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 will be rewarded with magnificent views all around. The city centre, aside from the rugged cobbled terrain, is certainly bicycle 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, 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 booked 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. These include 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, maintenance and fuel.
Expats who 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.
►Read more about Transport and Driving in the United Kingdom
Are you an expat living in Edinburgh?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Edinburgh. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global can tailor an international health insurance plan to perfectly fit the needs of you and your family. With 86 million customers in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world. Cigna are offering a 10% discount on all policies bought in November and December.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.