Visiting Edinburgh this year? Great choice! I managed to visit the cold, rocky and spooky city. Although you might think it isn’t the most popular or fancy destination you will truly be amazed by the natural beauty of this city! Here are 10 must do’s to help you experience the best Edinburgh has to offer!
1. Edinburgh Castle
Located in old town Edinburgh, you will find Edinburgh Castle. There is no way skipping this master piece, a beautiful castle on top of Castle Rock hill. The castle is easy to reach and once arrived you can enjoy Edinburgh from above, with an amazing panoramic view.
I have to be honest – I didn’t enter the castle because of my limited budget. If you would like to visit the castle you can easily get a ticket at the entrance (about 17 pound).
2. Hollyrood Park & Arthur’s Seat
About a 15 minute walk from the center you will find Hollyrood Park. The park consists of numerous hills of which Arthur’s Seat is the highest. Although the dormant volcano is relatively easy to hike due to it’s many paths, I recommend to wear walk shoes because it can be quite muddy some times.
If you walk at a fast pace, you’re up for an hour (about 250m high). The view is absolutely breathtaking and definitely worth it! I did it twice!
3. Calton Hill
If you’re visiting Edinburgh I definitely recommend to climb Arthur’s Seat at least once! If you’re not able to do so, there is always an alternative, Calton Hill. It’s a beautiful area where you can enjoy an amazing panoramic view. Another advantage – it’s easier to climb so definitely worth the effort! You will also find some remarkable buildings such as the National Monument and the Dugald Stewart Monument. The only downside is that you will encounter more tourists.
4. Grassmarket & Victoria Street
In addition to nice walks, Edinburgh also offers some great places to eat and drink. Grassmarket and Victoria Street are surrounded by cozy pubs and nice restaurants. Some restaurants are on the expensive side but in the afternoon you can go for lunch and save some money. Maison Bleue, La Barantine Victoria en Hanam’s are nice places to eat. Besides nice restaurants you will also find some cozy shops!
5. Princes Street
Do you like shopping? In the newer part of the city (New Town) you will find Princes Street. This is the local shopping street including a classic H&M, Primark, Zara and other local souvenir shops. You have a nice view of the Edinburgh Castle and can also visit the Scott Monument. If you’re into bagpipe music, you should definitely visit the Scott Monument because of the local bagpipe player!
6. Alleys of Edinburgh
In old town Edinburgh you will find numerous small alleys that immediately reminded me of the famous Harry Potter’s movies. It’s also a great place to take amazing pictures!
7. Ghost tour
Edinburgh is also known as the ‘Spooky City, due to it’s many frightening stories. There are therefore many tours organized to reveal the dark side of the city. I was very curious and booked the hidden and haunted tour by Mercat tours!
The tour started at 21u00 and was told to be so scary only adults were allowed. Personally, I was a little bit disappointed. Sure, you will hear cool stories, but it wasn’t all that scary. I would still recommend it because it's a fun activity and I actually learned a lot about the history of the city!
8. The Edinburgh Dungeon
Because our first tour was a bit disappointing, we decided to book another one: The Edinburgh Dungeon Tour! This tour was very interactive and kind of scary!
They bring together an amazing cast of actors, cool special effects, 360° sets and some cool rides which makes it a unique experience. Tip: make sure to pre-book your tickets online, this way you will save some money (25%)!
9. Try some Scottish Whiskey !
Scotland is known for its Whiskey. You’ll find plenty of shops where you can taste or buy local whiskey. I went to a little whiskey shop in Victoria Street where I tasted some great local whiskeys.
10. Haggis Haggis is a traditional Scottish meat dish containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) Does not sound really good, doesn’t it? I actually ate the dish in Maison Bleue (Victoria Street) and was pleasantly surprised!
Tip: If you have a limited budget, many restaurants offer a lunch at super affordable prices and often you can choose Haggis as a starter!
Edinburgh is not only the second most popular destination in the UK after London, It’s also a surprisingly cool and trendy city with a lot to offer! Enjoy your trip!
What about you? Do you have some tips or must do’s? Make sure to leave them below!