Is Edinburgh safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and a popular tourist destination for many. The city was named Athens of the North in the early 19th century and rightly so. The similarities might not be that of the weather or of the population (Athens has a population close to 4 million and Edinburgh a little over 500,000), but of intellectual level.
In 2005, Edinburgh was also crowned the world's first UNESCO City of Literature thanks to the many famous names in the history of Scottish literature who have left a significant impact on the world's literary heritage.
But besides its numerous museums and libraries, Edinburgh boasts touristic attractions that lure more than 4 million visitors each year. The peak tourist season in Edinburgh starts in summer, lasting from July to August, when the average high temperatures rise to 18 degrees C or 65 degrees F.
And when the crowds flock to the streets, it's time to pay more attention to your valuables. Storing your luggage with the Bounce luggage storage platform in Edinburgh is one of the best ways to keep your personal belongings safe. And when you decide to go out and about in fabulous Edinburgh, this safety guide is all you need, so keep it handy, and don't forget to read it at least once before visiting the city.
As of 2023, tourists traveling to Edinburgh shouldn't have any serious concerns about safety. More so, the Edinburgh crime rate is low compared to other major cities in Europe. In fact, it is considered to be one of the safest cities in the UK, with Travel Safe Abroad giving this lovely city a ranking of 70.
Regardless of the low crime, you should never let your guard down. So, whether you're walking around public places or side streets, it's best to exercise caution for pickpocketing or possible scams. It also goes without saying that you shouldn't leave valuables unattended, no matter where you're.
But don't let these safety tips scare you off by any means. Overall, Edinburgh is generally a safe place to be a tourist. Keep in mind that staying safe means using your common sense and being aware of any possible danger which you could encounter on any trip. And while no safety guide is perfect, if you follow these safety tips, you'll indeed have a fantastic time in the Scottish capital.
If you want to get more familiar with certain tours or places you want to visit in Edinburgh, then it's best to do your research and plan well ahead. And whether you're an experienced traveler or not, don't forget to check your government's official travel guidelines before you visit Edinburgh.
Top petty crimes and scams in Edinburgh affecting tourists
While generally being a very safe city, Edinburgh has a history of some petty crime which isn't a huge problem, but it's something to be wary of. While no reason to put off a trip to this marvelous destination, we've outlined a few things to watch out for below.
Scammers can be found even in the safest city in the world. Edinburgh is no exception. However, there is a way to avoid being scammed and that includes taking extra precautions like avoiding talking to suspicious strangers.
The most common scammers in Edinburgh are the fake police. Yes, there are people pretending to be police officers in order to take your money and valuables. To avoid falling into their trap, you should always ask for a badge and ensure they are the police before you take further steps.
Another scam to be completely aware of is fake tickets. Many visitors will fall into the trap of purchasing tickets and tours online from fake sites. Scammers take their money and the people are left with nothing. Needless to say, if you want a legitimate ticket, make sure you're purchasing from an official site, or whenever possible, head down to the venue or the agency and buy your tickets from there.
Yet another common scam in Edinburgh you should be aware of is the gold ring scam. Scammers will try to give you a ring in exchange for money. Or, in other cases, they will point to a ring on the ground and ask you for money in exchange. Do yourself a favor and don't fall for these kinds of traps or anything similar. It's a scam, and the ring is worth nothing.
Muggers or pickpockets operate in both tourist areas and less crowded side alleys. To steer clear of being mugged, you shouldn't walk alone in a dark alley at night or leave your valuables unattended when sitting at a bar or a restaurant.
Leave all important documents at your hotel and, whenever possible, avoid carrying large amounts of cash on you. Bring what's necessary and hide your credit cards deep in your bag.
Public transport and busy areas are a playground for muggers. For that reason, you should be aware of your surroundings or any suspicious behavior. Thieves don't always operate alone. They will usually try to confuse you, talk to you, touch you or even bump into you. The best way to keep your personal belongings safe is to store them with Bounce.
Is Edinburgh safe to travel alone
Considering the high number of international students living and traveling solo in Edinburgh, it's safe to say that one shouldn't worry about safety when traveling alone in Edinburgh, Scotland. Scottish people are friendly and given that English is widely spoken, you can ask anyone for help or directions.
Generally speaking, Edinburgh is safe for solo female travelers, with the United Kingdom earning a rating of 26 on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index. It's a top tourist destination that you'll enjoy as soon as you arrive.
This, however, doesn't mean you should trust everyone you meet, it's best to use common sense to keep yourself safe. And you can do that by not accepting drinks from strangers or leaving your drink unattended. Always, when visiting Edinburgh, it's wise to not walk alone at night, especially on side streets.
Follow these tips to stay safe in Edinburgh, or any other vacation destination for that matter. Feel free to take in the sights and make memories at places like Camera Obscura or the National Museum of Scotland.
Safest neighborhoods in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a large city, and you should choose your accommodation to fit your needs. Do you prefer to be close to the main attractions? Do you like the ancient charm of the Old town or the Georgian vibe of the New town? Regardless of your personal preference, when choosing your accommodation in Edinburgh, you should take into consideration the following neighborhoods, which are generally safe for tourists.
Old town and the famous Royal Mile area are located in the city centre of Edinburgh, which is one of the safest areas to stay.
Another safe area in the great city of Edinburgh is New Town. Together with Old Town, this intriguing place was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995. This neighborhood is famous for shopping, especially Princes Street and George Street, where you'll find a ton of upscale boutiques, galleries and top-notch cocktail lounges.
Located northwest of Edinburgh's city center, Dean Village is a peaceful residential area with close proximity to bars, restaurants, bus lines and train stations.
Edinburgh is a safe city but there are some areas to visit during the day and perhaps not at night, such as Calton Hill, Dalry Road, Cowgate, Easter Street and Lothian Road. If you happen to be walking along these areas, that is fine. Just stay alert for petty thefts and scammers.
Is Edinburgh public transportation safe?
Public transport in Edinburgh is generally safe and reliable. However, you should always exercise caution, especially on a busy train, bus, or subway, as you would in any city. It's easy to mark yourself as a target to pickpockets if you flash your money and cards, so it's best to stay vigilant in crowds.
Taxis in Edinburgh are a safe means of transport, but that doesn't mean you can't get scammed. Always travel in licensed taxis, make sure the journey is metered or call an Uber to be on the safe side. Ubers in Edinburgh are safe, common and popular. But overall, the typical taxi driver in the city is friendly and will entertain you with their charming Scottish accent.
Important emergency numbers in Edinburgh
Should you find yourself in a situation that requires immediate help from Scotland authorities, these are the numbers to call.
- Scotland area code: +44
- Edinburgh area code: 0131
- Ambulance: 999
- Medical assistance NHS 24: 111
- Fire service: 999
- Police: 999
- Non-emergencies police number: 101
For your own safety, it's best to keep a list of these emergency contacts on you at all times and be aware of your embassy number as well.
Edinburgh is safe and fun too
Now when you see there is nothing to worry about traveling to Edinburgh, you can enjoy your journey and your stay to the fullest. Wondering where to choose accommodation? Our guide, Where to Stay in Edinburgh: The Ultimate Guide can help you make a decision.
Exercise caution and use common sense as you would in any city. When in crowded places, keep your belonging close to you and don't flash expensive jewelry, money, or cards. Be vigilant when walking alone at night, especially on side streets, and never leave your drinks unattended.
These safety tips are not to scare you off your trip to Edinburgh but rather to give a general idea of how to keep yourself safe regarding everyday dangers. And don't forget to get travel insurance before traveling to Edinburgh, so should something happen while you visit, you know you're covered. To learn how to navigate this glorious city, check out How to Get Around Edinburgh for the full scoop.