Nestled beside long extinct volcanoes and built on seven hills, Edinburgh offers spectacular scenery in a rugged setting. The city itself is visually impressive with the medieval buildings of the Old Town and the wide Georgian roads and spacious homes of the New Town. Edinburgh was declared a World Heritage Site in 1995.
The city’s crowning glory and the reason for its existence is Edinburgh Castle. For hundreds of years, this fortress perched on an ancient volcano defended the city from attack.
Start your exploration of Scotland’s capital city at The Royal Mile. This series of cobblestone streets links the castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse, an official royal residence. Along the route you’ll come across some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including St. Giles’ Cathedral and Parliament House.
Just a short walk away is Princes Street Gardens, which runs the length of Princes Street, the city’s main shopping area. While you are enjoying this pretty green space, visit some of its memorials and monuments including the Scott Monument. This Gothic structure was built to honor the novelist Sir Walter Scott. Its viewing galleries offer good views of the city.
Enjoy even more beautiful views from the hills that rise over the city. Hike to the summits of Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, and Calton Hill, which is home to a number of impressive monuments.
Veer off the beaten track and explore some of Edinburgh’s lesser-known sites. Dean Village is surrounded by countryside and is just five minutes from the city center. The port district has a wealth of bars, cafes and restaurants and is also the final resting place of the Royal Yacht Britannia. This magnificent vessel sailed the British royal family around the world for more than 40 years.
Two of the most popular months to visit Edinburgh are December and August. Overlapping arts festivals running through August include the Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh Art Festival. December is packed with Yuletide attractions and markets, and is rounded off with one of the world’s most famous street parties: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.