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Edinburgh is a city full of sagas, myths and exciting stories. #Edinburgh is also regularly haunted: if you listen more closely on the streets of the old town, you may hear a whisper from the side streets between the sound of the bagpipes. The voices of thousands of deceased, whose tragic lives no one can remember today, are said to waft through the winding alleys, some of which were closed for centuries and have only recently become accessible again. Take one of the popular Ghost Tours at the Edinburgh Dungeon, Grayfriars Kirkyard or through Mary King's Close.

With almost half a million inhabitants, but about 3.5 million visitors a year, the city in the east of Scotland is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the kingdom. Few other places in #Great Britain can boast such a wide variety of #culture, #history and #architecture. Besides the medieval Old Town, Edinburgh also has a Georgian (not so new) New Town from the 18th century with gardens and neoclassical buildings. Surrounded by prehistoric sites from the Bronze and Iron Ages, the city looks back on approximately 1300 years of history.

Sights and activities

Arthur's Seat

The walk to the top of Arthur's Seat offers breathtaking views over Edinburgh and its surroundings. Surprisingly, Arthur's Seat actually forms most of the massive (extinct) volcano that once stood in Edinburgh (Castle Rock and Calton Hill are also part of this volcano).

The volcano has long disappeared, but the impressive hill still exists. The hike up the hill takes about 45 minutes, depending on your fitness, and is classified as medium difficulty. However, make sure to wear sturdy shoes and take a coat on windy days, as the terrain is very rough and it can be quite stormy.

Arthur's Seat is also considered by some to be the actual home of King Arthur's Camelot.

Royal Botanic Garden

Take a walk to the Royal Botanic Garden, home to some of the rarest plants in the world.

Walk through the old town

In the Old Town you will find many cobbled streets, historic houses and picturesque little squares. Be sure to stroll down Victoria Street (from the Royal Mile down to Grass Market) and visit some of the local boutiques and tasty restaurants.

Keep an eye out for the statue of Greyfriar's Bobby (on the corner of Candlemaker's Row and George IV Bridge). The little terrier is famous for guarding his owner's grave for 14 years. 

Edinburgh Castle

Above the city, Edinburgh Castle is enthroned on a part of the extinct volcano. The rock has been inhabited by humans since the Iron Age. The castle is by far one of the best sights in Edinburgh and possibly one of the most famous castles in Scotland. Mary, Queen of #Scotland, gave birth to King James VI and I of England in the castle. Among other things, it houses the Scottish crown jewels and the "Stone of Providence", which was used for the coronation of the Scottish kings. 

Watch out for the one o'clock cannon, which is fired from Monday to Saturday. It's a tradition that goes back centuries, when ship captains used to set their clocks by it.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill is a really nice place to just sit back and enjoy the view, especially at sunset. The climb to the hill starts near Princess Street and only costs you a ten minute walk.

From the top of Calton Hill you have a breathtaking view of the city that you will find on many postcards.

Dean Village

A walk along the Water of Leith Walkway to Dean Village is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. The idyllic beauty of the Water of Leith Walkway is very close to the centre of Edinburgh (about 5 minutes from Princes Street!)

Palace of Hollyroodhouse

Holyrood Palace is the official residence of the British Royal Family during their stay in Scotland. It faces the Scottish Parliament and is a great place to breathe some royal air. You can also visit the rooms of Queen Mary of Scotland, who once lived in the palace between 1561 and 1567.

Scott Monument

The Scott Monument was erected in honour of the famous writer Sir Walter Scott. From here you have a unique view of the castle and you can even climb up the monument. However, you should note that the stairs are quite narrow, so you might want to skip them if you get claustrophobic quickly. 

Discover the National Gallery of Scotland

The Scottish National Gallery is a complex of Greek columns in the city centre on Princes Street and is one of the best sights for #art lovers. It is also the perfect place to visit if the weather is bad.

Royal Mile

A visit to Edinburgh is not complete without a walk along the famous Royal Mile. The street lined with shops selling souvenirs, tartans and whisky connects Edinburgh Castle with Holyrood Palace. It is also home to Giles Cathedral, Deacon Brodie's Pub, the Heart of Midlothian (a cobbled heart that people spit on for good luck) and the World's End.

Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience offers various tour options. The interactive exhibition is impressive and you are taken on a literal journey as you are transported from room to room. We recommend you book in advance, especially during the busy summer months.

Discover a hidden world under the streets

The Real Mary King's Close is one of the most surreal things you can do in Edinburgh, especially as everything is hidden under the streets away from the Royal Mile. The Real Mary King's Close is a hidden system of streets and squares built hundreds of years ago. Closes are small residential streets with no through access. They are really narrow or 'close', hence their name. They were often named after rich merchants, and the poorest of the poor lived in the lower floors. Once part of the old city, these narrow streets and alleys from the 16th century were built and buried in the name of creating a more "developed" Edinburgh.

Mary Kings Close was sealed when the Royal Stock Exchange [now the City Chambers] was built on top of it. In 2003 it was reopened as a tourist attraction and you can walk the streets with a qualified guide. A visit to Real Mary King's Close is like a journey back to the 16th century. Everything inside is so well preserved that it feels like being on an old film set! It's really pretty scary, but totally cool.

Camera Obscura

Visiting the Camera Obscura is one of the best things you can do in Edinburgh if you are visiting the city with children. The many optical illusions and mirrors simply put you in a good mood.