Check out these tips for having a true indie travel experience in Edinburgh.
  • Festivals, festivals, festivals. Edinburgh has one of the best New Year's street parties in the world, called Hogmanay, and the largest arts festival in the world in the summer (along with a myriad of other summer festivals).
  • The city is drop dead gorgeous, so grab your camera or sketchbook, or just take it all in while wandering around and enjoying the beauty.
  • If you are lucky enough to be there at the right time, which is only one day a year, take advantage of the Edinburgh Doors Open Day, where many historic buildings that are typically not accessible are open to the public.
  • The Royal Botanic Garden is a great place to chill and hang out, and it's free.
  • If you're looking to get away from the crowds and city, take a stroll along the Water of Leith.

Why you should add Edinburgh to your RTW travel list

  • Who wouldn't want to visit the Athens of the North?
  • Edinburgh has long been known as the literary capital of the English speaking world.
  • Getting around the city is rather easy as most of the sites are in a compact area of the city. It's always nice to only have to use your own two feet to get around.
  • You have to visit the Edinburgh Castle.
  • Check out some rugby or football (soccer to you Yanks) while there.
  • Sample some whiskey while there.

Why you should not add Edinburgh to your RTW travel list

  • The high costs can keep a RTW traveler from staying here very long.
  • It can cost a lot to get in and out of Scotland when on a RTW trip.
  • Lots of crowds during the coolest times of the year (summer festivals).

Overview

The shining star of Scotland's tourism scene is also the nation's capital and second largest city. The city is dominated by its famous castle, but the entire central section is filled with historic architecture and interesting sights. Edinburgh is rather compact for the tourist, and most of it can be done nicely on foot, although the transportation system is efficient and handy as well.

What to do

The aforementioned Edinburgh Castle has overlooked the city from its hill for over 1,000 years and it's one of the must-see attractions in town. Both the Old Town and the New Town, which isn't really all that new, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and are interesting and unavoidable for visitors.

Edinburgh is also famous for its many festivals during summer. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival during most of August is now the largest arts festival in the world, but it's not the only festival at that time in Edinburgh. Several other major ones compete for attention all summer, which should be carefully considered before showing up in town with no reservations.

Getting there

You can book a flight into Edinburgh International Airport (code: EDI), which is about 15 km outside the city and has some long-haul flights from abroad. You might be best off flying to London first and then booking a separate airfare to Edinburgh, but it's worth checking both options.

You can arrive by train from London on either an express train or a cheaper, slower one, in a bit under 6 hours. Train fares tend to be high in the UK, but bargains can be had if you book well in advance.

Where to stay

There are tons of hotels in Edinburgh and a growing number of hostels as well. If you are coming during summer it's critical to book well in advance. Some places are reserved for August up to a year in advance, so don't drag your feet if that's when you want to come.