Walking around Edinburgh and self-guided routes

Walking is one of the best ways to get around Edinburgh. Especially, if you are around the city centre.

Edinburgh is a very manageable city

Apart from the suburbs in the outer parts of the city, you can walk from one end of Edinburgh to another in less than an hour.

Also, walking around Edinburgh is safe at any time. Of course, be careful when crossing the street, the traffic lights for pedestrians last very little and you should always look both ways when crossing, remember that cars in the UK drive on the opposite side.

The labyrinth of the Old Town

You will test your orientation skills going through the Old Town of Edinburgh, with bridges and alleys that cross every direction it is a very messy design, it would be a good idea for you to have a map of the city at hand so you don’t get lost.

Edinburgh Old Town

You will also find many hills in the Old Town, if you want to avoid them, use as many bridges as you can. The best example is North Bridge that leads you directly to Princes Street in New Town.

Be prepared for all kinds of weather

The climate in Edinburgh is very variable throughout the year. So stay informed about the weather forecast and always try to wear something warm, using appropriate clothing and footwear really makes a difference.

Also, keep in mind that the wind here blows very harshly, so in a windy and rainy day, the umbrella will serve you very little.

The upside is, even though it rains here quite often throughout the year, it is usually not persistent and not very intense.

Walking in Edinburgh

Routes you will discover walking around Edinburgh

Undoubtedly, Edinburgh is a city that will invite you to discover it by walking. In addition to being very comfortable, it is full of parks and gardens, some of which will give you the opportunity to enjoy the nature and the typical landscapes of Scotland without actually leaving the city.

To find the best views of Edinburgh you will probably have to reach them on foot. One example is Calton Hill, from this location you will contemplate the classic view of the Old Town in just a few minutes walk from Princess Street.

There are also other routes that, without going very far, will allow you to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

1. Arthur's Seat

The highest peak of the Holyrood Park, with its 250 meters of altitude, it dominates Edinburgh and its surroundings.

Although the base of the mountain is attached to the Palace of Holyrood and may seem not as high, the climb is tough and we recommend you bring mountain shoes and appropriate clothes as it gets extremely windy at the top. It is also important that you bring water, as you will not find any source along the way.

The journey up and down on foot will take you more than an hour, but it's worth it, because you'll enjoy the spectacular views of the entire environment of Edinburgh.

Arthur's Seat

2. Water of Leith

You will be able to walk about 12 miles (20 kilometers) down the river that crosses Edinburgh next to the Water of Leith, just between the neighborhoods of Balerno and Leith.

Because of the dense vegetation, it makes this spot unique and will make you forget that you are in a urban environment. In addition, the river is very clean and will find a large amount of fish swimming through its waters.

The section that unites Dean Village with Stockbridge is were you will find the most amount of people passing through, and there is a reason for it as it is a beautiful spot to visit.

The final section is also very interesting as it is next to the mouth of the river in the old port of Leith. It is an area with very good restaurants and where you can also visit the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Water of Leith

3. Union Canal

Alongside this canal you will be able to enjoy a beautiful walk around the city. Built at the beginning of the 19th century, this canal starts just in the center of Edinburgh at Fountainbridge.

Usually people walk a while and turn back, but if you continue on for about 31 miles (50km), you will end up in Falkirk Town were this canal splits into Forth & Clyde Canal through a modern boat lift called the Falkirk Wheel.

The main channel can also be covered on foot and would take you to Glasgow. Of course, first you would have to cover the 66 miles (106km) it take to get there!

Union Canal
Find many more curiosities and anecdotes about Edinburgh in our tours around the city.