Edinburgh Do's & Don'ts

by - 3:00 PM


Edinburgh, the city that stole my heart in March. It left me so speechless that I'm still not sure how to start this post. Give me a second.

Okay, that didn't help. I still don't know how to introduce you to the awesomeness that is Edinburgh. I spent five days in the Scottish capital and I'm just going to say it: those were the best five days of 2017 so far. There is so much to see and so much to do that five days isn't really enough, but long enough to fall in love with the place. If you're going to Edinburgh, there are a few things you should do that have gotten Envy's Seal of Approval, which means you can't just not do them without damaging the awesomeness of your trip. Oh, and I also added all the stupid shit you shouldn't do, because when I was there I filled up the travel blogger fail quota for the year. Enjoy!


DO walk as much as possible
For all the lazy people out there: you will regret taking the bus everywhere. Yes, it's an option, but no, it's not the option you want to go for. You see, Edinburgh has all these little closes and staircases, hidden streets and bridges. Walk everywhere and you'll discover something new around every corner. Roaming the streets, looking for hidden stairs and closes was one of my favorite things to do there. One tip: ignore the stop lights, or you'll spend your entire trip waiting to cross the streets.

DON'T walk everywhere if your knee is as busted as mine
Now if you have a knee injury, like I did at the time of my visit, Edinburgh will kill you. Simple as that. The place isn't just built on hills, in some places it seems to be built on top of itself. So there are stairs. Steep inclines. Streets that seem endless if you spent every second on them in agony. If that's the case, just take the bus. You don't want to be like me and end up stuck on a couch by the end of your trip.

DO go on a ghost tour to the vaults
City of the Dead tours are not the cheapest thing to do. I spent 11 pounds on the tour to the vaults, but it was worth every penny. City of the Dead is the only organization that has access to the vaults and all I want to say it: Just do it! The vaults are haunted as hell. You'll hear things you can't explain. Footsteps where there shouldn't be any, thumping against the walls, singing... And the first person who comments on this post saying I was fooled by a loudspeaker is so getting banned from my blog.

DON'T be a party pooper by knocking on doors while you're in the vaults
When I was in the vaults, there was one man in his late twenties who thought it was funny to knock on doors to scare the shit out of people and make them believe it was a poltergeist. Like, seriously dude? First of all, you're not fooling anyone. Second, you're just pathetic.


DO climb Arthur's Seat
There's something about Arthur's Seat that drew me to it. Like an Envy-magnet. If you want to get away from the busy city streets you can walk to Holyrood Park in around 20 minutes (that is with a busted knee). It's a nice and calm place really close to the city centre and believe me when I say it's freaking beautiful. Okay, you have to deal with loads of other tourists at the top, and you'll freeze your ass off if you're not wearing a jacket like a certain blogger you might know, but the view is breathtaking. Or maybe I was out of breath because the Scottish don't mark the route and I literally climbed up a cliff just before reaching the top. Either way, climb Arthur's Seat, it's an awesome little adventure.

DON'T climb the Salisbury Crags thinking that's Arthur's Seat
So there are some cliffs in front of Arthur's Seat. They are not Arthur's Seat, no matter how bad you want them to be. This happened to me. I came completely unprepared, picked up an American guy at my hostel and together we decided to climb Arthur's Seat. It did not go as planned. That's another story for another blog post though. For now, let me just say that I didn't understand why there was nothing the mark the top of Arthur's Seat, completely unaware of the fact that I wasn't on Arthur's Seat at all.

DO go to the Edinburgh Dungeon
It might not be the most original thing to do, visiting the Dungeon. After all, loads of major cities have their own Dungeon these days. But I met some awesome girls from Australia and England who wanted to go to the Edinburgh Dungeon and I happily tagged along. I don't want to give too much away, but I screamed my lungs out on the worst little boat ride of my life. I also officially received my witch's mark and I'm pretty proud of that, I must say.
One more thing: combine it with the free ghost tour. I did the free ghost tour the night before I went to the Dungeon and the scenes in the Dungeon made much more sense to me because I'd already heard some background stories.

DON'T go to the Edinburgh Dungeon if you crap your pants at the thought of jump scares
The only problem for me was that I cannot handle jump scares. At all. I thanked God multiple times that I'd had the clarity of mind to go to the bathroom just before we entered the Dungeon, because I'm pretty sure I would've wet my pants at least once if I hadn't done that. 


DO stay at Castle Rock Hostel
As I usually do, I picked a hostel at random. This time I got extremely lucky. Castle Rock Hostel isn't just located right at the foot of Castle Rock, it also looks freaking amazing on the inside. There are freaking armours in the hallway and the lounges are pretty damn Instagrammable. They organize all kinds of activities so socially awkward solo travelers like me don't get too lonely. Oh, and my room had a view of the haunted Greyfriars Kirkyard. Doesn't get much better than that. 

DON'T stay at the bottom of the hill because your legs will kill you every morning
After a few days of wandering around I discovered that a lot of hostels are located near Cowgate, at the bottom of the hill. Still a good location, close to everything and near a lot of night clubs in case that's your thing, but man will your legs hurt when you have to walk up a close every single day to get to all the sights like the Castle and the Royal Mile. If I'd stayed there I probably would've been dead by day two. 

To be honest, I've only scratched the surface of all the awesome things you can do in Edinburgh (and of all the things I managed to seriously screw up, but let's pretend I didn't say that). You could spend weeks discovering Edinburgh and the places around it. The list of do's and don'ts is virtually endless, but the most important ones of all are these two:
DO go to Edinburgh!
DON'T be a couch potato, just go!

x Envy

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30 Fellow Ramblers

  1. We were also in Edinburgh in March for Jessica's birthday! We had an absolutely incredible time and could go back time and time again! We did plan to climb Arthur's Seat but unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side. It just gives us another reason to go back, and pick up a few of your other tips whilst there too!

    Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing!

    Jessica & James | Food & Baker

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    1. I felt the same about Edinburgh, I just wanted to come back immediately after I'd come back home. Too bad that you didn't get to climb Arthur's Seat, but I think it was for the better if the weather was all against you. It was pretty freaking cold up there even though the weather was perfect when I went. Hope you enjoy your next trip :)

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  2. I did not know about any of what you've posted! I shall have a proper explore next time I visit-thanks for posting-

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    1. You're welcome :) Now that you know where to go exploring you'll probably even find more awesome things than I could ever list!

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  3. I love the style of this post! I totally agree with all of this even though I've not done Arthur's Seat yet (whoops!). Also walking (providing you're not in pain bless you) is definitely the best way to see the city <3

    sophieannetaylor.com

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    1. Thank you! I hope you get to walk up Arthur's Seat soon, it was really awesome. Next time I go to a city I'll make sure I won't be in so much pain whenever I try to walk!

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    1. I would if I could, but sadly I don't get the chance to visit all that many places. I have more posts on Edinburgh coming up though!

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  5. waaaaahhh and now I'm homesick :(

    It might not be my fav scottish city (glasgow is unbeatable) but I do love the little sidestreets and alleyways and haunted places - inspiration is everywhere for sure <3

    Loved this (but 100% like tears bc gah i miss scotland)

    all the love,

    anne // www.aportraitofyouth.co.uk

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    1. Oh I'm so sorry, I didn't want to make you homesick!
      I'll come visit Glasgow when you come back to Scotland, so you can show me exactly why it's better than Edinburgh ;)

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  6. I love this post so much! I'll hopefully be there at the end of the year and this has made me even more excited! It's also given me some great tips that I'll definitely be using! :)

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    1. Thank you! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and when you get to go to Edinburgh you have to tell me all about it!

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  7. This post is so good, well written and very unique xx

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    1. Thanks, unique is what I'm aiming for :)

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  8. Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities but I've never been to any of these places! (Not sure the dungeons sounds like it's for me with the jump scares either haha) and those hills are an absolute killer!

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    1. I never expected to like it this much, but now it's definitely one of my favorite cities too! I'd stay far away from the Dungeon if jump scares aren't your thing. They're everywhere!

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  9. Ahh my boyfriend wants us to go on a 72 hour trip to Edinburgh via train and every time I see a post about the city, it makes me want to go even more!! I love the dos and don'ts in this post! I'll definitely save it for when we go! X

    Victoria | VictoriaaHelenn

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    1. Your boyfriend has some great ideas then! Let me know which one you're doing when you get there :)

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  10. Ahh the Edinburgh Dungeons sound awesome, I definitely need to do the ghost tour at the vault!

    Really interesting and well-written post, I liked seeing the perspective you had as a solo traveller and how easy it was to quickly meet new travel companions. I'm a bit nervous about solo-travel but I will hopefully have 2/3 weeks between jobs this June and it might be my only chance to do what I want.. If you ever run out of post ideas, you could write about the solo traveller experience :)

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    1. You absolutely have to go to the Vaults if you want to get into some paranormal activity!

      And thank you! Don't be nervous, you'll meet up with people real soon if you stay at hostels. I actually met an American guy on my first night in Scotland and we hung out every day after that. Solo travelling is great :) I actually already wrote a post on it last year :)

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  11. I just realized that even though I love reading this kind of posts, I've never left Portugal. Ever. Not even to Spain which is just a few hours away.
    Shame on me :D

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    1. But Portugal is still quite a big country! I know people who didn't leave the Netherlands until they were 16 and our country is supersmall. Besides, it's never to late to start travelling :D

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  12. ahhh now I want to go back to Endinburgh even more, I miss it so much!!! All great tips you gave babe! We stayed at an Airbnb like 10 mins from the station which was perfect for us as we had to go to a uni everyday (we went for uni) for school. And I totally agree that Edinburgh is best done by just walking everywhere! We also did a ghost tour, which was cool too!

    I need to go back!!

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    1. 10 minutes from the station is so perfect! I think I walked past the university a thousand times before I noticed it was a university though, hahaha. I wish my college did awesome trips like that. We both need to go back asap!

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  13. Nice post! I am going to Edinburgh in July and this has given me a good idea what I would like to do, I know I won't be going to Edinburgh's Dungeon though.
    Róisín
    totallyro.blogspot.ie

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    1. Thank you! I hope you'll have lots of fun in Edinburgh, it's such a great place! The Dungeon is not for everyone, but there are plenty of other awesome things to do in the city :)

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  14. All of your posts have me and my mum planning an Edinburgh trip!

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    1. I hope my posts are helpful and that you'll have the best time ever with your mom in Edinburgh!

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  15. I'm from Edinburgh and I love your list! Totally agree about the walking - its so easy to walk everywhere but it can get pretty tiring. It's definitely kept me fit over the years! I love the ghost tours - I think I've done every single one along the royal mile now haha! I'm glad you enjoyed your visit here!
    Emily xx
    http://www.underthescottishrain.com

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    1. I'm so glad you love my list! I'm always a little afraid that locals won't think I did their hometown justice, so compliments like yours make my day!
      I was so tired after my first day in Edinburgh, but I'll never regret walking so much. As soon as I get back to Edinburgh, which will definitely happen, I'm going to do more of the ghost tours. They are so freaking amazing.

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