From the cobbled Royal Mile to hilltop regal castles, Edinburgh is a city of twice the town and half the worry. Home to too many ghosts and too strong of whiskey, the city marks itself as one of the most vibrant and nostalgic towns within Scotland and all of the United Kingdom.
Starting my adventures nestled deep in Old Town, it wasn’t long before I stumbled upon a hundred secret gravel paths to wander through. While maps gridded the city’s streets, I learned soon enough that there were dozens of secret alleys, hidden stairwells, and unmarked pathways that could only be found by getting lost within the city. Wandering the day away, a plan to visit Arthur’s Seat, a dormant volcano in Holyrood Park that evening, soon turned into a sunrise hike full of breathtaking views to start my second morning.
With flowing cider and ample haggis, meals in Edinburgh are feasts no matter the time of day. Stopping first at Fiddlers Arm Tavern for a steak pie and Thistly Cross cider, I then hiked up to the Edinburgh Castle to see the home of Mary Queen of Scots and a panoramic view of Scotland’s capital city.
Following a tour of the castle, I strolled down the Royal Mile to listen to a few bagpipe performers and buy a kilt and tartan hat before heading towards Prince Street Gardens to get a taste of Scottish whiskey life. With four main regions of whiskey throughout Scotland, the Highlands, Lowlands, Islay, and Speyside, whiskey tour guides promised there to be a whiskey for everyone (although I’m still not convinced).
While the ancient city has a somber history full of plague, Edinburgh marries medieval legends with urban lifestyle making it the perfect hub of culture, tradition, and charm. With kilted performers and cobblestone alleys as a constant reminder of the tradition that Edinburgh loves so dearly, the capital of Scotland is a city of twice the town and a must for any traveler’s European bucket list.