Edinburgh, all the charm of Scotland in a city …
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland since the 15th century. It is also the seat of the Scottish Parliament since its recovery in 1999. And it is especially a very pretty city which is an ideal destination to plunge a few days in the particular atmosphere of the Highlands.
What to do when you are visiting Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is a city as charming as it is full of history, it has an incredible architectural heritage that makes it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Visiting Edinburgh in Scotland is the best way to discover splendours as you stroll through the streets of the city which is easily explored on foot because the city is not very big.
Old Town, the old town is dotted with splendid houses, especially along the Royal Mile which connects the Holyrood Palace, the residence of the Queen, to the Edinburgh Castle, which dominates the city. The three places we have just mentioned are a must in the city and are the heart of Edinburgh. Especially the castle which has played a huge role in the whole history of Scotland. Another must-see in the city is its 15th century cathedral, Saint-Gilles Cathedral, the mother church of Presbyterianism. Edinburgh is also an underground city. So under the Royal Mile is Mary King’s Cross, a labyrinth of alleyways that have not moved for centuries. And besides, it seems that it is haunted … We advise you to take part in a guided tour of this place with a particular atmosphere or to go directly to Real Mary King’s Close, near the cathedral. There are also ghost tours that are well enough to visit the haunted places in the city.
On the cultural side, it’s the National Museum of Scotland that stands out. Located on Chamber Street, the museum is divided into two buildings, one of fairly modern style, the other closer to the Victorian style. In addition, the entrance is free. We also recommend the Scotch Whiskey Heritage Center. This museum near the castle is dedicated to Whiskey, Scottish drink par excellence, from its manufacture to its tasting.
If you want to do some shopping, you will find quite a few shops on the royal mile, including artisans and gift shops. But you can also stroll through the Princes Street and the Grassmarket district, Edinburgh’s other two shopping areas. By “wandering” a little and venturing into the alleys of these neighborhoods you will find shops that sell traditional Scottish products, such as whiskey or the famous kilts.
And for a dip, know that traditional Scottish cuisine is quite rich and finds inspiration in other gastronomy, such as French cuisine. Again, bet on the Old Town, the Royal Mile and Princes Street and the surrounding streets for Haggis, haddock or scotch broth, or a delicious piece of Aberdeen Angus beef.
And what would Scotland be without its pubs? She would probably be a little less authentic. The coolest pubs are at Grassmarket, which is very much alive on weekends, or High Street and Cowgate.
Our tips for visiting Edinburgh
Accommodation in Scotland and Edinburgh is generally quite expensive, so stay tuned for bargains and consider booking early. On the other hand, airline tickets are quite cheap. Also note that shops often close early, around 17 or 18 hours.
Take at least two days to fully explore the city to get the most out of this city’s atmosphere and magic. The sun goes down quite early at certain times of the year and if you are on the side of Gassmarket when night falls, you will see that its streets can become very romantic.
Besides, there are no good or bad times to visit Edinburgh, the city changing a little atmosphere each season. However, we advise you to prefer autumn or spring, because the summer is very touristy and the winter can be quite cold. Be aware, however, that the city regularly hosts festivals on a variety of themes such as jazz or cinema, so why not take advantage of one of the festivals to visit the city while it is buzzing with entertainment? In any case do not forget your rain gear regardless of the season.
Finally, there are plenty of things to do near Edinburgh. Loch Ness is quite far and extremely visited, however, take a ride on the summit of an extinct volcano, Arthur’s Seat, located very close to Edinburgh and offering a beautiful setting for a hike. You can also go to Linlithgow, and its palace, which saw the birth of Jacques V or Mary Stuart, or to Aberdour, a beautiful village with its splendid beaches. Aberdour as Linlithgow are also close to the city.
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