Where to Stay in Edinburgh for a First Time Visit? An Insider's Guide (with map)

Where to Stay in Edinburgh for a First Time Visit? An Insider’s Guide 2021 (with map)

Where to Stay in Edinburgh for a First Time Visit? An Insider's Guide (with map)Calling all Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and art lovers! Looking for a central, historic city with a small, quirky vibe?

Look no further than Edinburgh, Scotland. The city, which lies about five hours north of London by train, is home to some of the most picturesque rolling hills and fairy-tale castles. 

Whether you’re a solo backpacker gallivanting through Europe, a couple looking for a romantic honeymoon or a local looking to explore more, we created this guide for you!

From the best accommodations to the coolest neighborhoods and the sickest sights to the easy day trips to explore more, we’ve made this guide to help plan your perfect Edinburgh experience.

We included a map with all the neighborhoods and stays for solo adventurers, couples, families, and friends. 

If this is your first time visiting the charming town of Edinburgh, you’re probably overwhelmed with options.

Where do I stay? How do I see the city? What do I have to do? Don’t worry! I’m here to answer all of your questions (to the best of my abilities). We’ve even included a big map with our handpicked recommendations for neighborhoods and hotels!

(This guide is always up to date, the last updated April 2021.)

But, first things first:

Question: Where to stay in Edinburgh for a first-time visit?

Answer: Old Town, of course!

Located in the heart of Edinburgh, all of the major sites are within walking distance. In fact, most of Edinburgh is walk-able (yes, even the coastline!).

Imagine waking up every morning to the sun rising over the Edinburgh castle, built in the 12th century. Surely that’s a sight that’ll make all of your hometown friends jealous!  

The very city center includes:

  • Old Town (Royal Mile) – Go back in time with historic, haunted areas, and cobbled streets.
  • New Town (City Center) – Filled with shopping areas and some of the iconic streets like Princes, Rose and George Streets.
  • Leith – Ports, amazing food experience, and most international parts of the city.
  • Stockbridge – Cool and trendiest neighborhood in Edinburgh.

Check the map below to get a better idea.

Why do I recommend these areas?

Like I mentioned above, the Old Town is the best part to stay in for a first-timer!

Being within walking distance from everything makes it easy to explore the city or experience a night out on the town.

Family-friendly hotels with affordable rates make these hotels, all located in the city center, a perfect option for your first time.

With all of the amenities of your favorite hotels, from pools and espresso machines to heated floors and free, high-speed WiFi, you’ll be all set to experience Edinburgh in comfort. 

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

We highlight the districts, main tourists sightseeing in Edinburgh and our handpicked accommodations.

Please note: those are not the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Edinburgh

As mentioned, Old Town is the best place to stay if you’re an Edinburgh first-timer. However, maybe this isn’t you! Travelers know all too well that we all have different travel styles.

Whether you’re a university student like myself who is looking to save a few pounds here and there so you can buy one more drink at the pub, or you’re looking for a romantic getaway with the love of your life, I’ve created a list of the best-handpicked hotels and hostels for nine different types of travelers.

Also, I would like to include an amazing discount on your stay.

In case you prefer Airbnb, here you have a 35€ discount for your AirBnB stay.

Let’s see the handpicked accommodations! 

Continue scrolling or pick your group and travel type on the menu:

1.1 Families
1.2 Couples
1.3 Luxury Traveler
1.4 Design Traveler
1.5 Groups
1.6 Solo-Traveler
1.7 Nightlife-seeking traveler
1.8 Budget Traveler
1.9 Harry Potter Lover

1.1 Families

If you’re traveling with little ones, you can never go wrong with an “aparthotel.” The perfect mix of hotels and apartments, often offer accommodations with multiple rooms, kid-friendly spaces, and on-site entertainment.

Also, there’s plenty of options with on-site laundry, which makes the packing process 10x easier, especially when you have eager to go kids!

The best areas for families to stay in Edinburgh are:

  • Old Town (Royal Mile)
  • New Town (City Center)

This map shows you the areas recommended for families:

Handpicked accommodations for families

Edinburgh is super kid-friendly. With the Meadows on the southern end, which is just a huge park with playsets throughout, there is something for children of all ages to explore and enjoy.

Eden Locke

If you’re looking for something different and something that balances the busy city life, then Eden Locke is your to-go-to.

Perfect for families, Eden Locke offers aparthotel accommodation where guests can feel the vibe of their homes. The property is a balanced combination of Georgian Edinburgh outside and Shoreditch inside.

Each unit is equipped with a kitchen where you are able to cook. It comes with a  dishwasher, oven, and microwave. Even more, you will also find a kettle,  a toaster, a fridge, and stovetop all that you can use.

Book Eden Locke here

Eden Locke Edinburgh Eden Locke Edinburgh Eden Locke Edinburgh

Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile

Clean, modern, and an ex-serviceman’s hostel is the Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile. It once used to help the city’s homeless before and after World War II.

Today it stands as a competitive and affordable aparthotel in the Royal Mile.

Each room apartment features an equipped kitchen that comes with a coffee maker and kitchen utensils. Thus, enables you to cook your own food.

However, if you’re not in the mood for cooking, you will find a little shop next to the lobby. You can grab drinks, snacks, and microwaveable products. The hotel also provides a self-service laundry and a fitness room you can use.

Book Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile here

Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile

Fraser Suites Edinburgh

You will find Fraser Suites Edinburgh nestled near the Edinburgh Castle.

And this Victorian-style 130-year-old building has the best views of the Princes Street Gardens.

Rooms are installed with contemporary design and sophistication. And perfect for families, the hotel provides a suite with generous space. It is also installed with a separate kitchen, dining, and living area. Making it your home away from home.

They also offer laundry service and 24- hour reception to make sure your needs are met during your stay.

Book Fraser Suites Edinburgh here

Fraser Suites Edinburgh Fraser Suites Edinburgh Fraser Suites Edinburgh

1.2 Couples

Calling all love birds! Honeymooning? Eloping? Just looking for a romantic getaway?

Edinburgh’s wide range of hotels offers so many options to suit your needs. The Fingal Hotel is literally a boat…what is more romantic than a private cabin on a boat overlooking the coastline? 

The best areas for couples to stay in Edinburgh are:

  • Old Town
  • Leith

This map shows you the areas recommended for couples:

Handpicked accommodations for couples

There are plenty of beautiful accommodations in Edinburgh that are perfect for couples.

Each hotel’s setting and service, you will surely have a romantic stay in these hotels.

Tigerlily Edinburgh

Perfect for lovers, Tigerlily Edinburgh offers elegant and stylish accommodation that will make your stay more romantic.

Aside from this, experience this award-winning hotel that has continued to capture the hearts of many.

Plus, be delighted with the room’s chandeliers and mirror walls painted in light pink hues. Rooms are also installed with a minibar equipped with drinks, cocktails, and chocolate.

Aside from this, the hotel is also famed for its bar and restaurant. And you wouldn’t want to miss all the fun at the bar before you leave Edinburgh.

Book Tigerlily Edinburgh here

Tigerlily Edinburgh Tigerlily Edinburgh Tigerlily Edinburgh

Fingal Hotel (it’s a BOAT)

Want something different from the usual and ordinary? Or maybe try a whole new experience?

Then climb aboard at Fingal Hotel, the 5-star luxury floating hotel in Edinburgh.

Stay in unique luxury cabins and enjoy the hotel’s old-world elegance and glamour.  You can do stargazing at the hotel’s deck or simply have a romantic dinner with a glass of champagne.

Not to mention being a few minutes drive away from the city, Fingal Hotel is perfect for those who want a peaceful and quiet neighborhood.

Book Fingal Hotel here

Fingal Edinburgh Fingal Edinburgh

1.3 Luxury

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a self-care indulgent weekend, look no further than these luxury 5-star hotels across Edinburgh!

As much as we love traveling on a budget and meeting others in dorms, there is nothing quite like a weekend away at a 5-star hotel where you have no worries or responsibilities. 

The best areas for luxury to stay in Edinburgh are:

  • Old Town (Royal Mile)
  • New Town (City Center)

This map shows you the areas recommended for luxury:

Handpicked accommodations for luxury

Dining experiences and glamour galore, our top hotels for luxury travel will have you feeling like a member of the Royal Family in no time.

From castle views to your own personal palace, these splurges are worth it, no matter the occasion. 

The Witchery by the Castle

Whether it’s the food, the wine, or the hotel itself, The Witchery by the Castle is the total package of those who are looking for style, romance, and luxury.

The Witchery is very much a must-visit having legendary food and award-winning wine list. And these are definitely great for couples looking for something romantic to explore.

Moreover, what I love about this hotel is its breakfast hamper which is served every morning in your room. Or simply have cooked breakfast at the restaurant for free.

Book The Witchery by the Castle here

The Witchery by the Castle