Edinburgh is not a very big city and quite easy to see, taking a long walk through the center you will find hundreds of interesting things, museums, beautiful historical buildings, churches, centenary cemeteries, in addition to several monuments declared World Heritage. Be prepared to go up and down stairs because of that in Edinburgh there is a lot. The Scottish gastronomy also deserves a mention, in your walk you will see infinity of restaurants and locals to be able to taste typical dishes like huggies accompanied by a pint of beer or a fine scotch on the rocks.
What you need to know before traveling to Edinburgh
Edinburgh is outside the Eurozone, so you’ll need to change currency before your trip to get local currency – pounds (GBP). The plugs are also different from the European standard, so you should buy a transformer -although most hotels provide them. As for the climate, the temperature is rather cold and it rains quite often, so do not forget the raincoat even if you travel during the summer.
Where to stay in Edinburgh?
This wonderful city has different accommodation options with different prices, from large upscale hotels to comfortable inns, guesthouses, B&B’s and backpackers’ hostels. Learn more about the best places to stay in Edinburgh in Thenomadvisor.com and choose the deal that suit your needs best.
What to see and do in Edinburgh?
The Castle of Edinburgh
This Royal Palace which lays on top of an extinct volcano is undoubtedly the star monument of the city, and it keeps very interesting stuff inside -such as the jewels of the Scottish Crown.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is a large avenue located in the Old Town that links the castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It’s 1.8 kilometers long, which is the equivalent to a mile -hence the name. On its sides you will find churches, historic buildings, shops, restaurants, pubs, and even a cathedral whose stained-glass windows are definitely worth the visit.
Princes Street, Walter Scott Monument and the National Gallery
Princes Street is the second most important street of Edinburgh. It is full of shops of the most international, but it also has the beautiful and green park of the same name, the train station, monuments, museums or luxurious buildings like the Balmoral hotel. The most imposing monument of Princes Street is the Walter Scott monument. You can climb its 60 metres up a spiral staircase that reaches 287 steps and get great views. On the other side of the street, there is the Scottish National Gallery.
Greyfriars Graveyard and Old Calton Cemetery
In Edinburgh the cemeteries are completely integrated to the city and they open 24 hours a day. If time allows it, you will always see people using them like parks: walking around, having dates and even having picnics during summer.
Greyfriars Graveyard is the most iconic and visited, and it is the burial place of Bobby, the most loyal dog in Scotland – he remained at his master’s tomb for 14 years, until the arrival of his own death. The Old Calton Cemetery has the charm of the old times, and the tombstones and pantheons full of history. Philosopher David Hume and painter David Allen are buried in here.
Calton Hill is the reason why the capital of Scotland is called the Athens of the north, and the similarity with the Greek acropolis is more than evident. It is advisable to go up to see the sunset, since the panoramic view is really worth the walk. You will see the new city, the old town in the background, and the prominent castle above. At the top of the hill you will see neoclassical monuments and Greek columns simulating the Athenian parthenon. This monument was built to commemorate the troops fallen during Napoleon’s wars, but for lack of funds only the columns remained and the project never advanced again.
Arthur’s seat, is a the hill where you can get the best views of all Edinburgh. Although it is only 215 metres high, the ascent is not easy so you better are in good shape before climbing it.
Harry Potter landmarks
Edinburgh is very famous among Harry Potter fans because it is the city where author J.K Rowling wrote the novels. The Elephant Cafe is the place where she used to sit everyday to write the story, inspired by the surroundings. Hogwarts, the wizard school, is based in real-life building George Heriot’s School, which is a private school whose alumni are sorted among four different ‘houses’ and win points for them -just like in Hogwarts. Also, the birthname of the antagonistic character Lord Voldemort (Tom Riddle), is taken right from one tombstone in Greyfriars Graveyard.