January 8, 2018

Guide to Edinburgh

Scotland. One of my favorite countries that I have visited. It is just mind-numbingly beautiful. To get Scotland started off right, we took a visit to Edinburgh.
At first, Edinburgh worried me. Parts come across as a touristy major city. But we found some perfect pockets that made Edinburgh the perfect place to start out my Scotland/England Trip. And yes, these pockets were very touristy, but those touristy attractions were worth it!
I did not have an itinerary in Edinburgh. And you really don't need one. Just get lost and enjoy the city that is full of character and history.
Edinburgh is built atop two extinct volcanoes. The best views of the city and my favorite place to go was Arthur's Seat. Arthur's Seat has the most incredible views of the city and was a fun little hike. 
For breathtaking views with an easier hike, Calton Hill should be at the top of your list. With panoramic city views and a couple of monuments on the top, it is a must visit!
We also did the Scotch Whisky Experience. It is the perfect place to get tastings of whisky from different regions of Scotland (so you can learn what regions you prefer) and so you can learn about how the Scots perfect their whisky. It is also insane to see the largest collection of Whisky in the world!
We of course, ate at the Elephant House which is where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Good food, service, and atmosphere! Speaking of Harry Potter (my favorite books of all time) we strolled through Victoria Street which is the inspiration for Diagon Alley.
Edinburgh is very proud of their literary history and especially of Sir Walter Scott. He has a beautiful Victorian Gothic monument in Edinburgh. It just so happens also to be the largest monument to a writer in the world.
Europe is well known for their graveyards everywhere, and we loved visiting Greyfriars Kirkyard. We saw many graves of names that J.K Rowling used for inspiration for Harry Potter (Tom Riddle, McGonagall, etc..) and also saw Hogwarts! Yes, it is a real school! I also never knew about Greyfriars Bobby, but saw and learned about him. He is the only dog buried in the graveyard and you can rub the nose of a statue of him for good luck. This was a terrier who became famous for guarding his owners grave until he died. I later found this story out to not be real, but it is a really cute story.
While wandering around Edinburgh, it is hard to miss St. Giles Cathedral. It is beautiful!
As for touristy things we didn't do, that would be Edinburgh Castle. The price just seemed really steep to go in. However, it is a beautiful castle to look at with a lot of history.

As for where we stayed, we stayed at an Airbnb! We flew into London and took a train to Edinburgh. In my opinion, you do not need to rent a car. Edinburgh isn't all that big and you can absolutely view it on foot.

The best part of the trip is that we got to explore Edinburgh with friends. So what are you waiting for? Go explore!

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