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Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is packed full of charm and history, offering a plethora of activities and attractions for every type of traveller.
With its striking cityscape, the city’s rich history, its famous festivals, and its vibrant cultural scene, Edinburgh is a must-visit destination.
But how much time should you spend in Edinburgh to enjoy its myriad offerings without feeling rushed?
Let’s delve in to give you a better idea.
A Three-Day Itinerary: The Essential Edinburgh
If you’re pressed for time but still want to experience the best of Edinburgh, a three-day visit would be your minimum. This would give you enough time to see the major highlights without feeling too rushed.
Day 1: Start your tour with Edinburgh Castle, an iconic symbol of the city with a rich history. Then head to the Royal Mile, the historic heart of the city, lined with a mix of shops, restaurants, and historic sites. Don’t forget to explore St Giles’ Cathedral and the Scottish Parliament on this route.
It’s a bit of a tourist trap these days, to be honest, and has lost a bit of charm, but if you’re looking for tourist shops selling tartans and souvenirs then the Mile is the best place for it.
Day 2: Devote the second day to Holyrood Palace and the dynamic Scottish Parliament, followed by a walk up to Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano and hill located in Holyrood Park. This will provide you with stunning views of the city.
In the evening, book yourself on a ghost tour of the old town or head to the ever-popular Mary King’s Close.
Day 3: On your third day, visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, the former royal yacht of the Queen, now permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal. In the afternoon, head to the New Town to visit the National Gallery and stroll around Princes Street and George Street.
Alternatively, you could head over to Stockbridge and walk the Water of Leith towards Dean Village for those picture-perfect scenes.
A Five-Day Itinerary: Delving Deeper
If you have more time, a five-day visit would allow you to explore the city at a leisurely pace and discover its less-known attractions.
Day 4: Spend the fourth day exploring the city’s rich literary heritage. Visit the Writers’ Museum, the birthplace of Harry Potter at The Elephant House, and take a literary pub tour. In the evening, consider catching a performance at the Edinburgh Playhouse.
Day 5: On your final day, why not explore Edinburgh’s beautiful outskirts? Take a day trip to the Rosslyn Chapel, famous from the Da Vinci Code, or head to the Pentland Hills for some nature and breathtaking views.
A Seven-Day Itinerary: The Full Edinburgh Experience
For those looking to get the full Edinburgh experience, a seven-day visit would be ideal. This gives you plenty of time to dive into the history, culture, and natural beauty that Edinburgh has to offer, along with some downtime to relax and soak in the city’s atmosphere.
Day 6: On your sixth day, you might want to explore the city’s many museums, such as the Museum of Edinburgh, the Museum of Scotland, and the Museum of Edinburgh. You can also visit the Edinburgh Zoo and the Royal Botanic Garden.
Day 7: Dedicate your last day to exploring the Leith district, known for its food and drink scene. Visit the Leith Market, explore the Leith Dock, and maybe even take a cruise on the River Forth.
Remember, these are just suggestions and the beauty of travel lies in its flexibility. Feel free to shuffle things around based on your preferences and pace. Whether you’re spending three days or a week in Edinburgh, this city is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.
In conclusion, three days allow you to see the essential sights, five days give you a more relaxed pace with time for lesser-known attractions, and a full week lets you delve deep into the city’s history, culture, and surroundings. But no matter how long you stay, Edinburgh’s magic is bound to enchant you!