Buses are the main form of public transport within Edinburgh. The largest operator is Lothian Buses (owned by the City of Edinburgh Council and the neighbouring councils, with dark red and white buses), First Bus also operates services mainly to/from outlying towns. The local trains (ScotRail) are only really useful for journeys between the city and other towns.

Since May 2014 a new tram line has been operating between the city centre and the Airport (via Princes Street, Haymarket, Murrayfield Stadium, the Stenhouse area and the Gyle shopping centre). Tram fares are the same as on Lothian Buses; Ridacards and Lothian Buses day tickets are also valid on the Trams - but be sure to validate your Ridacard on a special reader before boarding the tram. There is a ticket machine at every tram stop which accepts coins or bank cards - not banknotes. See: http://www.edinburghtrams.com

If you are driving anywhere near central Edinburgh, bear in mind that finding a parking space can be nearly impossible. One reader (in September 2005) spent close to two hours looking for parking near Princes Street. Local people agree that the situation is ridiculous, and fines are strictly enforced. It is sensible to park outside the city centre and take a bus. The city centre multi-storey cark parks in Castle Terrace and the St James Shopping Centre can often get completely full. A limited amount of metered parking is available on city centre streets, but it is expensive and non-payment results in a £60 fine (reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days).

If you just want an easy highlights overview of the city, there are several very similar bus tours that are all reasonably priced. All start from Waverley Bridge in the city centre (next to the main railway station), but passengers can also get on and off at many stops around the city centre.

Walking around the City Centre is easy too and often the best way to get around and avoid traffic jams!  If you have to take a bus (ie if you're staying a little way from the city centre, then buy a Lothian Buses Day Pass for £3.50.  A single journey costs £1.50 (adult) or £0.70 (child, aged 5-15). Please have the exact fare ready when boarding the bus (no change is given). If staying for longer, the Lothian Buses "Ridacard" is worth considering (available from the Lothian Buses / Transport for Edinburgh enquiry offices on Waverley Bridge, Hanover Street and Dalkeith). Another option is the "Citysmart" card; this is a rechargeable, prepaid smart-card for adult single journies on Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams. The Citysmart card saves having to find change, but offers no other saving over cash fares. The Citysmart card has replaced the books of 20 single tickets that were previously available. Ridacards, Citysmart and day tickets are valid on both Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams, but not on trains or any other operator's buses. For more information on Lothian Buses see: http://www.lothianbuses.com

There are now 3 Park and Ride car parks; namely at Hermiston, Ingliston and Sheriffhall. Park your car for free and spend £3.50 on a Dayticket and the city is yours! The Park and Ride at Ingliston is served by the Tram.

Lothian Day Tickets are now £3.50 for an adult, £2.00 for a child. Buy them on the first bus you use during the day. You can also buy them online but you need to order them seven days in advance and have them mailed out to you. They can also be purchased using the Lothian Buses m-tickets app which is available for Android and iOS devices.

Be aware that Lothian Day Tickets are only valid on Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams. That might sound obvious, but it catches many tourists out. There are two main bus companies in Edinburgh (Lothian and First), plus a few smaller ones. Lothian is by the far the largest. The tickets are not interchangeable.

There are 4 tourist buses; get all 4 leaflets as they all follow slightly different routes but between them cover the major tourist sites.  Be aware that they don't start very early, around 9.30am, and the last bus is around 5pm in winter. It is worth buying a Royal Edinburgh ticket if you intend to go to the 3 'top' sites; this gives 48 hours unlimited travel on all 4 of these buses, and free entrance to the Castle, Royal Yacht and Holyrood House; you also get some small discounts.