The capital of Scotland combines ancient architecture and fascinating history with a vibrant cultural scene and world-famous festivals.
Walking through Edinburgh is a very pleasant experience, with visitors to the city quickly understanding why the Scottish capital has achieved the status of a World Heritage Site. Stroll past the medieval buildings of the Old Town and on to the wide and elegant boulevards and Georgian architecture of the New Town. Take your time and enjoy the many impressive landmarks, as well as the picturesque parks and gardens that abound.
The city is built on seven hills, adding to its natural charm, and is framed by a number of long-extinct volcanoes. Built on one of these rises is the famous Edinburgh Castle; an imposing fortress which overlooks the city, and has long defended it from attack.
The Royal Mile is a cobblestoned link between the castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, one of the British Crown's monarchical residences in Edinburgh. The route also takes in St Giles' Cathedral and Parliament House, some of the primary buildings of historic interest for visitors to the city.
Princes Street is the city's principal shopping thoroughfare and is always a hub of activity. Princes Street Gardens run alongside, and offer a green respite from the hustle and bustle. The striking Gothic-designed Scott Monument was built in memory of the celebrated writer, Sir Walter Scott. Its viewing galleries offer excellent vistas over the Edinburgh rooftops.
If you'd like to get off the beaten track, try nearby Dean Village, situated in an oasis of countryside but only a few minutes away from the heart of Edinburgh. Head for the port area during the day for its range of charming cafés, and come back in the evening for its excellent restaurants and bars.
The best vantages over the city can be accessed via a short walk up Arthur's Seat, a volcano which is now dormant, or Calton Hill. The latter also has a range of monuments which will give you an even greater insight into the city's past.
Edinburgh is justly famous for its festivals – the locals really know how to throw a party! The Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh Arts Festival, in particular, bring a riot of cultural activity to the city in August. Christmastime brings plenty of celebration too, with festive markets and attractions, all leading up to the famous Hogmanay street party which celebrates the opening of the New Year.