Few travelers have unlimited time, and so some suggested itineraries for 3-day and weeklong visits to Edinburgh may be helpful. These ideas will also help you to plan your time if you want to venture further afield to see the outstanding sights in the areas around Edinburgh.
Our city itineraries highlight major sights, such as Edinburgh's Royal Mile, but also direct you to less celebrated spots, such as Alexander "Greek" Thomson's Holmwood House on Glasgow's Southside. The pace may look a bit breathless for some visitors. If you prefer a more relaxed pace, then skip an attraction or two: These plans are suggestions, not requirements. You may also mix bits of one itinerary with highlights of another.
Note: Visiting most attractions in Edinburgh can be done on foot and by using public transportation; excursions outside the cities may well require a car.
If You Have 1 Day
Stick to the city's famous Royal Mile and Edinburgh's Old Town. It is every bit a day's worth of activity, with plenty of history and attractions from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, shops, restaurants, and pubs. Wander down some of the alleys off the Royal Mile, too.
If You Have 2 Days
Take the hop-on, hop-off bus tour that emphasizes New Town. Your ticket is good for 24 hours (although the buses stop running in the late afternoon or early evening). Get off at Calton Hill for the views, which Robert Louis Stevenson said were the best in the city. Amble down Princes Street for a bit of shopping, and afterwards, rest in Princes Street Gardens. Admire some art at one of the branches of the National Gallery.
If You Have 3 Days
Take in Leith, Edinburgh's once rough-and-tumble port. Now increasingly gentrified, it is still evocative of a historic seaside village. The Royal Botanic Garden on your way back into the city center is worth a visit. It is one of the best in Britain - and that's saying something. If you have any time to spare, take one of the strolls we've designed, and visit Stockbridge or the Meadows, which feel off the main tourist tracks.
If You Have 4 Days or More
Climb Arthur's Seat for views of the city and the sea, or if you have children, take the family to the Edinburgh Zoo. Explore the regions around the city, with excursions up to St. Andrews, to the coast and North Berwick, or west to nearby, historic Linlithgow.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.