Last week, Edinburgh was voted the fourth most beautiful city in the world by readers of The Rough Guide. ‘The Athens of the North’, as Edinburgh is known, came higher than popular tourist destinations such as Venice, Sydney and London in the list and was only overtaken by Paris, Florence and Rome.
The impressive result has been attributed to Edinburgh’s striking architecture combined with beautiful green spaces and natural landscapes. From the Georgian buildings of New Town, to the world-renowned Edinburgh Castle, the buildings alone are an attraction in their own right. Combine this with the natural beauty of Arthur’s Seat and the many gardens dotted around the city centre and it’s easy to see why Edinburgh has UNESCO World Heritage status.
Here is a list of our top 10 most beautiful spots to visit in Edinburgh
1. Calton Hill
Some of Edinburgh’s most iconic images have been taken from the top of Calton Hill. From here, you can take in stunning views of the city centre, Arthur’s Seat, the Forth Bridges and the city’s coastline all from one location. Even when you are looking up to Calton Hill from the city centre, you can appreciate the landmarks located at the top of the hill, including the Royal Observatory and the National Monument of Scotland.
2. Edinburgh Castle
Arguably one of the most interesting features of Edinburgh is that there is a castle located on top of an (extinct!) volcano nestled in the heart of the city. This world-famous landmark can be seen from most places around the city and the view from the castle itself is breath-taking.
3. Arthur’s Seat
For those who enjoy some light hill climbing, Arthur’s Seat offers an incredible panoramic view of the city. If you don’t have time to climb all the way to the top, the walk along the Salisbury Crags offers stunning views from a less challenging height.
4. The Meadows
This is the perfect place to spend a warm summer’s day. Throughout the summer season, you will find locals, students and travellers alike enjoying picnics, drinks and some five-a-side football.
5. The Royal Mile
Perhaps the most famous street in Edinburgh, The Royal Mile leads from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle with plenty of places to explore in between. It is home to many of Edinburgh’s infamous ghost tours and traditional pubs offering some of the best haggis and whisky in Scotland. During the festival in August, the street transforms into a hot spot for performers, with many putting on short previews or full street performances throughout the month.
6. Victoria Street
Leading from The Royal Mile to the Grassmarket, Victoria Street is filled with colourful buildings, housing independent boutiques, delicatessens and restaurants.
7. The Shore, Leith
Located on the East side of the city, this area is home to some of Edinburgh’s best eateries. Celebrity chef, Tom Kitchin runs a Michelin-starred restaurant here and Mimi’s Bakehouse is a favourite among locals for brunch and afternoon tea.
8. Princes Street Gardens
This serene area runs alongside Princes Street and provides an ideal resting place for shoppers and tourists. In the summer, it is a popular choice for picnics and gatherings, whilst winter sees its transformation into the city iconic Winter Wonderland.
A short trip to Duddingston will make you feel like you are in the middle of the countryside with beautiful views over its loch and wildlife reserve. It is located to the East of the city, just behind Arthur’s Seat and is home to The Sheep Heid Inn – the oldest pub in Scotland!
10. Dean Village
This hidden gem is tucked away at the bottom of a cobbled hill and sits next to the Water of Leith. Surrounded by nature and greenery, it’s astonishing that Dean Village is only a five-minute walk from Edinburgh’s city centre.