They say that the best things in life are free. Well, here in what I believe is Scotland’s most beautiful city – Edinburgh, that’s certainly true. Most people come here for the art and music festivals that happens in the summer. And this year, I became one of them as I unintentionally stumbled across the Fringe during my visit. Though, I warn you, if you come during this time of the year, it will be very crowded and everything will be very expensive. Beyond this festival, however, is a city full of surprises.
Edinburgh has a truly Scottish vibe where remnants of its past are clearly visible in its grand architecture, while modern amenities make it more attractive to its youthful population. Despite the many vibrant reasons to come to this city, believe it or not, there is no better reason than to enjoy nature itself. And my favorite place to take advantage of this is on top of it all – a hike along an extinct volcano in the center of town, curiously named, Arthur’s Seat. Best of all, it’s totally free!
Arthur’s Seat notably dominates the city of Edinburgh. Known also as the Lion’s Head, it is the highest of a series of peaks which take the form of a crouched lion. The area it covers extends about 650 acres and stands at 823 feet (250 meters) high. Its quite possibly be the most charming, un-manicured, wildscape at the center of any European city.
Finding the entrance to the trail that will inevitably leads you to the top is very easy. Just head towards either of these other destinations: Our Dynamic Earth Museum, Holyrood Park, or Scotland’s Parliment. All of these places are adjacent to the entrance of the trail. When you reach any of these places, look up on the mountain and you will see various people attempting to climb up the steep paths. That’s where you go. Along the way to the top, you’ll stumble across many natural beauty such as wildflowers and butterflies. Don’t forget to stop at the many view points to look at this picturesque capital city.
Its possible to make it to the top of Arthur’s Seat in no more than two hours. As for me, however, it took me four. No body will be timing you. So I say, take your time and enjoy scenery.
Edinburgh is laden with more popular destinations, such as Edinburgh’s Castle, which also affords great views of the city. But, its probably worth it to just take a photo of the castle from the outside, and skip the exorbitantly priced admission fees to go inside. There are a lot of shopping and dining options outside this castle as well. Some of the best places to shop and eat are here. But once you get tired of all the people, head on over Arthur’s Seat. You’ll have better views, more fun, and waste less. And the dramatic call of nature is always something to you want to answer.
On a historical note, the slopes of Arthur’s Seat have traditionally been the site where young girls in Edinburgh bathe their faces in the dew on May Day in order to make themselves more beautiful. The poem written by Robert Fergusson in 1773, talks about this event:
Well, they’re right here on Arthur’s Seat. And on a good day, you’ll have the best vantage points to view the city. I purposely didn’t take any photos from the top. My camera could never capture what you would see with your own eyes. The gorgeous view points of Scotland along the slope are simply destinations, but the climb to the top is the actual journey; something you must experience to truly appreciate. Sitting on Arthur’s Seat Sitting on Arthur’s Seat"If you like this post, you might like these, too:"