Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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The Scottish capital is an intoxicating mish-mash of ancient and modern. The city center is a magnificently preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site, packed with Gothic churches, and winding alleyways that simply beg to be explored, all overlooked by a majestic medieval castle. But Edinburgh is in no way trapped in the past. Scratch beneath its rarefied surface, and you’ll find a brash, cosmopolitan city, with raucous pubs and live music venues, a passion for the arts, and a food scene that encompasses everything from deep fried Mars bars to Michelin-starred haute cuisine.

Things to see

If you’re lucky enough to enjoy clear skies, a hike up Arthur’s Seat is an absolute must. This mesmerizing dormant volcano dominates the Edinburgh skyline, and from the top you can enjoy unbeatable panoramic views of the city and the lush surrounding countryside. Edinburgh Castle is another essential attraction. Occupying one of the highest points in the city, it’s played a key role in Scottish history for over 1000 years. Within the beautifully preserved complex you’ll find St Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in the country, which dates back to the 12th century. Other highlights include the 16th century Great Hall, with its exquisite hammerbeam roof, and the dazzling Scottish crown jewels. If you’re thirsty for more local culture, head to the National Museum of Scotland, which charts the story of the country from prehistoric times to the present day, through a series of diverse and thrillingly interactive exhibits.

Hotels in Edinburgh

There’s a fantastic selection of hotels in Edinburgh to suit every budget. The city is home to some of the UK’s finest luxury hotels – truly jaw-dropping affairs, housed in opulent period buildings, boasting decadent amenities like full-service health spas, glamorous cocktail bars, and marble guest bathrooms. If you’re after something more moderately priced, there are plenty of mid-range hotels, offering fantastic facilities such as indoor heated swimming pools, state-of-the-art business centers, and 24-hour room service. Budget travelers are also well served, with friendly guest houses and modern backpacker hostels, offering great perks like free WiFi and breakfasts.

Where to stay

Old Town is Edinburgh’s endlessly intriguing historical core. It’s the perfect spot for first-time visitors, as most of the city’s major sights and landmarks can be found here. You’ll also have an array of cozy pubs, tempting restaurants, and charming independent boutiques on your doorstep. New Town is the commercial heart of the city. Here you’ll find Princes Street, with its sprawling department stores and fashion shops, and George Street, with its hip bars and nightclubs. North of New Town lie Stockbridge and Canonmills, upmarket residential areas with an alluring selection of boutique hotels, artisan shops, and innovative eateries.

How to get to Edinburgh

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport, and it’s handily located just 8 miles from the city. You can fly direct from major cities all over Europe. The airport is served by frequent tram and bus services, which will take you into the center of town in about 30 minutes. Taxis and rental cars are also readily available. You can reach Edinburgh easily by train from other major UK cities. From London, the journey takes up to 5 hours, and from Birmingham it’s just over 4 hours.

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