Are you stuck between choosing an Irish adventure in Dublin or a magical Scottish experience in Edinburgh for your upcoming holiday? The Dublin vs Edinburgh question is a tough one!
I know it feels like an impossible task. When I first started traveling to this side of the world, I had my fair share of trying to weigh the pros and cons between the two cities.
Sometimes you have to make a pick due to budget or time constraints and that’s where I come in!
Dublin seems SO fun and the people are charming but then you heard about the incredible walks and hikes in Scotland…
And now you are confused and you don’t know which one to choose!
Let me help, I’ve been to both and can share my personal experience
What I’m doing is highlighting the best features in each city so you can find your perfect match. Now let’s go!
Affiliate Link Disclosure
Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.
Accessibility: Dublin vs Edinburgh
When we talk about accessibility, there are a few things to consider.
First, the ease of getting to the cities – not everyone wants to take 2 flights, 1 bus, and a boat to get somewhere.
Second, how easy it is to get around the cities. Most people prefer walkable cities or very good public transport systems to make their travel experience better.
And finally, something that is quite often overlooked – the accessibility of the city for people with mobility issues.
Now let’s look at all 3:
1. Ease Of Getting To The Cities
So Dublin has better accessibility in terms of flying in, thanks to the Dublin Airport. You can generally get a direct flight easily, but of course, that depends on which city you’re coming in from.
Apart from flying, if you’re coming from the UK, you can also take a ferry to Dublin Port and Dun Laoghaire.
Edinburgh also has its own international airport, Edinburgh Airport, so it doesn’t quite lose out in the Dublin-Edinburgh battle here.
But, the airport has less traffic so you might have fewer flight options.
The good thing though, is that you can easily get to Edinburgh by train from various cities. but it’s not as high-traffic as Dublin’s.
There are also coach services, giving you another way to get to this Scottish capital.
2. Ease of Getting Around
The great thing about Edinburgh, Dublin, well actually, both cities is that they’re very walkable and also have excellent public transit systems.
The public transportation won’t set you back a ton and is a great affordable option compared to private car hires, cabs, and ubers.
The transportation available in each city are:
- Buses: The buses offer an extensive network route throughout the city, you can almost get around the entire place just on buses (and a little bit of walking). Fares start at €1.30 ($1.41) for a short journey when using a Leap Card, and single tickets purchased with cash start at €1.70 ( $1.84).
- Trains: In the greater Dublin area, you can get around on The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) and commuter trains. Purchase a Leap Card because it will be cheaper than cash.
- Luas Trams: There are two lines on the Luas trams. Luas Red Line is 20 km long and has 32 Stops. It runs from Tallaght to The Point and from Saggart to Connolly. Luas Green Line is 24.5 km long and has 35 Stops. It runs from Brides Glen to Broombridge via the city center. If you use a Leap Card, you can get up to 32% discounts!
- Hop-on-hop-off buses: A great way to see the sights, this bus allows you to get on and get off at any of the 24 stops they have. You can pick a day, 2 days, or 3 days options. Prices start from €29 ($31), which is very affordable considering all the stops you get to go on. It also comes with a live guided tour on the bus!
- Buses: There is a well-connected bus network throughout the city. Adult single fares cost £1.80 ($2.35), while a day ticket is £4.50 ($5.87).
- Trams: The Edinburgh tram route covers 14 km long. You can get from St Andrew Square in the city center all the way to Edinburgh Airport. Fares start at £2 ($2.17) for a city zone single journey and £5 ($5.42) for a day ticket.
- Taxis and Ubers: You can book both taxis and Ubers in the city, but keep in mind that an average taxi will still be significantly more expensive than other transport options. It’s a great option when you’re pressed for time or late at night, though.
3. Accessibility For People With Mobility Issues
Dublin has mostly flat terrain, making it easier for people with mobility issues.
Generally, public transport in Dublin is accessible. Also, most of the attractions are quite nearby, so it’s easier to get around.
With Edinburgh, though, it’s quite hilly, so if you have mobility issues, this might be a concern for you.
VERDICT: Dublin is better in terms of accessibility as it fares well in all 3 areas. In Dublin, you have great flight accessibility, ease of movement within the city, and it’s an all-round more accessible place for people with mobility issues.
Photo: Ibrahim Boran
Affordability: Dublin Vs Edinburgh
Let’s face it; neither cities are exactly the first place you think of when you think of budget travel. But is one more affordable than the other?
So Dublin has a high cost of living, and as tourists, these costs will affect you too. Everything from food to accommodation is quite costly in Dublin. But all is not lost.
Dublin does have hostel dorms that start at about €20 to €25 ($22 to $27) per night. You can also find budget options for hotels – even “fancy” types of hotels like hotels with pools, hotels with spas, and hotels with bathtubs.
Meals wise, a simple sandwich ranges from around €7 to €12 ($7.50 to $13), and a main course from about €12 to €19 ($13 to $20). Head to the less touristy area and you should be able to get a full meal for about €15 to €24 ($16 to $26)
Edinburgh has somewhat cheaper accommodation prices, but, seasonality plays a huge factor. If you’re there during popular festivals like the Fringe Festival, prices will skyrocket and you will find them way more expensive than in Dublin.
Food and drinks cost pretty much the same in Edinburgh as in Dublin.
If budget is a concern for you, Edinburgh will be a safer choice, but only by a minimal difference.
VERDICT: Edinburgh tops as the more affordable city – as long you don’t head there during the high peak season! You will enjoy cheaper accommodation which is usually a large part of any budget.
Photo: Pablo Merchán Montes
Food: Dublin Vs Edinburgh
Now, this is a tough one. Food and drinks always boil down to personal preference.
Though I could never understand anyone who doesn’t like soda bread.
Golden, crispy crust with soft, warm insides, when slathered with Irish butter, is a literal heaven on earth for me 🙂
Yes, Dublin serves as a fantastic source of traditional Irish cuisine.
You can try stew, colcannon, bacon, and cabbage – they’re all hearty, filling, and most importantly, super tasty!
You also won’t want to miss out on tasty dishes that are unique to Dublin like boxty pancakes, soda bread, and barmbrack!
If you’re a beer drinker, you won’t want to leave without trying a pint of Guinness at one of the city’s famous Irish pubs.
If you’re especially a Guinness enthusiast, visit the Guinness Storehouse to tour the brewery and learn how to pour your own perfect pint!
If you prefer liquor, be sure to sample Irish whiskies like Teeling and Jameson.
You’d also want to have at least one meal in a traditional Irish pub – it’s a great way to mingle with locals and truly feel the beat of Dublin!
Over in Edinburgh, hearty, traditional Scottish dishes like haggis, neeps and tatties, and Cullen skink will blow you away.
There are also local Edinburgh specialties such as Stornoway black pudding, Scotch pie, and cranachan that you won’t want to miss.
Drinks-wise, if you do drink, you have to sample some of the finest Scotch whiskies at a local pub or a whiskey bar.
If you want to learn more about the spirit, consider taking a tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience or visiting a distillery.
VERDICT: Tough call as food is super subjective but I do think Dublin wins as it has a more diverse range of food options!
Photo: Andrea Leopardi
Things To Do: Dublin Vs Edinburgh
Dublin has a rich history you can learn about in its many museums, historical sites, and galleries.
The iconic Guinness Storehouse is a must-visit attraction for drinkers.
You can see the cool brewing process, take home some fun facts to show off to your friends, and most of all, enjoy your perfect pint with incredible views of Dublin.
Dublin’s nightlife and pub culture is also something you’d want to experience. Temple Bar district is a popular spot with a vibrant and varied music and entertainment scene.
The famous Temple Bar is also here! Just be warned prices are a little more expensive with it being a tourist spot.
Dublin has some insanely beautiful parks.
You could check out Phoenix Park, which is one of the largest enclosed public parks in any capital city in Europe!
There are also many smaller independent shops and boutiques throughout the city.
Photo: Cameron Gibson
Edinburgh also has a rich history and boasts a lot of historical sites that will excite history buffs.
If you love nature, there are plenty of hikes you can go on. For one, there’s the iconic Arthur’s Seat with beautiful views over the city.
Or you might want to consider Calton Hill, famous for its collection of historic monuments and is a UNESCO heritage site.
Like Dublin, Edinburgh has a pub culture that drinkers will enjoy.
You can’t leave Edinburgh without sampling single malt near its birthplace.
A super fun thing you could do in Edinburgh is to go to their many comedy clubs.
The city is known for its comedy scene and there’s even the famous Fringe Festival which gathers performers from around the world. Definitely an interesting experience!
Nightlife in Edinburgh beats Dublin with an active clubbing scene, music scene, and multiple options, especially in areas like the Royal Mile, Grassmarket, and the West End.
Dublin will be great for you if you appreciate or want to learn about Irish history, love nature, and also want to have a good time in the pubs.
The same goes for Edinburgh in terms of nature and pubs, but you get a dose of Scotland’s past and a more diverse clubbing and music scene.
VERDICT: Edinburgh wins through extra points from its comedy and festival scenes – otherwise, both places have quite a similar feel in terms of things to do!
Photo: K. Mitch Hodge
Things To See: Dublin Vs Edinburgh
As you can see from the things to do, both cities offer rich history, nature, and entertainment.
Dublin has a lively pub scene, interesting museums, and gorgeous, gorgeous parks. If you love any of these things, you’d want to be in Dublin.
And then there’s Edinburgh’s own abundant history with jaw-dropping architecture, nightlife, and entertainment scene that you’d appreciate if you love history, culture, nature, and laughter.
Whether you decide to go with either Dublin or Edinburgh, you won’t want to miss these places in each country:
Top 10 Must-See Attractions in Dublin:
10. Phoenix Park
Photo: Jörg Angeli
Top 10 Must-See Attractions in Edinburgh:
5. Calton Hill
VERDICT: Another tough call but I’m going to go with Dublin as it has more variety in its things to see – from nature, to history, to culture, and lifestyle, Dublin covers all bases!
Day Trips: Dublin Vs Edinburgh
Dublin and Edinburgh are both great cities to take day trips from.
South of Dublin, there’s the Wicklow Mountains National Park where you can enjoy stunning views and also take a hike if you’re up for it.
North of Dublin, you can go back in time to the medieval city of Wexford or take picture-perfect shots in Skerries.
From Edinburgh, you can visit the historic coastal city of St. Andrews, and even play a bit of golf there.
If you can’t get enough of architecture, just an hour away, Glasgow will blow your mind with its impressive architecture and art scene.
Northwest to Edinburgh, Loch Lomond, and The Trossachs National Park make for perfect nature tips.
VERDICT: Dublin wins this as there are various day trips that showcase a wide range of sceneries and landscapes, like cliffs, parks, the seas, and more. Which is a little bit more than what you’d get from Edinburgh.
Photo: Gary Ellis
FAQs On Dublin Vs Edinburgh
Which Is Better Edinburgh Or Dublin?
Which Is Better Edinburgh Or Dublin? Okay, so Edinburgh is a more picturesque city and has more to see than Dublin. Another is that you can quickly travel to Glasgow and get to spend some time exploring two cities. If having a good nightlife is your top priority though, Dublin is a better option.
Is Dublin More Expensive Than Edinburgh?
Is Dublin More Expensive Than Edinburgh? Yes, the cost of living in Dublin is 46% more expensive than in Edinburgh. Dublin ranked 152nd among the most expensive cities in the world, while Edinburgh, 2,195th. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, they rank 1st and 30th, respectively.
Is Ireland As Beautiful As Scotland?
Wondering, “Is Ireland as beautiful as Scotland”? While Ireland’s nature is incredibly beautiful, Scotland’s is just slightly more stunning and more varied. If you’re pressed for time, choose Scotland as you can see the most diverse natural scenery in the shortest time span.
Is Ireland Better To Visit Than Scotland?
Is Ireland Better To Visit Than Scotland? Scotland has the landscapes, but Ireland has the castles. While Ireland has the beer, Scotland has the food. Both promise vibrant cities, rich history, lively nightlife, warm welcomes, and historic buildings that make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. So it’s really a tie.
Is Dublin Or Edinburgh Bigger?
Is Dublin Or Edinburgh Bigger? Well, Dublin is quite a big place depending on where you go. There are options like the LUAS tram to get you around Central Dublin, but it’s quite a walkable city. Edinburgh is small, with just 500,000 population, but that makes it easy to get around.
Is Dublin Or Edinburgh Better
Is Dublin Or Edinburgh Better, you ask? The Irish capital is a good option due to its high-traffic international airport and ease of navigation. On the other hand, Edinburgh is a perfect picture city with a charming, village-like feel and a compact old town. Do it depends on what you’re looking for.
Is Edinburgh Prestigious
Asking if Edinburgh is prestigious is quite common. After all, the University of Edinburgh has ranked among the top universities in the United Kingdom and the world. And why would anything else feel less prestigious 🙂 Edinburgh does have that grandeur and prestigious feeling, given its history, nature, and architecture.
Why Edinburgh Is Better Than Glasgow
Comparing why Edinburgh is better than Glasgow? Well, Edinburgh is a good choice for those interested in historic sites, traditional Scottish culture, and Harry Potter fans, generally speaking. Glasgow is a great option if you want modern, big-city vibes with live music and a great nightlife scene.
Which City Is More Interesting To Visit Dublin Or Edinburgh
Which city is more interesting to visit: Dublin or Edinburgh? If you’re into history, Edinburgh wins. They’ve got higher, more impressive buildings, but it is less diverse than the Irish capital. If you’re into modern architecture, Dublin will be more interesting for you.
Is Dublin Or Edinburgh A Better City To Raise A Family
Is Dublin or Edinburgh a better city to raise a family, you wonder? Mercer quality of living survey puts Dublin ahead of London, Edinburgh and Belfast. Despite a housing crisis, Dublin is as good a place to live as it was last year. Dublin also is the top-ranking city across the UK and Ireland.
Time to Choose: Dublin or Edinburgh?
It’s no easy choice between Dublin vs Edinburgh but here’s where we’re at:
Dublin is for you if you want that big-city buzz with a mix of history, diverse neighborhood areas, and that ol’ Irish charm. Plus you’ve got easy accessibility with an international airport and the city is easy to navigate.
Edinburgh should be your pick if you’re more into the picturesque old-town vibes with a village-like feel. The Scottish capital is downright gorgeous, and there’s always something interesting to see or do.
Have you decided on Dublin vs Edinburgh? Let me know which city captured your heart in the comments, I’d love to hear from you! And if you know someone who is trying to decide between Dublin and Edinburgh, swing them this way!