Because of its narrow lanes, known as "wynds" and closes, you can only explore Old Town in any depth on foot. Edinburgh is fairly convenient for the visitor who likes to walk, as many of the attractions are on or near the Royal Mile and close to one of the major streets of New Town. Remember, if you're here from overseas, the cars drive on the left. If you're crossing, traffic closest to you approaches from the right.
All-Day Tickets & Edinburgh Pass Cards -- Lothian buses in Edinburgh offer all-day tickets, which are handy if you plan several rides across town. For unlimited travel, the price is £3 for adults, £2.40 for children. Another way to both get around and get into some 30 attractions that charge admission (although many attractions are free) is the Edinburgh Pass. It is priced on a sliding scale depending on the number of days you wish to use it. For example, a 3-day adult pass is £51.50 and a 3-day child pass is £33. The pass gets you onto tour buses and boat rides. For more information call tel. 0845/225-5121.
Until the new trams are completed , the city's numerous buses will continue to provide the chief method of public transportation in Edinburgh. Fares depend on the distance traveled, with the adult one-way (single) minimum fare of £1.20 covering the principal Edinburgh districts. If you plan multiple trips in 1 day, purchase a Day Ticket that allows unlimited travel. Be advised that bus drivers will not give change, so carry the correct amount in coins or purchase a pack of 20 tear-off tickets (called "City Singles") for £24. At Travelshops, 1-week Ridacard passes, which allow unlimited travel on buses, can be purchased for £13 adults, £11 students, and £9 juniors.
In addition, the tourist buses that terminate at Waverley Bridge offer hop-on, hop-off at any of their stops on the set circuit of primarily Old and New Towns.
Visitors can find advance tickets and further information in the city center at the Waverley Bridge Travelshop, Waverley Bridge, open Monday to Saturday 8:15am to 6pm and Sunday 9:30am to 5:15pm, or at 27 Hanover Street Travelshop, open Monday to Saturday 8:15am to 6pm. For details on fares and timetables, call tel. 0131/555-6363, or visit www.lothianbuses.co.uk.
You can hail a "black" taxi similar to those in London, or pick one up at a taxi stand. Fares start at around £1.50 in the day, and a typical trek across town might cost about £7. Taxi ranks are at High Street near North Bridge, Waverley and Haymarket stations, Hanover Street, North Street, Andrew Street, and Lauriston Place. Fares are displayed in the front of the taxi and charges are posted, including extra fees for night drivers or destinations outside the city limits. You can also call a taxi. Try City Cabs at tel. 0131/228-1211 or Central Taxis at tel. 0131/229-2468.
Unless absolutely necessary, I suggest that you simply don't drive in Edinburgh - it can prove to be a tricky business. Traffic-calming systems, roundabouts, one-way streets, narrow and cobbled roads, dedicated bus lanes, and construction works for the new tramways -- as well as driving on the left for visitors not used to it - are all good reasons to forego the automobile. Parking is expensive and can also be difficult to find. Some zones are marked PERMIT HOLDERS ONLY, meaning your vehicle will be towed if you have no permit. A double yellow line along the curb indicates no parking at any time. A single yellow line along the curb indicates restrictions, too, so be sure to read the signs for details of limitations. Major car parks (parking lots) are at Castle Terrace (near Edinburgh Castle), Waverley Station, and St. James Centre (close to the east end of Princes St.).
You may want a rental car for touring the countryside or for heading onward. Many agencies grant discounts to those who reserve in advance. Most will accept your foreign driver's license, provided you've held it for more than a year and are over 21. Major car-rental companies have offices at the Edinburgh airport should you want to rent a car on the spot. In the city, try Avis on West Park Place near Haymarket Station (tel. 0870/153-9103), Hertz on Picardy Place (tel. 0870/864-0013), or Thrifty at 42 Haymarket Terrace (tel. 0131/337-1319). For more agencies,
Bicycles are more common in Edinburgh than in Glasgow. Do bear in mind that the city has several steep hills and the streets are often cobbled.
Edinburgh's Controversial Trams
As I write, Edinburgh is constructing a new tram system. Since mid-2009, Edinburgh has suffered the same torn-up streets as other cities while they wait for tram systems, whether Manchester or Bordeaux. Eventually, the Edinburgh tram will take passengers up or down Princes Street and Leith Walk. It will cross Leith into Newhaven and Granton, and may circle back to Haymarket - if there is enough money. No trams are expected to be operational until 2011, and until then bus routes along the streets where track is being laid will be disrupted.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.