Edinburgh is a beautiful city, rich with history and brimming with great places for expats to visit and explore. The city itself is quite compact, so it's relatively easy to get around on foot or bike. Do bear in mind, though, it is quite hilly and many of the streets in the city centre have cobblestones which make cycling rather challenging.
Those who do make the effort to tackle the gradients, though, will be rewarded with magnificent views all around. The city centre, aside from the rugged cobbled terrain, is certainly cycle friendly. Otherwise, bus and train services make getting around Edinburgh and surrounds easy and efficient.
Public transport in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has a 24-hour network of local bus services allowing frequent and cost-effective travel. Buses arrive at 10- to 30-minute intervals during the day, with a reduced service after 7pm. Edinburgh's two major bus companies are Lothian Buses and First Scotland East, both of which have a simple ticketing system with a single flat fare for all destinations.
Though buses are the most common form of public transport in Edinburgh, there is also a train system. This is mostly used for intercity travel, linking Edinburgh with cities such as Aberdeen, Glasgow and London. The main train station is Edinburgh Waverly. There is also a small commuter rail network that runs from east to west.
Taxis in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has hundreds of black cabs that can be hailed on the street or called for in advance. Travelling by taxi is quite expensive and probably not necessary when surrounded by a network of buses in the city centre. Ride-hailing applications such as Uber are also operational in Edinburgh, which may be a cheaper option.
Driving in Edinburgh
Owning a car in Edinburgh isn't necessary, and in some cases even cumbersome. Apart from the advantages of cheaper alternatives such as travelling by foot in this compact city or using the extensive bus service, there are also drawbacks to owning a car, the most significant of which are parking tariffs (the city centre has a number of no-park zones, where the only alternative is making use of pricey parking garages), traffic, and other car-related costs such as insurance, maintenence and fuel.
Expats that do wish to drive will be able to do so legally for up to 12 months on a valid foreign licence. At this point, the foreign licence will need to be exchanged for a local licence. Nationals of EU and EEA countries can continue to drive using their foreign licence until it expires.