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From the medieval Old Town and elegant neoclassical buildings, Edinburgh isn’t just the capital of Scotland, it’s also the cultural heart of the country.
Whether you’re fascinated by Scottish lore, the mystery of Loch Ness, or simply hoping for a vacation with plenty of diversity and history, Edinburgh is the place for you! Solo travelers, couples, and families can all find something for everyone to enjoy in Edinburgh.
To plan ahead for your vacation, take a look at this list of top attractions and activities in Edinburgh to help you maximize your time traveling!
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Whether you’re hoping for a place close to the nightlife scene or something more family friendly, check out these top picks for where to stay in Edinburgh!
Right in on the action with easy transportation options, the Haystack Hostel is the perfect place to stay if you’re on a budget, but don’t want to sacrifice quality.
With 24-hour reception, a shared kitchen, Wi-fi, and laundry service, you can rest assured that all the bases have been covered to help you enjoy your time in Edinburgh!
From the beautifully restored building with an outdoor courtyard space to the modern room facilities, the Stay Central Hotel combines old-time charm with contemporary style.
Within walking distance are numerous top landmarks and attractions as well as all the local pubs, restaurants, and shops of the Old Town!
Need a home-away-from-home in Edinburgh? The Adagio Edinburgh apartments are the perfect way to have personal space while still being walking distance from numerous city attractions!
You’ll have your own kitchenette, available continental breakfast, and 24-hour reception to make sure all goes smoothly during your stay.
By all accounts the crowning jewel of Edinburgh, the famous Edinburgh castle is a great spot to begin your exploration of the city.
The mighty position the castle occupies on a hill above the city also awards you some excellent opportunities for photographs that capture this important landmark!
Need more specifics? Find out where to stay in Edinburgh based on what you want to do there!
One of Edinburgh’s most stunning landmarks on the skyline is the St. Giles Cathedral.
A top historic site of the city, this beautiful cathedral is still used as a place of worship and if you’re lucky there might be a concert performance or holiday festival during your time in the city!
The bike-friendly streets of Edinburgh city make it a great place to take a cycling tour, especially during the summer!
You’ll have the time to visit all the major sites and learn some interesting backstories from a local guide!
The National Museum of Scotland holds an impressive collection of art, historic artifacts, and numerous engaging learning displays making it a great place for people of all ages!
With restaurants, a café, and various planned events, you can easily make a trip to the museum a full day of fun.
Let’s make this simple. These are the best hotels in Edinburgh!
The official residence of the Queen of Scotland, the Palace of Holyroodhouse doesn’t set a limit to grandeur and style!
A tour of the palace gives you the unique opportunity to learn more about the history of Scotland as well as capture some truly spectacular photos of this impressive castle-like residence.
Edinburgh boasts the largest monument dedicated to a writer in the world! The impressive Scott Monument has become an iconic site for the city.
For just a small fee, you can have the full experience of climbing the spiral stairs for a view out over Edinburgh!
Have some time in Edinburgh? These are our favorite day trips from Edinburgh!
Take a food tour through Edinburgh to try the signature dishes of Scotland at authentic and local venues!
From fine cheeses to scrumptious fresh scones, Edinburgh is overflowing with delicious recipes and fine dining!
If you happen to have a sunny day in Edinburgh, the Princes Street Gardens are a great place to make the most of the sunshine!
In addition to pleasant places to walk or have a picnic, you can also enjoy the perfect perspective for photographs of the Edinburgh Castle.
A perfect day trip from Edinburgh, the Kingdom of Fife gives you the chance to see what traditional Scottish fishing life was like.
The ancient towns are still dotted with charming cottages, cobblestone streets, and local cafés and tea shops perfect for a day of enjoying Scottish village life.
During the height of the Roman Empire, Scotland became the final frontier for the Romans.
Today, there are still remnants of the once-mighty Romans including Hadrian’s Wall and old Roman forts once used for battle. Join a tour to learn about these sites and enjoy the Scottish countryside for a fun adventure out of Edinburgh.
Just outside the city center is the remnants of a dormant volcano known as Arthur’s Seat. It is here that it is believed the legends of King Arthur originated!
If you’re up for a hike, you’ll be awarded a spectacular view out over the city of Edinburgh when you reach the top!
On a whiskey tasting tour of the city, you’ll learn for yourself how special Scottish whiskey is!
In addition to all the samples, you’ll also have the chance to get a deeper look into the history of the Scottish whiskey making process and how the trade has changed over time.
If you’re hoping to get some photos of the iconic landmarks of Edinburgh, make sure to include the statue of Greyfriars Bobby!
According to local legend, this small terrier dog kept watch at his owner’s graveside for 14 years in mourning. The popular little statue has become a favorite spot for tourists to snap some photos!
If you’re coming to Scotland, you have to pay a visit to the legendary Loch Ness! It’s the perfect photo opportunity, history lesson, and adventure combined!
You might not get to see the monster, but you can decide for yourself whether the fable is real after hearing the story from a local.
Known as being one of the best places to enjoy the Edinburgh skyline, Calton Hill is also the site of the City Observatory which boasts a rooftop terrace for an even loftier perspective!
Enjoy a meal at the restaurant and learn about the history of the hill at the small museum.
Things are never the way they seem at the World of Illusions! This fun, interactive museum is a great family activity when traveling to Edinburgh.
From mazes of mirrors to light vortexes, the museum even boasts one of the best rooftop views out over the city!
Spanning from the Renaissance to the 20th century, the Scottish National Gallery is one of the country’s most highly acclaimed museums.
From extensive permanent collections to intriguing temporary exhibits, it would easy to spend a whole day browsing the galleries if you’re a serious art fan!
While Edinburgh may be a charming city today, the past has a darker side. Delve into the world of witch hunts and criminals in the eerie underground vaults of the Old Town.
It’s a unique learning opportunity but be prepared to get spooked since some places are still haunted according to local legend!
This historic garden of Edinburgh once resided in Holyrood Park, though it was moved in 1820 to its current location.
The park is a great place to go if you’re hoping to escape city crowds and enjoy the peace and serenity of the pleasant gardens and pathways!
The highlands of Scotland are one of the country’s defining characteristics!
Full of historic sites like the Urquhart Castle and beautiful lochs such as Loch Cruise and Loch Lomond, you’ll have countless great photo opportunities of gently rolling hills and peaceful woodlands!
A historic area of Edinburgh that has continued to change and evolve over time, Leith is a charming neighborhood full of a quirky energy all its own!
Spend a leisurely afternoon walking around to explore the local shops, visit the historic Leith Theater, and try some signature dishes from the local eateries!
If you read the Harry Potter books and dreamed of being a witch or wizard yourself, now is your chance!
Many of the film scenes were shot in Edinburgh, including Diagon Alley and Hogwarts school! No wands required, but you’re certain to have a magical experience!
This up-and-coming art venue of Edinburgh continues to make headlines for its singular exhibitions, films, and performances!
Check out the schedule before coming to Edinburgh to get in on the action yourself, or just visit to enjoy the ambiance and a delicious local meal.
Famous for becoming the first National Park of Scotland, The Trossachs National Park has been given the nickname “The Highlands in miniature.”
Taking a day trip from Scotland is a great way to see the beautiful landscape, photograph some amazing castles, and maybe even take a boat ride on Loch Lomond!
Needing to lighten the mood? The Stand comedy venue sill certainly put a smile on your face, and maybe give you a side-cramp from laughing too much!
Check out what performers are scheduled during your time in Edinburgh, especially if you’re looking for indoor activities if you’re visiting when it’s cold out!
What better way to relax in the afternoon than with a traditional Scottish tea-time experience?
From a variety of loose-leaf tea, to fresh-made pastries, to fresh seasonal produce items, your taste buds will be delighted by the flavors and variety!
The Festival Theater was built from what remained of the Empire Palace Theater which originally opened in 1892. While the renovations provided state-of-the art technology, the Festival still preserves a historic charm!
Check out the calendar of events for a fun night of music or a great play while you’re in Edinburgh!
One of Scotland’s top natural attractions, the Isle of Skye has some of the most breathtaking views in the whole country!
Along the Trotternish Peninsula, you can learn about ancient Scottish folklore, photograph the amazing geologic sites, and stand in awe of the coastal scenery.
Whether you want to get some practice in at one of the tennis courts or simply enjoy the fresh air outside, The Meadows is a great outdoor retreat right in the center of the city!
In the summer, it’s a popular place to barbecue, and even in the winter, you can enjoy a nice walk around the space.
Victoria Street is one of downtown Edinburgh’s biggest attractions; this winding pedestrian-friendly street boasts some of the best shopping venues in the city!
Spend a day browsing the stores for the latest and greatest items in the fashion industry, or pick up something unique from one of the local stores.
Once used for official sea voyages for the Royal family of Britain, the Royal Yacht Britannia has become one of the top attractions in Edinburgh!
Tour the 5 decks, amazing views of the waterfront, and enjoy refreshments in royal style at the Royal Deck Tea Room.
If you’re planning a trip to Scotland, Edinburgh should be on top of your list! This amazing historic city captures all the best qualities of the country from the numerous in-city attractions to easy day trips to explore other places!
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Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.