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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.

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. 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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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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Europe

Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.

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Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

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Europe

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Check out our guide for the first timer in Amsterdam visiting a coffeeshop.

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How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Before getting started I just want to clarify that we are not drug users. We don’t condone using illegal drugs. And we are not telling you to go and smoke weed in Amsterdam. BUT, our goal of this travel blog is to help advise, educate and provide travel tips for ALL situations. So if you are headed to Amsterdam then we hope our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam will help you out.

And check out this smoker friendly accommodation for your next trip.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam Coffeeshop

When you tell people that you are visiting Amsterdam then they immediately think of one thing and one thing only. Weed. Dope. Herb. Buds. Spliff. Whacky Tobbacky. Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. 

Call it what you will but just know that the biggest name for it is “ILLEGAL”.

Yes it is actually illegal to smoke weed in Amsterdam. But for now the Netherlands government do tolerate smoking in designated “coffeeshops”. This is slowly changing as the Government tries to moderate the tourism drug trade and in 2013 there will be new laws which we won’t go in to now as they are continuously changing.

In the meantime if you obey the rules, are not a moron and use our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam then you are going to be fine.

Smoke weed in Amsterdam

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t smoke weed in Amsterdam in public such as on the streets. There are over 300 designated coffee shops where you are tolerated to smoke weed. These places are regulated and everything is done in the open.

Don’t get confused and try to smoke in a koffiehuis (coffee house) which sells coffee and light meals or a café that is a casual restaurant and/or bar.

The coffeeshops are super easy to spot with marijuana leaves in the windows and Bob Marley paintings on the doors. Not to mention the smell wafting through the cold breeze. There will also be the usual tourists that have stupidly over-indulged and are glassy eyed.

We visited one of the five Bulldog coffeeshops when we were in Amsterdam and had no complaints. We even enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate while we were there!

Bulldog Coffeeshop in Amsterdam

Buying weed in Amsterdam

As long as you are over 18 then you will be allowed to buy up to 5 grams of weed in the regulated coffeeshops. Plus you have the added security knowing that your marijuana is not going to be laced with anything else if you are attempting to buy it off someone on the street. And who knows, they might be setting you up to get busted.

We were (and are) total amateurs and had no idea what to do once we actually stepped foot in the coffeeshop. But quickly sussed it out. There will generally be a “dealer bar” with full menu’s and everything for you to choose. So if you are an expert you will probably know what to order! Prices will of course vary by quantity (grams, bags, individual joints) and quality.

For a beginner ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy like we were. Ask the staff what they recommend and what effects each type has. They will know then that you are a newbie and will guide you. Just know that they are very accustomed to tourists who don’t know exactly how to go about the whole process.

What we found out is that it is actually perfectly fine for you to visit other coffeeshops and smoke weed that you have already purchased somewhere else. However, it is considered rude not to at least buy a hot chocolate or coffee if you do this. Coffeeshops do also have some of the best coffee in Amsterdam.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t be an idiot

Number 1 rule: Don’t smoke too much weed in Amsterdam! Even if you are a pot loving hippie from a commune you are probably going to find the marijuana really strong in Amsterdam. Just take it slow.

If you are enjoying a drink as well then again take it easy with the booze. All the coffeshops won’t sell you beer as well as cannabis.

EAT! Don’t go drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as cannabis lowers your blood sugar level and this can turn a fun day into a disaster if you haven’t eaten recently. Check out our Amsterdam Food Guide for some quick eating tips here.

A final word of warning, please watch out for the spacecake! Eating cannabis will knock you on your ass and is much stronger than when smoked.

Finally, enjoy yourselves and for goodness sake obey the rules, laws and customs while you are smoking weed in Amsterdam.

If you have an addiction to drugs then reach out and seek some help.

Check out these Weed Products for your next travel adventure.

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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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