Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is rich with monuments, history, and unique attractions. For instance, a visit to Edinburgh Castle will leave you with lasting memories of the beautiful architecture and wondrous views. In addition to all there is to see, you can also experience authentic Scottish dishes while enjoying the warmth this small city exudes. In fact, with so much to see and do, it is important to be aware of a few things before you travel as keeping these things in mind will help you enjoy the city, save money, and remain safe.
Get Ready To Walk A Lot
Most of the interesting things to see are within walking distance of each other. As such, you should be sure to pack your walking shoes. Of course, you can drive or order an Uber. However, the streets are typically filled with traffic and can be a challenge to maneuver through. Consequently, if you are walking, you want to make sure to always watch for traffic as drivers can be less than courteous.
Store Your Luggage
Walking along the cobblestone streets is a special experience that can quickly become a frustrating one if you are struggling to drag your bag behind you. To avoid this, you should take advantage of the many luggage storage options that are available throughout the city. For instance, you can store your luggage at the railway station affordably and securely using services like Stasher.
Be prepared for the weather
To put it plainly, the weather in Edinburgh is cold and often rainy. For instance, the warmest time of the year is in July when temperatures, on average, reach 58 degrees Fahrenheit. January is the coldest month and averages 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, it is the wind that can be a challenge. For instance, when it rains, locals do not use umbrellas, they opt for raincoats only. In fact, the wind can be so unforgiving that any attempt to use an umbrella can result in said umbrella becoming a mangled and useless mess.
Explore the Fringe festival
Consisting of several festivals at once, the Edinburgh Festival is the world’s largest art festival. It runs throughout August and is one of the top experiences this city has to offer. With approximately 1,000 shows per day to choose from, you are sure to find a multitude of things to do and see.
Although the locals speak English, their unique phrases and rather thick accents can make it difficult for you to understand them. For instance, you might get confused by the use of glen and ben as these are not men’s names. They actually mean valley and mountain, respectively. Fortunately, the locals know it might take a while for you to catch on, and they are more than happy to repeat something you didn’t quite understand.
Edinburgh is a small city, and the number of visitors increases from year to year. With the visitors come the crowds. For instance, during the months of June through September, popular places like the Royal-Mile become packed with visitors. Therefore, it is recommended that you plan for the crowds. For instance, you should make your dinner reservations a few days in advance, especially on the weekends.
Largely dependent on the wind, the unique smell this city emits can emanate from the North Sea. However, the distinct smell can also be due to the malted barley used in the breweries. Additionally, the roasted malt used in the North British Grain Distillery adds to the aroma and tends to be most potent on the west side of the city as that is where the distillery resides.
There are a few things to keep in mind when getting to know the locals. First, they are super friendly and do not mind helping out visitors. In fact, you might even be invited to someone’s home. If this occurs, you should be sure to bring a gift. A nice bottle of whiskey is always welcome.
Second, always offer a greeting and a smile if you meet someone’s eye. Finally, to start a conversation, it is common practice to first make a causal comment about the weather.
If you are from a country that keeps to the right, you will need to remain vigilant about keeping to the left in Edinburgh. It is very easy to forget this, but it is important as forgetting to keep to the left can result in a very avoidable accident while crossing the street.
If you enjoy dancing, you should be sure to take part in the unique experience available at a ceilidh. Pronounced kay-lee, a ceilidh brings to its patrons incredible fiddle playing, singing, and storytelling. Fortunately, even if you do not dance, you can partake in this special dance because one member of the band always calls out the steps.