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Troll Traveler's Blog

Date: 2011-06-25
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Edinburgh – The Athens of the North

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Edinburgh, Scotland is a must-visit destination for any serious world explorer. This great city of culture and history is a rare gem among world capitals, so much so that both its ‘Old Town’ and ‘New Town’ were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1995. Whether you’re a history buff, an aficionado of classical architecture, or love a good party, Edinburgh won’t disappoint.

Edinburgh is famous for its magnificent castle, perched dramatically on a high cliff overlooking the city. It’s famous for spectacular Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. It’s famous for world-renowned museums, fantastic shopping, old world hotels, giant churches, haunted history, and one-of-a-kind festivals. This is a city where you’ll never run out of fun things to do, great things to see, and unforgettable celebrations to experience.

The best way to introduce yourself to this very Scottish city is to take a walk along the famous royal mile, so called because it begins at Edinburgh Castle and ends at Holyrood Palace. Take a guided tour of the castle, where you can see the crown jewels of Scotland, then meander down ‘the mile,’ stopping along the way to explore eclectic shops and linger at a sidewalk café where you can watch the world go by. Finish your walk with a guided tour through the resplendent palace used by the Queen whenever she visits Edinburgh. Across the street, you can also take in the funky modern architecture of the Scottish Parliament.

Once you’ve explored a bit, you’ll want to visit one of Edinburgh’s great museums, such as the Museum of Scotland, the Royal Museum, or the Museum of Edinburgh. Across town, another attraction you shouldn’t miss is the Royal Yacht Britannia, now a floating museum offering a very interesting tour of the vessel used exclusively by the royal family for decades.

Edinburgh by night is just as exciting as anything you’ll discover by daylight. Stop into a pub along the royal mile for some local atmosphere, or, if you dare, take a haunted walking tour to visit the spooky spots of this city that is considered to be one of the most haunted destinations in the world. From eerie underground vaults to a mausoleum said to be the home of a violent poltergeist, the hauntings of Edinburgh will leave you with much to think about.

If you’ve planned your Scottish vacation for the summertime, you’ll discover some truly special things to do in Edinburgh. Summertime in the Scottish capital is known as festival season, and there are countless festivals to enjoy. The most famous summertime festivals in Edinburgh include the Edinburgh International Military Tattoo and the International Festival. The Tattoo is something everyone should see at least once. Each night, thousands of bagpipers and military bands and marchers perform on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle, culminating in a mass piper performance and fireworks over the castle. The International Festival often runs at the same time, and features hundreds of high profile musical and theatre performances throughout the city. The Festival Fringe is another ‘must-experience,’ and offers hundreds upon hundreds of ‘alternative’ performances in every corner and crevice of the city.

Edinburgh is one place in the world that every traveler should see. It’s a safe, clean and exciting city with something to please every visitor. Happy travels!

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