If you haven’t paid a visit to Scotland’s glorious capital, we say do so immediately. There's so much to do in the bustling city. Picture yourself strolling through the medieval walkways, exploring the lush gardens, admiring the architecture, embracing the nightlife and appreciating the art. We recently took a trip to Edinburgh to do all these things (and had the time of our lives). We stayed at St Christopher's Inns, right in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town enabling us to travel everywhere by foot. From rolling hills, bagpipes, castles and booze, see the best of Edinburgh (in photos)...
You're in for one hell of a workout with all the steep, narrow paths you'll encounter around the city - be prepared.
Let's start with Edinburgh airport. As soon as you walk out into the fresh Scottish air, you're greeted by a huge sign to remind you exactly where you are (in case you forgot).
The day we arrived, five boys dressed in kilts were parading on top of the letters! Definitely not in Kansas anymore...
From the airport, journey time into the city centre/hostel takes approximately 40 minutes by Uber.
PRINCES STREET GARDENS
While you're in Edinburgh, be sure to take a walk through the pretty Princes Street Gardens in the centre of town. That tall, black building? It's called Scotts Monument, a Victorian Gothic building dedicated to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world. It also had a major presence in Edinburgh's skyline.
A lot of the city is preserved from its medieval streets to its many Reformation-era buildings. The Old Town along with the 18th-century New Town form part of a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The beautiful April bloom.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERIES
The gardens are located right beside the Scottish National Galleries, so head here next for an arty fix.
Edinburgh has a collection of three National Galleries, the Portrait Gallery, the Modern Gallery and the National Gallery. Each specialise in their particular genre and between these institutes, they house the best Scottish artworks anywhere in the world. If you love paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures, then you’ll love the Scottish National Galleries. It's free entry on Fridays!
The building itself with Greek-style pillars is just as impressive as the art inside. Above is a cool night shot!
Keep walking through the park, and you get a great view of Edinburgh castle. Fun fact: Edinburgh Castle is built high on an impressive 700 million year old extinct volcano called Castle Rock. Make sure you're here at 1pm to see the 'One O'Clock Gun' fires be shot from the castle. This takes place every day in the capital (except Sundays) where spectactors gather in the park to watch.
You'll hear the loud shots from anywhere in the city. We just so happened to be in the park at 1pm by accident and were terrified when we heard alarming gun shots...then we realised it was coming from the castle.
Just walking through Edinburgh is so aesthetically pleasing! Everything is well maintained, lush and clean. We went in the spring so the flowers were all blooming and the blossom was on top form. Opposite this particular blossom-lined street by the park, you'll find rows of high street shops for a spot of retail therapy!
You simply must take a stroll down the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is the name given to a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city.
This is a cute little road we passed. So picturesque.
Venture right into the heart of the Old Town for some grub and to test out some of the awesome underground bars. Edinburgh's Old Town is significantly cheaper than the New Town (and it's also where St Christopher's is based) - there are so many hidden gems to discover on this side of town.
FOOD AND DRINK
For your first taste of haggis! This is at the Arcade Haggis and Whisky House where they sell traditional Scottish specialities and the best of the country's whisky. At night, turn right onto tiny Jackson’s Close (a narrow alley) next door and head to the Secret Arcade, an epic underground vodka bar.
Or for the true Scottish experience, get yourself to The Doric! They play live Scottish folk music and it's a backpackers (and local) favourite.
One thing Scotland is known for is its whiskey. Check out the huge selection of local whiskies and malts on offer at the Doric.
Take an evening walk through the city centre because Edinburgh looks stunning at night. This photo doesn't do it justice but some of the city-lit views you'll be rewarded with are worth it! As a lot ofEdinburgh is positioned high up, you can see the whole city in all its glory!
Then head to one of the city's many underground bars. A particular favourite of ours is Hoot The Redeemer where we indulged in these amazing cocktails! Check out our article on for more...
Before heading out to Arthur's Seat, fill yourself up on a heart breakfast at Belushi's the restaurant below the hostel. How about the epic pancake stack?
Now your belly's full of syrup and bacon, get yourself to the famous Arthur's Seat for spectacular views of the city. You won't regret it! Walking boots would be a good idea if you want to climb to the top so don't forget to pack them! No visit to Edinburgh is complete without a trip to Arthur's seat. There are different routes to take depending on whether you're a pro hiker or beginner so get informed before you start your trek.
Photo Credit: Shaiith / iStock