There is a city in Europe that no one should skip without visiting it and this is the Athens of the North, Edinburgh in Scotland. Due to my recent trip to Edinburgh, I had the chance to meet a city that, I have to admit I didn’t expect, it would be so mind blowing. The uniqueness of Edinburgh with its imposing architecture and its mysterious atmosphere made me fall so badly in love with it.
Edinburgh is a small city of approximately 500.000 people, which makes it so easy and pleasant to wander. You have the opportunity to walk the medieval streets of the city and stop for a coffee or a drink at the beautifully designed caf
es and pubs based on the Gothic Architecture. And for those who love Harry Potter, like me, you shouldn’t bypass the Elephant House, the place where everything started.
No one should leave Edinburgh without having visited the grandiose Castle of Edinburgh, which rises approximately 263 ft above the city and was the residence of many Royal Families of Scotland. Apart from the National War Museum of Scotland, the Royal Palace and the Great Hall, the castle also houses St Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh dating from the 12th century, and the Honours of Scotland, Scottish regalia and the Scottish Crown Jewels, dating from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Castle of Edinburgh
Going downhill from the castle, you will meet the famous Royal Mile (one of the most haunted as they claim places in the city), the street running between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the Queen of Scotland. The Royal Mile consists of four parts, the Castlehill, the Lawnmarket, the High Street and the Canongate. This street represents the Old Town of Edinburgh where you get a glimpse of the medieval buildings, the Gothic style Cathedral of St. Giles and famous museums such as the Museum of Childhood and the Scotch Whisky Experience Museum. South east of Edinburgh Castle, you will find the historic square of Grassmarket, now overwhelmed with pubs and restaurants, it was a setting for public executions back in the late 15th century.
At the east of the New Town, you will meet the Calton Hill, a hill that is included in the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the most significant monuments up the hill are, the Nelson Monument which was built in the early 19th century due to Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, the National Monument that was modelled upon the Parthenon in Athens and the Dugald Stewart Monument, a memorial to the Scottish philosopher Dugald Stewart and from which you have a panoramic view of the entire city of Edinburgh.
Going down the hill, begins the Princes Street, the main shopping street in Edinburgh. As you walk along this street, dominates the Scott Monument, a Victorian Gothic monument dedicated to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. The Princes Street separates the medieval Old Town from the Georgian style New Town. The New Town is a delightful part of Edinburgh where you can wander in the large streets and squares ( St. Andrew Square).
As you wander in the streets of the city you will certainly see the universities that Edinburgh houses (four in total) and especially the Old University Of Edinburgh that departments of it are found everywhere in the city.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the nightlife of the city. Of course it wasn’t what we, Greeks, are used to. However, it includes a variety of pubs, clubs and bars that make your student life even better.
Edinburgh is a must for everyone and specifically for the travel addicts as it combines the romantic sense with the eerie and unexplained taste. Take my word for it!
“Edinburgh is a mad God’s dream.”, Hugh MacDiarmid, The Complete Poems, 1978.