Wanderful Women’s Travel Guides offer a comprehensive resource to start planning your travels. We aggregate helpful travel tips from Women Travel Creators who visit or live in the destination so you can learn from various perspectives. Get started planning your trip with help from the global Wanderful community!
Wanderful Women’s Travel Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland
Ready to plan a trip to Edinburgh? Start with this women’s travel guide, which highlights places to eat, explore, learn, and meet new friends.
If this is your first visit to Edinburgh, you’re in for a treat! From ancient history to modern art, Edinburgh welcomes visitors from around the world for a wide variety of reasons.
Edinburgh is easily accessible due to its international airport just outside the city. There is also easy train access from throughout England and Scotland, and buses are available to connect visitors from throughout the region.
For solo female travelers, Edinburgh is a fantastic city to explore. With a warm welcome and friendly banter, Scotland is known as a safe and fun destination to explore.
Get all our travel tips for Edinburgh in the links below. We have tapped into our global Wanderful community to gather the resources and insights you need to start to plan a trip to Edinburgh — and elsewhere in Scotland!
What to See and Do in Edinburgh, Scotland
The top things to see in Edinburgh include everything from historic Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace to the annual festivals and events that make the city come alive. Whether you like history, nature, architecture, or literature — Edinburgh is the city for you!
Recommendations for Things to See and Do in Edinburgh:
Neighborhoods to Explore
- You should explore pretty Dean Village and the hidden gem of Stockbridge in Edinburgh.
- Kay, local Edinburgh blogger at The Chaotic Scot, shares her local’s guide to the best views in Edinburgh so you can marvel at this stunning city from every angle!
- Make sure you catch a sunset from Calton Hill, the best spot in Edinburgh!
And here’s an iconic view in Edinburgh:
Beaches and Islands
How about an island you can walk to near Edinburgh? So cool!
And then check these out:
Nature and Walking
- Need some more nature in your visit? Here’s a guide to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.
- Or there are the Pentland Hills for walking near Edinburgh.
- Try these 5 hikes you can do in Edinburgh.
- And then there are all the parks and green spaces you can explore year-round in Edinburgh.
Things to do
- Here are some ideas of things to do in Edinburgh, plus a bonus list of even more suggestions!
- Take advantage of free things to do in the city and this list of more free things to do in Edinburgh!
- And here are suggestions for the best things to do in Edinburgh, from a local expat.
- Need more ideas? Check out these 9 hidden gems in Edinburgh.
- Here’s what it’s like to be a tourist in Edinburgh and to travel to Edinburgh as a couple.
- Families with kids can check out these things to do and also check this list of places to explore. Any families visiting in 2020 should check current openings and options.
- What’s it like to visit Scotland as a Black traveler? Get that perspective in Travel Noire and from Glo at The Blog Abroad. And you can also watch this:
Edinburgh is a very old city, which can pose problems with accessibility. There have been great efforts to improve this, but here is a helpful resource to learn more.
Tours to Try
- Book a tour with Black History Walks to learn the past and present of Black people in Edinburgh. You can read about the tour here.
- Invisible Cities is a social enterprise offering walking tours led by local people who have experienced homelessness. The Powerful Women tour is a great place to start!
- Frighten your friends with these haunted Edinburgh attractions.
- Take the Real Mary King’s Close Tour to see an entombed city street that’s centuries old.
- Did you know Edinburgh has loads of Harry Potter connections? Learn all about them on this Edinburgh Harry Potter tour, recommended by Claire from Tales of a Backpacker.
- Outlander fan? Take the Mercat Tours Outlander experience in Edinburgh, shared by Nicola of Funky Ellas Travel.
- Michelle recommends you take a chocolate tour!
- Curious about your Scottish ancestry? Kirsten did a tour to explore her family roots and shares how you can do the same.
Day Trip Options
When you’re ready to go farther afield, Amanda Walkins recommends you take these easy day trips from Edinburgh to explore more of Scotland.
And Maggie McKneely of Pink Caddy Travelogue offers an epic 8-day itinerary starting and ending in Edinburgh.
Listen: Music, Arts, & Events in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is known as The Festival City. You can visit almost any month of the year and enjoy a major event, from the world-leading Fringe Festival in August to Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) in December to the International Film Festival in June.
If you’re not up for the big events, Edinburgh also has plenty of places to enjoy live music, marvel at the arts, and dance the night away.
Recommendations for Music & Events in Edinburgh:
Sonja, a Kiwi expat living in Edinburgh and blogger at Migrating Miss, recommends you visit Edinburgh in August for the incredible festival season, especially the Royal Edinburgh Miltary Tattoo. She says, “I never knew quite what to expect with the Tattoo, even though I’d watched it on TV as a child, but I was completely blown away.”
There are 5 simultaneous festivals in Edinburgh in August. Check them all out for an extraordinary cultural experience!
Get more advice for visiting during the August festivals:
- Visiting Edinburgh for the August Festivals
- A Guide to Edinburgh’s Festivals in August
- How to Spend One Day at the Edinburgh Festivals in August
- How to Do the Edinburgh Fringe Like a Local
Other Festivals in Edinburgh
- Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Scottish fashion! Hogmanay – The Most Epic New Year’s Celebration You’ve Never Heard Of.
- Welcome Summer at the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh.
Want to prepare yourself for the Scottish accent? Watch these movies filmed in Edinburgh (although not all of them feature Scots).
Live Music & Dancing
- Want to check out some live music during your visit? The Skinny is a helpful resource.
- You can’t visit Edinburgh without trying a ceilidh! A ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is a traditional dance in Scotland, which you can learn and try at Ghillie Dhu.
- For more ideas on live music — from jazz to classical to metal and more — check out Timeout’s guide for venues in Edinburgh.
Taste of Edinburgh: What to Eat and Drink
Edinburgh (and all of Scotland) is known for a few things, whisky being one of the more famous. But there’s also haggis, Irn Bru, deep-fried Mars Bars, and so much more.
Edinburgh is a very international city these days, though, so you’re sure to find a wide variety of cuisines to eat and diverse options for drink beyond the traditional dram.
Recommendations for Food & Drink in Edinburgh:
What to Eat and Drink in Edinburgh
- Everything Edinburgh offers a fantastic guide on what to eat in Edinburgh, highlighting traditional Scottish foods and where to find them.
- Looking for traditional Scottish fare? Get the recipes to try at home from Scottish Scran — start with this recipe for Cranachan!
- Another popular option, try any of these 18 afternoon teas in Edinburgh.
- These vegan restaurants in Edinburgh prove that Scottish fare has evolved beyond the traditional and into the much more diverse modern options.
- Want more vegan options? There’s a whole blog for that! Check out Vegan Edinburgh.
Where to Eat in Edinburgh
- Here are some restaurant recommendations in Edinburgh from Kate, of the blog Love from Scotland.
- And these affordable fine dining restaurants in Edinburgh will stretch the budget and probably the waistline, too!
Pubs and Beer Gardens
- Try these 11 cheap pubs in Edinburgh so you can explore the city through taste — without breaking the bank!
- These 15 beer gardens in Edinburgh are ideal for those rare sunny days in Scotland.
- Need more watering holes? Here are the top pubs in Edinburgh, as voted by readers of Two Scots Abroad.
Whisky (and Gin!)
Edinburgh has a big gin following these days, so you should take an Edinburgh gin tour like Victoria of The Aye Life.
Kathi, of Scottish travel blog Watch Me See, recommends you try the Water of Life when you visit Edinburgh, either as part fo a tour or in a local pub. She says, “Whether you are already a connoisseur, or still green behind your ears like I was when I arrived in Glasgow, a trip to Scotland would not be complete without a Scottish whisky experience of some sort.”
She has an Essential Guide to Trying Scottish Whisky to get you started!
Understand: History, Culture, and Going Beyond the Tourist Track in Edinburgh
If you travel to Edinburgh, you simply can’t miss the depth of history this city has to offer. From the castle atop a dormant volcano to the dark stories of plague, witch hunts, and more — Edinburgh has layers of history reflected in the layers of the city itself.
Museums, tours, and delving deeper into the culture is a great way to learn more about Edinburgh while visiting Scotland.
Recommendations for Learning About Edinburgh:
Museums and More for Learning
- Here are 5 free museums in Edinburgh you can explore to learn more about the area, courtesy of The Chaotic Scot.
- Learn the history of Edinburgh in 101 objects, per Susanne of Adventures Around Scotland.
- Learn about the terrible history of witch hunts in Edinburgh and beyond.
- Learn about Edinburgh’s connection with the African slave trade from the National Library of Scotland and from Historic Environment Scotland. You can also read articles here and here.
Life in Edinburgh
Want to know what it’s like to move to Scotland? Amanda Walkins shares her take on being an American expat in Scotland and Yvette Webster shares what it’s like as a Kiwi living in Edinburgh.
Sustainable Travel in Edinburgh and Scotland
Yvette, local blogger at Wayfaring Kiwi, recommends you support businesses with a Green Tourism Certificate to be a more sustainable traveler in Scotland. She says, “You will know that businesses with these awards are doing their utmost for a sustainable Scotland- so book your tour, accommodation, lunch date etc with them!”
She has 24 other tips for being a better visitor to this bonnie country, so take heed!
Connect: Meet Wanderful Women in Edinburgh
The Wanderful Edinburgh Chapter would love to welcome you when you visit this historic city! You can connect directly via the members-only app.
Other Resources for Planning a Trip to Edinburgh
- VisitScotland has plenty of advice for Edinburgh travel
- This is Edinburgh is the official guide to Edinburgh
- Historic Environment Scotland manages many sites