodation during the school holidays, either as self-catering apartments or as B&B accommodation. Outside of the semester break, individual rooms in various houses on campus are also available.

Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR. Tel.: +44 131 229 9131. As the name suggests, includes a spa and a view of the castle.
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh (The Caledonian), Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 2AB. Tel: +44 131 222 88888, Fax: +44 (0)131 222 88 89, Email: caledonian.reservations@waldorfastoria.com. Also with a view of the Castle. Feature: ★★★★★.
The Scotsman, 20 North Bridge, EH1 1TR. Phone: +44 131 556 5565.



The antecedent in the name Edinburgh is the Cumbrian word Eydin, the early medieval name of the region in which Edinburgh is today. As the original city name, this means Din Eydin in Cumbrian "castle of Eydin" can be deduced. The meaning of the landscape name Eydin is unknown. The Anglo-Saxons invading what later became southern Scotland translated Cumbrian din with their equivalent burh, from which modern-day Edinburgh developed.

The city is also often called "Athens of the North" (after a quote from Theodor Fontane), "City of the Seven Hills" or "Festival City". Sir Walter Scott called it My own romantic town. The nickname Auld Reekie "Old Smoky One", which Edinburgh owed to its formerly constantly smoking factory chimneys, is outdated. Scottish emigrants brought the name of Edinburgh to the world. Today it is found in Indiana and - with the Gaelic name Dunedin - in New Zealand and Florida.



Surroundings of Edinburgh
About 15 km north-west, the Forth Bridge spans the Firth of Forth. 10 km east of the city is the beach of Portobello. Set against the Pentland Hills is Fairmilehead, Edinburgh's southernmost and highest borough.



There are numerous prehistoric relics in the Edinburgh city area. Before the area was drained, there were lakes and swamps between the hills on which the dwellings and settlements were located. During the last two centuries, prehistoric burial sites (Arthur's Seat) and hoards of bronze artefacts have been discovered. In the Caiystane View street towards Oxgangs Road there is a large menhir (English standing stone) with small bowls (English cup marks). Adjacent to Newbridge Roundabout, on the west side of town, is the Bronze Age ritual center at Huly Hill Cairn. There are Iron Age fortifications from the 1st millennium BC. on Wester Craiglockhart Hill and on the Hillend, the nearest of the Pentland Hills. Mesolithic traces and those of a Roman fort lie in Cramond, a village on the outskirts of Edinburgh. A statue of a lioness devouring a man was found in the Almond Estuary (Firth of Forth). A Pictish symbol stone was found in Princes Street Gardens used as part of a clapper bridge.

At the end of the 1st century the Romans landed in Lothian and discovered a Celtic-British tribe they called the Votadini. Sometime before the 7th century AD, the Gododdin, who were probably descendants of the Votadini, built the hilltop fortress of Din Eidyn ('Castle of Eydin'). Although the exact position is not known, it is likely that they chose a prominent location such as Castle Rock, Arthur's Seat or Calton Hill.

Initially, Scone (now Old Scone) was the center of the United Kingdom of Alba. It declined in importance in the later Middle Ages, and Perth, just 1½ km downstream, took its place. Other burghs (free cities) such as Stirling also played an important role in Scottish history. After the assassination of James I in 1437, Edinburgh became the capital of Scotland. The capital city function in the Middle Ages resulted from the frequent, long-lasting presence of the royal court, which stopped at different places. The historic Parliament of Scotland also met in different locations.

In 1093 a castle is mentioned in Edinburgh, from which the city-dominating Edinburgh Castle developed.

The Church of St. Giles, known as St Giles' Cathedral, became the focal point of the growing town. It was first mentioned in a document in 854, the building that still exists today was built around 1120. In the 16th century, John Knox preached at St Giles, which is now the High Kirk of Edinburgh of the Church of Scotland.

In 1128, Holyrood Abbey was built by King David I, but far outside the then city. Between Edinburgh and the Abbey of the Holy Cross (holy rood) lay the town of Canongate (canon means canon). Next to Holyrood Abbey, of which only ruins remain today, Holyrood Palace was subsequently built. As the Palace of Holyroodhouse, this is the official residence of the British monarch and forms the eastern end of the "Royal Mile".

In 1583 a university was founded in Edinburgh, which, however, is only the fourth in history in Scotland; the University of St Andrews dates back to 1413.

The eventful history of the city also includes the so-called Bishops' War of 1639. King Charles I of England and Scotland tried to impose his will on the Church of Scotland through bishops he liked and also to introduce a prayer book created according to the English liturgy. Riots ensued, the initiator of which is said to have been the market woman Jenny Geddes, who threw a chair at the vicar in St Giles Cathedral.

One of the most important dates in the history of Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole is the Act of Union, which came into force on 1 May 1707. This Act created the basis for the union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland.

During World War I, Edinburgh was bombed by two German zeppelins on April 2, 1916, with 24 dropped bombs falling on the city, killing 13 and injuring 24. Among other things, two hotels and residential buildings were hit by bombs. During World War II, Edinburgh was hit several times by German bombs between 18 July 1940 (first air raid) and 6 August 1941, killing 20 civilians and injuring 210. In the heaviest attack alone on April 7, 1941, three churches and 270 houses were damaged.

The re-established Scottish Parliament was constituted after almost 300 years on May 12, 1999 in Edinburgh.



Most residents of Edinburgh are Scots, but there are also many Irish, Germans, Poles, Italians, Ukrainians, Pakistanis, Sikhs, Bengalis, Chinese and English. There are schools for Catholic and Protestant children. Edinburgh hosts one of the largest Orange Walks outside Northern Ireland each year in July (commemorating the Protestant victory at the Battle of the Boyne).


Politics and administration

Superior administration
Edinburgh is the historic capital of Scotland and the former county of Edinburghshire, now called Midlothian. Along with Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen, Edinburgh has been one of the four counties of cities in Scotland since 1890. In 1975 Edinburgh became a district of the Lothian Region and in 1996 the City became Council Area City of Edinburgh as part of the introduction of a single tier government structure. Edinburgh is also one of the lieutenancy areas of Scotland.

Edinburgh City Council has 63 seats. Since the 2017 local elections, the Scottish National Party has held the majority with 19 seats.

Frank Ross (Scottish National Party) has been the Lord Mayor (Lord Provost) since the 2012 election.

City coat of arms
Edinburgh has had a coat of arms since the 14th century, but it was not officially mentioned until 1732 by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. After the administrative reform in 1975, the City of Edinburgh District Council commissioned a new coat of arms based on a historical model: the black basalt rock with the castle can be seen in the shield, above which the Scottish crown and an admiralty anchor are emblazoned, the towers of which carry red flags. The city motto "Nisi Dominus Frustra", taken from Psalm 127, proclaims that without the help of God nothing can last. Shield holders are a girl and a hind, the symbol of St. Egidius, the city's patron saint. The castle was known in the Middle Ages as Castrum Puellarum - Castle of the Maidens - and is said to have been a safe haven for princesses.

Town twinning
Edinburgh has official bilateral relations with other cities. These collaborations aim to enable the exchange of information and expertise in areas of common interest.

The partnership with Munich has dynastic reasons. As the great-grandson of Maria Theresa of Modena, a descendant of the Stuarts, Duke Francis of Bavaria could lay claim to the Scottish throne.


Economy and Infrastructure

Services and trade

Traditionally, Edinburgh has been an important trading center linking Scotland with Scandinavia and continental Europe. However, the importance of the port of Leith has steadily decreased in recent decades.

Edinburgh has the second strongest economy of any city in the UK, after London, and has the highest proportion of workers with a vocational qualification, at 53% of the population. In the 2013 UK Competitiveness Index, which compares the competitiveness of British cities, Edinburgh was ranked 4th among all major cities in the UK. It is second only to London in terms of earnings and unemployment.

While in the 19th century brewing, banking and insurance as well as printing and publishing were the main economic sectors, the focus in the 21st century is on financial services, scientific research, higher education and tourism. In 2014 Edinburgh had an unemployment rate of 4.3%, well below the Scottish average of 6.3%.

Banking has been a mainstay of Edinburgh's economy for over 300 years. The Bank of Scotland (now part of Lloyds Banking Group) was established in 1695 by the Scottish Parliament. Today the city is the second largest financial center in the UK and one of the largest in Europe thanks to the financial services industry with its particularly strong insurance and investment sectors. Edinburgh is home to Scottish Widows, Standard Life, Bank of Scotland, Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), Tesco Bank and AEGON UK. The Royal Bank of Scotland opened its new headquarters in Gogarburn, west of the city, in October 2005. In the run-up to the 2014 referendum on Scotland remaining in the UK, a number of financial services firms announced that they would relocate to London should Scotland become independent.

The city's largest employers in 2014 were: National Health Service Lothian (19,500 employees), City of Edinburgh Council (19,260), University of Edinburgh (12,650), Lloyds Banking Group (9000), The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (8000), Standard Life (5000), Scottish Government (4000), Tesco and Tesco Bank (2600) and AEGON UK (2100). The average gross income of an employee in 2012 was £19,100 (about 26,700 euros). This put Edinburgh in second place behind London (£21,400). Also in the 2012 ranking of gross value added per inhabitant, Edinburgh came in second at £38,100 behind London (£40,200).

Tourism is another important element of Edinburgh's economy. It is the UK's most visited city by foreign visitors after London. Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995. In 2016, 4.26 million tourists visited the city, 1.3 million of them from abroad. The largest group of foreign tourists were Americans (192,000) ahead of Germans (174,000).



Edinburgh is a major transport hub linked to the rest of Scotland and to England by rail and road links.

Public transport within the city is served by an extensive bus network (Lothian Buses) which covers the majority of direct connections (single tickets do not include transfers). After a positive vote in the Scottish Parliament in June 2007 (against the reservations of the SNP minority government), construction of the Edinburgh tramway began, which is to connect the airport and Granton via the center and Leith Walk. Due to funding problems, the original route was reduced to the section from the airport to the city center. This route opened on May 31, 2014. In March 2019 it was decided to complete the route to Newhaven. Completion is scheduled for 2023.

Centrally located in the city is Edinburgh Waverley railway station on the East Coast Main Line, which is partly used as a through station and partly as a terminus. Long-distance services exist towards central England and London, while ScotRail serves connections within Scotland. In September 2015, the regional rail network was expanded to include the rebuilt Waverley Line (Borders Railway) from Edinburgh to Tweedbank.

Edinburgh International Airport is 13 kilometers west of the city. As well as mostly domestic UK flights, there are also connections to European destinations and more recently a few daily transatlantic flights.

In addition to the M8 to Glasgow and M9 to Stirling motorways, Edinburgh has extensive trunk road connections to the road network in Great Britain and is, for example, the terminus of the A1 from London.

Edinburgh has no inter-regional ferry service; the nearest ferry port is Rosyth, around 19 kilometers away.