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Edinburgh is a famous and eccentric capital of Scotland. Home to some of Europe’s most breathtaking gothic buildings, castles, and boulevards (yet often excluded in travel lists), Edinburg is slowly becoming one of the most favored travel destinations in the UK.
From its world-famous art festivals to its boutiques and restaurants, Edinburgh is the ideal go-to destination for any kind of traveler.
So, whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or solo, there are so many things to do in Edinburgh that'll make your trip unforgettable!
Having been to Edinburgh myself hopping from neighborhoods to neighborhoods, let me guide you through what I think to be the best areas to stay in Edinburgh, Scotland!
Top Edinburgh Neighborhoods
In order to figure out which neighborhoods you should be staying at in Edinburgh, let's look at how Edinburgh is divided.
Edinburgh is divided officially into 32 council areas. They're further divided into smaller bits of neighborhoods, but the city as a whole is super walkable. While most of Edinburgh's neighborhoods have its charms and attractions, they're not equally attractive to stay in.
So which areas are the best for travelers to stay in?
I'd personally recommend staying either of the 3 areas: Old Town, New Town, and Leith.
Edinburgh’s Old Town: First-Timer's Experience
Edinburgh's Old Town keeps you close to the center of action for the ultimate first-timer's experience, bringing you back in time to visit the historic Edinburgh.
Here you’ll find medieval architecture, hidden corners, and dozens of unique attractions to explore.
If you’re looking for places to stay, you’ll also find tons of Edinburgh hotels and accommodations for all kinds of travelers.
The Affordable Accommodation
If you're looking for an affordable accommodation option in Edinburgh's Old Town, check out CoDE Pod Hostel!
The CoDE Pod Hostel is the perfect private accommodation in the heart of Old Town. Aside from their comfortable sleeping pods, you’ll also have the opportunity to socialize with fellow travelers. Plus, they make delicious waffles every morning!
Paradise for History Lovers
For history buffs and travelers who want to stay close to Edinburgh Castle, this lovely apartment in the historic center is the perfect accommodation for you. It’s situated just beside the Grassmarket and at the foot of Edinburgh Castle.
The area where the apartment stands used to be part of the stables of the King of Scotland’s horses. If you don’t mind spending a bit more to experience a more intimate and elegant accommodation, try the Classical Apartment on the Royal Mile.
Another good option is the Grassmarket Snug, this studio is just 5 minutes away from Edinburgh Castle. Space is situated at the back of a building which makes it very secluded and quiet despite being at the heart of the city. Here you’ll enjoy all the modern essentials including unlimited WIFI, flat screen TV, and more!
Perfect stay for Couples
If you’re looking for stylish accommodations, try this Airbnb: Old Town rooftop apartment.
This charming apartment can be found in the center of The Old Town, Edinburgh. The apartment has a beautiful open-plan living area with a skylight and huge windows with amazing views of the city. It can accommodate up to two guests—perfect for lovers or best friends!
Edinburgh’s New Town: The Nightlife Experience
If you're looking to stay close to the nightlife action in Edinburgh, be sure to choose New Town as your neighborhood of choice to stay in! Edinburgh's New Town was rebuilt after the huge fire that wiped out most of the buildings back in 1824.
New Town is Edinburgh's elegant urban area known for its symmetrical streets, green open spaces, and breathtaking Georgian houses.
Although it's considered the “modern” side of the city, it’s also a very old and historic region (almost two centuries old!) As the center of arts and fashion, the New Town is where travelers go for the Fringe festival, chic accommodations, and endless shopping!
Party Central Stays!
Located on Heriot Row, New Town’s most sought-after streets, this cozy lower ground apartment is the closest to all the best bars, restaurants, shops in the block.
Stay here if you want to be near all the best clubs in Edinburgh! If you’re looking for more spacious accommodation, try this flat in Edinburgh City Centre. It has two bedrooms, a fully functional kitchen, and free Wi-Fi. It’s also close to New Town’s best theatres, galleries, and cafes.
For those traveling with their kids and need parking, Frederick Street is our top pick for you.
Stylish, spacious, and vibrant, this first-floor apartment in New Town is the perfect two-bedroom family apartment in the area. It features a spacious living room, kitchen, and two bathrooms.
Another good family accommodation is this Airbnb home just opposite the Royal Botanical Gardens. It has a total of four beds, two bedrooms, and one bath.
Edinburgh's Leith: Vibrant & International Scene!
If you ask anyone from Leith where they're from, they'll most likely say Leith instead of Edinburgh, and I think that speaks volume.
Leith, being the port of Edinburgh, is perhaps most famous by the famous novel, Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. The novel portrays the historical Leith centered around conflicts of integrations and drugs.
Nowadays, Leith is far from what was portrays in the novel. It's a super social area full of the best restaurants in Edinburgh, the Royal Yacht Britannia, and lots of antique stores.
The Maritime Experience
If you're looking for a unique experience, check out Fingal! Fingal is a luxury floating hotel in Leith waterfront, decked with the glamor of a super-yacht and the elegance of the old-world elegance Edinburgh is famous for.
While it's a luxury stay, it's definitely something that's unique and worth checking out if budget-permitting.
If you're looking for a more affordable accommodation in Leith, check out the Hermitage Guest House! Its proximity to the Leith Link with breakfast and Wi-Fi included makes it the perfect affordable stay to consider while you're in Leith, Edinburgh.
Questions and Answers on Edinburgh
Excited to visit Edinburgh but still got some burning questions needing answers? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions, answered at your convenience.
Is Edinburgh safe?
Yes, it’s very safe. In fact, 90% of Edinburgh citizens claim that they felt safe in a city. Additionally, in a 2014 poll, Edinburgh was voted the safest in the ten biggest cities in the UK.
As one of the world’s most walkable cities, Edinburgh is completely safe for travelers and tourists roaming during the day or night. If you ever need help, they have reliable hotlines such as 999 (for big emergency and urgent assistance of police, fire service, or ambulance), 111(for non-urgent medical emergencies), and 101 (for police but not urgent).
What is Edinburgh, Scotland known for?
You might know Edinburgh for its collection of medieval buildings and architecture. But one of its most identifying landscapes is its beautiful contrasting cities: The Old Town and New Town, both found on either side of the Edinburgh Castle.
The Old Town is composed of a labyrinth of medieval cobblestone streets, early public buildings, and underground vaults—all found on the castle’s southern side. While the New Town is the opposite city which is filled with neoclassical architecture, stylish shops, and wide boulevards for tourists into fashion and art.
Is Edinburgh in the UK or Scotland?
Where is Edinburgh really? UK or Scotland? Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland. It’s located in the Southeastern part of the country. The Scottish Parliament resides in the city.
Is Edinburgh expensive?
Accommodation in Edinburg is rather expensive when compared to other UK city capitals.
However, it is not as expensive as London and there are also affordable options inside the city if you know where to look.
Ready for Your Trip to Edinburgh?
Now that you're an expert on where you can stay for your trip to Edinburgh, get excited and start planning!