How Walkable Is Edinburgh? (What to Know)

Edinburgh, the enchanting capital of Scotland, is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. But how walkable is this historic city? Let’s explore the walkability of Edinburgh and discover the best places to explore on foot.

How Walkable Is Edinburgh? (What to Know)

Key Takeaways:

  • Edinburgh is considered one of the most walkable cities in Europe.
  • The walkability score is high, making it easy to navigate the city on foot.
  • Edinburgh offers pedestrian-friendly streets and a variety of walkable neighborhoods.
  • There are numerous transport options available for those who prefer not to walk.
  • Exploring Edinburgh on foot allows you to experience its rich culture and historic highlights.

Exploring Edinburgh on Foot

Edinburgh is best explored on foot, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the city’s history, culture, and architectural wonders. From the iconic Castle, which stands as the highest point in the city, a walking journey eastwards unveils the captivating story of Edinburgh.

Start at the majestic Castle and proceed through the historic Lawn Market and the famous Royal Mile, where centuries of Edinburgh’s past come to life. As you walk along these ancient streets, you’ll encounter a multitude of attractions, including the imposing St. Giles’ Cathedral, the Edinburgh Dungeon, and the captivating Mary King’s Close.

But don’t forget to wander off the beaten path and explore the charming side alleyways that hide hidden gems, such as quaint shops, traditional pubs, and hidden courtyards. These hidden corners showcase Edinburgh’s unique character and offer a truly immersive experience.

Continuing your walk, you’ll arrive at the Georgian New Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its elegant architecture and wide boulevards. Take a moment to marvel at the stunning Scott Monument, a tribute to Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, and soak in the tranquility of the West Princes Street Gardens.

This walking adventure through Edinburgh will leave you captivated by the city’s rich heritage, architectural beauty, and vibrant atmosphere.

Must-Visit Attractions in Edinburgh

Attraction Description
Edinburgh Castle A historic fortress with panoramic views of the city and the iconic One o’clock Gun.
Royal Mile A mile-long stretch of medieval streets connecting Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
St. Giles’ Cathedral A magnificent Gothic masterpiece and one of Scotland’s most significant religious sites.
Scott Monument A towering Victorian Gothic monument honoring Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
West Princes Street Gardens Beautiful public gardens nestled beneath Edinburgh Castle, perfect for relaxation.

Embarking on a walking journey through Edinburgh allows you to uncover the city’s hidden treasures, discover its iconic landmarks, and create lasting memories.

Walkable Neighborhoods in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is home to several walkable neighborhoods that are perfect for exploring on foot. Whether you’re interested in historic sites, trendy shops and restaurants, or charming village vibes, there’s a neighborhood in Edinburgh that will capture your interest. Here are some of the best places to walk in Edinburgh:

The Old Town

The Old Town is a popular choice for walkers, thanks to its historic buildings and narrow streets. As you stroll through this neighborhood, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Don’t miss the iconic Edinburgh Castle and the historic Royal Mile, where you can explore a variety of shops, attractions, and hidden gems.


Located on Edinburgh’s waterfront, Leith is another walkable neighborhood that offers a unique blend of culture and creativity. Take a leisurely stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway, where you can enjoy beautiful views and discover trendy shops, art galleries, and delicious restaurants. This area is also home to the Royal Yacht Britannia, a must-visit attraction for maritime enthusiasts.


If you’re looking for a neighborhood with a charming village atmosphere, Stockbridge is the place to be. This picturesque area is known for its independent boutiques, cozy cafes, and vibrant Sunday market. Take a leisurely walk through the streets, admire the Georgian architecture, and soak up the local atmosphere. Don’t forget to explore the beautiful Royal Botanic Garden, located nearby.

These walkable neighborhoods in Edinburgh offer a diverse range of experiences, from historic landmarks to waterfront vistas and village charm. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply enjoy leisurely strolls, these neighborhoods are sure to captivate you during your visit to Edinburgh.

Neighborhood Highlights
The Old Town Historic buildings, Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle
Leith Waterfront area, Water of Leith Walkway, Royal Yacht Britannia
Stockbridge Charming village atmosphere, independent boutiques, Sunday market

If you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh, be sure to explore these walkable neighborhoods and experience the city’s unique charm. Grab your comfortable shoes, embark on a walking adventure, and discover the best of what Edinburgh has to offer.

Edinburgh’s Pedestrian-Friendly Streets

When it comes to walking in Edinburgh, the city offers a wealth of pedestrian-friendly streets that allow visitors to explore at their leisure. Whether you’re interested in historic landmarks, charming shops, or breathtaking views, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are two of the best places to walk in Edinburgh:

The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is the beating heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town and a popular destination for walkers. Stretching approximately one mile, this famous street is lined with historic buildings, enticing shops, lively pubs, and a variety of attractions. As you stroll along the cobblestones, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and vibrant culture.

“Walking along the Royal Mile is like stepping back in time. The architecture, the stories, and the atmosphere make it a truly unforgettable experience.” – Local resident

Princes Street

If you’re looking for a more modern and bustling street to explore, Princes Street is the place to be. Situated in the heart of the city, Princes Street offers a fantastic blend of shopping, dining, and breathtaking views. As you walk along this lively street, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of Edinburgh Castle, the Princes Street Gardens, and the stunning Scott Monument.

Experience the best of Edinburgh’s pedestrian-friendly streets by taking a leisurely stroll along the Royal Mile and Princes Street. These iconic streets are filled with history, culture, and scenic beauty, making them must-visit destinations for any walking enthusiast.

Street Features
Royal Mile
  • Historic buildings
  • Charming shops
  • Attractions
  • Lively pubs
Princes Street
  • Shopping
  • Dining
  • Breathtaking views

Edinburgh’s Walkability Score

When it comes to exploring Edinburgh, the city’s high walkability score makes it a breeze to navigate on foot. The compact nature of Edinburgh and its well-designed pedestrian infrastructure contribute to its walkability, allowing visitors to effortlessly explore the city’s charming streets and vibrant neighborhoods. With numerous walking paths and parks scattered throughout the city, there are plenty of opportunities for leisurely strolls and delightful exploration.

Benefits of Edinburgh’s Walkability Score:
1. Easy navigation: With a high walkability score, visitors can confidently explore Edinburgh without the need for car rentals or public transportation.
2. Efficient exploration: Walking allows for a more intimate experience of the city, enabling visitors to discover hidden gems and immerse themselves in the local culture.
3. Health and well-being: Walking is not only an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation but also offers health benefits, making it a delightful way to stay active while enjoying the sights and sounds of Edinburgh.
4. Sights along the way: Walking in Edinburgh grants access to stunning landmarks, historic sites, and picturesque views that might otherwise be missed when using other modes of transportation.
5. Flexibility and freedom: Walking provides the flexibility to modify your itinerary spontaneously, allowing you to stop and explore interesting shops, cafes, and attractions along the way.

Whether you choose to embark on a walking tour of the historic Royal Mile, stroll through the beautiful parks, or wander through the charming neighborhoods, Edinburgh’s walkability score ensures that every step is a delightful adventure.

Edinburgh’s Transport Options

While walking is the best way to experience Edinburgh, the city also offers a variety of transport options. Buses, trams, and taxis provide convenient and efficient means of getting around. The city also has a comprehensive cycling network, making it easy for cyclists to explore. For those who prefer not to walk, these transport options are a great alternative.

Buses and Trams

Edinburgh has a well-connected bus and tram system that covers most areas of the city. The Lothian Buses network operates a wide range of routes, making it easy to reach popular tourist attractions, neighborhoods, and suburbs. The trams offer a convenient way to travel between the city center and the airport.


Taxis are readily available in Edinburgh and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. They provide a comfortable and convenient mode of transportation, particularly for shorter journeys or when carrying large luggage.


Edinburgh is a bike-friendly city with a comprehensive cycling network and dedicated cycling lanes. Visitors can rent bikes from various rental companies and explore the city at their own pace. Cycling is a great way to cover larger distances and discover hidden gems off the beaten path.

With these transport options available, visitors can easily navigate Edinburgh and tailor their mode of transportation based on their preferences and needs.

Transport Option Advantages Disadvantages
  • Extensive network coverage
  • Frequent service
  • Affordable fares
  • Potential for congestion during peak hours
  • May experience delays due to traffic
  • Direct link to the airport
  • Smooth and comfortable ride
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Limited coverage compared to buses
  • Higher fares
  • Less frequent service
  • Convenient door-to-door service
  • No need to navigate or park
  • Available 24/7
  • Potentially higher cost
  • Traffic can affect journey time
  • Flexibility to explore at your own pace
  • Exercise while sightseeing
  • No parking required
  • May not be suitable for everyone
  • Requires proper biking skills
  • Weather conditions may impact comfort

Best Places to Walk in Edinburgh

When it comes to walking in Edinburgh, there are several best places that shouldn’t be missed. Each of these areas offers its own unique charm and attractions, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s rich history and breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll, Edinburgh has something for everyone. Here are some of the top recommendations for the best places to walk in Edinburgh:

1. Arthur’s Seat

One of the most iconic landmarks in Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano located in Holyrood Park. With its panoramic views of the city, it offers a truly unforgettable walking experience. Whether you choose to hike to the summit or explore the surrounding trails, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas and a sense of tranquility.

2. Water of Leith Walkway

The Water of Leith Walkway is a picturesque riverside path that stretches for 12 miles from Balerno to Leith. As you meander along the trail, you’ll pass through lush greenery, charming villages, and historic landmarks. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, providing a peaceful and scenic route for walkers.

3. Calton Hill

Situated in the heart of Edinburgh, Calton Hill offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline. It’s a popular spot for both locals and visitors alike, with its iconic monuments and historic structures. Take a leisurely walk up the hill and soak in the beauty of Edinburgh from this elevated vantage point.

4. Holyrood Park

Located at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park is a vast green oasis in the heart of the city. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers, with its rolling hills, tranquil lochs, and diverse wildlife. Take a stroll around St. Margaret’s Loch or venture up to the summit of Salisbury Crags for stunning views of Edinburgh’s skyline.

5. Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden is a haven of peace and tranquility, offering breathtaking displays of flora from around the world. Take a leisurely walk through its beautifully manicured gardens, explore the glasshouses, and discover hidden gems at every turn. It’s a true paradise for plant enthusiasts and offers a serene escape from the city.

These are just a few examples of the best places to walk in Edinburgh. Whether you choose to explore the city’s natural landscapes, historic landmarks, or urban parks, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience. So put on your walking shoes and get ready to discover the beauty of Edinburgh at your own pace.

Edinburgh’s Cultural and Historic Highlights

When it comes to exploring Edinburgh’s rich cultural and historic highlights, walking is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the city’s captivating heritage. From iconic landmarks to world-class museums, Edinburgh offers a treasure trove of experiences that are easily accessible on foot.

One of the must-visit attractions in Edinburgh is the legendary Edinburgh Castle. Perched atop Castle Rock, this historic fortress provides panoramic views of the city and offers a fascinating insight into Scotland’s history. Embrace the medieval vibe as you stroll through its grand halls and take in the breathtaking views from the castle walls.

In close proximity to the castle lies the magnificent Palace of Holyroodhouse. With its sprawling grounds and stunning architecture, this royal residence is steeped in history. Explore the State Apartments and discover the rich tapestry of stories that have unfolded within these walls. Don’t forget to admire the beautiful Holyrood Abbey, a captivating piece of Gothic architecture that stands proud next to the palace.

For art enthusiasts, a visit to the National Museum of Scotland is a must. This world-class museum showcases a diverse range of exhibits, including archaeological treasures, natural history displays, and interactive science exhibits. Take a leisurely walk through its grand halls and immerse yourself in Scotland’s rich cultural heritage.

“Walking through the streets of Edinburgh allows you to step back in time and connect with the city’s heritage in a truly immersive way.”

Edinburgh is also home to a vibrant arts scene, with numerous art galleries and theaters dotting the city. The Scottish National Gallery houses an impressive collection of paintings, from Renaissance masterpieces to contemporary works. The Festival Theatre and the Traverse Theatre are popular venues for theatrical performances, showcasing a range of productions throughout the year.

Historic landmarks are scattered throughout Edinburgh, which means that you can stumble upon architectural gems as you wander through the city streets. Keep an eye out for the imposing Scott Monument, dedicated to the famous Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, and the iconic Greyfriars Bobby statue, paying homage to the beloved Skye Terrier who captured the hearts of locals.

Must-visit Cultural and Historic Highlights in Edinburgh Location
Edinburgh Castle Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG
Palace of Holyroodhouse Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX
National Museum of Scotland Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF
Scott Monument Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EJ
Greyfriars Bobby statue George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EE

Whether you’re exploring the historic castle, delving into Scotland’s fascinating past at the museum, or soaking in the vibrant arts scene, walking through Edinburgh’s cultural and historic highlights is an enriching experience that transports you through time.

Next up, we will delve into the vibrant atmosphere and captivating events that make Edinburgh truly come alive.

The Vibrant Atmosphere of Edinburgh

Walking through the streets of Edinburgh is the best way to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. From bustling pubs to lively markets and street performers, Edinburgh offers a dynamic and energetic ambiance that captivates visitors.

The city’s pubs are known for their warm hospitality and lively atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a traditional pub experience with live music or a trendy cocktail bar, Edinburgh has it all. Join the locals and tourists alike for a pint of local craft beer or a sip of the famous Scotch whisky as you soak in the unique atmosphere.

Edinburgh’s markets are another highlight of its vibrant scene. From the expansive Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, offering fresh local produce and artisanal products, to the quirky and eclectic stalls of the Grassmarket Market, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy browsing through the stalls, discovering unique treasures, and engaging with local vendors.

“The vibrant atmosphere of Edinburgh is like no other. The energy and excitement that fill the streets are contagious, creating an unforgettable experience for visitors.” – Mary Smith, Travel Enthusiast

A notable event that adds to the vibrant atmosphere of Edinburgh is the Edinburgh Festival. Held annually in August, this world-renowned cultural extravaganza showcases a diverse range of performances, including theater, music, dance, and comedy. The festival attracts artists and spectators from around the globe, infusing the city with a sense of creativity and celebration.

Vibrant Atmosphere Highlights Features
Lively Pubs Warm hospitality, live music, and a wide selection of drinks
Bustling Markets Fresh local produce, artisanal products, and unique treasures
Edinburgh Festival World-renowned cultural event with diverse performances

Exploring the Royal Mile

One of the best ways to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Edinburgh is by taking a stroll along the iconic Royal Mile. Lined with shops, cafes, and historic landmarks, this bustling street is always filled with activity. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you navigate through the crowds, indulge in local delicacies, and take in the captivating street performances.

As you walk along the Royal Mile, you’ll encounter street musicians, magicians, and artists showcasing their talents. Stop and watch as they captivate the audience with their performances, adding to the vibrant energy of the city.

With its vibrant atmosphere and lively street scene, Edinburgh offers an unforgettable experience for those who choose to explore its streets on foot.

Tips for Walking in Edinburgh

To make the most of your walking trip in Edinburgh, it is recommended to plan your itinerary in advance and study the city’s attractions. Carrying a map or using a navigation app can be helpful for navigation. It is also important to wear comfortable shoes and pack waterproof gear, as the weather in Edinburgh can change quickly. Additionally, be mindful of local etiquette and respect the culture and traditions of the city.

Plan Your Itinerary in Advance

Before embarking on your walking adventure in Edinburgh, take some time to plan your itinerary. Research the city’s attractions and determine which areas you would like to explore. This will help you make the most efficient use of your time and ensure that you don’t miss any must-see sights.

Carry a Map or Use a Navigation App

Navigating the streets of Edinburgh can be easier with a map or a navigation app on your smartphone. These tools will guide you to your desired destinations and help you find the most efficient routes. They can also provide valuable information about nearby attractions, cafes, and landmarks along the way.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Walking in Edinburgh involves covering significant distances, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes that provide adequate support. Choose footwear that is broken in and suitable for long walks. This will help prevent discomfort and ensure that you can enjoy your exploration of the city without any foot-related issues.

Pack Waterproof Gear

Edinburgh is known for its unpredictable weather, so it’s wise to pack waterproof gear, such as a raincoat or umbrella. Be prepared for sudden rain showers, especially if you plan to walk for extended periods. Staying dry will help keep you comfortable and allow you to continue your adventure even in wet conditions.

Respect Local Etiquette and Traditions

When walking in Edinburgh, it is important to be mindful of local etiquette and respect the culture and traditions of the city. Observe any signage or guidelines provided by authorities, respect the privacy of locals, and be courteous to fellow pedestrians. This will ensure a positive and respectful experience for everyone.

Exploring Edinburgh on foot is a delightful way to experience the city’s charm and beauty. By following these tips and recommendations, you can make the most of your walking trip and create lasting memories in this wonderful Scottish capital.


In conclusion, Edinburgh is a highly walkable city with a high walkability score. Its pedestrian-friendly streets, walkable neighborhoods, and vibrant atmosphere make it an ideal destination for exploring on foot. Whether you’re visiting the historic attractions or simply strolling through the city’s charming streets, walking in Edinburgh offers a unique and memorable experience.

With its compact nature and well-designed pedestrian infrastructure, navigating Edinburgh on foot is convenient and enjoyable. The city offers a range of walkable neighborhoods, such as the historic Old Town, trendy Leith, and charming Stockbridge, each with its own distinct character and attractions.

From the iconic Royal Mile to the picturesque Water of Leith Walkway, there are plenty of best places to explore on foot in Edinburgh. The city’s cultural and historic highlights, vibrant atmosphere, and diverse range of transport options contribute to its overall walkability. So put on your comfortable shoes, grab a map, and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Edinburgh’s walkable streets.


How walkable is Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is considered one of the most walkable cities in Europe. It offers pedestrian-friendly streets and a variety of walkable neighborhoods.

What are the best places to walk in Edinburgh?

Some of the best places to walk in Edinburgh include the Royal Mile, Princes Street, Arthur’s Seat, the Water of Leith Walkway, Calton Hill, Holyrood Park, and the Royal Botanic Garden.

Are there walkable neighborhoods in Edinburgh?

Yes, Edinburgh has several walkable neighborhoods worth exploring, including the Old Town, Leith, and Stockbridge.

Which are Edinburgh’s pedestrian-friendly streets?

Edinburgh has several pedestrian-friendly streets, such as the Royal Mile and Princes Street, known for their historic buildings, shops, and attractions.

What is Edinburgh’s walkability score?

Edinburgh has a high walkability score, thanks to its compact nature and well-designed pedestrian infrastructure.

What are the transport options in Edinburgh?

In addition to walking, Edinburgh offers transport options including buses, trams, taxis, and a comprehensive cycling network for those who prefer not to walk.

What are Edinburgh’s cultural and historic highlights?

Some of Edinburgh’s cultural and historic highlights include the Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the National Museum of Scotland.

What is the vibrant atmosphere of Edinburgh like?

Edinburgh has a lively atmosphere, with vibrant pubs, bustling markets, street performers, and events such as the Edinburgh Festival in August.

What are some tips for walking in Edinburgh?

It is recommended to plan your itinerary in advance, carry a map or use a navigation app, wear comfortable shoes, and be mindful of local etiquette and traditions.

How is Edinburgh’s walkability score?

Edinburgh has a high walkability score, making it easy for visitors to navigate the city on foot.

Related Posts