Many people think that Scotland's capital is quite small. The truth is
that Edinburgh's city centre (what we call
the Old Town and New Town) is like a small village on its own, that
you can easily visit in 3 or 4 days. However, Edinburgh covers a much
larger area than that. Since we take the airport bus till the last
stop, that's Edinburgh. And the city doesn't finish there; it
stretches to the shore and the other end.
We felt the need to clarify that because many people on the tours have
asked us if there is something to do in Edinburgh beyond the Royal
Mile. Of course it is! We actually never
stop adding new activities and places to our things to do list.
Edinburgh has so many exciting and fun things to do that it's
impossible to cover all on a single trip.
With that said, we actually think that the best things are clustered
around Edinburgh's city centre, in that "small village" we mentioned
earlier. Luckily for you, on a
3 or 4 days holiday in Edinburgh, you will
have enough time to do most of the very best of the Scottish capital.
So here you have a list of places and activities that you absolutely
Do the Edinburgh Free Tour and the Free Ghost Tour
Both guided walks complement each other perfectly, meaning that you
won't walk around the same places and you will discover new stories.
These tours are ideal to learn the history and anecdotes behind
Edinburgh's Medieval past.
Old Town Tour, for example, you will walk around the colourful Victoria Street,
visit Greyfriars Kirkyard and discover the incredible events that
happened in the iconic Grassmarket, among other sightseeing places.
Ghost Tour, instead, focuses on the dark history of Edinburgh. You will visit
graveyards and other "haunted" places while you will hear the
stories of ghosts and murderers.
If you are in Edinburgh for only 3 or 4 days, the best thing would
be to do both tours as soon as possible. This way, the guide could
inform you about any events that might happen specifically that week
or provide you with some personalised tips.
Nobody can leave Scotland without trying the national dish. We won't
tell you what haggis is made of, but we will say that
you must try it!
There are vegan and vegetarian options that are healthier and
actually taste as good (or even better) as the regular ones.
Where should you eat Haggis in Edinburgh?
In the typical Scottish Breakfast you will typically find a (frozen)
portion of haggis in the shape of mini-burgers. If you have never
tried it before, maybe skip the Scottish breakfast for the next
For us, the best way of savouring haggis is in a traditional pub.
There are a few restaurants that bring this "homemade" experience.
For example, in the Royal Mile Tavern.
Normally, you will see haggis served in a "tower" with mashed
potato, mashed neep and haggis on the top, dressed in a delicious
If you still don't want to try it, here you have a list of the best
restaurants in Edinburgh. Feel free to choose from Italian, Asian,
Indian and other cuisines!
Walk around the New Town
Everybody loves and is fascinated by the Old Town, with its winding
alleys, gothic style and medieval feeling. Compared with its sister,
it might look that the New Town lacks some personality. But in
reality, it is much more interesting than it might appear.
New Town is an architectural wonder with
plenty of things to offer. In a 3 or 4 days visit to Edinburgh, it's
a must-see! Not everything in the New Town is Enlightenment and
Georgian architecture. For example, for those of you who like
shopping, it's in the New Town where you will find all the clothes
shops. Look especially for Prince Street, where Primark, Next, Zara
and others are. If you prefer visiting parks, on the other side of
the street you can find Princes Street Gardens, which feature a
beautiful view of Edinburgh Castle.
But the New Town is not limited only to this street. The street
parallel to Princes st, Rose,
it's much smaller and cosy. It's worth it
visiting it and checking its traditional pubs and restaurants that
serve all types of food.
In addition to that, just wandering around the New Town is enjoyable
by itself. You will see boulevards, magnificent squares and private
gardens that introduce you to the Scottish upper class. There are
some remarkable museums too, like the Portrait Gallery or the
Scottish National Gallery, both of which are free to enter.
Visit Dean Village
When Edinburgh locals have people visiting, they always take them to
Dean Village to surprise them.
Fortunately, in 3 - 4 days in Edinburgh, you have ample time to
visit this place, certainly one of the best places in Edinburgh.
Dean Village is just 10 minutes away from the busy Princes St, and
it really doesn't feel that way. It looks like a small town in the
countryside with a nice path that follows the river. You can get to
Dean Village through Queensferry Road (don't cross Dean Bridge!).
Follow the left-hand side street called Miller Row.
Climb Calton Hill and Arthur Seat
These two extinct volcanoes provide us with some astonishing views
of Edinburgh. Every Edinburgh travel guide features them, and once
you visit them, you will understand why. So, don't try to find any
excuses, you must visit at least one of the hills, although in a 3
or 4 days visit to Edinburgh you should have enough time to visit
Getting to the top of
Calton Hill only requires 5 minutes
approximately, and you get to see the beautiful city centre of
Edinburgh. On Arthur's seat, on the other hand, it takes slightly
longer to get to the top, around half-hour, but the scenery is also
superb. Once you go down the hill, you will be in Holyrood Park,
which has an array of hills, lochs, glens, so it's also highly
recommendable to visit.
Museums in Edinburgh and Scotland
There are plenty of free museums in Edinburgh. The most important,
and the one that features the most objects, is the National Museum
of Scotland. You can see from a Tyrannosaurus Rex to belongings of
Mary Queen of Scots, but probably the most famous attraction is
Dolly the sheep.
The museum is perfect for family visits since it features a lot of
activities to entertain the kids. The museum has so many things that
no matter the interests you have, you will probably find something
Enjoy Scottish Folklore and its Whisky
We are going to propose to you two ways of tasting Scottish
folklore. The first one is going yourself to one of the traditional
pubs in Edinburgh with folk music. The Royal Oak is usually a great
option that appears in most tourist guides. However,
we recommend The Captains Bar even more, a
true hidden gem in Edinburgh.
That is a great option, but a better one is to immerse yourself in
the folklore and history of Scotland, also in a traditional pub,
while you enjoy a whisky tasting! The
Whisky and Folklore tour
provides essential history and anecdotes that will not only
entertain you but will make you enjoy the whisky even more!
Day Trip from Edinburgh
If you are staying 3 days or 4 Edinburgh, you might have enough
time to do a quick visit to another place.
Glasgow : It takes less than one hour
by train, and the biggest city in Scotland by mark population is
a hidden gem for many tourists. You can join the
to discover the history of the city. Or, if you have planned
enough cultural activities in Edinburgh, you can join the
Glasgow Pub Crawl
and have a great night out.
Loch Ness trip: The Loch Ness is
great, but the best thing about the
is the way there. The Valley of Glencoe, the lochs and castles,
along with the fascinating history of Scotland, is the actual
attractiveness for this highly recommendable tour.