Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above: The Best Panoramic Views

If there was one thing I planned for my summer trip was not to rush to see everything (something I am often guilty of) and wander at a relaxing pace in each city. Yet somehow, the first day in Edinburgh was both relaxing and packed with a lot of sightseeing. “Congratulations, you earned a new badge: most steps walked,” my phone informed me at the end of a long, but very exciting day. Apparently I had walked over 23 km that day, although my feet didn’t feel it until I got to the apartment and sat down. Looking at pictures now, it puzzles me how I was able to see everything I did in one day. Surely time must have stood still for a few hours. Whenever I’m in a new city, I like to see it from above and that day, I haven’t just done that, I saw the city from above from five different places! Curious to see how I did it?

Camera Obscura

Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above

Being on a budget, we had to decide between the Edinburgh Castle and Camera Obscura, both quite pricey. We went for the latter (especially for the panoramic view on the rooftop) and I can already hear your shock for not going to the city’s most iconic place, but I’ve seen a lot of castles and wasn’t in the mood for another one. Camera Obscura however was A LOT of fun, even for adults, but the kids were having a blast. I will forever laugh at the memory of the mirror maze, when a little boy turned to warn us about a mirror after running headfirst into it. 😂 The view from the rooftop was worth it, as well as camera obscura itself and I hope my pictures above show how moody the weather in Scotland is. These were taken early in the morning. Pay attention at how the weather changes throughout the day.

Vennel Steps

Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above
See, I told you that’s one awesome view!

The sun came out after we left Camera Obscura, much to my excitement, and it stayed that way for the remaining of our time in Edinburgh. We walked towards the Vennel Steps and yes, it’s not really a “panoramic view”, but it had an amazing view of the castle. Afterwards we stopped for lunch at Fiddlers Arms where we had the best haggis balls in Scotland. We even went back again on another day, since they have very affordable prices for lunch. Eating out in Edinburgh is effing expensive, yo!

Festival Wheel

Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above

While walking back to the apartment after a rather underwhelming Harry Potter walking tour, we decided to stop at the giant Ferris Wheel. We chose it over getting to the top of the Scott Monument, well, because one has 287 stairs and on the other one you sit down and take pictures. Besides, we can always go to the top of the Scott Monument, as it’s not going anywhere, while the Festival Wheel is only there for about a month and a half during summer. While the ride was relaxing and the view is great, I’m not sure it’s worth the £9 ticket, you can get even more beautiful views for free.

Arthur’s Seat

Edinburgh From Above
One cute and chubby squirrel

Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above

We weren’t sure whether to go Arthur’s Seat that day, but the weather was on our side, it was warm and there was a bright blue sky, we were afraid we wouldn’t have the same luck on the following days. So after a quick stop at the apartment, Paul and I were ready to go conquer the extinct volcano. We passed Holyrood Palace, where much to my delight, I saw a lot of adorable squirrels. The climb took about an hour and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought, but the view from the top was simply breathtaking. Even though I wasn’t there at sunset or sunrise as I would have liked, the light in the afternoon (around 7 PM) was beautiful, perfect for pictures.

Edinburgh From Above
Anne Hathaway (Emma) and Jim Sturgess (Dexter) on the set of One Day

To be completely honest though, I wanted to go to Arthur’s Seat mostly because it was a filming location for the movie One Day, which is based after one of my all time favorite books,  and it’s the place where Dexter and Emma began their beautiful friendship. I’m not crying, you’re crying, shut up!

Calton Hill

Edinburgh From Above
That tiny dot is the huge moon. Sucks I didn’t have the lens I needed to photograph it…
Edinburgh From Above
Last minute of sunset

Edinburgh From Above

Edinburgh From Above

We reaaally didn’t plan on going to Calton Hill that night, but after dinner at Nando’s (we love us some piri-piri chicken!), while walking home we noticed the moon was huge and the sky had some lovely colors so we quickly decided to rush to the top of Calton Hill. Yes, the colors began to fade by the time we reached the top (easy and quick climb) and I didn’t have the right lenses to photograph the moon, but I wanted to see the city from Calton Hill at night anyway. And I was right, the city looked magical all lit up.

As you can see, I was serious when I said we did A LOT of walking that day. But I don’t regret any of the places we’ve seen, they all had something special about them. Besides, the following day we took it easy and relaxed, while visiting some quiet places in the city. More on this in the next post though. 😉

What is your favorite panoramic view from Edinburgh?

 Pin for laterDo you want to see Edinburgh from above? With so many places to see, here are my favorite locations that offer amazing panoramic views of Edinburgh.


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  • Wow Vlad, the photos are amazing as always! Gotta get myself to Edinburgh ASAP!

    • You have to, you’d love it! 😀

  • John Pilkington

    Wow you guys really did do a lot of walking! Edinburgh is such a beautiful city, even the dark clouds add a bit of atmosphere to the shots.

    …and don’t worry, I didn’t do the Castle either – waaaaaaaay too expensive!

    • It’s what I, inadvertently, end up doing on most of my trips, haha. I wanted to walk around the castle, but when I heard you needed a ticket for that as well, I decided to skip it. Maybe next time.

  • I did Calton Hill but not Arthur’s seat because the weather was appalling sadly

    • Arthur’s Seat is definitely a place where you need to go when it’s sunny. I was lucky to have (mostly) great weather in Edinburgh, unlike the Highlands where it rained the whole time.

  • What gorgeous photographs – I’ve never seen Edinburgh from this perspective. We’re visiting in December for the Christmas holidays – I can’t wait! #Citytripping

    • Thank you! I bet Edinburgh looks magical during Christmas 😀

  • I have to ask.. How many eggs did you hatch that day?? Lol…

    I heard of Camera Obscura as a fun place to bring the kids.. But I didn’t know you could get such a great panoramic view from there!

    And hmm.. To pay £9 or to climb 287 steps.. how do you choose between that. Guess it boils down to how tired I am at that point.


    • Sadly none, haha. It would have killed my batter, not to mention the roaming data charges 🙁 Camera Obscura is definitely fun to visit, the kids there were having a blast. 😀

  • Gin

    Oh Arthur’s seat is a great hike with a beautiful view over the city. Can be a be challenging at some point 🙂 #citytripping

    • Challenging, but well worth the effort! 😀

  • So much green! And I love the dramatic clouds!

    • Everything is so green in Scotland, loved it! 😀

  • Tas D

    Wow the views really are stunning. I absolutely love Edinburgh and you’re putting ideas into my head for bonfire weekend!

    • Edinburgh is a super lovely city, you’d love it 😀

  • Lucy Dodsworth

    Love all these! It’s been a long time since I did the climb up to Arthur’s Seat I must do that again next time I’m in Edinburgh.

    • The view is incredible there, especially on a sunny day. I wouldn’t be surprised if I went again on my next trip to Edinburgh, haha

  • Nothing gets more more excited than a post about the best views! I was glued to your every word! Beautiful pictures! And those squirrels are adorable! AND I definitely saved this for later! 🙂 #CityTripping

    • Haha, thank you, I’m glad you liked it 😀

  • Ahila Thillainathan

    Beautiful panoramic views of Edinburgh. Loved the photos of the castle from the vennel steps and the view of Edinburgh from Arthur’s seat.

    • The view from the Vennel Steps was so awesome, I regret not going there when it was dark too.

  • Stunning pictures Vlad. I didn’t go to half those places when I visited Edinburgh which makes me think I need to go back. I did go to the castle though. It is pretty impressive! #citytripping

    • Maybe next time you’ll go to all the other places, while I’ll go to the castle, haha

  • Wow that is a lot of walking! I used to visit Edinburgh a lot and feel like I spent weeks doing a lot of the same things. Such stunning photos- the weather and light in Scotland is always changing and the views are glorious. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • I’m going back to Edinburgh next year, only for a day though so I’ll definitely take it more slowly, haha

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  • That is a lot of walking indeed! As somebody who likes to walk herself ragged in a new city, I approve! Your photos are really gorgeous and I love your style of writing, even though you were definitely crying at one point!

    • Haha, thank you 🙂

  • Such gorgeous photos! Brought back so many good memories from when I was in Edinburgh this past April. I think I went to the exact same spots as you and yes I fangirled about One Day as well. It’s crazy that you did all those spots in one day, but honestly Edinburgh is such a gorgeous city that you don’t even notice if you’ve walked like 20+ km haha. ahh man now I wanna go back so badly!