Everything About The Edinburgh Airport: A First-Timer’s Guide

Updated on:  
February 9, 2022
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Chloe Lay
Chloe Lay
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Learn all about the Edinburgh Airport (EDI) because whether you've just landed and have no idea where to go, or if you're keen on being prepared, it's just good to be in the know. From transportation, accommodations, to COVID-19 testing, we're gonna cover it all. Keep reading!

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Edinburgh is a great place to visit with plenty to do and see. It’s the capital of Scotland and has a great blend of history and modernity.

If you’re flying into or out of Edinburgh Airport, it’s a good idea to get a rough idea of what to expect before you travel.

Even for seasoned travelers or people familiar with air travel, navigating around a new airport can be stressful and difficult.

The good news is that we’re here to help! Check out this comprehensive guide to Edinburgh Airport and make air travel a breath of fresh… well, air!

Edinburgh airport landing strip
Photo by Lenstravelier on Unsplash

Edinburgh Airport Layout

Edinburgh Airport is actually relatively easy to navigate because it only has one terminal. Once you check-in and head through security, you’ll find yourself in a large departures area.

Here, there are plenty of amenities: restaurants, cafes, bars, stores, airport lounges, and amenities like toilets, changing rooms, and children’s play areas.

The Edinburgh Airport website also provides easy-to-read maps to help you find your way around if you’re looking for something specific while you wait for your flight.

How to Get from Edinburgh Airport to the City Center

Edinburgh Airport is around 8 miles from the city center. There are a few easy ways to get from the airport to the city itself. If you’re traveling solo or in a pair, we recommend using public transport.

View of city center near Edinburgh airport
Photo by Peter Cordes on Unsplash

By Tram

Edinburgh city center is linked with the airport by a tramline, and this is a fast and convenient way to travel between the two. Trams run every 7–10 minutes from 5 A.M. until around 11.20 P.M., and a journey into the city will take around 30 minutes.

Tickets are also pretty good value, at £6.50 for an adult single or £9 for an adult return (roughly $9 and $12, respectively). You have to buy a ticket before you take the tram, but there are machines at every stop to make things easy for travelers.

By Bus

Another option is to take the bus. Buses and coaches link Edinburgh Airport with Edinburgh itself, but also with Glasgow, Dundee, Fife, and Stirling, meaning it’s a fuss-free way to continue your journey if you’re traveling beyond Edinburgh.

To reach Edinburgh, though, there are four main buses you can take. We recommend taking the Airlink 100 to St. Andrew Square—it runs every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at night. The journey takes around 30 minutes (depending on traffic) and a one-way adult ticket costs just £4.50 (about $6).

By Train

There is no train link between the city of Edinburgh and its airport, so you’ll have to take the tram or another form of transportation from the airport to a rail station. You can buy a combined ticket for tram and train travel to save money on this journey, but to be honest, you’re probably better off taking the tram directly.

By Taxi

For people traveling in larger groups, it might make more financial sense to take a taxi to the city center—it could work out cheaper than buying four or five single tickets.

Head out of the main terminal building to the East Terminus (see number 3 on the map below), where you’ll find a taxi rank. A cab ride into the city center should take around 25 minutes and will cost between £25 and £35.

Edinburgh airport transportation map
Image courtesy of Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Airport Car Rental

Another option for travel out of the airport is, of course, to rent a car. Car hire at Edinburgh Airport is easy. Turn left out of the terminal building and you’ll find a car rental center with nine car-hire companies to choose from, including Hertz, Avis, Sixt, and Enterprise.

Be warned, though: Many people find driving in Edinburgh to be very difficult, as the city is laid out in a way that can be confusing. Parking can also be hard to find, so if you’re staying in the very middle of the city, you’ll probably find it easier to use the public transport system instead.

Hotels Near Edinburgh Airport

There are plenty of good places to stay in Edinburgh, but if you prefer to stay near the airport to make onward travel easier, there are a few hotels near Edinburgh Airport that you can choose from.

The two hotels closest to the airport are the Hampton by Hilton and the DoubleTree by Hilton. The Hampton is just a few minutes’ walk from the airport, and the DoubleTree runs a free shuttle that only takes a couple of minutes.

There is also a Holiday Inn Express near the airport, which also runs a shuttle to take you to the airport (for £2.50 per person).

Can You Sleep at Edinburgh Airport?

Sleeping in a hotel near the airport is all very well and good if you’re expecting to need somewhere to sleep, but we all know that traveling doesn’t always go to plan. If you’re flying into or out of Edinburgh Airport and your flight gets delayed or canceled, you might need to find somewhere to get a few hours’ sleep within the airport itself.

Rather annoyingly, most of the seating in the departures area of the airport has armrests that make it impossible to lie down flat.

If you haven’t checked in yet, your best bet might be to go to one of the pre-security cafes—even if they’re closed, they may leave seats out, which you could then use to build an emergency bed.

COVID Testing at Edinburgh Airport

Traveling during a pandemic means dealing with COVID testing. Make sure you read the rules and regulations about your destination and your airline before you get to the airport—otherwise you might be turned away from your flight.

Edinburgh covid19 testing
Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

If you need to get a COVID test at Edinburgh Airport, you can, but you’ll almost certainly want to book your spot in advance. You can get a lateral flow test for £50 (about $68) or a PCR test for £99 (about $135).

Remember that it takes longer to get the results of a PCR test, so you’ll need to factor that in before you fly!

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Originally published on:  
October 7, 2021

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