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the colouful buildings along the iconic curved Victoria street in Edinburgh

The Ultimate Edinburgh Travel Guide

Posted on 9 Mar 2023

This Edinburgh travel guide is full of top tips and fun facts to help you have the best Edinburgh holiday possible. Whether it’s your first time or fifth time visiting this incredible city, there’s always something new to discover. From mouthwatering meals with friendly locals to hidden gems off the beaten track, Edinburgh is full to the brim of wonderful things to see and do. Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start - that’s where our Edinburgh travel guide comes in. At Rabbie’s, we combine local insight with years of experience to be experts on all things Edinburgh. This means we can share the stories, sights, and secrets of the city with you. Read on and you’ll be on the adventure of a lifetime before you know it.

Table of Contents:

Is Edinburgh Worth Visiting?

Edinburgh is definitely worth visiting in our opinion. Whether it’s just for a day trip or a longer stay, Edinburgh has plenty to offer and welcomes visitors with open arms. Some of the top reasons to visit Edinburgh are:

  • Beautiful buildings. Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since 1437 and is full of beautiful architecture and historic buildings such as Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
  • Atmospheric surroundings. Edinburgh also boasts lively pubs along its beautiful cobbled streets and the picturesque Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Art and Culture. Lovers of arts and culture can enjoy the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that takes over the city in August every year. You can also explore the many museums or participate in a Harry Potter walking tour and see the sites that inspired the stories.
  • Ghostly adventures. Edinburgh is also known for being one of the most haunted cities in the world and many visitors enjoy following the footsteps of ghosts in its historic buildings and underground vaults.
  • Green spaces. If you aren’t a huge lover of city breaks, Edinburgh could be the place that changes your mind. Home to 100 parks and public gardens, Edinburgh is full of peaceful green oases.

All these reasons make Edinburgh well worth visiting. What’s more, it’s a relatively safe city making it a great solo travel destination. For more travel advice check out our top things to know before you visit Edinburgh. And as if Edinburgh could get any better it is also relatively easy to travel to. Direct flights to Edinburgh from the USA are available all year round, and the city is easily reachable from within the UK via the rail network.

Underneath a clear blue sky people are relaxing on the green grass of Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh

Where to Stay in Edinburgh

There are many places to stay in Edinburgh and there’s something to suit all budgets. From luxury hotels to friendly hostels, here are four ideas of where to stay during your Edinburgh holiday:

  • Castle Rock Hostel. Next door to Edinburgh Castle, this centrally located hostel is an affordable and convenient base to explore the city from.
  • The Balmoral. Edinburgh accommodation doesn’t come much more luxurious than this award-winning hotel.
  • Cheval Old Town Chambers. Just off the Royal Mile, these self-catering apartments are perfect for group holidays to Edinburgh.
  • The Witchery by The Castle. Renowned for its lavish and gothic rooms, this hotel offers a unique Edinburgh stay.

Where to Eat in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is renowned for its food and drink scene. From the infamous haggis to the finest drams of whisky, visitors are spoilt for choice. Here are four top eateries you won’t want to miss during your Edinburgh holidays:

  • Whiski Rooms. Popular with tourists for good reason, the Whiski Rooms is one of the best places to try authentic haggis. Plus check out their whisky menu which features over 300 different varieties.
  • Forage and Chatter. Proud to be lesser-known amongst tourists, this restaurant is popular with in-the-know foodies. Serving local cuisine in a cosy setting.
  • Timberyard. Combines premium Scottish ingredients with Nordic cooking styles to utterly delicious results.
  • The Conan Doyle. A trip to Edinburgh isn’t complete without a pub visit and The Conan Doyle offers a great range of food and a classic pub atmosphere.

If you’re heading on one of our small-group tours, don't forget to have snacks at the ready. 

What to do in Edinburgh

An Edinburgh travel guide wouldn’t be complete without sharing some of the top attractions. Whatever your personal tastes, there are plenty of inspiring things to do in Edinburgh. Here are some activities you’ll definitely want to tick off:

  • Visit Edinburgh Castle. A must-see attraction, the impressive Edinburgh Castle has been attacked 26 times, making it one of the most besieged castles in the world.
  • Climb Arthur’s Seat. Head to Holyrood Park and climb the extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat for amazing views over Edinburgh.
  • Visit the Scottish National Gallery. This beautiful building holds even more treasures inside. Full of art by masters such as Monet, Titian, and Van Gogh, the Scottish National Gallery is well worth a visit.
  • Join a tour. From ghost tours to Harry Potter tours or day trips out of the city, a group expedition is a wonderful way to spend some of your Edinburgh holiday. Loch Ness, Loch Lomond, and Rosslyn Chapel are just a few of the amazing sites you can easily visit on a tour from Edinburgh.
a view of Edinburgh from Calton Hill at dusk

How to Get Around Edinburgh

Getting around Edinburgh is very simple thanks to their public transport services. There’s a tram service which connects much of the city centre to sites such as Murrayfield Rugby Stadium and Edinburgh Airport. Not only that but Edinburgh is a very walkable city and most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other. We don’t recommend trying to bring your car into central Edinburgh as finding parking can be difficult and many of the roads are closed to private vehicles. If you want to explore the surrounding areas, book a Rabbie’s tour instead. Simply hop aboard, enjoy the views, and discover why our tours are better than your car.

Edinburgh Holidays and Beyond

Hopefully, our Edinburgh travel guide has inspired you to come and visit this incredible city for yourself. And Edinburgh could be just the start of your holiday. Why not explore more of what Scotland has to offer from gorgeous Glasgow to the amazing Scottish Islands? Or perhaps you could combine your Edinburgh holiday with a visit to England, Ireland, Wales, or elsewhere in Europe? Book your next adventure today or sign up to our newsletter for all the latest travel inspiration.

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