Edinburgh things to do

Edinburgh: 5 things to absolutely do in 2024

Welcome to the heart of Scotland, where history is intertwined with magic and nature enchants every traveler. In this article, we will explore the 5 things to do in Edinburgh that make this city an unmissable destination for those who love Northern European countries. Prepare to be transported on a journey through the city’s cobbled streets, past impressive castles, ghost stories and culinary delights that will delight your senses. Edinburgh awaits you, ready to give you unforgettable moments and surprising discoveries.

1 – Old Town, the historic center of Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city that has a particular and unique beauty, ancient and legendary. Its ancient buildings are perfectly integrated with green spaces and large parks, in a perfect union.

Built on seven hills, it is possible to admire the city from various panoramic points, among which the highest is Arthur’s Seatfollowed by Calton Hill and then surely Castle Rock, home to the historic castle. So arm yourself with comfortable shoes and climb to the highest points of the city!

The magic of Old town (historic centre) lights up especially in the evening, when the castle lights up from the top of the hill and live music concerts begin in the already crowded pubs, almost all free, in which musicians of all ages perform.

Edinburgh is also a city home to important museums such as the Scottish National Museum Museum of Scotland, National Gallery of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the renowned biblioteca National Library of Scotland, which often hosts exhibitions and events.

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edinburgh center

2 – Fringe Festival

Absolutely not to be missed, if you are thinking of a summer holiday, the Fringe Festival one of the largest and most inspiring arts festivals in the world, celebrated every August in the Scottish capital. Founded in 1947 as a fringe event of the Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe has grown to become a global cultural phenomenon, attracting artists and spectators from every corner of the planet.

What makes the Fringe so unique is its open, non-juried nature. Every year, thousands of independent artists and theater companies gather in Edinburgh to present a wide range of performances, including theatre, comedy, cabaret, dance, music, improvisation, art installations and much more. This diversity and variety of performances make the Fringe a unique and surprising experience for anyone who attends.

The festival transforms the city of Edinburgh into a vibrant melting pot of creativity and innovation, with performances taking place in traditional theatres, concert halls, bars, pubs, streets and public spaces. Artists have the opportunity to stage their work in an inspiring context and reach an international audience, while audiences have the chance to discover new talent and experience new art forms in a vibrant and inclusive environment.

The Fringe Festival is not only a spectacle for the eyes and ears, but also an experience that celebrates diversity, innovation and artistic freedom. It is a moment in which the city of Edinburgh transforms into a global stage, where artists and spectators meet, inspire each other and be carried away by the magic of theater and creativity.

3 – Harry Potter and other magic

One of the most enchanting characteristics of Edinburgh is undoubtedly its dark side, which emerges due to the many stories of ghosts and witches, popular legends that have surrounded the city with charm and mystery for centuries.

It is therefore not surprising why one of the first faculties of parapsychology was founded in Edinburgh at the University of Edinburgh, where disciplines such as clairvoyance, telepathy and telekinesis are examined. Incredible, but true.

Ghost Tour

If you want to immerse yourself in the stories of the ghosts that populate the city, don’t miss it this ghost tour (or ghost tour), where you will explore the darkest corners of the city. These gothic atmospheres were the main sources of inspiration for one of the most famous writers in the world, JK Rowling, author of the beloved saga of Harry Potter.

It is said that Rowling, before becoming famous, was short on finances and very often went to the coffee shop to write Elephant House, so you can save on heating at home. A few years later, bills were no longer a problem: Rowling in fact finished the last book of the Harry Potter saga at the Balmoral hotel, in a suite for £1000 a night.

Definitely a nice change of style! Harry Potter and his adventures continue to be a major tourist attraction in Edinburgh; fans cannot miss Tom Riddle’s tomb, which can be visited at the Greyfriars cemetery (Rowling had in fact used some of the names of people actually buried in the cemetery for the characters in her books!).

4 – Taste Scottish cuisine

Despite what many people think, traditional Scottish cuisine offers delicious dishes, ideal for facing cold days with a full stomach.

The typical dish par excellence is haggis, a sausage with a spicy and strong flavour, traditionally accompanied by “neeps and tattis”, literally rutagaba and potatoes or a delicate whiskey sauce. This is followed by Scotch pie, a typical Scottish savory pie filled with meat and vegetables, available in many variations, to try at The Piemaker at a great price.

It is known that the Scots are known for their passion for whiskey, considered a real national pride, so it is a must to visit whiskey experience, where you can taste different types of whiskey.

For the most daring gourmands with stomachs of steel who are not afraid of calories, it is a must to try an entirely Scottish invention, the deep fried Mars bar, or fried Mars chocolate; abstain if you are on a diet!

5 – Castles, lakes and parks

One of the many attractions for which Scotland is known is the presence of castles, which literally follow one after the other throughout the Scottish countryside.

A visit to the is unmissable Edinburgh Castle which is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic historical jewels not only of the city, but of the whole of Scotland. Set on an imposing volcanic rock in the heart of Edinburgh, it dominates the skyline with its majesty and iconic presence.

This imposing fortress has witnessed centuries of Scottish history, from power struggles to the bloodiest battles. Its walls tell stories of kings and queens, of invasions and resistance. Every stone, every passage, brings with it a rich wealth of adventures and events that have shaped the destiny of the nation.

Beyond its historical importance, the Edinburgh Castle offers visitors a fascinating journey into the past. Within its walls, you can explore ancient halls, museums and precious treasures, such as the Scottish crown jewels. Admiring the panoramic view from the top of its towers is a breath-taking experience, offering an unprecedented perspective on the city and its splendid surrounding landscape.

Edinburgh Castle Tour

I recommend booking this tour of the Castle of Edinburgh for the following reasons:

  1. Historical exploration: The tour gives you the opportunity to explore the main rooms of the castle and learn about the Stone of Destiny, the Honors of Scotland, and the wars and sieges that involved the fortress.
  2. Stories and legends: During the tour, you will have the opportunity to hear stories and legends related to the castle and its cannons.
  3. Independent visit: At the end of the guided tour, you will have free time to explore the castle on your own, visiting places such as the prisons, St Margaret’s Chapel (Edinburgh’s oldest building) and the National War Museum.
  4. Guide in Italian: The activity takes place with an Italian speaking guide.
  5. Skip the line ticket: The tour includes a skip-the-line ticket to Edinburgh Castle.
  6. Free cancellation: You can cancel your reservation free of charge up to 24 hours before the activity.

This tour is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Edinburgh. I advise you to book as soon as possible to guarantee availability.

Edinburgh Castle

Stirling Castle

One of the most famous Scottish castles is the Stirling Castle, about an hour from Edinburgh and one of the 5 reasons to visit Edinburgh.

Stirling Castle it is one of the most iconic and evocative fortresses in Scotland, rich in history, charm and breathtaking views. Situated on an imposing rocky hill in the heart of the city of Stirling, the castle dominates the surrounding landscape with its imposing presence and majestic architecture.

Its history dates back over a thousand years, and the castle has witnessed some of the most important battles and events in Scottish history. It was the scene of epic battles during the Scottish Wars of Independence, and figures such as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce have left their mark on its ancient corridors and courtyards.

One of the most fascinating features of Stirling Castle is its strategic positioning, which offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding lands, including the River Forth and the Ochil Hills. Its imposing walls and majestic towers evoke a sense of grandeur and mystery that captures the imagination of anyone who visits.

Today, Stirling Castle is a popular tourist attraction, visited by thousands of people every year. Visitors can explore its ancient halls, walk along its walls and immerse themselves in its rich history through interactive exhibits and guided tours.

Furthermore, the castle regularly hosts special events, shows and historical re-enactments which allow visitors to live an even more engaging and authentic experience.

Stirling Castle

Trossachs National Park

To the beauty of the woods and castles is also added that of the lakes; beyond the well known Loch Ness lakego for a ride near Loch Lomond lake and delve into the Trossachs National Park less than two hours from the capital.

Practical advice

The best way to travel around Edinburgh is certainly by car, otherwise mini-van tours are available, managed by friendly local guides who will take you around, telling anecdotes and stories.

Edinburgh then becomes the perfect city if you want to explore the culture and history of a country rich in traditions, but above all ideal for an adventure in nature, among woods, ancient castles and ghost stories.

Read also: Hogmanay, how to experience an unforgettable New Year’s Eve: the traditions

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