In the table down below, we summarize very quickly, the route that you will follow in our two-day visit to Edinburgh itinerary. You can interchange the days to best suit your personal needs, but remember to take into account the opening hours of the places and attractions that you are going to visit.
Get a head start while visiting this part of the city with our Old Town Free Walking tour, where a local guide will take you through the oldest and most iconic buildings and monuments the Capital has to offer, also sharing tips for getting the most out of your visit.
If you are the type of person that likes starting the day strong and full of energy there is a 10 am option, but if you want to take it a little bit easier there is also another tour at 11 am.
The tour moves through the Old Town, one of the more important places you will visit is Greyfriars Cemetery, best known for Bobby the dog, but also a place full of history and myth. Visit the church inside where a very famous pact was signed, The National Covenant.
Discover all the secrets of this once infamous kirkyard, like The Covenanters Prison. This spot also holds great importance to all the Harry Potter fans, as it was a source of inspiration for the author while writing the books.
Find out more in the Free Harry Potter tour
National Museum of Scotland
In Edinburgh, there are a few museums that you should definitely not miss. The most important of them is the National Museum of Scotland, offering you a journey through the History of Scotland, from its geological origin to the present day.
It is presented in an interactive way that interests people of all ages. You can relive from the inside of a race car cockpit how Jackie Stewart won the Formula 1 World Cup. Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, or The Maiden, the old guillotine that was used in Edinburgh centuries ago.
St Giles Cathedral
Crossing George IV Bridge, you will end up next to St. Giles Cathedral, the most important church in Scotland and a symbol of the triumph of Protestant reform back in the 16th century.
If you head inside you will see a statue of John Knox, leader of the Scottish Reformation and who is buried in a very humble location in the back of the building which you will be able to visit.
Perhaps you will be able to attend one of their musical concerts, they are free and held in an unbeatable setting. You can check the schedule of the events on their website. Also don’t miss the Knights of the Order of the Thistle Chapel, inside the Cathedral.
Princes Street Gardens
After lunch take a stroll through Princes Street Gardens, where you can enjoy some of the best views of the Old Town. If you are lucky enough to visit Edinburgh on sunnier days, grab a book, relax on its meadows and enjoy a truly local experience.
The immense Gothic tower that stands in the park is the one that locals presume to be the largest monument in the world in memory of a writer. It is the Monument to Sir Walter Scott, one of the most illustrious and beloved Scottish nationals.
After enjoying the park, take a walk around the New Town, the other historic neighborhood of Edinburgh that, along with the Old Town, have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.
The New Town was also the epicenter of Scottish Enlightenment. Enjoy its Neoclassical architecture, its squares, its shops and famous pubs.
If you want to know more about this neighborhood and delve into the great transformation of Edinburgh in the 18th century, don't miss the New Town Free Walking Tour.
At the end of the New Town, near Waverley Train Station, you will find Calton Hill, if you climb up the stairs you will end up with the most exceptional views of Edinburgh and one of the best places to watch the sunset over the Old Town.
Once up there, you can relax for a while, see its monuments or just take one of the best photos ever.
Free Ghost Tour
To end the first day of your two-day visit, we suggest you immerse yourself by joining a Free Ghost tour and discovering Edinburgh’s dark past. This one hour-and-a-half tour takes you through alleys and historic cemeteries of the Old Town, you will learn about characters and sinister stories of the old city.
Start the day by visiting Edinburgh Castle, one of the most important attractions in all of Scotland. If you head inside you will find museums, dungeons, curiosities like the Crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, as well as a lot of history.
If you wish to visit the Castle, we recommend you do so with a guided tour to make the most of your visit.
The Royal Mile has been the main road of the Old Town for centuries, linking the two royal residences of Edinburgh, the Castle and Holyrood Palace. The distance between both residences is about one Scottish mile, hence the name.
Because of its historical importance, you will find here many of Edinburgh’s most significant monuments. You can walk from one end to another in a short time and will be one of the most pleasant experiences of your visit.
Canongate Kirk and Graveyard
If you head down the Royal Mile towards Holyrood Palace, you will reach Canongate Kirk, which because of its simplicity, represents perfectly what a Presbyterian church usually looks like.
The cemetery surrounding it, is one of Edinburgh’s historic graveyards, with most of the tombstones well preserved. Among them you will find the tomb of Adam Smith, a well known and illustrious citizen.
Once you reach the end of the Royal Mile, you will find yourself at Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the Queen of England when visiting Edinburgh.
Unless a member of the Royal House is in town, you will be able to head inside and visit the palace. You will walk through the Throne Room, Mary Stuart’s personal chambers and the Ruins of Holyrood Chapel.
Just opposite the Palace you will find the Scottish Parliament building, which brought a lot of controversy because of its design. It is worth mentioning that this building has received important recognitions in the world of architecture, both in the UK and internationally.
At this point of your visit, if you still have energy and the weather allows it, we suggest climbing Arthur’s Seat, the highest point in Holyrood Park, where you will enjoy breathtaking views and have a chance to walk in the middle of nature without leaving Edinburgh.
It is important that you go with warm clothes and appropriate footwear, since it is a mountain and the terrain is quite uneven. Careful while climbing up, as you will feel the wind getting stronger. Do not forget to bring water, as there are no fountains throughout the journey.
Even if you feel that maybe climbing up is too much for you, we still recommend taking a walk through Holyrood Park as you will get a real feel of the Scottish landscape.
Scottish National Gallery
After a bite to eat and some time to relax and recharge your energies, take a walk to the National Gallery of Scotland, next to Princes Street Gardens.
This is Scotland’s largest art gallery, featuring works by some of the greatest painters since the Renaissance. Entry, like most Scottish museums, is free.
It is time to make a very entertaining and surprising visit, which will captivate the attention of people of all ages, the Camera Obscura, a world of illusions, located on the Royal Mile, near the Castle.
Inside you will find all kinds of visual games and illusions scared through five different floors. Holograms, mirrored rooms and other distortions of reality that will stimulate your senses.
Camera Obscura, like the name implies, is a place that projects images from the outside and plays with that idea giving a unique perception of what you see inside. It is a wonderful experience and one you shouldn’t miss.
If you do not want to leave Edinburgh without discovering some of its best bars, clubs and live music venues, a highly recommended option is the Edinburgh Pub Crawl, where you will meet people from all around the world and together with a professional party guide have a great night out!