The capital of Scotland offers the curious traveler everything from iconic architecture to light hiking, charming pubs to haunted museums. Whether you’re exploring Old Town alleys or enjoying New Town nightlife, this hilly city isn’t lacking in things to do. You can try and fit everything in one trip, but the Scottish capital will call you back for more. Here are tips to help plan your next visit to Edinburgh.
Visit Edinburgh Castle, a beautiful old fortress sitting atop an extinct volcano. The views overlooking the city are breathtaking, but it’s the bloody history that keeps you engaged. The castle’s stories of slaughter and betrayal make even the newest Game of Thrones seem mundane. It’s worth participating in the scheduled tours, but navigating the 12th-century castle by yourself is equally entertaining. Make sure you see the Scottish Crown Jewels and the giant Mons Meg Canon! If you happen to still be at the castle by 1PM, cover your ears for the firing of the 1 o’clock artillery gun.
Hike Arthurâs Seat
Head up Arthur’s Seat for some of the best views of the city. This mountain sits in the heart of Edinburgh and towers 800 feet at its highest point. If you’re lucky to catch a clear afternoon, the views are truly magnificent.
Go underground at the Real Mary Kingâs Close
Explore every little alleyway, or “close” as they’re called and make sure to participate in one of the scheduled tours of Mary King’s Close. The tour will take you underground, where you will experience what it was like to be a part of the plague outbreak in the 17th century. It is said that the ghosts of the dead still haunt the area, so don’t be too surprised if you hear a child’s footsteps or trailing voice. Also, if you hear someone yell “Gardy-LOO” make sure to duck your head.
See the remains of Holyrood AbbeyÂ
Behind Holyrood Palace is where you can find the burnt down abbey. The historic ruins are eery and scenic. You can combine a visit to the abbey, a tour through the palace and a stroll in the gardens all within the small area of Holyrood.
Take a black cab to Leith, a buzzing port on the outside of Edinburgh. It’s a cultural melting-pot with some of the best food in the city. You can find amazing fish and chips at the Newhaven docks and a Michelin star meal at the Kitchin.