Where to Stay in Edinburgh: 6 Incredible Areas & Top Hotels

A panoramic view of Edinburgh with the Castle and Balmoral Clock Tower standing prominent against a backdrop of blue skies and scattered clouds.

Prepping for your Scottish adventures? Then hop on this guide on where to stay in Edinburgh and get ready to remain in awe of this city’s beauty!

I visited Edinburgh recently and fell head over heels in love with its magical atmosphere and historic buildings. So definitely read this post as I’ve included lots of tips, plus the best 6 areas and top hotels, for all budgets and sorted by price!

I carefully compared all the accommodation options, so don’t worry, you’ll only get the best of the best! 

In short, the Old Town is the best area to stay in the Scottish capital! This is where you’ll find the main attractions and some gorgeous hotels. 

Edinburgh is one of the most famous holiday destinations in the country, so I highly recommend booking your hotels here in advance!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

Here’s a short list of the best hotels in the historic Old Town for anyone who doesn’t have time to read the whole post:

luxury hotel
An elegant living room featuring a classic fireplace, green velvet armchairs, and wall art in pastel tones
mid-range hotel
A minimalistic bedroom with a bed with yellow bedding and a window with curtains above the bed


Best value for money

budget hotel
A lively hostel common room painted with murals and a rainbow, furnished with black leather sofas, a pool table

High Street Hostel

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Watch my video, it will give you a visual explanation of all the areas:

Here is a map of where to stay in Edinburgh with all the 6 neighborhoods I will be talking about in this post, so you can easily visualize them:

A colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in Edinburgh with numbered locations and labels for easy navigation
  1. OLD TOWN: for first-timers
  2. NEW TOWN: for shopping
  3. STOCKBRIDGE: for families
  4. LEITH: for foodies
  5. HAYMARKET: for budget
  6. SOUTHSIDE: for the local vibe

1. Old Town – where to stay in Edinburgh for the first time

The vibrant and colorful facades of Victoria Street in Edinburgh, bustling with pedestrians and street-side dining, showcasing the city's historic architecture

Edinburgh’s Old Town will transport you to a fantasy world

As I was exploring its cobbled streets and admiring all the attractions around I immediately understood why JK Rowling felt inspired to write the Harry Potter books while living here! 

Just head over to Victoria Street (map), which apparently served as the inspiration for the iconic Diagon Alley, and you’ll see what I mean!

The atmosphere is always buzzing here. Once you step on the famous Royal Mile (map), the city’s most important street which is packed with street performers (usually dressed in a uniform and playing the bagpipe), souvenir stores, fudge and whisky shops, you’ll never want to leave! 

This neighborhood is the best place to start your adventure in the Scottish Capital! And if you’re coming by train (as I did) you’ll arrive at Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station (one of the biggest train stations in the UK), which is set in the city center, between Old Town and New Town.

Some iconic places that you should visit are the famous Edinburgh Castle (map), Edinburgh Cathedral, also known as St Giles’ Cathedral (map), the National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament Building (map), and of course the Holyrood Palace!

Apparently, the Palace is haunted by numerous ghosts including one of the ladies-in-waiting Mary Queen of Scots and Agnes Sampson, a woman who was accused of witchcraft!

I sure got the chills when I was there! As I did while exploring the Greyfriars Kirkyard (map), another Harry Potter place that you should visit! The author was inspired by some of the names she found here and used them in the books (although she changed them up a bit).

There are so many things to do in the Old Town, so make sure you also spend some time relaxing in one of the many cafes, restaurants or pubs!

While I was visiting I went to the Milkman (map) for my usual coffee and pastry date and loved it there. As for restaurants I highly recommend The Witchery (map) which is housed in a gorgeous building and it’s such a fab spot for tourists! 

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Edinburgh: a chic bedroom with plush purple accents and a cozy fireplace, a sophisticated living room with patterned curtains and green sofas, and a classic lounge with a bookshelf and framed art.

Located on Princes Street, this luxury hotel has a Michelin-starred restaurant, a swimming pool, and its stylish rooms boast views of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town! The Balmoral Hotel’s bar offers an amazing whisky experience with more than 500 types of Scottish Whiskies. And guess what? You can actually stay in the room where JK Rowling finished writing the last of the Harry Potter books!

Other accommodation options in Old town

A minimalistic single bedroom with a white bedspread and golden blanket, placed under a small window with striped curtains in a clean

Offering a great location near the Royal Mile this modern hotel comes with a bar and a daily breakfast

A  lively hostel common room painted with murals and a rainbow, furnished with black leather sofas and a pool table

With a convenient location on the Royal Mile, this hostel offers a rooms with a shared bathroom and a terrace

A cozy modern apartment living room with a grey sofa adorned with plaid cushions, a simple wooden coffee table

Located within walking distance of the attractions this place offers a fully equipped kitchen and a lounge area

Things to do in Old Town 

  • Learn about history at the National Museum of Scotland
  • Have fun at Camera Obscura and World of Illusions 
  • Visit the famous Holyrood Palace
  • Shop for souvenirs at the Museum of Context on Victoria Street (map)
  • Enjoy the beautiful view from the Edinburgh Castle
  • Visit the St. Giles Cathedral & Mary King’s Close
  • Explore the spooky Greyfriars Kirkyard
  • Enjoy the nightlife on Grassmarket Street

2. New Town – best place to stay for shopping

An expansive aerial view of Edinburgh’s dense architecture with rows of traditional tenement buildings, a contrast of historical and modern urban living

Edinburgh’s City Center is made of the Old Town (the section above) and New Town.

As the name suggests, this area is the newer part of Edinburgh! Don’t worry, it’s just as charming and it has some fab attractions and during winter it hosts the Christmas Market!

So whether you want to stay here (the hotels are a bit cheaper than in the Old Town) or just visit, you definitely won’t get bored!

Just like the Old Town, this area is pretty busy, especially during rush hour when all the locals hurry to get home from work (I’d avoid the area at that time because I’ve been there around 6PM and it felt pretty claustrophobic).

One of the most iconic attractions here is the Scott Monument. This Gothic masterpiece was made in honor of Sir Walter Scott, here you can climb up the 287 stairs and admire the stunning views from above. But you also should climb up to Calton Hill (map), which has some neo-classical monuments. The views are incredible from up there.

From there you hop straight on to Princes Street (map), the area’s major avenue which is packed with high-street brands! If you’re hoping to get some shopping done, this is the place to go! The street is linked to the Princes Street Garden which is so charming, and perfect for a midday stroll. 

New Town is also home to The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, which I highly recommend visiting as it has some unique Scottish art pieces.

This area sure has a bit of everything, including some fab pubs and restaurants on George Street (map) and Rose Street (map). Slug & Lettuce (map) is a great spot to start the night!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Edinburgh: a trendy restaurant with velvet red chairs and ambient lighting, a vibrant lounge with pink furniture and abstract art, and a stylish bedroom with a bold red headboard and city view.

Definitely get the room with views of the Scott Monument, one of the most iconic Edinburgh attractions! Set right near St. Andrews Square and just a short walk away from Waverley Station, this boutique hotel is a great place to stay for the weekend and it offers elegant rooms with modern amenities, a restaurant and a bar.

Other accommodation options in New Town

Modern kitchenette with wooden cabinetry and a dining area set for two

Set in New Town Edinburgh, this hotel offers rooms or modern apartments with a kitchen

A cozy bedroom with a double bed adorned with red and teal bedding, a floor lamp

An affordable place with a central location that has rooms with a shared bathroom and free Wi-Fi

A modern apartment with a large photographic feature wall of Edinburgh Castle at dusk, complemented by a grey sofa with bright yellow cushions

This Airbnb in New Town features a living room and a spacious bedroom with great amenities

Things to do in New Town

  • Admire the art at The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art
  • Shop until you drop on Princes Street
  • Check out the Scott Monument
  • See the Albert Memorial Monument (map)  in Charlotte Square
  • Take a trip to the famous Rosslyn Chapel
  • Go bar hopping on George Street 
  • Visit The Georgian House Museum
  • Explore the Princes Street Gardens

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3. Stockbridge – where to stay in Edinburgh for families

A quaint cobbled lane lined with traditional stone houses adorned with climbing plants and hanging flower baskets, under a sky with fluffy clouds

Traveling with the whole family to Scotland’s capital? Then this section is for you! Ideally located a 15 min walk away from New Town, Stockbridge is a lovely and safe area, which is much more tranquil than the city center. 

One thing that’s great about Stockbridge is that much of its Georgian and Victorian architecture was preserved, so even walking around the neighborhood is such a thrill as you can admire the gorgeous houses!

And if you’re a fan of old architecture, head to Dean Village nearby! This is a famous place, known for its charming streets and beautiful houses! It’s a great spot for an afternoon stroll!

There’s sort of a bohemian atmosphere lingering on the streets which are packed with chic cafes, cool restaurants, upmarket charity shops and bakeries! Lannan Bakery (map) has some of the most delicious pastries in town, which I’m sure the whole family will love!

Make sure to also check out the Sunday farmer’s market (map) where you can find lots of cool souvenirs, yummy food, clothes, you name it! It’s a fab place to get to know the local people and just spend a fun day with your family!

Do you remember the iconic movie Trainspotting? Many of its scenes were filmed on Edinburgh’s streets, including on St. Stephen Street (map), here in Stockbridge!

Right near Stockbridge, you’ll find the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (map) which is so beautiful and definitely worth a visit as they have lots of kid-friendly activities too!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Edinburgh: a quaint corner with armchairs and an ornate wardrobe, a spacious lounge with leather sofas and a vintage vibe, and a bedroom with a checkered headboard and a blue accent wall.

One of the best luxury hotels in the area set not too far from New Town and Princes Street Gardens! Housed in a Georgian building this boutique hotel offers stylish family rooms with a tub, and large windows overlooking the city! You’ll also find an on-site restaurant and a terrace.

Other accommodation options in Stockbridge

A contemporary hotel lounge with geometric carpeting and plush blue armchairs surrounding sleek wooden coffee tables

The hotel set within walking distance of the New Town offers family rooms with a flat-screen Tv and a restaurant

A classic hotel bedroom with two iron-frame beds, red textured wallpaper, bedside lamps, and a view

A nice budget-friendly hotel that comes with spacious rooms that have a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi

A spacious living room with a neutral color scheme, featuring a fireplace, wooden furniture, a large TV, and cozy sofas

This apartment comes with a spacious lounge area, an indoor fireplace and a shared backyard

Things to do in Stockbridge

  • Check out the beautiful Royal Botanic Garden
  • Explore Edinburgh’s biggest urban park – Inverleith Park (map)
  • Take a family trip to Edinburgh Zoo
  • Go for a Sunday stroll with your family at the Stockbridge Market
  • Discover the streets of Dean Village
  • Eat some good stuff from Lannan Bakery (map

4. Leith – where to stay in Edinburgh for foodies

The serene waters of Leith reflect the historical buildings of The Shore, Edinburgh, under a dramatic sky, creating a picturesque waterfront scene

Located 5 km (3 miles) north of the Old Town, Leith is more of a residential area, you won’t see as many tourists here as in Edinburgh’s City Center, but it sure has its charm!

You can reach the area by bus or walking, although the walk takes around 40 min from the end of the Royal Mile. But that’s what I did and it was pretty nice as I got to know the less touristy side of Edinburgh. 

Set by the water, Leith is a melting pot of numerous cultures, which can only mean one thing: a wide range of restaurants with international cuisines! Expect to find lots of Thai, Japanese, Indian, and Turkish dining spots and even a Michelin star restaurant called The Kitchin (map) which is housed in a converted whisky warehouse.

In terms of attractions, you won’t find as many as in Edinburgh City Center, but if you go by the docks area, you’ll see some cool places plus the gorgeous views!

One of the main attractions there is the The Royal Yacht Britannia, which was used by the royal family on official state visits. Also, check out The Port of Leith Distillery where you can take tours and taste some yummy Scottish whisky! 

Another great thing about Leith, is that you can find some more affordable hotels here than you would in the city center, so if you’re traveling on a budget it’s worth having a look!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Edinburgh: a cozy attic living area with a vibrant orange sofa, a simple bedroom with a colorful plaid blanket, and a modern kitchenette with blue cabinetry and a small dining area.

You’re going to love this hotel in Leith! It has such stylish and modern rooms with gorgeous furnishings, great views of the city and all the amenities you need including a kitchen! Definitely one of my favorite hotels in the area and a great spot for couples!

Other accommodation options in Leith

Comfortable living space with a gray couch, vibrant wall art, a television, and a work desk

A simple yet well-equipped place with rooms that have a flat-screen Tv, a coffee machine and free Wi-Fi

Twilight view of the exterior of an urban building with metal staircases

Here’s something a bit more affordable that comes with rooms with a dining area and a laptop safe

A spacious bedroom featuring a large wooden bed with green sheets, a fluffy gray throw

This spacious apartment has all the amenities you need including a kitchen and a washing machine

Things to do in Leith

  • Enjoy a delicious meal at The Kitchin
  • Go on a tour at The Port of Leith Distillery
  • Explore the Newhaven Harbour
  • Grab a pint at Teuchters Landing (map)
  • Visit the famous Royal Yacht Britannia

5. Haymarket – best place to stay in Edinburgh for budget

Urban street scene in Edinburgh with historical buildings, a prominent brick chimney, and tram tracks, bustling with pedestrians and vehicles

Looking for more affordable and cool places to stay in Edinburgh? Then Haymarket may be the right option for you!

Located near the West End, just a 20 min walk away from the Old Town, this neighborhood is pretty small and modest but it has a few cheap hotels, perfect for those traveling on a budget!

You’ll find some restaurants here as well as some bars, but not many attractions. Don’t worry though you’re just a few steps away from all the fun in the Old Town and New Town.

Haymarket is also known for its train station which has connections to other parts of Scotland! So if you’re thinking of taking some day trips, which I highly recommend, since this country has many more iconic destinations like Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen, plus many others!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Edinburgh: a serene bedroom with soft grey bedding and wooden furnishings, a quaint sitting area with red chairs and a circular table, and a classic dining space with a dark wooden mantelpiece and TV.

Set on one of Edinburgh’s cobbled streets not too far from the Old Town, this amazing hotel has rooms with stylish furnishings and a flat-screen Tv. Each morning you can enjoy a yummy breakfast and coffee before heading out. 

Other accommodation options in Haymarket

Historic and elegant sandstone guest house surrounded by lush greenery and a clear blue sky

You’re going to love this Victorian house that offers a garden and breakfast

A traditional bedroom with a queen-size bed, soft blue bedding, and a vintage aesthetic

An affordable place that has family rooms with vintage furnishings and free parking

Comfortable living room with modern furniture, a wooden coffee table, and a plant

This spacious apartment comes with a kitchen, 2 rooms and free Wi-Fi

Things to do in Haymarket 

  • Grab a coffee at Coates Cafe (map)
  • Go on a day trip to Glasgow or Inverness 
  • Grab a pint at Ryrie’s Bar (map)
  • Head to downtown Edinburgh and visit the Castle

6. Southside – where to stay in Edinburgh for the local vibe

A serene educational campus in Edinburgh, with the majestic Arthur's Seat in the backdrop, lush greenery, and classic architecture

Want to get to know another side of Edinburgh? Maybe mingle more with the locals and explore the not-so-known streets? 

Then the Southside may be the place for you! This neighborhood is made of the smaller areas of Morningside and Bruntsfield which are unknown to most tourists but definitely a great place to explore!

Right near the Southside, just across South Bridge Street you’ll also find the Newington area. These 2 are bordered to the east by the Holyrood Park (map) where you’ll find the famous hilltop, Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano that offers incredible views of the city! You can hike up to Arthur’s Seat (it’s not a difficult hike) but make sure you wear comfortable shoes. 

If you’re wondering about the name of this place, apparently it comes from King Arthur the mythological character (or real, who knows?) and King of Britain!

Back to the Southside area now! You’ll find some boutique cafes, independent shops and some lovely houses! So definitely go on a morning stroll before heading to the Old Town or New Town, admire the gorgeous houses and the bohemian atmosphere that lingers on the streets.

The University of Edinburgh campus is also near this neighborhood so you’ll probably stumble across lots of cheap bars and restaurants.

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Edinburgh: a modern duplex with an upper-level bedroom, a chic dining area with a marble table and wooden chairs, and a comfortable living space with a light blue sofa and minimalist decor.

These super modern apartments are centrally located just a 10 min walk away from the Old Town. All have such a great design, and you’ll find everything you need from a private kitchenette to a flat-screen TV.

Other accommodation options in Southside

Luxurious bedroom with a classic wrought-iron bed, warm brown walls, and elegant gold accents

One of the best boutique hotels in the area that has rooms with free Wi-Fi

Quaint and picturesque guest house with a vibrant flower garden in the foreground, under a sunny blue sky

A cozy place with coffee and tea facilities and a private bathroom 

Minimalist and modern living room with a large gray sectional sofa, a white shelving unit displaying small plants

This small condo is perfect for 2 people and it has a kitchen and a shared backyard

Things to do in Southside

👑 Luxury price:US$250
💵 Mid-range hotel:US$180
🛏️ Budget:US$100
📍 Best area:Old Town
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:The Balmoral Hotel
🧳 Best mid-range hotel:CoDE Pod
👛 Best budget hotel:High Street Hostel

BONUS: Best hotels near Edinburgh Airport

The entrance to Edinburgh Airport with a large, bold 'EDINBURGH' sign, coordinates on the tarmac, and a modern building facade, under a cloudy sky

Set a 30 min drive away from Old Town, Edinburgh International Airport is where you’ll land (that’s if you’re not taking the train from other major cities in the UK), in the Scottish capital.

If you have a super early flight or a really late one and you don’t want to wake up at crazy hours to make it in time for boarding, then you might consider staying in a hotel right near the airport.

I found 3 amazing options, which have everything you’ll need for your short stay! So let’s check them out:

  • Luxury: Hampton By Hilton Edinburgh Airport – set just a 2 min walk away from the airport, this luxury hotel offers a 24h front desk, a 24h menu and a free breakfast in the morning. Guests will also have access to a fitness and a business center.
  • Mid-range: Moxy Edinburgh Airport – check out the game room of this amazing hotel set less than a mile from the airport! The accommodation has comfortable rooms and a restaurant where you can enjoy a free breakfast. 
  • Mid-range: DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh Airport – located a 7 min walk away from the airport this hotel offers a free shuttle bus to the airport, a spa center with a swimming pool and a 24h room service menu. 

FAQs about where to stay in Edinburgh

A vibrant sunset casts golden hues over the greenery of Princes Street Gardens with the Edinburgh skyline, including the castle, providing a majestic backdrop

🗺️ Where should I stay in Edinburgh for the first time?

Old Town or New Town are some of the best areas to stay in Edinburgh for first-time visitors! That’s where you’ll find the main attractions like the Royal Mile and Princes Street.

🙇🏻‍♀️ What are the bad areas of Edinburgh?

Niddrie, Pilton, and Granton are some areas that you should avoid while in the city as they’re not safe, especially for tourists.

⏱️ How many days do you need in Edinburgh?

I’d recommend spending 3 to 4 days in Edinburgh or even more if you want to take some tours to the highlands or day trips to other cities in Scotland.

📷 What should I not miss in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street, Royal Mile, the Cathedral and the Scottish National Gallery are some of the things you shouldn’t miss while in town!

💰 Is Edinburgh expensive to visit?

Edinburgh is relatively expensive compared to other European destinations. It is also the second most expensive city in the UK but don’t worry, there are ways to visit the town if you’re on a tight budget.

🏰 Can you walk around Edinburgh Castle for free?

You can walk around the outside area of the castle including the cemetery without paying a fee but if you want to go inside you need a ticket.

🚶‍♀️How to get around in Edinburgh?

You can get around in Edinburgh by walking or using the buses and trains.

🤔 Is it better to stay in Old Town or New Town Edinburgh?

It depends on your preferences, but both are great! I’d recommend the Old Town to history lovers and the New Town to those who prefer a more urban atmosphere.

🔝Is Edinburgh a walkable city?

Totally! You can easily explore the main areas on foot!

📍 What is Edinburgh’s most famous street?

Royal Mile is the most famous street in Edinburgh. 

👪 Where to stay in Edinburgh with family?

Stockbridge is one of the best areas to stay in Edinburgh with your family as it’s pretty tranquil and is set near the main attractions!

Is it safe to walk around Edinburgh at night?

Yes, it’s safe to walk around Edinburgh at night but avoid the secluded areas and dodgy streets!


The warm light of the setting sun bathes the Dugald Stewart Monument and the Edinburgh skyline, capturing a serene moment with the city's historic buildings and soft pastel sky

After visiting Edinburgh, you’ll want to come back to Scotland as soon as possible! That’s what I felt when I left the city!

I hope that my guide on where to stay in Edinburgh, gave you a headstart in planning your trip! I strongly advise you to book your hotels in Scotland’s capital in advance! This is a pricey place and from experience, I can say that the costs increase if you book too close to your dates!

If you’re still not sure which accommodation to pick, then check out my 2 favorite hotels, both set in the historic Old Town: 

  • The Balmoral Hotel – the city’s famous hotel that’s set within walking distance of the train station and which has a spa
  • CoDE Pod – one of the best hotels in the area that offers a breakfast and a bar

Since I’ve already been to Edinburgh I can definitely help you out, should you have any questions! So don’t shy away from leaving me a comment below, I’ll answer as soon as I can!

Happy exploring,


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