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Edinburgh Travel Tips

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The festival city, the Scottish capital, and the world’s first City of Literature, Edinburgh wears many guises. The city is still dominated by independent businesses, and navigating its cobbled streets and vertiginous staircases is enough to get a sense of its unique identity, literally built upon layers of history. Every stone exudes history and legends, while the call of nature is never far away.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

The festival highlights throughout August attract the biggest crowds, and temperatures are also kind at this time of year. Nothing can beat the electric atmosphere of the Royal Mile in the high summer, but you will be battling extortionate prices and booked-out venues. Out of season Edinburgh is just as enchanting, whether you cosy up in old taverns while the snow is falling, or explore the city’s parks in the golden days of autumn. There are festivals and cultural events all year round too.

 

Not to Miss

 

The Edinburgh Festival stands head and shoulders above any other arts festival in the world. For three weeks every August, the city blazes with performances, every theatre, street, and venue fills with people, the Royal Mile becomes a riotous carnival, and audiences are treated to the most spectacular show on earth. The International Festival hosts an exceptional program spanning the high arts of classical music and serious theatre, while the Fringe lets loose with cutting-edge comedy, risqué cabaret, and flamboyant circus acts.

 

Getting around

 

Edinburgh International Airport is a gateway to the city and to the country. With flights from all over the world, it’s very convenient to get to. Dedicated airport buses and coaches run an efficient service to the city centre, while the shiny tram system also offers direct, speedy transit. Taxis and hire cars are also available. The Old Town is suited for exploration on foot, while buses provide a comprehensive service around the rest of the city, and trams zip between main streets and stations.

 

Cuisine

 

From Michelin-starred restaurants proffering the most innovative dishes and exquisite wine lists, to student dives serving great post-club nosh, the dining scene is diverse and creative. There’s a burgeoning selection of turf-to-table bistros, serving up farm-fresh dishes using local Scottish ingredients in inventive ways. There’s a great choice of Asian restaurants too, serving up exciting Indian fusion dishes. Or you can go back to basics with a traditional pub, where, if you’re brave enough, you can sample traditional haggis.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

With a large international community and a long tradition of welcoming the world in, Edinburgh is a very friendly, laid-back city. At the same time, it’s a place with a long memory and fierce patriotism – remember it’s not part of England and the Scottish are proud of their identity. If you take pictures of street performers, it’s polite to leave them a tip. As for tipping in restaurants, 10-12% is the standard amount for a good meal and service.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 487500

Spoken languages: English, Gaelic

Electrical: The UK runs on 230V, 50Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +44 131999