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Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Edinburgh?

As part of our Adventure City Guide series, we share with you our insider tips on the top adventure and outdoor activities to do in Edinburgh; including how to get there and costs.

Outdoor Activities in Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle Braveheart Scotland

Why visit Edinburgh for adventure?

We think Edinburgh is one of the most liveable capitals in Europe. It has been our base for the last 2 years and is ideal for adventure travellers. While the weather may not always be the best, when the sun is shining, the Scottish capital comes to life.

The best part about the outdoor activities in Edinburgh, is that most can be reached within a few minutes by walking, biking or using public transport. Perfect if you are travelling without a car.

The Best Outdoor Activities in Edinburgh

Climbing Arthurs Seat

Our favourite outdoor activity in Edinburgh is walking up Arthurs Seat in Holyrood Park. This old volcano provides a spectacular backdrop to an already beautiful city. You won’t miss it either because Arthurs Seat can be seen from nearly every corner of Edinburgh.

Arthurs Seat from Salisbury Crags

From leisurely meandering paths to the lung busting, calf burning climb up the near-vertical stairs, there are a number of different paths leading up Arthurs Seat to suit all abilities. The quickest route will take approximately 20 – 30 minutes.

The views at the top of Arthurs Seat are truly spectacular. On a clear day you can see across Edinburgh city to the Pentland Hills and the Firth of Forth.

You can easily spend a whole day exploring Arthurs Seat with three different lochs, the ruins of Anthony’s Chapel and the Queens Holyrood Palace.

Arthurs Seat Walking Route Map by Geowalks

Getting to Arthurs Seat:

Arthurs Seat can be reached by walking from the city centre in 10 minutes. Car parking spaces are available within Holyrood Park if you are feeling lazy.

Cost of walking up Arthurs Seat:

Free!

Additional information for Arthurs Seat:

Read our Arthurs Seat walking guide to find out a little bit more about the walk. The Visit Scotland Edinburgh page also has lots of additional information about Holyrood Park.

Exploring the Pentland Hills Regional Park

The Pentlands Hills Regional Park are perfect for walkers and mountain bikers of all abilities wanting to escape the city for a few hours of outdoor activities in Edinburgh.

Outdoor Activities in Edinburgh

With over 100 km (60 miles) of signposted tracks running across the Pentlands, you are spoilt for choice. And even though the hills attract over 600, 000 visitors annually, it is uncommon to see another person.

Many of the trails and paths are multi-use so you will share them with cyclists, walkers, dogs and even the odd farm animal. So take care if you are careening down the hills on a mountain bike.

Getting to the Pentland Hills Regional Park:

Get to the Pentlands by cycling on dedicated cycle paths from Edinburgh city centre or catch local buses. These include bus routes 4, 10, 11, 15, 15A, 16, 27, 44 and 44A with Lothian Buses.

Cost of exploring the Pentlands:

Free!

Additional information for the Pentlands:

The Pentland Hills Regional Park website provides all the information you need including trail maps, advice and tips.

Pentland Hills Regional Park, Highland Cow and calf

It isn’t uncommon to see Highland Cows in the Pentlands.

Walking and Biking the Water of Leith

The Water of Leith is a river flowing from the Pentland Hills through the heart of Edinburgh to the Firth of Forth in Leith. Criss-crossing the meandering river is the stunning 20 km (12 mile) Water of Leith Walkway which provides a welcome respite in the city centre.

The Water of Leith walkway is perfect for family strolls, romantic couples or a morning run to burn off the haggis from the night before. The walkway is suitable for cycling and is accessible across some sections by wheelchair and even horseback.

After rainfall it can be quite wet and muddy along some of the pathways so you may need a change of clothes after mountain biking!

Getting to the Water of Leith Walkway

The Water of Leith walkway can be joined at hundreds of places up and down the river. These also link with other paths and cycle routes, including the Union Canal and Pentland Hills. The walkway is well signposted and you can buy detailed maps from the visitor centres for £2.

Outdoor activities in Edinburgh

Cost of the Water of Leith Walkway

Walking and cycling along the Water of Leith is free.

Additional information for the Water of Leith Walkway

The Water of Leith Conservation Trust provides lots of extra information including outdoor activities in Edinburgh, trail maps and details of any closures or detours.

Walking and Cycling the Union Canal

The Union Canal runs 51 km (32 miles) from Edinburgh city, over ancient aqueducts and through tunnels until you reach the Falkirk Wheel. It is a perfect route for getting out of the city to explore the Pentland Hills.

On a sunny day the Canal can be packed with others running, cycling and walking with their kids feeding the swans.

While it can be a little scary riding your bike along the narrow paths, as long as you do it slowly and use your bell frequently, you will have no problems with other users. Just be prepared to stop often and let other users pass you by too.

No point forcing one of you into the water!

Getting to the Union Canal:

The best place to join the Union Canal is in the city centre off Fountainbridge Road. You can also join from hundreds of linking pathways along the route.

Cost of exploring the Union Canal:

Free!

Additional information for the Union Canal:

Find out about what other outdoor activities in Edinburgh you can do along the Union Canal from the Scottish Canals website.

Outdoor activities to do in Edinburgh

Best time of year to visit Edinburgh for adventure?

We think the best time of year for outdoor activities in Edinburgh is during spring (May – June). There are not as many tourists clogging up the main tourist attractions and the weather is the most settled.

Summer can be great, especially if you time your visit with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. While winter often brings snow and freezing temperatures which will make hiking and biking hazardous. But the scenery can be spectacular when dusted in white.

I love Edinburgh for adventure because…

When the sun is shining the city comes alive. Within short walking and cycling distances you have some of the best scenery in Scotland to enjoy.

Do you have any outdoor activities in Edinburgh to add to our adventure city guide?

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Shalu Sharma

    February 21, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Edinburgh is indeed a very exciting place to go on holiday. I regard it the first stop to Scotland. The furtherest I have been to Newcastle but I do hope to visit Edinburgh someday hopefully very soon. I love those cows.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 22, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      Edinburgh is such a beautiful city full of history. And the fact that you can enjoy all these outdoor activities in Edinburgh makes it the ideal city for us!

  2. Jennifer

    February 21, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Great guide! We haven’t been to Scotland yet, but this will certainly come in handy when we do make it to Edinburgh!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 22, 2013 at 8:10 AM

      Edinburgh has been our home base for 2 years now but time to move on. You will love it once you make it here!

  3. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    February 21, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Thanks for the eye-opener about Edinburgh. Any place where I can “climb up Arthur’s Seat” is okay by me….Looking forward to getting active tips for other cities as well.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 22, 2013 at 8:11 AM

      Too many people get put off by Arthurs Seat when they look at it, but it is such an easy walk if you want it to be.

  4. Stephen S.

    February 22, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    Great guide to a great part of the world. Arthurs Seat give you such an amzing view of Edinburgh.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 22, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      The only problem is that you need a nice clear day to get the fantastic views. And they are quite rare in Scotland 😉

  5. Laurence

    February 22, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    You’ve missed off drinking copious amounts and trying to weave your way back home in the early hours of the morning. That particular one has caused me multiple bruises on various nights out in Edinburgh. Other than that, great round up 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      February 22, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      Hmmm good point. The cobblestones are a nightmare to navigate even when I am sober! Put your life at risk when it is after a few beers 😉

  6. Jonathan Look, Jr.

    February 23, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    Looks like an amazing and surprisingly assessable place. Ah, this summer maybe! I bet winter is quiet though.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      Winter is chilly and the days are very short. In summer it is light until 11pm at night so you can be out for hours after work exploring.

  7. Cheryl

    February 23, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Love this adventure guide! I can’t wait to visit Scottland sometime. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      February 23, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      If you visit in the next 6 weeks then we would have been able to put you up but we are moving on in April 🙂

  8. Arti

    February 24, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    The view from Arthurs seat must be a sight to behold! Thanks for the post and photographs.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      You will have to check it out Arti! Great views when it is nice weather 😉

  9. Nico

    February 24, 2013 at 5:41 AM

    Some really great photos, you’ve more than done justice to one of my favourite cities in Britain.

  10. Dana

    February 25, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    I enjoyed your post! We went to Edinburgh several years ago and LOVED Arthur’s Seat. Just beautiful!! I hope we make it back there soon & can enjoy some of the other sites!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 25, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      Hope you can make it back for some outdoor activities in Edinburgh too Dana!

  11. Jeremy Branham

    February 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    This is an awesome guide. It’s exactly the way I like to travel when I visit a city. No matter where I go, I always find a hike or a park or somewhere that gets me outdoors. With that said, Edinburgh is a top city on my list of places to visit. I have a fascination with Scotland. However, the country is so beautiful and I love this approach to the city.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 26, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      Edinburgh is definitely one of my favourite cities for living in because it is so easy to escape from haha. You can be in the hills within 10 minutes! Perfect for someone like myself and I am sure you would love the outdoor activities in Edinburgh too.

  12. Pingback: The Radar: Travel Lately – Intelligent Travel

  13. Jenna

    March 1, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    I love how you are promoting outdoor activities around the world–a great way to really see a place while staying healthy, too. I haven’t been to Edinburgh but it’s high on my list.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 2, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      If you want to contribute an adventure city guide then we would love to have one from you 🙂

  14. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    March 2, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Great new series. Perfect for my travel interests 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      March 2, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      If you want to contribute then feel free Stephanie 😉

  15. EurotripTips

    March 7, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I had no idea these places were so close to Edinburgh. Must check’em out next time I’m in town!

    • Cole Burmester

      March 7, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      There are so many good outdoor activities in Edinburgh that you can access within about an hour! Have you ever climbed Arthurs Seat? Do that first 😉

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Adventure Travel

Costa Rica: Your Dream Destination

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There’re countless reasons to pack your bags and head to Costa Rica on your next vacation. The country is a great choice for families, couples, friends, backpackers, and solo travelers. For many years, Costa Rica has been a hot spot destination, and the reasons are quite obvious.

Here’s Why You Should Visit Costa Rica

The People

One of the happiest places on earth is said to be Costa Rica. The people in the country live a relaxed and pure lifestyle commonly referred to as “pura vida.” Costa Ricans are very open and welcoming to visitors. It’s infectious, inspiring, and absolutely heart-warming to visit a country with people who are intent on achieving peace and happiness in life.

Beaches

Costa Rica is endowed with two coasts—to the east, the Caribbean, and to the west, the Pacific. That’s more than 1,500 kilometers of exotic beaches with sand ranging from icing sugar to cappuccino, flanked by rainforests, crashing surf, and palm trees.

The Caribbean coast is popular for its laid-back vibes, unique cuisine, reggae music, and the Rastafari culture. All in all, Costa Rica boasts of the most stunning beaches on the planet.

Turtles

One of the most emotional experiences in this paradise is seeing turtles lay their eggs and watching the hatchlings make their way to the ocean. Different turtle species nest at different times of the year on the Caribbean and Pacific sides of Costa Rica.

With a bit of research and planning, you can ensure your visit corresponds with the nesting time of these beautiful sea creatures. The Tortuguero National Park, which is on the Caribbean coast, is a major nesting site for turtles. The nesting season in the park is from April to October with over 600 turtles laying eggs along the 30-kilometer beach stretch.

Surfing

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Surfers adore Costa Rica: the water is warm all year round, the surf is great on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides, and the breaks and swells are amazing. There are lots of surfing retreats and schools along the coasts. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an excited beginner, Costa Rica has all the waves you need.

Volcanoes

Costa Rica sits on an area with high volcanic activity, to be specific, the Pacific Ring of Fire. Out of 122 volcanoes, the country has 4 active ones. Arenal, the most famous volcano, was active until 2010. Since then, it hasn’t spewed any lava but it constantly smokes which makes for breathtaking views. There are also hot springs around mt. Arenal where tourists can go soak in the hot springs or swim in the warm baths while sipping Pina coladas.

Adventure

Thrill seekers and anyone who craves adventure is in for the time of their lives. The country is famous for its kayaking, cliff diving, skydiving, scuba diving, zip-lining tours, white-water rafting, and other adrenaline-pumping escapades. Rest assured there is something for everyone.

The diversity of the country’s climate and terrain give life to some of the best adventure-filled activities anywhere.

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Adventure Travel

5 Places You Must Visit If You Ever Go To United Kingdom

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If you are visiting the United Kingdom for the first time in your life, and you don’t know what to do. Don’t worry; you have come to the right place. Following we are going to mention a few awe-inspiring places you better visit if you ever set foot on English Soil.

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These are literally the best tourist attractions in the UK.

The Stonehenge

It is 10 miles North of Salisbury on the Salisbury Plan. This is perhaps Europe’s most treasured prehistoric monument. There are around 250 objects that show how megaliths carried out their daily appears. Once you have walked the stones, you better see the replicas of Neolithic Houses with their daily use tools. Well, you can go inside the circle during normal visits, you will need a special book to get to the site. If you are really interested, you can find a deal here.

The Tower of London

A Prison, Palace and Treasure vault, you name it. This menagerie and Observatory has everything. This is the primary reason why The Tower of London is perhaps considered the most important building in all of England. There is enough history to keep you busy for hours. White Tower is the centerpiece which was built around in 1078 by William the Conqueror. It houses exceptional exhibits like Line of Kings and a stunning display of royal armor.

It also houses Crown Jewel exhibits including Yeoman Warder Tours and the Royal Mind. Tourists can also see the daily about of prisoners and where they used to be executed. This historic landmark covers 18 acres of real estate you should explore.

The British Museum

The British museum perhaps has the finest collection of artifacts, more than 13 million artifacts from all over the world including countries like:

  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • Roman Empire
  • China
  • Babylonia
  • Assyria
  • And from Various Parts of Europe

Among its vast and impressive collection, the most ancient artifacts are Elgin Marbles of Parthenon from Athens and the Rosetta Stone. If you want to see the best collection of Ancient Egypt Artifacts somewhere outside of Cairo with a fine collection of Roman artifacts, then you must visit The British Museum.

Historic Yorkshire

The Yorkshire stands in the center of York which is surrounded by timbered homes and shops. If you want to see medieval halls and churches, you better visit this. The romantic streets are matched with town walls with more history than a history book.

If you happen to be there, you better visit the National Railway Museum, it’s among the most visited attractions in all of United Kingdom. Yorkshire has some of the most beautiful and historic towns of England, including Durham and Beverley.

Gregorian City

If you can’t spare much time then you better only visit the Bath, a beautiful city has the Roman Baths, built thousands of years ago. The city is also known for its Georgian Townhouses which are located at the Royal Crescent.

More than 500 of the buildings here have significant historical value. The architecture inspired generations to come.

 

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Adventure Travel

5 Things To Do on the Waters in San Diego

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San Diego is a California city full of wonders and adventures. There are plenty of things to do in the city, and in the areas immediately surrounding San Diego. However, there are also numerous fun activities to do on the waters of San Diego. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the cool water-based activities to do while on a trip to Sand Diego.

Jet skiing

Jet skis are awesome. With even the slowest jet ski you can zip around the water at about 40 MPH. The faster jet skis can get up to 65 MPH! If you’re the one controlling the jet ski, imagine the fun you would be having. With that much speed, they’re like water-motorcycles. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who was sad or bored on a motorcycle, much less a jet ski. As always, make sure to be safe first and foremost by using a life jacket – especially if it’s your first time ever on a jet ski.

Sailing tours

You can explore San Diego from a vastly different perspective. There are plenty of San Diego sailing tours to choose from. If you can gather a large enough group, you can book a private sailing tour. For example, if you’re thinking about planning a San Diego wedding and want your wedding to be extra memorable, this is something you can look into. Private tours are also good for corporate events, such as a team vacation. Imagine being the girl or guy who pitched the idea of a sunset cruise San Diego for the annual company retreat. Everyone will probably thank you for the cool idea.

Whale watching

Whales are the biggest mammals on Earth. They’re also fantastic swimmers; if you look up videos of whales breaking the surface water, you’ll be quite mesmerized. However, instead of watching YouTube videos of whales, you can actually experience them in their natural habitats near San Diego! The Winter season for whale watching began on December 7, 2018. These whale watching tours look like they can be booked on pretty short notice. If you’re already in San Diego, in the general area of the city, or just about to arrive there you can start googling something like whale watching near me to go on quite the water adventure!

Parasailing

Since a powerboat pulls you at respectable speeds while parasailing, it can seem like it’s strenuous, but it’s not. If you have the capability to sit, then you have the ability to parasail. You can see San Diego from yet another fun and unique perspective. A lot of places let you take your pictures, or even bring a GoPro to record your experience.

Kayaking

I always consider kayaking a classic because it can be done on any decent sized body of water. While not as fast paced and heart-pumping as parasailing or whale watching, kayaking allows you to slow down to your own pace and view your surroundings at your own leisure.

San Diego is a cool place with an abundance of awesome water-based activities and experiences to take part in. Keep in mind that this is not an inclusive list of everything you can do on the waters of San Diego. Of course, there’s always more you can pick into your trip, but rest assured that these experiences on the water are awesome.

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