Visiting Edinburgh, Scotland should be on everyone’s vacation bucket list. Why? Because it happens to be one of Europe’s most distinctively unique cities that has kept its historic medieval charm of yesteryear while being modernly hip at the same time.
The best thing about visiting Edinburgh is its size. This relatively small and compact city is perfect for travelers wanting to explore on foot, with most of the top historical sites located within a two-mile radius.
So what’s there to do and see? Here’s our pick for “Edinburgh’s Top 10 Places To See”.
1| Edinburgh Castle
This majestic castle perched high atop a hill provides some of the most breath-taking views of the city and of the North Sea in the distance. Within the castle walls, visitors have the opportunity to explore the rich history of Edinburgh Castle and see the famous Crown Jewels of Scotland, The Great Hall, The Scottish National War Memorial and Museum, Prisoners of War exhibits, and witness the famous One O’Clock firing of the cannons.
View of Edinburgh Castle from the Grassmarket
The Seige Cannons
A glimpse at what life was like as a prisoner of war
2| Arthur’s Seat
This dormant volcano is one of Edinburgh’s top places to visit, attracting thousands of visitors each year to hike to the top of its rocky peak. The scenic hike has several paths to follow depending upon your personal fitness level and offers spectacular views of the city and sea. Be sure to take a quick scenic break to view the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel.
Hikers on their way to the top
Stunning views and nature all around
The ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel
3| The Grassmarket
This historic area nestled at the foot of Edinburgh Castle is buzzing with energy with restaurants, pubs, and boutiques lining the streets. During the warmer months, people of all ages can be seen relaxing with a pint in the outdoor seating areas while enjoying the spectacular views of the castle.
The outdoor cafes of the Grassmarket
Shopping in the Grassmarket
4| St. Giles Cathedral
Located on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (High Street), is St. Giles Cathedral. This historic church was home to the Scottish Reformation with John Knox residing as its minister. The cathedral is home to some of Scotland’s finest examples of stained-glass windows. Admission is free, but a donation is suggested.
One of many beautiful stained glass windows
The centuries-old pipe organ
5| The Palace of Holyroodhouse
Once the home of Mary Queen of Scots, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is now the Scottish residence of England’s royal family. The self-guided palace tour will take you through the royal apartments, Mary’s bedchamber and into the Great Gallery. After touring the Palace, take time to explore the Queen’s Gallery next door.
The Queen’s Gallery
6| National Museum of Scotland
Home to thousands of fascinating objects, the National Museum of Scotland is a must see. The museum consists of several floors and a variety of exhibits highlighting everything from the Natural World, Art and Design, Science and Technology, World Cultures, and Scottish History. This museum is also home to the world’s first cloned sheep, Dolly. Admission is free.
One of the many exhibition halls
The stunning architecture of the grand hall
7| Greyfriars Kirk
This historic church and cemetery is a hauntingly beautiful oasis surrounded by moss-covered walls. Many of Edinburgh’s famous residents are buried here. At the entrance to Greyfriars Kirk, be sure to spot Greyfriars Bobby Statue, a memorial erected in honor the Skye terrier who maintained a 14-year vigil over his master’s grave.
Greyfriars Bobby Memorial
Strolling through the historic graveyard
8| Scotch Whiskey Experience
Set in a former schoolhouse, the Scotch Whiskey Experience takes visitors on a tour of the whiskey making process. The tour includes an extensive whiskey tasting.
Taste the local flavor at the Scotch Whiskey Experience
9| Princes Street Gardens
The beautiful manicured Princes Street Gardens was once the former Nor’ Loch. Drained to provide the city’s residents with open green space, the gardens are divided into the east side and the west side. As you stroll through this serene park, you will find several statues and monuments dedicated to many notable Scotsmen.
A serene path through the park
Princes Street Gardens was once a lake
The famous Scotts Monument peeking through the lush trees
10| Shopping at Jenner’s
Founded in 1838, Jenner’s is Edinburgh’s oldest upscale department stores. With over 5 floors of fine merchandise, a food hall, cafes, and beauty salon, you’re sure to find that perfect gift to bring home.
High-end shopping at its finest
With so much to do and see in Edinburgh, it was hard to pick just 10 top things to see. If you’ve already been to this fascinating city, leave a comment and let us know what your top things are to see and do in Edinburgh.
Until next time, happy and stylish travels!
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