Edinburgh is the hilly capital of Scotland for the past 15 years. It is scattered with medieval Old Town and stylish Georgian houses in Georgian New Town with lush gardens and grandeur buildings. The city’s exceptional Edinburgh Castle is the most famous place to visit in Edinburgh. It is also mentioned in the list of the top 25 most romantic cities around the world.
One of the most talked–about places to visit in Edinburgh is Arthur’s Seat, providing you with a serene view and Calton Hill added with the historic monuments and memorials. Edinburgh is assumed to be one of the most alluring cities in the world. It is also renowned for its historic attractions, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and long and rich history.
The city is also presumed to be one of the best hosts for festivals around the world. It is the hub for literary and modern art, culture, higher education, comedy, beauty, Scottish history, etc.
The backbone of the city includes the infamous Arthur’s Seat, the beautiful Peterland Hills, the world-famous Edinburgh Castle, the Edinburgh museum, and many more interesting places to visit in Edinburgh. In only one day you can easily visit the city’s exciting waterfront development, roam around in the global street gardens and streets of the Port of Leith, have a cruise ride on the River Forth, and explore the uneven and craggy terrain of Arthur’s Seat.
1. The Infamous – The Scott Monument
The Scott Monument– is known as the second largest disconcerting awesome monument for a writer. It is named after a famous Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott, who is one of the most loved writer in Scotland. This Scottish National Monument is one of the must visit places in Edinburgh.
It is a Victorian Gothic monument devoted to the well-known writer and poet Sir Walter Scott. It is one of the best places to visit in Edinburgh as it gives you a great view of the Scotland skyline. The Monument is perched two hundred feet above the city center. Another name given to it is also known as “The Gothic Rocket.”
The monument provides tourists with a great view of the most famous places in the town. The Scotland National Potrait Gallery, renowned Edinburgh Castle, beautiful Princess Street Gardens, and much more.
2. One of the Best Edinburgh Attractions—Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is settled at the uppermost part of the Royal Mile. It is said to be located at the top of Castle Rock. Edinburgh Castle is the number one choice of anyone visiting Edinburgh. It is one of the most tourist attractive places in the city of Scotland due to the long history of its royal family residence in the town. Edinburgh Castle has settled on top of a million years old extinct volcanoes.
Edinburgh Castle provides you with an eternal image of Edinburgh. The moment you enter the Castle it feels like you have entered a historic drama with all the important buildings of the city center, some of them being St Magaret’s Chapel, the Edinburgh Castle Exhibition, The Royal Palace, etc. The best part of Edinburgh Castle is located in its heart, where you will be grateful to find the infamous Great Hall, Scotland’s Crown Jewels, and the royal residence, The Royal Palace.
There is an option specifically available for booking a guided tour on their official website. You can choose which plan you want and you will be guided accordingly. One o’clock Gun is also one of the sights to see. The map can be downloaded from their official website. You need to pre-book the royal Edinburgh ticket as they are sold quickly.
3. Experience Paradise on Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat is leveled at 820 feet and is the highest place in the whole of Holyrood Park. It provides you with an enchanting view of the whole city while visiting Edinburgh. The whole city view of the old town to a new town can be viewed from here. It is an ancient volcano that is one of the heads of the peak of Calton Hill in Edinburgh.
It provides an easier route to the Dunsapie Loch, a decent-sized car park. The pointy can also be reached by walking from the Old Town and leading to Queen’s Drive ahead. It also is a good spot for climbing a series of 151-feet cliffs just beside Arthur’s Seat.
There are many other eye-catching attractions in the park. It has various other attractions such as cultivation terraces, the earliest and best-kept examples of old farming practices in Scotland, and the most beautiful medieval St. Anthony’s Chapel.
4. The Busybee—The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is between the two most prominent pillars of the best places to visit in Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, and Holyrood Palace. Royal Mile is located between underground streets and houses with haunted stories between the locals from the late seventeenth century. The Royal Mile Whiskies are one of the most talked about things of the Royal Mile. It has a great scotch whisky experience provided to you.
The Busy Royal Mile is a great place to visit if you are curious about how people used to live in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. It perfectly depicts how Edinburgh’s life was lived. The Royal Mile also offers homes of old and new or renovated law courts, churches, cathedrals, and much more.
The Royal Mile has been an excellent location for one to conduct movie shootings. The Royal Mile has been used in big blockbusters such as Avengers: Infinity War and Outlander. The Royal Mile is also known for its sunshine bakeries and all-night running pubs waiting for you to have fun and a great time. The Busy Royal Mile is only competed by the Princess Street.
5. National Museum of Scotland
One of the many best places to visit in Edinburgh to learn more about the long Scottish history is The National Museum of Scotland. It has everything to describe Scottish history from international archaeology to design and arts.
The National Museum of Scotland also provides you with the social history, science, world cultures, technology, and the real world in its ancient accents. There is frequent news of new galleries being reopened around early 2011. It is said to have new objects which were not priorly displayed. It also showcases the works of one of the most famous Scottish poets and lyricists, Robert Burns. It also has the works of Robert Louis Stevenson.
The National Museum has a great collection of ancient manuscripts in various languages, covering a wide range of subjects and also from different provinces. The museum holds various interactive and interesting activities for its visitors every day. National War Museum is also a well-known place in The National Museum of Scotland, old-town Edinburgh.
6. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art- An artistic genius’ heaven
There are many good places to visit in Edinburgh, including the National Museum of Scotland collection of National Art Galleries. Edinburgh has three main art galleries located in its territory. The three pillars of Edinburgh’s artistic heaven mainly contains of the three Scottish Galleries- National Gallery, National Potrait Gallery, and National Gallery of Modern Art.
The Scottish National Gallery has artists like Rembrandt, Monet, and Raphael. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is a building made up of red sandstones located in New Town with various portraits of people around the world. It has traditional museum displays.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is near the city center and is just a short taxi drive. If you are a modern art fan, this would definitely be on your must-visit places in the city. They also have interactive games and exhibits to keep the visitors entertained. The huge displays and gallery of modern art ensure that you have a whole day booked just for it.
7. Edinburgh Zoo—A home to many near to extinct and rare animals
One of the best places to visit in Edinburgh that any animal lover would want to be at is the one and only Edinburgh Zoo. Edinburgh Zoo is spread across eight two-acre beautiful and kind parklands and provides a home to thousands of more endangered animals. They include rare animals such as bears, Indian Rhinos, King Penguin (Nils Olav), Eva, baby koalas, and much more.
It is one of the best ways to spend your day with your family and loved ones. Young children are especially fascinated by the zoo and its wide variety of animals. Edinburgh Zoo is very near to the city center. The Edinburgh Zoo also has expert keepers who help you around the zoo. There are also educational and vocational sessions and talks happening every day at the Edinburgh Zoo to keep you interested.
8. Princes Street Gardens
Prince Street Gardens are two close parks in the heart of central Edinburgh just behind Edinburgh Castle. The Garden is well spread and is divided into two fractions by an unnatural hill that connects Edinburgh’s New Town to Edinburgh’s Old Town. One of the main attraction of the gardens is it’s world’s oldest floral clock.
The Princes Street Gardens provides you with an unforgettable experience. They provide you with a beautiful and ethereal view of nature around you. Rose Fountain is also one of the places to visit in Edinburgh. During Christmas, the whole garden is decorated with Christmas feels and the surface is turned into ice rings to skate and have fun. It is one of the greatest tourist attraction in Edinburgh. It is, therefore, one of the major reasons why people prefer to visit Edinburgh in winter.
9. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
If you are looking for something to take a break and recharge yourself, this is the place to be at! The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh provides you an escape from the daily hustle-bustle of life and helps you know about plant life found in the state as well as around the world.
It is a quick ride from the city center. It also has bike rental options. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a place that holds the precious treasures of the state with its vast collection of plants and widespread greenery. It is one of the best tourist attraction places to visit in Edinburgh. One can learn about various riches and collections of our green friends.
The Garden provides you with a great panorama of the city with its popular tourist site, Edinburgh Castle.
10. Royal Yacht Britannia
Royal Yacht Britannia formerly known as the Palace on Water of Queen Elizabeth, is now an attractive and one of the popular sites for tourists in Scotland. It is just as the queen loved- royal, well-kept, elegant, and cherished. The Royal Yacht Britannia has been the Queen’s palace for 40+ years.
The Royal Yacht Britannia provides you with the best Edinburgh attractions such as their Royal Deck Tea Room, The Royal Hotel, Gift Shop with great varieties, and much more to keep you entertained. The Royal Yacht also has a sun lounge. The place is adjusted to fit the previous Queen’s requirements.
11. The Holyrood Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is one of the greatest attractions of Edinburgh. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is one of the most splendid grandeur that will be far beyond your imagination and all the childhood fairy tales. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is at the end of the Royal Mile and is the residence of the Queen of Scotland.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse helps you explore all the beautiful and elegant rooms in the palace that have been home to the Queen earlier. Its previous inhabitants include- Mary King’s close, the Queen of Scotland, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Queen Elizabeth II, King George V, James VII, and many more.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse provides you with an opportunity to visit the reception rooms, thrones, bedrooms of former kings, the tower, and the place where the Queens of Scotland lived. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is on of the best places to visit Edinburgh for.
12. Real Mary King’s Close
Real Mary King’s Close is expertly concealed under the heavy hustle-bustle of the famous streets of the Royal Mile. The Real Mary King’s Close is one of the great places to visit in Edinburgh for tourists. There are many interesting and unknown stories of the people who lived and worked and spent their lives there between the seventh and nineteenth centuries.
The Real Mary King’s Close has all that one wants to hear- from legends and myths to all the real believable events that took place there. There are millions of tales to be uncovered there. There’s also a tale that believes that there is a small girl named Annie, who supposedly lost her doll there and is believed to cry inconsolably because of it. Therefore people that come there bring her sweets and/or toys to make her happy and rest in peace.
Real Mary King’s Close is a great place to be if you want to know about the history of the state.
13. Edinburgh Dungeon—do or die, are you brave enough?
The Edinburgh Dungeon is an unforgettable underground journey of Edinburgh’s dark history using theatrics, plays, live actors, and an action-packed ride for you. They have 360 sets with live actor shows, with amazing art theming and special effects. They also have exciting underground rides.
Visit Scotland’s deepest darkest secrets from the Green Lady to the very close encounter with Edinburgh’s renowned killer pair, Burke and Hare. It is one of the must-visit places in Edinburgh due to its showcase of the dark side of the city. If one is brave enough, one should give it a try. Scream or Laugh till you scream?
14. St Giles Cathedral
St Giles Cathedral is one of the many best places to visit in Edinburgh. The St Giles Cathedral provides you with various guided tours. There are two different timings provided at the church- 10:30 am or 2:30 pm. There are short walking and guided tours of St Giles Cathedral. These both guided tours are free of cost and last around 45 minutes or more.
The stories are told from the early substructure to the John Knox house reformation. The Church tour also exhibits you through the infamous Thistle Chapel. The tour includes everything and all in the church. the church can still be visited during the day apart from the timings of the guided tours. It is the Scottish storytelling center.
It has been the main building for the past 900 years for various religious activities in Edinburgh. It provides you with breathtaking architectural intelligence and many more impressive designs and ideas. The Church also provides you with an audio tour.
15. Camera Obscura and The World Of Illusion
Camera Obscura is one of the great places to be at. Here one can take part in more than hundreds of illusions and also have a quiet time and enjoy the great scenery. Camera Obscura also has a Rooftop Terrace which provides you with a panoramic view of the city.
Camera Obscura is known for its mind-blowing mazes, confusing tunnels, and magnificent view, it is also an example of intertwining fun and science. Camera Obscura is made up of five floors and more than fifty hands-on exhibits. It also has various stereoscopic lenses available, it also helps you view Edinburgh in 3D by turning it into a time capsule.
There is also a Camera Obscura show presented. It is a must to visit place in Edinburgh with its amazing effects and experience.
16. Dynamic Earth
Dynamic Earth starts with a big bang! This place serves you as an opportunity to learn more about the planet we live on and call our home and also helps us travel through time as it takes us through the journey of Earth’s past, present, and future.
It takes you back to the roots of the origin of the Earth and the emergence of our very own universe. It takes you through various stages beginning from the Big Bang and the formation of our galaxies and solar systems one by one. Dynamic Earth also takes you through all the years of changes caused to the universe.
It is one of the great places to visit in Edinburgh and also takes us through the evolution of life on Earth. It makes us face our ancestors and explore the lives they led to the one which we lead this day. One should visit this place if the solar system is something that astonishes them.
17. Blair Street Underground Vaults—Mercat Tours
This is the only 5-star walking tour company in Scotland. Mercat Tours provides you with an enthralling experience for visitors. The Edinburgh Vaults provides you with various tales of ghosts, hauntings, and years of the mystery of Old Edinburgh.
They provide you with an exclusive first-hand experience of the infamous Blair Street Underground Vaults. It is a hidden underground world beneath the riches of the city center. It has all the gothic and unsaid stories of the past to keep you entertained and engaged.
Mercat Tours has been arranging historical tours since the 1985s of Old Town. Which is meant to be both entertaining as well as with the purpose to educate the public.
18. Edinburgh City Pass
This is one of the most hassle-free ways to experience almost everything in Edinburgh. It ensures that you enjoy your time there and have fun. They make sure that you visit the top attractions of Edinburgh. When you book an Edinburgh City Pass you are making sure that you would not miss any famous places in Edinburgh. There are various options available.
There are 3 voucher options given to you. Each ticket includes an open-return tramway ticket to ensure your safe return. The pass ensures you free entry to the city’s 18 most famous attractions specifically Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh Dungeon, Rabbie’s Edinburgh City Bus Tours, Dynamic Earth, John Knox House-a medieval building, and much more.
19. Calton Hill
Calton Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in Central Edinburgh. It is a great place for a scenic view of the whole city. It also provides a great view of its beautiful Georgian houses. Calton Hill provides a brilliant view of various monuments too like the infamous National Monument and more.
Calton Hill was prior intended to be presented as the Scottish workers who died in the Napoleonic Wars, but the work was left unfinished and never completed. You can see the unfinished twelve columns today.
20. Surgery Museum
Surgeon’s Hall Museum is one of the best places that one can visit in Edinburgh. Surgery Museum is also the base of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (RCSED). Surgeons’ Hall is a well-known medical museum located in Scotland. It is one of the many great tourist attractions in Edinburgh. The museum is recognized by the Scottish Government.
Surgery Musuem is one of the most well recognized museum of Scotland. It is home to one of the most massive and historic pathology collections in the States. Surgeons’ Hall went under redevelopment and reopened in 2015. The Museum holds a great collection of pathology, medical ephemera, and anatomy.
21. One of the Greatest and Best Whiskies in the World
There is a great tour given to people interested in whiskey-making. Take a ride to be in love with the whisky-making process. From the soft swaying fields of barley to the moonshine equipment to the brewing of the Pot Still.
It is an experience to behold. To stay in all that heartfelt aromas of Scotland with a touch of sweet and fruity smell. The combination is just near perfect for making whiskey. Edinburgh is widely known for its great and huge collection of Scotch Whiskies in the world. You should definitely enjoy a bewitching Scotch whisky experience here without fail. You can even go through a tutored process of tasting and making whiskey.
Edinburgh is a great place to be at! Hope this guide helped you choose to visit more places in Scotland city. There are many guides given on our site. Please go through them as well. One of them is linked below.
Also read: Most Beautiful Places in Scotland