Got 48 hours in Edinburgh? Here’s what to do

This article was created for The Travel Project by Nicholas Hastie, a travel and health writer located in Brisbane, Australia.

The city of Edinburgh homes a whole heap of history and charm attracting travellers from all over the globe. The Scottish capital is covered with beautiful medieval architecture, hiking tracks, underground cities, shops and restaurants, along with an interesting history to uncover.

On a tight schedule? Here's what to do...

Day 1

In the early hours of the morning we rolled out of bed and headed for Arthurs Seat, a popular hiking trek of Edinburgh just on the outskirts of the city. The hike weaves visitors up a group of hills, to a rocky peak where we were treated to sweeping views of the city. A car park as the base of the hike is available, and wasn’t overly crowded. The hike to the peak took us approximately 1 hour, including some pit stops along the way to enjoy the scenery. When we reached the peak, the views of Edinburgh were well worth the journey and a great way to start of our Edinburgh adventure. We spotted some icons of the cityscape such as Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill. The surface of the peak can be uneven, and on rainy days, the track may be slippery, so be sure to watch your step.

From Arthurs Seat, we hopped back into the car, easily found our way to one of the many parking garages available in the city, and made our way to the Royal Mile. A woven knot of cobblestone roads form the Royal Mile, all leading towards the majestic Edinburgh Castle. We plotted along the street, browsing through the range of scotch-whisky stores, handcrafted markets and souvenir shops available, all before reaching the one and only Edinburgh Castle.

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Edinburgh-castle

The Castle is perched upon an extinct volcano, and towers over the city of Edinburgh. From the 12th century, various Kings have ruled over the city within these walls. We purchased a ticket to enter the Castle, and were provided with a map and an audio guide. Throughout the afternoon, we slowly made our own way through the large structure, whilst receiving an in-depth, captivating summary of the Castle’s past. Some incredible views of the city are also available from some sections of the fortress, so be sure to have your cameras at the ready.

Day 2

On our second, and final full day in Edinburgh, we headed back to the Royal Mile to experience the acclaimed Real Mary King Close. The close is a hidden collection of well-preserved streets beneath the Royal Mile, dating back to the 17th century. We bought two tickets to the Mary King Close experience on the day, and soon after, journeyed underground. We went through the maze of streets, whilst getting an insight into the way of life in Edinburgh during these medieval periods. The experience was definitely a highlight of the trip, and extremely close to the other delights of the Royal Mile.

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Edinburgh-Calton-View

A 5-minute walk from the Mary King Close led us to a Scotch Whisky Tasting Experience. The tour began with a barrel ride, leading us through the history and significance of scotch whisky and Scotland, along with a guide on how it is made and aged. After the ride, we met up with our tour guide, and were provided with two different scotch whiskeys to taste. The tasting process was explained, using every sense from sight to smell. Afterwards, we continued onward, into the in-house priceless whisky collection, home to over 3000 bottles. All ending with a complimentary proper scotch whisky tasting glass.

A few whiskeys down, in the afternoon we made the trek up to Calton Hill, a 15-minute walk from the Royal Mile. We walked through Princes Street, the shopping hub of Edinburgh, and up to the peak of the hill. A much shorter walk than Arthurs Seat, this spot is a must for seeing the beautiful cityscape. As the sun began to set, our time in Edinburgh had come to a close. The city is home to a vast collection things to see and do, and when visiting, be sure to allocate enough time to thoroughly explore these wonders.

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