Edinburgh offers plenty of things to do and see, most of the tourist attractions are scattered in the Old Town and the New Town. Both areas of the city centre were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1995.
Considering the places of interest you may visit, I’d recommend staying in the Scottish Capital at least a couple of days. For this reason, I share with you an itinerary comprehensive of some of the Edinburgh must sees together with a day tour in the surroundings up to the Highlands.
Visit Edinburgh, Day 1
Exploring Edinburgh in just 24 hours is basically impossible. However, these are the places you should include (based on a survey I conducted on Facebook in an Italian community dedicated to Scotland).
This is is Scotland‘s most visited paid tourist attraction, the castle is one of the oldest buildings in town and it’s the symbol of the history of the nation.
Considering the number of tourists that crowd the fortress, the best time for the visit is in the early morning, 9:30-10, around opening time.
For more info please check the related article: https://checkinblog.it/en/edinburgh-castle-scotland/
Tip: to save time and skip the queue you can buy the ticket in advance here.
The Royal Mile
Royal Mile is Edinburgh‘s most famous road and connects Edinburgh Castle with Holyrood Palace. Today, along its streets – Castle Esplanade, Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street and Canongate – there’re lots of pubs (my favourites are Deacon Brodies Tavern and Royal Mile Tavern) and gift shops.
Not only that, take a look around the medieval buildings to spot the closes, small alleyways that lead to secret and silent areas, a hidden gems of Edinburgh Old Town. Then, there’re several museums that tell you more about the history of Edinburgh and its people. Then, reach The World’s End Pub, take a look of the wall outside and you’ll find out why it’s called in this way.
Located at the end of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Holyrood Palace is the official residence of the Queen in Scotland. Usually She spends here one week every July so that in this period the Palace is closed to the public.
Anyway, the highlights of the visit are definitely the 16th century Apartments of Mary Queen of Scots and the State Apartments, still used today for official ceremonies.
Consider a couple of hour for exploring the Palace, its gardens and then the ruins of Holyrood Abbey, founded in 1128 by King David I and site of several coronations and Royal weddings as well.
Tip: you can buy your ticket in advance and you’ll receive an e-voucher – valid for one year – to hand in at the cash desk. The audio tour is included in the ticket price.
After visiting Holyrood Palace you can spend the rest of the afternoon exploring part of Edinburgh New Town. Take a stroll across Princes Street Gardens to enjoy a lovely view of Edinburgh Castle – reach the Ross Fountain in the west side – and then, if you love shopping, in Princes Street and George Street you find boutiques, stores and luxury brands.
There’s also plenty of choice of pubs and restaurants where to go for lunch and dinner. My favourite is The Standing Order in George Street. It’s located in a neoclassical building that once hosted the Union Bank of Scotland.
At the east end of Princess Street there’s Calton Hill, one of Edinburgh’s seven hills and one of the most iconic places of the city. As a matter of fact, from here you can enjoy a 360° view of the Scottish capital, the Firth of Forth, the Fife’s coast and the Pentland Hills on the other side. The hill hosts some important monuments and buildings like the Nelson Monument, the National Monument, the City Observatory and the Dugald Stewart Monument.
Sunrise and sunset times are possibly the best moments to walk up to Calton Hill. The most famous photographic spot is around Dugald Stewart Monument. To have an idea of what it looks like, the photo below is taken exactly from there.