Edinburgh is a beautiful city to behold. The Scottish capital is nestled between craggy bluffs, rolling hills, and a roaring ocean. Steeples, towers, and majestic medieval castles punctuate the city's unique skyline. While the enchanting cobbled streets twist and turn down narrow alleyways, leading you to alluring nooks and crannies. Edinburgh is the UK's second-most visited city after London, and it comes as no surprise. With museums free of charge, world-famous festivals, and incredibly friendly locals, who wouldn't want to visit?
Currently, there are no nonstop flights to Edinburgh from Australia. However, it is possible to fly from most Australian capitals with only one layover. Qatar Airways and China Southern offer the most competitive airfares, followed closely by Etihad Airlines and Emirates. The following Airlines fly to Edinburgh with a stopover en-route:-
Edinburgh Airport is located approximately 13km from the city centre. As it's one of the busiest airports in the UK, it is well designed to manage a large influx of visitors. There are several transfer services available to allow passengers to make their way into Edinburgh easily.
Airlink Express Bus: The Airlink Express bus is the most economical way to reach downtown Edinburgh. The service runs every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, and adult tickets are about $8AUD. The trip to Edinburgh is a timely 25-minutes.
Tram: The tram is another inexpensive option to get into the city centre. The trams run every 8-12 minutes, and the journey takes about 35 minutes. Adult tickets are about $11AUD one way or discounted at $15AUD for a return fare.
Airport transfer: Arranging an airport transfer is an excellent hassle-free option, especially if you're travelling with a group. A chauffeur will wait in the arrivals hall with a name placard, then deliver you directly to your accommodation. Couldn't be easier! A private transfer will set you back about $60AUD.
Taxi: Ride in style to your hotel in a classic UK black cab. The trip into Edinburgh is around 25 minutes and will cost about $45AUD, depending on your destination.
Rideshare: Uber is available from the airport, although it may not be as readily available as taxis.
Edinburgh is a very bike-friendly city, with plenty of dedicated bike lanes. However, it might be wise to opt for an electric bicycle to assist you with the hilly terrain.
If it's not bike weather, then Edinburgh's bus network can get you where you need to go. Fares are about $3AUD.
Edinburgh Castle: The iconic Edinburgh Castle stands perched on a rocky hill, overlooking the city. There is a lot to see at this royal residence including the ancient St Margaret's Chapel, the daily gunfire at 1 pm – a tradition dating back to 1861 - the Scottish crown jewels, and a military museum. It's worth the trip alone for the fantastic views of Edinburgh clustered below.
Royal Mile: The Royal Mile runs approximately one Scots mile long (that's 1.8km), connecting Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Taking a stroll down this famous street is a fantastic way to see some of Edinburgh's impressive medieval architecture, including the gothic St Giles' Cathedral.
Palace of Holyroodhouse: This baroque masterpiece is the official residence of the Queen and the Royal Family when they visit Scotland. When the Queen herself isn't present, visitors get a chance to glimpse into royalty – by exploring the impressively decorated rooms, including Her Majesty's bedchamber!
Calton Hill: Calton Hill sits to the east of Edinburgh, affording spectacular views of the city, especially at dawn and dusk. It is nicknamed the "Athens of the North" for its cluster of significant monuments, including Nelson Tower, the National Monument, and the city observatory.
Scottish cuisine is more than Scotch whisky, haggis, and deep-fried mars bars. However, you'd be amiss not to try at least one (or all) of the above while you're in Edinburgh.
Arcade Haggis & Whisky House: For an authentic taste of Scotland, look no further than this homey little haggis and whisky restaurant. As unappealing as stuffed sheep stomach might sound, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. In any case, you can wash it down with a fine Scotch whisky – there are over 90 varieties on offer.
Spoon: Die-hard Harry Potter fans will know this cafe as where J.K. Rowling wrote much of her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The name of the cafe and the menu may have changed since then, but the huge windows – that Rowling surely gazed through, while musing about Hogwarts – are still there. The atmosphere is cosy, and the breakfast is delicious. Don't miss it.