A city of elegant stone set among rolling hills and ancient volcanoes, Edinburgh (ED-in-bur-ra; pop. 500,000) is the jewel of Scotland. Since David I granted it burgh (town) status in 1130, Edinburgh has been a site of cultural significance the seeds of the Scottish Reformation were sown here as well as the philosophies of the Scottish Enlightenment. The medieval Stuarts made Edinburgh a center of poetry and music. That tradition lives on today during the festivals each August, when the city becomes a theatrical, musical, and literary magnet, drawing international talent and enthusiastic crowds. At the beginning of the 21st century, Edinburgh’s star appears only to be on the rise. Today’s city continues to be a cultural beacon, its medieval spires calling travelers to the cosmopolitian mecca beneath.
Flights: Edinburgh International Airport (EDI; 333 1000), 11.25km west of the city center. Lothian Buses’ Airlink (555 6363) runs shuttles to the airport from Waverley Bridge (25min. £3.30). Airsaver gives you 1 trip on Airlink plus 1 day unlimited travel on local Lothian Buses (£4.20, children £2.50).
Trains: Waverley Station straddles Princes St. Market St. and Waverley Bridge. Trains ((08457) 484 950) arrive from: Aberdeen (22hr.; M-Sa every hr. Su 8 per day; £32); Glasgow (lhr. 2 per hr. £7.80-8.60); Inverness (3Vhr. every 2hr. £32); London King’s Cross (4%hr. 2 per hr. £83-89); Stirling (50min. 2 per hr. £5.30).
Buses: The bus station is on the east side of St. Andrew’s Sq. National Express ((08705) 808 080) arrives from London (10hr. 5 per day, £29). Scottish Citylink ((08705) 505 050) arrives from: Aberdeen (4hr. every hr. £15); Glasgow (lhr. 2-4 per hr. £3.80); and Inverness (4V2hr. 8-10 per day, £15). A bus-ferry route via Stranraer goes to Belfast (2 per day, £20) and Dublin (daily, £28).
Public Transportation: Lothian Buses (555 6363; www.lothianbuses.co.uk) provide most services. Exact change required (50p-£l). Buy a 1-day Daysaver ticket (all day M-F £2.50; after 9:30pm M-F and all day Sa orSu £1.80) from any driver or from the Trav-elshops on Hanover St. and Waverley Bridge. Night buses cover selected routes after midnight (£2). First Edinburgh also operates locally. Traveline ((0800) 232 323) has info on all public transport.
Bike Rental: Biketrax, 11 Lochrin PI. (228 6633). Mountain bikes £10 per day. Open M-F 9:30am-6pm, Sa 9:30am-5pm, Su noon-5pm.