Edinburgh is famous for medieval castles, Gothic churches, and an excellent pub scene (among other things). There’s so much to discover here, whether you’re into history, culture, nightlife, or are just curious about the Scottish capital.
Edinburgh is divided into distinct neighborhoods. Each offers something slightly different to travelers, so it’s a good idea to know exactly what to expect before arriving.
In this guide, we’ve rounded up our top five places to stay in Edinburgh. We’ve included something for each travel style, so you can pick somewhere that suits you. Whether you’re looking for nightlife, are traveling on a budget, or are heading on a family vacation, we’ve got you covered.
So, let’s get into it!
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our top recommendations for the best places to stay in Edinburgh, Scotland. There are a lot of incredible places to visit in Edinburgh when you’re here so be sure to stay in the right spot.
Apartment in Historic Old Town Building | Best Airbnb in Edinburgh
This one-bedroom loft in Edinburgh’s Old Town provides cosy accommodation for up to two guests. The apartment features an open-plan living area and skylight, with windows boasting views over the city. Staying here, you’ll be within walking distance of Edinburgh’s top attractions as well as being just a short walk from Edinburgh Waverley station.
Kick Ass Hostel | Best Hostel in Edinburgh
This epic hostel is one of the best and cheapest you’ll find in Edinburgh. It’s located in Grassmarket and is surrounded by bars, pubs and restaurants. The hostel enjoys modern furnishings, and beds come with individual power points and reading lamps. It’s clean, comfortable, and the staff is very friendly. It’s close to the famous Edinburgh Castle, George Street and Princes Street too.
Cityroomz Edinburgh | Best Hotel in Edinburgh
This contemporary hotel in West End is one of the best places to stay in Edinburgh. Located near the Gin Distillery, this hotel is a short walk from Edinburgh Castle and many of the city’s top attractions such as Princes Street, The Royal Mile and The Scottish National Gallery. Accommodation options range from simple rooms to small studios, so you can find something to fit your needs.
When visiting Edinburgh for the first time, there’s no better place to stay than Old Town. The historic heart of the city, Old Town Edinburgh dates back to the early 12th century.
Located west of the city centre is the aptly named West End neighbourhood. It is one of the most desirable districts in the city and home to some of its wealthiest residents and one of the best places to stay in Edinburgh for those on a budget.
The Grassmarket is a small and unique neighbourhood located in the heart of Edinburgh. Although technically part of Old Town, the Grassmarket area has a distinct flair and atmosphere that makes it feel like its a world of its own.
Stockbridge is a small neighbourhood north of Edinburgh’s city centre. Once a separate community, Stockport merged with the city in the 19th century and quickly became one of Edinburgh’s most popular districts.
New Town makes up the other half of Edinburgh’s city centre. Settled in the late-18th century, this part of the city is where you’ll find stunning buildings in the Georgian architectural style.
Edinburgh is the capital and second-largest city in Scotland. Home to more than 450,000 people, this city seamlessly combines historic and modern features. Here, you’ll find everything from futuristic museums to medieval castles and shopping malls such as the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre.
From eating infamous haggis to wandering The Royal Mile, there’s so much to see and do in Edinburgh. The city. is well connected to the rest of the UK via the Edinburgh Waverley train station.
The side-by-side districts of Old Town and New Town make up the historical and cultural heart of the city. Dating back hundreds of years, this area is where you’ll find stunning gothic architecture and the imposing medieval castle. Most of Edinburgh’s top attractions such as the beautiful Princes Street Gardens, the Scott Monument, The Royal Mile and George Street are right in the heart of Edinburgh City Centre.
If you’re visiting Edinburgh on a budget, check out West End. Despite being one of the city’s most sought-after neighborhoods, there are a number of budget-friendly accommodation options on offer.
Set within Old Town, but offering a completely different vibe, is Grassmarket. This small district is where you’ll find the best bars and liveliest spots, making it our top pick for where to stay in Edinburgh for nightlife.
North of New Town and the city centre is the residential and bohemian neighborhood of Stockbridge. One of the coolest neighborhoods in the city, this is where you’ll find hip independent boutiques, innovative restaurants, and eye-catching architecture.
Still not sure where to stay in Edinburgh? Fear not – we’ve got heaps more information about each place below. We’ve even included our favourite accommodation and activity picks in each, so you really know what you’re getting.
Edinburgh’s Top 5 Areas to Stay in
Fortunately, Edinburgh is pretty easy to get around on foot. That being said, some areas are better to stay in than others depending on your travel needs. Read below…
The historic heart of the city, Old Town Edinburgh dates back to the early 12th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is where you’ll find Edinburgh’s best places to visit, from Holyrood to the medieval Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile and Princes Street Gardens.
Old Town is the best place to stay in Edinburgh if it’s your first time in the city. It’s the gateway to discovering the city and is well connected to all of the other areas in this guide.
Apartment in Historic Old Town Building | Best Airbnb in Old Town
This Edinburgh Airbnb is ideal for couples and solo travellers. It features a unique mix of antique and modern furnishings, an open-plan living area, and a skylight. It’s a short walk from pubs and restaurants, making it a convenient base for exploring the Edinburgh City Centre.
Castle Rock Hostel | Best Hostel in Old Town
Set in the shadows of Edinburgh Castle, you won’t find a better hostel in Old Town. Private and dorm rooms are on offer, as well as a large communal kitchen and many social spaces. This hostel is close to George Street, The Royal Mile and Waverley train station.
Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge – Royal Mile | Best Hotel in Old Town
This is one of the best hotels in Edinburgh thanks to its unbeatable location in the heart of Old Town. It’s within walking distance of Edinburgh’s top attractions, bars, pubs, and restaurants. Rooms are modern and comfortable, with everything you’ll need for a convenient stay. There is a wide variety of festivals in Edinburgh throughout the year, making this an ideal location if you’re planning to visit the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of the best festivals in Scotland.
Things to See and Do in Old Town (Edinburgh City Centre):
- See a great mix of artifacts and exhibitions at the National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
- Visit Camera Obscura and World of Illusions for a fun day of quirky optical illusions and 360-degree views of the city.
- Walk the famous Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace.
- Visit Edinburgh Castle, a majestic royal fortress looking over the city.
- Explore the Abbey and Palace of Holyroodhouse, a royal residence and one-time home of Mary Queen of Scots.
- See art from the Royal Collection at the Queen’s Gallery.
- Visit St. Giles’ Cathedral, the historic City Church of Edinburgh.
- Enjoy spectacular views of the city from North Bridge.
- Pop into Gladstone’s Land to view the impressive painted ceiling.
We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.
Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!View on Osprey View on REI
Located west of the city centre is the aptly named West End neighborhood. It’s one of the most desirable districts in the city and home to some of its wealthiest residents.
But there’s another side to the West End, as it’s also where you’ll find some of Edinburgh’s best budget accommodation. Whether you’re looking for a boutique hotel or a backpacker hostel, you’ll find it here.
Spacious & Comfortable Private Room | Best Airbnb in West End
This private room in West End is perfect for solo travellers or couples visiting Edinburgh on a budget. Set in a traditional Scottish home, guests have access to a fully-equipped shared kitchen and bathroom. The Airbnb is close to Haymarket station, and a 15-minute walk will get you to Edinburgh Castle. You’ll also find a number of bars and restaurants nearby.
The Westend Hostel | Best Hostel in West End
Situated in a Victorian townhouse, this hostel provides the perfect base for exploring Edinburgh without paying the high prices of the city centre! The accommodation is simple, but there are a number of perks including a £3 breakfast, an onsite bar and bistro with discounts, free wifi, and security lockers.
Cityroomz Edinburgh | Best Hotel in West End
Cityroomz Edinburgh is a cosy, contemporary hotel in the West End with wonderfully spacious rooms. Located near the Gin Distillery, this hotel is a short walk from Edinburgh Castle and many of the city’s top tourist attractions. If you’re planning to take the Leith walk over to The Royal Yacht Britannia, this is a great place to start from.
It is close to public transit and even provides guests with an airport shuttle. This three-star hotel features a coffee bar and on-site laundry, and each room is outfitted with modern amenities including tea and coffee supplies.
Things to See and Do in West End Edinburgh:
- Learn about the history of Gin at the Edinburgh Gin Distillery.
- Pick up fresh produce at the weekly Edinburgh Farmer’s Market.
- Explore Georgian House, a fully restored historical home.
- See impressive architecture and stunning stained glass windows at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
- Enjoy an entertaining and high-quality performance at the Lyceum Theatre. If there aren’t any shows on, pop in to see the impressive architecture and elegant décor.
- Catch a rugby match at Murrayfield Stadium, the home of Scottish rugby.
- See the world-famous penguin parade at the Edinburgh Zoo.
- Relax in the shade at Suntrap Garden, a three-acre green space comprised of gardens and woodlands.
- Walk or cycle the Water of Leith Walk, a riverside route that travels through the city and out to the sea and The Royal Yacht Britannia.
- Enjoy delicious food at First Coast, a delightful neighborhood bistro.
The Grassmarket is a small and unique neighborhood located in the heart of Edinburgh. Although technically part of Old Town, Grassmarket has a distinct flair and atmosphere that makes it feel like a world of its own.
A historic marketplace and event space, Grassmarket was also the site of many public executions. For hundreds of years, it was a gathering place for the citizens of Edinburgh. It’s still a popular gathering space today, though these days people come to enjoy the numerous bars on offer.
Magical Harry Potter Inspired Flat | Best Airbnb in Grassmarket
Located near Edinburg Castle, this Harry Potter-themed apartment comes complete with panelled walls, antique books, and even a secret cupboard. Up to four guests can stay here, making it ideal for groups. If you really want to feel like you’re staying the a Harry Potter movie, consider staying in an old English cottage in Edinburgh!
Kick Ass Hostel | Best Hostel in Grassmarket
This hostel is the best in the Grassmarket neighborhood and one of the cheapest backpackers in Edinburgh. It’s located in the center and is surrounded by bars, pubs, and restaurants. Perks include free city tours, and an onsite bar and restaurant.
Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel | Best Hotel in Grassmarket
Apex City is a colourful and hip hotel located in the centre of the city. Conveniently situated in the Grassmarket neighborhood, this hotel is close to historical attractions, cultural sights, as well as Edinburgh’s hottest bars and nightclubs. While it’s not a hotel with a hot tub in Scotland, it has all the modern amenities and luxury features of a four-star hotel in the city.
Things to See and Do in Grassmarket:
- Visit the pubs most frequented by your favourite authors, writers and poets on the entertaining and informative Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour.
- Enjoy a pint and a traditional Scottish pub night at the Last Drop.
- Learn how whisky is made, and even make some yourself, at the Scotch Whisky Experience.
- Step back in time and enjoy urbane cocktails and elegant 20s décor at the Dragonfly Cocktail Bar.
- Enjoy a great atmosphere and live music at Whistle Binkies.
- Visit the White Hart Inn, one of the oldest and most historical pubs in the city, a favourite of poet Robert Burns back in the day.
- Dance the night away at the Hive, home to six of Edinburgh’s famous underground caverns where dance to a variety of musical styles.
- Enjoy live music in Sneaky Pete’s a cosy, rustic bar.
- Grab a pint at Maggie Dickson’s Pub. It’s named after the infamous criminal who (legend has it) came back to life after her hanging in the Grassmarket square.
- Spend a night at Espionage, a grand nightclub with five floors of music, drinks and dancing.
A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!
An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.Grab an eSIM!
Stockbridge is a small neighborhood just north of Edinburgh’s city centre. Once a separate community, Stockport merged with the city in the 19th century and quickly became one of Edinburgh’s most popular districts.
Since merging, Stockbridge has retained much of its bohemian vibe, making it one of the coolest places to stay in Edinburgh. This is where you’ll find eye-catching architecture, a range of local and independent shops, and a number of terrific pubs and innovative restaurants.
Converted factory with parking | Best Airbnb in Stockbridge
Enjoy a unique stay in this converted factory in Stockbridge. The flat maintains its industrial style and benefits from spacious rooms and large windows letting in plenty of natural light. Sleeping up to four guests, this is the perfect place for couples or groups spending a couple of nights in Edinburgh.
Belford Hostel | Best Hostel in Stockbridge
This is one of the most unique hostels in Edinburgh. Housed in a converted church, the hostel’s dorm rooms occupy the old church hall and are illuminated with stained glass windows. Cool, right!?
Offering private and shared accommodations, each bed is equipped with a double power plug and a private storage locker. Centrally located, this hostel is close to public transit as well as the city’s major tourist attractions such as Dean Village.
The Raeburn | Best Hotel in Stockbridge
This stunning four-star hotel sits in an old Georgian house and features a brasserie-style restaurant, bar, and a large sun terrace. Rooms are decorated with luxurious furnishings and traditional tartan fabric, and all come with ensuite bathrooms. Family rooms and room service are also available. Edinburgh’s Old Town is a 25-minute stroll away, with Haymarket station close by. It’s also in a great spot if you want to explore the wonderful Dean Village.
Things to See and Do in Stockbridge:
- Wander through the Royal Botanic Garden for a break from the city streets.
- Enjoy traditional Scottish fare at Hector’s a warm and welcoming pub.
- Explore the artisan crafts and homegrown produce at the Stockbridge Market, which takes place every Sunday afternoon.
- Wander through the streets and alleys of Dean Village.
- Enjoy a picnic lunch and stunning views in Inverleith Park, one of Scotland’s largest urban parks.
- Visit the National Gallery of Modern Art and see some works of Picasso, Matisse, and Warhol. While the art inside is impressive, the grand neoclassical building is worth viewing alone.
- Dine on tapas-style plates while enjoying a glass of wine at the intimate and innovative Rollo Restaurant and Wine Bar.
New Town makes up the other half of Edinburgh’s city centre. Settled in the late-18th century, this part of the city is where you’ll find stunning buildings in the Georgian architectural style. It’s also home to Edinburgh’s main shopping districts.
New Town is also close to all of the city’s major tourist attractions. It’s home to a number of activities for kids of all ages, making it the ideal location for families visiting the city.
Spacious Apartment with Free Parking | Best Airbnb in New Town
This stunning Airbnb is perfect for anyone traveling with kids. It sleeps four guests in two double beds, and a travel cot is provided as well as children’s toys, games, and DVDs. The apartment is located right in the heart of the city, so you’ll have all of Edinburgh’s top attractions on your doorstep.
CODE Pod Hostel | Best Hostel in New Town
Enjoy maximum comfort at this New Town Edinburgh hostel. Each dorm bed is housed in its own private nook giving guests semi-private accommodations.
The hostel also features a full kitchen and contemporary lounge. Located in the heart of the city, it is close to Edinburgh’s main train station as well as the city’s most famous attractions. Its location also makes it ideal if you plan on taking any Edinburgh day trips.
InterContinental Hotels – Edinburgh The George | Best Hotel in New Town
Treat the family to a spot of luxury at this five-star hotel in Edinburgh. Featuring family rooms, an onsite gym, restaurant and free wifi, you’ll have everything you need and more for a comfortable stay in the Scottish capital. It’s within walking distance to the city’s top attractions including the National Gallery, Scott Monument and Edinburgh Castle.
Things to See and Do in New Town Edinburgh:
- Climb Carlton Hill to browse the monuments and take in great views of the city.
- Wander through Princes Street Gardens, a small urban green space that borders both Old and New Town.
- Go shopping along Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare.
- Enjoy fish ’n’ chips and a whole lot more at Rapido, an Edinburgh staple.
- View the collection of paintings and sculptures that highlight key figures of Scotland’s history at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
- Grab a cone and enjoy some of the best ice cream in Edinburgh at Mary’s Milk Bar.
Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.
It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)Hide Yo’ Money!
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Edinburgh and where to stay.
What To Pack For Edinburgh
Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.
Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.
Hanging Laundry Bag
Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.
Sea To Summit Micro Towel
Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.
Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.
Grayl Geopress Water Bottle
Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!
Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Edinburgh
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Edinburgh is possibly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and one of the coolest places to stay in Scotland. It’s full of incredible architecture, churches, and castles on one side, and trendy shops and restaurants on the other.
Still not sure where to stay in Edinburgh? You can’t go wrong staying in Old Town, but West End is perfect if you’re visiting Scotland on a budget. Thankfully, the city is pretty compact and can be easily explored on foot or by bike.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
- Check out our ultimate guide backpacking around Edinburgh.
- Figured out where you wanna stay? Now it’s time to pick the perfect hostel in Edinburgh.
- Or… maybe you want to check out some Airbnbs in Edinburgh instead.
- Next up you’re gonna need to know all the best places to visit in Edinburgh to plan your trip.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!