The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the city’s biggest annual attractions and a mass celebration of the beautiful, the weird and the eclectic. However, as visitors search for their perfect sight, they can find Edinburgh’s best view.
A Google search will tell you that the hills and lookout points that dot the city offer some pretty fantastic views. However, going off the beaten path and walking a few historic alleys can reveal the most Instagram-friendly moments.
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New Town reporter Danyel VanReenen has rounded up some of Edinburgh’s best views ahead of the festival.
National Museum roof terrace
The National Museum‘s rooftop terrace is a personal favorite because it’s free and offers nearly 360-degree views of the city and suburbs.
The view from the northwest reveals a breathtaking look at Edinburgh Castle’s facade set above the historic Royal Mile skyline. From the south, various Gothic buildings and towers rise out of the suburbs as a tribute to Edinburgh’s rich history.
The views to the East are more difficult to see, but Holyrood can be seen from the stairs as spectators ascend to the roof.
The view is all the more satisfying after perusing the exhibits of the National Museum. The building itself is a huge maze of history and knowledge. With exhibits for visitors of all ages, abilities and interests, it’s well worth the time on the way to the rooftop.
The roof terrace is accessible by stairs as well as by an elevator.
The views from the ramparts of Craigmillar Castle are in second place. The historic complex is in the city of Edinburgh, but feels a world away from the bustle of the Royal Mile.
The oldest part of the castle was built in the late medieval period, and Mary Queen of Scots used the castle as a refuge in 1566.
As well as the palpable history and authenticity of the castle, views from the ramparts reveal the beauty of Edinburgh city center from a distance as well as sea views near Leith and Portobello, and the famous beauty of the Scottish countryside .
Green hills roll away from Castle Hill and slowly blend into the housing estates. On a clear day, the blue/black sea is visible. Holyrood and Edinburgh Castle can be spotted in the distance, and visitors can almost imagine the former royal gardens that grew there.
Entry costs £7 and the castle walls are not wheelchair accessible due to the age and design of the structure.
Kirkyard of Greyfriar
Greyfriar’s Kirkyard is known more for its church and graveyard than for its views. However, the alternate, darker view of the city through the gravestones and over the old Flodden Wall has some appeal.
While the tombstones and mausoleums create an atmosphere that generally matches the gray skies over Scotland, the best views are from the south-east corner of the properties near the main street entrance. Visitors can wander between the tombstones while keeping an eye on the horizon above. Most notably, the spiers of Tolbooth Kirk stand front and center.
The Kirkyard is free to the public and has a paved path from the entrance at the top of Candlemaker Row near the junction of the George IV Bridge.
Victoria Street may not offer panoramic views of Edinburgh; however, it is certainly a perfect location.
On particularly gray and rainy days, the color of restaurant and shop fronts contrasts sharply with the weather. Visitors may feel like they have entered Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter universe.
The buildings that line the road are typical multi-storey constructions of the city. The city’s classic sandstone architecture is predominant on the upper half of the buildings, but the lower floors feature brightly painted facades. Most buildings have storefronts, cafes, and restaurants that provide shelter on rainy days. Cobbled streets complete the picture of historic idealism.
Pedestrians have to watch out for cars and oncoming traffic while taking the perfect shot.
Other views from around the city include Calton Hill, King Arthur’s seat in Holyrood Park, the cobbled forecourt of Edinburgh Castle, and Prince’s Street Gardens on the north side of the station.
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