A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Shanghai vs. Edinburgh for Attractions, Food, Couples, and Nightlife

Should you visit Shanghai or Edinburgh?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Shanghai and Edinburgh. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Shanghai

Shanghai is a professional, diverse, and bustling port city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a ancient, charming, and character-filled city. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. It also has a unique and quaint vibe that attracts lots of visitors. And you can't forget about the live music, shopping, and museums.

How is Shanghai different from Edinburgh?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is Shanghai or Edinburgh better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Plenty of people visit the sights and museums in both Shanghai and Edinburgh.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in Shanghai are among the most recognizable in the world. The city's sights mix culture with modern innovation. From the futuristic skyline and the iconic waterfront area known as the Bund, to the classic Yu Garden, there are a diversity of sights around the city. There are also museums like the Shanghai Museum, which educate visitors on Chinese culture.

The museums and tourist attractions in Edinburgh are world-renowned. The most famous sights include the Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the National Museum of Scotland.


Is Shanghai or Edinburgh better for Food?

Most foodies will appreciate the options in Shanghai a bit more than Edinburgh.

Eat your way through Shanghai, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. The city's cuisine has a long history with many distinct traditional dishes. The foods incorporate a lot of soy sauce and sugar and you'll find most dishes are rice based as opposed to using wheat products. Popular local dishes include the famous Shanghai soup dumplings, steamed crab, and braised pork. The city is also famous for its snacks, which can be purchased at one of the many snack houses or street stalls.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Edinburgh. The city has some unique but famous dishes to try including haggis and black pudding. For slightly less intimidating options, check out the cullen skink, porridge, or smoked salmon.

Is Shanghai or Edinburgh better for Nightlife?

Evening events are similar in both Shanghai and Edinburgh.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Shanghai. A night out can quickly become very expensive. Many of the venues are spread out so you'll likely spend at least some of the time in a taxi. The Bund is one of the most popular areas for nightlife, but this area also has the most expensive bars and clubs. They often offer impressive views of Pudong and the Huangpu River though.

Edinburgh has a large number of nightlife venues. With so many students, the nightlife stays very active. There are a wide range of bars, clubs and pubs to choose from.

Is Shanghai or Edinburgh better for Shopping?

Both Shanghai and Edinburgh are good shopping destinations.

The abundance of shops in Shanghai make it a world-class shopping destination. The city has many large shopping malls with department stores, name brand fashion, and trendy shops. It is also known for its cheap electronics and tailor-made clothes.

Edinburgh is well-known for its shopping. Head to Princes Street in the New Town to visit department stores and other name brand shops. Nearby George Street has more boutique style shops and less crowds.

Is Shanghai or Edinburgh better for Families?

Both Shanghai and Edinburgh are family-friendly destinations.

Shanghai is a very kid-friendly port city. Of course there's Disneyland, but kids will also enjoy soaking up the city's culture, trying fun new snacks, and exploring the many science and kid-friendly museums. There are also parks and outdoor spaces as well as skyscrapers and towers that offer incredible views of the city.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Edinburgh is very family-friendly. There are a variety of unique activities for families in town including exploring Edinburgh Castle, a visit to the Edinburgh Dungeon, and of course, following the Harry Potter Trail.


Is Shanghai or Edinburgh better for Couples?

Shanghai and Edinburgh both fun destinations for a couple.

Shanghai is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. With its east meets west personality, couples will be able to enjoy an amazing culinary experience, beautiful gardens, and luxury hotels and spas. There are many romantic areas around this bustling city, making it the perfect place for a romantic city getaway.

Edinburgh makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. With its castle and the Royal Mile, there are many romantic places to explore as a couple. There are also good restaurants and some nice hotels.

Is Shanghai or Edinburgh better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Both Shanghai and Edinburgh are popular destinations for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Shanghai. The city is expensive, but there are hostels and cheap eateries that make it accessible even for the budget conscious. Business travelers and local workers give the city a more professional vibe during the day, but if you find the right place to stay you'll quickly be able to meet likeminded travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Edinburgh. The city has some good hostels and an active nightlife, so it's not hard to find other travelers to hang out with.

Is Shanghai or Edinburgh better for Students?

Shanghai and Edinburgh are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.

Many students visit Shanghai. The city attracts international and study abroad students who enjoy its long history and fascinating culture. It's a world financial capital with many businesses headquartered here, so employment opportunities are abundant.

Students come from all over to stay in Edinburgh. This multicultural city is popular with international students because of its excellent research and academic centers as well as its unique history.

Is Shanghai or Edinburgh better for Public Transit?

Both Shanghai and Edinburgh offer public transit options.

Shanghai has some very good public transit options. There is a metro system as well as buses and taxis which are relatively affordable.

Edinburgh has some public transit options. Buses are the best way to get into town from the outer edges if you don't have a car.


Is Shanghai or Edinburgh a more walkable city?

Shanghai and Edinburgh both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Shanghai is a very walkable port city. It's possible to explore the major tourist areas on foot but it can be very hot and humid during the summer months.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Edinburgh. The Old Town in particular is fun to walk around

Shanghai and Edinburgh: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Cons
  • Less popular for food


Should I spend more time in Edinburgh or Shanghai?

How long in Shanghai or Edinburgh?

In either Shanghai or Edinburgh, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. You can fill a similar amount of time in either place.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Shanghai is 2-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Edinburgh is 1-5 days.


  • How many days in Shanghai or Edinburgh? Ideal Length of Stay
    Shanghai 2-5 
    Edinburgh 1-5

One day in Shanghai or Edinburgh?

People visit Shanghai because there is so much to do. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

The beautiful city of Edinburgh offers theater and nightlife. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Shanghai or Edinburgh?

People visit Shanghai because there is so much to do. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this port city has to offer. This port city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Edinburgh is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Edinburgh, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area.

Five days in Shanghai or Edinburgh?

People visit Shanghai because there is so much to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this port city makes for a great vacation. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this port city has to offer.

Edinburgh is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Edinburgh, five days is sufficent for most. The entire area has lots to do.


A week in Shanghai or Edinburgh?

Shanghai is a popular choice for travelers. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Edinburgh is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Which city is cheaper, Edinburgh or Shanghai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Shanghai is $99, while the average daily cost in Edinburgh is $143. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Shanghai and Edinburgh in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $70
    Edinburgh $76
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $140
    Edinburgh $152

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shanghai $3.34
    Edinburgh $17
Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Shanghai:


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.88
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.89

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Zhujiajiao Water Town and Shanghai City Self-Guide 10-Hour Private Transfer Tour: $129
  • Zhujiajiao Water Town Self-Guided Tour with Private Transfer from Shanghai: $64
  • Zhouzhuang and Tongli Water Town Private Transfer Service from Shanghai: $93
  • Xitang Water Town Self-Guided Tour from Shanghai with Private Transfer: $88
  • Wuzhen and Xitang Water Town Private Transfer from Shanghai: $132
  • Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal-Pudong Airport One Way Private Transfer: $34
  • Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal-Downtown Hotel Private One Way Transfer: $32
  • Wusongkou Cruise Terminal to Hongqiao Airport Chauffeur Service, Port Transfer: $87
  • Wusongkou Cruise Terminal Share Transfer Service, Baoshan Port Pick up Service: $29
  • Transfer in private minivan from Shanghai City to Hongqiao Airport: $57
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Shanghai City to Hongqiao Airport: $33
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Shanghai City to Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG): $57

Typical Local Transportation prices in Edinburgh

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Edinburgh:


  • Local Bus
    $4.43

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Edinburgh

Also for Edinburgh, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Edinburgh Airport: Bus Transfer: $6.06
  • Private luxury transfer from Edinburgh Airport to Edinburgh: $28
  • Private luxury transfer from Edinburgh to Edinburgh Airport: $28
  • Private Edinburgh Departure Transfer - Hotel / Accommodation to Airport: $29
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Edinburgh Airport (EDI) to Edinburgh: $32
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Edinburgh to Edinburgh Airport (EDI): $32
  • Private Edinburgh city to Edinburgh Airport transfer - Or airport to city: $45
  • Private Edinburgh Arrival Transfer - Airport to Hotel / Accommodation: $47
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Edinburgh Airport to City Hotel: $52
  • Departure Transfer - Edinburgh City to Edinburgh Airport: $52
  • Round Trip Edinburgh Airport (EDI) Transfer to Edinburgh City Center: $58
  • Edinburgh Airport (EDI) to Edinburgh Accommodation - Arrival Private Transfer: $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Edinburgh?

Prices for flights to both Edinburgh and Shanghai change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Shanghai $18
    Edinburgh $39
Typical Food prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of dining costs in Shanghai are as follows:


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.49
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $22
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $7.75
  • Cantelope
    $1.79
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.24
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.47
  • Pastries
    $3.13
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $9.54

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Shanghai.

  • Online Chinese Cooking Class: $22
  • Old Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour: $52
  • 3-Hour Shanghai Summer Night Local Dinner and Shopping Private Tour: $65
  • Private Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with Vegetarian Option: $69
  • Private Authentic Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with a Lovely Local: $70
  • 3-Hour Shanghai City Walking Tour with Dinner: $74
  • Shanghai yummy food tour: $75
  • A Bite of Shanghai Small-Group Food Tour: $80
  • Shanghai Hairy Crab Dinner: $85
  • Shanghai Evening Food Tour/Shanghai tour gastronomico nocturno: $85
  • Night Market & Street Food Tour in Shanghai: $95
  • 3-Hour Flexible Private Shanghai Night Tour with Local Dinner Option: $100

Typical Food prices in Edinburgh

For Edinburgh, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Breakfast
    $10
  • Dinner at Filling Station
    $12
  • Lunch for Two
    $18
  • Sandwich
    $2.28
  • Cheese & bread
    $8.90
  • Thai Restaurant Dinner (for 2)
    $31
  • 2 Coffees and Scones
    $7.14
  • Turkish Delight
    $1.72
  • Soup at the Pub
    $7.27

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Edinburgh

For Edinburgh, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Scottish Classic Desserts private cooking class with professional chef: $66
  • Discover Royal Mile-Old Town & ENJOY Indian Dinner ~ Walking Tour!: $79
  • 3-Hour Guided Secret Food Tour: $94
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Curry Cooking Class – pure comfort food for the soul!: $97
  • Curry Around The World Cooking Class: $97
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Edinburgh: $106
  • Relaxing Handmade Pasta with meal and wine - Safe Cooking Class: $110
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Curry Private Cooking Class with professional chef: $116
  • "Curry Around The World" Private Cooking Class with professional chef: $116
  • Private Food Tour with a Local Expert including 10 Tastings in Edinburgh: $136
  • Handmade Pasta Cooking Class & Dinner with professional chef for private groups: $137
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour in Edinburgh w/ Private Tour Option: $228

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $7.28
    Edinburgh $20
Typical Entertainment prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Shanghai are as follows:


  • 30 Minute River Cruise for Two
    $30
  • Zoo for Two
    $15

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Shanghai are as follows:

  • 1 Day Bus Tour in Amazing Shanghai Highlights: $113
  • 1 Day Hangzhou Private Tour: $312
  • 1 Day Shanghai Airport Layover Private Tour for City Highlights: $202
  • 1 Day Shanghai Highlight Small Group Tour: $124
  • 1 Day of Shanghai Premiere Experience: $730
  • 1 day Nanjing tour from Shanghai by train: $400
  • 1 day Shanghai City Mini Group tour: $92
  • 1-Day Authentic Shanghai Tour by Walking & Metro: $193
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai City Tour to See Its Past, Present and Future: $204
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai to Wuzhen Tour to Admire the Classical Water Town: $271
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Hangzhou by car from Shanghai: $305
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Shanghai Museum,Yu Garden, the Bund and Nanjing Road: $178

Typical Entertainment prices in Edinburgh

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Edinburgh's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Show Tickets
    $39
  • Movie Tickets for Two
    $15
  • Donation for Storytellers
    $7.39

Tours and Activities in Edinburgh

For Edinburgh, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • City Highlights Self-Guided Smartphone Tour: $5.66
  • Harry Potter’s Explore the magic of the city on an audio walking tour: $5.99
  • The Witches Tour: $6.80
  • Edinburgh Audio Tour: Discover its History and Secrets: $8.26
  • Edinburgh Royal Mile (New Self Guided Tour): $8.26
  • Late Night Haunted Underground Vaults Tour: $12
  • Historic Underground Vaults Daytime Tour: $12
  • Old Town Historical Walking Tour: $12
  • Self-Guided City Experience: $12
  • Self-Guided City Sightseeing Treasure Hunt: $14
  • Ghost and Gore Walking Tour of Edinburgh: $14
  • Murder and Mystery Walking Tour of Edinburgh: $14

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $6.35
    Edinburgh $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Shanghai

Also in Shanghai, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255
  • 3 Hour Local Craft Beer Crawl with Brewery Tour: $350

Typical Alcohol prices in Edinburgh

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Edinburgh from other travelers:


  • Beer & Wine
    $17
  • Half Pint at Tollbooth Tavern
    $2.03
  • Pint of Beer
    $4.31

Sample the Local Flavors in Edinburgh

Also in Edinburgh, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • The Orange Pub Crawl - Edinburgh: $18
  • Edinburgh Brewery Tour: $22
  • Holyrood Distillery Gin and Whisky Guided Tour: $24
  • Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour: $24
  • Guided Gin Tasting at 56 North Distillery: $34
  • Pickering's Gin Distillery Tour with Gin Tastings: $34
  • Loch Lomond, Stirling, and Glengoyne Distillery Tour from Edinburgh: $52
  • Rosslyn Chapel, Scottish Borders & Glenkinchie Distillery from Edinburgh: $54
  • Loch Ness, Highlands and Whisky Distillery Day Tour from Edinburgh: $66
  • Bike, beers and brewery tour: $90
  • Edinburgh and Golf and Distillery Tour with Private Driver: $259
  • Whisky Distillery Tour from Edinburgh by Private Vehicle: $284


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Shanghai and Edinburgh, we can see that Edinburgh is more expensive. And not only is Shanghai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Shanghai is in Asia and Edinburgh is in Europe, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. So, traveling to Shanghai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Shanghai and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Edinburgh would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Edinburgh than you might in Shanghai.

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Shanghai vs. Edinburgh Travel Comparison

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