Edinburgh Travel Tips for Budget Travelers

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Our Perspectives on Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland is a bucket list travel destination for many people and there are a number of good reasons for this. There’s an interesting yet tragic history in Scotland, there’s enchanting scenery, good Scotch ales and, of course, delectable whiskey. Our perspectives on Edinburgh are a bit different, though, and when you read our He Said and She Said points of view, you will see what we’re talking about.

She Said

Love Edinburgh

My love for Edinburgh is big, great and never ending. Therefore, “forcing” Ryne to take a trip to my beloved Edinburgh was inevitable. I probably talked it up too much, which made him have expectations that were way too high. Consequently, the outcome of this trip was that I still love Edinburgh more than he does. What a surprise!

But what makes Edinburgh so great? In my opinion, everyone who has been there should know 😉  Edinburgh is just so unique in the way it was built. So, the best thing you can do to find out how great Edinburgh is, is to read this article and go there yourself 🙂 No picture can really depict the beauty of this city.

He Said

After reading her love letter to Edinburgh, you can probably imagine what it was like for me building up to this trip. I always wanted to visit Edinburgh and Scotland, but the more she raved about it, the less interesting it was becoming. That being said, I was certainly enchanted by this city. The medieval vibe is still alive and well in Edinburgh and in my opinion, the city is most interesting at night. After you’ve had a couple ales at one of the many old pubs, you truly feel like you’re walking the streets of a king’s city. The coal-stained stone buildings further add to the mysterious feel and every close (alley) is just begging to be explored.

Now that you have our perspectives on Edinburgh, you may be enticed to consider going there yourself. In that case, you’ll definitely want to read through our tips and tricks before making any big decisions.

Travel Tips for Edinburgh

Let’s get one thing straight: Scotland is expensive. That’s why we are here to help you find the best restaurants, hotel (no plural? That’s because we LOVE one hotel in particular), tours and sights to see. With our Edinburgh travel tips, you are sure to have the best possible Scottish experience without breaking the bank.

Where to Eat in Edinburgh

Want to try haggus? You can do that pretty much anywhere. Honestly, we weren’t brave enough because the idea of eating sheep intestines was enough to make our own stomach’s churn. However, we tried quite a few restaurants and decided that the following offer the best quality and prices:

  • Black Bull at the Grassmarket. They have cheap and excellent food, they are very friendly and always offer a student discount of 20% off everything! It’s also a very typical Scottish pub that you will really want to experience while you’re in town.
  • When you’re at one of the many pubs, you’ll have a variety of choices in terms of Scotch Ales or Scotch whiskeys. Obviously, you should try both. In terms of whiskey and unless you’re already a Scotch connoisseur, it’s best to get some advice on which type of whiskey is best for you. If you just try any whiskey, you may leave thinking that you don’t like Scotch and make the mistake of never trying it again. However, I (Ryne) maintain that there’s a whiskey for everyone (although Denise disagrees). On that note, here’s a shot of a couple of the ales that we tried while we were here. We can recommend both. Innis and Gunn is much lighter and not as intense in flavor. Fraoch is very Scottish because you won’t find Heather Ale anywhere else in the world.
  • The Mussel and Steak Bar at the Grass Market offers a cheap lunch deal (around 11 Pounds) with awesome high-quality seafood. If you love seafood, then you should know to always try seafood when you’re close to the sea!
  • Pie Maker on the South Bridge: Please go there for the famous Mac and Cheese Pie! Yes, you heard right, Mac and Cheese PIE. It’s super cheap (around 2 Pounds) and delicious! This is just a bakery, but do not underestimate the awesomeness of the food.
  • Fudge Kitchen on the Royal Mile: It’s a little expensive but they will let you try every fudge they have and paying for at least one is definitely worth it! Yummy yummy in our tummy. 😛 Prepare for a sugar shock! 😀

Last but not least, try some IRN BRU! This is a very popular Scottish soft drink. At least, that’s what our tour guide told us (& he was Scottish), so we just decided to believe him. IRN BRU is extremely sweet and is very unhealthy 😀

Holding an IRN BRU soda in Edinburgh

Where to Stay in Edinburgh

There is only one place we will recommend because we felt absolutely welcomed and comfortable throughout our entire stay. It is incredibly cheap to stay there and the included breakfast is super tasty. They cook it fresh for you! So make the right decision and book your stay at the Terrace Hotel in Edinburgh!

Things to Do in Edinburgh

There are plenty of fun things to do in Edinburgh. From free activities like exploring closes and sightseeing to nighttime activities like pub crawls or ghost tours, Edinburgh offers something for everybody. It’s obvious that you have to try the whisky and we’ll leave the haggus up to you, which is why we listed out our must-do tours and must-see sights in the following.

Which Tours to Take in Edinburgh

Definitely go for the free tour by the sandeman tours! They are always very funny and you can just leave a tip that you think is most appropriate. (Hint to the Americans: It may sound obvious, but your US dollars might not go quite as far as you think in foreign countries. Please respect the local tour guides and leave your tips in Pounds.) You can also always ask your guides for tips regarding where to eat, what to drink, where to go and so on. Their tour will also give you a better idea about what else to see.

telephone booth edinburgh castle

If you want to see places outside of Edinburgh, we recommend the highlands day tour. It’s a pretty long tour but worth it. The scenery is breathtaking and you will not regret it. You will go home with some awesome, unforgettable memories and photos.

Things to See in Edinburgh

There are so many things to see in Edinburgh and each place is magical in its own way. When you’re walking through the enchanting streets at night, listening to scary ghost stories in one of the cemeteries or hiking up Arthur’s seat, you can’t help but get drawn into the city’s unique atmosphere. You’ll likely find yourself not wanting to ever leave!

Hover your mouse over the images or click on them to view the gallery and see descriptions of each place pictured.

About the Authors

Authors of He Said or She Said: Ryne & Denise Cook

Ryne and Denise Cook went to Edinburgh, Scotland in order to learn more about the people and culture, while also finding the best things to do, best places to eat and the most efficient methods of transportation and the most affordable ways to have a great Scottish vacation. Denise also lived in the UK for 1 year, which gives her an inside perspective on UK travel.

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He Said or She Said