I had previously traveled to Edinburgh, briefly in February and I now know what I missed out on. Edinburgh is beautiful and full of character. After our whirlwind adventure in the highlands, I wasn't ready to leave the outdoors but Edinburgh presented a beautiful city with a lively environment. It was a change of pace, that's for sure, and definitely more touristy than the places we had previously been - but it still had that charm that I love in older cities.
We stayed in Old Town Edinburgh, which I highly recommend, because it's the prettier part of town, I think. Less modern and full of charm and character. (Find a roundtrip ticket to Edinburgh, for the month of your choice, via Skyscanner now!)
If you only have 24 hours in Edinburgh, like we did, I highly recommend focusing on the Royal Mile. It allows you to see majority of the attractions in Edinburgh and it has several restaurants and shops on that street as well.
We stayed at the Hoppo Backpackers Hostel in Edinburgh and I would highly recommend it. It was right where we needed to be, in terms of the royal mile, and it had a cafe right next to it where we got (I believe) 15% off of our meal!
We got in kind of late on a Saturday and so we decided to put all of our stuff in the room and freshen up to hit the town! Little did we know, however, that after we left one of the famous pubs in Edinburgh would we end up in a pub crawl! A girl we had met previously in the hostel told us that if you leave the backdoor of the place we were at, that's where all the good places are, so we did just that and ended up being a part of Edinburgh Pub Crawl which was the best time I've ever had. We had came in kind of late so we were only able to go to 6/7 pubs that were on the list but it's such a fun experience! You get a drink, for free, at each place that you visit and then you get free admission to the places. We didn't expect to be a part of a pub crawl or get home at 2am but hey, when in Edinburgh, right?
The next morning we woke up and hit the royal mile. We started at the Edinburgh Castle and made our way down. If you aren't aware of what the royal mile is or how to go about it, I highly suggest picking up Lonely Planet's "Scotland" guide because they laid out the royal mile in map form and how to hit most of the attractions. We made a few pit stops like holding Floyd the Owl and popping into the Elephant House Cafe where JK Rowling thought up Harry Potter. I, actually, would recommend this place because it has really good coffee and what looked like really good food. It was also good to just sit for a bit and imagine what it was like thinking up the Harry Potter series!
"JK Rowling wrote the Potter books over coffee and cake in this relaxed writer/reader-friendly cafe."
Address: 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN
Phone: 0131 220 5355
After the Elephant House we continued on the Royal Mile towards the Palace of Holyroodhouse which marks the end of the royal mile. It's also right across the street from Scottish Parliament, which is a really cool building I didn't get a chance to take a picture of.
On the way back, we stopped at Pancho Villas to eat and it was amazing. Really, I was just craving some good Mexican food and I'm glad I was because they did not disappoint. We made it just in time to get the tapas menu so it was pretty cheap, I'd say! So definitely check them out if you are in the area or walking along the royal mile.
While we didn't really venture over to the new area of Edinburgh, there is plenty to keep you busy and occupied in Old Town. I would recommend doing the royal mile and spending time at whichever monument or attraction speaks to you most. It's definitely doable to see Edinburgh in 24 hours. Would I recommend it? Probably not, I would have loved to stay for a few more days, but we know how travel can be so enjoy it while you are there and make the most out of it!