Check out one of the best places to travel in Europe. Edinburgh, Scotland is a city full of history, culture, and beauty that makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
Whether you’re solo traveling, or just out with the family for an adventure, then check out Edinburgh.
With its winding cobblestone streets, majestic castles, and breathtaking views, this vibrant capital city has something for everyone to enjoy. From exploring historical sites to sampling local cuisine, there are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy while in Edinburgh.
Here are 10 of the best things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland that will ensure a memorable and unique experience during your visit.
So if you’re traveling to Scotland, check this guide out.
1. Visit Edinburgh Castle
Located high on the volcanic rock of Castle Rock, this historic fortress has been a royal residence since 1058. Take a guided tour through the magnificent halls, explore the grounds and take in stunning views of Princes Street Gardens from atop its battlements.
The castle stands atop an extinct volcano and offers stunning views of the city from its walls. Within the castle lie several historic attractions, including the Stone of Destiny and the National War Memorial.
A visit to this iconic landmark will provide visitors with a wealth of knowledge about Scotland’s history as well as breathtaking views of Edinburgh. After exploring the castle, make sure to take some time to relax in its gardens and listen to the bagpipe players who often perform in front of it.
Finally, be sure not to miss out on St. Giles’ Cathedral while in Edinburgh! This impressive Gothic building has been home to an array of influential religious figures, from John Knox to James Clark.
The interior of the cathedral is ornately decorated and the stained glass windows offer a unique insight into Scotland’s history. Its location in the heart of the city makes it an ideal place to visit while exploring Edinburgh’s attractions.
So your travel around Scotland won’t be complete, without visiting Edinburgh Castle.
2. Explore Holyrood Palace
The official Scottish residence for British monarchs for centuries, visitors can wander through grandiose state apartments and chambers used by Kings and Queens over the years.
From here you can also access Arthur’s Seat—an extinct volcano providing panoramic views over the city.
Located at the end of the Royal Mile and adjacent to Holyrood Park, it is one of the oldest and most iconic buildings in Edinburgh.
This former royal residence has a wealth of history dating back to the 16th century when it became the home of Kings and Queens from all over Europe.
Today, visitors can explore its elaborate interiors and beautiful gardens, as well as take part in guided tours that explore hundreds of years’ worth of royal stories.
To make your visit even more special, you can also book exclusive behind-the-scenes access to areas normally inaccessible to visitors.
With its stunning architecture and fascinating stories, Holyrood Palace is a must-see destination in Edinburgh.
Holyrood Palace is one of the unique places to travel in Scotland.
3. Take a Ghost Tour
Explore the hidden passages and “closing vaults” beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in search of ghouls, ghosts, and tales of terror on a spooky night tour. From 10 pm until midnight, prepare to be scared as you wander through graveyards, ancient ruins, and mysterious streets.
This tour will give explorers a unique experience, allowing them to explore haunted locations around the city and learn about their history and folklore. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will tell you stories about ghosts, ghouls, and other supernatural phenomena in the city.
Some areas you may explore include Greyfriars Cemetery, South Bridge Vaults, and Mary King’s Close. Be sure to bring your camera for some eerie shots of these historic sites – and keep a look out for any unexpected surprises.
All in all, a Ghost Tour of Edinburgh is an unforgettable experience for anyone looking to delve into the city’s dark and mysterious past.
So the next trip in Scotland you take, be sure to sign up for a ghost tour.
4. Sample Local Whiskey
If you’re visiting Scotland, then you’ll need to enjoy Scotland’s national drink at one of Edinburgh’s finest whisky bars or take an excursion to one of its many distilleries just outside the city for a full-day immersion into Scotch culture complete with tastings and tours.
Whisky is one of Scotland’s most popular exports, and Edinburgh has some of the finest distilleries in the country.
You can take a tour around some of these distilleries to learn about their production process and try samples of their whisky. You can even pick up some bottles of your favorite blend to take home with you as a souvenir. Whisky-tasting is sure to be an unforgettable experience while in Edinburgh.
5. Visit the National Gallery of Scotland
Home to one of Europe’s greatest collections of fine art, highlights include works from Rembrandt and Renoir, sculptures by Rodin, and paintings from Monet.
The National Gallery of Scotland, located in the heart of Edinburgh, is a must-see for any visitor to the city. It houses an impressive collection of European art from the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods and offers visitors the chance to explore Scottish art history through its carefully curated galleries.
Among the highlights are works by masters such as Rembrandt, Raphael, Gainsborough, and Picasso. Make sure to check out the Impressionist collection for a taste of the old masters.
Additionally, visitors can take in some of Scotland’s history with their viewing of works from various periods such as the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque. There are also several multimedia exhibits that provide further insight into Scottish culture.
On the next vacation in Scotland, head over to the National Gallery and checkout some paintings.
6. Climb Calton Hill
if you’re vacationing in Scotland, then explore around Calton Hill.
This iconic vantage point offers sweeping views of the city skyline, with landmarks such as St Giles’ Cathedral, City Chambers, and Nelson Monument instantly recognizable.
Located in the city center, this iconic hill gives visitors unrivaled views of Edinburgh’s skyline and breathtaking views of the Firth of Forth. On Calton Hill, you can explore monuments such as the National Monument, Robert Burns Monument, and Nelson Monument.
Enjoy a stroll through its colorful gardens and admire the impressive architecture of the Royal High School building. With an observatory to visit, a camera obscure, and plenty of picnic spots.
Take your time exploring all its features as there’s plenty to see – from the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel to the City Observatory and even the former site of a 10th-century castle.
To get the most out of your visit head up early in the morning or late afternoon when you can enjoy views over Edinburgh without too many visitors around.
Visiting this historical hill makes for an unforgettable experience with stunning views that leave visitors speechless.
7. Check out the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Established in 1670 this is one of the world’s leading gardens featuring over 70 acres of vibrant landscaped grounds and historical glasshouses full of exotic plants from around the globe.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, located on the east side of Scotland’s capital city, is a must-see for any traveler.
This world-famous botanical garden covers over 70 acres and provides visitors with stunning views of the Firth of Forth and Lomond Hills. Visitors can explore 10 distinct gardens, including Hutton Hall, which features an impressive collection of ornamental shrubs and trees; Rock Garden and Alpine House, which house some of the most beautiful flowers in the world; Chinese Hillside featuring Asian flora; Walled Garden set within an ancient walled enclosure; Scottish Heathland featuring native plants; Subtropical Palmhouse with rare species from around the world; Pond Garden with its diverse aquatic plant life, plus much more.
With so many gardens to explore, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a great place for nature lovers and an ideal way to experience some of Scotland’s most beautiful flora.
8. Explore New Town
If you’re thinking to travel beautiful places in Scotland, then head out to New Town.
Boasting beautiful Georgian architecture, it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. With its elegant squares filled with chic boutiques and cafes, it’s the perfect place to people-watch and absorbs Edinburgh’s unique atmosphere.
An area of the city designed by some of Britain’s finest architects, it is composed of elegant streets that are lined with grand townhouses and terraces built for Edinburgh’s wealthy classes.
From its beginnings as a residential area in 1767, it has grown into a bustling district of shops, cafes, and parks, making it a must-see if you’re visiting Edinburgh. Be sure to take a stroll along Princes Street and walk around The Mound to experience this stunning part of the city.
There are also plenty of pubs and restaurants serving traditional Scottish cuisine – try haggis or whisky for an authentic taste! You can even take a guided tour to learn more about this area’s history and architectural styles. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely day out or an opportunity to explore the city’s past, New Town is sure to be one of the best things to do in Edinburgh.
9. Visit the National Museum of Scotland
Spanning 10 centuries of history, this impressive museum is home to a vast collection of artifacts related to science and technology, natural history, art, and design, plus much more.
The National Museum of Scotland is a must-see when visiting Edinburgh. This museum is home to a variety of collections that span the length and breadth of Scotland’s history and culture. You can find everything from artifacts from ancient cultures, to fine art, to modern technology all on display in one amazing location.
There are plenty of interactive activities for everyone, making the National Museum of Scotland a great day out for the whole family. And don’t forget to check out the IMAX theatre located inside the museum; it’s one of Edinburgh’s best experiences!
The National Museum of Scotland is also home to an amazing variety of activities and events, from music performances to educational lectures. The Royal Observatory offers an up-close look at stars, planets, and galaxies in its Planetarium shows—all narrated by professional astronomers.
For a truly unique experience, visit the famous Arthur’s Seat formation on the side of Salisbury Crags. At this iconic site, you can take a guided tour or simply explore on your own.
Finally, end your day at the National Museum of Scotland with a visit to the Grand Gallery, which features an impressive collection of 19th-century British and European fine art.
Whether you’re looking for a cultural experience or just somewhere to relax and admire the beauty of Scotland’s history, this museum is sure to have something of your interest.
10. Enjoy a Show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Every August thousands of performers descend on the city for three weeks of nonstop entertainment covering drama, comedy, music, and art. With over 3000 shows there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Each August, the city hosts this event, which features over 3,000 performances from more than 500 shows across the city. From comedy acts to musicals and theatre productions, there’s something for everyone at the Fringe Festival.
Visitors can also enjoy a range of street performers putting on quite the show for passersby. With so much entertainment happening all around you, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to Edinburgh every summer
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience that showcases some of Scotland’s most talented artists and performers, then attending the Fringe Festival is definitely worth doing.
Thoughts and Conclusion
So when the next time you’re traveling in Europe, no travels to Scotland would be complete, without visiting these awesome locations.
Scotland is one of the most beautiful places to go if you’re thinking about
These 10 experiences are just some of the amazing activities tourists can enjoy while in Edinburgh.
From historical sights to cultural attractions and culinary delights, this exciting city has something for every traveler.
So, make sure to add it to your list of must-see destinations.
You can also check out Travel in Europe on a Budget and Best Places to Travel in December.
Traveling to Europe is number one on my best friend’s bucket list and she plans to check off the box come January. She is now looking for the best booking she could get and asked me to research the best places to visit and things to do once she gets there.
Edinburgh, Scotland sounds like the best place for my best friend to start her European tour. I may not be going with her but checking out these beautiful places is already making me want to visit too. ☺
Edinburgh Castle is just spectacular, especially since my friend has been watching a lot of documentaries about Scotland. She will be thrilled to be able to say that she’s been there! I am sure that she will also enjoy the National Gallery, Royal Botanic Garden, National Museum, and the rest of these beautiful places.
How many days do you suggest she should stay there to explore all of them? Would 3 days, and 2 nights be enough?
Thanks for your comments, Scotland Edinburgh is an awesome place to visit, you’ll really enjoy the landscape and scenery there. Thanks for reading, happy holidays.