Connect with us

Adventure Travel

Outdoor Activities in Edinburgh: Adventure City Guide

Check out our Adventure City Guide to the best Outdoor Activities in Edinburgh. From Mountain Biking in the Pentlands to hiking up Arthurs Seat.

Published

on

Arthurs Seat from Salisbury Crags

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.

Continue Reading
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. 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 🙂

  13. 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 😉

  14. 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 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations

Published

on

Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated and they are cities on our list to visit again once the Coronavirus allows. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy and we want to change that after Coronavirus. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them to learn about while stuck at home due to Coronavirus:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

Continue Reading

Adventure Travel

3 Tips For A Luxury Camping Experience

Published

on

If you are used to travelling in style and staying in high end hotels, camping is probably your idea of hell. Why would you spend a week sitting in a freezing cold tent, hiding from the rain when you could be relaxing around the pool in a nice hotel? But camping gives you a completely different travel experience and if you do it right, it can be very rewarding. If you invest in the right equipment, you can enjoy all of the good things about camping without any of the downsides. If you follow these simple tips, you will have a comfortable experience and fall in love with camping.

Image From Pixabay CCO License

Buy The Right Tent

The tent is the most important thing if you want a comfortable camping experience. All of those horror stories you hear about leaking tents only happen because people buy cheap tents. If you invest in a good quality tent, it should hold up to the weather and keep you dry and warm.

When you are buying a tent, you need to check the hydrostatic head rating. This gives you an indication of how much rain the tent can stand up to before leaking. The higher the rating, the less likely your tent is to leak. It is also important to consider the size of the tent and how easy it is to put up, especially if you are planning a road trip. You need to make sure that it fits into the car easily, and you also want to avoid anything that is too complicated to put up. However, be careful with pop-up tents because most of them will not stand up to the rain.

If you want the ultimate comfortable camping experience, you should consider a camper trailer instead. There are some great camper trailers that come with all of the same facilities that you would find in a basic hotel, so you can camp in comfort. If you really hate the idea of camping, this is the best option.

Get A Good Quality Sleeping Bag

If you are worried about being freezing cold at night while you are camping, you need to get a good quality sleeping bag. A cheap one will not be comfortable and it won’t keep you warm, so you need to make sure that you buy a good thermal one. Sleeping directly on the floor will be uncomfortable as well, so you should invest in a sleeping mat as well. If you are willing to spend a little more on good sleeping equipment, you will be nice and comfortable while camping.

Pack Good Food

The food is another big issue for people when they go camping, but there is no need to live on beans all week. You can get some great dehydrated camping food packs so, as long as you take a small camping stove, you can still eat proper meals. If you pack a coolbox and freeze some food before you go, it should last a while so you can have barbecues as well. As long as you plan ahead, there’s no reason why you can’t eat well while you are camping.

Camping doesn’t have to be the nightmare experience that you think it does. If you follow these simple tips, you can have a luxury camping experience and enjoy all of the benefits of the great outdoors.

Continue Reading

Adventure Travel

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour

Published

on

Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

Continue Reading

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...

New on Four Jandals

What Are You Looking For?

Subscribe

Trending