What to do in Edinburgh in a short time

leggi in italiano 

Do you want to enjoy the beautiful city of Edinburgh in a short time? Here is the best itinerary for you, which will allow you to see all the main local points of interest and will make you wish to come back soon.

A gothic yet cozy city, shady but also rich in green and light, Edinburgh loves its history and its urban legends, she loves its identity and can’t wait to give it to those who visit it.

All the main historical interest points are quite concentrated in a rather small urban space, suitable for those who love walking and also for those who want to stay fit… given the presence of slopes and small (but intense) climbs and stairs.

In fact, perhaps not everyone knows that the Scottish capital is built on seven hills.
Its historic center is a UNESCO heritage and has inspired many writers, first of all, Arthur Conan Doyle, last but not the least, J.K. Rowling, who in the (now) famous coffee shop Elephant began to build the story of Harry Potter. And actually all Potterians won’t help noticing how much Diagon Alley looks like some local “close”, the small alleys in Edinburgh.

But let’s get back to the subject of this post. If you want to know and see the best places of historical and artistic interest as well as urbanism of Edinburgh, I suggest you this itinerary, which divides and unravels the city through three main routes where you can also find good places to eat and drink beer (soon a special post about it).

The wonders – and the mysteries – of the Royal Mile


In my opinion, the first thing to do is to head towards the Royal Mile:
Leave the Waverley station at your back and go left; walk one of the side alleys, also called “close”, made of stairs and darkness, old-fashioned pub and smells of local life (and sometimes even of piss) and you’ll find yourself on the Royal mile, which is actually 1.4 miles long , which links the Edinburgh Castle to Palace of Holyrood House, another castle chosen by the Royal Family during their stays in Scotland.

In between, a small street full of sheep wool and beautiful tartan clothing stores, little bars, old and traditional pubs, and other places of historical and architectural interest  such as the Cathedral of St. Giles.

As mentioned, at the two ends of the Royal Mile, there are also two important historic castles, and both of them can be visited.
Inside the Holyrood House there are also precious pieces of crown jewels, for those who are fond of this genre.
In front of this building you will see the Parliament, a post-modern structure, not loved by all, but surrounded by an airy square, with water games and a glance on Arthur’s seat, a hill literally sawn in two by the glaciations, maximum peak of the Holyrood park, which encompasses the panorama of the historic center.

Approaching or moving away from the Royal Mile, going in the opposite direction, stop for a stroll around the church of Canongate, with its cemetery.
In particular in spring the blooming cherry trees make this place full of weird vibes.
Here you can find…tombs of well-known local ghosts (I’ll tell you more in an upcoming post) and you’ll read names of famous literary characters.

Canongate Kirk - Edimburgo

Canongate Kirk – Edimburgo

Princess Street, the tea experience and Calton Hill

Then we can go back to the station and go, this time, to the right and we’ll find ourselves in the main street of the so called New Town. On Princess Street, in addition to being able to see the beauty of the old town on the opposite hill (because, let’s say it, Edinburgh is a continuum of wonderful panoramic views and urban sceneries), it is possible to go shopping or look for tea shops, where to taste infusions of all kinds, both cold and warm.

Edimburgo in poco tempo - migliore itinerario

From here, you can arrive in a short time and in a few steps towards Calton Hill, a hill that gives one of the best panoramic views of the city, with its observatory and the city monument (actually never finished due to lack of funds).
If you still have time and want to walk in the green, while remaining in the city, go from here to the Arthur’s seat (the same that we could see from the Parliament Square, remember?).

Princess Street Garden, the green artery that divides the two souls of the city

princess street gardens Edimburgo

princess street gardens Edimburgo

Then, back to the station, leave it behind and go straight; get in the gardens that divide these two areas of the city.
The Princess Street Gardens are amazing, not to be missed especially in spring and autumn.

From here, there is a privileged access to the National Gallery of Scotland:
Every time I go to the UK, I remember that here people definitely know how to make a great museum set up. The one of the National Gallery of Scotland is no exception.

St Andrews Square - Edimburgo

St Andrews Square – Edimburgo

Strategic location to stay a few nights in Edinburgh:
I recommend to consider the Hub by Premier Inn hotel (I don’t have any collaboration or sponsorship with this hotel, I’m just a satisfied guest, happy to have made this good choice).
Modern, technological, clean and quiet, in a great location a few meters away from the station, in a very interesting street (Market street), from which you can access the Scotsman steps, and access to the North bridge, cutting off part of Princess Street to go directly to Calton Hill or continue in the more modern part, also heading into the park called St. Andrew’s Square, which is, in spring, the fair of pink peach petals that fall with every breath of wind.


  • kartika nair

    Edinburgh seems a really beautiful place to visit . I haven’t been there yet but I would really like to see those lovely places you mentioned in your blog post . Thanks for sharing !

  • fashionandstylepolice

    Love your photos. We visited Edinburgh many years ago for a weekend. It was a lovely getaway. I would love to visit again.

  • Elizabeth O

    Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. It sounds like you got a lot done in a short amount of time.

  • Jeenu Pillai

    These are some really great pictures and it is absolutely rare to find a city which has beautifully amalgamated in itself the old world charm and the modern world technologies. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  • Karla

    Edinburgh looks like a great place to have a vacation. I love your pictures! I can’t wait to see the place myself.

  • Lyosha

    Great tips! That’s mostly what I’d recommend myself. Edinburgh is my favorite city if I don’t consider my home. It is wonderful simply wondering around

  • Monidipa

    First of all I am very happy that I finally found someone who speaks italian though so I will comment in Italian because I am comfortable in it. Sono stato a edinburgh, è un posto incantevole da visitare. Inoltre hai scritto questo post estremamente bene. Un sacco d’amore..

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