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Guide to Arthurs Seat Walk: Exploring Edinburgh

Check out our guide to Arthurs Seat walk in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

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Outdoor Activities in Edinburgh, Arthurs Seat walk in Holyrood Park

The best thing about living in Edinburgh, okay second best after Edinburgh Castle, is that you can be outside the city within a matter of minutes if you are willing to hop in your car. However, like most backpackers and travellers, having a car on hand is not always an option.

You are in luck as exploring Edinburgh on foot is just as good, if not better, due to the excess of parks within just a few short steps. And the Arthurs Seat walk is one of the best in Edinburgh.

Arthurs Seat from Salisbury Crags

 

Guide to Arthurs Seat Walk

Our favourite place to get away from the hustle and bustle within the city limits is walking up Arthurs Seat in Holyrood Park. Visible from nearly every corner of Edinburgh it is quite easy to be daunted by the Arthurs Seat walk which provides a spectacular backdrop to an already beautiful city.

The fact is that it is actually only 251m to the summit which makes it a perfect vantage point for views. And these views, and its close proximity to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, make it extremely popular with walkers, joggers, locals and tourists alike.

There are a variety of pathways up the hill for all ages and abilities. You can tackle it by going straight up the guts from for a lung busting, calf burning steep climb (my favourite) which takes about 20 – 30 mins. Or take one of the many meandering paths that wind their way leisurely to the top.

The map below shows some of the many easier routes available…

Arthurs Seat Walking Route Map by Geowalks

And for those extremely lazy folks, you can even drive most of the way up and park near the top for an even shorter stroll.

The views at the top of Arthurs Seat walk are truly spectacular. On a clear day you can see across the Pentland Hills, the Firth of Forth, not to mention that Edinburgh lies at your feet.

View of Edinburgh Castle from Arthurs Seat

If you have a few hours to spare then don’t stop at the top.

The rest of Holyrood Park has a variety of different places to explore. Following the Salisbury Crags will lead you back towards Holyrood Palace. Or wander around the park trying to locate the three lakes, Duddingston Loch, Dunsapie Loch and St Margaret Loch, which all provide an opportunity for the kids to get rid of that stale loaf of bread in your backpack to feed the swans.

There are also the ruins of Anthony’s Chapel which provides a great opportunity for photo taking. Or the secret Underground Railway which I don’t think many people know about as I only found it by accident one day as I was exploring the small pathways. Will let you find that one for yourself.

I am also convinced there must be secret tunnels from Holyrood Palace in case old Queenie ever needed to escape from a marauding horde! Let me know if you find them 🙂

Edinburgh’s largest hill is definitely a quiet place of sanctuary away from the crowded streets and a small slice of Scotland’s ruggest countryside within the city limits. An Arthurs Seat walk is the perfect way to spend your sunny summer’s afternoon.

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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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Laurence

    January 27, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Have to agree – it’s a beautiful walk with great views. Lovely photography guys 🙂

    • Cole

      January 27, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      Thanks Laurence 🙂

  2. Pete

    January 27, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    So that’s what blue skies look like in Edinburgh 😉 We only had 2 days in the city and didn’t get the chance to climb Arthur’s Seat. Your first photo just reminds me why we need to go back. Very nice.

    • Cole

      January 27, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      Can you say photoshop… Hahaha just kidding! We do get some beautiful days here in Edinburgh, unfortunately it is a rare thing indeed 🙂 If you come back let us know and we will show you the best spots to go.

  3. Sam

    January 27, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    That Salisbury Crags walk looks pretty wild; love the photo in black & white.

    • Cole

      January 30, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      Cheers Sam. It is a great spot for photos with the sharp outline of the rocks and steep drop off the edge. Scary for me who hates heights!

  4. Rachel

    January 27, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    I haven’t been up Arthur’s Seat since I was little, hoping to take my boyfriend to Scotland soon to show him what it’s all about – this will be on the tour for sure! Definitely one of my favourite cities.

    • Cole

      January 30, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      Glad to hear we have inspired you to go up there Rachel. Let us know when you are coming and we can give you some extra tips if you need them 🙂

  5. dtravelsround

    January 28, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    I love how the bird photo-bombed the shot! When I was in Edinburgh, I stayed at the university dorms which backed up to this. A bunch of people went hiking up, but me, who doesn’t like hills, stayed back. Kinda wish I had made the trek for that view of the lovely city!

    • Cole

      January 30, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      The walk up looks a lot easier than it actually is so if you come back then definitely get out there. I am just glad the birds were not dive bombing me!

  6. Andrew

    January 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    So is the first photo actually black and white, or is it just like that? I’m with Pete about not seeing the sky in Edinburgh. It was a great few days there, but not one for stargazing.

    • Cole

      January 30, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      Haha no it was a beautiful clear day luckily. There are some amazing star gazing areas south of Edinburgh actually (if the sky is clear :))

  7. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    January 30, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    I love places that have “getaway” spots so close.

    • Cole

      January 30, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      Have you ever been to Edinburgh before Stephanie? Where else can you recommend for “getaway” spots in other cities? We love exploring new areas of places we have been before.

  8. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    January 30, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    This view looks awesome. We STILL haven’t made it to Scotland, but that’s going to be rectified this summer! Hopefully. 😛

    • Cole

      January 30, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      Cheers Christy. Make sure you let us know when you come up 🙂

  9. Toni White

    January 31, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Perfect timing – I'm heading that way in April =).

    • Cole

      February 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      Glad to hear it Toni. If you want any other tips then let us know. More than happy to help out 🙂

  10. Cheryl

    February 2, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Your first photo took my breath away. How amazing and beautiful!

    • Cole

      February 3, 2012 at 8:52 AM

      Thanks Cheryl! It is a beautiful spot.

  11. Shanna Schultz

    February 6, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Great post! We have been to Edinburgh twice now and have not made it up here yet…definitely on the list for next time, though! The views look spectacular (and Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities that I have even been in.)

    • Cole

      February 6, 2012 at 8:16 PM

      Awesome Shanna! Let us know when you come back. Happy to show you some other cool walks 🙂

  12. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    April 14, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Arthurs Seat looks like a great place for a picnic 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      April 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      Its beautiful up there as long as there is not the usual wind blowing in from the north!

  13. Amy

    August 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    I’m thinking of walking up with my 4yr old on an adventure day. Is it manageable for a little one? 🙂

  14. Evan McDonald

    September 4, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    The scenic view is spectacular! The green route is great for those who are not feeling that well. We would not have been able to hike it without that path, as we weren’t feeling that well.

  15. JenEmCee

    February 28, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    Super helpful, love the graphic definitely will use on my trip next month. Thanks!

  16. Sophie

    March 29, 2016 at 7:31 AM

    I suffer from a lung condition and struggle on hills, I really want to do this walk away though! Why ch route would you suggest for the most gentle ascent?

  17. Amy

    June 6, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    Cole – I am super excited to tackle this now that I’ve read your advice! My daughters are currently bumming around Europe for a month, and I’ll be meeting up with them in Edinburgh 20-6-16. Arthur’s Seat was on my oldest’s list. We’ll also be checking out the University as my oldest will be attending in the fall to begin her Masters degree program. Any other advice before we meet up in Edinburgh?

    • Cole Burmester

      June 10, 2016 at 8:01 AM

      The City is just an amazing place to wander around to be honest. There’s all the usual spots to go like the Castle and underneath in the old city ‘tunnels’. Just embrace it and beat the crowds by going early to the attractions 🙂 Enjoy!

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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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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