I’ve traveled with a friend whose favorite thing to do when exploring a new place is to find and climb the highest building or look out point (be it a rooftop bar or museum, it doesn’t matter). After tagging along for these excursions several times no matter the destination, I can officially agree with this tactic. I’ve discovered it is a great way soak in all the iconic views and get the lay of the land before you spend your days wandering around and getting lost.
In Edinburgh, I did just that and found that there is a plethora of options to view this beautiful gem of a city from above.
Edinburgh Castle was at the top of my list of things to do when I first visited the city, and what a great first stop it is. Just walking up to the castle will provide you with breathtaking views of the Edinburgh if you are short on cash and don’t want to pay to actually go into the castle. Although, I highly recommend purchasing admission to the castle because it provides a wealth of history regarding the city which will be invaluable as you continue to explore Edinburgh’s tumultuous past. Not to mention there are even more stunning vistas once inside the castle walls!
Calton Hill and the National Monument
This list would not be complete without mentioning Calton Hill. This site offers panoramic views of the city playing host to the Nelson Monument, the National Monument, and the City Observatory. Pay a few extra pounds to hike up the 143 steps to the top of the Nelson Monument and you will be greeted with sweeping views of the jaw dropping cityscape. A great stop! I ended up spending about an hour up there just chatting and taking in the city.
National Museum of Scotland
A lesser known option to soak in the Edinburgh skyline is the National Museum of Scotland. This museum is free to everyone and operates off of donations–incredible as it is a huge museum and done very well! I recommend taking a whole day if you would like to explore its entirety as it is about 6 floors and quite expansive in exhibitions and topics. The museum provides a beautiful rooftop terrace which offers one of the best views of the city in my opinion, especially of Edinburgh Castle. While I was up there I kept thinking how much it reminded me of the famous Parisian rooftops–yet beautiful in its own right!
I had to include an interior photo–what a beautiful museum! ^
Edinburgh Castle top left. ^
Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat
Holyrood Park is a royal park just on the edge of the city. The hike to reach the top peak, which is affectionately referred to as Arthur’s Seat, can be difficult depending on which direction you take. Hiking up the back tends to be a little easier which I did the first time without realizing it, but this last time I attempted a very muddy and slippery hike up the front. I particularly recommend this landmark as it is the only site that is situated on the outskirts of the city, providing an entirely different perspective of Edinburgh than the others. It is a BEAUTIFUL hike with even more beautiful views! Definitely a great place to end your trip on a high note!
I can’t believe the number and variety of views Edinburgh has to offer of her beauteous self. What about you? Have you ever been to Edinburgh? Do you enjoy seeking out big views of the place you’re exploring?