Scotland City Guides »


Edinburgh is the Capital of Scotland, the second largest city of Scotland and the seventh-most populous city in the UK. The seat of the Scottish parliament since 1492, it has since then flourished not only as a city of importance to the governing of the country by also as a major site of academics, commerce and, as of late, tourism. Its long and prominent history is not the only feature of Edinburgh that is of interest to outsiders; for most people the vibrant cultural life, the (for Scotland) relatively mild climate and the beauty of the surrounding countryside is just as great a part of its overall attraction.

Of the city’s four main areas, the Old Town is what tends to attract the most visitors. It starts at the foot of the rocky crag on which Edinburgh castle is located, from where it continues along the Royal Mile and the many smaller streets that run parallel to it. Being confined to the ridge that leads up to the castle, it is an incredibly compact array of buildings that does not leave much room for expansion. It has therefore not undergone much change throughout the centuries, retaining its medieval layout as well as many buildings from the Reformation-era. Prime examples of such architecture include St. Giles Cathedral, the McEwan hall and the Law Courts. It is a must for anyone interested in the city of Edinburgh’s past.

The New Town dates back to the 18th century and is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the world. Granted, a lot of its original architecture has been demolished and replaced, but the layout is roughly the same and has lately only been tampered with for artistic license, fashioning a more picturesque layout from what started out as a strictly ordered and regulated grid system. Although facing tough competition from George Street and Queen Street, both also in the Edinburgh New Town, Princes Street has developed into the main artery of this part of the city as well as the best shopping area there is in the city of Edinburgh. Although sites such as the National Gallery of Scotland can be found here, the New Town is more often counted as the place to go for modern entertainment.

Of Greater Edinburgh, Leith is of particular fame for its sizeable harbour, its many cruiser connections to other North European countries and for showcasing of the Royal Yacht Britannia, which is permanently moored in the area as a museum ship. The South Side, on the other hand, is for most part exclusively a residential area, but it is nonetheless noteworthy for its many universities and schools and for how frequently it has been the setting of the literary works of various authors.