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What to visit in Edinburgh?

Updated: May 9, 2023

Edinburgh is well-known for being one of the world's most beautiful cities, as well as for its historic attractions, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and rich history. It is widely regarded as the world's best festival city, as well as a powerhouse for the literary arts, comedy, culture, high education, and other fields. You've come to the right place if you're looking for things to do in Edinburgh or places to visit in Edinburgh.

Discover with us:

What not to miss?

Edinburgh Castle

When visiting Edinburgh, you should start with this must-see castle. The castle is not only an unusual architectural structure, but it is also built on top of a long-dormant volcano. Because of this feature, the castle has become a well-known tourist attraction in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland. The castle is so magnificent and prominent that it can be seen from any point in the city. Inside the castle, you can learn more about the castle's history and visit a small military museum with a display of the former Scottish queen's crown, scepter staff, and sword.

The Royal Mile

The Royal Miles is a street that connects the east and west sides of Edinburgh. With a length of 1.6km, this road leads to Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse (Royal Palace of Holyrood). The Royal Mile is home to many ancient architectural buildings and houses, as well as countless restaurants and shops... it is extremely busy. Visitors can easily shop for Scottish souvenirs or enjoy a hot cup of tea with delicious butter cookies in British style while exploring this street; it will be a very enjoyable experience.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The magnificent Palace of Holyrood, built in 1128 and opened in 1678, is located at the end of the Royal Mile, next to the ancient Holyrood Abbey. This palace is linked to Scotland's turbulent history, and it also was also the residence of the Queen and members of the royal family on public holidays...

Calton Hill

Calton Hill is one of the highest natural landmarks in Edinburgh. The hill is located in the city center, and from here visitors can see the entire city. If you want to watch the sunrise and sunset in Edinburgh, this is the place to be. Calton Hill is home to significant Scottish works such as the Scottish government's main offices, the Nelson Monument, and the National Monument. Sunrise in Scotland will be breathtaking if viewed from the top of Calton Hill. The city of Edinburgh, both shy and beautiful, ancient and magnificent, appearing in the early hours of a new day, will undoubtedly be the most memorable experience of visitors.

What else to visit?

Arthur's Seat

Arthur's Seat is one of the city's tallest mountains and the best place to watch the sunrise. It will take approximately one hour to climb this extinct volcano. When you reach the summit, you will enjoy the fresh air and panoramic views of Edinburgh, which includes old castles, Victorian architecture, East Lothian, and the Pentland Hills. Especially if you visit in May, when the bright yellow gorse flowers bloom, releasing a sweet scent all over the mountainside.

Princes Street

Princes Street, located in Edinburgh's New Town, was built in the early 18th century and is home to numerous large and small galleries. There are also antique shops, coffee shops, and clothing stores to visit and explore. You can also visit the Scottish National Gallery and a lovely square nearby.

Saint Andrew Square

Saint Andrew Square - an extremely important public area of this city - is one of the most interesting places in this city. Because of the abundance of restaurants, bars, and luxury fashion stores, this is also a popular tourist destination and shopping area. Furthermore, visitors to the Square will have numerous opportunities to enjoy street performances and contemporary art performances.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

This is also a popular tourist destination. Inside the two imposing neoclassical structures, which are surrounded by many ornamental gardens, are collections of 20th-century art by the world's greatest artists, including Henri Matisse and Picasso, as well as other well-known Scottish painters.

How to travel there?

You can take a train or a bus to leave London. Travelling by train will take approximately 4 and a half hours and will cost between 100 and 130 Euros for a round-trip ticket. You can take in the scenery along the way, but because the train seats are so small, you won't be able to bring much luggage. If you take the bus, it will cost approximately 40 Euros and the travel time will be longer, ranging from 8 to 10 hours. Although it is more cost-effective, travelling for an extended period of time can be tiring if you are not used to it. You can also fly from London, but of course, that will be noticeably more expensive. In addition, the Edinburgh airports are quite far from the city centre which will add time and cost to your travel.

When to travel there?

Because of its location in northern England, the Scottish climate is frequently colder than the rest of the British Isles. It has an oceanic climate that is cool, rainy, and windy most of the time. Scotland is very cold, especially in the winter, and snow and fogs appear all year, hence the nickname "the island of fog." The best time to visit this city, however, is from June to August each year. This is the time of year when the weather in Edinburgh is ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities. The sky is clear and the weather is warm. This is also the time of year when the city hosts its most important festivals, so the city becomes vibrant and is bustling with tourists.

The weather begins to warm up in the spring and summer, but not too much; the temperature fluctuates around 18 degrees Celsius, which is quite cool, and this is considered the best time to visit Scotland. The rest of the year is colder, but it can also provide interesting experiences. If you visit Edinburgh in the winter, you will be surprised to find the city covered in white snow and more beautiful than any European city featured on Christmas cards.

Average costs

What amount of money will you require for your trip to Edinburgh? You should budget around £120 per day for your vacation in Edinburgh, as this is the average daily price based on other visitors' expenses. Previous visitors spent an average of £30 on meals for one day and £15 on local transportation. In addition, the average hotel room in Edinburgh costs £123. So, a one-week trip to Edinburgh for two people costs on average £1600. All of these average travel prices were gathered from other travelers. 

Where to eat?


Haggis, Scotland's most famous dish, is made from minced sheep's organs mixed with fat, onions, oats, and spices and stuffed into the sheep's stomach like a giant sausage before being steamed. Those who are not used to eating offal will not enjoy haggis. This type of "sausage" is popular in many small restaurants and supermarkets, and it is frequently served with mashed potatoes and mustard greens. Haggis, regardless of its appearance, impresses diners with its delicious and savory flavor.

Traditional Scottish Cullen Skink Soup

Cullen Skink, the traditional representative of soups, is elaborately prepared from smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions, with accompanying butter, cream, and milk. This dish is served with bread and provides visitors with a delicious taste. This soup was originally a specialty of the town of Cullen in the North East of Scotland, but due to its unique flavor, it has spread throughout the country. The soup is delicious and thickened with cream, butter, and milk. When eating the soup, you should add a few slices of bread.

Black Pudding

Scotland is well-known for its extensive pudding repertoire. If you are a foodie, you will not be able to resist the black pudding made from oatmeal, pork fat or beef suet, pork or beef blood, oat groats or barley groats. If you are not brave enough to try this dish, you can substitute red or white pudding, both of which are very tasty.

Aberdeen Angus Steak

This is a high-class dish that is popular in Edinburgh, and it is served in many of the city's luxury restaurants. Aberdeen Angus Steak is a lean, sweet, and flavorful cut of beef. When eating beef steak, it is soft, melts in the mouth, delicious, and greasy because it is pureed or chosen from the best part of the beef.


Edinburgh Film Festival

The Edinburgh Film Festival's mission is to "be at the forefront of developing a vibrant and successful film and moving image industry and culture throughout Scotland." It presented 121 new features in 2019, including UK, European, international, and world premieres, to 70,000 festival attendees and 15,000 weekend screening attendees.

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

This festival, founded in 1978 by banjo player Mike Hart, celebrates all things 'Jazz and Blues' with various performances and concerts throughout Edinburgh. In 2019, the city hosted over 170 performances spanning all decades of jazz as well as Southern blues, delta blues, electric blues, acoustic blues, Chicago blues, and Mississippi blues. The vibrant Edinburgh Festival Carnival, which takes place on the festival's opening weekend, is not to be missed.

Edinburgh International Festival

This three-week festival celebrates the performing arts from around the world and introduces Scotland's culture to an international audience. There will be theatre, classical music, dance, and world-class opera. The program was enjoyed by 420,000 people from 79 countries in 2019. The program's diversity will ensure that everyone finds something that will leave them stunned and inspired. To help you pass the time, visit the festival's YouTube channel, where you can see footage from previous festivals.

Hope you enjoyed the Edinburgh guide! We believe that you got inspired to travel and this article will help you to plan your trip there. We also have other places for you to explore, see our guides to Vienna, Zurich, or Monte Carlo. Do not forget to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be always updated on the new releases.

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