WHEN IN EDINBURGH, you will realize you should have gone there way sooner.
The light, the city, nature, the castles… I felt as if I was living another (beautiful) life.
In Edinburgh, everything was so intense and so unique, that it’s impossible not to enjoy it!
It was quite a short trip, but we managed to check all the things out of the list we made before the departure.
I shared this trip with a very good friend of mine, and we had the chance to celebrate 15 years of friendship – quite an achievement, isn’t it?
While I was gathering information about Edinburgh, I made the mistake to think that there wasn’t much to do in the city.
I couldn’t be more wrong!
Here’s what you can easily do in four / five days of trip:
1. Enjoy the sunrise on top of ARTHUR’S SEAT
From its privileged position on both the city and the sea, the old volcano is the perfect 2-hours hike to do as first thing in the morning.
That day the sky was very clear, and the moment couldn’t have been better than this:
While walking down the hill, we stopped at the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel (1128). There’s only a wall up left, but it’s totally worth the atmosphere.
2. Feel like a Queen visiting HOLYROOD PALACE & ABBEY
Current summer residency of the Queen Elisabeth 2nd, the visit provides a tour of part of the rooms of the palace, comprehending Mary Stuard’s tower.
As last thing, you will get to visit the Abbey. It was part of the very first building – a monastery. The roof of the abbey fell down in the 18th century and was never rebuilt, leaving it as we can see it nowadays.
3. Wonder around ROYAL MILE
This area of the city provides a great insight of the past centuries’ look of Edinburgh.
It is sprinkled with closes, so be careful, you don’t want to miss any of these great views!
4. WATER OF LEITH – DEAN’S VILLAGE
The river that crosses the city is the location to some more historical buildings. The sound of the water has a calming effect, and while walking along it, you’ll run into a village in which time has stopped a couple of centuries ago.
My friend will stalk me (♥) if I don’t mention the huge cemetery – Dean Cemetery.
Going back to the route and to the city, you’ll admire St Bernard’s Well, a little temple dedicated to Hygieia, goddess of health and hygiene.
5. Dream at the ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN
A couple of kms away from the Dean Village, you can visit this green and flowery jewel. With its ten glasshouses (all worth the ticket!) you will travel all the five continents. And, if you fall in love with the place, there’s even a wedding venue!
6. Escape to ROSLIN – ROSSLYN CHAPEL
40-minutes ride from the city centre, Roslin is a very quite village. It is where the Rosslyn Chapel, famous for the Da Vinci Code, is situated.
You can even switch to your adventure mode and have fun searching for the old castle.
7. Day trip to STIRLING
Stirling is a town near Edinburgh. Consider travelling there if you love castles – there’s a big one, that is child-friendly, too.
All around it there’s a wall. The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking. But get there while the sun is up to better enjoy it.
What else? Nelson Monument, of course, and a great walk through a typical Scottish town.
8. VICTORIA STREET (+ Harry Potter insprining locations)
If you are a Harry Potter fan, you don’t want to miss all the spots around the city that inspired J.K.Rowling.
One of them is Victoria Street, known in the famous saga as Diagon Alley.
Several colourful shops are right here, creating a very inspiring atmosphere (see point 9).
9. Stop at some cute SHOPS
All around the city there is plenty of artistic and indipendent shops. And why not taking a break in one of the cute bookshops?
10. Walk in PRINCES STREET GARDENS
Below Edinburgh’s Castle, there’s another green zone – the Princes Street Gardens.
You will find the Polish Monument, too. It is dedicated to Wojtek, a Polish bear that joined the army as young cub and fought in WW2. After the end of the war, it travelled all the way up to Scotland, where it lived till his death. Its deeds and the ones of all the Polish people who fought with the Allies are commemorated with this Monument.
11. Climb CALTON HILL
If you follow me on social media (instagram, facebook), you’ll know by now that I truly adore sunrise. And when in Edinburgh, I lived insanely amazing moments as the sun was rising (see point 1).
Calton Hill was one of those moments. Pitch dark while we were walking, it got lighter and lighter as the minutes went by. A little rain started drizzling as we were waiting for the sunlight, and we had our little adventure climbing up the Scottish National Monument.
12. Visit BOBBY and touch its nose
Bobby was a cute little dog whose owner died, and while he rested in peace in Greyfriar’s cemetery, Bobby waited for him to come back. It was quickly adopted by the inhabitants that built this little monument to Bobby and its loyalty.
13. Sneak in at least a CEMETERY
I don’t particulary enjoy hanging around dead, but I must admit that some cemeteries can be quite interesting!
Did you know that Rowling took inspiration for some of Harry Potter’s names from tombs?
14. Stock up on MINCE PIES
This self-explanatory photo is already telling you that you have to taste them!
Raising, shortbread, and cinnamon are just some of the ingredients of this Christmassy treat.
15. Get lost searching for CIRCUS LANE
This little street is a road that will throw you back to the 18th century, when cars didn’t exist and when houses were cozy.
It is another peaceful spot within the city centre, decorated with plants and colourful benches, creating a lovely residential area.