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

$60.32 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.

$55.07 Cultural & Theme Tours

Small-Group West Highland Lochs and Castles from Edinburgh

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Rabbie's Cafe BarMeet here for boarding 15-mins before published departure time.Duration: 15 minutesStop At: Doune Castle, Doune, Stirling, ScotlandOne of the best preserved Medieval castles in Scotland. It also featured in ‘Monty Python’s Holy Grail’, ‘Outlander’, and 'The Outlaw King'.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Luss Village Paths, Luss, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, ScotlandThis idyllic village on the shores of Loch Lomond will make you want to pack your bags and move in.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Rest and be Thankful, Arrochar, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, ScotlandLet the beauty sink in at this stunning location that was a popular rest spot for soldiers.Duration: 10 minutesStop At: Inveraray Castle, Inveraray, Argyll and Bute, ScotlandVisit this 18th century town and discover an ancient jail and a gorgeous castle.Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

$318.63 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.

$48.52 Cultural & Theme Tours

St Andrews and Fife Small Group Day Trip from Edinburgh

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Forth Bridge, North Queensferry, Fife, ScotlandYou travel over the Queensferry Crossing, and get a great view of one of Scotland's greatest man-made landmarks, the Forth Rail Bridge.Duration: 10 minutesStop At: Anstruther Harbour, Anstruther, Fife, ScotlandStop in the traditional fishing village of Anstruther (known as 'Ainster' locally), where you can check out the old cobbled streets and take a walk along the seafront to the harbour.Duration: 30 minutesStop At: St Andrews LinksFree time in St. Andrews to visit the sites that interest you most.St. Andrews Cathedral - This ruined cathedral was once one of Scotland’s most magnificent buildings.St Andrews Old Town - Immerse yourself in 1,000 years of history as you explore the winding streets and ancient castle.The Old Course - Golf was so popular in Scotland, it was banned in the 15th century. And nowhere was it more popular than in St Andrews, ‘the Home of Golf’.Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Falkland Palace & Garden, Falkland, Fife, ScotlandAfter St Andrews, we take a pleasant drive through the rolling countryside of central Fife to Falkland. Falkland Palace dominates this old village, and was one of the main residences of the old Royal family of Scotland, the Stewarts (Stuarts). Aside from the palace the village is simply one of the most beautiful in Scotland with an array of old cottages and narrow winding streets.Duration: 1 hour

$72.48 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.

$22.40 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.