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Edinburgh Guide

This comprehensive Edinburgh travel guide is designed to help you make the most of your journey in and around this enchanting city. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, our curated tips and insights will ensure your travel Edinburgh experience is nothing short of extraordinary.

Hi! Laura here, a Canadian passport holder with a serious case of wanderlust. For the last 10 years or so I’ve been wandering around the world in search of the most amazing views, food, experiences, and people. I’ve called Australia, New Zealand, and England home as well as my native Canada.

While living in The UK I had the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh scotland and fell head over heels in love with Edinburgh after only 4 short days. After all, it is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe

Travel Edinburgh now and discover a city full of magic. It is, after all, a city that inspired JK Rowling to create Harry Potter, with amazing history, stunning views, and fantastic food. If you’re a fan of any of those things then I’m sure you’ll love travel to Edinburgh Scotland as much as I do. Where to go in Edinburgh? Since you’re reading this article now, I’ll be your Edinburgh travel guide! Here, let me tell you!

Guide to Edinburgh

Did You Get Insurance Yet?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!

The Insurance companies I personally recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover.

Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here where I go into detail about the companies. 

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Planning a holiday in Edinburgh? In this Edinburgh travel guide you will find everything you need to plan your trip.

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Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 

Best Edinburgh Tours: Click here to check out the top Edinburgh tours
Best Edinburgh Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Edinburgh
Best Edinburgh Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Edinburgh

A cobblestone street in Edinburgh with a clock tower in the background.

1. Edinburgh Castle

It wouldn’t be an Edinburgh travel guide without including Edinburgh Castle. This massive part of the city’s history can be seen from almost everywhere in Edinburgh is also one of the most popular to visit. Book in advance to avoid tickets selling out and step back in time as you explore the castle on the rock, and for something extra special book in to see the Royal Military Tattoo.

2. Arthur’s Seat

The second Edinburgh travel destination is Arthur’s Seat. Edinburgh might be a city but it doesn’t lack in lush green spaces and hiking opportunities. Arthur’s Seat is actually an extinct volcano in the main group of hills in Holyrood. Just 1 mile from downtown Edinburgh, it should take about 2 hours to reach the top of the hill where you’ll be gifted with the most stunning panoramic views of the city.

3. Calton Hill

For one of the best views of Edinburgh head to Calton Hill right in the city center. To give you your Edinburgh tourist guide tips, not even 10 minutes from the center you’ll find yourself with a pretty amazing view over the city, especially at sunset. This is also where you’ll find the Collective Contemporary Art Gallery.

4. Stockbridge

Next Edinburgh travel location is Stockbridge. A part of Edinburgh’s New Town, Stockbridge is one of the most beautiful areas in the whole city. Originally a small outlying village which was only incorporated into the city in the 9th century and home to some of the most beautiful cobbled streets and homes. The iconic and very Instagrammable Circus Lane is in this area as well as St-Stephens church.

5. Dean Village

Neighbor to Stockbridge you’re only a stone’s throw from the idyllic Dean Village. The Village runs alongside the tranquil River Leith and the perfect place for a stroll. As you stroll through the quiet streets you’ll truly feel as if you’ve stepped back into a much simpler and beautiful time.

At this point, the bonus Edinburgh travel guide tips I can give you is to walk through the beautiful villages as it’s very enjoyable!

6. National Museum of Scotland

This Edinburgh travel guide will definitely include an educative destination, the National Museum of Scotland. Not only is this one of the most impressive museums in Edinburgh, it’s also free. The inside of the building is impressive in itself and the exhibits don’t disappoint either. Fossils from animals long gone, Scottish antiquities, and an amazing exhibition on modes of transportation through the ages just to name a few. Plus a great little hidden secret. On the 7th floor there is a terrace and it has the most amazing view of Edinburgh Castle.

7. The Royal Mile

One of the most iconic miles in Scotland is also one of the busiest. Lined with all different kinds of shops, restaurants, attractions, and more the Royal Mile is a popular tourist attraction. It is beautiful but can be overwhelming so it’s recommended to visit early in the day to enjoy all it has to offer. You can bring your family to travel Edinburgh and visit The Royal Mile.

8. Edinburgh Botanical Gardens

Located North of the city center, the Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh are free (except for the glasshouse) and a perfect place to spend an afternoon.

World-renowned for its scientific study of plants, the garden itself covers over 70 acres with dozens of different sections and hundreds of different species of plants, flowers, and even trees. This is one of several locations that is a must visit if you travel to Edinburgh Scotland.

9. Scott Monument

This Victorian Gothic monument can be seen from most places within Edinburgh’s New Town. Built-in memoriam to author Walter Scott this impressive structure is actually one you can climb.

Nearly 300 steep and small steps from the ground up you’ll get the most amazing views of Edinburgh at every level, especially at the very top. Visiting when the sky is clear will be the best time to visit Scott Monument.

10. Princes Street Gardens

This public park is one of the most stunning Edinburgh travel destinations. Divided into two sections that look up towards Edinburgh Castle and The University as well as Scott Monument.

The lush green space is a great place for a walk or a picnic to soak in the sun, and during Christmas, it is transformed into a Winter Wonderland-style carnival.

Best Places to eat in Edinburgh

A delectable pulled pork sandwich is sitting on top of a piece of foil.

Where to go in Edinburgh if you’re a foodie? The food and drink scene in Edinburgh is one not to be missed! Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just love great food the city has something for everyone. From amazing coffee, sweet treats, and wonderful local produce, come to Edinburgh with an empty stomach – you won’t be sorry! 

The Pantry – This is always on top of my Edinburgh tourist guide list. Located in beautiful Stockbridge this is an awesome spot for breakfast lovers. From epic waffles with real Candian maple syrup to full brekkies and eggs benedict to rave about. This is also a place that does awesome Haggis if you’re tempted to try it (it’s worth it).

LoveCrumbs – With 2 locations in Stockbridge and West Port you’ll want to visit one of these spots at least once, if not more. This cafe not only has lovely decor and atmosphere but the most amazing cakes and coffees. The peanut butter chocolate cookies are scrumptious!

Andrew Usher & Co. – The next food travel edition in Edinburgh that you can try is Andrew Usher & Co. Right near Edinburgh University this is a big student hangout, and for good measure too. The beer list here is more extensive than most regular pubs. Several keg lines and cask ales plus over 100 different beers on offer this is a cool spot with a good food menu to start a night out or enjoy the game.

Paradise Palms – One of the coolest restaurant/bars in Edinburgh is also a vegetarian one! Funky decor with disco balls, bright pink flamingos, and knick nacks all over the place you’ll wonder where you’ve ended up, but it’s well worth sticking around. With full lunch, brunch, and dinner menus this award-winning restaurant does classic veggie diner food like buffalo cauliflower and a veggie mac & cheese to write home about.

Oink – The opposite of a vegetarian-friendly restaurant but a must-visit for anyone coming to Edinburgh. With multiple locations across the city, you’ll never be far from the most delicious pork sandwich you’ve ever had! 4 easy steps, pick your sandwich size, your bread, stuffing or haggis, and a sauce and you’re good to go!

Black Medicine Coffee – For a cozy cafe to escape the rain or fuel up before a day of exploring this is a great stop. Providing Edinburgh with fantastic coffee for over 20 years you’ll find everything you need to keep yourself caffeinated here. Light snacks, sandwiches, and even breakfast are on offer here too.

Mary’s Milk Bar – Ice cream lovers rejoice, this is the place you didn’t even know you were looking for. This tiny shop front doesn’t have room for sitting but it does have room for amazing homemade ice cream treats! Flavors change often and with the seasons but it’s definitely with trying the chocolate chip & olive oil flavor, strange but delicious.

Honestly, this is one of the places that I will not forget to recommend when people don’t know where to go in Edinburgh. Who doesn’t love ice cream?

edinburgh,edinburgh travel,edinburgh travel guide

Timberyard – This family-run restaurant is housed in an old-school warehouse that has been renovated to look hip and trendy and all things Edinburgh. The menu is seasonal and led by the beautiful produce that not only Edinburgh but Scotland has to offer. From scallops to venison, a dessert menu to please any palate and a well-stocked wine cellar to be enjoyed.

In Edinburgh, tourist will be guided to always fill their stomach!

Edinburgh Money Saving Tips

You don’t have to break the bank when you travel to Edinburgh Scotland. Keep your eyes out for cheap flights through budget airlines for a start, from certain major cities within The UK and Europe you can start your trip off right with a great deal.

To save on accommodation, the best time to visit Edinburgh Scotland would be mid-week and out of the high times (school holidays and summer).

If your holiday time falls during peak season, look at saving money by booking in advance and look at budget accommodation options like hostels, Edinburgh has plenty to choose from.

Look for specials when it comes to booking tickets for any of the tourist attractions or day trips you are hoping to find, this can come in handy especially when it comes to booking in advance as you may be able to save a few quid here and there by being ahead of the game.

If where you’re staying has a kitchen, no matter how big or small you can definitely save by cooking meals for yourself, or at least one per day, and save for a great meal or treat during the day to really get a taste of the culture in Edinburgh and the fantastic food scene.

For more tips on making the most of your visit, check out an Edinburgh tourist guide around the area.

Edinburgh is a vibrant city located in Scotland. This travel guide will provide valuable information for exploring the rich heritage and stunning attractions Edinburgh has to offer. Discover the beauty of this historic city and plan your

Edinburgh Packing Advice

When it comes to packing for your travel to Edinburgh Scotland, you really can’t go wrong no matter what you pack.

If you plan to visit Edinburgh during the colder wetter months of the year then you’ll definitely want to pack a great pair of waterproof shoes or boots to keep your feet warm and dry while making your way around the city.

A good warm and waterproof jacket is always a good idea too and layers underneath, while it may be cool outside the inside of museums and cafes are warm and inviting.

For me, this would be the best time to visit Edinburgh Scotland

In the warmer months, you never can be too trusting of the weather app on your phone so a waterproof windbreaker or light jacket is a good option, as well as a mix of t-shirts, shorts, and jeans for the evening. 

If you plan to walk around the city and take on Arthurs seat and some other nearby trails it’s recommended to pack a comfy pair of trainers or walking boots, your feet will thank you after.

If you plan to make a day trip or two out to the highlands the weather will be cooler, even in summer, and is notorious for being a bit more misty and wet than the city so again waterproofs are a good option, and bug spray too! 

Quick Tip: View my full UK packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my UK Essentials shopping list here.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh

A kitchen with blue walls and a wooden counter in Edinburgh.

When it comes to choosing a place to stay in Edinburgh your choices are endless, as long as you book in advance – especially in the summer months or during school holidays. From charming bed and breakfasts with all that old city charm to new and hip hostels with a social atmosphere and great design.

You can even book a stay at the hotel that a legendary author wrote an equally legendary book in. Whatever your budget and whatever your travel style Edinburgh has options for anyone.

Edinburgh Old Town is the heart of the city, bustling with visitors and a great area to be in if you want to be close to all the action. Dean Village is on the River Leith and a little oasis that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, accommodation here is highly sought after so it’s best to book in advance.

New Town in Edinburgh boasts stunning Georgian houses, views of Calton Hill, and just steps away from shopping on Princes Street, perfect for hip and trendy accommodation. If you’re wondering about the best time to visit Edinburgh, Scotland, these diverse neighborhoods offer something special year-round.

Budget Accommodation in Edinburgh

Where to go in Edinburgh for anyone who loves a beautiful place to stay on a budget? Look no further than The Baxter Hostel. Given the title of Edinburgh’s only boutique hostel, you’re guaranteed to be impressed by the decor of this hidden gem in the heart of Old Town. Stunning tile work, incredible art on the walls, and the most stunning communal kitchen you’ve ever seen in a hostel. For those seeking budget-friendly travel options in Edinburgh, The Baxter Hostel is an excellent choice.

Offering dorms of 4, 6, and 9 or 12, the owners of this hostel haven’t skimped on anything. From comfortable and large-sized bunk beds, spacious storage lockers, and even free breakfast every day cooked for you! It may not be the biggest hostel in the city but it one of the most beautiful places to stay with awesome staff, what more could you want on a budget? 

Mid Range Accommodation in Edinburgh 

If you’re looking for somewhere unique to stay in New Town, Eden Locke on George Street is a perfect choice. This apartment-style hotel offers more spacious rooms than your average hotel right in one of the most charming parts of Edinburgh.

This creative-looking accommodation option looks as if everything was hand-picked from the most amazing design magazines. It doesn’t just stop at carefully curated rooms, the beauty extends to the rest of the building too. Some of the units even have self-contained kitchens to whip up your favorite meals or opt for the in-house coffee experience of 127 with perfectly brewed drinks and the most decadent treats for you to enjoy as you immerse yourself in Edinburgh through the eyes of the Eden Locke designers. 

High-End Accommodation in Edinburgh

In terms of iconic accommodation options, look no further than The Balmoral Hotel. Standing tall and proud near the main train station with views of Scott Monument and Princes Street Gardens, this is a hotel where magic can be found. So magical in fact that there is even a JK Rowling suite dedicated to the creator of Harry Potter and the wizarding world.

The suite was where the author finished writing the last book in the series and now guests can opt to stay here for their own dose of magic too. Beautifully classic rooms with all the amenities you could hope for including a gorgeous indoor pool.

Two stunning bars to indulge in the best of Scotlands Whisky, a French-inspired brasserie, a Michelin-star dining room, and two options for amazing afternoon teas all exist within the walls of this legendary hotel. Standing right in the heart of Edinburgh you won’t be far from anything, but you may find it hard to leave the comfort of this hotel

Map of Accommodation in Edinburgh

Getting Around in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is home to a well-traveled airport with multiple modes of transport to get you to and from the city center and surrounding areas.

The Airlink bus services the airport to and from Waverly Bridge going every 30 minutes from 4:30 am – 1 am and costs just £7.50. A very walkable city, Edinburgh seems to have everything you need and want to see within walking distance from the center, from the museums to the bars and restaurants it’s all quite accessible.

The bus service in Edinburgh runs 24 hours a day so there’s no worry about having to call for a taxi at the end of a night out or worry about missing the last one. Day passes can be purchased directly on the bus and will save you paying an additional fare. To add to the history and charm Edinburgh also has a tram that runs from the airport to New Town Edinburgh with 15 stops.

There are tons of city maps around as well so you’ll never be lost (for too long) or have to rely solely on your phone to help point you in the right direction.

Edinburgh is a beautiful city located in Scotland. As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh offers a rich blend of history, culture, and stunning landscapes. With its iconic Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile,

Edinburgh Safety Advice

Edinburgh is like any city around the world. It’s safe, but you need to be vigilant for petty and opportunistic crime. 

Take care on public transport and in tourist hot spots with your belongings as pickpocketing is common.

Don’t wander around late at night on your own etc.

Edinburgh Travel Guide planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Edinburgh?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Edinburgh which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Edinburgh on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Edinburgh?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Edinburgh?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are,, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack

The Best Time To Visit Edinburgh

There really isn’t a bad time to visit Edinburgh. While the further north you go in The UK more temperamental the weather gets, the city is perfect for indoor or outdoor activities.

If you plan to make the drive up to Edinburgh from somewhere more southern, the Winter months could result in longers drives and the potential for snow and road closures. The wet weather is perfect for long afternoons in a cafe and hours spent in museums too and adds a little more magic to the city. Spring and Summer are likely to be the busier times to visit Edinburgh as school holidays bring tons of visitors from near and far.

In July and August, it may be difficult to find accommodation if you leave it until the last minute but if you book in advance you may just find yourself in Edinburgh with sunny skies and beautiful warm weather to take advantage of all the walks and hikes around the city.

Author Bio

A woman with a backpack smiling in the woods while exploring Edinburgh.

Laura is a Canadian content creator who has called Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the UK her “home. Her travel experiences have taken her to the volcanoes of Central America, the waterfalls of Hawaii, the castles of England, and much more.

In addition to creating She Who Wanders, her work can be found published on HI-Hostels Canada and Nomadasaurus.

You can follow along with Laura’s adventures on social media Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

What to Read in Edinburgh

Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist is a great companion on your trip to the UK. You can get it before your trip to help you plan out all of the best places to go. It’s a go to bucket list of the not to miss places to visit in the UK.

It’s full of beautiful photography and it goes much further than just the typical tourist traps and includes everything from coastal walks, music festivals, and hidden away pubs you must visit. 

If you are interested in learning more about the upper echelons of the British aristocracy then this book abut the life of Anne Glenconner is a great read.

She has long been at the center of the royal circle as a life long friend of the Queen and her sister. Her father was the Earl of Leicester and controlled one of the largest estates  in England. 

Sadly Anne turned out to be “the greatest disappointment” to her father and she was unable to inherit his great estate and instead make her own way in the world while surviving the vipers of court life! And interesting read to see how the ‘other half’ live.

The UK that you will see today is a product of the post WWII industrial revolution.

Nineteenth-century Britain experienced an unprecedented series of changes in the wake of the war. Cities grew fast and revolutions in transports, communication, science, and the way people lived happened in quick succession. 

Added to these changes was a growing skepticism of religion, a questioning of power resulting in political and social unrest.

In spite if these turbulent times Britain remained strong on a global level which saw it quickly rise as a global leader… this was of course before Brexit!

If you are looking for a light read to accompany yo on your UK vacation then Bridget Jones’s Diary is the perfect literary companion. Even if you have watched the movie, the book is soooo much better.

Us brits are legit obsessed with manners to a fault. Seriously we love nothing more that throwing as many please and thank you’s in to a sentence as we can make fit. And don’t even get me started with our obsession with apologizing for EVERYTHING! 

But our obsession doesn’t just stop there, there is so much more to British etiquette most of which will confuse the hell out of visitors from foreign lands. 

In this book you will get an illuminating insight in to all of the social rules we are governed by, from never putting your elbows on the table to holding open doors. But this book goes deeper and shines a light on where this crazy obsession with good manners comes from. Its a interesting and quirky must read.

Looking for a novel to sink your teeth into on those long cross country train journeys in the UK. White Teeth is it.

Set against London’ s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.

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