Dripping with medieval majesty, Edinburgh's remarkable Old Town encapsulates tourists' desires to visit Europe. The world-renowned Royal Mile stretches from Edinburgh Castle to Parliament; beautifully curved streets wind downhill; cosy alleyways crisscross the city. Edinburgh has it all and is waiting to be explored. Stretch your legs with a walk in Dean Village or hike up to Arthur's Seat for mesmerising views of the city, before experiencing one of the UK's best food and drink scenes.
Edinburgh's currency is the British Pound (£). £1 = €1.19 / $1.30 (as of 2022).
Top 5 things to see
The iconic 11th-century castle perched at the highest point of the city centre looms over Scotland's capital city. It's spectacular from below and the views from the walls are impeccable, capturing Scotland's illustrious medieval past. Its blackened orange stone makes it an atmospheric scene at all times of the day. The Esplanade, the road leading up to Edinburgh Castle, provides a tonne of views overlooking the city - this is free to walk on.
Looking to tour the castle? You will need to book tickets weeks in advance of your visit, especially from May to August. Tickets for adults start at £18 - the link below will provide more details.
Edinburgh's Old Town
A once unsanitary, overcrowded and poverty-ridden area of the city, Edinburgh's Old Town has become one of Europe's most magical districts. In medieval times, Old Town was lodged between the city walls to the south and east, and the boggy marshes of Nor'Loch are now Princes Street Gardens.
The centrepiece of Old Town is the Royal Mile, the oldest street in the city. Connecting Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyrood, the Royal Mile is split into four sections: Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, and Canongate. Packed with incredible architecture, pretty shops and medieval alleyways, it is well worth visiting more than once on your stay.
A short walk east of the city centre is Holyrood Park, a large parkland consisting of the famous Arthur's Seat, a 251-metre (823 feet) high summit that dominates Edinburgh's skyline. Once carved from an extinct volcano, the view from the top over the city is breathtaking.
Arthur's Seat is only accessible by hike, but does have a range of difficulty levels - the easier tracks are on the east side of Holyrood Park, whilst from the City Centre is harder. If you come from the east, you will find old remnants of ancient stone chapels.
If hiking isn't your thing, Holyrood Park has plenty of other features to spend your time - it's a cute place for a picnic!
A picturesque haven away from the bustling city centre, Dean Village is an extension of the 17th-century neighbourhood New Town, north of Old Town (yes - they are the names of two different neighbourhoods). Dean Village was originally founded as a small milling community in the 12th century; it is cut through by the Water of Leith, a small stream, and blessed with the most lovely cobblestone houses.
It is a very Instagrammable place, so be respectful of the locals when taking pictures.
Take a Day Trip to North Berwick
If you thought you couldn't add a seaside escape to your Edinburgh city break, think again! Just 30 minutes east of the Scottish capital is North Berwick, a classic seaside town with gorgeous stretches of beaches and scenery. It's an easy day trip from Edinburgh Waverley train station. North Berwick is well worth a visit. It's full of pretty independents, cafes - Steampunk is a particular favourite - and pubs, like the nautical-themed Ship Inn.
Edinburgh City Pass
Valid for one, two, or three days your pass includes your airport transfer with Edinburgh Trams, free entry to 23 handpicked attractions plus intimate, memorable local tours, many with local guides.
1 day = £45.
2 days = £55.
3 days = £65.
Where to eat and drink
Over the decades, Scottish cuisine has been recognised as some of the best in Europe. The stereotypical dishes of haggis, porridge, beef and potatoes have been redefined, and the extraordinary coastline nearby is celebrated for its exceptional fish. The North Sea is home to arguably some of the world's best lobster - strolling round the seafood shacks in the picturesque fishing town of North Berwick will prove that. The city's diversity has allowed phenomenal fusion restaurants to thrive in a city that is now accustomed to craving good food.
The Pantry, tucked away from the crowds in Stockbridge, is comfortably the best brunch spot. It serves excellent coffee and classic dishes with a twist; the Sunshine on Stockbridge dish is a must - (roasted sweet potatoes, smashed avocados, poached eggs and paprika).
The Social Bite in New Town is a small cafe serving coffee and pastries; its proceeds goes to help the homeless in Edinburgh.
Wanderlust Bistro is a cute travel-themed cafe on Canongate serving excellent iced coffees and sandwiches. Fun decor inside, with vintage postcards stapled across the walls.
The Edinburgh Larder is a relaxed artisanal cafe just off the Royal Mile that's uses locally-sourced produce. Fill up on the cooked breakfast before exploring Arthur's Seat nearby.
The City Cafe is a trendy 1950s American-style diner. A fun setting when you want a break from the medieval architecture around you (if that's possible?).
Maison Bleu, on the iconic W Bow, is cute for a lunch date. The food is a wonderful fusion of Scottish, French and North African. There are set menus to save money too.
Ondine is the restaurant to finish your Edinburgh trip with a bang! Its seafood bar gleams with the best oysters imaginable, and its lobsters are collected straight from the nearby North Sea. It's costly, but an experience.
PIGGS on Canongate is a rustic, down-to-earth tapas bar pairing great food with great wines.
Kalpna is for veggies craving good Indian food. Set in striking decor, it's one of the best Indian restaurants in the city.
Bread Meats Bread on Lothian Road honestly the perfect place for carnivores who want burgers and fries with good quality produce. Its casual setting matched with fun service makes for a great stop before a few drinks out afterwards.
For the adults
Thistle Street Bar is that classic British pub you've been searching for with dark booths, wooden chairs and an intimate, mirror-backed bar. There is a terrace, but we prefer soaking up the history of the building from its interior on one of Edinburgh's oldest streets.
The Bon Vivant, nearby Thistle Street Bar, is a cosy French-style wine bar, serving delicious snacks to pair with its excellent drinks. Its bright blue facade will draw you in.
Panda & Sons is a secret mixologists on the corner of Queen Street. Located in a former barbershop, t's themed on an upper-class family of pandas, who transport you through the ages with craft cocktails. Book a table in advance!
Never Really Here is an elegant speakeasy in New Town that deserves your visit for the old fashioned serving glasses alone.
Tipping isn't required, but you can round up on the bill if you feel like you've had a good meal.
Edinburgh is overall a safe city, but we recommend staying alert when walking alone or at night and being aware of the narrow streets and alleyways. Taxis and Ubers are abundant so if you find yourself somewhere you're not comfortable walking, there are options.
Two Passports Top Tip: Wear comfortable shoes!
Edinburgh is walkable, but the steep hills and sheer number of steps in the city, coupled with the old cobblestones, makes it tough on your feet. Wear comfortable shoes when exploring - it really will make so much of a difference to your holiday.
When to Go
Low Season: November to February
Edinburgh is notoriously cold and wet in winter. You'll get cheap deals on hotels, but bring extra layers as it can get bitterly cold. The days are also shorter.
Shoulder Season: March to May, September
Weather starts getting warmer, but not warm enough to walk comfortably in shorts and t-shirt. There might be days of heavy rain too so bring a waterproof coat. May and September are the best times to visit though - weather is conformable and the floods of tourists have yet to arrive...
High Season: June to August (and Christmas)
Nice and warm, piercing sunlight and a good buzz about the city. But, it's High Season for a reason - tourists swarm the city, and restaurants and hotels increase prices due to demand. If you're visiting in these months, book accommodation, restaurants and activities (such as Edinburgh Castle) months in advance. That's not an exaggeration. Book well in advance.
How to Get There
Edinburgh Airport (EDI)
The city's airport is an easy-to-navigate airport with bus links to the city directly outside the terminal. You have three easy options into the City Centre:
Tram: £6/£8.50 one-way/return. The journey lasts 30 minutes. Beware, in the City Centre, trams only stop north of Old Town. If your accommodation is in Old Town or further south, you'll want to exit at Princes Street or St Andrew Square - these are both a 10-minute walk into Old Town. Trams run from 6am to midnight and are very frequent.
Airport Bus 100: £4.50/£7.50 one-way/return. Depending on traffic, the journey lasts between 25-40 minutes and runs a similar route to the tram; the bus does not stop in Old Town. The buses runs 24 hours a day and are frequent.
Taxi: Of course, there's always a taxi to drop you off at your hotel. One-way costs approximately £25 and takes 20-30 minutes. Conveniently, it will take you to Old Town, so if you have kids and plenty of luggage, this could actually be the most seamless option.
Travelling by train
Edinburgh's main train station is Waverley and is located between New Town and Old Town, providing routes to other of the UK's major cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, and the smaller towns for day trips, such as North Berwick.
Travelling in the city
Edinburgh is a walkable city, however steep and cobblestoned it may be. Its public transport services are limited due to inaccessibility of the Old Town for buses and trams - these run in New Town and the surround neighbourhoods. The CityMapper App is available to update you on your journey via public transport - we absolutely recommend this!