Getting there & around
Edinburgh's black taxis can be hailed in the street, ordered by phone (extra 60p charge), or picked up at one of the many central ranks. Taxis are fairly expensive - the minimum charge is £1.50 (£2.50 at night) for the first 340yd (311m), then 25p for every subsequent 240yd (219m) - a typical 2-mile trip across the city centre will cost around £5. Tipping is up to you: because of the high fares local people rarely tip on short journeys, but occasionally round up to the nearest 50p on longer ones.
The main local companies:
Capital Taxis (228 2555)
Central Radio Taxis (229 2468)
City Cabs (228 1211)
Radiocabs (225 9000)
Edinburgh Bus Station, the terminus for regional and long-distance bus services, is at the northeast corner of St Andrew Sq, with pedestrian entrances from the square and from Elder St. There are information desks, Internet access and left-luggage facilities. For timetable information, call Traveline (0870 608 2608; www.travelinescotland.com).
Public transport within the city is provided entirely by buses; the two main operators are Lothian Buses (555 6363; www.lothianbuses.co.uk), which runs most of the city routes, and First Edinburgh (663 9233; www.firstedinburgh.co.uk), whose buses mainly serve the towns and villages around Edinburgh. You can get timetable information and route maps from the offices listed below. Bus timetables, route maps and fare guides are also posted at all main bus stops.
Adult fares within the city are around £1.20; children aged under five travel free and those aged five to 15 pay a flat fare of 70p. On Lothian buses you must pay the driver the exact fare, but First Edinburgh buses will give change. Lothian Buses also offer a Daysaver ticket (£3.00) that gives unlimited travel on Lothian buses for a day; buy from the driver. Night-service buses, which run hourly between midnight and 5am, charge a flat fare of £3.
First Edinburgh Bus Shop (Edinburgh Bus Station; 8.30am-6pm Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5pm Sun)
Lothian Buses Lost Property Office (558 8858; firstname.lastname@example.org; Main Depot, Annadale St; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri)
Lothian Buses Travel Shop Waverley Bridge (8.30am-6pm Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5pm Sun); 27 Hanover St (8.30am-6pm Mon-Sat); 7-9 Shandwick Pl (8.30am-6pm Mon-Sat)
From the rest of the world you will probably have to fly into a major European hub and catch a connecting flight to Edinburgh: London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris have the best connections with Edinburgh.
Airlines serving Edinburgh and Glasgow airports include:
Aer Arann (RE; 0800 587 2324; www.aerarann.com)
Aer Lingus (EI; 0845 084 4444; www.aerlingus.com)
Air Canada (AC; 0871 220 1111; www.aircanada.ca)
Air France (AF; 0845 084 5111; www.airfrance.com)
Air Malta (KM; 0141-847 1111; www.airmalta.com)
Air Scotland (GRE; 0141-848 4990; www.air-scotland.com)
Air Transat (TSC; 0870 556 1522; www.airtransat.uk.com)
American Airlines (AA; 0845 778 9789; www.aa.com)
Austrian Airlines (OS; 0845 601 0948; www.aua.com)
bmibaby (WW; 0870 264 2229; www.bmibaby.com)
British Airways/Loganair (BA; 0870 850 9850; www.britishairways.co.uk; 30-32 Frederick St, Edinburgh)
British European/FlyBe (BE; 0871 700 0123; www.flybe.com)
British Midland (bmi) (BD; 0870 607 0555; www.flybmi.com)
Continental Airlines (CO; 0845 607 6760; www.continental.com)
Czech Airlines (OK; 0870 444 3747; www.czechairlines.co.uk)
Eastern Airways (T3; 01652-680600; www.easternairways.com)
easyJet (EZY; 0905 821 0905; www.easyjet.com)
Emirates (EK; 0870 243 2222; www.emirates.com)
FlyGlobespan (GSM; 0870 556 1522; www.flyglobespan.com)
GermanWings (4U; 020-8321 7255; www.germanwings.com)
Icelandair (FI; 0870 787 4020; www.icelandair.com)
Jet2.com (LS; 0871 226 1737; www.jet2.com)
Lufthansa (LH; 0845 773 7747; www.lufthansa.com)
Ryanair (FR; 0906 270 5656; www.ryanair.com)
SAS (SK; 0870 607 2772; www.scandinavian.net)
ScotAirways (CB; 0870 606 0707; www.scotairways.co.uk)
SN Brussels Airlines (SN; 0870 735 2345; www.flysn.com)
Zoom Airlines (OOM; 0870 240 0055; www.flyzoom.com)
Edinburgh Airport (code EDI; 333 1000; www.edinburghairport.com) is 8 miles west of the city. It has a tourist information and accommodation desk, left-luggage facilities, ATMs, currency exchange desks, shops, restaurants, Internet access and car-hire agencies.
The Lothian Buses Airlink service 100 (555 6363; www.flybybus.com) runs from Waverley Bridge, just outside the train station, to the airport (one way/return £3/5, 30 minutes, every 10 to 15 minutes) via the West End and Haymarket; you can buy tickets from the driver.
An airport taxi to the city centre costs around £13 and takes about 20 minutes. Both buses and taxis depart from just outside the arrivals hall (to the left as you exit).
Edinburgh can also be reached from GlasgowAirport (code GLA; 0141-887 1111; www.glasgowairport.com), 56 miles to the west. Scottish Citylink bus 905 runs from the airport to Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow, where you transfer to bus 900 for Edinburgh (one way £7, two hours, every 15 to 30 minutes).
Arriving in or leaving Edinburgh by car during the morning and evening rush hours (7.30am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday) is an experience you can live without. Time your journey to avoid these periods. In particular, there can be huge tailbacks on the A90 between Edinburgh and the Forth Rd Bridge.
Though useful for day trips beyond the city, a car in central Edinburgh is more of a liability than a convenience. Private vehicles are not allowed on Princes St, there is restricted access on George St, St Andrew Sq and Charlotte Sq, many streets are one-way or blocked off, and finding a parking place in the city centre is like striking gold.
There's no parking on main roads into the city from 7.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday. On-street parking in the city centre is controlled by self-service ticket machines from 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday, and costs £1.60 per hour, with a two-hour maximum. If you break the rules, you'll get a fine, often within minutes of your ticket expiring - Edinburgh's parking wardens are both numerous and notorious. The fine is £60, reduced to £30 if you pay up within 14 days. Cars parked illegally will be towed away. There are large, long-stay car parks at the St James Centre, Greenside Pl, New St, Castle Tce and Morrison St. Motorcycles can be parked free at designated areas in the city centre.
All the big international car-hire agencies have offices in Edinburgh. There are many smaller, local agencies that offer better rates.
Arnold Clark Car Hire (657 9120; www.arnoldclarkrental.co.uk; 20 Seafield Rd E; 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm Sat, 11am-5pm Sun) One of the most reliable Scottish-based agencies; charges from £23 a day, or £110 a week for a small car, including VAT and insurance. The daily rate includes 250 miles per day; excess is charged at 4p per mile. For periods of four days and more, mileage is unlimited.
Avis Car Rental (0870 010 0287; www.avis.co.uk; 5 W Park Pl, Dalry Rd; 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-1pm Sat, 9am-noon Sun)
Europcar (556 5210, 0845 758 5375; www.europcar.co.uk; Unit 13, Waverley Train Station; 24hr)
Thrifty Car Rental (337 1319; www.thrifty.co.uk; 42 Haymarket Tce; 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm Sat & Sun)
The main terminus in Edinburgh is Waverley train station (Waverley Bridge), located in the heart of the city. Trains arriving from, and departing to, the west also stop at Haymarket train station (Haymarket Tce), which is more convenient for the West End. You can buy tickets, make reservations and get travel information at the Edinburgh Rail Travel Centre (4.45am-12.30am Mon-Sat, 7am-12.30am Sun) in Waverley station. For fare and timetable enquires, phone the National Rail Enquiry Service (0845 748 4950) or check the timetables at www.firstscotrail.com or www.nationalrail.co.uk. Buy tickets online at www.thetrainline.com.
First ScotRail operates a regular shuttle service between Edinburgh and Glasgow (£9.40, 50 minutes, every 15 minutes).
Despite its many hills and cobbled streets, Edinburgh is a cycle-friendly city. This is largely due to the efforts of the cycle campaign group Spokes (313 2114; www.spokes.org.uk; St Martins Church, 232 Dalry Rd) and a city council that has pledged to reduce car use.
Visiting cyclists should be aware that the increased popularity of cycling in Edinburgh - and, it has to be said, the inconsiderate behaviour of a selfish minority of cyclists - has caused a backlash and an increase in hostility towards bike riders from both pedestrians and motorists. Follow the Good Cycling Code: be courteous and considerate to others, obey the rules of the road and always give way to walkers, remembering that some people may have impaired hearing or sight. Police have the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to £40 for offences such as cycling on the pavement, jumping a red light, going the wrong way down a one-way street and cycling after dark without proper lights.
Biketrax (228 6633; www.biketrax.co.uk; 11 Lochrin Pl; 9.30am-6pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm Sat, noon-5pm Sun) Rents out a range of cycles and equipment, including kids' bikes, tandems, recumbents, pannier bags, child seats - even unicycles! A mountain bike costs £16 for one day, £12 for extra days thereafter, and £70 for one week. You'll need a £100 cash or credit-card deposit and some form of ID. Has a repair service.
City Cycles (557 2801; 30 Rodney St; 9am-5.30pm Mon-Sat, noon-4pm Sun) Does repairs and supplies spares and accessories.
Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative (228 1368; www.edinburgh-bicycle.co.uk; 8 Alvanley Tce, Whitehouse Loan; 10am-6pm) Does repairs and supplies spares and accessories.
Edinburgh Cycle Hire & Scottish Cycle Safaris (556 5560; www.cyclescotland.co.uk; 29 Blackfriars St; 10am-6pm Mon-Sat) The friendly and helpful folk here rent out top-quality bikes for £10 to £15 a day, £50 to £70 a week; rates include helmet, lock and repair kit. You can hire tents and touring equipment too. It also organises cycle tours in Edinburgh and all over Scotland - check the website for details. Has a repair service.