As an American, you develop an image of a European city before ever seeing one in the flesh. Your mind tends to think of castles, pubs, cobble stone streets and medieval architecture. While some European cities conform to modernity, others like Edinburgh, hold true to this stigma.
Getting to Edinburgh
The easiest way to get to Edinburgh is to fly straight there. Edinburgh can be reached by train from London but it’s quite a long haul and you can usually find an inexpensive flight on one of the discount carriers.
We actually got to Edinburgh via Dublin and the flight couldn’t have been more than an hour.
Day 1 – Arthur’s Seat
Arriving early in the morning, we dropped our bags off and set out for the city center. It was decided that we would see the prominent Edinburgh Castle the next day which meant a hike up Arthur’s Seat today. A friend of mine had mentioned Arthur’s Seat to me some months back and insisted it was a must do.
Arthur’s Seat is a small mountain (all skill levels welcome) that sits at the southwest edge of town. Ask any shop owner or local and they will point you in the right direction. It will also be marked on the tourist maps you can pick up at the tourist center at the heart of town.
As a mountain it is rather unimpressive but the panoramic view from atop is definitely worth the effort. The hike only takes about an hour. It’s longer than it is steep. In all honesty, it resembles a large hill more than it does a mountain.
From the summit, take in all of Edinburgh at once and marvel at the size and might of Edinburgh Castle in the middle.
When you get to the top of Arthur’s Seat you will see that there are quite a few trails that lead up to it. We took the opportunity to hike down a different trail and were treated with a couple neat finds like the remnants of this ancient building.
Day 2 – Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is impossible to miss. It sits atop an outcropping in the middle of the city and rises up much further. To get there, you walk up the famous Royal Mile which is a street (approximately the length of a Scots mile) through Old Edinburgh. It’s lined with old styled buildings and grand cathedrals.
Edinburgh Castle is a marvel. It makes you wonder how it was ever besieged but over history it has been taken and defended many times.
Although the Castle dates back to the 12 century, it’s in remarkable shape (I’m sure there have been a few restorations). It’s an incredible piece of history and architecture and I recommend you take full advantage of the free tour (there is a £17 entrance fee). There are many rooms and exhibits to see. All are well worth your time.
Other Places Of Interest In Edinburgh
Apart from Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Castle there are many other places to see and visit in Edinburgh. Scottish pubs and great architecture are aplenty. After seeing the two major sites, we simply walked about the city and found some great sites, such as this old house below that seems to be out of place.
Spending 2 days in Edinburgh was great. Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities. It’s a great city to visit and explore and drink some ale at the local pubs. Sure, it’s a big city but it doesn’t really feel like one. Edinburgh still maintains that stereotypical European style and feel but this is one stereotype you won’t mind is true.
Have you ever been to Edinburgh? What was your favorite place to see or visit?