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 January 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.