City guide,  Destinations,  Scotland

City guide: Edinburgh


 

Once again welcome back to ToscaTravels

* bagpipes playing in the background *
It’s time for a brand new city guide! This time we’re heading to the capital of Scotland: Edinburgh.
I’ve always been charmed by this country and by telling you my experience, I hope you will be too.

 


 

Here’s what you’ll find in this guide: useful and concrete information about the city, how to get there, what to see/dowhere to eat and where to stay. Let’s see why Edinburgh could be your perfect next destination!

 

 

Without further ado, let’s get this guide started! 

 


 

– USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT EDINBURGH –

 

 

Let’s begin with some basic information, so you can have a clearer picture about Edinburgh:

 

  • Location: Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and it’s located in the south-eastern part of the country.
  • Population: 488.000 (Edinburgh is the second largest city in Scotland, the first one is Glasgow).
  • Weather: Edinburgh and Scotland in general is well known for its changeable weather, you can switch from sun to rain in a matter of minutes. July is the hottest month in Edinburgh with an average temperature of 15°C (45°F), the coldest months are December and January, with an average temperature of 3°C (37°F).
  • Currency: £ Pound Sterling(1€ ≅ 0.85 Pounds)
  • Edinburgh old town and new town are a UNESCO heritage site since 1995.
  • Edinburgh Castle, the symbol of the city, is built on an extinct volcano.
  • The city has a nickname — Auld Reekie (Old Smoky) which was given to the city in connection with an era when a lot of coal and wood were burnt for heating and the air was full of smoke.

 

 


 

– HOW TO GET THERE –

 

 

Edinburgh Airport is an international airport located 9.5km (6 miles) west from the city center. The airport is served by the largest European and international airlines, including low cost flights operating by Ryanair and EasyJet.

The most common and efficient way to reach the city center is taking the bus (Airlink 100)Tram is also an option, but it’s more expensive and slower than the bus.

Info:

  • Bus number: Airlink 100.
  • Cost: Single 4.5£ (5.20€), return 7.5£ (8.60€). 
  • Journey time: 30 minutes.
  • Where to buy tickets: tickets can be purchased just outside the airport at the dedicated Airlink bus stop (STOP D). The return journey from Edinburgh city centre to the airport departs from Waverly Bridge train station.
  • When: every 10 minutes from 05:00 to 23:55. 

Otherwise you can take a taxi to save time. You can expect to pay around 25-30£ (29-34 euro) and it takes approximately 20 minutes for the ride.

 


 

– WHAT TO SEE –

 

The number of things to see in Edinburgh is extremely high, but luckily it’s a quite walkable city and almost everything can be reached in less than 30 minutes by feet. It’s been very hard to list a limited number of attractions and there are many others that are definitely worth a visit. This is my personal choice of what to see:

 

1. Edinburgh Castle.

 

 

  • The symbol of the city and the first thing everyone thinks about when talking about Edinburgh it’s, obviously, Edinburgh Castle. The Castle offers a deep dive into the history of Scotland from Iron Age, when the occupation of the volcanic rock where the castle is built started, to date. Absolutely a must see.
  • Cost: £17.50 (20€) Adults, 14£ (16.50€) Concession.
  • Opening times9:30am-5pm (6pm April to September).

 

2. School of Divinity, New College.

 

 

  • Next stop Hogwarts! At School of Divinity you’ll feel like being transported in the Harry Potter series books, but even if you’re not a fan of wizards, you’ll be enchanted by the architecture of this place. School of Divinity is part of Edinburgh University so it’s just allowed to visit the entrance court if you’re, unlucky, not an enrolled student.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Opening times: 8am-5pm.

 

3. Victoria Street.

 

 

  • Victoria Street is one of the most famous streets in Edinburgh and, other than its colorful look, it’s well known as the place that inspired Harry Potter’s author J.K. Rowling creating Diagon Alley, the famous street where all items of Hogwarts supply list can be bought by wizards. The first Sunday of every month Victoria Street is closed from cars and vans, so this is the perfect day to get good photos.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Opening times: 24h.

 

4. Dean Village.

 

 

  • It still blows my mind that a place like Dean Village is located in the heart of a European capital city. A 20 minutes walk from old town will bring you to this oasis of calm and quaintness: Dean Village was a prosperous hamlet for over 800 years and its now a residential area, where you can have a walk on the riverside and admire gorgeous corners such as Dean Court or Dean Bridge.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Opening times: 24h.

 

5. Calton Hill.

 

 

  • Calton Hill is easily listed as the place that offers the best view of Edinburgh. From here you can have a 360 degrees view of the city, from Edinburgh Castle to Leith. There are several paths to reach the top of the hill and by taking one of these paths, you’ll be on top in less than 10 minutes. Some of these paths have stairs and some others have not, so it’s very accessible to anyone.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Opening times: 24h.

 

6. Holyrood House Palace.

 

 

  • Located at the bottom of Royal Mile, Holyrood House Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century and it’s now the official residence of the Royal family members when they are in Edinburgh. The audio guide is given for free with your ticket and tells perfectly the history of Holyrood Palace, including a detailed description of each room. 
  • Cost: £16.50 Adults (19€) / £14.90 (17€) Students and 60+.
  • Opening times9:30am-4:30pm (1st November – 31st March) / 9:30am-6pm (1 April – 31 October).

 

7. Writer’s Museum.

 

 

  • Writer’s Museum is located just off the top part of Royal Mile and it celebrates the lives of three giants of Scottish literature: Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns. It’s home of authors’ portraits, books and personal objects; here you can understand the importance of these three authors for Scotland culture and world literature in general.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Opening times: 10am-5pm.

 

8. Scotch Whisky Experience.

 

 

  • If you’re a fan of Scotch Whisky, this is the perfect place to expand your knowledge about how and where the different types of whisky are made in Scotland; the guide will also teach you to distinguish the different flavors of each region. Even if you’re not a lover of alcohol, the Scotch Whisky Experience will introduce you to this world and will make you understand why Scotch whisky is so important for this country.
  • Cost: £17 (19,50€) for the 50 minutes tour, £29.50 (34€) for the 90 minutes tour. Concession for 60+ years and students.
  • Opening times: 10am – 5 pm (8 pm in May-June-July).

 

9. Scott Monument.

 

 

  • Scott Monument is a 60m high monument dedicated to the famous writer Sir Walter Scott. With its gothic style and blackish look, it’s definitely one of the most recognizable sights of Edinburgh. If you’re brave enough, 247 steps are waiting for you to be climbed to enjoy one of the best views of the city from the top of the monument.
  • Cost: Free (Tickets to climb the monument: £8 (9€) Adults, £6 (7€) children and students.
  • Opening times: 24h (The monument is open to climb from 10am-4pm from October to March and 10am-7pm from April to October).

 

10. Circus Lane.

 

 

  • Far from the hustle and bustle of Royal Mile, Circus Lane is located in the New Town of Edinburgh and looks more like a painting than a real lane. It’s something that, in my opinion, should never be missed in your itinerary for some lovely pictures and a quiet walk between terraced mews houses and picturesque front doors.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Opening times: 24h.

 


 

– WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK –

 

1. The Last Drop.

 

  • Located in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket district, The Last Drop serves delicious traditional and international food, but that’s not everything, this place has a creepy past. It’s located immediately next to the scene of public hangings which took place there back in eighteenth century and the tavern is named “The Last Drop” because those who were sentenced to death were taken here for one last whisky.
  •  Cost:

 

2. Oink.

 

  • Oink serves the best pulled pork in Edinburgh and it’s perfect if you’re hungry, but on a budget. You can personalize your sandwich from the size to the type of bread and sauce. I tried brown bread with apple sauce and my mouth was literally in heaven. You can find Oink in Victoria Street, Hanover Street (New Town) and Canongate ( at the bottom of Royal Mile).
  •  Cost: €€

 

3. The Milkman.

 

  • Located in charming Cockburn Street, The Milkman is the perfect place to find shelter in a rainy day or just relax and enjoy the city from a warm sit. It’s considered one of the best coffee shops in Edinburgh and I completely agree. The coffee is phenomenal and the service is also very friendly.
  •  Cost: €€

 

4. George IV

 

  • Located halfway from Royal Mile and the National Museum of Scotland, George IV Bar serves traditional Scottish food in a cozy and charming location. The walls are full of illustrated mirrors and the furniture is completely made of wood; live music is also often played. I went for a delicious fish pie that also came with mashed potatoes and vegetables.
  •  Cost:

 


 

– WHERE TO STAY –

 

We stayed at Royal Scots Club, a gorgeous hotel with a cosy club atmosphere, located in a historic Georgian building in New Town, just 10 minutes by feet from Old Town and most attractions. The atmosphere here is incredible: the club was founded in 1919 in honor of those in the Royal Scots Regiment who fell in the first World War. Every room is charming, especially the one where breakfast is served (first picture) and the lounge.

Despite its luxurious look, the hotel is accessible in terms of price. The service and location are worth, in my opinion, much more; a standard double room starts at £70 per night, but it definitely offers much more than “standard double rooms” in most places.

 

 

 


 

I hope this guide will help during your trip to Edinburgh or maybe inspiring you to book your next trip here.

Don’t forget to visit my Instagram feed, hit the follow button to see all of my pictures and keep it up with my adventures.

See you next time with a new city guide!

 

Share this:

Leave a Reply