Our first time to Edinburgh was only after 11 months of living in Scotland. We knew heading into a big city, we wanted to find as many escapes from the city feel as we could. We’ve come up with Seven of Edinburgh’s Hidden Gems, all of which will get you off those busy streets and into a much more relaxed environment.
1. Dean’s Village
Tucked away in the Northeast part of Edinburgh, you’ll find this cute little village. Walk along the Water of Leith Walkway (number 7 below) to find this hidden gem.
2. Circus Lane
We’re suckers for cobblestone streets that give you a quaint village feel. And Circus Lane gives just that. Find this secret of Edinburgh just north of Queens Street and East of St. Vincent Street.
3. Calton Hill
Although right in the heart of Edinburgh, Calton Hill isn’t as popular as one may think. This hill full of monuments and walking paths can be found at the west end of Princes Street. Simply walking up the stairs and along the paved path, you’ll find great views of Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street. But what makes this one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems are the multiple other paths throughout Calton Hill that provide views of Holyrood Abbey and even the ocean.
4. Cairngorm Coffee
Find this single origin, small café on Queensferry Street. With amazing pour over coffee and fantastic looking food, this café is one not to be missed! Check out the Cairngorm Coffee Website here.
On the south side of Edinburgh Castle, down multiple flights of stairs, you’ll find Grassmarket. This is an area of great food, cute cafes, and local bars. You’ll even find fantastic Mexican food in this area (a hard thing to come by in Scotland)!
With food so good, we went for breakfast twice, this is the spot to be! Earthy (check their website here) can be found on Huntly Street right along the Water of Leith. If your mouth’s not watering just looking at this breakfast sandwich, you need to head to the doctor and get checked out!
7. Water of Leith Walkway
The Water of Leith is a waterway that runs through the northern part of Edinburgh. With pathways leading to monuments like Saint Bernard’s Well and the Stockbridge Market, walking along the Water of Leith is a great city escape. If you head down if far enough, you’ll run right into Dean’s Village (number one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems).
If you want a map you can use without data that includes each of these locations, download the free map app maps.me.
Have you been to Edinburgh? Do you have a lesser known place to visit you want to share? Help other readers get off the tourist streets and share your knowledge below!
Recommended Gear for Visiting Edinburgh
We always travel with this backpack. It doesn’t really look like a backpacker’s bag, has so many compartments to store and hide your belongings, and the zippers can connect to each other making it difficult for someone to just unzip the bag while you’re walking around.
The water in Scotland is AMAZING…You’ve got to drink it!! Just fill up this water bottle each time you leave your accommodation save you some cash and enjoy the fresh water! The best part is, this bottle keeps liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 6 hours – so your water will stay cold all day, or you could fill it with hot coffee or tea to go!
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