In August, the Festival City explodes with arts events and the streets fill with a cosmopolitan melange of visitors high on a heady mix of culture and single malt.
Day 1: Old Town and Edinburgh Castle
The Old Town is a warren of closes (entrances) and wynds (lanes), of tenement buildings and the elegance of Royal Mile. Start at the castle and explore Royal Mile, then see how people lived in the 16th century in Gladstone's Land tenement. If the Queen isn't in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, you can still visit the Picture Gallery and wander nearby Holyrood Park and Arthur's Seat. To end your day, head for Grassmarket, nowadays full of pubs and restaurants. but once a place for public executions.
Day 2: New Town, Parks and Modern Edinburgh
New Town dates
from the 18th century. Graceful neoclassical buildings front squares,
circuses and parks. Don't miss George Street, and Charlotte Square,
where Scotland's First Minister lives. Princes Street
runs alongside the gardens and, as well as great shopping, has great
views of the tangled buildings of Old Town. Art lovers head for the
Royal Scottish Academy, the next door National Gallery of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
Leith is Edinburgh's main port and the area has recently been revived.
This is where you'll find some of the city's best bars and restaurants,
as well as the royal yacht Britannia.
Day 3: Discovering Scotland
The Scottish Highlands
have a wild beauty all their own and are dotted with castles and famous
lakes like Loch Ness and Loch Lomond. Stirling Castle sits perched on a
craggy outcrop where there has been a fortress since 1000BC. Scotland
invented golf, and St Andrews
is considered the home of golf. And you can't visit Scotland without
paying homage to its most famous product: whisky. All are within day
trip distance of Edinburgh.