My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Walking the Hills of Edinburgh

2010/01/07by Donna Hull

Is a trip to Scotland on your travel list? Join the club. It’s on my list, too. Although I can’t tell you about hiking in Scotland from personal experience, Andy Hayes, Managing Editor of Sharing Travel Experiences, is an expert. Why? Because he lives there.

In today’s guest post, Andy shares his knowledge on walking the hills of Edinburgh. Thanks, Andy!


Photo courtesy Andy Hayes

Despite impressions, Scotland is an outdoor-lovers paradise for travellers of any age or fitness level. It may often be grey and wet, but if you pack wisely with proper equipment, you’ll enjoy some of Europe’s best unspoilt backdrops.

You don’t have to drive for miles into the countryside; Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh offers easy access to loads of nature and outdoors. Did you know Edinburgh is one of Europe’s many “cities of 7 hills,” although there are probably far more than seven in the general area. Anyway, here are some of my can’t-miss favourites.

Blackford Hill:  Many people skip this one as it’s a good half hour walk to the south, but on the walk you can see the city’s most expensive houses. Then enjoy the long, wandering paths before getting a fantastic bird’s eye view of Edinburgh.

Calton Hill:  Between the old cemeteries and the iconic architecture, you could spend a whole afternoon up here checking out all the secrets. Don’t miss the Old High School, which gives Edinburgh its nickname, “Athens of the North.”

The Pentland Hills:  You’ll recognise these gorgeous rolling hills because they’re all you see on the ride into town from the airport. Almost all of the city bus routes that head towards the Pentlands offer access to the numerous trails, though the most popular starting point is Flotterstone.

Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags:  As the highest point in Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat and the striking crags define the city skyline almost as much as the castle does. There are many options for enjoyable walks (and you can’t get lost), so just walk and see where your itchy feet take you.

Note: Edinburgh weather means trails can be slippery underfoot even in sunny weather. Proper footwear is always a must!

Andy is the Managing Editor of Sharing Travel Experiences, a resource for inspiring stories, recommendations, and other travel services. Visit the website and be sure to follow Andy on Twitter And if you are planning a trip to Edinburgh, you might be interested in Andy’s book, [amazonify]0955928133::text::::the Historic Walking Guide to Edinburgh[/amazonify]. You can read more about walking in Edinburgh at

I have included an Amazon link to Andy’s book for your convenience. However My Itchy Travel Feet does receive a small percentage for purchases made at

Have you visited Edinburgh? Post a comment to share your tips for touring the area. This is a trip that’s high on our to travel list.

A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Anil January 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I've always thought Edinburgh would be a beautiful place for outdoor activities and hiking. The first thing that comes to mind are the rolling hills.


Fida January 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Makes me want to go. I admit, I never made it to Scotland – even-though it is on my wishlist, and not just because of the kilts ;-)


caitlinfitzsimmons January 7, 2010 at 5:19 pm

When I climbed up Arthur's Seat, it started as an overcast day but by the time I reached the top the fog had rolled in so badly that I could barely see my own hand outstretched before me! I'm sure the views are great on a clear day.


Nomadic Matt January 8, 2010 at 4:01 am

Andy, shame we didn't get to meet while I was in edinburgh but you are right, it was a beautiful place to walk around! I loved it!


Cecil Lee January 8, 2010 at 7:12 am

Scotland and Edinburgh is always one of my favorite travel destination. I've been there once and soaking in the perfect environment, admiring the rolling hills while sipping the scotch whisky was one experience that I couldn't forget until now after 10 years! Hope I could revisit there once again… :)


Edinburgh Self Catering January 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

Corstorphine hill is worth a walk as well. Walking around it you can go 360 degrees and look out to the City, Fife, the Pentlands, see the bridges – wonderful. The Zoo borders the open area, so it's the only hill walk in Edinburgh where you have a reasonable chance of seeing a zebra – which I did the other week.


Sandy2118 January 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm

What a great list! I'm forwarding it to friend in Scotland who love to hike.


January 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

I had no idea there was great hiking around the Edinburgh area! I was there once but only stayed in the city for Hogmany…never ventured outside…what a shame!


January 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I've mostly been hiking in the west and north of Scotland, which have their own beauties. It's good to be reminded of what's close by Edinburgh. Thanks.


heatheronhertravels January 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Like Bristol, Edinburgh is a city with edges – it's nice to live somewhere where you can see the countryside from the centre and get out to enjoy it quickly.


waitinginthedark January 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Thanks for sharing! I love hiking and am always looking for ideas on new destinations and trails. Scotland is definitely a great place for outdoor activities!


marthaandme January 10, 2010 at 7:38 pm

We visited Edinburgh this past summer and it is beautiful. We didn't do any hiking – other than hiking through the town, which was certainly hilly enough!


Coach Hire January 14, 2010 at 6:16 am

Did I say earlier, your post was informative and that it would help expats and travelers and tourists like I enjoy the each and every bit of their travel, tours and trips? I am an expat working for a Coach Company and residing here in South West London UK , I daily meet tens of thousands of travelers, tourists and even expats going Sctoland for Educational tours, travel and tours and even wine tours.

I am more likely going to ask few to read your blog for them to be well prepared before they travel.

Thank you and best regards,

Lucy / Coach Hire


holeinthedonut January 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I have a standing invitation from good friends who live in Edinbugh, who want me to come for a couple of weeks. After reading this, I really think I should be making plans to go… Thanks Andy, for the great info.


TravelScotland January 18, 2010 at 10:18 am

Scotland is always my fav and after reading this I wish to visit Scotland… :)


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