Getting Around in Edinburgh

Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, is a beautiful city, full of history and brimming with great places for expats to visit and explore. The city itself is quite compact, so it is easy to get around on foot or bike. However, bear in mind 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 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

Buses

Edinburgh has a 24-hour network of local bus services allowing frequent and cost-effective travel. The suburbs are well-connected to the city centre, with some bus services even extending to the regional surrounds. 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.

Rail

Though buses are the most common form of public transport in Edinburgh, there is also a train system – however, this is mostly used for intercity travel, linking Edinburgh with cities like 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

While it's not necessary – and in some cases even cumbersome – to own a car in Edinburgh, expats that do wish to drive will be able to do so legally for up to 12 months on a foreign licence. At this point, the foreign licence will need to be exchanged for a local licence. However, nationals of EEA countries can continue to drive using their foreign licence until it expires.

Expats should be warned, however, that certain areas in the city centre are no-park zones, and where parking is available, it is expensive.