Did you know Edinburgh is home to the world’s largest theater festival?

Edinburgh Fringe runs the entire month of August, with over 3,000 shows running.

Naturally, as someone who is totally theater obsessed, I’ve had Edinburgh at the top of my summer bucket list for a while.

So, last year, after another trip with a friend fell apart, I booked myself a solo trip to Edinburgh finally to cross this epic festival off my bucket list.

I knew I’d fall in love with the festival, but I didn’t realize just how much I’d end up adoring this gorgeous city.

It’s perfect for solo travelers because it’s safe, super walkable, and has tons to do.

Plus, Scottish people are some of the kindest and chattiest people you’ll meet.

You may arrive in Edinburgh alone, but I can guarantee you’ll leave with at least one new friend and plenty of memories of fun banter with locals.

Because of this, I always recommend Edinburgh to friends who are getting ready to plan their first ever international solo trips.

So grab a pen and get ready to take notes, because I’m about to tell you everything you need to know about Edinburgh solo travel!

Getting Around Guide for Edinburgh Solo Travel

Public Transportation

Golden Gate Bridge Vintage Postcard5

Edinburgh has a wonderful public transportation system that includes buses and trams.

Their bus system covers most areas of interest, making it a great city to explore on a budget.

Single tickets cost £2.50, but you can buy a day ticket for £4.50 that allows unlimited travel on Lothian Buses services.

Depending on where you’re heading, you can also purchase a Ridacard, which is a card that allows unlimited travel on Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams.

Cabs and Ubers

Cabs and Ubers in Edinburgh

You can easily hail black metered cabs on the street in Edinburgh. The city council regulates their fares, so you don’t need to worry about getting ripped off.

If you prefer to know the cost of your ride up front, book an Uber. I ended up taking one to the airport in the early morning while I was there and had the friendliest driver.


Edinburgh Arthurs Seat Ally Aug 2022

Edinburgh is easily one of the most beautiful cities I’ve had the pleasure of wandering around.

Anyone who knows me well, knows walking is always my first preference when traveling.

I love that exploring a city on foot reveals hidden gems and helps you develop a sense of direction.

Edinburgh is relatively small, so walking distances are fairly quick. For example, you can easily walk from the Royal Mile to Princes Street in 10 minutes.

Local’s Tip: It’s important to wear comfortable shoes, as some parts of Edinburgh can be hilly.

Accommodation Options


Accommodation Options in Edinburgh for Solo Travelers

Staying in a hostel is a great way to meet other travelers and save money on accommodation.

There’s lots of hostels in Edinburgh that cater specifically to solo travelers. Most offer things like group activities and social hours.

Some of the best hostels in Edinburgh for solo travelers are:

  • Castle Rock Hostel
  • CODE Hostel
  • The Baxter Hostel


hotel rooms for staying alone in edinburgh

If you prefer a bit more privacy and luxury, there are also plenty of hotels in Edinburgh that cater to solo travelers.

Some of the most popular hotels in Edinburgh for solo travelers are:

  • Virgin Hotels Edinburgh
  • Princes Street Suites
  • The Glasshouse

Best Things to Do in Edinburgh Solo

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle Aug 2022

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, so it should be at the top of your list of places to visit.

This historic fortress sits on top of an extinct volcano and offers stunning views of the city.

Inside the castle, you get to check out the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Great Hall, and the Royal Palace.

Plus, you’ll learn all about the city’s past, including the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the other British monarchs who used to live there.

Just don’t wait until the last minute to reserve your entry. My trip to Edinburgh was spontaneous, so I didn’t score a ticket because during August they sell out a week in advance.

Royal Mile

Royal Mile edinburgh

The Royal Mile is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Edinburgh.

You’ll get to explore shops, restaurants, and historic buildings.

Don’t forget to stop and admire the famous St. Giles’ Cathedral and the Dugald Stewart Monument.

Arthur’s Seat

View from Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland Aug 2022

Hiking up Arthur’s Seat is a must if you are looking for a fun outdoor adventure with an amazing view

Wondering what Arthur’s Seat is?

It’s an extinct volcano offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

I absolutely loved it when I did a little sunset hike to the top.

My only regret was not bringing a small picnic to enjoy on one of the less windy peaks.

It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists, so don’t miss out on seeing it!

National Museum of Scotland

National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Scotland.

It’s got a wide range of exhibits, including displays on Scottish history, science, and technology.

Local’s Tip: Don’t forget to check out the Dolly the Sheep exhibit, which tells the story of the first cloned mammal.

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura edinburgh

If you are looking for a bit of fun, then a visit to the Camera Obscura is a must.

It’s an interactive museum with optical illusions and other fun exhibits.

Oh, and don’t miss out on their rooftop terrace, which offers stunning views of the city.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse Edinburgh Scotland August 2022

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland.

Many people probably remember it being featured in the news last September when Queen Elizabeth passed away.

They kept her body at The Palace of Holyroodhouse before returning to London.

I got to visit while I was there in August to see the palace and a special exhibit on Queen Elizabeth’s wardrobe in honor of her Jubilee.

There’s so much history, so many works of art, and tons of gorgeous architecture to admire.

Most of the time, the palace is open to the public, and you can explore the State Apartments, the Great Gallery, and the Throne Room.

If the weather is nice, give yourself time to stroll through the palace gardens, which are filled with beautiful flowers and sculptures.

Royal Botanic Garden

Royal Botanic Garden edinburgh scotland

This stunning garden is home to a wide range of plants and flowers, including rare and endangered species.

The Royal Botanic Garden also has a great Rock Garden, which features plants from around the world.

Scott Monument

Scott Monument edinburgh scotland

The Scott Monument is a Gothic tower that offers stunning views of the city, and you can climb to the top for a panoramic view of Edinburgh.

Fun Fact: The statue honors Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.

St Giles’ Cathedral

St Giles Cathedral edinburgh scotland

St. Giles’ Cathedral is a beautiful medieval church that’s on the Royal Mile.

You’ll get to enjoy stunning stained glass windows and intricate carvings.

For a deeper understanding of the history and significance of this beautiful building, check out one of their popular tours.

Scottish National Gallery

Scottish National Gallery Edinburgh Scotland Aug 2022 1

The Scottish National Gallery houses works from several iconic artists, and is a must-visit. It’s got an impressive collection of art including pieces from Vincent van Gogh, John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas.

Literary and Harry Potter Tours


Edinburgh is called the “City of Literature“, and it’s easy to see why.

The city has been home to many famous writers, including Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and J.K. Rowling.

You can take a literary tour of the city to explore its rich literary heritage, or even take a Harry Potter tour to see the sights that inspired J.K. Rowling’s famous series.

Local’s Tip: The Elephant House Cafe, where Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book, is a popular spot for fans.

Edinburgh Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe Aug 2022

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, with thousands performing in August. I was lucky enough to go last year and had an absolute ball running around checking out shows.

The festival is the largest arts festival in the world, featuring thousands of performances in comedy, theater, music, and more.

With so much to see and do, the Edinburgh Fringe is seriously an unforgettable experience, especially if you’re a massive theater nerd like me!

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is another popular event each August, featuring military bands and dancers from around the world. This is one ticket you need to be book early!

Pubs and Bars

Pubs and Bars edinburgh

Edinburgh is famous for its pubs and bars, and I’m happy to say they live up to the hype.

From traditional Scottish pubs to trendy cocktail bars, there’s no shortage of spots to grab a drink.

These are some classic spots to imbibe in Edinburgh:

Nightclubs and Cocktails

bars in edinburgh

Obviously, when you’re traveling solo, you need to be careful going out drinking, so use common sense, but also have fun.

Since I was in town to see Edinburgh Fringe, I missed out on checking out the club scene, but my local friends tell me it’s fantastic.

These are the spots they recommended I check out on my next trip to Edinburgh:

If you’re more of a cocktail person, these are a few of the spots I really enjoyed grabbing drinks at between shows:

Have a Sweet Treat

Marys Milk Bar Edinburgh Scotland

Any foodie who’s been to Edinburgh knows that grabbing some gelato at Mary’s Milk Bar is a must while in town.

This retro dessert parlor pretty much always has a giant line, but don’t worry, it moves fast.

Fair warning, everything is take away, so plan on either walking with your treat or finding a patch of nearby grass to chill on.

Ghost and Walking Tours

Golden Gate Bridge Vintage Postcard10

Joining a walking tour is one of the easiest ways to find out about local gems while making new friends while traveling solo.

Lucky for you, Edinburgh is a city that’s stunning to stroll around of year.

I really love walking around, taking the sights in with music playing on my phone, but sometimes if I’m feeling more social, I’ll sign up for a walking tour.

Best Day Trips From Edinburgh

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands scotland

I’ve been told a visit to the Scottish Highlands is a must-do experience when in Edinburgh.

They’re popular for their stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture.

However, this is still on my Scottish bucket list, since seeing Fringe shows was my priority during my time in town.

One of the most popular destinations in the Scottish Highlands is Glencoe, a breathtaking valley surrounded by mountains.

You can also visit Loch Lomond, the largest freshwater loch in Scotland.

The best part is they have day trips from Edinburgh to explore the best of the Highlands.


glasgow scotland

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and is only an hour away from Edinburgh by train.

With a rich history, great shopping, and a lively nightlife scene, this city is a must-visit when exploring Scotland.

You can easily take a day trip to Glasgow from Edinburgh to explore the city’s many museums, galleries, and historic landmarks.

Don’t miss checking out Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which houses a vast collection of art and artifacts.

You can also explore the Glasgow Cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, and the nearby Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery with stunning views of the city.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness Scotland

Fancy a trip to spot the infamous Loch Ness Monster?

Lucky for you, it’s a popular day trip from Edinburgh.

While you’re there, don’t miss seeing the famous Urquhart Castle, which dates back to the 13th century and offers stunning views of the Loch.

You can also take a boat ride on Loch Ness and try to spot the elusive Nessy.

Even if you don’t spot her, the boat ride offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Scotland.

Tips for Traveling to Edinburgh Alone

Safety and Confidence

Tips for Traveling to Edinburgh Alone

One of the biggest concerns for any solo traveler is safety.

While Edinburgh is a generally safe city, it’s important to use common sense

Here are some tips and tricks to traveling solo with confidence:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If a situation feels uncomfortable, remove yourself from it.
  • Keep your valuables, such as your passport and money, in a secure location, like a hotel safe.
  • Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas. Stick to well-lit and busy streets.
  • Walk with confidence and don’t walk around staring at your phone screen instead of your surroundings.
  • Research the area you’ll be staying in and familiarize yourself with the local emergency services.
  • Do some research and make a rough itinerary of what you want to see and do. This will help you feel more organized and in control.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or directions if you need them.
  • Embrace the freedom of solo travel and enjoy the opportunity to do things on your own terms.
  • Remember that solo travel is empowering and a great way to build confidence.

Solo Female Travel in Edinburgh

Solo Female Travel in Edinburgh

Everyone in Scotland is so friendly that it’s pretty easy to feel safe in Edinburgh as a solo female traveler.

In fact, I felt safe the entire time, even running around town close to midnight for some Fringe shows.

However, I would suggest hopping in an Uber late night if you’re in a less populated area. I took one home to my Airbnb in Leith any time I was out after midnight, at the recommendation of a local friend.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is an important for any trip, but it’s especially important any time you’re traveling solo. Here are some things I like to always keep in mind when it comes to finding the right travel insurance.

  • Make sure your insurance policy covers solo travel and any activities you plan to do, such as adventure sports or hiking.
  • Read the fine print and understand what is and isn’t covered, including any deductibles or exclusions.
  • Keep a copy of your insurance policy and emergency contact information with you at all times.

I always use Safety Wing. I’ve been using them since I began my travel blogging journey in 2020, and even though I’ve never needed to use my insurance, their customer service is excellent and comprehensive.

There’s tons of companies to choose from, so do your research, and Remember to stay safe, be confident, and enjoy the adventure of independent travel.

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Is Edinburgh Good for a Solo Trip?

edinburgh scotland cold town house

Absolutely! Edinburgh is a great destination for solo travelers because it’s safe, has something for everyone, and is easy to navigate.

Is Edinburgh Good for Solo Female Travelers?

Yes, Edinburgh is a great destination for solo female travelers. It’s a generally safe and welcoming city, and there are plenty of things to see and do that are suitable for women traveling solo.

How Many Days Do You Need in Edinburgh?

How Many Days Do You Need in Edinburgh

To really experience all that Edinburgh offers, I’d recommend spending at least three to four days in the city.

This will give you enough time to explore the city’s historic sites, enjoy its nightlife, and take in some of the surrounding countryside.

I spent four days and still had a bunch on my to-do list since I prioritized seeing Fringe shows over tourist attractions. So if you’re coming for a festival, give yourself extra time or be okay not seeing everything.

And if you’re short on time, and only have a day or two to devote to Edinburgh, you can still see many of the city’s highlights!

What are the Best Pubs in Edinburgh for Solo Travelers?

What are the Best Pubs in Edinburgh for Solo Travelers

There are many great pubs in Edinburgh that are perfect for solo travelers.

Some of my favorites are The Bow Bar, The Last Drop, and The Royal Oak. These pubs offer great vibes, solid drinks, and plenty of opportunities to meet new people.

What are Some Things to Do Alone in Edinburgh at Night?

Edinburgh at Night Aug 2022

Edinburgh has a vibrant nightlife scene, and there are plenty of things to do alone in the city at night.

You can take a ghost tour of the city’s haunted sites, catch a show at one of the city’s many theatres, or simply enjoy a drink at one a pub or bar.

Whatever you choose to do, just use common sense when running around after dark.

What are the Top Attractions for Solo Travel in Edinburgh?

Arthurs Seat Edinburgh Scotland August 2022

Edinburgh has many tons of attractions that are perfect for solo travelers.

Some of the must-see sites include Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and Arthur’s Seat.

You can also explore the city’s many museums and galleries, or in the summer, take a stroll through its beautiful parks and gardens.

Final Thoughts on Edinburgh Solo

Ally Edinburgh Scotland Aug 2022

I hope this post has you next level excited to solo travel Edinburgh.

Writing it certainly has me debating if I can squeeze in another visit this August for Fringe Festival.

Let me know in the comments below what you’re most excited to check out on your solo trip to Edinburgh.


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