Why are we writing an article about the best hostels in Edinburgh? Well…
Edinburgh’s charm is in its contrasts, the medieval and Jacobean architecture side by side with modern structures, the imposing castles surrounded by elegant Georgian streets. It is also a city of green parks and gardens, with the wide-open spaces of Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat, and Calton Hill offering breathtaking views over the city.
Edinburgh has been described as having a ‘village’ feel to it, though this does not mean that it lacks in culture or things to do. The city of over half-a-million inhabitants and visiting Edinburgh is often part of the path of backpackers and travelers exploring Britain.
In this article, we reveal the 3 best hostels in Edinburgh, but more than that, we will give you a guide to enjoy the Scottish capital.
Where is Edinburgh Located
Edinburgh is located in the southern part of Scotland, in the north of Great Britain, on the east coast. It is about 400 miles (640 kilometers) north of London and has a population of a little more than 500,000 people.
The weather in Edinburgh is fairly similar to that of England and Wales (albeit a little colder due to the latitude), with warm summers, cold winters, and rain all year round.
In July and August, the average temperature is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), but it can get much warmer than that. In January and February, the average temperature is around 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), but there are occasional cold waves dropping the temperature far below zero.
What is Edinburgh Famous For
Edinburgh’s accent is one of the quirks that travelers notice. The sound of it sends a grin to the lips of both residents and outsiders, yet it is sometimes difficult to interpret.
The ‘Edinburgh accent‘ is a mash-up of numerous speech patterns, making it difficult to understand sometimes. It’s like an English accent with a Scottish burr or twang.
The food of Scotland’s capital is a blend of traditional and modern, characterized by the global characteristics of a European metropolis with eateries from every continent. There are eateries providing practically every cuisine imaginable. However, if you want to experience some traditional Scottish cuisine, simply go along the Royal Mile and eat anything from one of the numerous restaurants that line this area.
The most famous food in Edinburgh has to be haggis. Haggis, a Scottish delicacy, is cooked with minced sheep’s heart, lungs, and liver combined with onions, oats, suet, and spices. It’s traditionally served with “neeps and tatties,” which are mashed turnips (also known as swedes) and potatoes topped with butter or cream.
The city also has an ample offer of free city tours, where guides only ask for a tip at the end if you are satisfied.
How Many Days in Edinburgh?
Do you know that one individual that is constantly late everywhere they go? If you don’t plan ahead of time, that will be an issue during your trip to Edinburgh.
It’s easy to become lost in the city’s twisting streets, and even if you’re not lost, you can have problems finding your way around.
Besides, I’m sure you don’t want to rush throughout your trip, do you?
You’ll need at least three days for sightseeing to give yourself some buffer time. Spend at least two days exploring Edinburgh’s famous medieval history, including Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh’s Old Town, and the Scott Monument. But if you are in the mood to visit a smaller, more laidback city, check out our Backpacker’s Guide to Bruges, in Belgium.
Don’t forget to factor in the Scottish weather. The fog and persistent rain are well-known features of the city.
Where to Stay in Edinburgh
While Edinburgh is not as expensive as London, it is significantly more expensive than other European capitals such as Warsaw or Barcelona.
If you wish to stay in a hotel, be prepared to spend a high price on your stay. But here’s a little secret: you don’t have to. Some of the nicest Edinburgh hostels are among the best in Britain!
Most of them will not offer things like free breakfast, but you can buy it for really small prices (as low as £3), but you can expect friendly staff, free city maps, luggage storage, and free wifi. Some even have an onsite bar!
Below are the 3 best hostels. No matter if you are looking for a laidback, relaxed place or a party hostel, there will be a good choice for you.
The Best Hostels in Edinburgh
Castle Rock Hostel
Castle Rock Hostel is in a fantastic central location just next to Edinburgh Castle! Their magnificent hostel has a great personality, with a blend of grandeur and a backpacker attitude! It is considered by many the best hostel in Edinburgh.
Enjoy being in the greatest location in Edinburgh and being in the center of the city. They are a just a short walk from the bus, rail, and airport bus stops, as well as a one-minute walking distance from Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and the Grassmarket. They are on a reasonably quiet street, yet the city’s fantastic late-night bustle is only around the corner, making them excellent!
The people behind Castle Rock Hostel have filled this beautiful old edifice with art, character, and heritage, which was built in 1846 and converted into a travelers’ hostel in 1997. Some consider it to be more of an art gallery or museum than a hostel.
Their receptionists will always greet you with a cheerful smile and can assist you with any inquiries on things to visit in Edinburgh or travel in Scotland. You can choose between dorm rooms with bunk beds or a private room, and their lounge have a nice pool table.
PS: They do not allow guests under the age of 18.
High Street Hostel
The second on our list of the best hostels in Edinburgh is the High Street Hostel. In terms of hostel location, it is one of the most convenient, allowing guests to walk directly out the door and into the center of the city.
As time passes, it appears that they are being surrounded from all sides by restaurants, bars, and live music venues, which they may explore on their weekly pub crawls, trivia nights, and other diverse activities that give a bit of an atmosphere of a party hostel (and a good choice for solo travellers).
For the night owls, they have a reception room open all night and a lounge area where you may hang out before or after you wake up from a sleep fit for a King of Scotland.
High Street Hostel has the most relaxed and reverie-filled ambiance on Blackfriars Street, having won the hostel of the decade award three weeks in a row, and it is a serious candidate when we talk about the best hostel in Edinburgh.
Daydream in the lounge with the landscape painting or doubt your sanity in the reception with whatever odd music choice the receptionist is entertaining at the time.
Whatever your interests are, the team at HSH is here to provide a memorable visit to the UK’s favorite city.
For the budget-conscious visitor, be assured that their rates are the most competitive in the city (although it does not feel like a cheap hostel).
Not only that, but discounts for bars, cafés, and entertainment venues are available to their visitors across the city.
If you don’t want to dine out, they have a fully equipped kitchen that would make Jamie Oliver tremble at the notion of the storm he could whip up in it. They have tables and chairs salvaged from a nearby church, so you may be inspired while dazzling your friends or any new acquaintances you meet during your stay with that one lavishly delicious and spiritually enlightening dinner you know how to prepare.
Kick Ass Greyfriars
Kick Ass Greyfriars is a stunning historic edifice in the center of Edinburgh’s Old Town (an UNESCO world heritage site), on the corner of Grassmarket Square. All attractions are within walking distance, and the exciting Edinburgh nightlife is right on your doorstep. A really good central location.
They are part of the network Kick Ass Hostels and have amenities like 24-hour reception. There is no curfew. All rooms have secure electronic swipe cards. All attendees were provided security bracelets and were monitored by CCTV throughout the facility. Every bed has its own secure locker.
Wi-Fi is available in all rooms, as are USB charging ports at each bed and private bed lighting. The bunks have been constructed to provide maximum headroom, and the mattresses are of hotel grade. Fresh, clean bed linen is given at no cost.
Other Edinburgh Hostels Worth Mentioning
These are some of the coolest hostels in the Scottish capital.
- Light House Hostel
- Royal Mile Backpackers
- Baxter Hostel, a luxury boutique hostel with free breakfast.
Should I go to Glasgow or Edinburgh?
There are a few typical grounds cited to support the claim that Glasgow is better than Edinburgh to visit. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, both in terms of size and population. It is also the epicenter of live music, the performing arts, and the creative industries.
Those who argue that Edinburgh is better than Glasgow refer to other aspects of Scottish history and culture. While Glasgow has the largest performing arts venues in the country and is home to nearly one-third of the total population, Edinburgh is the nation’s capital. In addition, two parts of Edinburgh have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Old Town and the New Town.
In Edinburgh, tradition and history reign supreme. There are large, historic monuments to Scottish history all around the city, from Edinburgh Castle down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace and the seat of the national government at the Scottish Parliament Building.
Despite the fact that Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and has many outstanding cultural sites and institutions, Edinburgh is the more popular worldwide tourist destination.
Conclusion: The Best Hostel in Edinburg
Below are 3 of the best hostels in the city. It is difficult to say exactly which one is the best hostel in Edinburgh since they cater to different kinds of travellers (from relaxed backpackers to party-goers). For more information about each, see their descriptions above.
- Castle Rock Hostel
- High Street Hostel
- Kick Ass Greyfriars
Other Hostels Worth Checking in Edinburgh
Light House Hostel, Royal Mile Backpackers, and Baxter Hostel
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