Scotland is known for many things: beautiful landscapes and old castles, fine whiskey and golf courses, and plaid and bagpipes. The country has its fair share of old-school splendour, with Linlithgow Palace and Dunkeld Cathedral, and rural mysticism with stories of sprites and the Loch Ness monster. When you are only stopping in one city in the whole region, Edinburgh is a popular destination since it is the capital of the country.
There are two things you need to keep in mind when travelling to Edinburgh. To fully enjoy the region, you need to strike a balance between experiencing the city from the eyes of a tourist and of a local. The tourist looks at the most popular places. They do not know much about the region and are always ready to learn and be surprised. Popular tourist destinations are places that are awe-inspiring and filled with history. However, often, the former is prioritised. Visually appealing and talked about locations are the bread and butter of tourists.
When you examine a city from this side, it isn’t a very personal and unique take. You also need to enjoy the city like a local. They aren’t impressed by grand gestures. They look for contemporary events, and intimate stories. When you enjoy Edinburgh as a city, you appreciate the small details that set it apart from other Scottish cities and towns.
Create a list of popular tourist destinations
To appreciate both sides, you need to do a lot of research before your trip. On the tourist side create a list of popular destinations and have two subcategories. The first subcategory is anything you can enjoy for free. Visiting monuments, churches, or eating at a park are some examples of activities you can enjoy without paying. The second subcategory is all the activities you are willing to wait in line and pay for; this could be visiting the museum, watching a show at the King’s Theatre or Royal Lyceum Theatre, or a music festival in Meadowbank or Murrayfield. The two subcategories help you enjoy the city in the most budget-friendly way without overlooking key sights.
Even if you want to explore the city like a local, you need to remember that you should have a decent foundation before you can enjoy the small touches. The history and culture provided by the more well-known spots do connect to how the city runs and grows.
Read up on ‘not-so-hidden’ hidden gems
To explore like a local, look up what travel bloggers consider as hidden gems. Hidden gems are activities and places that do not have heavy tourist foot traffic. These might be just things the locals enjoy doing (nothing formal about it). Looking for Edinburgh local tips is an excellent way to start your search, and you can branch out as you spot exciting odds and ends when you are there.
Your search can start by looking at local cuisine first: what are the famous restaurants, cafes, and pubs? You can see shopping districts next: what are Edinburgh’s speciality items? Where do people get them? During holidays, where do people go to unwind? After you answer all these questions tentatively, you can visit places that peak your interest.
Appreciate both sides and have fun!