Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and the seventh most popular city in the United Kingdom. Historically the city has long been a center of education but quickly it turned to an historical and cultural attraction, not only for being the starting point of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Books.
Once you are wandering through Edinburgh, you feel like you’ve been in another world. There are old buildings and churches everywhere. At every corner there is a Scotsman playing on a bagpipe. Everything will put you immediately in a real Scotland feeling. You simply have to love this amazing city.
Not only the historical monuments are worth seeing but as to the nature and geological environment, Edinburgh has also something to offer. You are able to stand on two extinct volcanos. How exciting is this?
Once I got you now with the Scotland fever, I will present you everything that you have to experience in this charming city.
I told you about the two extinct volcanos, well the Edinburgh Castle was on one of them. So when you are visiting the beautiful Edinburgh Castle, you are standing on a real extinct volcano.
So whenever you plan to visit the Edinburgh Castle, I recommend you to book your tickets online in advance. It will save you a lot of time. The castle is opened almost everyday from 9.30 am to 18.00 pm.
Here is the other extinct volcano that you can conquer, the Arthur’s Seat. It is a hill or mountain with 251 meters of hight, which is reachable for everyone even if you’re not in a very good condition. I also managed it.
Whenever you are planning to hike up to the summit, be sure to have enough water with you. There is no other possibility to buy something to drink once you started your walk.
When you are hiking on a clear day, you’ll have an amazing view over Edinburgh but weather can change very quickly. When we started our trip, the weather was not that bad, but as soon as we arrived up on the summit, we found ourself enclosed in a cloud. Although we did not see much, it was very interesting just standing in a cloud.
Scotch Whisky Experience
The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh is definitely worth the money. Even if you are not a whisky drinker, you will enjoy the tour.
You can chose between 4 different tours, the Silver Tour, the Gold Tour, the Platinum Tour and the Taste of Scotland Tour. We went for the last one, the Taste of Scotland Tour, which includes a dinner in the Amber Restaurant.
So when you are choosing to do this experience, order your tickets online because the tour is often fully book and be on time!
The Calton Hill, together with the Arthur’s Seat and the Edinburgh Castle, is also part of the volcano site in Edinburgh. This hill is often used for photographs and paintings of the city.
There are a lot of iconic monuments and buildings up the hill as for example the Scottish Government, the National Monument, the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument, the old Royal High School, the Robert Burns Monument, the Political Martyrs’ Monument and finally the City Observatory.
Contrary to the Arthur’s Seat, the Calton Hill is reachable by car and so everyone can visit it without hiking. Although there is no veritable hike up there, you simple take a few steps and there you are on the Calton Hill.
The World’s End
The World’s End is a pub located on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. It is called the World’s End because in the 16th century, Edinburgh was a walled city and the gates to the city were situated just outside the pub. For the people living in Edinburgh, the world behind the gates were no longer theirs and so the pub was the end of their world. Therefore it got the name The World’s End.
If you want to eat there, be sure to be on time, around 18.oo or 19.oo because the places are limited and they are very well visited. If you get the chance to enter and get a table, it is quite normal to wait around 30 minutes to get the table. But this waiting time is definitely worth the waiting!
I chose the Fish & Chips and it was delicious. I would return to this pub and definitely wait to get a table.
Most of the people hearing of Haggis are rather disaffected of it than to try it. I have to admit that I was rather critical too but as soon as I tried it, I changed my mind.
Basically Haggis is a savoury pudding containing the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep. This is minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt. Traditionally this is all encased in the stomach of the animal, but today it is mostly made artificially.
The Royal Mile is certainly the most famous street in Edinburgh. It is the main thoroughfare of the Old Town in Edinburgh and approximately one Scots mile long. Basically the street connects the Edinburgh Castle and the Holyrood Palace.
The Royal Mile is composed of a lot of smaller streets, the Castlehill, the Lawnmarket, the High Street, the Canongate and Abbey Strand.
During our stay in Edinburgh we walked everyday on the Royal Mile because it is the central point in Edinburgh and leads almost to every attraction. I really enjoyed walking the road up and down because of all the small shops and pubs the streets hosts.
Whenever you’re in Edinburgh, you simply can’t miss this street.
For all of the Harry Potter fans outside, the Elephant House is the birthplace of Harry Potter. It is the place where J.K. Rowling wrote the magical books.
Since then, every day people visits this café to see where the idol of their childhood was born.
This place is also for Harry Potter fans although it is a graveyard. It is located at the southern end f the Old Town next to George Heriot’s School.
As the Greyfriars graveyard is located close to the Elephant House, it is said that J.K. Rowling walked over the graveyard to get inspiration for the names for her books. This is also the reason why you’ll find the grave of Thomas Riddle on the Greyfriar Kirkyard.
It is also said that she got the inspiration for Hogwarts from the school beside the graveyard because this building is composed of 4 towers, which could represent the four houses in Harry Potter.
So whatever is the truth of all the stories that are told around J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter, it is a must see place for all of the Harry Potter fans.
All in one, I really fell in love with Edinburgh and I would return every time to this amazing Scottish capital city. Have you ever been to Edinburgh? Did you like it as much as I did?