Edinburgh, or the mussels lovers heaven. (Part 1 – the city and the Loch Ness)

For Christmas, G offered me a weekend in Edinburgh! So we headed up there middle of February for 4 days of fun, food and freezing cold!

The magnificient Kings Cross Pancras Station - London

The magnificient Kings Cross Pancras Station – London

Edinburgh is a very beautiful city with a Gothic style architecture which gives you a stiff neck during the day by dint of staring at the buildings surrounding you, and a creepy mysterious atmosphere at night with those same dark gothic buildings and narrow streets. Well, this is certainly why Edinburgh inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write his famous novel: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The city is small enough to allow you to discover the essential by feet. And anyway, the best way to visit a city is certainly using your own feet. This allows you to go wherever you feel like going and to explore the maximum of it while discovering spots you wouldn’t find in a guide. Follow your heart!

Here is a list of Edinburgh neighboorhoods you shouldn’t/should miss:

  • Old Town

This is certainly the most beautiful part of the city. Filled with magnificient buildings, tiny streets and lots of pubs and shops. You will definitely have to walk throught the Royal Mile: it goes from the Castle to Abbey Strand and includes High Street and Canongate. This is THE street you can not miss while staying at Edinburgh. Very nice to walk by, you will find nice places to shop souvenirs and anything traditional. Don’t forget to check out St Giles Cathedral.

The Castle: On the top of the Hill overlooking the city you’ll find the Castle of Edinburgh. Following the advice of friends, we didn’t visited it. It is very expensive to get in and apparently not that interesting. BUT you must climb the hill till the castle to enjoy the 360° view of Edinburgh! Don’t miss that!

The Fruitmarket Gallery: very tiny gallery offering exhibitions of contemporary artists.

Parliament Hall: its architecture has been disputed as it has nothing to do with the traditional style of the city and in my opinion is very disturbing and not appealing at all.

Haunted Tours: Edinburgh is known to have plenty of ghosts, therefore tours have been organised to scare tourists in ark alleys and underground parts of Edinburgh. The one I did wasn’t worth it… We learned interesting facts abour Edinburgh history but the ghost part was not really good… So I recommend you to avoid this one. There are plenty of others that you’ll find once in Edinburgh.

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  • New Town:

This is a beatiful part of Edinburgh where you’ll find a lot of high street shops (Zara, H&M, Boots…), plenty of restaurants and bars (see my next post for advice on where to eat, drink and party in Edinburgh). You can admire an other type of architecture.

Walk by Princes st, George St and Queen st. Have a look at Charlotte Square.

But don’t miss Calton Hill, from there you will have the most beautiful view of the city.

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Edinburgh Old Town

  • Leith and the Waterfront

Leith is where Danny Boyle’s movie Trainspotting takes place. It’s just a residential area of the city, if you are a big fan of the movie, you may enjoy to track the places down!

Don’t go to the Harbour (like we did…). It’s only an industrial one, so nothing pretty to see here… But go to Portobello Beach instead if you are craving for some salty water!

  • Loch Ness and the Highlands

Ok, this has nothing to do with Edinburgh. But if you are going that far from your home, try to take a day to visit the countryside. We booked a one day tour to the Highlands and the Loch Ness. Since I’m a child I’ve dreamt about the mysterious Nessy! So I was really exited by this journey! But… we were really disapointed by it. It was was too touristish. Never-ending bus riding, with a few “quick-tourist-picture-time” stops and breakfast-lunch-tea at tourists shops selling the same souvenirs and not so good food. SO, I recommend you to rent a car and go by yourself!

What we enjoyed was the landscape. Incredible mix of colors, shapes and reliefs. And of course, I was really exited to finally see the Loch Ness, but unfortunately Nessy did not came by to say hi. Well… maybe an other time!

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More pictures on The London Intruder Facebook page (Edinburgh Album)

In the next post, read my advices on where to eat, drink and party!