As you walk along the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile, surrounded by 18th-century Gothic architecture, it almost feels as though you have stepped back in time.
There is barely a hint of modernity in Edinburgh – even the city’s lone Starbucks has an antiquated feel to it. It’s a time capsule worth exploring, especially without the distractions of a music festival.
The historic city, New Town and Old Town alike, deserves an inquisitive-minded explorer. Lathered with history, each narrow alleyway and crumbling door frame leads to a new discovery.
There is so much to see and do here that a week barely does it justice. For those on a strict budget or a tight travel schedule, though, I’ve put together a list of the top six things do in Edinburgh:
Top six things do in Edinburgh
A strenuous hike in itself, this ‘hill’ climb is made even harder by the strong winds that batter and blow frequently. The hike is a must-do for anyone who loves a good challenge, and it also offers some pretty picturesque views.
Another great spot for extraordinary views, Calton Hill is a far easier ascent. It also boasts some impressive historical buildings and ruins and is the perfect place for a sunset stroll or a sunrise picnic.
As the hill sits lower, the views aren’t as panoramic as those from Arthur’s Seat, but are nevertheless worth the trip.
Building a castle on an extinct volcano has a plethora of benefits: not only is it easier to defend (it was never successfully assailed), but Edinburgh Castle also looks tremendous.
If crown jewels aren’t enough to grab your interest, perhaps the views through the first ever Camera Obscura will.
The Royal Mile
The highlight of the Old Town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Royal Mile is Edinburgh’s most popular attraction. Named after the now-defunct unit of measurement called the ‘Scots mile,’ it is actually 1.13 US miles or 1.81km long.
Walking the length of it is recommended, and while we chose to walk uphill from the Palace of Holyrood House, it is presumably far easier to start at the Castle and walk downhill.
Highlights include not only the many historical buildings and towering cathedrals, but also the pubs, boutique stores and Bagpipe players on every street corner.
Ghastly thin and seemingly growing into the sky, this Gothic spire monument was built in 1846 to celebrate the life of Sir Walter Scott, a famous Scottish poet and historical novelist.
For a small admission fee, you are able to climb over 60 metres up a spiral staircase and enjoy incredible city views.
Night Ghost Tours
It’s practically a sin to visit Edinburgh and not go on one of their famed ghost tours. With its ghoulish past, secret tunnels and underground chambers, a trip through the darker side of Edinburgh will scare even the bravest of souls.