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    Car hire in Edinburgh at the best prices

    Edinburgh is art, history, and architecture in one. Discover a vibrant city which delightfully mixes centuries of fascinating history and medieval heritage with a modern and thriving lifestyle worthy of any metropolis.

    The cityscape of Edinburgh conjures up the romantic but also merciless nature of ancient times. Edinburgh's mythical appearance of a city perched high up on cliffs with a sea view will be stamped on your memory forever.

    Let Auto Europe be your partner on your next quest for adventure in Scotland. We can guarantee you seamless car hire in Edinburgh at the best prices thanks to our long-standing experience and partnership with major car hire suppliers in the region. Visit our Edinburgh car hire reviews and UK car hire reviews pages to find out what our other customers had to say about our services in Edinburgh and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

    How is the traffic in Edinburgh?

    Traffic in Edinburgh city centre can get daunting at times, especially at rush hour with thousands of commuters coming into the city or leaving work. While the roads are fairly well-maintained and streets are well signposted, be careful when driving near the centre because of a large number of not just one-way streets, but also streets restricted to buses and taxi vehicles only. Edinburgh is an easily walkable city and if you are planning a sightseeing tour of the centre, we recommend leaving your car rental in a guarded car park on the city outskirts rather than driving your car hire in Edinburgh downtown.

    You can read more about general traffic-information and driving in Scotland on our informative driving information page here.

    Where can I park my car hire in Edinburgh?

    As with any other big city, finding a free parking space in Edinburgh during rush hour or in the centre is not always easy. The city provides seven big "Park & Ride" facilities ideal for leaving your car rental in Edinburgh in a safe place and heading into the city centre on public transport. It is free to park in these facilities with only one exception - the one in Newcraighall costs only 50 pence for the whole day. In addition, there are numerous on-street and other parking options both free of charge and paid.

    Edinburgh Airport

    Edinburgh Airport offers a large selection of services to ensure you have a comfortable journey. You will find a selection of cafés, bars and restaurants where you can have your meal while waiting. Free Wi-Fi is available at this airport. You will also find currency exchange counters, ATMs, a pharmacy, post office, shops and more. It is only thirty minutes' drive into the city when you pick up a car from Edinburgh Airport.

    Edinburgh Airport (EDI)
    Address: Edinburgh Airport, Edinburgh, EH12 9DN
    Telephone: +44 844 448 8833

    What to do in Edinburgh

    • Arthur's Seat: Head to Holyrood Park for the best view of Edinburgh! The iconic hill known as Arthur's Seat is actually the highest peak in the park with a big and to this date preserved fort. This is also a great opportunity to trek over a volcano as Arthur's Seat is of volcanic origin.

    • Edinburgh Castle: The ancient fortress and the hallmark of Edinburgh is a much cherished part of Scottish heritage and history with its oldest part dating back to the 12th century. Take a guided tour to make the most of your visit and see Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny upon which Scottish kings used to be enthroned, and the One o'clock Gun whose almost daily firing is a well-known Edinburgh tradition.

    • The Scotch Whiskey Experience: This is the place where your whiskey-infused adventure in Edinburgh starts! You will learn how original Scottish whiskey is produced and have an ultimate experience tasting some of the best samples of the most beloved Scottish product!

    • Our Dynamic Earth: Add more wonder to your visit to the Scottish capital with a tour of Our Dynamic Earth. This is a special place where you can travel back in time all the way to the Big Bang and the beginning of everything we know! Dynamic Earth is a unique experience for the whole family. Take your children on a ride with a submarine, fly high above the Arctic and Antarctic, and discover the hidden world under the Ocean in this superb interactive amusement.

    • Museum of Childhood: Experience more magical moments and take a trip down the memory lane in the Museum of Childhood. The whole family will be in for a real treat with toys and games from the past three centuries. The museum is much more than a collection of old toys. There are collections of children's books, clothes, furniture which are an accurate reflection of children's life in the past.

    • Mary King's Close: Add some mystery and even more hands-on history to your visit to the Scottish capital with a tour of Mary King's Close, an allegedly haunted place known as one of the best spots to hear more about the hidden history of Edinburgh. Mary King's Close is a complex of closes that once upon a time were narrow run-down streets packed with tenants. Without a sewage system, the unsanitary conditions made it easy for "The Black Death" to spread and take its toll not only here but also in the rest of Scotland. It is widely believed that around six hundred tenants who lived in the Close were confined in an attempt of quarantine and simply left to die without any help. This is still a myth which has not been confirmed to the date. Mary King's Close was altogether sealed up in the 19th century and has not been opened until recently discovered by construction workers. It has soon turned into one of the best visited Edinburgh attractions with guided tours extremely popular with tourists.

    • Princes Street: Welcome to Princess Street, the main shopping haven of Edinburgh, and the perfect place for enjoying the panorama of the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle. As buildings are generally forbidden on the south side, you will have a fantastic view of the aforementioned sites. If you are visiting in summer, bring a blanket and have a picnic and some downtime after all that shopping in the Princess Street Gardens.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Edinburgh

    • The Highlands
      See the drama and feel the magic in the Scottish Highlands on a one-day trip with your rent a car in Edinburgh. This place is truly like no other and is an undeniable embodiment of everything Scottish - the stunning scenery, the echo of ancient times, and heritage. A lot has been written about the Highlands and the veil of mystery that surrounds it. Prepare for a fantastic trip into a region of fascinating beauty with an inevitable touch of history on every step.
    • Isle of Skye
      The Isle of Skye is a fairytale with an otherworldly appearance and spectacular scenery. Drawing tourists like a magnet, Skye is world-famous for its rugged coastline, sweeping vistas, and mysteriously looking mountains shrouded in mist. We recommend spending at least two days on the isle and leaving enough time for hiking, exploring and taking photos on the "cloud island". Even at times when the weather doesn't play along, the number of art galleries and castles will not leave you disappointed.
    • Cairngorms National Park
      Take some time off and soak in the stunning nature of the Cairngorms National Park. The most famous national park in Scotland awaits you with a plethora of hiking trails, moorlands and forests. Spend a day at the park to recuperate and forget the hustle and bustle of the city life. If you prefer an active holiday, don't worry! Cairngorms National Park offers a wide range of activities for everyone!
    • St. Andrews and the Villages of Fife
      With St. Andrews being home to Scottish oldest university dating back from the 15th century and well-preserved ruins from the medieval times, you can expect an interesting tour abundant with historic sites and charming corners. The next part of your journey will take you to the fishing villages perfect for a romantic stroll in the sunset.
    • Glasgow
      The city of Glasgow deserves one day of your time in Scotland especially if you are a history and fine architecture buff. Stroll down the streets in the centre and admire Victorian buildings, exquisite art in numerous galleries, and top it off with a nice cup of tea at one of the fancy restaurants at the waterfront.
    • Loch Ness
      Even if you don't believe in monsters and have no intention of meeting the one from Loch Ness face to face, you should still consider a trip to Inverness and its famous loch. Besides the wildlife and wonderful hills, there are plenty of active holiday opportunities for the whole family around Loch Ness.

    Geographic Information & History

    Edinburgh has a marine west coast climate and enjoys temperate weather. During summer the city really comes alive. World-famous festivals and cultural events are held during the warmer months, and the gardens and attractions are buzzing with life. During winter the city can become quite cold and rainy so remember to take an umbrella!

    When Romans arrived on the island with the intention of conquering it, they were confronted with a mysterious folk who they named "Picti" because of their appearance. Quite mysterious and having left only few traces in history, the Picts remain a controversial folk thought to have been sophisticated and highly skilled as farmers and artists. The Romans' attempts to conquer these fierce warriors failed and they remained almost intact beyond Hadrian's Wall to the north up to Shetlands. The Picts managed to preserve their unique culture by resisting the Romans and the Vikings.

    Britons also attacked the Picts quite frequently which finally resulted in Picts accepting one and only High King. There are records suggesting that the Pictish tribes lived as a distinct people until the early 10th century when they slowly merged with the Scotti, Angles and Britons or were "swallowed" by the newly imposed Gaelic culture.

    The Grampian Mountains used to be the natural border between these tribes and being apart is evident in the way both cultures developed. Although geographically relatively close, despite some similarities such as pagan religion and practicing magic and sacrifice, there are important differences in many other aspects, especially art.

    Believed to be a tribe of Irish origin, Scots, whose main language was Irish, colonized the west of Scotland. The king of Dalriada's mother was Pictish and as they inherited the throne via the matrilineal line, he used it to unite Scotland and make it one kingdom in the late 9th century. About two centuries later, his descendant Malcolm II won the Battle of Carham, defeating the Angles and thus including Edinburgh into his kingdom. As his son Duncan was killed by Macbeth, as in the famous Shakespeare's play inspired by this historic event, the successor of the throne was Malcolm II's grandson Canmore. Canmore's wife Margaret was of Saxon origin and together they established a government and religion system in Scotland inspired by the Anglo-Norman one. Although their home was Dunfermline, the royal couple often stayed in their castle on the rock in Edinburgh. There are mentions of a settlement started to flourish under the rock. The castle itself is believed to have been a fort on the hill during the Iron Age. Unfortunately, the history was silent about it for several centuries until it was mentioned again in a poem glorifying strong warriors of Gododdin at Din Eidyn (Edinburgh) in the 7th century.

    After Scots' King Malcolm took over Edinburgh, the castle grew more important. His widow Margaret died in the castle and was consequently canonised. In her honour, Malcolm's sons built a church especially for her on Castle Rock and founded the Holyrood Abbey, whose ruins can still be seen and visited. The castle became the treasury and the main official residence of Malcolm IV, the successor of King Malcolm.

    The next centuries saw Edinburgh grow and change under various influences. The city was a stronghold of the early Scottish Reformation in the 16th century. The 17th century brought about a royal union of England and Scotland known as The Union of the Crowns although Scotland retained its parliament. However, at the turn of the 18th century, the English and Scottish Parliaments passed the Acts of Union which united them into one parliament, and, despite the dissatisfaction of the local population, the two countries merged into one kingdom, the Kingdom of Great Britain.

    Edinburgh slowly started to be recognised as not only a European, but also an international centre of natural and social sciences, advanced thinkers, and new ideas typical of the age of Enlightenment. Unlike its intellectual side, the city's commerce and prosperity declined and it was taken over Glasgow in the 19th century.

    The modern Edinburgh is a city of uttermost importance for Scottish tourism. It is a platform for some of the most popular art festivals in the UK and a favourite destination of millions of tourists drawn to it by its allure.

    Edinburgh is an international gateway for travellers and located on the east coast and southern shore of the Firth of Forth. The city sits atop mountain crags and extinct volcanoes, and looks quite distinct compared to the surrounding flat Lothian landscape. Edinburgh Castle stands proudly at the head of Old Town on Castle Rock, which is home to an exciting maze of cobbled streets, Reformation-Era buildings and hidden gems. Visit the New Town, which contrasts wonderfully with its beautiful neoclassical and Georgian architecture.

    How to get around Edinburgh

    Edinburgh is served by an extensive network of trains, trams and buses. Getting around is quite easy and information is simple to follow. Buses are the main form of transport with the main operator being Lothian Buses. Tickets are quite cheap for all day use. A new tram line has been built in the recent years and it connects the airport and city via Princes Street, Haymarket, Murrayfield Stadium, the Stenhouse area and the Gyle shopping centre. Trains are one of the fastest forms of transport in the city but that being said, they are also more expensive.

    Can I hire a campervan in Edinburgh?

    The Scottish capital city is a great starting point for further travels across the country. The magnificent Highlands and picturesque islands are any traveller's dream. A campervan holiday in Scotland is one of the best ways to see this fascinating country. Take a look at Auto Europe's offer for motorhomes in Edinburgh and see if a caravan holiday tickles your fancy.

    Useful links

    Tourist Guide Edinburgh