Edinburgh in 3 days

After the end of my second semester I thought I would treat myself to finally explore Edinburgh. I’d seen it before only briefly on my way from the airport to the train station, so after my exams I decided to book an Airbnb and bus tickets to see this beautiful city. This was my first time staying with Airbnb and I have to say it was worth it, it was much cheaper than the hotels and I got to know a very lovely family. Their apartment was just a 15 minute walk to the city centre but it was a very quiet neighbourhood. I stayed there only for three days but I still managed to see most of the sights, it’s good that everything is concentrated in the centre of the city and you can just walk everywhere.

Day 1: I arrived in Edinburgh pretty early in the morning, around 8 am. I had an hour left until I could check into my Airbnb so I spent it walking through the city which wasn’t very busy yet and most shops were still closed. The weather was sunny but still quite cold even though it was already May (of course, it’s Scotland after all). I sat on a bench in the St Andrew square while I ate my breakfast and then it was time for me to check into the Airbnb.

St Andrew square
Scott monument – the largest monument to a writer (Sir Walter Scott) in the world
The Scottish National Gallery


Edinburgh castle
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Scott monument


Princess gardens

The first sight I wanted to see was the Edinburgh castle but I didn’t actually go inside because the tickets were quite expensive and the queue to get in was really long. The next time I’m there though I would definitely like to see it properly.

Edinburgh castle

After that I walked down the Royal Mile towards the St Giles Cathedral which was very beautiful, especially the stained glass in the windows. It was very calm inside compared to the busy Royal Mile.

Royal Mile
St Giles Cathedral

While I was in Edinburgh I definitely wanted to see the Elephant House which is a café where J.K. Rowling used to write the Harry Potter books. At that time she couldn’t afford spending a lot of money on heating in her apartment, so she would write inside the café where it was warm and the staff let her sit there all day. The café does have a lot of elephant decorations so it felt kind of exotic and the atmosphere was just really nice. I would recommend you seeing this place when you get a chance to visist Edinburgh 🙂

Inside the Elephant House

Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier which supposedly spent 14 years guarding the grave of its owner, this is a commemorative statue.


Right behind the Elephant House there is a cemetery where J.K. Rowling used to go to get an inspiration for the names of her characters in the Harry Potter books. It was a bit spooky but as it was spring the blooming flowers made it nicer, haha.

Greyfriars cemetery
Inspiration for Tom Riddle

The Scottish National Museum isn’t far from there so that’s where I went next. It has a really nice hall that I took pictures of and a lot of interesting expositions.

Scottish National Museum


Then it was lunch time so I went to the Union of Genius which is a very small restaurant and they also do takeaways. They have a selection of soups and salads and I have to say that the soup I had was amazing, and the prices were pretty good too.

Union of Genius – chickpea and spinach soup
Edinburgh theatre

When you walk all the way down the Royal Mile from the Edinburgh castle, you will find The Holyrood Palace which is the official residence of the Queen in Scotland, and opposite the Palace is the Scottish parliament which you can visit as well. It surprised me what a new building they have as a parliament, and also its location was great because right behind it is the Arthur’s Seat.

Scottish parliamemt


Waverly station
Fried Mars bar – never tried it
J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for the Diagon Alley
Edinburgh castle from the Princess garden

Day 2: After all day of walking I walked some more haha. First I went to Stockbridge but as it was still just the morning almost everything was closed. And unfortunately it rained quite a bit that day but I did have an umbrella with me so I wasn’t completely soaking wet.



Then I met my friend who lives in Edinburgh and we went to the Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions which I would highly recommend seeing. It was full of optical illusions and such and it was very fun.

View from the Camera Obscura
Edinburgh castle from the Grassmarket

For lunch we went to The Blackbird restaurant which was excellent, we really liked the food and it was very cosy to be there, maybe because we’d just escaped the rain haha.

The Blackbird – tuna with buckwheat

After lunch we went into the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Portait Gallery of which I took pictures earlier. They both were interesting but at that time there weren’t a lot of expositions at the National Gallery so we got through it kind of quickly.

Day 3: On my last day in Edinburgh I went to see the Royal botanical garden which I would also recommend seeing, especially in the spring and summer of course haha. It was huge and absolutely lovely, there was a lot to see and it was very peaceful.


Royal botanical garden


Then I walked up the Calton Hill which is pretty much in the centre of the city. It is included in the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Scottish National Monument that sits at the top was intended to be another Parthenon but it’s never been completed, and it commemorates Scottish soldiers killed in the Napoleonic wars. It took only like 15 minutes to climb up the hill so it wasn’t anything too bad.

View from the Calton Hill
Arthur’s Seat from the Calton Hill
The Scottish National Monument


After that I wanted to try a restaurant called The Hendersons and I’m glad I went because the lunch was so delicious. Very friendly service and lots of food to choose from.

The Hendersons – chickpea and mushroom curry with rice

Then it was time for me to climb up the Arthur’s Seat. It’s very close to the city centre just like the Calton Hill but it took an hour to get there. My heavy backpack made it a lot more difficult but by that time I’d already checked out of my Airbnb so I had no choice but to carry it all. It was worth it though because the view from the Arthur’s Seat is great and it was amazing to see so many people to be active as it really is easy to get there from the city centre.

Climbing up the Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat
View from the Arthur’s Seat

I didn’t do that much for the rest of the day as later on I had to catch my bus, I just waited in the café of the National museum where it was warm and I could use free wifi (felt like what J.K. Rowling used to do, haha) and then I bought dinner in a supermarket.

I had an amazing time in Edinburgh, I finally got to know the city a lot more. There are still a lot of things I’d like to see so hopefully I’ll be back soon 🙂

Let me know if you’d ever want to go there and if you’ve already been, what do you think about the city?


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