How to Get from Edinburgh Airport to the City Center

Edinburgh City Center
by Anisa // 0 Comments

Edinburgh has become a popular tourist destination for good reason.  It has lots of tourist attractions, history, festivals, plus it’s a good gateway to many other beautiful places in Scotland.  We seem to visit Edinburgh about once a year.  Not just to see the sights but we have some family nearby too.  

While the airport may not be centrally located, it does have several public transportation options that are quick, easy, and convenient.  In this post, I will tell you more about how to get from Edinburgh Airport to the city center and help you choose the best one for you.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure for more information.

About Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Airport (EDI) is located about eight miles from the city center.  While it is Scotland’s busiest airport, there is only one terminal. During my visits, I have been impressed with the efficiency at this airport.  For its current size, they handle a lot of passengers, and they do it well.

Fun Fact: Edinburgh Airport was actually a key military base in World War I.

Edinburgh Airport
Scotland’s busiest airport welcomes you!

Edinburgh Airport Transportation Options

From Edinburgh Airport, you basically have three choices to get to the Edinburgh city center – bus, tram, or car.

All three could be good options depending on your circumstances. In the table below, I have put together a quick summary of the different ways to travel from Edinburgh Airport. Each option is examined in detail below.

Edinburgh Airport Transportation OptionCostJourney TimeFrequencyOperating HoursHow to Book in Advance
Airlink Bus£4.50 for one-way or £7.50 for a round-trip30 minutesevery 30 minutesFrom 4:30 am to 12:30amClick here to book the Airlink Bus.
Tram£6.00 for one-way or £8.50 for a round-trip35 minutesevery 7 minutesFrom 6:18 am to 10:48 pmClick here to buy a tram ticket.
Taxi£25.00 and up depending on drop off location30 minutes and up depending on drop off locationOn demand, there may be a line if you don't book in advance24 hoursClick here to book a car service with Suntransfers.

Edinburgh Airport Airlink Bus

There is an express bus service that runs from Edinburgh Airport to Waverley Bridge which is right next to Waverly Station, the main train station in Edinburgh.  It runs every 30 minutes from 4:30 am to 12:30am and only takes 30 minutes.

The bus also stops at West End, Haymarket Station, Wester Coates, Murrayfield, Western Corner, Edinburgh Zoo, Drum Brae, Maybury, Airport Hotel.  See a map of the route here.

Edinburgh Airlink Bus
The Edinburgh Airlink Bus may be my favorite way to go from the airport to Waverley Station in the city center.

The buses seemed brand new to me and have some nice features like a dedicated luggage area with CCTV security, power points, USB charging, and free WiFi.  They are also fully wheelchair accessible.

Tickets for the Edinburgh Airport bus are £4.50 for one-way or £7.50 for a round-trip (tickets for children are reduced).  You can buy the tickets online here. The tickets are valid for one year from the date you purchase them. Tickets can also be purchased at the airport or on the bus using a contactless payment method like Apple or Google Pay or a contactless debit or credit card.

At the airport, you can find the bus at Stance D look for the “Airlink 100 to City Centre.”  If you want to take the bus from the city center to the airport, you can pick it up at Waverley Bridge which is right outside Waverley Station if you exit from the upper level.

Click here to buy your Edinburgh Airlink Bus ticket in advance.

Note: Airlink night buses are may not be available on Christmas Day, Boxing Day,  or New Year’s Day.

Edinburgh Airport Tram

In 2014, a tram was added as another option to travel from Edinburgh Airport to the city.  The tram runs from the Airport to where York Place meets Broughton Street (about a 10-minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley Station).  

It leaves every seven minutes from 6:18 am to 10:48 pm and the entire journey only takes 35 minutes.  There are 15 stops including Edinburgh Gateway, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Park, Haymarket, St Andrew Square (for Waverley Station), and Princes Street.  See a map of the route here.

The trams are modern and clean.  There are luggage racks for your bags, and they have CCTV cameras for your safety.  You can track the journey’s progress on monitors and there are audio announcements of each stop.  The trams are fully accessible too.

Edinburgh Airport Tram
The Edinburgh Airport Tram is another efficient and affordable transportation option.

It’s a little more expensive than the bus, but still very affordable at £6.00 for one-way or £8.50 for a round-trip (tickets for children are reduced).  Tickets can be purchased from a machine that is available at every tram stop. Credit Cards and cash are accepted but no change is given. When you by a round-trip ticket, the return date is open and you can use it whenever you like.

Be sure to keep your ticket when riding the tram because if you are asked to show it and can’t, you will be charged  £10.

The tram stop is located on the east side of the terminal, just follow the covered walkway.

Book your Edinburgh tram ticket in advance here.

Taxi from Edinburgh Airport to the City

Like any other airport, there is the option to take a taxi.  It takes about 30 minutes to get to the city center by car and you should expect to pay at least £25.00 depending on traffic conditions and final destination.

Even though it is much more expensive than the Airlink Bus or the Airport Tram, it could be the best option if you have a lot of luggage and/or your hotel is not close to one of the bus or tram stops. 

It’s a hassle to take the bus or tram and then have to switch to another bus, train, or taxi. Taxi service door-to-door makes life easy! Airport Transfers Edinburgh

You can grab a taxi at the terminal but it might be easier to book one in advance. 

I like Suntransfers because they offer high-quality door-to-door transfers at reasonable prices. You can choose either a car or a van.   The quoted price includes unlimited waiting time so you don’t have to worry if your flight is delayed​. They don’t charge fees for using credit cards and tolls and gratuities are also included.  If plans change, it’s free to cancel up to 48 hours in advance (or for a small fee you can add the option to cancel up to the time of your transfer).  

Click here to book your transfer from Edinburgh Airport with Suntransfers.

Edinburgh Transportation

While it is easy to get from Edinburgh Airport to the city center 24 hours a day, you need to keep in mind that if you are planning to take a train (or bus) to another city it may be an issue late at night.  For example, the last train going to Galashiels (from Edinburgh Waverley) is 11:54 pm.

Edinburgh Waverley Station
Waverley is Edinburgh’s main train station.

It’s something to keep in mind when booking your flight.  If you arrive late, you may not be able to catch a train to get to your final destination.  In this case, you have two options either book a car service (like Suntransfers) or cab to your destination or a hotel for one night. (Click here to check out the hotel options near Edinburgh Airport).

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Edinburgh Airport Bus vs Airport Tram

Both the Edinburgh Airport Bus and the Airport Tram are affordable public transportation options.  The cost difference between the two isn’t much, so you may be wondering which one to choose.  

In most cases, I would say that the bus is fine and there is no reason to spend the extra (small amount).  The one reason I would say you would need to take the tram is if you only have cash to pay the fare. (Note: While cash is accepted for the tram, they do not give change).

Also, while the routes for both the bus and tram are similar, there are some differences.  If your accommodation is closer to a stop for the tram then it might make sense to take that.


Getting Picked Up at Edinburgh Airport

If you are lucky enough to have friends or family in the area that can come and pick you up from the airport, be aware that unless they pick you up from the Long Stay Parking lot there is a fee.  The fee depends on how long they have to wait for you. It’s £4 for the first 15 minutes and £7 for 15 – 30 minutes.

If you want to avoid the fee, have them wait somewhere near the airport.  Then let them know when you are waiting for the shuttle to the Long Stay parking lot.  They can pick you up for free there but they are only allowed 10 minutes for free. After 10 minutes, the charge is £3.00.

Note: There is a fee of £2.00 for dropping off on the ground floor of the multi-story garage next to the terminal.  To avoid that charge, you would need to be dropped off at the long-stay parking lot and then take the free shuttle to the terminal building.  

Edinburgh Sign
This Edinburgh sign at the airport is a fun photo spot.

Traveling back to Edinburgh Airport

You have the same options when traveling back to the airport in Edinburgh as discussed above.  Just remember that if there are delays it could cause you to miss your flight, so it’s always a good idea to allow extra time. 

If you get to Edinburgh Airport early, you can relax in one of their two lounges. (Note: These lounges are for Priority Pass members.  Click here to find out about becoming a Priority Pass member.  If you are not a member, day passes are available subject to availability).

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The Best Way to Get to Edinburgh City Center from Edinburgh Airport

Luckily, Edinburgh airport has several excellent transportation options.  Personally, I think the Airlink bus is best because it is the cheapest way to get to Edinburgh from the airport.  Plus, it’s fast, convenient, and comfortable. (Click here to book your Edinburgh Airlink Bus tickets in advance).

Still, it might make sense to book a taxi depending on how much luggage you have and your final destination.

What do you think is the best way to go from Edinburgh Airport to the city center?


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dog statue in edinburgh with text overlay

Expert Tips for Traveling between Edinburgh Airport and the City Center

  • Both the Airlink Bus and Airport Tram are reliable and affordable ways to travel from Edinburgh Airport to the city.
  • Book your transportation in advance so that you have one less thing to worry about and you avoid lines if there are any.
  • Be careful about booking flights that land late at night if you need to make a connection to another train.  You may need to book a hotel if you get to the train station after the last train is gone.
  • When you visit Edinburgh, don’t miss Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodhouse Palace.
  • Check out our suggestions for romantic things to do in Scotland too.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we will receive a small commission for some purchases made using links in our blog with no additional cost to you.  Please be assured we would not promote any product unless we believe that our readers will also benefit.  The commission does not influence the editorial content of this site.

Last Updated on April 27, 2023

About the Author

Anisa is an experienced international traveler with extra pages in her passport and stamps from 41 different countries across 5 continents (and counting). She was born and raised in Texas. After a 13 year stint in NYC, she moved to England to live with her husband.