Scotland is a massive country and its beautiful capital city, Edinburgh, contains sights like no other place. With so many interesting places to visit, it can be hard to pick out where to go in this diverse city. Luckily, CIE Tours has been bringing travelers to see the best this part of the world has to offer for 87 years. Here are the must-sees of the city if you only have 24 hours in Edinburgh, Scotland with CIE.
8:00 am: Start off your day with a relaxing walk around the Princess Gardens while sipping on your morning coffee. This public park separates Edinburgh into its historic Old Town, and the elegant New Town. Make your way through the impressive flower arrangements, small statues and monuments among the park, and don’t forget to stop by the famous Floral Clock.
9:30 am: Walking distance from the Floral Clock is the Scott Monument. The gothic-style tribute to author Sir Walter Scott was built in 1846 and gives the picture perfect view of Edinburgh…after you’ve climbed the 287 steps to the top. It’s absolutely worth it, but if you would rather save up your energy for the remaining activities, the first floor has a Museum Room that provides the life story and a memorial of the author.
10:20 am: The National Galleries of Scotland are easy to spot as they stand in the middle of the Princess Gardens. The entrance is completely free, apart from the dedicated exhibitions. This gallery carries the masterpieces of Titan, Da Vinci, Raphael, Vermeer, Monet, Cezanne, as well as many other talented artists.
11:40 pm: After being inspired by the classic works of art, head to the Royal Mile. This is the oldest part of town where you can find historic architecture like the St. Giles cathedral, and modern attractions like Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. Challenge your brain through the five floors of optical illusions, and once you get to the top you’ll be rewarded with another amazing view at the Rooftop Terrace. There are many cafes and restaurants available here as well so it’s the perfect place to grab some lunch.
1:00 pm: There is no entrance charge for the National Museum of Scotland, except for featured exhibitions. Learn about Scottish culture from the primeval age all the way to the modern era, and get another opportunity at an impressive view from the roof garden. Look for the movie famous Greyfriar’s Bobby statue, a tribute to the Skye Terrier who guarded the grave of his owner in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years.
2:40 pm: A short drive away is the next location, the Scottish Parliament. The entrance is completely free as well but the true attraction to this building is its prestigious architecture. The parliament is a very short distance from Holyrood Avenue, CIE provides a tour of the impressive Palace of Holyroodhouse the official Scottish residence of the Queen.
4:00 pm: It’s time for the legendary Edinburgh Castle. It’s important to buy tickets before you get there to assure your entry to the castle. CIE gives private tours of the castle in almost all of their departures. We think it’s best to get the last entry of the day because there’s less people, and you get to see the city below as the sun sets, but if you want to explore in detail, morning is the best time. On your way out, look for The Witches Well, a hidden gem related to Scotland’s historic witch burnings, but it’s easy to pass by so make sure you look around.
7:00 pm: Pick the perfect souvenir from one of the many small shops in Grassmarket street market. For an Instagram worthy picture head to Victoria Street, where the colorful buildings that characterize Scotland stand. Grassmarket is known for the best restaurants and bars in Edinburgh, so there is a lot of different places to choose from for dinner, and it’s the best place to bar hop and delight in Edinburgh’s’ rising modern and trendy nightlife. If you travel with CIE there will be a festive Scottish dinner with lively, traditional entertainment included in the trip.
1:00 am: Dance the night away at Cabaret Voltaire. The club is made up of two caverns and they host both local and big name DJs and artists. Just one more stop before we end the night so choose a nearby shop to refuel.
4:30 am: Our Edinburgh adventure ends at Arthur’s Seat. The extinct volcano stands at 822 ft tall, and is the best viewpoint in the city. The easiest way to get to the top is by getting a taxi to Dunsapie Loch from there it will take you 30 minutes to reach the top. It is filled with over 350 million years of Scottish legends and mythology and watching the sun rise from here will leave you breathless.
Whether you want to see a castle, immerse yourself in the history or just enjoy the natural beauty of the land, Edinburgh, Scotland with CIE Tours offers several vacations that are a perfect fit for any traveler.