Edinburgh is a historical treasure trove! The city is overflowed with more than 4,500 heritage buildings. And while the charming Old Town is brimming with the ghosts of medieval poets and merchants, the festive Georgian style New Town is decorated with sandstone block facades, cobbled roads and pillars. Unfairly neglected by tourists coming to UK due to London's prevalence, the city seems custom-made for travelers - with a great choice of hostels, monuments, flexible means of transportation and Edinburgh Airport, you can enjoy the city in vibrant yet still soothing vibes.
Edinburgh has a long history, rich culture and a strong spirit that will captivate you completely.
Hike to the highest summit of the city’s seven peaks, Arthur’s Seat, and see the Scottish capital in all her glory. Many believe that it was the location of King Arthur’s legendary castle, Camelot. In addition to its historical prestige, Edinburgh has thrived in the field of knowledge, which has earned the city the title “the Athens of the North”. Edinburgh has given us intellectual giants such as Charles Darwin, Alexander Bell and David Hume. The city is best explored by foot or public transportation, but do not get to static - what Scotland is most famous for is the nature, wonderful greenness, hills and valleys with small and charming villages. To experience the most, reserve a car hire and you will be set for an amazing road trip.
Basic info and car hire in Edinburgh
- Location: Southern part of Scotland.
- Population: 492,680 (2014)
- Official language: English.
- Currency: GBP (£).
- Weather: Edinburgh has a temperate, maritime climate; cool summers with temperatures around 15°C / 59°F,, wet winters with temperatures around 4°C / 39°F, chilly spring with temperature of around 7°C / 45 °F and autumn with temperature of around 10°C / 50 °F. Read more »
- Holidays in Edinburgh: For public holidays in Scotland click here»
- Internet coverage: Hotels, bars, restaurants and cafés offer Wi-Fi.
- Road conditions: Roads are well maintained and offer magnificent scenic drives.
- Car hire in Edinburgh: Hiring a car in Edinburgh is very popular. The most common vehicle collection hub is the Edinburgh Airport. In autumn the average daily car hire prices are roughly 18£ (20€). During the winter months expect to pay 15£/day (17€/day). Both spring and summer have a daily rental price of roughly 16£ (18€). Please note that rental prices vary frequently. It’s best to make a reservation 3 to 8 weeks prior to your pick up date – this way you ensure the lowest price. Alternatively, it is possible to get a great last minute car hire deal. Find a perfect car hire deal in Edinburgh.
Driving in Edinburgh
Driving in Edinburgh is simple and allows you to take in the city and sights at your own pace. There are no toll roads, which simplifies the experience and many scenic roads, such as Forth Valley Tourist Route, will leave you speechless. The best time to visit Edinburgh is either during peak season (June through August) or during shoulder seasons (April, May, September and October). There is a Zero Tolerance law for novice drivers and the maximum BAC level is 0.05%.
Hiring a car in Edinburgh is easy, low– priced and very popular. Car hire agencies such as Sixt, Green Motion, Easirent and many more will definitely provide you with the rental car of your dreams!
- Age limits: 21 (Minimum age may vary according to the car hire companies specific regulations. A Young Driver fee will apply to drivers under 25 years of age. In order to hire a car, it is required that a driver has held a licence for a minimum of one year).
- International Driving Permit: Yes, if you are staying in Edinburgh for more than 12 months.
- Additional papers: Identification (passport), a valid driving licence and a valid proof of insurance. (It is advisable to buy insurance at the car hire company in case your policy doesn't cover you while driving in Edinburgh).
- Additional requirements: Warning triangles, reflective vests and hands-free equipment with hearing aids are required while driving and talking on the phone.
- Children in the car: All car occupants must wear a seatbelt. Children under the age of twelve or shorter than 1.35 metres must wear an appropriate child restraint.
- Driving side of the road: Left.
- Lights: Headlights are turned on one half-hour after sunset to one half-hour before sunrise, when you’re driving in a tunnel or during reduced visibility.
- General speed limits: 70 mph (110 kph) on motorways, 55 mph (90 kph) in rural areas and 30 mph (50 kph) in urban areas.
- Parking suggestions: Parking your rental won’t be a challenge – there is on street parking, as well as a plenty of private off street car parks.
What to see in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has much to offer! There’s the grand 12th century fortress and the views from the top of Edinburgh Castle. For more stunning views, head to Calton Hill to see what appears to be the Athenian Acropolis rising from the ground! If you are a student of royal history, go see the Royal Family residence, Holyrood Palace, in all its majesty. And if time allows, stop in the Old Town and take a walk down Royal Mile where you will find shops, pubs and everything in between.
Our favourite spots
St. Giles’ Cathedral
Right in the heart of Edinburgh sits this mesmerizing church. When you are done admiring its exterior, venture in and meander among the tombs and memorials as light pours through the brilliant stained glass windows.
Parking is available five minutes away at the Royal Mile car park.
More parking suggestions here »
Water of Leith Walkway
Perfect for those who love strolling or cycling! The walkway is roughly 12 miles (19 km) long and goes through the city centre and some of the most picturesque areas of Edinburgh, like Dean Village and Stockbridge.
Parking is available five minutes away at the Edinburgh Visitor Centre.
More parking suggestions here »
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
This is Scotland’s top rated attraction and for a good reason – tricks, illusions, magical labyrinths, puzzles and more continue to impress visitors!
Parking is available seven minutes away at Argyle House car park.
More parking suggestions here »
Dedicated to the notable poet, playwright and novelist, Sir Walter Scott, this monument lets you climb the stairs and take in the city view!
Parking is available seven minutes away at St. James Centre car park.
Hotels in Edinburgh
Ten Hill Place
The Dunstane Hotel
The Old Waverley Hotel
A great hotel just a stone’s throw away from the main sights! There is no on-site parking, but visitors of the Old Waverley receive discounted parking at the nearby Q-Park, less than a ten-minute walk away
A hotel in the city centre with a lively atmosphere and great service. The nearest car park is a five-minute walk away at Castle Terrace. You can also park on George Street, which is free overnight and on Sundays.
Drive your rental car around Edinburgh
Get the most of your vacation and venture out of town! If you have a rental, exploring is a must.
Your first stop should be the charming Portobello Beach, less than 5 miles away from Edinburgh. Walk along the promenade and grab an ice cream on your way. If you’re not up for a swim in the sea, try the Turkish Baths – the three hot rooms, indoor pool and steam room are a perfect way to relax. If you like a medieval atmosphere, Georgian townhouses and cobbled streets, drive roughly 45 miles (72 km) north of Edinburgh and you’ll reach Perth., a town known for maintaining its historical aesthetic. For art enthusiast, drive 60 miles (96 km) and step inside the art galleries and quirky gift shops of Dundee. . Keep in mind that the beautiful Glamis Castle is only half an hour away from Dundee. For a city experience, head to Glasgow, a mere 50 miles (80 km) from Edinburgh. Glasgow offers a myriad of amazing architecture styles and a buzzing nightlife! The port city of Aberdeen is the longest road trip we have for you, but it’s a must if you want to see Scottish dolphins. Besides the dolphins, Aberdeen boasts shopping plazas, fashion stores and many high-end restaurants.
Where to eat, drink and party in Edinburgh
Scottish cuisine is known for its seafood, such as oysters, trout, langoustines, as well as delicious meat. Be sure to try the national dish, Haggis, a spicy pudding containing sheep’s liver, heart and lungs, served with potatoes and turnip. Beware – Scots know how to prepare a mouth-watering steak also. Their desserts are equally enjoyable, like the Whiskey Tablet Fudge, Raspberry buns or oat cakes. And as you may know, whisky is Scotland’s most famous export, and there are 109 distilleries across the country.
For great restaurants and bars, walk down George Street and the Greater Grassmarket and you will find many options.
Major events and festivals in Edinburgh
For almost an entire month, Edinburgh is entertained by one of the biggest arts festivals in the world – dance, music, comedy, cabaret and more!
This international festival is perfect for kids. Only the finest of children’s theatre and dance from countries around the globe! A real treat for young ones and young-at-heart.
Celebrate New Year’s and join this fun three-day party! Live bands and street parties are incredible.
This is another large festival of dance, music, opera and theatre that takes up three weeks in August every year.