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Μια εικόνα του Calton Hill, με τα αρχαία κτίρια και την πανοραμική θέα του Εδιμβούργου.
#Edinburgh

4 Days in the Beautiful Edinburgh. A Complete Travel Guide 2023

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A few words about Edinburgh

Scotland

Edinburgh is a city that will instantly evoke a sense of mystery, with its Gothic and Neoclassical buildings in the Old Town transporting you to another era.

Immerse yourself in the sound of the bagpipes and uncover every secret that the enchanting capital of Scotland has to offer. Discover Edinburgh Castle, stroll along the Royal Mile, visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse, experience a unique journey through Edinburgh’s underground dark underworld, and indulge in authentic Scottish cuisine. 

So, are you ready to plan your trip to beautiful Edinburgh?

 In this article, you will discover the best of Edinburgh in 4 days with our comprehensive travel guide.

Μια πανέμορφη φωτογραφία από γειτονιές του Εδιμβούργου με μια ιδιαίτερη αρχιτεκτονική.
Discover everything for your trip to Edinburgh - what to do and see in the capital of Scotland.

Sightseeing in Edinburgh

1st day in Edinburgh

1. Take a walk along the Royal Mile

The first thing you’ll do upon arriving in Edinburgh is take a walk along the city’s most famous and historic street. The Royal Mile connects Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, spanning a distance of one mile. Moreover, as you journey along this route, you’ll travel back in time and immerse yourself in Edinburgh’s culture. 

More specifically, on the Royal Mile, you’ll encounter a plethora of landmarks, shops, cafes, and restaurants, each exuding its unique character. Experience the liveliness of this street at all hours of the day.

Ένας μουσικός παίζει τη γκάιντα στο Εδιμβούργο.
Take a walk along the Royal Mile

2. Visit the St Giles' Cathedral

As you walk along the Royal Mile, you’ll come across one of Edinburgh’s most impressive landmarks, the St. Giles Cathedral. This historic church will captivate you with its unique Gothic architecture. Stepping inside, you’ll be amazed by the gleaming stained glass windows, Gothic columns, and monuments that adorn the interior. Additionally, as you explore the cathedral, be sure to visit the Thistle Chapel. This small chapel, located within St Giles’, is the home of the Order of the Thistle, one of Scotland’s highest orders of chivalry.

3. Discover the view from the Scott Monument

On your first day in Edinburgh, you can visit the Scott Monument, a neo-Gothic monument constructed in honor of the renowned Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. This impressive structure represents the culture and intellectual heritage of Scotland.

It is a space that bridges the past through the words and stories of the great writer, connecting it to the present. Additionally, inside, you will discover exhibits and objects from the life and work of Sir Walter Scott. 

Standing at a height of 61 meters, ascending it will give you the opportunity to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of Edinburgh. However, please note that you will need to climb 287 steps to reach the top.

Μια εικόνα του Scott Monument του Εδιμβούργου, με τον εντυπωσιακό πύργο και το άγαλμα του Sir Walter Scott.
The iconic Scott Monument in Edinburgh, dedicated to the unforgettable writer Sir Walter Scott.

4. Explore Scotland's history through its National Museum

Do you want to learn more about the culture and history of Edinburgh?

Then your itinerary must include a visit to the National Museum of Scotland, which is the treasure trove of the country’s cultural heritage and history.

You will have an incredible exploration experience as the museum combines history, science, art, technology, and geology, providing a variety of exhibitions that showcase not only Scotland’s rich cultural heritage but also some of the world’s most significant civilizations. As soon as you enter the museum, you will be impressed by the exhibits, which span from prehistoric times to the modern era.

Tip: Climb up to the terrace on the top floor, hidden at the building’s peak, and you’ll enjoy a stunning view of the castle.

Μια εικόνα του Εθνικού Μουσείου του Εδιμβούργου, με την εντυπωσιακή του κεντρική είσοδο.
The imposing National Museum of Edinburgh, a source of knowledge and excitement for visitors.

5. Greyfriars Kirkyard and Greyfriars Bobby

Just one minute away from the National Museum of Scotland, you will find Greyfriars Kirkyard and Greyfriars Bobby. 

Bobby was a faithful dog who lived in the 19th century and remained loyal to his owner even after his owner’s death. As a result, the story of Bobby has been recorded in books and movies and has become a symbol of loyalty and devotion. When you visit Greyfriars Church, you will have the opportunity to see Bobby’s grave and discover more about his heartwarming story.

Greyfriars Kirkyard is an ancient cemetery and is one of the most well-known and historically significant burial grounds in the city. Here, you will find ancient graves and monuments, some of which highlight famous names from Scottish history and culture. Additionally, Greyfriars Kirkyard has inspired numerous literary works and has become a popular tourist destination for history and mystery enthusiasts.

6. Walk down Victoria Street

In your itinerary, you will include a walk along the most famous and highly photographed street in Edinburgh, Victoria Street, which stands out with its colorful houses and unique atmosphere, creating a picturesque landscape.

On Victoria Street, you’ll find shops selling locally handmade products, antiques, and souvenirs, as well as fashion boutiques and jewelry stores for your shopping pleasure. Additionally, Victoria Street is brimming with restaurants, cafes, and bars. If you want to sample a wide variety of Scottish whiskies, visit one of Edinburgh’s oldest bars, The Bow Bar.

7. Grassmarket

In close proximity to Victoria Street lies the picturesque square of Grassmarket, surrounded by historic buildings. Here you will find restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops. Moreover, numerous events are organized in the center. Here, you can enjoy your meal with a view of Edinburgh Castle, have a whisky in the traditional pubs it offers, and even do some shopping.

2nd day in Edinburgh

1. Enjoy your breakfast at Princes Street Gardens

On the morning of the second day in Edinburgh, you can dedicate your time to exploring Princes Street and Gardens. Start by strolling along one of the main shopping thoroughfares in Edinburgh, Princes Street, which features retail stores, fashion boutiques, jewelry shops, restaurants, and cafes. Directly across from the street, you’ll find the gardens, which serve as an oasis of tranquility in the heart of the city.

 Take a leisurely walk amidst the greenery and vibrant flowers, and have a picnic while enjoying the incredible view of Edinburgh Castle. Within the gardens, be sure to see the impressive Princes Street Fountain and the Floral Clock, a clock made entirely of flowers. Relax and appreciate nature in the heart of Edinburgh.

Μια εικόνα του Princess Garden, με τα όμορφα λουλούδια και τον πράσινο χώρο του.
The wonderful Princess Gardens, a lush and serene garden in the heart of Edinburgh.

2. Explore Edinburgh Castle

Your vacation in Edinburgh wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the city’s most iconic landmark, where you’ll uncover the history and cultural heritage of the castle. 

It stands proudly atop the Old Town and is the quintessential symbol of Edinburgh. In the past, the castle served as the royal residence, a military fortress, a prison, and even the parliament. Wondering what you’ll see inside Edinburgh Castle? The key attractions range from the Royal Palace and the Honours of Scotland to Mons Meg and the National War Memorial of Scotland.

Inside the castle, you will see the Crown Jewels, which have been housed there since 1615. They include the crown, the scepter, and the sword, first worn by Mary. The Gatehouse Prison, as well as the National War Museum, present the military history of Scotland, while the Chapel of St. Margaret and the Royal Apartments are also worth exploring. 

Tip: Every day at 13:00, except on Sundays, there’s a firing ceremony from the One o’clock Gun, which will transport you back in time. This tradition dates back to 1861.

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Your Tickets for Edinburgh Castle
Your dream journey starts here. Discover the secrets of the impressive Edinburgh Castle and immerse yourself in its history. Book your tickets for Edinburgh Castle and experience a world of magic and adventure. Click here to explore more.

3. The most picturesque alley - Circus Lane​

Don’t forget during these 4 days to take a stroll down to one of the most picturesque and charming alleyways in Edinburgh, which looks like it has sprung from a fairytale. In Circus Lane, you’ll encounter stone houses adorned with colorful flowers and benches, making it an exceptional spot for photographs. In the past, this narrow lane housed the stables of the grand houses, but nowadays you’ll find expensive homes lining the street.

4. Dean Village- Nature's paradise

Do you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and simply immerse yourself in the magic of nature?

Two destinations you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Edinburgh are Dean Village and the Water of Leith, which is a natural river. There, you can relax, unwind, and enjoy the tranquility. You’ll encounter lush green landscapes, bridges, and traditional stone houses. Escape the city noise and unwind in a magical destination amidst windmills.

5. The real Mary's King close

In the late afternoon of the second day, immerse yourself in an exciting experience, discovering Edinburgh from a completely different perspective. The Real Mary King’s Close is hidden beneath the bustling Royal Mile. 

Uncover the myths and legends that lie behind the unique preserved underground street from the 17th century in Edinburgh. Learn about the incredible stories of the people who lived, worked, and died there during the plague epidemic. Follow in the footsteps of former residents and discover fascinating truths about the city’s past.

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Your Tickets for The Real Mary’s King Close
Explore the magic of the past at the Real Mary’s King Close! Discover the hidden history of Edinburgh as you wander through the dark alleyways and 17th-century reconstructions. By booking tickets for the Real Mary’s King Close, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a journey back in time.

3nd day in Edinburgh

1. Palace Of Holyroodhouse

Start your third day in Edinburgh with a visit to a landmark attraction that is none other than the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the Queen and the home of Scottish royal history. 

Discover the impressive chambers used for official ceremonies and events. Specifically, explore the Royal Apartments, where the Scottish monarchs resided, the Throne Room where significant ceremonies took place, the Holyrood Gardens with their unique view of Arthur’s Seat, the Queen’s Gallery showcasing artworks from the royal collection, and the ruins of the Abbey, an ancient monastery located next to the palace.

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Your Tickets for the Palace of Holyroodhouse
Explore the magic of history at the Palace of Holyroodhouse! If you’re a lover of cultural heritage and architectural splendor, this is your chance to explore one of the most impressive palaces in the world. Book your tickets here.

Μεσαιωνική κατασκευή με πέτρινες τοίχους, πύργους και αρχιτεκτονικά στοιχεία.
Το Παλάτι του Χολυρούντ, ένα εμβληματικό μεσαιωνικό κτίριο. Οι πέτρινοι τοίχοι και οι πύργοι του αναδεικνύουν την αρχαιότητα του.

2. Arthur's seat- Admire Edinburgh from above

Continue your day by embarking on a different experience and taking a hike in Edinburgh. Walk up to the summit of the volcanic hill, Arthur’s Seat, and marvel at the panoramic view it offers. 

As it is located at the highest point of Holyrood Park, the ascent can be quite tiring, so don’t forget to wear your athletic shoes and bring water with you. It will take you about an hour to reach the top.

3. Scottish Parliament

Include a visit to the Scottish Parliament in your 4-day itinerary in Edinburgh, which features innovative architecture. Your tour will provide you with information about Scottish politics and the role of the Parliament in Scotland. You will have the opportunity to explore the Parliament chambers and learn more about its functioning and the political issues discussed there.

4. Royal Botanic Garden

Discover more about the Scottish capital with a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens. There, you will encounter the greatest variety of plants, trees, and flowers from around the world. Walk along the paths and explore the world of plants through intricate gardens and unique foliage. Visit the glasshouses and discover exotic plants. 

Stop by the Glasshouse Cafe to enjoy a coffee or a meal while marveling at the view of the gardens. Finally, head to the Botanic Cottage to learn more about the history of the royal garden and its significance in the environment.

4nd day in Edinburgh

1. Take a Walk in Leith

The fourth day in Edinburgh can begin with a visit to its harbor. Leith is a vibrant area with a bustling nightlife, featuring traditional pubs and scattered bistros right on the water.

 Additionally, in Leith, you’ll find the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was used by the royal family for travels and visits to various countries. You can take a tour of the ship and see its luxurious spaces and exhibitions that showcase its history and cultural heritage. Don’t forget to do some shopping, as you’ll find a plethora of shops in the area.

Η περιοχή Leith στο Εδιμβούργο.
Η περιοχή Leith συνδυάζει ιστορία, πολιτισμό και ζωντανή ατμόσφαιρα.

2. Explore Calton Hill

As you ascend Calton Hill, you will encounter the Nelson Monument, the Scottish National Monument, and the Dugald Stewart Monument. Scottish National Monument Have you heard Edinburgh being referred to as the “Athens of the North”? 

This is due to the Scottish National Monument, which was designed based on the likeness of the Parthenon, to honor those who fell in the Napoleonic Wars. However, it was never completed due to lack of funds.

Nelson Monument 
Furthermore, within arm’s reach, you will come across the Nelson Monument, which is a memorial tower dedicated to Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Dugald Stewart Monument 
This monument is one of the most photographed attractions on the hill, featuring Corinthian columns with a circular temple.

4. The Scotch Whisky Experience

Scotland’s national drink is none other than whisky. During your visit to The Scotch Whisky Experience, you will have the opportunity to learn about the history, production, and variety of whisky.

You will learn about the various types of whisky, production regions, and unique flavor profiles offered by each region. You will discover an extensive collection of whisky, including over 3,000 bottles from different brands and distilleries, and you will have the opportunity to taste whichever flavor you desire. At The Scotch Whisky Experience, there is a gift shop where you can purchase whisky bottles, accessories, and other souvenirs related to whisky.

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Your Tickets for The Scotch Whisky Experience
No need to search any further. Your tickets for the ultimate Scotch Whisky experience are here, ready for you to enjoy. Discover the imaginative variety of aromas and flavors offered by The Scotch Whisky Experience, and immerse yourself in the magical world of single malt Scotch.”

Το Scotch Whisky Experience, με τα βαρέλια και τις αποστακτικές στήλες του.
The unique Scotch Whisky Experience, a journey through the history and variety of whisky.

5. Camera Obscura & World of Illusions​

Experience a unique adventure on the last day of your trip to Edinburgh at the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. Inside this Victorian building, you will learn about the history of Edinburgh through optical illusions and encounter over 100 interactive exhibits. By ascending to the panoramic platform of the Camera Obscura, you will witness a mesmerizing real-time projection of the city. Climb up to the top floor and capture stunning photos of the entire city.

Camera Obscura - Optical Illusions and Views of Edinburgh
Explore the wonders of Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, a captivating attraction in Edinburgh.

6. National Gallery of Scotland

Are you an art enthusiast? 

Wrap up your 4-day trip to Edinburgh with a visit to the National Gallery.At the National Gallery of Scotland, you can indulge in the works of great artists such as Titian, Rembrandt, and Constable, as well as artworks by European and British artists. Although the gallery may be small, it houses masterpieces from Scotland.

What to eat in Scotland

Are you wondering what are the traditional foods of Scotland?

Here are the 5 dishes you must try. The national dish of Scotland is Haggis, which is a mixture of minced heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, mixed with oatmeal and seasoned with onions and plenty of pepper. It is then simmered inside a sheep’s stomach for about three hours. Try the Fish and Chips, which you can find everywhere. It consists of fried cod served with french fries.

Additionally, taste the Scotch Pies, which are small pastries filled with meat such as lamb, beef, or even chicken. If you enjoy soups, try the traditional Scottish soup called Cullen Skink, made with smoked haddock, potatoes, onions, and milk. Finally, for dessert, have Cranachan, which is made with layers of oatmeal, cream, strawberries, and honey.

If you want to try the best traditional Scottish dishes such as Haggis and Cullen Skink, visit the popular restaurant The Scran & Scallie. If you prefer seafood, go to Ondine, the best seafood restaurant in Edinburgh. Additionally, The Kitchin serves fresh Scottish produce in a French style and was awarded a Michelin star within six months of its opening.

Transportation in Edinburgh

Means of Transportation

If you stay in a central hotel in the Old Town, most of the attractions can be easily explored on foot. However, Edinburgh has a well-organized public transportation system. 

Trams
The tram service in Edinburgh is managed by Edinburgh Trams. However, the tram system in Edinburgh is a modern and efficient mode of transportation that provides convenient and reliable service throughout the city. The Edinburgh Trams network currently consists of a single line that stretches from York Place in the city center to Edinburgh Airport in the west

Buses
The urban buses in Edinburgh are operated by Lothian Buses. A single journey ticket costs £2.00. Ticket payment can be made through various methods (mobile contactless, mobile app, exact cash fare, prepaid tickets, and the long-duration card, Ridacard). 

Tickets (Trams and Buses)
By purchasing a Ridacard, you can save a lot of money as it offers unlimited travel on both trams and buses. It costs £22 a week. You can download the Mobile Ticketing app on your mobile phone to purchase and use tickets. Alternatively, you can use the Citysmart prepaid card, which you can top up with credit whenever you wish.

Μετακίνηση στο Εδιμβούργο.
Το Εδιμβούργο προσφέρει ποικίλες επιλογές μετακίνησης για να εξερευνήσετε την πόλη.

How to get from the airport to the center of Edinburgh

The airport is just 9 kilometers away from the center of Edinburgh. The best and most economical option is to take the Airlink 100 bus, which are blue double-decker buses, and you can find them at Waverley Bridge. It will take you directly to the city center in about half an hour. Tickets can be purchased from the driver as you board, using contactless card payment or exact cash fare, or you can have the ticket on your mobile phone. A two-way ticket costs £8.00.

Nighgtlife in Edinburgh

In your 4-day itinerary, live the nightlife. In Edinburgh, you will find a vibrant nightlife where you can have a wild time. In the capital of Scotland, you will come across bars, traditional pubs, discos, and clubs. 

However, the best entertainment can be enjoyed in the pubs, where everyone gathers to savor the unique Scottish whisky and beer, as well as live music. Some of the best pubs include The Bow Bar in the Old Town, The Oxford Bar, The Sheep Heid Inn in Duddingston, and The Guildford Arms on Princes Street. Most pubs are located in Grassmarket, Candlemaker Row, Victoria Street, and the Leith area. 

We should also mention that we had one of the most memorable nights at Whistlebinkies with live rock music. After the pubs, many young people continue their fun at clubs such as The Liquid Room, The Bongo Club, and Cabaret Voltaire.

Μια εικόνα από ένα παμπ στο Εδιμβούργο, πίνοντας αυθεντικό σκωτσέζικο ουίσκι και ακούγοντας ζωντανή μουσική.
A pub in Edinburgh where guests indulge in drinks, food, and music.

Where to stay in Edimburgh

Accommodation in the Old Town of Edinburgh

The best area to stay in Edinburgh is the Old Town. 

Staying in the Old Town of Edinburgh will offer you an unforgettable experience as you’ll be within walking distance of the city’s iconic attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, the Scott Monument, and other top sights of Scotland’s capital. In addition to the sights, you’ll be able to enjoy the nightlife, shopping at large stores, and dining at restaurants. Stay at the most central and modern hotel in the city. 

The Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh is located in the heart of the Old Town, right next to the pedestrianized Royal Mile and less than a 5-minute walk from Waverley Railway Station. It boasts incredible modern decor, clean rooms, a restaurant, and a bar.

Book your Accommodation Early and Secure Lower Prices
Now, you can discover the magic of the old town with comfort and style by making a reservation at one of its wonderful hotels located within close proximity to all the attractions.

Accommodation in the Old Town

Accommodation in the New Town of Edinburgh

This area is known for its Georgian architecture and elegant houses. There you will find a plethora of shops, cafes, and restaurants, with Princess Street dominating the department stores. 

Getting around is very easy as there is Waverley Railway Station, from which you can take either trams or buses. We stayed at YOTEL Edinburgh, a modern hotel located in a fairly central location with stylish decor, delicious breakfast, and above all, exceptional staff.

Accommodation in Leith

During your stay in Edinburgh, stay near the harbor as it will offer you a vibrant and multicultural atmosphere. Here, you will find a variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as an interesting art and cultural scene. Explore the Royal Yacht Britannia, dine at the Royal Deck Tea Room, and indulge in shopping at the shopping centers. 

Stay at the Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh – Leith Waterfront, an IHG Hotel, which is located next to the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre and the Royal Yacht Britannia. It features modern rooms, an elegant bar-restaurant that operates all day, and a delicious breakfast.

Useful tips for Edinburgh

Below, you will find the 4 most useful tips to pay attention to during your trip to Edinburgh:

1. Travel Documents: It is necessary to have your passport with you in order to enter the country. 

2. Weather: Edinburgh is known for its heavy rainfall. Make sure to bring umbrellas and waterproof clothing.

3. Attractions: Make a list of the main attractions you want to visit, such as Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, and Mary’s King Close. Make your reservations in advance to secure available tickets. 

4. Currency and Money Exchange: The local currency in Scotland is the British pound. Check the current exchange rates and familiarize yourself with the available options for currency exchange in the area. We used Revolut for any transactions during our trip.

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