Edinburgh grew up in Scotland during medieval times as a cluster of narrow streets around a castle. Today, Edinburgh–historic, cultured, and cosmopolitan–is the perfect place to set down your guidebook and explore one of the most dramatic cities in the world.
Discover Edinburgh on foot. It’s the best way to soak up the atmosphere of one of Europe’s oldest, and most exceptional, cities. From the tempting nooks of Old Town to the grace of Georgian New Town, Edinburgh is in a class by itself.
Old Town & New Town
Medieval Old Town grants you the sudden gift of stunning views, flashes of sunlit hills settled beneath the mist, rosy bluffs, a glimpse of the sea, and intriguing hints of bygone ages. In New Town you’ll stroll along wide streets and lush, open squares. New Town’s Georgian elegance presses tight against Old Town’s colorful chaos, romance, and turrets that reach toward the sky. It is truly an intoxicating mix, and one of the reasons Edinburgh is a World Heritage site.
Rising 270 feet above the city is Edinburgh Castle. The castle rock has been occupied since the Bronze Age. Given the strategic view of the Firth of Forth it’s no surprise. The remaining buildings are from the 12 century. At their heart is the small, sweet St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh. The simple stone interior is perfection itself. The Castle’s various uses as royal palace, barracks, prison and parliament have all shaped the feel and architecture of this place, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the fabled Stone of Destiny.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile runs through Edinburgh like a long, miniature time capsule. Every inch is buzzing with shops, homes, and churches from different centuries. Then, surprisingly, you’ll come upon a narrow passageway that meanders down narrow stairs and stone tunnels, tumbling into hidden courtyards. Will you follow the path?
Restaurants & Museums
The excited hum of the present carries hints of a lively future. Look for world-class restaurants, pub crawls, spontaneous music sessions, live shows, galleries, museums, and shops with everything from local crafts to top-notch designer clothing. You may revel in the city’s joy and beauty until dawn and walk back to your hotel, shoes in hand, on cobblestone streets. Watch the light of dawn glance off silvery-gray lanes. Or was that one of the infamous Edinburgh Ghosts sneaking down an alley?
Edinburgh is elegant, but she is crazy about festivals. Not only are there celebrations throughout the year, Edinburgh plays host to the largest festival in the world held during three weeks in August. The Royal Mile becomes a colorful open-air theater. Fringe performers capture your sense of play with drama, juggling, classical music, comedy, magicians, jazz, piping, traditional music, and a load of activities. Unless you go to one of the classic theaters, you can spend weeks in Edinburgh without spending one dime on unforgettable entertainment.
Athens of the North
Edinburgh is often called “The Athens of the North.” When you’re inside the city limits of one of Europe’s most dramatic cities you’ll understand why. From the teasing alleys of Old Town, to the gracious squares of Georgian New Town, every lane in Edinburgh urges you to search out the remarkable. Let go, and fall under Edinburgh’s unique spell.
More About Edinburgh:
- Edinburgh Castle
- 10 Great Edinburgh Experiences
- What to do in Edinburgh
- Regions of Scotland
- Scotland Vacation Packages