Welcome to Edinburgh


Cityscape

Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, draped across a series of rocky hills overlooking the sea. It’s a town intimately entwined with its landscape, with buildings and monuments perched atop crags and overshadowed by cliffs. From the Old Town’s picturesque jumble of medieval tenements piled high along the Royal Mile, its turreted skyline strung between the black, bull-nosed Castle Rock and the russet palisade of Salisbury Crags, to the New Town’s neat grid of neoclassical respectability, the city offers a constantly changing perspective.

Athens of the North

The Athens of the North, an 18th-century Edinburgh nickname dreamed up by the great thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, is a city of high culture and lofty ideals, of art and literature, philosophy and science. It is here that each summer the world's biggest arts festival rises, phoenix-like, from the ashes of last year's rave reviews and broken box-office records to produce yet another string of superlatives. And it is here, beneath the Greek temples of Calton Hill – Edinburgh's acropolis – that the Scottish parliament sits again after a 300-year absence.

Auld Reekie

Edinburgh is also known as Auld Reekie, a down-to-earth place that flicks an impudent finger at the pretensions of the literati. Auld Reekie is a city of loud, crowded pubs and decadent restaurants, late-night drinking and all-night parties, beer-fuelled poets and foul-mouthed comedians. It’s the city that tempted Robert Louis Stevenson from his law lectures to explore the drinking dens and lurid street life of the 19th-century Old Town. And it’s the city of Beltane, the resurrected pagan May Day festival, where half-naked revellers dance in the flickering firelight of bonfires beneath the stony indifference of Calton Hill's pillared monuments.

Variety

Like a favourite book, Edinburgh is a city you’ll want to dip into again and again, savouring each time a different experience – the castle silhouetted against a blue spring sky with a yellow haze of daffodils misting the slopes below the esplanade; stumbling out of a late-night club into a summer dawn, with only the yawp of seagulls to break the unexpected silence; heading for a cafe on a chill December morning with the fog snagging the spires of the Old Town; and festival fireworks crackling in the night sky as you stand, transfixed, amid the crowds in Princes Street Gardens.


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Edinburgh activities

$61.87 Day Trips & Excursions

Loch Ness, Highlands, Glencoe Small-Group Tour from Edinburgh

Depart from central Edinburgh by air-conditioned minivan in the morning and pass Linlithgow Palace — the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots — Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument en route to the most dramatic of all Highland glens, Glencoe. Hear the truth about the infamous 1692 massacre of Clan MacDonald from your knowledgeable guide, and learn of the area’s fascinating history and heritage. Journey onward through Fort William, site of the military post built during the Jacobite Rebellions in the 18th century, and continue up the Great Glen between Fort William and Inverness. Take the time to capture the stunning Scottish Highlands scenery from the comfort of your coach as you travel. Stop at Fort Augustus, by the shores of famous Loch Ness, and enjoy breathtaking views out over the loch. Pause for lunch by the waterside at your own expense, or enjoy a 1-hour boat cruise on the loch to appreciate the beautiful views from the water (not included). The boat has a sonar system, so if Nessie is down there you won’t miss her! Loch cruises run from Easter to the end of October. Hop back aboard your minivan and continue on through the village of Spean Bridge to the Cairngorms National Park. Take in views of the spectacular Highlands scenery along the shores of Loch Laggan and marvel at Craig Meagaidh, one of the area’s impressive mountains. It is here that TV series Monarch of the Glen was filmed. Continue over the Drummochter Summit — where herds of red deer often graze — and visit the Victorian town of Pitlochry, the final stop for the day. At the end of your time in Pitlochry, head back by minivan to Edinburgh where your tour will conclude.

$56.49 Day Trips & Excursions

Small-Group West Highland Lochs and Castles from Edinburgh

Board a 16-passenger luxury minivan in central Edinburgh in the morning and set off on a journey toward the Scottish Highlands. Traveling west first, make a photo stop at Stirling Castle, once known as the 'Key to Scotland.' It was here that William Wallace — immortalized by Mel Gibson in the film Braveheart — defeated the English army in 1297.Continue to the fantastic medieval stronghold of Doune Castle. Built for the Duke of Albany more than 600 years ago, the castle is still in remarkable condition. You may recognize it from the famous film Monty Python and The Holy Grail or the more recent Outlander TV series, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon.Leave the rolling farmlands behind and venture into the wild forests and dramatic mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Hear the story of the ‘Scottish Robin Hood’ in the Braes of Balquhidder, the final resting place of Highland outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor. Wind your way through the Breadalbane mountains, stopping for lunch (own expense), and arrive at the magnificent ruins of Kilchurn Castle perched on Loch Awe.Continuing through Campbell country, visit the picturesque town of Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne, where you can visit 18th-century Inveraray Castle (Open from April to October only ), home of the Duke of Argyll.Trek up the steep Arrochar Alps to a fantastic viewpoint called 'Rest and Be Thankful,’ and learn the meaning behind the name from your guide. From here, skirt around Loch Long and down to Loch Lomond, Scotland's largest lake. Pause in the village of Luss for stunning views across the water.Return to Edinburgh in the evening.

$326.86 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Isle of Skye and Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh Small Group

This 3-day small-group tour from Edinburgh takes you through some of Scotland’s most ravishing scenery, including Glencoe, Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye, where you stay two nights in the pretty town of Portree. On Day 2, enjoy a day of exploring awe-inspiring Skye, and then, on Day 3, return to the mainland, with a stop at Loch Ness to look for its famous monster, ‘Nessie’.Choose between B&B or 3-star hotel accommodation in Portree and enjoy a daily breakfast during your trip. All other meals, activities and entrance fees are at your own expense.

$49.77 Day Trips & Excursions

St Andrews and Fife Small Group Day Trip from Edinburgh

Your day trip takes you across the famous Forth Road Bridge, giving you a great view of the spectacular Forth Rail Bridge, until recently the longest cantilever bridge in the world.Once over the bridge you'll enter the Kingdom of Fife, an isolated peninsula surrounded by the waters of the Firth of Forth, the Firth of Tay and the North Sea. The highlight is the area known as East Neuk. The small fishing villages hugging the coastline here were infamous as a paradise for smugglers.You'll then stop in Anstruther before traveling to the medieval town of St Andrews, the capital of the Scottish Church for almost 1,000 years and home to the oldest university in Scotland (600 years), attended by Prince William.St Andrews is most famously the home of golf, with the Old Course just off the town center. You will have several hours to explore this famous town.From St Andrews, you'll take a pleasant drive through central Fife to Falkland. Falkland Palace dominates this old village, and was one of the main residences of the old royal family of Scotland. Returning to Edinburgh you will cross the Lomond Hills and pass Loch Leven, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned.The Scottish Highlands and Islands are Europe's last great wilderness! This personalized tour is as close as you can get to touring in your own car, with the added benefit of gaining intimate knowledge of Scotland. Traveling in a small group means you can take lots of stops and reach "out of the way" places, giving you more time off the bus to discover the real Scotland.Winner of the Inaugural Scottish Thistle Award for Sustainable Tourism, October 2007.

$73.98 Tours & Sightseeing

Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Edinburgh Castle Entry

Board your open-top bus from any of the routed stops that are situated throughout the city center and beyond. Listen to the live or recorded audio commentary as you sit back, relax and travel through the heart of the beautiful and historical city of Edinburgh. With your ticket, you can remain on any of the bus routes for the entire loops, or you can hop on and off at any of the stops around the city to explore Edinburgh’s countless delights. See the Itinerary for a list of routes and stops.Perhaps hop off at the Palace of Holyroodhouse (commonly known as Holyrood Palace), Her Majesty the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. Founded as a monastery in the 12th century, palace is largely used as the setting for state ceremonies and official entertaining. Next, maybe travel up the Royal Mile to the famous Edinburgh Castle. A key element of the Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage site, the castle has been at the center of countless battles and sieges. Royalty have lived and died within its very walls and countless generations have been inspired by its beauty. Use your ticket for a visit, and explore this top Edinburgh attraction at your leisure.Enjoy the bus ride out of the Old Town and out to the coast. Here, perhaps hop off at the historical Port of Leith that was, for many centuries, Scotland’s premier port, before continuing onto Newhaven for postcard-perfect snaps of the harbor and a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia, the majestic boat owned by the British Royal Family for over 40 years.The full loop of each bus route lasts between 1 and 1.5 hours, with buses arriving regularly at each stop.

$22.87 Cultural & Theme Tours

Edinburgh Castle and Royal Palace Entrance Ticket

Head straight inside Edinburgh Castle to discover the delights of the city’s magnificent fortress, believed to date back as far as the Iron Age. Dominating Castle Rock, the castle’s prominent position meant that it quickly became an important stronghold, and countless bloody battles and sieges were fought over it.As you walk around independently, read up on some of the more notable battles that Edinburgh Castle witnessed, such as the War of Independence between the Scots and the English in the 14th century. The castle was recaptured from the English in a daring raid under the cover of darkness by the nephew of the great Scot, Robert the Bruce.Where you go inside the castle is up to you, but be sure to visit the beautifully decorated Royal Palace to see where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son. The Scottish Crown Jewels are also found in this part of the castle, along with the intriguing Stone of Destiny — a weathered rock upon which the early Scottish kings were enthroned. Take a walk through Crown Square to see the Great Hall of James IV, explore the prisons that held French and American prisoners during the War of Independence, and pass through St Margaret’s Chapel.Use your ticket to enter the on-site National War Museum, where you can browse a staggering collection of artifacts that document some 400 years of Scottish military history. Highlights include a display of Highland swords and the 19th-century Thin Red Line painting by the acclaimed Scottish artist Robert Gibb.You can spend as long as you want inside the castle, however many visitors find 2–3 hours to be ample. If you want to take a break from sightseeing, visit the Tea Rooms for traditional tea and baked snacks or the self-service Redcoat Café to eat and admire the views. Both are located on the castle grounds. All food and drinks are at your own expense.