With a medieval old town, the Edinburgh castle, spooky history, delicious food and even an extinct volcano within walking distance of the city, this hilly Scottish capital has a lot to offer the weekend visitor and we took in as much as we could on our weekend getaway.
We’ve always wanted to visit Edinburgh, Scotland after we heard about the low-cost and short flight between Gothenburg and Edinburgh with Ryanair. Just hop on a plane and under two hours you can find yourself in Scotland!
Being our first time in Scotland and we had to try the Scottish cuisine. Haggis, a traditional Scottish dish is made with Set of sheep’s heart, lungs and liver and encased in the stomach. It may not sound so appetizing but it was delicious. We also tried black pudding which I mostly ate with my ‘Full breakfast’.
My first Haggis!
Full breakfast w/ black pudding, beans, sausage, bacon, toast and a fried egg
Black pudding stovie with butternut squash, and some biscuits on the side that we have only tried in Scotland.
A quick fish & chips bite before the Ghost tour
Pre-dinner beers, cheers!
Delicious scones, and so many flavors at Mimi’s cafe
The Edinburgh Restaurant Festival was going on the weekend we were in town, so we treated ourselves to several set dinners around the city.
Dinner at Hadrian’s
The Edinburgh Street Feastival was also on at St.Andrew’s square. Where you could try some food from different restaurants participating in the Restaurant festival.
“Wee taste of Scotland” Haggis from The Rosehip
Whisky tasting at the Feastival
We did a few tours during our weekend including a free walking tour with our hostel, a free castle tour (not including the ticket to the castle but at certain times, you can join a free 30min tour around the castle grounds) and an evening ghost tour!
It’s always a good idea to learn a bit about the city and it’s history from the walking tours. It’s also a great way to familiarize yourself with the various areas of the city.
The free 30min Edinburgh Castle tour gives you some history of the castle and gives you an overview of the museums on the castle grounds. Our tour guide told us that the castle is not the fairy tale kind but more of fortress that is still being used today as a base for the military. After the tour we visited the gift shop which was doing free whiskey tastings that day that we gladly partook in.
The historic Edinburgh castle on castle rock
Cool view of the old historic castle fortress with modern buildings in the foreground
The view of Arthur’s Seat from the castle
The ghost tour didn’t include going underground tunnels but instead took us through some of the creepy alleys and streets, ending at a cemetery. A cemetery during the day is already creepy but at night is even creepier. I’m glad we had such a big tour group with us. The ghost stories on the tour were pretty interesting, however the tour itself wasn’t too scary except when the guide would hide and jump out at people. Hahaha..
During the walking tour with our hostel, we walked up Calton hill which offers brilliant views of the city and Arthur’s seat. Apparently, Calton Hill was also where witches used to congregate at night.
Calton hill and some monuments at the top
Hiking up Arthur’s seat or even the hill just in front is a must. It was a short 15 min walk from where we stayed, near the Edinburgh Castle. The hike up wasn’t too difficult and takes about 45min..might be a little longer depending on how many times you stop for photos along the way 🙂
Beautiful lake along the way with a bunch of swans!
We hiked up just before sunset and caught an incredible view of the city.
A stroll along the river Leith which passes through Dean’s village was another nice Sunday activity
This area seemed more for the locals and we even found a random farmers markets with delicious eats like these delicious little apple tarts which provided us with a nice snack on our walk.
Leith is a nice area for bars as well. We went there after the walk up Arthur’s seat and had a well deserved dinner at a local bar, Roseleaf.
The National Scottish Gallery is free to visit the permanent exhibitions (including work from Scottish artists) and we spent a little bit of time there.
Autumn is a beautiful season to visit the historic city. Being October, we thought it was low season, but our hostel was surprisingly full. It also seemed like there were many tour groups around. We also really lucked out with the weather, it only drizzled once late at night after dinner but otherwise it was sunny or cloudy and dry.
With all the delicious Scottish food, walking tours, and exploring on our own, we left with full bellies and exercise soreness from all the walking and the hike up Arthur’s seat. We had a lovely, long weekend in Edinburgh and really enjoyed our first visit to Scotland!
For delicious Haggis rolls
The Beer Kitchen by Innis & Gunn
81-83 Lothian Rd, Edinburgh EH3 9AW
1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH22
Roseleaf Bar Cafe in Leith
23/24 Sandport Pl, Edinburgh EH6 6EW