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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Edinburgh in 2024 (Our Take)

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Edinburgh in 2024 (Our Take)

What's the best time to visit Edinburgh?

The best time to visit Edinburgh is in early summer when the weather is most favorable, with temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit and fewer crowds. This period is perfect for engaging in outdoor activities and experiencing vibrant festivals, including the Pride Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival.

Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, is one of the most stunning cities in the world. It’s no wonder that it receives over four million visitors each year.

It’s is one of the world’s most historic cities, with the medieval Old Town nestled in between Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodhouse Palace. It’s a center of art and culture, with many museums, homes dedicated to writers like Robert Louis Stevenson, and independent venues and bookstores.

Scotland’s beautiful nature is not far away, and Arthur’s Seat towering above the city is a great place to welcome the sunrise.

There is a lot to see in Edinburgh, but keep in mind that Scotland’s weather is notoriously fickle and might affect your travel plans. Keep reading to learn more about the best time to visit.

Overall Best Time to Visit Edinburgh

Gorgeous sunny day in Edinburgh as seen from the banks of the river in Dean Village with the river running down the middle of a canal with historic homes on either side


The best time to visit Edinburgh is in the early summer, when you have the highest chance of getting good weather but still beat the worst of the city’s crowds. It’s no secret — Edinburgh has everything going for it but the weather.

Like the rest of Scotland, Edinburgh’s climate is rainy and fairly chilly. Still, in the summer temperatures warm up enough to break through the worst of the gloom.

Average temperatures are in the high 60s or low 70s on the Fahrenheit scale, although it has gotten even warmer in the past years. Rain is another important consideration for when to visit Edinburgh.

The city has a very rainy climate, like the rest of Scotland, so you’ll probably encounter some rain no matter when you visit. To minimize your chances of rain, summer is one of the best times to go. June has one of the longest average hours of sunshine of the year.

It’s also the month with some of the lowest average rainfall volumes. In the summer, Edinburgh comes alive. Locals and tourists alike spill into the streets to enjoy a coffee or meal outdoors, or a picnic in the city’s many parks.

The coast is actually very close by, and a day at the beach is a common excursion. In June and July, Edinburgh is lively, but the crowds still don’t approach their worst of the high season.

Summer is festival season. While this means you should expect more crowds and higher accommodation prices, you can minimize the cost by visiting earlier in the summer, when there are festivals that are less famous but not any less fun.

Edinburgh is world-famous for its festivals, so it would be a shame not to catch one of the following cultural events:

Cheapest Time to Visit Edinburgh

Street view from the perspective of a person walking along the cobblestone path with a cloudy sky above for a piece on the cheapest time to visit Edinburgh


The cheapest time to visit Edinburgh is in the winter, but you can also save lots of money in the spring, which is the city’s best-kept secret. The absolute cheapest time to visit Edinburgh is in the winter, which is the city’s low season.

The savings continue into spring. Even in May, you can save 15% to 25% on a hotel room in the city compared to peak season prices. If you are visiting from abroad, the easiest way to get to there is to fly into Edinburgh Airport.

The cheapest month for flights is January, when there is the least demand among visitors. You can also save a lot of money on flights in the spring. According to some sites, April is the cheapest month to fly into Edinburgh.

Spring is the best of both worlds — you can save money and enjoy great weather. It’s not as warm as the summer, but it’s warming up, and the city’s parks are in bloom.

Spring is actually the sunniest season in Edinburgh; summer has far more rain showers. You have the highest chance of getting good weather in April, which is important if you are hoping to explore more rural Scotland outside of Edinburgh.

Least Busy Time to Visit Edinburgh

Empty street in Edinburgh pictured during the least busy time to visit with a church in the background and shops and homes on either side of the walking path

Richie Chan/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Edinburgh is in the winter, but the crowds die down by the fall. After August, when festivals end and kids go back to school, the crowds in Edinburgh decline drastically.

Fall in Edinburgh can be chilly and rainy, but early September generally still has good weather. Many visitors like the drearier weather of the season because combined with the medieval buildings it reminds them of the popular “dark academia” aesthetic.

Fall is the best time to curl up with tea and a book in one of the many cafes. Fall is a great time to go sightseeing. The famous sights like the Royal Mile are far less crowded, so you can take in the splendor.

The many parks, including Arthur’s Seat, are covered in fall foliage. If a rain shower does start, you can always duck into one of the many museums, some of which are even free to enter.

Winter in Edinburgh is a pleasant surprise. It is colder than the other seasons, often rainy, and usually dark by 4 P.M. However, Edinburgh isn’t nearly as cold as the rest of Scotland.

Winter temperatures are usually above freezing, although there is sometimes snow. Edinburgh hardly slows down just because tourists think it’s too cold to visit. The city’s cultural calendar is in full swing with events like Manipulate Festival, a multi-disciplinary arts festival, entertaining the locals.

Winter is also the best season to enjoy local holidays like Hogmanay, the name for Scotland’s New Year. In late January, Scottish people all over the world, including Edinburgh, celebrate Burns Night.

On this festival in honor of the Scottish national poet, it’s traditional to eat haggis, listen to Scottish music, and recite poetry.

Worst Time to Visit Edinburgh

Woman in a red hat and a yellow coat shivering and standing on a hill overlooking Edinburgh during the winter, the worst time to visit

Lee Walker/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit Edinburgh is during the month of August, when Edinburgh Fringe comes to town. Edinburgh Fringe is the most popular festival in Edinburgh, and probably the best-known theater festival in the world.

If you’re interested in theater, circus, street performances, or anything related, you’ll want to visit during this time. However, if you’re not actually interested in visiting the festival, this is probably the worst time to come to town.

The crowds are so thick that it becomes impossible to walk through the streets. Many locals actually flee the city during this month if they can because they find it too unbearable to deal with all the tourists.

The many crowds also drive prices up. August is the most expensive month to find a hotel room in Edinburgh and rates are sometimes exorbitant. The weather isn’t even at its best in August.

Summer in Edinburgh is actually fairly rainy, and August experiences some of the most showers of the season. It’s far better to visit in late spring, like May, or in early summer, like June.

Things to Consider

Neat view of the Christmas market in Eidinburgh during the winter with a Ferris wheel on the side of the shops

Ashley Angela Miller/Shutterstock

Here are some additional tips important for picking the best time to visit Edinburgh:

  • Pack an umbrella. No matter when you visit, you’re almost certain to get caught in the rain thanks to the city’s infamous climate. A waterproof jacket may be an even better option to protect from the rain.
  • Think about what else you want to do in Scotland. If you’re just coming on a city break, visiting in winter is a great idea, but if you were hoping to explore the rest of Scotland as well, save your trip for warmer weather.
  • Book August hotel rooms a year in advance. During the Fringe festival, accommodation fills up rapidly and last-minute bookers are vulnerable to scams.

Frequently Asked Questions

View of an old stone building from the Princess Street Gardens pictured during the overall best time to visit Edinburgh


Here are some of the most common questions that people have asked about picking the best time to visit Edinburgh:

What’s the best month to visit Edinburgh?

The best month to visit Edinburgh is June, when the city’s festival season is getting started but it still isn’t too crowded.

What are the best months to visit Scotland?

The best months to visit Scotland are April and May, when you actually have the lowest chances of rain.

How many days do you need for Edinburgh?

You need to spend at least three days in Edinburgh to take in all of the attractions, visit at least a few museums, and explore a neighborhood or two.

Is Edinburgh good in October?

Edinburgh is a great October destination because the crowds have gone away, hotels are discounted, and there are plenty of Halloween-themed events. Even the gloomy weather feels like it fits the seasonal aesthetic.

What is the cheapest month to visit Edinburgh?

January and February are the cheapest months to visit Edinburgh because that is when many hotels offer discounts for the off-season. You can also save money on flights if you’re traveling from abroad.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Edinburgh?

Spring to early summer is the best time to visit Edinburgh. The weather is, by Scottish standards, warm and sunny. In the summer, it gets a bit more crowded, but if you visit before the madness of August’s Fringe Festival, you can avoid the worst of it. Happy travels!