How to get from Edinburgh airport to the city centre: 4 transportation options explored

After a long flight, getting easily to your hotel in the city centre is a must, whether that’s in the New or Old Town – you’ve got to start your Scottish trip off on the right foot!

You’ll be pleased to know that there are a number of different ways to get yourself into the city from the airport – all are easy! Thankfully Edinburgh airport isn’t too far from the city so it’s not going to take you too long at all – you’ll be sipping whisky in an Edinburgh pub before you know it!

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Read on to learn how to get from Edinburgh airport to the city centre and find out the perfect way for you to do the trip.

My top recommendation for ease:

A private transfer is always my preferred way to get to my hotel after a flight. It’s easy and you’ll start your trip in style.

It takes away any stress for getting you to the right place AND on returning you won’t need to worry about missing buses, trams or going the wrong way and missing your flight!

A note from the writer: Hey! I’m Kirsty and I’m a UK travel expert – while I grew up in Scotland, as an adult I now return to visit almost every year – there’s so much to see! Shout (or comment below) if you have any questions about your next trip and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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Woman with luggage walking through Edinburgh old town in Scotland
You might have a bit of a walk from the centre to your hotel – it can be hilly and cobblestones are tricky with luggage

How to get from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre

It’s worth thinking about the location of your accommodation in Edinburgh when planning how to get to and from the airport.

The generic options – bus and tram – will just take you to the centre of the city but that might still be a little way from your accommodation.

While Edinburgh isn’t a huge city, it is hilly, especially going into the Old Town so navigating that with all your luggage can be tricky. Its definitely worth considering your options before getting there.

The New Town is a bit flatter to get around but you’ll still need to navigate roads, tourists and find your way around too.

If you do get into the city and need help getting to your hotel (perhaps the weather isn’t on your side) then there’s plenty of taxis around Waverley Train Station so head there!

Let’s take a look at the best ways to get from Edinburgh city centre to the airport (and vice versa):

Private Transfer

Journey time: from 30-45 mins

Private transfers are, in my opinion, the best way to get to Edinburgh city centre from the airport. It’s the most expensive way to do it for sure but the ease definitely outweighs that for me!

I especially recommend a private transfer if you’re staying anywhere in the Old Town. There are a lot of cobblestone paths and roads and having to navigate those with large amounts of luggage is not worth it.

Add in that it might end up raining and you’ll be fighting with wet cobblestones and you’ll probably agree – a private transfer just makes sense. Nothing better than being dropped off direct to your hotel!

You don’t need to find your way out of the airport to taxi ranks, bus or trams stops. Your driver will be waiting for you as you get through customs!

If you’re travelling as a family or a group it also makes sense since the cost is split over more people and you’ll likely have more luggage too. Not having to worry about your bags is bliss!

Finally it just takes a whole heap of stress from you – you can let someone else navigate you to the hotel, or back to the airport and worry about what is important – heading out and exploring Edinburgh!

Check out Private Transfer options from Edinburgh airport here

Airport bus in Edinburgh
The airport bus runs 24/7 and only takes 30 mins to the city centre

Airport Bus

Journey time: 30 mins

The next option for you to get into Edinburgh from the airport is the Airlink100 bus which is run by Lothian Buses.

It’s one of the cheapest ways to get to the city centre from Edinburgh airport and it’s quite simple too. If you’re on a budget you’ll like this option – it only costs £4.50 for each journey and tickets are available in advance.

Another plus point for the airport bus is that it’s a dedicated service taking you to or from Edinburgh airport – you’re not going to be worried about navigating public transport with the locals and your luggage!

The bus runs every 10 minutes during the day and every half an hour between 1am and 4am. It takes around 30 minutes to get the airport.

The pick up and drop off stops are as follows:

  • Edinburgh Zoo
  • Murrayfield
  • Haymarket Station
  • West End – Shandwick Place
  • Princes St (drop off only)
  • South St David Street, Edinburgh

It’s worth noting that if you decide to use the airport bus to get to or from Edinburgh airport that it only really drops you off in the New Town. If you’re then needing to find your way to the Old Town you will have hills and a bit of a walk ahead of you! There are lots of taxis around Waverley Train Station if you need a bit more help to get you to your overnight hotel.

You can get your airport bus transfer in advance here

tram in Edinburgh
Trams in Edinburgh


Journey time: 35 minutes

The tram is another option which will take you direct from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre. It’s an easy journey and once you’re on you know exactly where the tram is going which is always a nice thing I find! (I spent lots of time in another UK city with trams and they are my favourite mode of transport!)

The tram is probably more recommended as an airport transfer if you’re traveling light and with a small amount of luggage since the trams can get busy with locals and commuters.

The tickets cost £6.50 for a single and trams run every 7 minutes. Worth knowing if you just miss an airport bus.

Like the airport bus, this will only drop you in the New Town and you’ll need to be prepared to walk up hills if you’re staying in the Old Town area.

If you want to check out the tram route and where you can catch it click here.


Journey time: 30-45mins

If you haven’t managed to sort out a transfer from the airport to the city centre then don’t worry as there’s always plenty of taxis outside the airport. Head for the East Terminus taxi rank.

If you have pre-booked a taxi then they can pick you up at the ‘pick up zone’ or if you’re doing the opposite journey they can drop you off at the ‘drop off’ area.

Taxis from Edinburgh airport to the city centre cost around about £25 – £35 although it can vary a little bit depending on the time of day you’re doing the journey and how bad the traffic is. (I always budget a little more and then I can be pleasantly surprised if it’s not as much!)

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What next?

Check out hotels in Edinburgh –
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Check flights to Edinburgh – Skyscanner
Find car rental – RentalCars
Find Edinburgh tours and attractions – Get Your Guide

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Kirsty Bartholomew

Kirsty Bartholomew is a travel expert and has been getting lost around the world for over 30 years and writing about it for over 10 of those. She loves to help people explore her favourite places in Scotland, England and beyond. She cannot stay away from historical sites.

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