Edinburgh, Scotland's Capital City

Why start your Scotland holiday in Edinburgh

There are enough attractions to visit and holiday activities to do in Edinburgh and the surrounding area to keep you busy for your entire holiday. But more importantly, Edinburgh is a great base from which you can explore the rest of Scotland.

Edinburgh is only an hour's drive from Glasgow, Scotland's largest City and 2-3 hours from the Highlands -- and that says a lot of the size of this country. You can take a bus tour from Edinburgh or rent a car for a self drive tour cross half the country in one day!

How is Edinburgh different from other European capitals?

Edinburgh is a capital in miniature compared to the other famous European capitals. It's not even the largest city in Scotland! With population of only 500,000, everything is within reach. Traffic congestion is not as bad as in bigger cities like London either.

Edinburgh's unique features include two extinct volcanoes, one of them right in the City Centre onto which Edinburgh Castle is built. How many other capitals can pride themselves with that?

Edinburgh at a glance

  • Edinburgh's hills and volcanoes are excellent natural vantage points and not just for photography but for the City's fireworks displays in August and New Year.
  • In terms of visitor numbers, Edinburgh can be quite busy during the summer season when tourists literally flock in. The same can be said about the winter holidays. Edinburgh is famous for throwing one of the most memorable New Year's parties in the world -- the Edinburgh Hogmanay.

Tourist highlights in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is also known as the 'Athens of the North'. It is one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe. Its distinctive and unique skyline follows closely that of Venice and makes for fantastic photography at dusk or dawn.

The historic City of Edinburgh preserved over the years its own medieval atmosphere. Every corner of the city has its own story -- or legend -- which awaits to be uncovered. For example, no tourist should miss a visit to the vaults beneath the City which uncover spooky stories of ghosts and mystery.

Kirkyard is the Scottish term for 'churchyard' and Edinburgh has plenty of them. Each has countless stories to tell, grave stones and mausoleums in honour of famous individuals -- the economist Adam Smith, Robert Louis Stevenson and the world's worst poet, William McGonagall.

Greyfriars is possibly Edinburgh's most famous churchyard thanks to Greyfriars Bobby, the terrier who sat by his master's grave for years until his own death. All tourists take pictures with Bobby's statue just outside the kirkyard.

Despite its well preserved history, Edinburgh is by no means medieval. The year-round events -- like the Edinburgh Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Edinburgh Hogmanay -- make it a vibrant city and can be quite overwhelming for a tourist dying to cover it all.

The bottom line about Edinburgh, Scotland

  • Great food, great music, great shows, really great pubs, incredibly friendly people and above all, enough attractions to keep even the most energetic tourist busy.
  • On the downside, Edinburgh can be quite expensive in terms of accommodation and food if you don't have some local knowledge. However, with the proper information, any tourist, no matter the budget, can have the holiday of a lifetime.

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Edinburgh Castle from Calton Hill

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