The image that my favourite author Irvine Welsh conveyed of his home city in his books was always bleak, uncomfortable, dangerous and never seemed very inviting to me. The film version of his famous novel Trainspotting did nothing to dispel this view either. Nevertheless, my last holiday took me among other places to the Scottish capital. When we were planning our Scotland road trip, we came across pictures of Edinburgh that made us curious: beautiful sunrises and sunsets, wonderful seas of flowers, sleepy shots of the Royal Mile and of Edinburgh Castle, even rainy shots conveyed a sense of something mystical. It was thus decided that Edinburgh was a place we must visit and would be the final stop on our tour.

And it was well worth it! Edinburgh is a city you really must visit. With a population of around 500,000, it has only a fraction of the number of residents of London, but is not to be outdone in any way. London may be home to Platform 9 ¾ for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Magic School, but Edinburgh is responsible for the fact that Harry Potter has the infamous antagonist Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldemort. Rumour has it that the author Joanne K. Rowling was nominally inspired during a walk through the oldest cemetery in the city “Greyfriars Kirkyard”. This is also where the little dog Bobby, an emblem of the city, is buried. Other highlights are without doubt the National Gallery of Scotland, St. Giles Cathedral and Edinburgh Castle. You can enjoy a wonderful view across the city from Calton Hill – ideally as the sun is setting.

The best thing to do is simply to stroll through the city and slightly lose yourself in the little lanes in the Old Town. If you like things a little more organised, you can take part in the guided city tour run by NEW EUROPE – here you will get a good overview of the sights and historical and cultural facts about Edinburgh are conveyed with real humour and charm. For example, our city guide explained the weather in Scotland to us as follows: “The sky is either light grey or dark grey – that is the only weather we know in Scotland.” On this day he was not proven right: beaming sunshine and almost 22 degrees made our visit all the sweeter. In the evening, you should definitely enjoy a pint of cider, ale or a Guinness in a pub and sample the English/Scottish pub culture in full – cheers!

VERDICT: If you visit Scotland, do NOT forget to go to Edinburgh. In spring the cityscape is dominated by the pink blossom on the cherry trees. In summer the city is regarded as THE festival city that beats all the rest.

COUNTRY   Scotland
CITY    Edinburgh
NATURE OF STAY  city trip – final stop of a Scotland roadtrip
PLACES OF INTEREST  National Gallery of Scotland, St. Giles Cathedral, Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle
PARTICULAR HIGHLIGHT the guided tour with Johnny from NEW EUROPE – we had so much fun and laughed a lot
LOCAL SPECIALITY  Haggis, Shortbread, Ale…
INSIDER TIP   not really a secret but definitely great: see the sun goes down at Calton Hill
TEXT Lena Winter IMAGES Lena Winter