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Destination Itinerary – 48 Hours in Edinburgh

Use our travel destination guides to explore your favourite cities around the world including this handy 48 Hours in Edinburgh itinerary.

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Edinburgh Castle

48 Hours in Edinburgh means you will only just begin to scratch the surface of Scotland’s beautiful Capital. The beautiful architecture, huge number of historical sights, an array of free museums, great shopping, walking tracks and more bars than even we can keep track of are all tightly spaced so that you will be able maximise your visit.

Edinburgh Castle

We would usually recommend 3 – 4 days but sometimes 48 hours in Edinburgh is all you have so we have highlighted all the best adventures and experiences in the itinerary below. By the end of it you will be absolutely exhausted but hopefully you will be satisfied and longing to come back.

48 Hours in Edinburgh – Day 1

If you need a recommendation of where to stay in Edinburgh then check out Sykes Cottages for some City centre apartments. From the city centre you will be able to start your morning with a quick warm up stroll up Calton Hill. It only takes five minutes to walk up and has panoramic views of Edinburgh, Holyrood Park and Edinburgh Castle.

It is also home to a number of Edinburgh’s famous structures including the Scottish National Monument and the Nelson Monument.

Scottish National Monument

After getting your bearings from Calton Hill head on over to the world famous Royal Mile running between the Queen’s home in Scotland, Holyrood Palace, at one end and Edinburgh Castle at the other. The Royal Mile is known as Edinburgh’s “Old Town” and is packed full of tourist traps selling kilts and cute stuffed Scottish Highland cows. The cobbled lanes and narrow Closes (alleyways) add to the rustic feel and are great for exploring for a few hours.

About midway down the Royal Mile is a Starbucks and from outside you will be able to join the free Edinburgh walking tour run by New Europe Sandemans tours. These are completely free (although a small tip, £5, is usually expected) and are a great way to explore any European city including Edinburgh.

You will be able to familiarise yourself with the layout of Edinburgh and also learn some interesting facts that will make the rest of your sightseeing that much better. We make anyone that visits us in Edinburgh go on the tour as they are that good! Just be there 10 – 15 minutes before they start at 11am or 1pm as they can fill up.

Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and DO NOT go hungover as while these tours are worth it they are at least three hours long.

After the tour you will probably want to rest your weary feet and Grassmarket is the perfect place to do this. Home to just some of the few 350+ bars in Edinburgh it is also home to some fantastic historical and traditional bars such as Last Drop Tavern and The White Heart Inn. These traditional Scottish pubs will also the perfect places to try some Haggis if you are brave enough.

Watch out for all the Stag and Hens parties which seem to flock to Grassmarket and get messy. If you want to join them on a night of partying then there are bunch of Pub Crawls available around the city. Or take the spooky option and join one of the many Ghost Tours that you can find in Grassmarket or on the Royal Mile.

48 Hours in Edinburgh – Day 2

To blowout the cobwebs from last night and get the blood flowing walk up Arthurs seat. While it may look daunting from the city there are lots of different routes you can take depending on how adventurous you are feeling. You can even drive if you are feeling that lazy. The views alone will be worth the small effort.

View of Edinburgh Castle from Arthurs Seat

Depending on your route up Arthur’s Seat it shouldn’t take longer than two or three hours. This will get you back in time to visit Edinburgh Castle and see the One O’Clock Gun fired which is a tradition that has been going since 1861. Pencil in a few hours here is there is so much to see including the Scottish Crown Jewels, National War Museum, a dog cemetery, St Margaret’s Chapel and THE STONE OF DESTINY!

Travel Tip: Purchase your ticket online to beat the queues.

With your 48 hours in Edinburgh coming to an end there are still plenty of options up your sleeve to finish with a flourish. For Art lovers the National Galleries of Scotland will be a must and the best part is that it is free.

Scottish National Museum

The National Museum of Scotland is a great option for families (or just big kids like ourselves) as it’s a very hands-on interactive museum. There is even a replica Formula 1 car you can drive! If you are not much of a museum buff we would suggest shopping down Princes or George Street or for the more adventurous people a stroll along the Water of Leith or through the Botanic Gardens.

48 Hours in Edinburgh Map

Use our map below with all the sights mentioned in our itinerary to plan your route around Edinburgh. Click on the markers to see the sight and use the zoom and pan tools to move around the map.


View Four Jandals – 48 Hours in Edinburgh in a larger map

We hope you have a fantastic time in visiting Edinburgh and if you want any tips on where to eat or just relax please get in touch with us any time.

Plan your 48 hours in Edinburgh now and stay with Sykes Cottages.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Svala

    May 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Aaww. I miss Edinburgh, such a pretty city (the drunk students that fill the streets at weekends are not quite as pretty but that’s another story!)

    • Cole Burmester

      May 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      So many piles of spew around after the drunk students get out! Totally disgusting 🙁

  2. Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad

    May 18, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I really like Edinburgh, but I’ve only been there once, on a fairly quick two day work trip. I did manage to at least try some haggis 😉 I need to go there again

    • Cole Burmester

      May 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

      We love haggis! So tasty and delicious on pork buns 🙂 Have to come over and catch up with us!

  3. A Montrealer Abroad

    May 18, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Will definitely bookmark this for my trip in June!

  4. DebbZ

    May 18, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    It’s been long that I really want to visit Scotland. Hopefully soon.
    Looks so beautiful in your photos 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      May 19, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Let us know if you are coming over this way Debbz!

  5. Natalie

    May 19, 2012 at 5:23 AM

    Have you used tilt shift in the last photo? Looks good if you have. I am still playing around with it but impressed with the effect you have got there

    • Cole Burmester

      May 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      Haven’t quite mastered it yet either but slowly getting there. The key is finding the right shots to use it with I think 🙂

      • Natalie

        May 19, 2012 at 3:01 PM

        Yes, I agree. I have tried some photos that were dreadful and then others have really surprised me. Looks to me like you have mastered it though

  6. Angela

    May 19, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Never been to Edinburgh, nor Scotland for that matter, I would love to go and visit some of the best traces of the Knights Templars!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      Following the trails of the Knights Templars would be awesome! Will join you on that trip if you let us know when you want to do it haha

  7. Laurence

    May 19, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    I love Edinburgh, wasn’t too far from me when I lived in Newcastle so it was a handy place for a weekend getaway 😀

    • Cole Burmester

      May 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      It’s great for a weekend getaway but definitely love living here to Laurence!

  8. Ali

    May 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    I’ve never been to Scotland but I’d really like to get up there. Andy’s parents are there right now, so hopefully they made it to some of these places. Good itinerary!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      I am sure they would have made it to a few of them! Pretty hard to miss the Castle when it is smack bang in the middle of the city haha.

  9. Stef

    May 20, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    Mmm , so might try a few of those suggestions next week

  10. Nick Walz

    May 21, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Edinburgh is amazing! Just recently traveled there. They have Dolly the sheep in the museum and they also have the Elephant House which is were JK Rowling started writing the first Harry Potter books! So much to do!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      Believe it or not we have not yet been into Elephant House even though we LOVE Harry Potter! We love the museum too 🙂

  11. Ayngelina

    May 23, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Tours while hungover are the worst, you don’t want to be there and you feel guilty for it.

  12. Neil

    May 23, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Wish i’d have read this before I took the girlfriend last Jan. Ah well, may just have to visit again.

    Great read Cole, thanks for sharing!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 23, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      Welcome to come back and visit any time and will take you guys out for a beer!

  13. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    July 11, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    Great tips for getting the most out of your 2 days! You guys must have been exhausted.

  14. Rehana

    November 26, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    48hrs is all I have! Can’t wait to exoerience Edinburgh again this New Year 🙂 will it snow??

  15. Amanda

    July 25, 2014 at 5:58 AM

    My fiancé are heading to Scotland for a week long road trip for our honeymoon and will only be in Edinburgh for 48 hours. I’ve been to Edinburgh once before, but wasn’t sure what we should do there in only two days. This post has been a great help! I didn’t know about the free walking tour. That will be a great way to see the city and get some fresh air after our long flight from the US. Thanks!

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Europe

Tips for Making Any Overseas Trip a Romantic One

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Vacations are a great way to leave our everyday lives behind to spend some stress free time with the one we love. Travel in itself can be quite romantic but there are definitely ways you can spice up your holidays even more.

Follow these helpful tips to make sure your romantic holiday gets off on the right foot and continues to head down the tunnel of love and passion. You can easily turn any part of your travels into a special romantic affair.

Choosing the Right Destination

A romantic trip starts with selecting the right destination. There are definitely cities and regions which are much more prone to sparking romance than others. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but generally destinations such as popular European cities, beach getaways, Asian resorts, luxury ski resorts, or tropical islands make for a good choice.

Couples should pick a destination which they both will enjoy as this will of course make it far easier to express their love for each other.

Choosing the Right Time

It is a good idea to select a time that will be most appropriate for your holiday. Choose a time that is easy for you in regards to taking time off work or from household duties. This will make it far easier to feel relaxed while on your holiday, allowing you to focus more on fuelling the romance.

You may also want to research when the best time is to visit your chosen destination so as to avoid peak crowds or unideal weather conditions.

Choosing a romantic date to travel such as an anniversary, honeymoon, or birthday can also turn any holiday into one filled with more passion. Travelling during Valentine’s Day can make for an especially romantic holiday of which there are many perfect Valentine’s Day destinations.

Fly Business Class

Although your destination may be exhilarating, the flight or flights to get there can be stressful. Minimise the stress of flying by booking business class where you’ll enjoy the VIP treatment with far more comfortable seats which many times convert into a bed allowing for a decent rest while in the air.

As a bonus you can many times be granted access to luxurious airport lounges when flying business class which makes waiting for your flight much easier as you are treated to free food and drinks along with clean bathrooms and seating areas.

Private Transportation

Public transportation can not only take longer to get to your hotel or attractions in your chosen destination, but they can also kill the mood for you and your loved one. By booking private transfers via your hotel or on your own, you can avoid buses, trams, and trains which can be crowded and noisy.

Choose a Nice Hotel

It may be difficult to find romance if you are staying in a dodgy motel or hostel. Be sure to book quality accommodation which has private en suites and clean furnishings. Remember that your vacation is supposed to be an escape, so make that escape the best it can be with premium toiletries, fancy marble bathroom floors, plush pillows, quality linen, and a nice hotel room view. All of these luxuries will make for a far more romantic getaway.

Eating Out

Nothing can ignite romance more than delicious food although preparing it isn’t always that much fun. One of the best aspects of travelling is that it gives us an excuse to not have to cook.

Seek out popular restaurants that offer a romantic setting, quality service, and mouth watering flavours that will leave you passionate for more than just satisfying your hungry stomach.

Get Dressed Up

Although you and your loved one may look good in any light and attire, it is never a bad idea to put on your Sunday’s best. It can sometimes be difficult in our everyday lives to find occasions to get all dressed and made up, so why not make your holiday abroad an excuse to do so.

Although clothes may not necessarily make the person, a nice dress or suit and tie can go a long way to giving us a little extra special glow to spark a bit of romance.

Log Off and Put the Phone Away

Nothing can kill a romantic dinner or event than the sound of message notifications, phone calls, or emails. Any holiday should be an excuse to remove the stress of the online world or work and with romantic holidays this becomes even more paramount.

You want to be focusing your attention on the love you and your partner share or if travelling solo you want this time to focus on the beauty of the destination you have selected which may in turn bring you a bit of romance. Disconnecting is all about reconnecting; so log off and put the phone away!

Reduce the Risk of Stressful Situations

Stress can kill romance very quickly. When we are stressed we can easily find ourselves getting into silly arguments or bouts of criticism. Your holiday is supposed to be an enjoyable experience so don’t let it turn sour by making the possibility of stress to creep on in.

Don’t try to overload your itinerary with too much and avoid setting too rigid of a timeline. Prior planning is important to avoid any unwanted surprises or disappointments when it comes to securing reservations for flights, hotels, or activities.

Should anything go wrong during your travels, you want to have the peace of mind you are protected by travel insurance from InsureandGo. Travel Insurance can help when the unforseen happens while you are overseas.

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Europe

How to Plan a Trip to Iceland

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If you have ever heard the amazing stories about Iceland, they are all true!  If you’ve come this far into doing research about how to plan a trip to Iceland, I’m here to help you cross the bridge and fill in gaps so you can make your dream a reality.

As someone who has done this trip, I’m able to assist in every step of the journey.  I’ve boiled this down into cliff notes so you can do your own research after reading them and dig deeper into tours that will fit your personal preferences and budget.

First off, you are going to need to trust the Internet.  It’s a big place with a lot of information that can help you get there in one piece and not be stressed out.  Long gone are the days of visiting a travel agency and having someone plan everything for you – for a fee!  It’s your adventure, and you can know that every item is covered online, you just need to know how to look for it.

The best tip I can give you is to leverage the various Facebook Groups about Iceland.

Resource:  When In Iceland Facebook Group.

Next, you’ll want to decide when to visit Iceland.

The winter months will allow you to have more freedom as the tourism numbers are down.  However, this comes with the caveat that it will be below freezing and there will be very little sunlight!  The sun is only out for approximately six hours during the month of December!

On the positive side, this allows you a great opportunity to view the Northern Lights, which is a marquee attraction in Iceland.

Conversely, the Fall and Spring will bring you better temperatures and less snow, but there will be a much slimmer chance of viewing the Northern Lights.

Lastly, there are the Summer months.  While you will see a greener country and experience a lot of beauty on that end of the spectrum, it does come with a much higher price tag.  Be prepared to spend more money if you choose to visit Iceland in the Summer.

Also, you’ll want to have an agenda.  If you are one to take things in on your own and adventure into the wild, Iceland will be a perfect escape for you.  There are also guided tours that you can hire and they will accommodate to your every need or desire.  Simply ask anyone in the aforementioned Facebook group and they can steer you in the right direction.

You can of course, do public transportation in Iceland.  It’s entirely safe and used by many people.

Iceland is a fantastic, unique place to visit.  If you need any help planning your trip, please visit my Iceland Tour guide resource and leave a comment.  Happy Travels.

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Europe

Overlooked and Underrated Euro Vacations

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Here’s a quick list of places to possibly include in your next European itinerary. 2018 is the year of the underrated vacation spot in our humble opinions, and we want to honor it.

Basque Country:

This place is in this author’s humble opinion easily and hands-down the most underrated little corner of Europe.

And honestly, between the two, the Spanish side of Basque country is going to cost you probably around 50% what the French side will, and most people in the know will agree that the Spanish side is at least 100% more fun!

 

Canary Islands:

There are two ways to do the Canaries: simply fly in and enjoy them, or treat yourself and a loved one to a romantic Canary Island cruise.

Best time to visit is definitely either spring or fall, as it does get quite cold in the winter and quite hot in the summer. If you are a beach bum, on the other hand, summer is best (but there will be a lot more tourists in the summer).

 

Siena, Italy:

This city is often overshadowed by Rome, Florence, and Venice, but it actually is arguably the best-preserved city in Italy and has the best historic city center. The cuisine here is absolutely to die for, and you won’t have to pay inflated tourist prices like you will in the aforementioned places either!

If you can, try to make it for the famous Palio, a horse race that has been going on literally for centuries.

 

Brussels:

Just as Siena is overshadowed by other bigger Italian cities, Brussels tends to stand forgotten next to London and Paris. But Brussels has key elements of the two metropolises, as well as its own unique and delicious cuisine, its own beer (considered by more than a few experts to be the worlds best), and easily the worlds best chocolate, both in solid and drinkable form. Belgian chocolate will seriously change your life forever.

 

Istria, Croatia:

This is one of the world’s best summer beach destinations. It’s incredibly beautiful, and by Western European standards, almost outrageously cheap.

Hipster tourists are starting to come in and drive prices up, but it still remains a great bargain by any standards, and most importantly, it’s a bargain without really having to give up any of our beloved amenities.

 

Budapest:

Budapest could be called the poor man’s Prague, but in reality that name isn’t very fair. For one thing, Hungarian culture and Czech culture are actually extremely different (for one thing, the Hungarian language isn’t in the same family as the rest of Europe, it’s its own thing completely, like the Basque language).

Prague is gorgeous, but it’s getting almost as expensive as the rest of Europe too, and honestly Budapest’s history and culture is much more interesting, especially for the seasoned traveller.

 

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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