A Guide: 24 hrs In The Fairytale City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh is without a doubt the most charming, dreamiest city I have ever been to. Visiting the capital of Scotland truly is like stepping directly into a fairy tale. Old cobblestone streets, Gothic sandstone buildings, and mysterious towers look like the perfect place to keep a princess captive. It is also exceptionally pedestrian-friendly, in size and layout. Making it possible to visit most of the main attractions in a day, but hopefully, you stay a bit longer. However, if you are just passing by here is A Guide: 24 hrs In The Fairytale City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh old town buildings

A Guide: 24 hrs In The Fairytale City of Edinburgh

Where to sleep

When visiting a city for a short amount of time I think it’s important to make sure that your accommodation is somewhere central. We have no precious time to waste commuting. And I found exactly this in the Point A hotel. The rooms are not the biggest but they are extremely clean and modern. The hotel is within walking distance of the train station where we arrived from the airport, and also to most main attractions.

Where to have breakfast

Breakfast at Lovecrumbs in Edinburg. A scone with cream and jam, a brownie and two cappuccinos.

First things first; morning fuel. Point A Hotel is luckily within walking distance of one of the coziest coffee shops in town; Lovecrumbs. The cutest, homiest place with incredible coffee, and scones so famously delicious you need to rush out of bed in the morning to make sure you get one before they sell out. It happens every day at around 10 am. I’m not a morning person, but setting up the alarm extra early for this was absolutely worth it. Would do it again. Their brownies are also to die for. And the whole place’s aesthetic just makes you feel warm and safe and like you are the main character in an indie film. I would love to be a regular there.

Yes, I’m a fangirl for this place.

Stop by Armchair Books

Facade of Armchair Books in Edinburgh

Just a few steps away from Lovecrumbs is Armchair Books. A bookshop I kept seeing on everyone’s list to visit. This is a used bookshop, with mountains of books on the floor, and even more flooding from the shelves. It looks like the library of a mad man, in the best way possible – a little bit like Sherlock Holmes organized mess. And I love it.

Explore Grassmarket Square

Grassmarket Square in Edinburgh

Keep walking on West Port street until it turns into Grassmarket and you will inevitably find yourself at Grassmarket square. A quaint little plaza with a stunning view of the Edinburgh castle in the back, making it one of the most iconic views of the city.

Photograph Victoria Street

Colorful houses in Victoria Street Edinburgh

And speaking of iconic, Victoria Street is just a few steps away. Victoria Street is a very unique curved road, lined with colorful houses and cute local businesses. Making it almost impossible to walk the whole length of the street without stopping in at every other shop.

The angle and curve of the street also make it an extremely photogenic spot of the city. For Harry Potter fans this street is also known as the real-life Diagon Alley. Since it is rumored that J.K. Rowling got inspired by it to create the famous alley in the wizard’s world.

Fall in love with the University of Edinburgh

New College from the University of Edinburgh building

Another iconic spot you cannot miss is the ridiculously beautiful New College building from the University of Edinburgh. It is seriously breathtaking. It will make you feel right at Hogwarts. And honestly, if I could study there I might just never stop being a student. The building is an extraordinary piece of neo-Gothic architecture that will make all your dark academia dreams come true.

Make sure to also stop at The Writers Museum close by. It would be rude not to, considering that Edinburgh is recognized as a UNESCO World City of Literature.

Enjoy the Princes Street Gardens

Prince Street Gardens in Edinburgh with a view of the castle in the back

Walk over to the gardens and take a little stroll through the greenery. Enjoy the view of the magnificent castle at the top, and watch out for the roar of the cannon that goes off every day at 1 pm (except Sundays). If you are getting hungry at this point, worry no more.

Where to have lunch

A vegetarian sandwich and a tea pot of mint tea at Lowdown Coffee

I’ve got two options for you depending on how much you want to walk. First up is the Lowdown Coffee, a casual coffee shop with baked goods and light lunch options (we are keeping it light because dinner is going to be good). At Lowdown I got my first ever vegetarian sandwich, and I have to admit I was impressed, and a pot of fresh mint tea. The service was really lovely and their dessert options look delicious.

My second option for you is Archipelago Bakery, where you can get a hearty bowl of soup with a warm slice of bread right out of the oven for around 5 pounds. I was visiting Edinburgh during March so the warm meal was really much appreciated to fight the chills of walking all day.

Walk the Royal Mile

Old buildings at the Royal Mile Edinburgh

Now that you sat down for a while and recharged your batteries is time to get back on your feet and walk the Royal Mile. To be completely honest it is quite a tourist thing to do, but we are tourists, so might as well. Here you can find all the whisky and Tartan shops to complete your souvenir shopping.

Sunset at Calton Hill

View from  the top of Calton hill in Edinburgh

If you already made it all the way to the end of the Royal Mile it would be a shame to turn around now. So take a breath, maybe a sip of water – I always carry a water bottle- and get to the top of Calton Hill. Here you will get a magnificent view of the whole city, and if you get lucky you might also get a spectacular sunset. On the way to Calton Hill, you will also pass by the imposing Balmoral hotel, make sure to take a few minutes to scan it up and down and admire its beauty.

Walk around the Old Town

On the way back make sure to walk through the Old Town, take a stroll around the area, and don’t miss the beautiful St Giles Cathedral and make use of their free entrance (if it’s still open).

Dinner and drinks

Woman holding a cocktail at McGonagalls Gin & Whisky Emporium

Hear me out, this one might sound a bit unconventional for dinner, but I really enjoyed having dinner and drinks at McGonagalls Gin & Whisky Emporium. I tried a few different places for a “typical Scottish dinner” and this was my favorite place by far. My bangers and mash were rich in flavor, same as their pie, which my friend ordered.

I’m not much of a beer drinker, but they also have a variety of beers and tasty ciders, that my friend approved of. Lucky for me they also specialize in cocktail drinks and their gin sour is a solid 10/10. The place has the vibe and looks of a pub, but with beautiful flower wallpaper and lots of art hanging on the walls, which for some reason remind me of Alice in Wonderland.

Hope you found “A guide: 24 hrs in the fairytale city of Edinburgh” useful. There is so much to see in this beautiful city so if you do have the time to stay a bit longer I hope that you do. I was there for 3 days and 2 nights, and I am definitely planning on going back at some point for a longer stay. Let me know if you end up trying any of my recommendations.

Happy travels!

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