“According to a Local” is a series of straight-to-the-point guides for different cities around the world. For each guide, we ask a local for all the best things to do, see, eat, and more! This week we’re taking a closer look at Edinburgh, Scotland. While I usually ask Couchsurfing members for these tips, this time I got the inside scoop from Rosalie! Rosalie blogs about all things travel and lives on and off between Edinburgh and Detroit and has graciously provided us with some great advice to make your trip to Edinburgh, Scotland perfect.
1. Favorite Bar:
If you’re visiting Edinburgh, you must go whisky tasting. My favourite place in the city is The Scotch Malt Whisky Society in New Town. The upper floors are reserved for members only, but visitors can enjoy unique, single-barrel, single malt scotch at unbelievably fair prices in the main bar any night of the week.
2. Favorite Restaurant:
There’s no shortage of great food in Edinburgh, but I always bring my visitors to Outsider as a first experience. They not only serve up locally inspired food at pretty reasonable prices, and have a classic view of chimney smoke stacks and slate roofs framing the castle in the most glamourous fashion. The window tables will book up a day or two in advance, so it’s good to plan ahead if you want the best seats in the house.
3. Favorite coffee shop:
Wellington Coffee in New Town is one of my all time favourites. It’s a tiny, subterranean place with windows just tall enough for people watching along George Street. They also don’t have wifi, so everyone in there is actually forced to interact with each other – a beautiful thing in this digital age! Otherwise Soderberg, Fortitude, and Lovecrumbs are all excellent shouts.
4. Favorite thing to do outside:
Go for a sunrise hike on Arthur’s Seat! You’ll beat the crowds and get a view of the city in the most majestic light.
5. Best spot for a view:
Most people go to Calton Hill and the Scott Monument for classic photos of the cityscape, and it’s not hard to see why. If you prefer a more unique viewpoint of the city, head to the rooftops of Chaophraya, Harvey Nichols, or the National Museum of Scotland.
6. Best local dish and where can we get it:
Haggis, neeps, and tatties of course! You can find it at any bar, but the best will be at The Scran & Scallie in Stockbridge.
7. What you wish tourists knew coming to your home:
When you see a man in a kilt, don’t ask if they’re wearing underwear.
8. Best local sweet to satisfy a sweet tooth and where to get it:
Mary’s Milk Bar is amazing, and is absolutley worth the wait. Mary herself actually attended the Carpigiani Gelato University in Italy to learn to make the best ice cream possible, and brought back classic techniques to infuse with Scottish influences. You’ll find a daily rotation of flavours like strawberry & balsamic, goat cheese & honey, cherry-coffee liqueur, and red currant sorbet.
9. One thing (activity/place/etc.) someone coming to your home should not miss:
The art scene! Edinburgh is a city of festivals, and there’s always something going on. Be sure to pop into a gallery, catch some live music, and enjoy a street performance while you’re here. Edinburgh is a city brimming with talent, and it would be a shame to overlook it.
10. The best time of year to visit:
Edinburgh is prone to sudden bouts of rain during any season, but late-spring to early-summer makes up for this by bursting into bloom. The days are longer, the wind a bit warmer, and every single tree and lawn is covered in flowers.
11. Local recipes to try cooking at home:
A classic but very easy treat to make at home is Scottish Tablet. It’s a sugary, buttery fudge served traditionally alongside a cup of tea that’ll melt in your mouth like a dream.
(Psssst- this post on how to save money while traveling Europe might interest you!)
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