Among Scotland enthusiasts, Edinburgh counts as an absolute must-visit. The atmosphere and appearance that you will encounter here can safely be called unique. Many even consider Edinburgh to be the nicest city in all of the United Kingdom. Scotland’s capital is known as the ‘Athens of the North’ due to its historic centre. Both the old and the new city are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And that is of course not for nothing. The city has at least about 4500 monumental buildings, including a number of castles, churches and cathedrals. The Edinburgh Festival attracts many visitors to the city every year. This cultural festival is jam-packed with festivities collectively named as the largest annual cultural festival in the world..
Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh
#1. Edinburgh Castle
According to foodezine, the magnificent Edinburgh Castle towers over the city. The castle, which is hundreds of years old, is built on a rock. From the castle you have a phenomenal view over the city. During a guided tour you will be told all the intriguing stories and secrets of the castle. For example, you can view the ‘Honors of Scotland’, these are the crown jewels. A visit to this impressive castle should not be missed. Other interesting castles in the area are: Craigmillar Castle – Lauriston Castle – Tantallon Castle – Crichton Castle – Blackness Castle and Dirleton Castle.
#2. Hollyrood Palace
This official residence and now working palace of the Royal Family of Scotland, stands at the end of Edinburgh’s famous ‘Royal Mile’. This street runs from Edinburgh Castle to this palatial abode. Ceremonies and official royals and dignitaries are still received here. Parts of this palace are open to the public. Next to the palace is the ruin of the Augustinian abbey from 1126.
#3. Royal Mile
The main street of the old town center is called ‘Royal Mile’. The street runs from Edinburgh Castle to Hollyrood Palace. Many of the city’s sights are located in the adjacent side streets. The inlaid mosaic heart in the pavement at St. Giles Cathedral is the ‘Heart of Midlothian’. It marks the place where a toll gate was located. It is also the emblem of the Scottish tactile ball club ‘Heart of Midlothian FC’.
#4. National Museum
Take a journey of discovery through Scotland or Egypt, for example, and learn more about nature, culture, technology and science in this museum. Fascinating mummies give you the feeling of being in ancient Egypt. Or try building a pyramid. Or take part in some scientific trials. This museum guarantees a successful day out with the whole family. It is a few minutes from Edinburgh Castle.
#5. National Galleries of Scotland
The heart of Edinburgh is home to some of the finest art from the visual world. The museum consists of three interconnected buildings. The collections range from the Renaissance period to the end of the 19th century. Works by masters such as Van Gogh, Monet, El Greco and Velázquez are reviewed. While admission is free, a fee may sometimes be charged during special exhibitions.
#6. St. Giles Cathedral
The city is full of special old architecture. One of these is St. Giles Cathedral. The tower is a prominent feature of the city. Shortly after the fire in 1385, which largely destroyed the church, it was rebuilt as we know it today. Of course, some parts were later replaced or added. The tower is from the 15th century. The interior is truly impressive.
#7. Edinburgh Zoo
For a fun day with the family, it is highly recommended to visit Edinburgh Zoo. The park is very nicely laid out and has many different animals to admire. There is an indoor tropical rainforest, but also glow-in-the-dark scorpions and a real penguin parade.
#8. Royal Botanical Gardens
On an area of about 72 hectares you will find the city’s botanical garden. This gem of peace and relaxation is located on the edge of the center. The beautiful flora and fauna in the park are of international class. The visitor center tells more about the plants and activities of this Royal Botanic Garden.
#9. Scotch Whiskey Heritage Center
During this Whiskey experience you will be told everything about the craft of distilling, tasting and experiencing. Various tours can be booked, most of which take place once a day. In the Whiskey bar you can choose from no fewer than 300 different types. It is also possible to have dinner there.
#10. The Real Mary King’s Close
Deep beneath the city lies a hidden secret system of passages. The many dark secrets and stories that took place here hundreds of years ago are told in a spectacular way during a guided walk. It is a very special way to get to know the city and its former inhabitants better.