When it comes to describing Edinburgh in Scotland, a lot of people would be quick to point out its famed cobbled streets, its link to royalty, the Gothic architecture of many of its buildings, and it's lovely weather.
The capital of Scotland not only boasts of its modern weather system but also its friendly people and rich history. Locals are known to welcome you with open arms and make sure you feel welcomed in the magical town.
Meanwhile, Edinburg has long been known for its historical sites such as the Royal Mile, St. Giles Cathedral, and its many castles. However, there is more to explore when you visit Scotland’s capital. Younger tourists speak very highly of its fascinating nightlife and the different type of people you meet when you visit.
How to Get There
The Scotland experience begins the moment visitors land at Edinburgh Airport. Touted as, “where Scotland meets the world”, the airport is the busiest airport in Scotland and the 6th busiest in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh airport is conveniently located and provides a lot of hassle-free ways to get to the centre of the city.
One of the fastest ways to travel from the airport to the city is through the private airport transfer service. A chauffeur will be waiting for you at the arrival terminal the moment that you land. This is the most convenient and comfortable way to get to your hotel.
Another option would be Airlink or the service 100 express bus. The bus runs between the airport and the city center and can reach the Waverly Bridge in 25 minutes. It runs 24 hours a day with a bus arriving every ten minutes.
Other options include Buses 35 and N22, which are Lothian bus numbers that connect the city center with the airport. However, it often stops at local destinations during the ride making it scenic but a longer option for travelers. You may also take a taxi and a tram that takes you to the city centre in 35 minutes.
Since Edinburgh is not an extremely big city, there are a lot of convenient ways to get around without it taking much of your time.
Buses run 24 hours a day in Edinburgh and have frequent services. Aside from Airlink100 which takes travelers to the airport 24 hours a day, seven days a week, tourists can also plan their trip around the routes of the Lothian Business and First Group.
Trams are another popular option. Its friendly trams run 14km from York place in the city center to Edinburgh. These transports are also equipped with WiFi and provide wheelchair access, ramps, and lifts.
Over 1,000 black cabs can easily be hailed on the street or picked up within the city centre. Majority of taxis can hold up to five passengers at a time. There are also various city cabs and private hire taxis available.
Things to Do
Tourists traveling to Edinburgh will be surprised to know that despite its rich culture and history, Edinburgh also offers a wide range of activities for young travelers. Edinburgh is the perfect example of a destination that can successfully fuse the old and the new for a unique experience.
One of the most famous tourist destinations in Edinburgh is the Royal Mile. The historic street stretches from the “Castle” to the palace and is often bustling with activity. The Royal Mile is considered the heart of the city and is the number one spot to people watch, sightsee, listen to buskers, and grab a bite to eat.
St. Giles Cathedral is known all over the world and is Edinburgh’s primary place of worship. Many tourists visit St. Giles for its Gothic architecture and beautiful stained-glass windows. Tours are available daily.
Taking in the magnificent sites of the Edinburgh Castle, which was established anytime between the 2nd and 7th century, remains to be number one on many tourists’ to-do list. The castle’s interesting history along with a daily cannon fire and great views are the main reasons most tourists still frequent it to this day.
If you are a big Harry Potter fan, you will enjoy visiting The Elephant House. The café that gained popularity due to the popular movie franchise is sure to be a delight and a great photo opportunity.
Another place you shouldn’t miss is the Museum of Edinburgh which gives you a better understanding of the history of Edinburgh. What makes it even more fun is the fact that it’s free!
If you are the sporty type, don’t miss out on hiking to Arthur’s Seat. The picturesque scene will give you a sweeping view of the city and gives you a wonderful view of the city.
What to Eat
Edinburgh is known for a lot of things but surprisingly so, not its food scene. This is a shame because Edinburgh offers a variety of food choices that are perfect for everyone.
One of the most famous places in Scotland can be traced back to where JK Rowling first penned Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone. Formerly called Nicolson’s Spoon, the now named Spoon is known for its windows and cozy interior. It also offers a wonderful brunch menu and one-of-a-kind coffee drinks. Visitors swear by their mocha and berry porridge.
If comfort food is your thing then you shouldn’t miss Mum’s Great Comfort food. The place not only serves delicious comfort food such as Mac and Cheese but also offers them at great prices. They also serve popcorn-flavored ice cream that locals and tourists alike swear by.
The Advocate is a Belhaven managed pub that serves everything from brunch to dinner. It’s home to many tourists and offers a lot of options and generous seating that allows tourists to put up their feet after a long day of walking.
The city may be rich in history, but it is by no means old. Aside from its historical sites, Edinburgh is also known as a university city meaning that they have a lot to offer the younger crowd. You can experience the vibe yourself by visiting pubs and bars such as Frankenstein, Three Sisters, and Ensign Ewart.
Where to Stay
There are many different types of hotels in Edinburgh. Accommodations boast of diversity in terms of prices and offerings.
The most international part of Edinburgh is a neighborhood named Leith. It is popular due to its food and character. There are different restaurants and grocery stores from six continents and a lot of countries found here. Meanwhile, the Saturday market gives cheaper options for hotels in Edinburgh.
If you are in for a luxurious trip, you can try Malmaison Edinburgh while the Mayfair House is available for the midrange traveler while budget travelers can choose to stay at the Hermitage Guest House. Leith is perfect for the adventurous traveler who wants to experience Edinburgh uniquely.
Moreover, you’ll also find great hotels at Edinburgh’s trendiest and affluent “village” called Stockbridge that is situated within the city. It is extremely close to the city centre and has a remarkable character and identity. Not only does Stockbridge have the picturesque Waters of Leith but it also showcases fine restaurants and pubs.
This is a perfect location for families since its close distance to the city gives you more time to explore it. Edinburgh hotels in Stockbridge range from luxurious like The Raeburn, midrange such as Nira Caledonia, and the perfect one for those on a budget called Inverleith Hotel.
If you are a history buff and want to stay close to the heart of it, you can try booking a hotel in Old Town, also known as the Royal Mile. Prices here range from the traditional Radisson Blue, Apex Grassmarket Hotel, and Iris South Bridge for the budget-savvy traveler.
• Brace for the cold. There are many things Scotland is as a country but “sunny” is not one of them. While the sun peeks through occasionally, it’s better for you to always bring a sweater and a waterproof jacket so you’re ready for anything.
• You can use English money. If you are traveling from other parts of Europe, such as London, you can still use their currency to explore Edinburgh.
• Entrance to The National Museum of Scotland is completely free. It’s a great way to know Scottish history and world history. It’s five floors of beautiful architecture!