How To: Edinburgh Airport to City Centre by Tram, Bus or Taxi

Getting from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre can be fast and easy. Let me tell you exactly how to use the different modes of transport.

Edinburgh Scotland

I’ve lived in Edinburgh and I used to run my own travel agency that customized Scotland tours. So I know the route from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre quite well.

Kristoffer FΓΈns in Edinburgh

I won’t bore you with a lengthy introduction because getting from Edinburgh Airport to the city is actually extremely straightforward.

Planning a last minute trip to Edinburgh? 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Here are my favourite places to stay & things to do in Scotland's capital.

πŸ›Œ Places to Stay:
1. My favourite luxury hotel: The Balmoral
2. My favourite mid-range hotel: Apex Waterloo Place Hotel
3. My favourite cheap hotel: Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile

🎟️ Top Activities & Tours:
1. Day trip to The Scottish Highlands (the nature will blow your mind!)
2. Edinburgh Castle (get skip-the-line tickets & a guided tour here)
3. Take a Harry Potter walking tour through the Old Town
4. Step down into Edinburgh’s hidden history at The Real Mary King’s Close

So, let’s get started with this guide – there’s no need to beat around the bush πŸ˜€

Airlink Express Bus

edinburgh airport bus, cheap and fast way to get to the city centre

When I first started travelling to Edinburgh, I thought the tram was the fastest way to the city centre.

The Airlink Express bus is faster than the tram and cheaper as well.

This makes the Airlink Express bus a preferred choice for many, including myself, when considering the balance between efficiency and cost.

Signs at Edinburgh Airport
Follow the signs and you’ll reach the bus in 2 minutes from the arrivals hall.

Located just outside the main airport terminal, the buses are easy to spot and access.

Airlink express bus stop A at Edinburgh Airport
The bus stop is right outside the arrivals hall at Edinburgh Airport.

They offer comfortable seating, good space for luggage (it’s a special airport express bus so they know that the customers have a lot of suitcases), and complimentary Wi-Fi.

I’m not usually a big fan of buses, but I’ve surrendered to taking the bus from Edinburgh Airport whenever I’m travelling to the Scottish capital.

Journey time & bus times

Info screen with bus times at Edinburgh Airport
There are screens like this in the arrivals hall to see when the next bus is leaving – the Airlink Express is bus number 100.

The journey to the heart of Edinburgh takes approximately 30 minutes.

With buses departing at least every 10 minutes throughout most of the day and night, and every 30 minutes between 1:00 AM and 4:00 AM, the service is tailored to accommodate passengers arriving on flights at all hours.

You can also see the timetable online here.

The route itself is thoughtfully planned to stop at key locations across Edinburgh, including Edinburgh Zoo, Murrayfield, and Haymarket Station, before reaching the city centre.

Notably, the Princes Street stop is designated for drop-offs only, making it an ideal point for those looking to immerse themselves immediately in the vibrant atmosphere of Edinburgh’s main shopping and tourist area.

  • Princes Street is one of Edinburgh’s main streets

The bus also stops at South St David Street, providing further convenience for travelers.

South St David Street is also where the route from the city to the airport begins, so if you’re staying in the city centre this will be the bus stop you’ll use when leaving for the airport.

If you haven’t booked your hotel yet, check out my guide to the best areas and places to stay in Edinburgh or watch my video:

Bus tickets

A single journey costs Β£5.50, and a return ticket costs Β£8.

Tickets for the Airlink Express bus are designed with flexibility in mind.

Single tickets allow for one journey in either direction.

You can buy your tickets online at GetYourGuide here, or you can buy them when boarding the bus.

I prefer to pre-book to take out as much stress as possible from my travel days, but of course that’s totally up to you.

Furthermore, the return tickets, which do not expire, allow visitors to return to the airport anytime without pre-booking, adding an additional layer of ease for exploring Edinburgh.

Check my guide on the best things to see and do in Edinburgh.

Tram

Edinburgh Airport tram ticket
I used the tram last year.

The tram service from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre is also a nice mode of transport offering direct access but with a journey time slightly longer than the bus, largely due to its numerous stops.

Covering the distance in around 35 minutes, trams run every 7 minutes from early morning till late at night (from approximately 6:18 am to 10:48 pm), ensuring availability aligns with most arrival times.

tram stations edinburgh

Ticket pricing is Β£7 for a single trip and Β£9 for an open return, making the tram a slightly more expensive choice than the bus.

The tram station at the airport is only about 100 metres from the airport terminal, the tram stop is easy for passengers to find upon arrival.

Edinburgh Airport tram station

You can’t buy tickets online, but there are ticket machines and staff on hand at the tram station at Edinburgh Airport.

It stops directly at key city locations like Haymarket, the West End, and Princes Street, enhancing its appeal for those who prioritize sightseeing or specific drop-off points.

Edinburgh tram stations

The trade-off with the tram is its slower pace through the city centre due to these additional stops, where mainly locals disembark.

Unlike the express bus, which bypasses these local destinations for a quicker arrival, the tram offers a comprehensive route that might appeal more to visitors needing to access specific points.

As I mentioned earlier, the tram is a great way to get from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre – but I think the bus is slightly better (and it’s cheaper)

Taxi

Edinburgh
You can look forward to experiencing the beautiful streets of Edinburgh.

Taxis from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre are not too expensive as the airport is rather close to the city.

Only licensed taxis operate at the airport, so you can be sure you’ll get a reliable and scam-free experience.

These taxis must use a meter for every journey, providing transparency and peace of mind for travelers concerned about overcharging.

Typically, the fare to the city centre is around Β£30, making taxis a convenient choice for those traveling in groups or with significant luggage.

The journey to the city centre can vary between 20 to 30 minutes, influenced by your specific destination within Edinburgh and the current traffic conditions.

This makes taxis the fastest mode of transport compared to the tram and bus, especially during off-peak hours when the roads are clearer.

There’s no need to pre-book a taxi, as that will cost you a lot more. On the occasions when I’ve needed one, I’ve never had to wait for one at Edinburgh Airport.

Here are some of my favourite things to do in Edinburgh:

So, step off the plane confidently, knowing that this historic city’s heart is just a short journey away. Whichever option you choose, you’re on the right track to starting your Edinburgh adventure with ease.

Read all my Edinburgh travel guides here.

If you have any questions about Edinburgh Airport or the city in general, feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to help.

Websites I use to book my trips πŸ‘‡

β€’ Booking.com has the best offers on hotels and unique places to stay
β€’ GetYourGuide is the best place to book tours & activities with free cancellation
β€’ Omio is my go-to booking platform for trains in Europe
β€’ Welcome Pickups is the best & safest place to pre-book airport transfers

Psst πŸ‘€ Have you subscribed to my Youtube channel and my Instagram where I provide more useful travel tips?