While more famous cities like Paris, London and Madrid absorb the world’s attention, Edinburgh should definitely be on the itinerary of any serious traveler who wants to see the best of what Europe has to offer.
Edinburgh truly has it all. This is a vibrant and colorful city, steeped in history and tradition and replete with charm. It has a touch of the ancient, and the Old World, and the new, and it’s always an exciting place to visit.
Edinburgh is the best of two worlds: a lively cityscape with diverse cultural offerings, and a rural getaway with all the charm and beauty of the Scottish countryside. From medieval castles, to lively pubs, to the picturesque country landscapes, there is a little something for everyone to see and do here.
Edinburgh has produced several of the world’s most prolific writers, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s also the birthplace of Sean Connery and Alexander Graham Bell.
Edinburgh features a mild overall climate. Summers are warm with moderate amounts of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s. Winters are mild and rainy, with lows generally reaching the low 30s. While you can enjoy Edinburgh all year, summer is generally the best time to visit.
From small villas, to cozy bed and breakfasts, to charming cottages, to luxury hotels that resemble ornate Old World palaces, you’ll find the accommodations you’re looking for in Edinburgh.
Like many European cities, Edinburgh is designed for walking. Short city blocks make it easy to explore on foot, and walking gives you a great opportunity to take your time, explore the backstreets, and stop at any shop, pub or restaurant that piques your interest. There are also many picturesque parks in Edinburgh that are perfect for a leisurely stroll.
You can also travel Edinburgh easily by bus. Daily bus passes are a convenient choice, as they allow you unlimited daily travel. Buses go all over the city, as well as out to Edinburgh’s rural Lothian area.
Edinburgh offers several tour bus options. Tour buses are a great way to see the sights, as you don’t have to do the driving, and an expert guide can tell you everything you want to know about the city.
Traveling Edinburgh by car is easy, but a bit impractical, as parking is limited, restrictive and difficult to access. The city offers convenient park-and-ride options,
Places to Visit
Edinburgh is divided into several different sectors, each with its own character and flair, and each with a something different to offer the traveler.
Having served as the port of Edinburgh for hundreds of years, Leith boasts a long and fascinating history. However, today the area has a youthful and vibrant vibe, and is known for its cultural offerings. Leith boasts a wealth of top restaurants, pubs and nightlife hotspots, and it’s home to several prominent art galleries.
Meandering down the labyrinth of Old Town’s austere and narrow cobblestone streets is like taking a step back in time. Here you’ll find such Scottish treasures as the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh Castle and St. Giles’ Cathedral, as well as the fascinating underground chambers that once housed Edinburgh’s poor.
Edinburgh’s 18th-century answer to Old Town, New Town was largely inspired by Scottish Enlightenment, and offers a glimpse of a very different period of Scotland’s history. The broad, tidy streets are lined with beautiful Georgian homes, which were once occupied by the upper crust of Edinburgh society. There is still an upscale feel to New Town; the area is known for its fine dining, chic pubs and high-end galleries.
Centered around the Haymarket Railway Station, this area is great for families. It’s the home of Murrayfield Stadium, where some of Scotland’s most exciting soccer matches are played, and Murrayfield Ice Rink, where you can catch a hockey game or bring your brood to skate. It’s also 10 minutes from the Edinburgh Zoo, and features a number of charming restaurants and shops.
West End’s streets are lined with boutiques, quirky shops and high-end stores, making it the perfect spot for a daylong shopping excursion.
Perhaps the most fascinating spot in Edinburgh, Grassmarket offers visitors a look into the city’s medieval past. Once a marketplace and a site for public executions, today Grassmarket is a vibrant area full of restaurants, pubs and shops, where people come to drink, dine, and marvel at the medieval architecture.
While not part of Edinburgh Proper, the Lothians lie just outside the city, and offer travelers a wonderfully authentic rural Scottish experience. The green and lush rolling hills are home to historic castles and abbeys, charming small towns, beautiful gardens and serene country parks.