My first trip to Edinburgh, and yep, even Scotland, on a not too nice September weekend in 2019. What to expect? No time to dig out any specifics upfront other than the (usual) hint to stay right in the old town centre and then … explore whatever can be done while equipped with a large umbrella, photo gear and walking boots.
This strategy has turned out to be rather successful – Edinburgh is a charming city, full of historical sites (a
must-see-can’t-miss castle), bustling culture (art museums, fine medieval architecture), a very pleasing atmosphere (cafes, restaurants), and … fun locals. A city certainly not overly “British“
(well at least compared to cities such as York – the old York this is – and London). Given that Edinburgh is a port town, one can smell always the sea. A stiff chilling wind keeps the air clean.
If Edinburgh represents “Scotland“ ... then let's bring on Scotland!
Edinburgh castle (Scotland’s most visited paid tourist site in) merits several hours of a visit. As THE iconic Scottish landmark this world heritage fortress provides various must-see gems. This fortress counts for 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world“. Walking through the heavy gates, visiting various military remains and installations provides a vivid idea of this history.
Walking through Old Town
Add “High Street/Canon Gate“ and “Princes Street“ to your discovery route and you’ll cover most (of what I found) to represent the “old city“! The “National Gallery” and the next-door “Royal Scottish Academy” provide a fascinating collection of paintings and sculptures.
New Calton Graveyard
Only one out of several cemetries was on my tour list. When matters became too crowded at the Old Calton Burial Ground (est.
between 1870 and 1820), the only solution was to build an overspill area. The New Calton Burial Ground, situated on the southeast part of Calton
Hill, is steeper than steep and sports stellar views to Holyrood Palace (the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh) and Arthur’s Seat (a famous rock formation right to the east).