17/06/2024

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3 days in Edinburgh Itinerary: 3 days of sightseeing, culture & fun

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3 days in Edinburgh Itinerary: 3 days of sightseeing, culture & fun

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Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland lives up to its reputation as the world’s leading festival city and is a melting pot of talent, performance, and audience from around the world. This 3 days in Edinburgh itinerary is designed to guide you through the city’s iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and must-try culinary delights. 

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, Edinburgh will melt your heart! 

3 days in Edinburgh Itinerary and Travel Guide

Edinburgh itinerary 3 days pin
Edinburgh itinerary 3 days

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Located in central eastern Scotland, Edinburgh was founded around the 7th century and has been the capital city of Scotland since the 15th century. 

The city was founded around the Water of the Leith River and has two distinct neighborhoods – the medieval old town dating back to the 12th century and the Georgian new town built around the 18th century. 

Girl at the Princes Street Gardens

The old town is the oldest part of the city and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The city offers a uniquely diverse architectural and cultural landscape, where ancient and contemporary mingle to deliver a perfect blend of experiences that will leave you with timeless memories! 

Here is a quick snapshot of Edinburgh 3 day itinerary,

Edinburgh itinerary 3 days

  • Day 1 of Edinburgh 3 day itinerary: St Andrew Square, the Royal Mile, St Giles Cathedral, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Scotch Whisky Experience, Grassmarket
  • Day 2 of Edinburgh 3 day itinerary: Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, Princes Street, Scottish National Gallery, Scott Monument, Princes Street Gardens, James Quarter
  • Day 3 of Edinburgh 3 day itinerary: Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill attractions, The Royal Yacht Britannia & more options
  • Alternate day 3 Edinburgh itinerary idea: Edinburgh to Scottish Highlands day trip

Resources: One day in Edinburgh itinerary | Scotland itinerary 4 days

Preparing for your trip to Scotland’s capital city

Here are some quick tips to get you acquainted with the UNESCO City of Literature 

Visa Requirements

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom. If you are a passport holder of a nonvisa-exempt country, you will have to apply for a UK tourist visa prior to your travel. 

American and Canadian passport holders can enter the UK visa-free and can stay up to 6 months. 

Currency and Languages spoken: 

The official currency of the UK is the GBP Pound.

Languages spoken are English, Gaelic, Scots, British Sign Language 

Getting to Edinburgh Scotland:

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport, with several major and budget airlines, connecting the city with destinations across US, Canada, and Europe. 

Edinburgh Airport

If you are flying to Scotland, then you can book a flight to Edinburgh Airport. 

Edinburgh is well-connected to major cities and towns through a well-developed network of airports, rail, and roads.

Pro Tip: If you are visiting Edinburgh from London, there is an option of an overnight bus (coach) trip with an early morning arrival in the city. 

We booked our overnight bus (coach) trip from London, through National Express, and with early morning arrival at Edinburgh Bus Station, we could start exploring the city the same morning!  

Book your bus (coach) trip from London to Edinburgh coach starting from £14.90* | National Express

Edinburgh Airport to City Centre: 

The distance between Edinburgh Airport to City Centre is approximately 12 kilometres (8 miles) and takes around 30 minutes. 

The city centre is easily accessible from the airport by bus, taxi, tram or car.

  • Bus – You can pre-book easy and convenient transfers from Edinburgh Airport to City Centre. Edinburgh Bus Transfers provides frequent bus departures from just outside the airport terminal and fares start at £4 ($5).

Book your transfer to and from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre

  • Taxi The city centre is approximately 30 minutes drive from Edinburgh Airport. If you have pre-booked a taxi, you can set up a meeting point at the pickup zone located on the ground floor of the multi-level car park.

Book your private arrival or departure transfer here

  • Trams – Edinburgh Trams offer easy access from the airport to the city center. Edinburgh Tram route operates between the airport and St Andrews Square, covering a distance of around 14 kilometers (8.6 miles). 
  • Car – Edinburgh Airport is not only a 20-minute drive from the city centre but is also 5 minutes away from M9, one of Scotland’s major motorways. The airport has ample parking options including terminal parking, mid-stay, long-stay, multi-story, and drive-up and park. There is also an option to get a parking quote or pre-book your parking online

Where to stay in Edinburgh Scotland

There is a wide range of properties to choose from during your visit to Edinburgh!

We stayed at Moxy Edinburgh Fountainbridge by Marriott Bonvoy, a modern 4-star hotel with dining and a rooftop bar. 

Moxy Fountainbridge

The property offers stylish rooms, an elegant lobby complete with a bar and fitness center, free Wi-Fi, and a 24-hour front desk. 

The hotel is located 6.8 kilometres (4.2 miles) from Edinburgh Airport, a 16-minute walk to Edinburgh Castle, and a 10-minute walk to Haymarket train station.

Click to book your accommodation at  Moxy Edinburgh Fountainbridge

Other hotel options

  • Doubletree by Hilton: If you are looking to stay in Edinburgh City Centre with great views of Edinburgh Castle, Doubletree by Hilton, located on Bread Street is a fantastic option. This 4-star property is equipped with modern rooms, a stylish restaurant, a bar, and a fitness center. The hotel is a convenient 10-minute walk to Princes Street, a 15-minute walk to Edinburgh Castle, and is located around 1.5 kilometre (1 mile) from Edinburgh Waverly Train Station.

Book your accommodation at Doubletree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre, Edinburgh by clicking here

  • Crowne Plaza Edinburgh: Crowne Plaza Edinburgh is another option with a great location in the heart of the city. The Georgian Hotel is a 4-star property with clean, comfortable rooms, located in close proximity to Edinburgh Waverly Rail Station, Princes Street, and Edinburgh Castle. The property has a bar and a Terrace restaurant with a garden view.

Book your stay at Crowne Plaza Edinburgh – Royal Terrace, an IHG Hotel by clicking here

Excited to explore one of the most beautiful cities in the world? Here is a 3-day itinerary, to help you immerse yourself in Edinburgh’s rich history and culture that is shaped by wars, revolution, reformation, and enlightenment!

Day 1 of 3 days in Edinburgh itinerary: St Andrew Square, the Royal Mile, St Giles Cathedral, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Scotch Whisky Experience, Grassmarket

Start your day at St Andrew Square, located right outside the Waverly Bus Station. 

St Andrew Square:

St Andrew Square is a garden square, with a column of Melville Monument at the centre of the square surrounded by gardens. 

Melville Monument
Melville Monument

The square has department stores, designer shops, pubs, and restaurants along its perimeter. 

St Andrews Square is the starting point for the 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour.  You can ride this bus, and get down at the following stops to complete your day one of the sightseeing. 

Pro Tip: Hop-on Hop-off bus tours run every 30 minutes and are an excellent way to explore the city at your pace. It covers must-see sights like Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, The Scottish Whiskey Experience, the National Museum of Scotland, the Royal Mile, the Scottish Parliament building, Palace of Holyroodhouse. 

Book your Hop-on Hop-off city tour by clicking here

The Royal Mile:

The Royal Mile is 0.8 kilometre (0.5 miles), a 10-minute walk from St Andrews Square, and connects the two royal residences, Edinburgh Castle at one end and the Palace of Holyrood house. 

Royal Mile in 3 days in Edinburgh Itinerary

The name Royal Mile is derived from its 500-year-old tradition as a ceremonial route of royalty. This 1.8 km (1.1 mile) long cobbled street runs through the old town and is a host to various tourist attractions. 

The Mile is lined with historic buildings, restaurants, cafes, pubs, charming shops, a cathedral, and churches and is also the home to the Scottish Parliament. 

Take one of the many walking tours that originate from The Royal Mile and immerse yourself in the city’s rich history complete with panoramic views and captivating tales. 

Girl in Edinburgh city centre
  • Edinburgh Old Town walking tour with beer: Discover the history of Edinburgh through beer, as you take this walking tour that takes you through the old town with stops for tasting beers from across Scotland! Book this fully guided tour here
  • Mystery tour (self guided): You also have the option of discovering the amazing history of The Royal Mile with your family or friends, with an envelope full of clues, as you embark on this self-guided walking tour. Check out this experience here
  • Underground vaults tour: Explore the underground vaults dating back to the early 18th century and learn about the history beneath the streets of Edinburgh’s old town. Book your experience for an Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour
  • Underground vaults tour at night: Feeling adventurous? You can also book a late-night guided walking tour of the underground vaults of Auld Reekie. Hear some of its terrifying stories, laced with a few frightening moments as you walk through this unique experience. Book this experience here

How to get to Royal Mile: 

The Mile can easily be accessed through a number of train stations lined along the length of the street. Edinburgh Waverley Station to the Mile is a short 3-minute walk. 

So, what are we waiting for? Slip on comfortable shoes and experience this awe-inspiring assortment of must-see attractions on The Royal Mile.

St Giles Cathedral:

Founded by King David I, in the 12th century, St. Giles Cathedral is situated on the Royal Mile in the old town of Edinburgh. This cathedral has a rich 900 years of history and has witnessed raids, riots, and the establishment of Presbyterianism. 

Edinburgh, St. Giles cathedral interior, the Thistle Chapel
Edinburgh, St. Giles cathedral interior, the Thistle Chapel

There are short, 45-minute guided walking tours available at 10:30 am and 02:30 pm, that take you through some interesting stories of the cathedral. 

Note: Located directly opposite St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile is the Real Mary King’s Close – a historic close and a well-preserved street from the 17th century.

St Giles Cathedral (outside)
St Giles Cathedral (outside)

Palace of Holyroodhouse: The Official Scottish Residence

Holyrood House, also referred to as Holyrood Palace is the home of Scottish royal history and the official royal residence of the British monarch. The Palace stands at the opposite end of Edinburgh Castle on The Royal Mile. 

Holyroodhouse

Visit the Holyroodhouse and explore the State Apartments and the Palace Gardens of the complex. The Throne Room, Privy Chamber, Mary-Queen of Scots’ Chamber, and Great Gallery are some of the highlights of the Palace of Holyroodhouse visit. 

Walk the magnificent Palace Gardens set against the backdrop of Arthur’s Seat.

Book your self-guided Holyrood Palace entry tickets by clicking  here

If you have additional time you can also stop by the Scottish Parliament building, and join a free tour. 

Scottish Whisky Experience: 

Take a guided tour and dip yourself in whisky history! Learn the extraordinary history of Scotland’s most celebrated industry and experience the flavors that will make you fall in love with Scotch whisky!

Book your Scottish Whiskey Experience by clicking here

Grassmarket (late evening): 

Situated in Edinburgh’s historic old town of Edinburgh, Grassmarket place is known for its quaint setting, sheltered in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. Needless to say, the area offers great views of Edinburgh Castle. 

Grassmarket

Hang out here in the evening. The cobbled streets of Grassmarket feature several tourist attractions – from restaurants and pubs to hotels and retail stores. 

Day 2 of 3 days in Edinburgh itinerary: Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, Princes Street, Scottish National Gallery, Scott Monument, Princes Street Gardens, James Quarter

Start your day with a visit to Edinburgh Castle – Defender of the Nation. This iconic landmark, located on castle rock has served as the royal residence, a military fortress, and a prison. 

The majestic castle is the most visited attraction in Edinburgh and overlooks the city, offering stunning panoramic views that will leave you with memories of a lifetime!

Edinburgh Castle:

Located on top of a hill in the heart of Edinburgh, the castle has a rich history that dates back over 1000 years. From battles and sieges to royal ceremonies and ghost stories, there is no shortage of things to see and do at this famous fortress.

Edinburgh Castle

Ready to explore this mighty fortress? Here are quick tips to help you plan your visit:

Tickets: To ensure guaranteed entry to the castle, plan in advance!  You can buy tickets at the castle but remember, tickets often sell out far in advance, especially during the summer months. 

Book your tickets online here for Edinburgh Castle where you have the option of choosing from a variety of guided tours to the castle

Are you a Harry Potter Fan? You have the option of booking a Harry Potter themed guided tour with entry to the Castle here

How to get to there:  

The castle is easily accessible by bus, tram or train. 

  • Train – The Castle is a short 10-minute walk via Market Street, from Waverly – Edinburgh’s central station
  • Tram – If you are planning to take a tram, Edinburgh Trams offers easy access from the airport to the city center. Edinburgh Tram route operates between the airport and St Andrews Square. Disembark at Princes Steet Tram Stop, which is the nearest tram stop to the Castle and is a 10-minute walk via The Mound
  • Bus – Lothian Airport Buses offers 24/7 bus service from the airport to the city centre. Get off at Grassmarket Old Town bus stop and walk a short distance to the Castle

You can also use the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour and get down at Edinburgh Castle to explore. 

Book your Hop-on Hop-off city tour with a stop at Edinburgh Castle by clicking here

The castle is surrounded by impressive walls and gates, which were once used for defense. As you enter through the main gate, known as the Esplanade, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of Edinburgh’s skyline. 

Take a walk around the grounds to soak in more stunning views of the city, including Arthur’s Seat, the highest hill in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle Entrance, Great Britain
Edinburgh Castle Entrance, Great Britain

Make sure to also visit the 2 gun batteries, namely the Half Moon Battery and the Argyle Battery at the castle! There are also 2 more batteries located here – Dury’s and Forewall. 

The castle has been involved in many significant historical events, making it a fascinating place to explore for history buffs. Visit the Great Hall, built in the 16th century and used for grand banquets and celebrations. You can also see the Scottish Crown Jewels on display, including the iconic Stone of Destiny.

Don’t miss the opportunity to step inside St. Margaret’s Chapel, which is believed to be Edinburgh’s oldest building and dates back to the 12th century.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle in the evening

You can also learn about the castle’s military past at the National War Museum, located within the castle walls.

Book your tickets online here for Edinburgh Castle where you have the option of choosing from a variety of guided tours to the castle. 

National Museum of Scotland:

Located on Chambers Street, the National Museum of Scotland features a rich collection of artifacts from around the world. 

The museum is approximately a 9-minute walk from Edinburgh Castle and a 6-minute walk from the Royal Mile. 

The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and entry is free.

Strapped for time? Save time with a tour that walks you through the absolute must-see highlights of the museum by booking a tour this Edinburgh: National Museum of Scotland Guided Tour

Princes Street:

Take a stroll down Princes Street – Edinburgh’s premier shopping destination. As you take a walk down this historic street, pamper yourself in a unique retail experience, with stores that satisfy a wide spectrum of styles and budgets. 

General Register House_neoclassical building on Princes Street

The street stretches around 1.2 kilometres (0.75 miles) and divides the old and new towns. The street boasts a central location and is positioned conveniently between Leith Street and Lothian Road offering scenic views of Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street Gardens. 

Feeling tired and fancy some coffee or munchies to recharge yourself? Step right into one of several cafes and restaurants lined along the street. 

Scottish National Gallery:

Scottish National Gallery is a complex that houses a collection of galleries and is a one-stop “art for everyone”. This ensemble of galleries caters to every taste of art lovers. 

The Scottish National Gallery houses some of the greatest art masterpieces from around the world. 

Scottish National Gallery
Scottish National Gallery

There is a section of the Scottish National Gallery dedicated to modern art, where you can find an impressive collection of contemporary and modern art and that’s not it! 

If you are eager to learn more about the rich history of Scotland, walk right into the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, where various distinctive facets of Scotland and its people seamlessly translate into magnificent portraits.  

The galleries are open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and admission is free. The Scottish National Gallery is a quick 2-minute walk from Princes Street.

Scott Monument:

This monument, located in the Princes Street Gardens, is dedicated to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. The monument is a Victorian Gothic Spire that stands an impressive 200 feet 6 inches high and was inaugurated on 15 August 1846. 

Scott's Monument
Scott’s Monument

At the base of this monument is Sir Walter Scott’s statue, carved from a single piece of Carrara marble. The tower has a spiral staircase with 287 steps that lead to viewing platforms. Take a moment to admire the breathtaking views of Edinburgh City.

The Gothic Rocket is open 7 days a week, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, and there is an admission ticket to access its levels with a series of viewing decks. 

There is also a museum at level 1 where visitors get a chance to discover and admire the life and works of this Scottish literary great!

Pro tip: Interested in learning more about the works of Sir Walter Scott? Head to the Writers’ Museum, a 7-minute walk from the monument where you can uncover the lives and works of the 3 legends of Scottish literature – Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Louis Stevenson. 

Entry is free to the museum which is open 7 days from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with the last entry being at 4:15 pm.  

Princes Street Gardens: 

Princes Street Gardens – Soul of Edinburgh, is a public park that is spread over 37 acres and is separated into two areas by The Mound. The gardens are set against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle and run along the southern part of Princes Street. 

Princes Gardens is also home to several monuments and statues, with Scott’s Monument as its most famous residence. 

The gardens are a popular recreational area and are a great place to unwind, and spend some leisure time in the shadow of the castle. 

Princes Gardens
Princes Gardens

Entry to the gardens is free and open all days week and year. 

Pro Tip: Princes Street Gardens has some extraordinary views of the Castle and paths that lead to the Castle.

Grab some take-out food from one of the multiple restaurant options on Princes Street and head to the lawns to enjoy food and drinks while admiring the beauty around the majestic Castle.

Winter festival in Old Town Edinburgh at night, Scotland UK

If you are planning a trip in winter, be sure to visit “Winter Wonderland”– an annual event hosted by the city, during the days leading to Christmas, where the east part of the Princes Street Garden is adorned in festivities which includes a Ferris wheel, amusement park, an ice rink, and a Christmas market! 

Get into the Christmas spirit and build a private customized Edinburgh Christmas tour with a local guide by booking this experience

James Quarter:

Explore St. James Quarter in the evening – Edinburgh’s coolest lifestyle destination to shop, dine, and drink only a short walk from Princes Steet.

It is hard to miss the newest addition to the quarter – a four-story shopping centre, complete with a wide range of retailers including a food court.

James Quarter is a short 7-minute walk via Princes Street/Leith Street from St. Andrews Square and a 2-minute walk via Princes Street and Leith Street from Waverly Train Station.

Day 3 of 3 days in Edinburgh itinerary: Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill attractions, The Royal Yacht Britannia & more options

Kickstart your final day with a trip to Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano and the highest point in Edinburgh. From here, you’ll get spectacular views of the whole city. Afterward, make sure to visit Calton Hill, a popular spot with monuments dating back to the 19th century.

Arthur’s Seat: 

Arthur’s Seat is an ancient volcanic peak with an elevation of 823 feet (251 meters), offering breathtaking vistas of Edinburgh city. 

Arthur's Seat

Embark on a guided walking tour that takes you to the peak of this iconic landmark and along the way, learn about the history of this unique landscape shaped by an extinct volcano. 

As you reach the summit of Arthur’s Seat, take a few moments to marvel at some of the most distinctive views that will bring about lasting impressions!

✅ Book your guided walking tour that takes you from the Castle to the Arthur’s Seat

Calton Hill:

Take a trip to Calton Hill, located off the Royal Mile and is a popular spot with monuments dating back to the 19th century. 

As you climb up this hill, you’ll get unparalleled views of Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat, The Old Town, and many other attractions. 

Marvel at the stunning architecture such as the National Monument, Nelson’s Monument, and the City Observatory. 

Nelson Monument

Once you have taken in the breathtaking views, make sure to explore the National Monument of Scotland. This monument is a memorial dedicated to those who died in the Napoleonic wars and was designed by renowned architects William Henry Playfair and Charles Robert Cockerell.

There are also several other monuments located at Calton Hill including the Dugald Stewart Monument, Burns Monument, Nelson’s Monument, and many more. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures!

The Royal Yacht Britannia:

After exploring this iconic destination, make sure to head over to The Royal Yacht Britannia. 

This magnificent ship was the British royal family’s floating residence for over 44 years. Now berthed permanently at Leith, it offers an intimate glimpse into royal life. 

Here you can take a tour of the former royal family’s cruise ship and learn all about its rich history. 

Stroll through the elegantly furnished rooms, explore the Engine Room, check out the Royal Sailing Exhibition, or take a peek at Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite room. 

As you step off the Britannia, you’ll end your third day filled with memories of Edinburgh’s natural beauty, historical richness, and royal grandeur.

Additional experiences to finish off 3-day itinerary for Edinburgh: 

Edinburgh has lots to do, so we have rounded up some of the other cool attractions and tours that you can check out, 

Harry Potter tour: Harry Potter series fan? Now you can experience the Harry Porter magic through a guided walking tour that takes you through the city that inspired J K Rowling’s books. 

Book your Harry Potter themed walking tour by clicking here

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions: Get ready for an immersive world where science meets illusion! This interactive museum combines fascinating optics and modern technology to create unique optical illusions.

Deacon Brodies Tavern: Looking to complement food and drinks with a piece of history, then look no further! 

Step right into Deacon Brodies Tavern, established in 1806, this historical pub has fascinating stories of Brodie’s double life, from a highly regarded citizen by day to a criminal by night!

Royal Botanic Garden: Explore the 70-acre green space and discover a variety of themed gardens, glasshouses, and collections. Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the vast array of plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers, or take a guided tour to learn more about this beautiful park. 

Chocolate/food tours: Yearning for some sweet treats? We have a perfect answer for your sweet tooth cravings! 

Visit the Chocolatarium, located, and embark on an interactive tour of a chocolate factory. Get a chance to learn about the history of chocolate, taste chocolates from around the world, and also make your own customized chocolate creation! 

Book this sweet experience by clicking here

Alternate day 3 of the 3 day Edinburgh itinerary: Scottish Highlands Day tour

Rather than exploring the city, why not take a day trip out of Edinburgh and explore some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery?

Head over to the Scottish Highlands and experience its stunning panoramas with a guided tour. 

Lochness in Scotland

Visit Loch Ness and immerse yourself in the mysterious tale of the legendary monster that is said to reside here. 

Next, explore Glencoe, a sweeping valley with awe-inspiring views. Visit the Glenfinnan Monument and take in the stunning views of Loch Shiel and its surrounding mountains. 

End the day with a stop at Eilean Donan Castle – one of Scotland’s most iconic castles. 

Sightseeing Map: Edinburgh Itinerary 3 days

Click to view the full Google Map

Helpful Travel Tips for a Great Vacation in Edinburgh UK

Here are some additional tips for your trip to Edinburgh!

Victoria Street

Buy an umbrella: Rain or shine, always carry an umbrella with you while exploring Edinburgh. Be prepared with layers of clothing no matter the season, as Edinburgh’s weather can change quite quickly.

Don’t forget your camera – you’ll want to capture beautiful moments during your stay in Edinburgh!

Try traditional Scottish cuisine: From haggis to deep-fried Mars Bars, there’s something for everyone in Scotland’s culinary scene! Make sure to try some traditional dishes while you’re here.

Haggis

Visit during the festival season: Edinburgh is known as one of the best cities in Europe for its festivals. From the world-renowned Fringe Festival to Writers’ week and Hogmanay (3-day New Year celebrations), make sure to check out at least one of these events when visiting Edinburgh! 

Take public transportation: You can save a lot of time and money by taking the bus or tram instead of hailing a taxi. Be aware of your surroundings while walking, especially at night, and carry a map or guidebook so that you don’t get lost. 

Tours and attractions: Make sure to research and book any attractions you plan to visit in advance, as many of the popular destinations often require tickets.

Take advantage of bike rental companies that offer guided tours around Edinburgh, as this can be a great way to explore the city.

And don’t forget to book your accommodation in advance! With so many options available such as hotels, guest houses, and Airbnbs, you can customize your stay to make it more enjoyable and comfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions: Edinburgh 3 Day Itinerary

How many days do we need in Edinburgh?

If you’re looking for a well-rounded experience, we recommend at least 3 days in Edinburgh. This length of trip will give you enough time to cover some of the most popular attractions, enjoy the local cuisine, take part in cultural activities, and walk around the city to take in its unique atmosphere. 

Of course, if you are short on time, you can always visit for a shorter period but it won’t be possible to cover everything!

Is Edinburgh a walkable city?

Edinburgh stands out as one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities. The Old Town boasts a maze of charming, cobblestone streets and intimate alleys that invite exploration on foot. 

In contrast, The New Town is embraced by verdant parks and broad avenues, providing a delightful backdrop for admiring the exquisite Georgian architecture or leisurely wandering along picturesque shopping streets.

How to spend 2 days in Edinburgh?

If you only have two days in Edinburgh, there’s still plenty of time to explore the city! 

  • Day 1 of Edinburgh 3 day itinerary: St Andrew Square, the Royal Mile, St Giles Cathedral, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Scotch Whisky Experience, Grassmarket

On day one, make your way to the Royal Mile and take a tour of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Scotch Whisky Experience, and Grassmarket. End your day by exploring Scotland’s culinary scene with traditional dishes like haggis, neeps, and tatties. 

  • Day 2 of Edinburgh 3 day itinerary: Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, Princes Street, Scottish National Gallery, Scott Monument, Princes Street Gardens, James Quarter

On the second day, visit some of Edinburgh’s museums such as the National Museum and the Scottish National Gallery. Of course, miss out on the Edinburgh Castle tour. Spend your evening enjoying live music at one of the many pubs in the city. 

With these activities, you’ll have enough time to get a taste of Edinburgh’s culture and experience its unique atmosphere. 

Is Edinburgh Castle open on Sunday?

Yes, they are open. They are open every day from 09:30 am to 06:00 pm.

Do you need a car to visit Edinburgh?

No, you don’t need a car to visit Edinburgh. The city is walkable and the public transportation system is reliable and easy to use. 

Plus, there are plenty of bike rental companies that offer guided tours around town – it’s an easy way to explore the city quickly and efficiently! 

If you do decide to rent a car, keep in mind that parking in the city center can be expensive and hard to find. Alternatively, you can take a bus or coach from other parts of Scotland or even outside of the country. 

Is it safe to walk around Edinburgh at night?

Yes, it is generally safe to walk around Edinburgh at night. However, make sure that you stay in well-lit areas and be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are alone. 

Avoid bringing valuables with you, and download offline maps on your phone so that you don’t get lost. 

Is 3 days in Edinburgh enough?

Three days in Edinburgh is definitely enough to get a feel of the city, its attractions, and its culture. You can cover the primary attractions in the capital such as the Castle, museums and gardens. This time frame also allows you to participate in cool tours and experiences for half a day, or add a day tour to the Scottish Highlands. 

From whisky distilleries and lochs to castles and gardens, Scotland has something to offer for everyone. So make sure to plan your trip accordingly so that you don’t miss out on the best experiences.

Is Edinburgh worth visiting?

Absolutely! From its beautiful architecture and culture to its majestic hills and lochs, Edinburgh is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world. 

With a vibrant history, stunning views, and plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay, Edinburgh is definitely worth visiting! 

A view of Edinburgh city center from Calton Hill - best places to visit in Europe in January
A view of Edinburgh city center from Calton Hill

Visit the city and experience a wide range of festivals, from films to science and art, fringe to jazz and blues, books to storytelling. 

Edinburgh boasts a robust economy built around tourism, financial services – banking and insurance, research, technology, and higher education. 

The city has excellent transport infrastructure and is well connected to major cities in Scotland, the United Kingdom, and internationally through a network of roads, rail, and air. 

Edinburgh has an exceptional quality of life and has consistently ranked among one of the most desirable places to live, work, and visit. 

We hope this 3 day Edinburgh itinerary will help you plan a memorable getaway! Enjoy exploring this beautiful city! 

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