Orientation in the city
Although the area of Edinburgh – considering the relatively small number of inhabitants, not exceeding 500 thousand. – it is extremely extensive, most of the places worth visiting lie close to the compact city center, which can be easily traversed on foot. The center is clearly divided into two parts. Old Town, resembling a maze, it lies on the slopes and at the foot of a steep hill, between the castle at its top and the palace at its feet. New town, with a symmetrical street layout, it spread over hilly, uneven terrain north of the Old Town. The suburbs are also worth visiting, characterized by a varied nature, from residential districts to former villages, which still retained their separate climate.
Orientation in Edinburgh is very simple, and most public transport stops on or near Princes Street. It is the main city artery, which limits the New Town from the south, while the Old Town lies on the hills directly above it. If you want to go to the suburbs or stay outside the center, you can rely on public transport, however its system may seem too complicated for you at times.
Edinburgh International Airport (tel. 3331000) is located in Thurnhouse, 11 km west of the city center, close to the start of the M8 to Glasgow. Regular buses (3,20 £) run to Waverley Station (Waverley Station) in the city center, the fare for a taxi on the same route is 11 £. Waverley Station (tel. 5562451), where all major railroads converge, conveniently located on the eastern end of Princes Street in the New Town. The main exit is onto the Waverley Bridge, Princes Street is on the north side, and the Old Town on the south side. The north exit takes the stairs straight to Princes Street, the south ends at Market Street, delimiting the border of the Old Town.
Second main train station, Haymarket, is located approx. 3 km west along the route from Waverley to Glasgow, Fife and the north of the country; it is only worth getting off there then, when you are going to spend the night in its vicinity.
The local and long-distance bus station is on St Andrew Square, 2 min walk from Waverley station, across Princes Street. One of the largest shipping companies, STM (Scottish Midland Transport), runs an office (tel. 5581616) at the southeast corner of the station; there you can see timetables and buy tickets for private buses, whose running rules are a bit confusing.
Edinburgh's main tourist information office is at number 3 na Princes St, next to the northern entrance to the station (VII-VIII pn.-sb. 9.00-20.00, nd. 11.00-20.00; V, VI and IX pn.-sb. 9.00-19.00, nd. 11.00-19.00; IV i X pn.-sb. 9.00-18.00, nd. 11.00-18.00; XI-III pn.-sb. 9.00-18.00; tel. 5571700). Although it is crowded in the season, the office is well run and you can get a lot of useful leaflets for free. If the office is closed, computer information can be used, open around the clock at the door. A much smaller branch at the airport is located in the main hall, opposite the Gate 5 (IV-X pn.-sb. 8.30-21.30, nd. 9.30-21.30; XI-III pn.-pl. 9.00-18.00, sb. 9.00-13.00, nd. 10.00-14.00; o3332167). You will get the current city maps in Map Centra, 51 York Place (tel. 5573011), iw International Newsagent, 351 High St (tel. 2254827), where they have the best selection of publications in foreign languages.
Regarding guided tours, most deserve the recommendation of the open bus rides organized by Guide Friday. Buses depart from Waverley Station and pass through the city streets, you can get on and off as you like. Lothian Region Transport (LRT) offers several different bus tours departing from Waverley Bridge. There are several offices on the Royal Mile for walking the city streets, e.g.. Edinburgh Walking Tours (tel. 5574700), Market Tours (tel. 6614541) i Robin’s Tours (tel. 6610125). Glenair Helicopters, Old Fire Station, Edinburgh airport (tel. 3392321), proposes interesting trips combined with bird's eye view of the city 35 £ per person.
Edinburgh has a good bus network, however a multitude of companies, that offer competitive transport on similar routes, introduces a bit of confusion. At each stop, you can find information with the names of carriers and bus numbers, that stop there.
Chestnut buses are the most useful, Lothian Regional Transport (LRT); all buses mentioned in the text belong to this company, others are annotated. Timetable and season tickets (worth spending 9 £ for a weekly card to use Restriction Basis LRT communications, even on Saturdays and Sundays, it will pay off especially, if you live far from the city center or want to explore the suburbs; passport photo needed) can be purchased at the ticketing center at 31 Waverley Bridge (tel. 2258616) or at the company's headquarters at 14 Queen St (tel. 2204111). You can also get a ticket on the bus from the driver for the calculated amount.
Eastem Scottish green buses and Lowland Scottish green and yellow buses run between the capital and nearby towns and villages. Most buses begin and end at St Andrew Square Bus Station.
There are many taxi ranks in the city, especially around Waverley Bridge. Fees start from approx. 90 p for the first 300 m i 20 p for each subsequent one 200 m. Here are the phone numbers of some taxi companies: Capital Castle Cabs (tel. 2282555), Central Taxis (tel. 2292468) oraz City Cabs (tel. 2281211).
Traveling to Edinburgh in your own car is not a good idea. Although there are many expensive here, multi-storey car parks, looking for a place, where you can leave the car, often turns into long, fruitless circulation. Driving on the bus lane during rush hour is not permitted, cars parked on the yellow lines are regularly blocked or driven away by the police, and the fee for returning the car is 120 £. Most parking fees do not apply from 17.30 from Monday to Friday and from 13.30 on Saturday.
In Edinburgh – despite the numerous hills – you can cycle along specially marked out paths. Spokes cyclists union (tel. 3132114) publishes very good maps of cycling routes in the city. Bicycles can be rented from Central Cycles, 13 Lochrin Place (tel. 2286333), or at Sandy Gilchrist Cycles, 1 Cadzow Place (tel. 6521760).