Find out where to stay in Edinburgh: here is a succinct summary of the best areas to stay in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland!
Edinburgh is the second largest city in Scotland and its capital since the 16th century. With a population of 482,640 inhabitants (in 2012) and a surface area of 259 km², it is as large as the department of Val-de-Marne (94). Edinburgh is also a city where the number of dwellings per inhabitant is among the largest in Europe. As a result, while finding an apartment or a hotel is easy, it is still important to know which are the best areas to stay in Edinburgh.
Built on volcanic hills, Edinburgh is known for its arts festival, whisky and for being one of the spearheads of the enlightenment (thanks in particular to Adam Smith and David Hume). Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has relatively few districts, and we would advise you to allow a relatively large budget for accommodation here, as in any major city in the United Kingdom. So here are the areas to stay in Edinburgh.
Old Town, the historic centre
Photo credit: Flickr – Patrick Franzis
The oldest part of the city, built on a crag and the historic centre, is where you can find most of Edinburgh’s interesting buildings. The old town has retained its picturesque character and medieval appearance, with many buildings dating from the Reformation. Twisting around the main street – the Royal Mile – you will find a maze of narrow streets with wide squares, markets and green spaces. Don’t miss Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, Princes Street Gardens and the National Gallery of Scotland, in the city centre. This is a very central, lively and dynamic place to stay. If you’re unwilling to pay at least €60 for a room for the night in a hotel, try the youth hostels, they are THE alternative to high cost accommodation in Edinburgh.
New Town, the new city
Photo credit: Flickr – Tim Edgeler
This is the area of Edinburgh where you can find chic department stores and major fashion chains: if you plan to spend a day shopping, this is where you should stay. In the heart of Edinburgh relax in the city’s gardens, which are green havens of complete tranquillity. With its Georgian buildings, the city’s architecture dates back to the 18th century, and the area is considered to be one of the finest artistic achievements in the UK.
Calton Hill and Broughton
Photo credit: Flickr – Vanessa Engel
Further north, between the city centre and the coast – at Leith – stands one of the city’s highest peaks Arthur’s seat, which has panoramic view of the castle. The famous 251-metre-high hill overlooks the city and the central district. It takes a climb of 143 steps to enjoy the view from the top of the Nelson Monument. Below, cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants will delight night owls. A great place to stay in Edinburgh if you like partying and nature, just a stone’s throw from the city centre.
Dean village, a little haven of peace
Photo credit: Flickr – Gina Collecchia
To the west of the city centre, on the banks of the Water of Leith, this area is very calm, ideal for the sort of nature walks that can make you forget that you are in a European capital. The old mills have been restored and turned into elegant apartments, while many houses date from the 17th century. This is where some of the Avengers film was shot. Many Scots settle here, but note that the area is devoid of shops and pubs: choose this neighbourhood to stay in Edinburgh if you are travelling with your family.
Leith, the port of Edinburgh
Photo credit: Flickr – Hamish Irvine
If Leith’s district has now been totally absorbed by the city, in the 18th century it was completely separate from Edinburgh. Fashionable industrial buildings are becoming more and more attractive. Leith is where you can see the Britannia or shop at Ocean Terminal. You will certainly appreciate its cafes, restaurants at the mouth of the Water of Leith.
Main photo credit : Flickr – Andy Smith