Right after Hogmanay (The Scottish New Year’s celebration), I visited Edinburgh and Glasgow with a friend. It was a trip I’ve been wanting to make for quite some years now. Since studying abroad in Ireland, I’ve fallen in love with Great Britain! From Ireland, I saw almost the whole country as you can read in my blog post: 12 tips for a great road trip through the wonderful country of Ireland. I also made a trip to Northern Ireland to visit Belfast and the amazing Giant’s Causeway. Furthermore, I’ve been to London a few times now for work and pleasure, but I never visited Scotland before. I assumed it would be similar to Ireland: Cozy pubs, beautiful landscapes and historic buildings. But I can definitely say: I liked Edinburgh better than any other city in Ireland!
And I’m not keen on saying that, because Ireland has a special place in my heart ;) But Edinburgh. Woah. It’s like entering a fairytale. We’ve been there only for 2 days, so I can’t give you a thorough analysis of the city, but my first experience was great. I’ve been spoiled with seeing quite some wonderful cities in my life, but this was one I still had high on my bucket list! Glasgow was a really cool city as well, but in my opinion it couldn’t compare to Edinburgh. Therefore, I’m happy to share with you my top 5 spots of the city to see:) Be sure to check out my Instagram for more pictures of Glasgow and Edinburgh as well!
1. Calton Hill
You can easily walk from the Princes street up to Calton Hill. On the way there, you pass an old graveyard which is also nice to briefly check out. On the Hill, you can find some nice monuments but the reason to go there is to have an amazing view over the city. Edinburgh is very hilly, which creates a very nice scenery throughout the city.
2. Dean’s Village
Be sure to enter the Dean’s Gardens, which is a park in the river bed of the ‘Water of Leith’. It’s a wonderful place when you want to get out of the busyness of the city for a bit. The park takes you alongside the river, where you pass St. Bernards well and the impressive Dean Bridge. This Bridge reminded me so much like the Harry Potter bridge where the train passes over. Also, you can look up and see houses on the rocks up the hill and the Rhema Christian Centre Church adds nicely to the view as well. Then finally, you enter the historic Dean’s village, which made me feel like I was in a fairy tale again. I really loved this walk a lot.
3. High Street
This is the oldest street in Edinburgh and looks very wonderful, it has quite some cute narrow side streets and you will pass the St. Gilles Cathedral. Close to the North Bride, you can find the Tron Kirk & Royal Mile Market, this is a lovely little traditional Scottish market in an old Church. It’s a nice place if you want to buy a more original souvenir than some whisky or Tartan clothing (which we also bought of course ;)). When walking through the street it automatically leads you to the next highlight: The Edinburgh Castle.
4. Edinburgh Castle
When visiting Edinburgh, you literally can’t miss the castle. It’s very prominently there to see, high up the hill. I didn’t visit the castle from the inside, as I think castles from the inside are often quite boring ;) But this castle definitely adds to the city. It’s very impressive to see, from up close but also when you are walking down on Princes Street.
If you’re looking for a vibrant neighbourhood away from all the big shops and crowdedness, be sure to visit the Stockbridge area. There are some great coffee places and the area has a nice atmosphere. Also, you can walk by the old Stockbridge market (where actually only an old bow was there to see when we visited, as traders will be there on Sundays only). Finally, a lovely street we’ve come to pass by is the Circus Lane, if you are close by, be sure to check it out!
So, that’s a short recap of the things I would recommend seeing when visiting Edinburgh! It’s just a very nice city to stroll around in :) We were there after Christmas time, but the city was still full of Christmas lighting and decorations, even a big Christmas market was there. This gave the city an extra cheerful touch. We’ve heard some good stories about Hogmanay as well, so maybe next time I’ll make sure to be there at that time!:) I’ll have to get back anyways, as I’d love to go hiking in the Highlands someday! Did you visit Scotland already? What can you recommend me to see on my next trip?