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Scotland offers a plethora
of urban experiences, natural nooks, cultural crannies, friendly faces and the
occasional Loch Ness Monster. A perfect example of this wealth of experiences
(Nessie not included) is found its capital, Edinburgh. Known as the ‘Athens of
the North’. This old, romantic city is divided into a New- and Old Town, both
of which are prized UNESCO Heritage Sites. In the Old Town, visit the
commanding Edinburgh Castle that sits on an extinct volcano and overlooks the
entire city, before strolling down The Royal Mile past tartan-clad pipers and
old shops to the modernist Scottish Parliament-building and the old royal
residence, Holyrood Palace.
In the New Town, shop to your heart’s content along the main streets of Princes Street and Rose Street before heading to some of the lesser known city gems. Visit the unfinished Greek temple at the top of Calton Hill, have a pint in the rejuvenated area of Leith before following the river fittingly named Water of Leith, exploring the old buildings of Dean Village along the way.
If you’re visiting Edinburgh during August, you’ll find yourself right at the centre of the largest art festival in the world, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (or just The Fringe if you prefer). Here you can explore modern theatre, music and comedy shows in numerous venues across the city — you might even bump into a celebrity or two along the way!
Day trips out of Edinburgh are also not to be missed. Explore the metropolis of Glasgow with its rich history, art and shopping opportunities, head to the fortress city of Stirling and see the statue of William Wallace (made famous by Mel Gibson) against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, and visit small coastal towns like St Andrews and Ayr to delight your taste buds with Scottish whisky, salmon, smoked haddock, and for the brave among us, a good portion of haggis, complete with neeps and tatties.
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