My favorite things to do in Edinburgh
There are many things to see in this beautiful city, but any walking tour of Edinburgh should include these major tourist attractions:
Palace of Holyrood – this is the Scottish official royal residence. It is truly that the Scots don’t like the Queen, but this is her official place in Scotland. Well with your visit.
The Royal Mile – the most famous street in Edinburgh. Take it slow and stop at all the old churches.
Edinburgh Castle – this medieval fortress gives you amazing views of the city. However, the ticket lines were very long and the interior was not too interesting.
Calton Hill is a very interesting and mysterious place with all kinds of Greek looking buildings. Being on top of the hill you get the best views of the city.With our map and our list of attractions in hand we started exploring Edinburgh.
Princess Street – you can see it from the castle and it well worth walking to the Botanical Garden
Edinburgh walking tour map
Legend: Circle-start, Red-see, Green-walk
See my photos from EdinbughPalace of Holyrood
We’ll start our walking tour of Edinburgh with a visit to Palace of Holyrood which is the Queen’s Summer residence. From Waverly train station (main station) you hike up a couple of minutes to Royal Mile and go down at the end where the palace is.
The Royal Palace of Holyrood and the large Arthur’s Seat hillside seen from Calton Hill.
See my photos from Edinburgh, Scotland
If you have time in the evening, I highly recommend hiking up Arthur’s Seat hill for beautiful views of the city at sunset.
Walk the Royal Mile
Continuing our walking tour of Edinburgh, from Holyrood we are walking all the way up to Edinburgh Castle for about a mile…the Royal Mile. About half way up don’t miss St. Giles Church. If you like history you will quickly learn about the Scottish Reformation. Paying attention to the disfigured statues inside the churches will enlighten you. It would help you understand Scotland if you read about John Knox who shaped much of the more modern history of Scotland.
Walking down on Royal Mile looking towards the empty Tron Church.
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At the top of the Royal Mile you will see the mighty Edinburgh Castle. This is a longer break in our walking tour of Edinburgh. This large and imposing castle is simple on the inside and offers great views of the city below.
The impressive Edinburgh Castle dates from the 12th century.
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A bit expensive to visit and the lines may be long…however, when you visit it might be ok. It’s worth seeing since you probably won’t be able to see any other large British castles. If you get to see Windsor Castle near London, you can skip this castle if you don’t have time.
Hike up Calton Hill
Continuing our walking tour of Edinburgh, we descend from the castle and we hike the imposing Calton Hill. The hilltop has some very interesting buildings and great views of the entire city. It’s worth reading a bit about the history of Calton Hill because you will gain a greater appreciation of this place.
Beautiful panorama of Edinburgh from Calton Hill
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Walk on Princess Street
Calton Hill is located beyond the east end of Princess Street. Walking down the hill and back to Princess Street, our walking tour of Edinburgh continues on this beautiful street. You will pass by the Scott’s Monument and you will end your walk at the Botanical Gardens. You can return on Queen Street which is a couple of blocks up and it’s parallel with Princess Street.
Princess Street Gardens and Edinburgh Old Town on the hill.
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Is it worth visiting Edinburgh, Scotland ?
Visiting Edinburgh is well worth your time! We found plenty of historical things to visit and felt enriched by learning about this city’s tumultuous history. One full day will allow you to see most things, but budgeting an extra day will allow you to enjoy this city better.
My best resources for planning your trip to Edinburgh, Scotland
Find a budget hotel – with over 1000 properties in Edinburgh, and really useful reviews, Booking.com is my number one place for finding a great place to stay. We stayed outside Edinburgh at the Edinburgh Park train station. The convenient Novotel Edinburgh Park is 5 minutes walking distance from the train station and 15 minutes train ride from Waverly Train Station.
Find a local tour of Edinburgh and surrounding area. You can also skip the long line and visit Edinburgh Castle when you purchase your ticket in advance.
Visit the Edinburgh Castle website and the Palace of Holyrood website to plan your trip properly.
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