Edinburgh, the beautiful capital of Scotland has a lot to offer. In the middle of the beautiful, green highlands is the small but nice city, which is ideal for a short trip. I've put together some of my Edinburgh tips for your next trip to the north of the UK.
Split in half, Edinburgh has both a historic and modern side. Most of the places worth seeing are in Old Town, the medieval part of the city. In New Town you can find trendy stores and restaurants – many of them real insider tips. Medieval and yet modern – that's typical for Auld Reekie (the city's nickname).
Edinburgh – At a glance:
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and the seat of the Scottish Parliament. The city currently has 518.500 inhabitants (as of 2018) and just under 3.5 million visitors per year. The currency is like everywhere in Great Britain Pound Sterling. However, there are two official languages, English and Gaelic.
Edinburgh attractions – what to see?
1. Royal Mile – the stately center
The impressive historical part of Edinburgh consists of many small alleys, also called closes. From the main street of the city, the Royal Mile, countless of these alleys go off. The Royal Mile stretches for 1.8 kilometers between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Numerous cafes and small stores are located here. If you are looking for really good Scotch whisky, you will surely find it here.
Tip: Also go into the inconspicuous closes, because in the partly tiny alleys, often worth seeing courtyards or places are hidden, which one does not expect at all.
2. Edinburgh Castle – the throne of the city
In the midst of the capital of Scotland enthroned on a small hill, the Castlehill. From here you have a beautiful view over the city. In the evening you can take excellent photos of the Royal Mile illuminated by lantern light.
There are hardly any tourists here at this time of night, so there is plenty of time to get out the tripod and take a few pictures.
3. Princes Street Gardens& Scott Monument
Between Edinburgh Castle and the main street Princes Street is a long park, the Princess Street Garden. Along the park, there are many monuments, among others, the , which can also be visited.
In 2012, the Scott Monument was an important part of the movie "Cloud Atlas" starring Halle Berry and Tom Hanks. A small celebrity thus.
4. Greyfriars Kirkyard – spooky beautiful
Have you ever played "Guess the Body Part"?? If you like goose bumps, this is the place to be. This is the place around which most haunted stories in Edinburgh are told. This is said to be haunted by the Mackenzie Poltergeist, who likes to bruise and scratch visitors. A part of the cemetery has been closed by the government for this reason and can only be visited in special guided tours.
According to locals, people here like to play the game "Guess the body part!". Since the burials in this cemetery were done in different layers and the cemetery is located on a slope, it seems that in heavy rain various bones can be found here. This incident, has also given the cemetery the name Scottish Lasagna. Quite macabre, but typical Scottish humor.
Tip: Harry Potter fans should look for the tombstone of Thomas Riddell, who is J.K. Inspired Rowling to create her character Lord Voldemord. You can also find here the tombstones with the inscription Moony as well as McConagall. A big part of the Harry Potter story!
5. Scotland's capital has an idol: Greyfriars Bobby
In front of Greyfriars Kirkyard, there is a small statue of Bobby the dog, who swore allegiance to his late master even after his death. It brings luck to rub one's nose. Apparently so lucky that every year the media writes: "Bobby has got new make up".
But that does not last long. The locals make it their business to rub Bobby's nose clean as quickly as possible. Something like this only here.
6. Grassmarket – cafes and nice stores
The Grassmarket is a small market place, which is accessible via Victoria Street. Both students and tourists meet here. With a unique view of Edinburgh Castle, here's the perfect place for a little stopover.
Here J.K. Rowling, with just this view of the Castle as well as a private school, was inspired to her Harry Potter series. Thereby she spent her mornings in the cafe Elephant House. Unfortunately, this place of inspiration no longer exists.
Tip: – A tiny ice cream parlor with a small selection, but top quality. Here you must try the legendary Milk ice cream.
7. The Scottish Parliament – seat of government in style
The Scottish Parliament is a building disputed by the inhabitants. With its modern design, the building hardly fits into the medieval streetscape. Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, it offers, so to speak, together with the Holyrood Palace the end for a walk. A popular photo spot and definitely worth the walk.
8. Victoria Street – popular street of the filmmakers
An insider tip from our hotelier, Victoria Street. This one has 2 levels, which is unique for Edinburgh. Many Hollywood productions are filmed here. This small alley has an uncanny authentic charm.
In 2012 the filming of the movie "Cloud Atlas" with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry took place here.
Tip: In the middle of Victoria Street is the small , which offers delicious Pulled Pork Sandwiches for meat lovers. Quick and also to go.
9. Arthur's Seat – view over the city
Arthur's Seat is part of Hollyrood Park, this 251m high mountain, offers a beautiful view over Edinburgh. The ascent is a bit tedious, since there are hardly any fortifications.
But the view definitely compensates for the effort. If one has made it, a breathtaking panorama offers itself. The perfect place to take a deep breath.
10. National Museums of Scotland – History up close
Not only good for rainy days! The consist of 2 museums. The Royal Museum and the National Museum of Scotland. This is where technology and natural history meet Scottish culture.
Admission is free of charge and especially recommended during the unstable weather in Scotland. A modern museum, which is definitely worth a visit.
Edinburgh tips – travel time and arrival
Best time to travel
You can visit Scotland all year round. In May you have few tourists and mostly good weather in Edinburgh. June, July, August are the typical travel months, so it can be crowded sometimes. Favorable months are March, April and September and October is very rainy but also quiet.
The journey to Edinburgh you can either take the ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle, because it is located on the east coast directly on the border with Scotland. From there it is about two and a half hours drive and 175 kilometers to Edinburgh. You can also arrive by train or plane.
Tips from travel bloggers – what to see in Edinburgh?
Renate from Raus ins Leben has 2 more tips for you. If you are looking for an absolutely cool and extraordinary place to stay, then you should head for this. Do you want to feel like a royal?? Then we recommend a visit to the .
And if you are still hungry now, after the Edinburgh insider tips: Here are the best Edinburgh treats:
Travel packing list and other preparations?
Not yet packed but ready for the next trip? I have published my detailed and for globetrotters to make the packing easier. To make sure you don't forget anything important, you can also download the checklist for printing!
Do you have any questions about my Edinburgh tips?
Did I forget one that is important for you? Feel free to leave me a comment and I'll try to help you out with my tips as best I can.