Edinburgh Castle

Are you planning a trip to the beautiful city of Edinburgh soon? Well, we assure you that this destination won’t disappoint with its stunning landscape, friendly people, and fun activities. To help you in the planning process, we’ve made this list of the top 7 things you need to do when visiting Edinburgh, Scotland.  

1. Climb Arthur’s Seat

The most popular tourist activity that every visitor to Edinburgh has to do is climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is an ancient, extinct volcano that stands tall above the city. The volcano is 350-million years old and 824 feet high. After completing the short climb to the top, you’ll have 360-degree views of all of Edinburgh and the Lothians. It’s the perfect way to get to the top of the city and see Edinburgh from a different perspective.  

View from Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland

2. Visit Edinburgh Castle

Europe is known for many things, including an abundance of ancient, impressive castles. And Scotland has no shortage, with over 1,000 castles spread out across the country. Edinburgh’s most impressive and famous castle is the appropriately named Edinburgh Castle. The property stands on Castle Rock and has a rich history of being home to many kings and queens across centuries. In its 1,100-year history, the castle has been involved in 26 sieges, making it “the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world.”

Today, you can purchase tickets and tour these historic grounds. If you’re lucky, you may be visiting the castle on a day when actors are putting on a historical performance! And after your tour, you can grab a delicious cup of tea and biscuits at the traditional tea room onsite. 

Just make sure to buy your tickets in advance as this is one of Edinburgh’s most visited spots. 

3. The Scotch Whisky Experience

Scotland is obviously well-known for its scotch, and it’s more than likely you’ll be indulging in this beverage a few times on your visit. To get an authentic rundown on Scottish whisky, consider visiting the famous tourist attraction, “The Scotch Whisky Experience.” You can take a tour and learn all about Scottish whisky’s history, facts, and flavors from some fantastic storytellers. And, you can book a tasting of whisky samples (paired with food or without). The Scotch Whisky Experience is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm and is a great way to spend an afternoon in Edinburgh! 

The Scotch Whisky Experience
Via @scotchwhiskyexp on Instagram

4. Check out the Scott Monument

If you’re a fan of literature, you’ll want to pay a visit to the Scott Monument. This Victorian Gothic monument is located in the Princess Street Gardens in Edinburgh and is dedicated to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. Sir Walter Scott wrote many books and poems considered historical classics today, including Ivanhoe, Rob Bou, and The Bride of Lammermoor. 

The Scott Monument is the second-largest monument to a writer in the world. It was built in 1832 and is decorated with carvings of characters from Scott’s novels. The monument is 200 feet high and you can climb the 287 steps to the top, where you can take in beautiful views of the entire city. There’s also a Museum Room inside the monument, which displays an exhibition of Scott’s work and life story. 

Scott Monument
Via @edinburgh.eye on Instagram

5. Try Haggis

For a lot of people, a big part of traveling is the food. When you visit a new country, you want to immerse yourself in the local cuisine to get a true sense of the culture. Scotland has some fantastic food to try, including its national dish of haggis. This dish is a savory meat pudding made with sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, minced with spices, onion, and oatmeal, and cooked encased in a sheep’s stomach. It’s probably not like anything you’ve ever had before, so you must give it a try. It’s a hearty, filling, and delicious dish. Plus, you’ll love being able to tell all your friends you ate authentic haggis in Edinburgh. 

A dish of haggis
Via @proggyandtweed on Instagram

6. Portobello Beach

When people think of Edinburgh, they probably don’t picture a beach. But, there is a popular beach in this city worth visiting! On a sunny day, Portobello Beach is the city’s place to be. You can do some sunbathing, swimming, or just explore the little nearby seashore shops. 

Portobello Beach in Edinburgh, Scotland
Via @theldndiaries on Instagram

7. Explore Old Town

Old Town is the oldest area of Edinburgh, with many Reformation-era buildings and narrow medieval streets. It’s a fantastic place to visit with lots of old-fashioned pubs, fun shops, and several historic attractions. Old Town is one of the busier areas in Edinburgh as it’s popular with locals and visitors. Come here to do some sightseeing, shopping, and grab a bite to eat. 

Old Town in Edinburgh

Hopefully, we’ve helped fill out your itinerary for your upcoming trip to Edinburgh a bit. If you manage to fit all seven activities in, you’ll honestly be able to say you got to see the most of what Edinburgh has to offer.