I’ll admit I was one of those people who didn’t know a thing about Scotland apart from Mel Gibson’s Braveheart and yet Edinburgh captured my heart and made me want to stay forever. Whether you like history and culture, mystery and scary stories, parties and pubs, you will have a great time. Apart from the fact that it is a fabulous city, it is friendly to the budget traveler as there are many free or cheap things to do.
Here Are My Top Six Must-Do’s:
- Take the FREE walking tours which start daily at 11am, 1pm and 3pm in front of Starbucks. This is a great way to explore Edinburgh’s history and culture because it’s funny, entertaining and the guides-who are usually young people- will give you specifics you cannot find in that guide you bought.You will visit all major tourist places: Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile, The Writer’s House, Scott Monument, museums and you will get a free map! A beautiful city like Edinburgh deserves to be explored on foot! If you like the three-hour tour you can tip the guide at the end.
- Visit Arthur’s Seat for a breathtaking view of the city. There are two paths to climb: a long and a short one. I suggest you choose the long one because it will give a sense of adventure! Be aware that hiking can be a bit difficult so make sure you take something to drink and eat with you.
- Visit the National Museum of Scotland and the National Gallery of Scotland. Admission is free.
- Take the Ghost tour for 10 GBP or try to visit some cemeteries on your own in order to feel and witness on your own the creepy story of bodysnatchers who used to steal dead bodies in order to sell them to Edinburgh’s Medical School.
- Visit Greyfriars Bobby, the grave of the most loyal dog in the world. Bobby spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner. When Bobby died he couldn’t be buried in the cemetery but he was buried near the gate of the cemetery not far from his owner John Gray. People from all over the world come to Edinburgh just to pay their respects to Bobby.
- Edinburgh Castle. Your 13 GBP will be well spent as you will see the Scottish Crown Jewels and the small room where Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to the famous James VI.
- Scott Monument. A truly impressive memorial will give a great city view if you climb the 287 steps (61m).You will even get a certificate to prove that you made it to the top!
- Taste the traditional haggis ( without asking how it is made) at any pub. I loved it!
- Visit George Heriot’s School and The Elephant House Pub. J.K. Rowling was inspired to write Harry Potter while sitting at the local pub and looking outside at the school. Some like to call it the «real Hogwarts».