Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. It is a unique city with a mix of old and new architecture and like much of Scotland is steeped in history. The following guide is a list of suggestions for what not to miss during a visit to Edinburgh.
1. Edinburgh Castle
The most visited castle in Scotland and the most visited attraction in Edinburgh. The city of Edinburgh is steeped in history, as is the city, there is plenty to explore within the castle and plenty of information available about its significance in the history of Scotland.
2. Scott Monument
Located in the heart of the city center, the monument is dedicated to one of Scotland's most famous artists, Sir Walter Scott. It only costs a few kilos to climb the rolling stairs of the monument and from the top you enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the city. This is best done on a sunny or clear day so you can enjoy the best views.
3. National Museum of Scotland
One of the most popular museums in Scotland, you can easily lose half a day by getting through all the exhibits inside. There are several interactive exhibits that keep most children (or adults) entertained.
Eat at the Balmoral Hotel
Perhaps the most famous and certainly one of the most iconic hotels in Edinburgh. Balmoral offers the highest standard of luxury and is located in the city center on Princes Street. The One One restaurant offers some of the best meals in Edinburgh and has a coveted Michelin star.
5. Take a Ghost Tour in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a great city to walk around, but at night with the many winds and narrow streets it can be a bit creepy. So why not find out all about the cruel past of Edinburgh with tours exploring the origins of Jekyll and Hyde, or learn about the paranormal subway in one of the many tours available from Mercat Tours. They are informative and fun.
6. Go shopping at Jenners
Jenners, known as "Harrods" in the north, was one of the oldest independent retailers in the world until it was purchased by House of Fraser in 2005. It is located primarily on the price street and inside you you will find a a wide selection of luxury goods and clothing as well as some amazing and unique architecture, the products and the interior of the building are worth a look.
7. Enjoy Hogmanay in town
Hogmanay is the Scottish word for New Year's Eve, and New Year is a big deal in Scotland with lots of parties and plenty of drinks taking place. In Edinburgh you will find one of the biggest street parties in the world. The main streets are flooded with thousands of people and there is various entertainment on. The street party calls for tickets that are free to get, and there are also paid events at Princes Street Gardens which involve a popular band (2011 is Primal Scream). There are no better people in the world to celebrate with than the Scots.
8. Edinburgh Zoo
In Edinburgh you will find Scotland's only zoo famous for its Penguin parade and a wonderful day for children. The zoo has over 1,000 animals and is just a few kilometers from the city center (easily accessible by bus or car). There are various events and activities throughout the year, their site has full details of current events.