Normally on our travels we are not thrilled about cities, we try to avoid them if it is possible. More than cities, we are fascinated by nature, animals in their natural habitat, people, authenticity and less touristic sites (even though I confess that sometimes that is nice too, for a day or two). However, we have found some exceptions. Those are the cities that aren´t just concrete jungle with people running around from one errand to another. The cities that we felt connected to. The cities with a soul.
Edinburgh is definitely one of those cities and we like it a lot. It is not too big, has quite a lot of green places, a lot of history and cultural events, but at the same time it is not dark, cold and too industrial.
These are the thing that we liked the most and you shouldn´t leave them out, when exploring Edinburgh:
- Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens that are in the center of Edinburgh and are just beautiful. Make sure to have enough time, as you can be there half a day. You shouldn´t leave out sightseeing famous clock made of flowers by the steps between Princes Street and gardens. From the park, there is great view to the castle that is one of the symbols of the city. If you use rent-a-car exploring Scotland, you shouldn´t drive to the center of the city, because there aren´t any parking places there. We left our car on parking near airport – Ingliston Park&Ride, which was free of charge and went to the city by tram that drives every 10 minutes to the city centre.
- Edinburgh castle is located on the hill above the city and is the second most visited tourist attraction in Great Britain – the first is Tower of London. The entrance fee and crowd is appropriate to its fame. We gave up the opportunity to see the castle from inside because of the high entrance fee and the crowd. But we were also planning to see two castles outside Edinburgh for the next day (Dunnotar and Balmoral castles) and they both charmed us. For all of you that don´t intend to see other parts of Scotland, just Edinburgh and are not bothered by the crowd – you should see it from inside as well. But be there early to have a little piece of the caste for yourself, at least for a moment.
- But we didn´t give up walking on Royal Mile Street which is the most famous street in the town and is known as the heart of Edinburgh. It is one mile long and connects Edinburgh castle with Palace of Holyroodhouse. The palace is official residence of queen of England on Scotland. Nearby there is new Scottish parliament – which didn´t convince us with its futuristic design. If you are going to walk on Royal mile Street, you can leave your car on parking near parliament (coordinates: 55.950970, -3.171477). This is vibrant street, big enough not to feel crowded. If you want to eat something local and Scottish and not spend half of your belongings J you should go to Oink. Near Royal mile Street, there are two – one on the beginning of the street, near parliament, and the other on the opposite side of the road, near castle. Google it – you won´t regret 🙂 .
- Last but not least – and no less attractive – climb to the top of the hill with wonderful view on Edinburgh with surroundings, on Holyrood Park. You can leave your car on parking near parliament and walk to the top of the hill from north side; or drive around the hill, and choose south access, which is called Arthur´s seat. The road around Holyrood Park is one-way road and traffic goes clockwise – be attentive in case of driving around the hill.
Scotland is very special country and Scotts are special people with their own English, which is sometimes hard to understand, but most of the times it is very funny. I hope their wish to split from Great Britain comes true one day 🙂 .