Edinburgh is a beautiful city that has plenty of options for budget travelers — except when prices are jacked up during the multi-week Edinburgh Festival each August. Many of the museums are free, but other attractions can be pretty expensive. Food and drink are fairly reasonably priced.
In this travel price guide, we’ll outline the estimated travel expenses for food, accommodation, attractions, alcohol, and other things that you’ll experience when you visit Edinburgh.
This article is part of our City Price Guide Series — Click here to see all our city price guides.
Average Daily Cost For Visiting Edinburgh
These prices are based on what you’ll need to visit the city comfortably — they don’t include things like big nights out at the bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenir/clothing shopping, tours, random purchases, nicer food, etc. Don’t forget to budget extra for those “non-essentials.”
Daily Cost of Budget Travel in Edinburgh: £59 (Approx. $78)
- Attractions: £14 (one paid attraction + any free sights)
- Food: £26
- Breakfast: £5
- Lunch: £6
- Dinner: £11
- Treat (dessert/beer/wine): £3.50
- Transportation: £1.50
- Accommodation (hostel): £16
Daily Cost of Frugal Travel in Edinburgh: £32 (Approx. $43)
- Attractions: £5 (free walking tour + visit one of the free sights)
- Food: £13
- Breakfast: 0€ (free hostel breakfast)
- Lunch: £4 (ethnic street food, takeaway shop fare, or similar)
- Dinner: £6 (make your own meal in the hostel or grab something cheap)
- Beer (pint): £3.50
- Transportation: £0 (the city is very walkable)
- Accommodation: £14 (cheap hostel bed)
Edinburgh Attraction and Museum Prices
National museums are free, but nearly every other attraction is pricey. Edinburgh is a compact city, so taking a stroll around is a great free activity.
- Edinburgh Castle: £18.50 (+£3.50 for an audioguide)
- National Gallery of Scotland: Free
- Arthur’s Seat: Free
- Royal Yacht Britannia: £16
- National Museum of Scotland: Free
- Saint Giles Cathedral: Free (£3 suggested donation) & £2 for a photography permit
- The Scotch Whiskey Experience: £15.50-£27 (includes one dram of Scotch Malt Whiskey)
- Day-trip to Loch Ness: £42-£52
- Walking tours: Free (but you should tip the guides) — £9-£20+ (for paid tours)
- Bike tour: £20-£50
Edinburgh Food Prices
Food in Edinburgh wouldn’t be too bad if it weren’t for the British Pound — but you can still eat without spending a ton. Like always, venture to where the locals eat to get the best deal and quality food. Also, you need to try some fine scotch, so set aside a little money for a tasting (a tour will run from £14-£40, depending how much scotch you want to sample).
Budget Breakfast Prices: Free – £10
- Many hostels will offer a free simple breakfast that normally consists of cereal, bread/croissant, and maybe milk, coffee, tea, or juice (some hostels will offer more and some less).
- Filled roll & coffee/tea: £4-£6
- Porridge: £3-£5
- Full Scottish breakfast: £8-£12
Budget-Friendly Breakfast Places:
- The Bluebird Cafe: This tiny cafe serves up all kinds of tasty breakfast dishes.
- The Haven Cafe: Stop in for a proper traditional Scottish fry-up breakfast.
- Tani Modi: Another breakfast place that offers great value for the money.
- Casa Amiga Leith: Portuguese bakery with great Pastel de Nata, coffee, and plenty of other nice options.
- Sicillian Pastry Shop: A wide range of delicious pastries.
Budget Lunch Prices: £3-£8
- Super budget travelers can make a super cheap lunch of bread, cheese, and fruit from any grocery store for a few euros.
- Sandwich: £4-£8
- Scotch pie/bridie (meat pastry): £2-£5.50
- Haggis: £5-£8
- Curry: £3-£7
- Cheap takeaway meals (like a kebab with fries): £5-£7
Budget Dinner Prices: £5-£15
- Fish & chips: £6-£12
- Bangers & mash: £6-£10
- You should also be able to find dinner at a restaurant in a less touristy part of town for around £15.
- Many of the options from the Budget Lunch section above also apply for dinner.
Budget-Friendly Lunch and Dinner Places:
- The Piemaker: Traditional savory Scotish pies.
- Tupiniquim Brasil: A food stall serving up Brazilian crepes.
- Tempting Tattie: Filling and tasty baked potatoes.
- Pizzeria 1926: A nice pizza place serving traditional Neapolitan pizza.
- Taste of Italy: Plenty of Italian dishes from pasta to pizza.
- The Pakora Bar: A much-loved Indian joint.
- The City Restaurant: A popular spot for fish & chips.
- The Black Rose: Traditional pub grub.
- The Standing Order: Beer and pub food.
Drinks and Alcohol Prices
- Pint of standard beer out: £3.50
- Pint of beer from a grocery store: £1.60
- Bottle of (drinkable) wine from the grocery store: £7.50
- Cup of coffee: £2.50
- Irn Bru (soft drink) from the grocery store: £1
Edinburgh Transportation Prices
Lothian (city) buses are your best bet for getting around Edinburgh if you don’t feel like walking or if you’re staying a bit outside of the city center. They also have a new tram line that runs between the city center and the airport. We stayed in the city center so we never used public transportation and you might not either.
- Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams
- Single journey: £1.60
- Day pass: £4
- Ridacard one week pass: £17 (purchase in advance, £3 card fee)
- Tram from the airport to city center: £6 (£8.50 roundtrip)
- Taxi from airport to city: £20-£30
Edinburgh Hostel, Hotel, & Rental Apartment Prices
Accommodation in Edinburgh is fairly affordable by Western Europe standards. Prices shoot up during August because of the Edinburgh festival.
You should budget about £16/night per person for a decent hostel — although many hostels raise their prices on the weekend. Remember, these prices are for bed in a shared dorm room. If you want a private room, expect to pay £35-£70.
We book our hostels through Hostelworld so we suggest putting in your dates to see the prices.
Budget Hotels: £75-£140/night
At the low end, you shouldn’t expect much, but once you get around £80/night, the hotels get a bit better. A room with a private bathroom will cost around £70-£130.
We suggest checking out Booking.com to see hotel prices for your dates since they’re always changing.
Rental Apartment: £65-£120+/night
Edinburgh has a decent amount of rental apartments throughout the city. They can be a good option for large groups or travelers who want a little more space (and a kitchen). On the other hand, you may also have to deal with inconvenient check-in processes and things like extra cleaning fees and service charges. For short stays, we prefer hotels/hostels but rental apartments can be a nice option for longer stays.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COST TO VISIT EUROPE
We’ve created a guide about the costs of traveling through Europe (including more city price guides) — Click here to read more about Europe Travel Costs.
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Thanks For Reading! — Susan and James