All roads begin in this beautiful old city, Edinburgh. Read as “e-din-bruh”, and not “ee-din-burg”, the capital of Scotland is often shrouded in gray clouds and light rain (but this is true for most of the UK, it’s normal). Always have your rain jacket and umbrella ready. If you’re blessed with a bright, sunny day, enjoy a picnic in Holyrood park or the Princes Street Gardens.
But honestly, the gray, moody skies give Edinburgh a dark, mysterious charm. You will truly feel like you’re walking through the streets of medieval times as you explore the Old Town and the Royal Mile — their winding streets, bridges, and buildings intricately carved out of rough, gothic stone. You’ll even notice that some establishments have been standing in these streets for centuries (but with modern heating, of course)! Grab some local scotch in a historical side-street pub to keep your body warm, and if you’re really feeling adventurous, try the haggis.
If you’re more of a coffee person, Edinburgh has loads of quaint cafes too. Look out for the cafe where J.K. Rowling spent her time writing Harry Potter! And of course, the city also has its share of museums and cultural sites like cathedrals to explore.
Popular spots in Edinburgh include:
Not too different from other European Castles you might have seen before, but still a great place to absorb the city’s history and enjoy the drama of the high castle walls.
This lone-standing, gothic tower in the middle of the city is a tribute to the prolific writer Sir Walter Scott. This is a must-see for those willing to break a sweat for a heart-stopping view. You’ll climb 287 steps on a single spiral staircase and enjoy arguably the best view of the city, and the sea and mountains nearby.
Careful when climbing this monument during peak dates and times – if there are too many people at the crow’s nest at the monument’s top, the experience may not be as enjoyable.
You’ll take a relaxed hike to the top of this low hill overlooking Edinburgh, perfect for picnics, photos, and even quiet time with your own thoughts.
Other famous Scottish cities you can visit include Glasgow to the west (the cultural center), and Inverness to the north (popular with fans of the Outlander books & series).