Crowned by one of the greatest castles in Scotland, bejewelled by a brilliant Old Town, awash with taverns dipped in drams of whisky, and flaunting fantastic Gothic and Baronial buildings by the bucket load, Edinburgh is a dreamy destination for a few days’ break. Delve in to wander the Royal Mile and witness the grandeur of Holyroodhouse (the Queen’s official residence north of the border). Come to taste haggis, neeps and tatties (the national dish), and to scramble up Arthur’s Seat to gain sweeping views of the Lowlands and the shores of the Firth of Forth. Amazing stuff.
If any of that’s got you looking to book your trip to Edinburgh right away, be sure to consider Airbnb as an option. The sharing service has all sorts of properties on offer in the Scottish capital. There are classically-furnished historic apartments deep in the old city. There are rustic cottages on the outskirts that’ll have you immersed in Lowland nature. And there are uber-lux modern flats with spacious living quarters and multiple bedrooms. Let’s check them out…
Airbnb in Edinburgh is totally legal. You won’t have any issues browsing and booking your place over the platform, and you don’t have to worry about breaking any laws when you do arrive in the historic city to check in. You might be asked to present your passport on arrival in your Airbnb – just the same as you would in a traditional hotel in the Scottish capital.
Where should I stay in Edinburgh Airbnb?
Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage city centre is made up of the Old Town (1) and the New Town(2), both of which come packed with history and major sights. Near to those is the upcoming hipster enclave of Stockbridge(3), which boasts vintage shopping and delicatessens that brim with tempting Scottish foods. For salty seafood in the port area of Edinburgh, Leith(4) is the best choice. Dean Village(5), meanwhile, is a doozy for anyone on a romantic weekend away, while Portobello (6) has the capital’s bustling seaside promenade – a joy in the summer months.
Oodles of sights
History everywhere you look
The whole area is photogenic
Charms run thick and fast through the maze of lanes and alleys and cobbled side streets that is the Edinburgh Old Town. As the name implies, this UNESCO-attested district is the oldest part of the Scottish capital. It’s also its most touristic. But don’t let that put you off, because first-time visitors are sure to be wowed by the walks of the iconic Royal Mile and the muscular rises of Edinburgh Castle high above. The area also hosts other draws, like the coffee shop where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the turrets of the Palace of Holyroodhouse – the Edinburgh residence of the Queen, no less!
The New Town isn’t actually that new. It was built in the 1700s and 1800s to inject Edinburgh with a little more living room. That means you can get ready to delve into a symphony of Georgian and Neo-Gothic architecture, all spreading northwards from the Old Town and the great rises of Edinburgh Castle – both of which are within easy walking distance. These days, the New Town is a hubbub of activity. It’s got shopping aplenty down drags like Princes Street. It’s loaded with roastery cafes and craft beer pubs. The gastronomy, meanwhile, is a multicultural haze of tacos and Rajput curries and Middle Eastern mezze.
There’s no doubt about it – Stockbridge is on the up! The chosen stomping ground of Edinburgh’s young professionals and creatives, it’s started to sprout everything from bespoke bookshops to antiques emporiums to artisanal cheesemakers. So, you’ll never be short of a Scottish-made brie or a sidewalk café serving single-origin Costa Rican brews here. And you might just need all those refreshments between bouts of shopping in the Stockbridge boutiques and gazing at the grand Victorian terraces that call the neighbourhood home.
Once a gritty port, Leith has shed its industrial credentials for something a little edgier. The quaysides and depots have all been dropped in favour of acclaimed seafood eateries (some with Michelin stars, no less) and buzzy cafés. The district hosts the Leith Walk shopping strip, where vintage clothes and local Scottish crafts mingle in the stockrooms. But there’s still a trace of the maritime history – just mosey over to the Royal Yacht Britannia, where you’ll get to tour opulent court rooms that once sailed the seven seas.
Transport yourself back in time and away from the bustle of the big city by choosing to bed down in Dean Village. This is a surprising enclave of central Edinburgh that looks more like a small Scottish Highland hamlet than a corner of the capital. You’ll find it straddling a babbling brook on the north-west edge of the New Town, topped by handsome Neo-Gothic buildings that date to the middle of the 1800s. It’s quiet and romantic, but still within walking distance of Edinburgh Castle and the mainstay attractions.
If you want to feel the sand on your feet and the salt spray off the North Sea, there’s nothing for it but an escape to Portobello. Running down the shoreline of the Firth of Forth on the eastern edge of the city, it’s got handsome runs of turn-of-the-century and 1920s buildings that hit a zenith on the seafront promenade. That’s where they host artisan bakeries and cosy cafés, hearty Scottish pubs and fun-filled amusement arcades. It’s an especially great part of town for families during the warmer summer months.
Brimming with history but with an edge of modern kitsch, this Airbnb Plus listing occupies pride of place on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Inside, the walls are dressed in vintage portraits of kings and queens and nobles, while some rooms come packed, head-to-toe, in books and tomes. Outside, Edinburgh Castle looms high just to the west, while the bustle and beauty of the Old Town is right on the doorstep.
Prepare to be enchanted! This is one gorgeous Airbnb, set between the Georgian-era suburbs and leafy hills on the south side of the city. It might be far from the sights, but it transports you to a whole other world. It’s got rough-stone walls and a cosy lounge warmed by a crackling fireplace. There are real-wood beams arching over a beautiful kitchen, along with a bed carved into a huge log of oak. It’s everything you’d expect of a property that dates to the 16th century!
Take the family away from the hustle of the tourist crowds and gain a little extra living space with this contemporary apartment up in Leith. Close to the sights and to the wave-bashed seaside, it’s certainly got the location to keep the little ones entertained. On top of that is a trio of individual bedrooms and a lounge with its own stove fireplace. Cosy in the winter; convenient any time of the year.
Stately Georgian Family Townhouse with Castle Views
There’s a real air of opulence about this heritage home in the New Town quarter of Edinburgh. Boasting castle views and a prime location on the edge of the main historic core of the capital, there’s a whopping six bedrooms and six bathrooms on offer inside. The décor is a medley of dangling chandeliers and gold-leafed mirrors and grand pianos, which means there’s pampering in store for your whole group.
Located in a haunting Victorian jailhouse, this stylish ‘posh-tel’ is a budget accommodation choice with a difference. Airbnb lists beds for rent in their dormitories. But you don’t just get a run-of-the-mill bunk. You get a fully-fledged hostel pod, which affords guests extra privacy, their own charging points, reading lights, and more. There’s also a top communal space where you can meet and share a beer with fellow travelers before hitting the town.
It’s usually the case that Airbnb rentals in Edinburgh are a little cheaper than hotels. That’s not just because nightly rates tend to be lower, but also because you can make the most of multi-room apartments to share the cost with your whole travel crew. What’s more, Airbnbs in lesser-known neighbourhoods like Stockbridge and Portobello can save you stacks compared to centrally located hotels, and lots of rentals offer generous weekly discounts to the tune of 50% or more.
One downside of plumping for an Airbnb in Edinburgh is that you won’t get the same personal and hands-on service that comes with a hotel stay. Breakfast buffet selections, on-site lobby bars, private concierges and daily housekeeping are all things you’ll need to pay a tad extra for. Somewhere like the top-rated Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh City can give you those, all from its fine location near Calton Hill on the side of the New Town.