Edinburgh

Top 20 European Destinations

Manarola1

Out of all the continents, Europe is the one that I have travelled the most (living in Scotland helps!  What doesn’t help is the fact I have to take at least 2 planes to get anywhere…).  I’ve decided to make a list of my Top 20 European Destinations.  Some of these I’ve been to, some I’m desperate to visit but I hope you enjoy my list!

Just a head’s up, this list isn’t in order of how much I like the destinations, as they’re too amazing to put in order!

                                                                                                       20. Dubrovnik, Croatia                                                                            telegraph.co.uk

If you wanna pretend you’re in Game of Thrones (although, you’ll probably end up killed off like the rest of the characters…), then this is the destination for you!  Dubrovnik is a beautiful, old town, full of amazing history and museums.

Picture 02619. Saas-Fee, Switzerland

I need to go back here.  Saas-Fee is amazing for skiing.  Only electric cars are allowed in the town, which is full of cute buildings and amazing shops (and hot chocolate!)

                                                                                                                18. Monaco                                                                                              hotel-r.net

The world’s second smallest country (after the Vatican), Monaco is one of the glitziest places in the world and I badly want to visit it.  It’s very expensive, though!

                                                                                                          17. Barcelona, Spain                                                 timeout.com

I’m desperate to visit Barcelona and see the Sagrada Familia, get lost in the alleys, and enjoy everything Gaudi!

DSC_025216. Prague, Czech Republic

One of the most beautiful places I’ve visited, Prague is full of amazing architecture, history and everything is so cheap!  And you need to try a trdelnik – they’re so good!

                                                                                                      15. Amsterdam, Netherlands                                                           digital.fespa.com

Full of brilliant museums, Amsterdam is also famous for its biking, culture and history.

Edinburgh114. Edinburgh, Scotland

I lived here for 4 years, so Edinburgh will always have a special place in my heart.  Make sure you visit the many museums and the castle (and palace!).  And you must get lost in the small back streets! (The above photo is the street I lived on – isn’t it gorgeous?!)

                                                                                                       13. Budapest, Hungary                                                                            lvs.luxury

Budapest is probably up there for culture and architecture.  And I’ve heard it’s a good place to travel to if you’re on a budget.

DSC_073212. Verona, Italy

I love Verona.  It’s so small, cute, rustic and full of history – and it’s so easy to get away from the crowds as well!

                                                                                                     11. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic                                               czechtourism.com

Another small, cute town, Cesky Krumlov reminds me of The Grand Budapest Hotel (one of my favourite films!)

                                                                                                             10. Athens, Greece                                                                   lonelyplanet.com

I love anything to do with Ancient Greece, so what better place than Athens?

                                                                                                             9. Lisbon, Portugal                                                           worldwanderista.com

Lisbon is up there as one of the places I’m probably going to visit soon (fingers crossed!).  This beautiful city is full of amazing culture, great food, and gorgeous, tiny streets.

                                                                                                                8. Colmar, France                                                              thousandwonders.net

Probably the cutest town in France – how can you resist all of those gorgeous, brightly coloured houses!  And they’re next to a river!  Can’t go wrong there 🙂

                                                                                                             7. Ronda, Spain                                                                    malagatogo.com

I badly want to visit this cliffside village – imagine the views!  And the history of the place is amazing.

Picture 0046. Paris, France

The romantic City of Lights, there’s so much to do in Paris – amazing nightlife, culture and food, to name a few!

                                                                                                          5. Dordogne Region, France                                                       leseyzies-tourist.info

So many castles!  I need to go here!

                                                                                                         4. Santorini, Greece                                                                                   foundtheworld.com

You’ll recognise the pictures – the gorgeous, white buildings with blue roofs.  I’ve also heard the sunsets are amazing.

DSC_00053. Venice, Italy

I love Venice.  It’s so unique and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before.  It’s impossible to walk over a bridge and not take a photo of the canals.

                                                                                                            2. Seville, Spain                                telegraph.co.uk

As well as the history and the amazing architecture, Seville is also famous for tapas, flamenco and sangria.

DSC_00681. Cinque Terre, Italy

Five gorgeous, small towns by the coast.  Hike or catch the train between each town.  Be prepared, though – there’s not a flat area anywhere.  It’s all hills or stairs.

Top 8 Places to Eat in Edinburgh

Even though I lived in Edinburgh for four years, I didn’t eat out an awful lot – what with being a broke student and all that.  But my friends and I did treat ourselves every now and again.  These are my favourite places to eat in Edinburgh!

Be prepared for your minds to be blown at the quality of these restaurants.  Just kidding!  Half of these are probably takeaways – I told you I was a student at the time, right?


(Edinburgh Spotlight)

8. Amarone – This was where my friends and I went for a little treat when we actually had money (we only went twice…).  This is a lovely restaurant with amazing pumpkin ravioli.  And so much good wine!  I love wine 🙂
Address: 13 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2AF


(Elevator Musik)

7. Dragonfly Cocktail Bar – This isn’t technically a restaurant – it’s a cocktail bar – but it’s still amazing.  I recommend the Joe le Taxi cocktail – definitely my favourite!
Address: 52 West Port, Edinburgh, EH1 2LD


(Hard Rock)

6. Hard Rock Cafe – Even though it’s a chain restaurant, I still love this place.  It’s a good place for a fun time with friends – and the Long Island Iced Tea is a favourite of mine (I like a good drink 😛 )
Address: 20 George St, Edinburgh, EH2 2PH


(Yelp)

5. The GY Chinese Takeout – Technically, this is not a restaurant either but this was a staple for my flatmates and I when we were in the mood for Chinese food.  The guy who served us was always really smiley and we got heaps of free chopsticks.  Plus, the crispy seaweed is amazing (I have one of my vegetarian flatmates to thank for introducing me to it!)
Address: 27 Roseneath Place, EH9 1JD


(Yelp)

4. Salvatore’s – This again, is mainly a takeaway, but there’s a small area for sitting in – although I’ve never actually sat in the restaurant bit before.  This was where my friends and I used to end up after a night of drinking – the best chips and cheese in town (but that might be because we usually had a few drinks before going here!).  Also, get a macaroni pie!  I love macaroni pies but they don’t seem to be very common outside of the North East of Scotland – Salvatore’s was the only place I could find them in Edinburgh!
Address: 16 Roseneath Street, EH9 1JH


(Edinburgh Cafe Enthusiast)

3. Black Medicine Cafe – Definitely my favourite cafe in Edinburgh.  It was just around the corner from my flat and my flatmates and I used to end up here whenever our internet was down – or if we wanted an amazing sandwich!  It also has freshly squeezed juice, gorgeous smoothies, and there’s a piano!  I loved playing that piano 🙂
Address: 2 Nicolson St, Edinburgh, EH8 9DH


(EH1)

 2. Illegal Jacks – If you love burritos, then this is the place to go.  You choose all the individual ingredients you want and the burrito gets made in front of you.  And it’s right across the road from the Odeon cinema – so if you want a pre-movie meal, then I recommend going here!
Address: 113-117 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AN


(Edinburgh Spotlight)

1. Kismot – My favourite restaurant is Edinburgh.  This is an Indian restaurant – and they have an amazing selection for a really good price!  They have the ‘hottest curry in Scotland’ and it even comes with its own warning in the menu – I was there when someone ordered it and the waiter came out to the ‘Jaws’ theme tune, with a gas mask over his face – it was very amusing.  If you do go here, you have to try the chocolate naan – if you like chocolate spread or Nutella, then you will love this.
Address: 29 St Leonards St, Edinburgh, EH8 9QN

Top 10 Things to do in Edinburgh

Even though I lived in Edinburgh for four years whilst at university, that didn’t stop me from doing touristy things!  This is my list of the Top Ten things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland.


(Dynamic Earth)

10. Dynamic Earth – I know some of you will be wondering why this is at the bottom of a list of top ten things to do in Edinburgh – but you haven’t seen what else is on my list yet!  Dynamic Earth basically shows you the history of the Earth from the Big Bang until today.  There are a lot of interactive activities and it’s a must-see if you have children!

(Wikipedia)

9. Scott Monument – This is a monument for Sir Walter Scott.  From what I’ve read, it’s the biggest monument to a writer in the world!  I’d recommend climbing it – the views are incredible!  And there’s a little museum about halfway up, which I wasn’t expecting (I love museums!).  Another interesting thing about the Scott Monument – it used to be a sandy sort of colour, but pollution has stained it black.  It’s not been cleaned for fear of damaging it but I think the black has a nice Gothic-y feel to it.


(Edinburgh Spotlight)

8. Arthur’s Seat – Everyone knows about Arthur’s Seat.  It’s basically a huge hill in the middle of Edinburgh.  I’d recommend climbing this as well – the view from the top is spectacular!  I met my university room-mate after I had climbed Arthur’s Seat.  Unfortunately, I happened to fall over when I was near the bottom and I met my room-mate for the first time covered head-to-toe in mud.  Thankfully, we became really good friends and ended up living together for the next four years!


(Wikipedia)

7. Edinburgh Castle – More a military museum now than an actual castle, Edinburgh Castle is really interesting.  You can’t not miss it when you go to Edinburgh – it’s sitting on top of a dormant volcano!  I managed to visit it when the 1 o’clock cannon went off (which I hadn’t planned!).  This is a must for anyone visiting Edinburgh (even though it took me nearly four years of living there to actually go!)


(TripAdvisor)

6. Scottish National Gallery – Being free, this was a staple for me in Edinburgh.  If I was bored, or wanted to get away from studying, I went here (or the National Museum of Scotland).  I love art galleries and love spending hours wandering through them (or curling up on one of the many sofas dotted throughout with a good book).

Swirling Vortex!

5. Camera Obscura – The World of Illusions.  One of my flat-mates (the one I met covered in mud) and I visited here during our last year in Edinburgh.  It’s one of those places where it’s impossible not to enjoy it.  You have to try the vortex tunnel – it messes with your mind!

DSC_0011

4. The Meadows – I literally lived just around the corner from The Meadows.  On a sunny day, my flat-mates and I would grab our books, or our laptops, and have a picnic on The Meadows.  Being a big green space, there’s not much in the way of things to do, but it’s a nice place to relax and, sometimes, there’s impromptu plays being performed (closer to the university side of the park).  And, when it’s snowing, it’s a great place to build a snowman (or snow kangaroo/T-rex, as my flat-mates and I did)!


(Wikipedia)

 3. Royal Botanic Gardens – Definitely visit the glass houses!  These are beautiful!  All of the gardens are beautiful, but those glass houses are incredible.  The gates to get into the gardens are impressive and I was stupidly entertained by the fact that there were antibacterial mats (I think they were antibacterial?) that you had to walk over to get into the gardens, so that you weren’t treading anything unsavoury into the gardens.


(Edinburgh Localiguide)

2. National Museum of Scotland – this is definitely my favourite museum in Edinburgh.  It’s free (woop!) and has heaps of interesting things to do.  It has Ancient Egyptian artefacts!  I love  anything to do with Ancient Egypt.  I spent many an hour here when I lived in Edinburgh.


(Vizts)

1. St Giles Cathedral – what can I say?  I love cathedrals.  The architecture is amazing.  The inside is amazing.  Everything about it is amazing.  Make sure if you do visit (it’s free!), that you go into the Thistle Chapel tucked away in the back corner.  There’s some impressive carvings and the ceiling in this part of the cathedral is definitely the most impressive!


(DocBrown)

Honourable Mention – Holyrood Palace/Abbey – I never actually had a chance to visit here.  Every time I tried, the Queen (or another royal) was in residence, so they weren’t allowing tours.  I’m desperate to visit here – especially for the Abbey.  I love ruins and Holyrood Abbey looks lovely from the pictures I’ve seen.


(Edinburgh Cafe Enthusiast)

Another Honourable Mention – Black Medicine Cafe – I know everyone wants to visit the Elephant House, as it’s the birthplace of Harry Potter.  But, if I’m being honest, it’s not the greatest.  The food is okay and the prices are a bit touristy expensive.  You can get your pictures here but, if you’re looking for a decent cafe, I’d recommend Black Medicine Cafe.  My flat-mates and I spent a lot of time here – especially when our internet wasn’t working!