Edinburgh, the beautiful capital city of Scotland continues to top the lists of the best cities to visit in Europe according to Travel and Leisure.  Full of history and charm, I guarantee you will find plenty of things to do during your 2 days in Edinburgh!  Edinburgh was the final stop on our 7 day Scotland itinerary, before heading off to Dublin, and I must admit, we quickly fell in love with this charming city.  And trust us, Edinburgh is a compact city, so 2 days in Edinburgh is just the right amount of time.

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2 Days in Edinburgh:  Day 1

Take an Edinburgh Bus Tour

After dropping your bags off at your Edinburgh hotel or Airbnb (click here to get a $40 Airbnb credit), introduce yourself to this great city with a bus tour.  The City Sightseeing Bus Tour is a great way to get to know the layout of the city and see it from a different perspective, atop the double-decker bus.  You can hop-on and hop-off at 14 different stops, or just stay on to orient yourself with the city.  Either way, for less than $20 per person, this is a great introduction to Edinburgh.

Walk The Royal Mile

An area that is jammed pack with things to do is definitely Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.  Based in old town, the entire stretch of the Royal Mile is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The mile-long stretch of street connects the fabulous Edinburgh Castle to the palace of Holyrood House.  Lined with shops, restaurants, quaint closes (alleys), churches, and visitor attractions, the Royal Mile is definitely a place to spend some time.

Edinburgh Royal Mile Sign

Tour Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle sits at the top of the hill and marks the beginning of the Royal Mile.  Serving as a royal residence and then a military stronghold, this beautiful castle demands attention as it looms over the historic town that it has protected for so many years.  Once inside, you will find an amazing view of the city, a tiny Romanesque chapel, the Scottish National War Memorial, and the historic Royal Palace that houses the crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny.  Be sure and visit the Royal Apartments to see the bedchamber where Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to her son James VI.

To get a complete history on the castle, along with skip the line entry, book a Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour.  This 1.5-hour tour teaches you all of the history and secrets of the castle while still allowing you to see all of the fabulous sites.  Trust us, the castle sites are much more interesting when you actually know what you’re looking at and the guide let us in on a little secret about a free whisky tasting!

If you are spending some time touring Scotland like we did, then the Historic Scotland Explorer Pass is definitely worth investing in.  Not only did the Historic Scotland Explorer Pass allow us free entry into Edinburgh Castle, but we were also able to tour several beautiful castles and abbeys in Scotland for free with our pass.

If you’re a castle lover, you might consider visiting the stunning castles in Fife as well.

2 days in edinburgh

Expedia.com

Enjoy the Scotch Whisky Experience

After leaving the castle, you are bound to see The Scotch Whisky Experience.  Head inside to enjoy a barrel ride through a virtual distillery while learning all about the making of Scotch whisky.  After your tour, you will be escorted into the largest collection of Scotch Whisky in the world before participating in a tasting of your choice.  Read all about our delightful Scotch Whisky Experience to get more information on this fun place.

Michelle with her whisky

Scotch Whiskey Collection_Edinburgh

Eat at Oink

If you’re on the Royal Mile and you’re feeling hungry, then you have to head to Oink.  Now, don’t get freaked out by the fact that there is a whole roasted pig staring at you, it’s ok.  In a minute you are going to be face first in one of the most delicious sandwiches ever, so overcome your apprehension and dive in.  Go all out with your sandwich by adding stuffing, apples, and some awesome sauce.  Trust us, you won’t regret it as these sandwiches are delicious!  

If you’re not into Oink then check out Where to Eat in Edinburgh on Your First Visit.  

Oink in Edinburgh

Oink in Edinburgh

Check out St. Giles Cathedral

Also located on the Royal Mile, St. Giles Cathedral is a feast for the eyes.  Founded in 1124, this historic church has been a religious focal point in Scotland for hundreds of years.    Inside you will find beautiful stained glass, intricate and beautiful architecture, exquisite carvings, paintings, and decorations.

2 days in edinburgh

2 days in edinburgh

Tour Edinburgh’s Underground Vaults

Book a night tour of Edinburgh’s mysterious underground vaults.  This Underground Vault Tour was one of the highlights of our trip to Edinburgh.  Not only do you get to tour the underground vaults, but you also get exclusive access to “off-limits” parts of Cannongate Kirkyard.  This access to two of the most haunted places in Edinburgh is sure to have you getting chills by the time you’re done.

2 days in edinburgh

2 Days in Edinburgh: Day 2

Visit Holyrood Park and Hike Arthur’s Seat

Holyrood Park is a short walk from the Royal Mile, and the perfect place to start out day 2 of your 2 days in Edinburgh.  This 640-acre park is next to Holyrood Palace, and its crown jewel is the highest point, Arthur’s Seat.  One on top of Arthur’s Seat, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city and park below.    While in the park, don’t forget to check out the 15th-century medieval chapel, St Anthony’s Chapel and Salisburg Crags-a series of 150-foot cliff faces.

2 days in Edinburgh-Arthur's seat

Tour the Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Queen’s official residence in Scotland and home to an immense amount of Scottish Royal history, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is your next stop.  Located at the end of the Royal Mile, you can explore the palace and learn all about its connection to Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.  This lavishly decorated palace also has a beautiful garden and a historic abbey on site.

2 days in Edinburgh-holyroodhouse

Escape to Dean’s Village

Get out of the tourist area today and feel like you’ve left the city behind when you step into the tranquil Dean’s Village area of Edinburgh.  This residential area located along the waters of the Leith River is sure to win you over with its charm.  Founded in the 12th-century as a small mill town, Dean’s Village has transformed into a charming neighborhood that is a pleasure to walk around and relish in the peace and quiet.

2 days in edinburgh

Check out The Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby is the most loyal dog in Scotland, if not in the world!  Bobby, a long-haired Skye terrier belonged to an Edinburgh police officer, John Gray.  It is said that Bobby and Gray were best friends until Gray passed away in 1858.  When Gray was buried in the cemetery, Bobby spent the next 14 years living at his gravesite showing his complete loyalty to his deceased owner.  A statue to Bobby has been placed on the south side of the George IV Bridge and visitors can visit his grave in the Greyfriars Cemetery.

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2 days in Edinburgh is the perfect amount of time to see this historic city. This post outlines what to see, eat, and do in order to get the most out of your time in Edinburgh, Scotland. #edinburgh #scotland #edinburghitinerary #scotlanditinerary

2 days in Edinburgh is the perfect amount of time to see this historic city. This post outlines what to see, eat, and do in order to get the most out of your time in Edinburgh, Scotland. #edinburgh #scotland #edinburghitinerary #scotlanditinerary

2 days in Edinburgh is the perfect amount of time to see this historic city. This post outlines what to see, eat, and do in order to get the most out of your time in Edinburgh, Scotland. #edinburgh #scotland #edinburghitinerary #scotlanditinerary

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46 Comments

  1. Great list! I think we did most of the things you recommended on our trip as well. I had such a great time at the Scotch tasting experience.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Caitlin. I’m so glad to hear that you had a great time in Edinburgh as well. It’s really a fabulous city!

      Reply
  2. Wow you took such lovely pictures of your time there! It totally brought me back to my trip last year and made me want to return to Edinburgh! Didn’t you just find it so magical? I loved the Royal Mile

    Reply
    • Thank you, Kashlee. My husband is the official photographer, and he does a great job! Yes, we love Edinburgh and although the Royal Mile was crowded, we loved it! I loved all of the history and beautiful architecture!

      Reply
  3. I have been to Edinburgh twice but very quick trips. I still need to hike Arthur’s Seat and that Underground Vault tour you did sounds really interesting.

    Reply
    • The underground vault was really cool. We don’t really go for the ghost stories, we go for the history so I was glad that it included both.

      Reply
  4. I love going to Edinburgh and wandering around the architecture – I also love seeing the sea in the distance, since we can’t do that in Glasgow 🙂 My favourite area is Leith!!

    Reply
    • That’s so nice to hear, Kathi. We went to Leith also, and yes I agree it was great!!

      Reply
  5. Oh sign me up for one of those sandwiches right now! I have been wanting to go to Edinburgh for ages, definitely will have to save this for when I am back in Europe.

    Reply
    • YES! The sandwiches at Oink are fabulous!!!

      Reply
  6. Edinburgh looks gorgeous! I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland. We visited Ireland two years ago and that was absolutely amazing. I know I’d love Scotland just as much.

    Reply
    • If you loved Ireland, then you will definitely love Scotland as well. The people are so nice!!

      Reply
  7. Oh wow, I’ve been dying to go to Scotland and your photos are such a tease! lol. The Oink looks interesting – living in SE Asia, I see roasted pigs everywhere but more in a barbaric manner – not displayed in a restaurant window! But I love it 😀 Thanks for such interesting tour reviews! Will have to check them out when I finally make it to Europe!

    Reply
    • Thank you for checking out our post, Mo. I would love to visit SE Asia. Everything there looks so beautiful!! I hope you get to go to Scotland one day as well!

      Reply
  8. Thanks for all the great Edinburgh tips! My husband and I are heading there in October for our 4 year anniversary, so I’ll be referring to this when we plan out our itinerary 🙂

    Reply
  9. Ok, first of all, that whisky collection is impressive! Second, I would definitely demolish one of those pork sandwiches! I have actually never been to Edinburgh despite the fact that I could easily catch a train there from where I live. You’ve definitely piqued my curiosity!

    Reply
    • That is so great to hear, Danielle. I hope we have inspired you to explore Edinburgh soon!

      Reply
  10. We ended up having to cancel our trip to Scotland last spring, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since! Will definitely save your trips for when I make it there (one day!)!

    Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear that, Scarlett. I hope you get to go soon!

      Reply
  11. Just back from the UK and wished we added Edinburgh to our trip! Impressive pipes in St Giles!

    Reply
    • Yes, St Giles was beautiful inside and out. Not adding Edinburgh this trip just gives you a reason to go back ;).

      Reply
  12. That looks a perfect itinerary! Not been there till now but when I plan, I’ll refer to your itinerary.

    Loved the outdoor pictures, very inviting. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Nisha!

      Reply
  13. Great itinerary for visiting Edinburgh and Dean village is truly not to miss, so pretty!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Valentina! And yes, we really loved Dean Village. It felt like a great escape.

      Reply
  14. What a great itinerary! The castle tour sounds like an awesome activity . And I must say, that pig looks super delicious!

    Reply
    • Both were great, Maggie! Thanks for checking out the post!

      Reply
  15. Edinburgh look stunning! I love that it is so old. Coming from Canada, I can’t even fathom cities that are so ancient!

    Reply
    • I know, Olivia. I think that is why we love Europe so much. The U.S.A. is a baby in comparison!

      Reply
  16. Ok so hiking Arthur’s Seat is certainly on my list of things to do… and I can’t now think of an alternate reward than a sandwich at Oink!!! That would be my perfect day haha. Thanks for the ideal itinerary in a place I’m sure I’ll visit within the next few years!

    Reply
    • Ha-Ha! You said it, Lauren. You deserve that big sandwich after hiking Arthur’s Seat! LOL!

      Reply
  17. Oh my gosh, Edinburgh has been on my list of places I’m itching to see for sooooo long. After reading this, I’m definitely inspired to go! Thanks for the helpful tips.

    Reply
    • I hope you get to go soon, Katie. It is so worth it!

      Reply
  18. That’s cool to be able to explore the city on a bus. I think the castle walking tour was the interesting one and there is also an option to collect the pass for getting free entry. Great to know!

    Reply
    • Thank you for reading, Nafisa!

      Reply
  19. This guide to Edinburgh is amazing – so much to see, do and eat! I haven’t been there yet but if I ever plan I’ll surely refer to this article.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Ketki! I hope you get to go. It’s a fabulous city!

      Reply
  20. OMG this post is perfect timing! I will be visiting Edinburgh in October! I will definitely need to check out the oink! Looks so delicious!

    Reply
    • Oh, I’m jealous. I want to go back! Yes, definitely check out Oink and do the vault tour if you have a chance. Have fun!!

      Reply
  21. The night tour of the underground vaults is such a great idea! I always appreciate having a few evening activities available, especially if I don’t have much time in a city. Great itinerary!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Carrie. The underground vault tour was so interesting. We loved hearing the history of the vaults and seeing them today.

      Reply
  22. This is a comprehensive guide that should even be a book! A compete copy with beautiful photos. I am definitely using this for my next trip. That’s a large collection of scotch whisky!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Bonita! That is so nice of you. Yes, the scotch whisky collection is amazing and was such a unique experience. Definitely worth putting on your list.

      Reply
  23. Where did you stay?

    Reply
    • We stayed at Cityroomz. Make sure you book a suite though, the “regular” rooms were HORRIBLE! We walked in a complained as there was mold in our room and bathroom. They upgraded us to a suite in the new building next door and it was fabulous. 😉

      Reply
  24. We had a weekend escape to Edinburgh when my husband was working in Selby for a few weeks. We had so much fun and really enjoyed all that we were able to pack in. We did several of the things on your list. What a fun place it was!

    Reply

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