19 Must-See Spots in Edinburgh, Scotland

For those looking to be immersed in the history and culture of Scotland, there's no better place to visit than its capital city of Edinburgh.

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Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Photo By: Alisha Bube

Edinburgh, Scotland

For those looking to be immersed in the history and culture of Scotland, there's no better place to visit than its capital city of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle

A massive stone fortress perched above the city on Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Edinburgh. You can purchase a ticket and wander the castle on your own, or hire an audio tour which tells the history of the castle as you explore. If history isn’t your thing, this spot still provides amazing views of the city.

The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is the road that runs from Edinburgh Castle, down through the heart of the Old Town and to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The cobbled street is lined with historic landmarks, shops, restaurants, pubs and a web of narrow alleys and stairwells that lead to the rest of the city.

The Hub

This Gothic-style structure has served a number of purposes since its construction in the mid-18th century, including being an assembly hall for churches and Parliament and now the home of the Edinburgh International Festival.

St. Giles Cathedral

Meeting place of the Church of Scotland, the ornate crown steeple of this 12th-century Kirk is a prominent feature of Edinburgh’s skyline and is situated along The Royal Mile near Edinburgh Castle.

Tron Kirk

Built in the 17th century, the Tron Kirk is no longer an operational church but still stands as a distinguishable landmark along the Royal Mile.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Situated opposite Edinburgh Castle, marking the lower end of the Royal Mile, is Holyrood Palace, the official Scottish residence of Her Majesty The Queen. It's an exquisite historical stop to make while visiting Edinburgh and is open for tours to the public.

Holyrood Abbey

The ornate remains of this 12th-century abbey, in disrepair since the 18th century, can be found on the grounds of the Holyrood Palace.

National Museum of Scotland

With a diverse collection, ranging from natural history to science to historical and cultural exhibits, there's something to pique the interest of anyone visiting this expansive modern museum located near the University of Edinburgh.

North Bridge

There's a distinct geographical separation between the Old Town and New Town in Edinburgh spanned by the arching North Bridge which allows pedestrians and traffic to pass over Waverley train station from the historic High Street across to Princes Street.

Scottish National Gallery

Hanging in the tall, vibrantly-colored halls of the National Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy Buildings are some of the world's greatest masterpieces. With works by artists like Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Monet and Van Gogh, this extensive collection is worth a visit.

Scott Monument

A tribute to the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, this Gothic monument is in Princes Street Gardens on the edge of New Town.

Edinburgh Festival Wheel

If you're visiting Edinburgh during festival season (late summer) for one of the city's world renowned arts and cultural events, you can enjoy spectacular views as you ride the temporarily constructed festival wheel.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

This neo-Gothic red sandstone structure is located on Edinburgh's Queen Street and is home to a vast collection of portraiture works featuring Scottish subjects and spanning mediums, from photography to paintings to sculptures.

Markets

Depending on when you’re visiting, there are a number of bustling markets filled with food and art scattered throughout the city worth stopping by like Edinburgh Farmers Market, Stockbridge Market and Greater Grassmarket.

Calton Hill

This rise in the landscape at the east end of Princes Street provides some of the best views of Edinburgh you can find. Perched on top of the hill are a number of monuments, including The Nelson Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument and the National Monument of Scotland.

National Monument of Scotland

This unfinished Parthenon-esque monument is a memorial for lost Scottish fighters of the Napoleonic Wars and sits at the top of Calton Hill.

Old Calton Burial Ground

This historical graveyard on Calton Hill is the resting place of notable figures like philosopher David Hume. It's also the site of an obelisk memorializing a number of political martyrs, as well as home to Scotland’s American Civil War Memorial.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Set outside the city center and divided between two buildings (Modern One and Modern Two) are the unique collections of modern and contemporary art that fill the halls and grounds of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The museum’s cafes also offer a delicious selection for an afternoon tea.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Founded in 1670, the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is the largest of four sites, covering 70 acres with both indoor and outdoor gardens available to the public year-round.