Top 10 Edinburgh Tourist Attractions


Hauntingly beautiful, essentially stylish, full of personality… There are a lot of ways to describe the charming city of Edinburgh, but there is no way you will find adjectives like "boring" or "uninspiring" on the list of possible options. Wandering around the cozy streets of the Scottish capital is among the best things to do in Edinburgh and a sure way to leave your heart in the beautiful city. But if you stop by at least some of the best Edinburgh attractions, you'll wish you could have stayed in this amazing place forever. To help you start looking for the city's hidden gems, we've put together this list of the most impressive Edinburgh "must-sees" you can't miss during your Britain travel.

1. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburg

As a rule, a traveler's acquaintance with the city's tourist attractions starts with the majestic Edinburgh Castle, nestled on the top of the ancient volcano, the Castle Rock. There are countless reasons why it's such a great place to explore. For starters, it houses the oldest building in Scotland and was the place where the country's crown jewels were lost for over a hundred years. There are numerous rumors of the castle being haunted and even a local legend that any student who dares to visit the fortress during his university years will fail his final exam.

2. Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Welcome to the most popular street in Edinburgh's Old Town, the Royal Mile. It connects the two major sights of Edinburgh, the imposing castle, mentioned above, and the majestic Palace of Holyroodhouse. But this is only half of the story. There is a whole other world hidden beneath the cobbled streets. Back in the 17th century, Edinburgh was overpopulated and a network of narrow underground passages and rooms was built in attempt to solve the problem. For those who are brave enough to uncover the hidden history, there are guided tours.

3. St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh
St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh

Located along the Royal Mile, the impressive St. Giles Cathedral was in the thick of things during the Scottish Reformation. It was built in honor of Giles the Hermit, the founder of the Saint-Gilles-du-Gard Abbey. Nowadays it's one of the most beautiful churches in Scotland, housing the 13th-century knight's grave marker and 15th-century headstone. Another reason to put this remarkable cathedral on your "what to see in Edinburgh" list is the fact that the human's best friends are allowed to explore this amazing sight together with their owners.

4. Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
Palace Of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh

Opposite the Edinburgh Castle, there is another tourist attraction you can't miss during your Edinburgh tour, the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse. Like any major city of the United Kingdom, the capital of Scotland houses several sights, connected with the royal family. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the most significant one in Edinburgh, serving as the official home of Queen Elizabeth II in the country of Scotland. You are welcome to enjoy a guided tour, featuring the State Apartments of the beautiful palace.

5. Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh
Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh

The next Edinburgh attraction is located near the elegant Palace Of Holyroodhouse. The Holyrood Abbey is a striking landmark and once the biggest church in Scotland. In the 19th century, it was visited by Felix Mendelssohn who then wrote in a letter to a friend: "We went today to the palace where Queen Mary lived and loved… Grass and ivy thrive there and at the broken altar where Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland. Everything is ruined and the clear heavens pour in. I think I have found there the beginning of my Scottish Symphony".

6. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

For those who can't imagine Edinburgh sightseeing without visiting at least one great museum, we advise stopping by the grandest of them all, the National Museum of Scotland. It is home to a vast collection of artifacts, but there are several you don't want to miss. The first one is the famous Doly the Ship, the first mammal to be successfully cloned. Other particularly interesting pieces are Arthur's Seats Coffins. Over 150 years ago, a group of young boys found 17 tiny coffins, containing miniature figures of men. The purpose of them is still a mystery.

7. Calton Hill, Edinburgh
Calton Hill, Edinburgh

An unmissable place during Edinburgh travel, the scenic Calton Hill, is home to several amazing landmarks and some of the most beautiful sights over the city. In fact, the views are so impressive that they were the inspiration behind the new form of art, panorama. Its creator, Rober Baker, was taking a walk along the Calton Hill and taking in the views when the concept of capturing on paper the whole 360° of the scene struck him. No need to say that eventually his idea became highly successful and gained huge popularity around the world.

8. National Monument of Scotland, Edinburgh
National Monument of Scotland, Edinburgh

The Calton Hill is almost oversaturated with amazing Edinburgh sights, but there is one that stands out. Officially, this striking landmark is known as the National Monument of Scotland, but the citizens of Edinburgh prefer to use its other name, Edinburgh's Shame. Originally, this monument was designed in honor of those who died during the Napoleonic Wars but the construction was never finished due to the lack of funding. Although the landmark wasn't destined to reach the intended glory, the monument still looks very impressive.

9. Greyfriars Bobby Fountain, Edinburgh
Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh

Exploring the scenic city streets, keep an eye out for a drinking fountain dedicated to Greyfriars Bobby, the most famous dog in Scotland. He belonged to John Gray, one of the local policemen. Unfortunately, John died soon after he adopted Bobby and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. But Bobby refused to leave the grave of his best friend and soon this little Skye Terrier, sitting on his master's grave, became a familiar sight. The kind citizens took care of Bobby who stayed on duty until his death 14 years later.

10. Christmas Market, Edinburgh
Christmas Market, Edinburgh

If you happen to visit the fairytale city somewhere during November - January and were wondering what to do in Edinburgh during the festive months, we advise making some time to explore the Christmas Market. This celebration of life takes place every year and offers plenty of incredible things to do, buy, try, and taste. Feel like a kid enjoying a ride on East Princes Street Gardens' Carousel, meet Santa Clause, look for the Elve's workshop, hunt for the unique gifts, and enjoy delicious food and drinks from all around the world.