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3 Days in Edinburgh: Itinerary Ideas

It’s easy to spend an entire week – if not longer – visiting just the Old Town of Edinburgh , so squeezing in a lot of sights in 3 days can be a challenge. It would be a good idea to make a list of the must-see places to visit in the city. This itinerary article hopes to do exactly that: highlight some of the most important places to visit and offer ideas on how to efficiently visit them.

Itinerary assumptions:

  • You will be flying in/out of Edinburgh or travel by train.
  • You will be using the public transportation or walk during your stay. Alternately you can rent a bike for the last day in the city.
  • You will be staying in a hostel or hotel close to the attractions, such as a hotel near Edinburgh Castle
  • Use a map to get around the city.

Day 1

You can start the day with a free walking tour of Edinburgh, which is a good way to get to know the city and get some detailed information on the sights. The tour leaves daily at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. from in front of Starbucks Coffee on High Street. The tour takes about 3 ½ h and visits, among other places: Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile, Old & New Towns, Grassmarket, Tron Kirk and The Scottish Enlightenment.

It’s best to visit the Castle in the morning, so leave that for tomorrow. Instead, go back to the Royal Mile , where you can find plenty of cafes and restaurants to grab a bite. After lunch, cross the North Bridge and visit the Georgian New Town. The most famous street here is Princess Street , which is home to many stores. You can also climb up Calton Hill for some lovely views of New Town. Head to George Street for dinner and then go back to the hostel or hotel.

Day 2

Start your day early, at Edinburgh Castle (it opens at 9:30 a.m.). Then walk on the Royal Mile all the way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. You can visit St. Giles Cathedral on the way, but most importantly, take your time and wander down narrow alleys to get a different view of the area. When you get hungry, stop to grab a bite in one of the cafés.

Or you can skip the cafés and restaurants and check out Grassmarket . The area is surrounded by pubs and cafes , as well as retail shops.

>>read about What to Eat in Scotland

Day 3

Make the last day in the city one filled with spending time in nature. You can hike to the top of Arthur’s Seat, located about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. It offers the best views of the city. Then, make your way towards the Royal Botanic Garden , which can be easily reached by bus or bike.

You’d also want to allow some time to visit Leith, the original port of Edinburgh. You can find plenty of places to grab a meal here, too.

Go back to the Old Town and do some last minute souvenir shopping before leaving Edinburgh.

Practical information:

By the end of September 2012, you can expect to pay from €30.63 per person, per night in a double or twin private room; a bed in a 16 bed dorm starts at €12.76 per night for the same time frame. By the end of November 2012, the twin or double room starts at €28.08 per night, while a bed in a 14 bed dorm starts at €8.30 per night.

Photos via Google Images