Scotland is such an amazing place to visit and enjoy extraordinary music, traditions and natural landscapes. Edinburgh is one of the Scottish oldest cities and one of the highlight destinations in Europe. Definitely, Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities in Europe.

 

The city of Edinburgh is divided in two: the Old Town and New Town. Full of intriguing history, medieval architecture and mystic atmosphere, the Old Town was declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. In the early ages, Edinburgh was located inside of a wall which provided a defensive strategy for the population against English threats. As the inhabitants were reluctant to build outside the wall, the need for housing rebuilt the lead to changes in the ground level, allowing the creation of passages and vaults under the town. 

Therefore, a strong conservation movement emerged to preserve and restore the city’s old buildings and control the impact of the new developments in the city’s identity. The New Town project was designed to house the wealthy and attract people back to Scotland. Built in the mid-to-late 18th century, the New Town was the largest planned city development in the world. This development brought commercial and cultural dynamism to the city. 

Edinburgh Castle

The Edinburgh Castle is located on the top of a extinct volcanic rock which ages around 340 million years. The castle rock towers 120 meters above the sea level and provided a natural defense against the English during the medieval ages. The castle was surrounded by a lake – Nor Loch – which naturally protected the castle and Old Town. Apparently, when the lake drained, they found hundreds of bodies from that time. Nowadays is where the Princes Street Gardens are located.

Royal Mile

The Royal Mile runs thought the heart of the Old Town, connecting the magnificent Edinburgh Castle resting underneath the Arthur’s Seat. The Royal Mile hosts various museums and monuments, interlocking to create a secret underground world. Here you have the opportunity to explore the Underground City, which is a constituted by vaults where was inhabited by the Irish immigrants during the Industrial Revolution. Those are the most famous excavated areas of the Mary Kings Close, attracting and enthrall visitors from all around the world.

Victory Street

The Victoria Street is linked to the Grassmarket, which is a popular area in the lower part of the Old Town. The Grassmarket is very well conserved with many historic buildings, hosting pubs and restaurants on the Market Square, offering traditional Scottish food and live music. This street is the most colorful one in Edinburgh and you can see why in the photo below.

Greyfriars Kirk

Greyfriars Kirk was the first church built in Edinburgh and now hosts classical recitals and concerts.  The Kirk graveyard is perhaps best known as the final resting place of the little Skye terrier – Bobby – and his master Old Jock. The story says that Bobby kept watching over his master’s unmarked grave for 14 years, only leaving for food until his own death in 1872. 

Calton Hill

Calton Hill is the most famous landmarks of the city of Edinburgh. Located in one of the main hills of the city, sitting right in the city center, hosting the Athenian Acropolis poking above the skyline. This landmark is very much revered as a common ground to many Edinburghers and is usually a quite place to come at anytime of the day to enjoy the panoramic views. Get yourself up the hill in time for the sunset, which definitely deserves all the credits for this amazing view of the city. As you arrive on top, you can see you are not the only one trying to catch this extraordinary experience, so try to arrive early to save the better spot.

Hike the Arthur's Seat

The Arthur’s Seat is located on the top of Holyrood Park. It took us around 30 minutes to climb to the top, between rocks, mud and rain. The paths are well maintained, but it was a little bit scary to climb up because of the climatic conditions. Definitely, make sure you bring comfortable trainers that are safe for climbing. As the Arthur’s Seat is the tallest point in Edinburgh, the views from the top are just breathtaking.

Discover the Dean Village

Dean Village is located five minutes walk from the city centre. Hidden away at the foot of the hills, this village is a must-see in Edinburgh. Here you can find a walk pathway close to the Water of Leith, being an amazing place to walk or cycle.

Take a tour to the Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands hosts the mysterious Loch Ness. Adventure yourself there and maybe you are lucky enough to meet ‘Nessie’ the Loch Ness’ monster. Personally, I really enjoyed this trip to the Highlands and one-day tour we did was amazing, but I would really liked to explore more. However, a road trip looks very tempting. See the post one-day tour to Scottish Highlands for more information.
Scottish Highlands Glencoe

Where and what to eat in Edinburgh

The White-Hart Inn

34 Grassmarket, EH1 2JU, Edinburgh

The White-Hart Inn is one of the oldest pubs in Edinburgh. There we tried the traditional Scottish dish – the Haggis. I’ve tried the vegetarian Haggis version, composed of various mashed vegetables, herbs and whisky sauce. The dish is full of herbs flavor and the whisky sauce is simply fabulous, which evince the Scottish character of the dish. Definitely, one of the things you must try while in Edinburgh. Available live music too.

'Let me Eat too'

7 Cowgatehead, EH 1 1JY, Edinburgh

We stopped here on our first day to enjoy some lunch at the ‘Let me Eat Too‘, which serves great giant paninis and delicious coffees.

Hendersons Vegan

25 Thistle Street, EH2 1DX, Edinburgh

Perfect for Vegans and also for people that would like to try something different, the Hendersons is a perfect place to eat. The full menu is Vegan and ‘animal cruelty’ free.

I hope this post has raised your curiosity to visit Scotland and help you to organize a city break to enjoy this amazing city. Edinburgh is the proof that you don’t need to go far from London to have a fascinating City Break.
This post is based on my experience while travelling Edinburgh for three days. Off course, there is lots of things to do in Edinburgh, that unfortunately I did not had time to experience.