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One Day in Edinburgh Travel Guide – Your perfect day

This is a 24 hours in Edinburgh Scotland guide. Sometimes you only have a short amount of time to explore your travel destination. But you still want to make the best out of it.
My top tip: Be Flexible and enjoy the atmosphere. Don’t stress about having to see every single sight.
I usually like to pick one or two tourist attractions and use the rest of my time exploring the city by just wandering around.

This 24-hour guide can easily be converted into a 2-3 day itinerary or even more.

Here is my recommendation for the perfect 24 hours in Edinburgh Scotland:

Top 12 Main Attractions Of Edinburgh

To help you know what to expect when you visit Edinburgh for the first time, here is a little overview of some of the main sights.

1. Edinburgh Castle
Historic castle in the center of Edinburgh.

2. Arthur’s Seat
Ancient volcano with hiking trails and views.

3. Holyrood Palace
Official residence of the British Queen in Scotland. 

4. Calton Hill
Area with busy shopping areas and quiet residential streets.

5. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Gardens and greenhouses.

6. Royal Mile
Historic streets in the Old Town.

7. St. Giles Cathedral
The main church of the Church of Scotland.

8. Camera Obscura
The Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a tourist attraction in the old town.

9. Mary King’s Close
Guided tours through underground haunted alleys.

10. Scott Monument
Victorian Gothic monument to the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.

11. Grassmarket
Former market place now a popular place to go out.

12. Royal Museum
Museum of Scottish History and Culture.

One Day Itinerary For Edinburgh


Arthur's Seat for Sunrise

If you are an early riser and have enough motivation, you can start your morning with the sunrise on Arthur’s Seat. If you want to save yourself the 30 minute walk, but still want to see a beautiful sunrise, Calton Hill is a good alternative.

Breakfast Option 1: Auld Jock's kitchen

If you want to enjoy a traditional full Scottish breakfast, the Auld Jock’s Kitchen is the way to go. It’s a nice place with an old rustic charm.

Breakfast Option 2: The Edinburgh Larder

The more modern Edinburgh Larder provides seasonal and local food.  Hipster ambiance with delicious food. You might want to take an Instagram picture here.

Royal Mile and Old Town

Explore the historic Old Town of Edinburgh. Two streets you shouldn’t miss are the Royal mile and Victoria Street with all its cute colorful shops.

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Lunch Option 1: The Elephant House

Lunch at Elephant House. Especially popular because J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter books here.

Lunch Option 2: Oink Victoria Street

For a quick pork sandwich, visit the Oink on Victoria Street.

Lunch Option 3: Hula Juice Bar & Healthy Eatery

For fresh, healthy food in a hip atmosphere, go to the Hula Juice Bar & Healthy Eatery.

Visit Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most important sights in Scotland and is located in the city center on Castle Rock.

St. Giles Cathedral

Only a few meters away from Edinburgh Castle is the Camera Obscura. Together with the World of Illusions, it is a popular tourist attraction.

Camera Obscura

Also just a few minutes walk from the castle is St. Giles Cathedral. It is the main church of the Church of Scotland and was probably built in 1120.

Go to a museum or gallery

A visit to a museum or gallery is also worthwhile. Especially recommended are the National Museum of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland.

You should also make a short stop at the Scott Monument while walking along it to get to the museum.

Spend the day at the beach

Who would have thought that Edinburgh has a beach? And even a pretty nice one.

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Dinner Option 1: Whiski Bar & Restaurant

Whiski Bar & Restaurant typical Scottish restaurant where you can taste a few whiskies in addition to the local cuisine.

Dinner Option 2: The Last Drop

Also, a typical Scottish experience is to have dinner in a pub. The Last Drop is perfect for this.

Explore Grassmarket

For those who dare go to the Grassmarket because it is supposed to be haunted. It is also a popular place for a drink or two at the end of the day.

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Additional Attractions In Edinburgh

  • Holyrood Park
  • Dean Village
  • Colinton Station & Tunnel
  • Lauriston Castle

Day Trip Ideas:

  • Fife Coastal Path
  • Glasgow
  • Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park
  • The Jacobite Steam Train and Glenfinnan Viaduct
  • Stirling Castle
  • Alnwick Castle
  • Rosslyn Chapel
  • Hadrian’s Wall
  • Scottish Seabird Centre
  • Falkirk
  • Dundee
  • St. Andrews

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