12-13 Public Transport
14-19 Food & Drink
20-29 history & sights
30-35 Museum & Art
36-51 Literature & Film
52-59 Shopping & Fashion
78-81 Surrounding Areas
88-90 Scottish vocabulary
91 About Us
Text by Raphaela Schedel, photos by Sanna Giovanoli
Sure, you all want to know what‘s underneath the
kilt. It was probably the reason why you opened this
book - but not so fast. This is not a dirty magazine but
a travel guide about Edinburgh. Shame on you and
your nasty thoughts!
Nevertheless: In this city it‘s not unusual to see men
in kilts. They are not a cliché but a reality in Edin-
burgh as well as in the whole of Scotland. As the
capital of a stunning country, Edinburgh is like the
moon among many stars. The town has the perfect
mixture between dark and mysterious on the one
hand and modern and energetic on the other.
As a tourist we all know that it‘s kind of a must to
do some typical tourist things. The first thing to do
is to see all the famous sights of a town. Especially in
Edinburgh there are so many sights that it might be
difficult for you to see all of them. Edinburgh Castle,
Arthurs Seat, Calton Hill, The Royal Mile, The Grass-
market, Greyfrairs Churchyard. And so on.
Secondly there needs to be an entertaining pro-
gramme. Here is where opinions differ: For those of
you who love the thrill, Edinburgh holds scary gra-
veyards, evil spirits and dark undergrounds for you to
discover. Others again want to visit museums, learn
more about Scottish history or just simply want to go
shopping. The rest just wants wild party nights out.
(That‘s probably the largest group).
Be assured that all of your desires will be fulfilled:
Most of the museums are for free, there are plenty
of shopping malls, streets and little shops and as for
the nightlife there are so many pubs and clubs that
everyone will be taken care of.
If not you have the choice to come to Edinburgh
when a festival is running and lucky you: There are
lots of festivals during the whole year.
If you finally have enough of this varied city you can
visit Edinburgh‘s beautiful surrounding areas.
A little too much right now? Don‘t worry. We made
this guide for you to make your trip to Edinburgh
unique and unforgettable. So go on discovering this
guide. It will be a help for you. (Don‘t you dare say
something different) Keep this guide always by your
side and enjoy your time in Edinburgh: City of end-
Your Travel Guide Team
P.S. Oh, right. What is underneath the kilt..? That‘s up
to you to explore.
Text & Photos by Julia Nickenig
There are many hostels and hotels in Edinburgh not overstretching young
people’s budget. Here is a selection with the most important information (All
prices as at March 2010, seasonal changes possible.).
37 Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1JR
+44 (0)131 226 6351
Located near Grassmarket this friendly hostel is in
the neighbourhood of many individual stores, pubs
It offers self-service kitchens, a dining room and
a chill-out room. Internet terminals and Wi-Fi are
available. The reception is open 24h a day.
Dorms from £8.50, Twins from £17.00; linen included,
breakfast: £2; lockers in every room
Text & Photos by Sanna Giavanoli
Going upstairs on a double-decker bus while the bus driver is showing off his
skills can be a shaky adventure. First you have to find the bus stop you need. Bu-
ses only stop at every other stop in the city centre. Arriving at the right stop you
may see a queue. Join the end of the line, otherwise you might get a disappro-
ving glance. When you get on the bus, have the exact fare ready; the bus driver
won’t give you any change. After taking the ticket, the really courageous person
dares to go upstairs now. But take care, don’t break your neck! Once safe on the
second floor, enjoy the view. Don‘t forget to say thank you to the bus driver, when
you leave the bus, even if you don‘t know where he got his licence.
Buses are the best way to move through the city, its surrounding areas and even
the whole country. There are several bus companies, specialising in different are-
as. Lothian Regional Transport is the main provider of bus services in the city
and runs mainly double-decker buses. Most of the routes go via Princes Street.
Lothian Buses run the night buses too. For travelling further afield Scottish City-
link goes to cities across the UK. The Flybus links the city centre to the airport in
twenty minutes. There are also diffrent open top double-decker buses for tourist
sight seeing. The tours start at Waverly Station in the city centre.
Imagine a wood pa-
nelled, narrow pub. A
rugby game is shown
on a television in a dark
corner. Bulky guys sit at
the counter, drinking -
cider. Yes, cider. Forget
the smooth summer
evening in a bistro in
Provence in France, ci-
der is a famous drink in
the whole of UK and you
can find it in nearly eve-
ry Pub in the Burgh. Like
beer, cider here is drawn
on a tap like ales. And
if you cannot quit with
beer, just order a Snake
Bite and the Bartender
will mix you the cider
with a shot of light beer.
history & sights
Places to know, Places to go
Text & photos by Sylvia Kasmann
History is all around
When walking through the streets of Edinburgh, you feel as if you have just tra-
velled 600 years back in time. The ancient castle which has dominated the city’s
skyline since the seventh century lets Edi glow in the light of long gone kings. The
cobblestoned streets and winded alleys seem to be shaped by old stories from
Edinburgh’s founding days to the modern times. Medieval houses guard those
streets and not few of them were sites of murder, theft and betrayal. You simply
cannot escape history while visiting Edi. We know that history is not everybody’s
thing but you do not have to listen to dull stories told by someone who looks as
ancient as the things he talks about to learn something about the city. Instead,
you can stroll around the capital and have a look at its many sights which reflect
Edinburgh’s history in an illustrative way. Edinburgh wears history on its sleeve.
You will learn about Maggie Dickinson who was hanged but lived another 40 ye-
ars after that. About the most faithful dog in the world, Bobby, that did not leave
his master even after the latter’s death. About the creepiest poltergeist haunting
in Edinburgh, about a king on a donkey, and many other things. So just have a
walk through Edi, you will see that it’s worth your time.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is a real
ragbag of sights. It leads
from Holyrood Palace up
to the Castle and is one
mile long (the Scots are
not really the most crea-
tive people when it co-
mes to naming things).
You can find a lot of his-
tory on it, like at St. Giles
High Kirk or the Castle, as
well as a lot of shops that
lure you with cashmere,
tartan, tweed and Celtic
You can find the Holyro-
od Palace at the east end
of the Royal Mile. It is the
official residence of the
Queen when she stays
in Scotland, so watch out
for the British flag while
visiting it. If it is hoisted,
she is in town. However,
Holyrood has not always
been a royal home. Ori-
ginally, it was an Abbey,
build in the 12th centu-
ry that was expanded
throughout the years.
Since the 15th century
it has been serving as a
residence for monarchs
and accommodating fa-
mous people like Mary,
Queen of the Scots.
Whilst in Edi, you have to see the new Scottish Parliament Building, finished in
2004. It is a spectacular example of modern architecture situated next to Holy-
rood Park. The architect, Enric Miralles, wanted to design a building that would
seem to grow out of nature. Therefore, he threw some leaves on a piece of paper
and decided that the newly established Scottish parliament should look exactly
like that. If you look at it today, it is easy to see the natural influences, like the leaf
shaped buildings and grass covered roofs. Go there, it’s worth a visit.
St. Giles High Kirk
This church is located in the middle of the Royal Mile
and has been one of Edinburgh’s religious centres
for 900 years. It was named in honour of the pat-
ron of Edi, St. Giles. The kirk was founded during the
1120s when the royal Scottish family made efforts to
spread Christianity. It played a decisive role during
the Reformation in Scotland as one of its priests was
John Knox, who was the founder of the Presbytarian
Church. He was buried in the graveyard of the ca-
thedral, which was turned into a car park a couple
of hundred years later. Besides the historical impor-
tance, St. Giles is an interesting piece of architecture
as well. Its gothic style and colourful windows create
an atmosphere of warmth and mystery.
The most popular attraction in Edinburgh is of course the castle. This mighty
fortress is the city’s symbol and, together with the Old and New Town, part of the
UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its most prominent characteristic is that it is built
on a huge rock which was created by volcanic activity approximately 340 million
years ago. There have been settlements on this rock since 900 BC. The first histo-
rical reference to Din Eidyn, a fortress on the rock, stems from 600 AD. The castle
has often been in the centre of the never ending quarrels between the Scots and
the English. It has been repeatedly invaded by the English and recaptured by the
Scots. If you are planning to visit it, you should have a lot of time on your back as
it offers many different museums to illustrate its history.
The Grassmarket is a small area of central
Edinburgh, southeast of the castle. From
the 15th to the early 20th century it used
to be a market of horse and cattle as well
as place of public executions. The most
famous story about Grassmarket is that
of half-hanged Mary Dickinson. Today
you do not encounter any (supposedly)
dead people dangling from the gallows,
but a lot of students, lively pubs, cool
clubs, individual second-hand shops and
cheap hotels. The young cannot miss
Museum & Art
aMUSEuMent par excellence!
Text & photos by Anna Katharina Laschke
Beside shopping malls and other touristy entertain-
ment, Edinburgh`s cultural landscape offers various
opportunities for all art lovers or ‘thirsty-for-know-
ledge-ones’ to spend their leisure: Meet famous Mo-
dern Art at the Dean Gallery, dip into Scottish History
at the National Museum or be consumed by visual
illusions at Camera Obscura - everyone to his own
taste! Select your favourite and get aMUSEuMent
“Your journey of discovery starts here…”
– The National Museum of Scotland–
The Royal Museum, housed in a magnificent Victori-
an building of the 19th century on Chambers Street,
and The Museum of Scotland were merged into The
National Museum of Scotland in 2007. Various arte-
facts of past and present life are exhibited on the six
levels in the modern part of the Museum today: St-
arting on the ground floor with the Beginning - the
first three billion years of Scotland`s history with
origins and evolution of the Scottish landscape, flo-
ra and fauna – further on with the Early People, the
Kingdom of the Scots, Scotland Transformed, Indus-
try and Empire up to Scotland: A Changing Nation
on the sixth floor. The collections tell you the “story
of Scotland, its land, people and culture.” supplemen-
ted by objects from around the world, encompas-
sing archaeology, geology, natural history, science, technology and art, which are
presented in The Royal Museum.
Walking through the exhibition may feel like exploring a maze: Your tour is not
predetermined and the room layout offers various ways to discover the museum.
Every single room holds its own surprises, especially the so-called “Discovery-
Zones” for children as well as enthusiastic grown-ups.
Even if you may not be that interested in museums, it is worth a visit: The correla-
tion of modern architecture and the historical samples of the exhibition creates
a unique atmosphere and is definitely worth seeing! And don`t forget to spend
some time on the wonderful terrace on the seventh floor, where you will have a
splendid view over Edi`s Old Town!
Address: Chambers Street Edinburgh EH1 1JF
Contact: Tel: 0131 225 7534
Opening times: daily 10am-5pm
additional offers: shop, café, special exhibitions, events and shows, guided and
themed tours, touch or signed tours for visually impaired,
school visits etc.
Life is short, art is long! – smARTful Edinburgh!
Addicted to the Arts? Then don`t miss experiencing Edinburgh`s art scene! Not
only official museums, like the National Galleries of Scotland, but also private gal-
leries and ateliers as in Stockbridge with their temporary exhibitions are a sight
to see! So enjoy drifting through a proper universe of past and present artworks
and learn more about the ARTistic side of Scotland`s capital city!
“There‘s more to Da Vinci than codes and more to Warhol than cans.”
Situated right in the heart of Edinburgh the National Gallery Complex is made
up of three interconnected buildings: The National Gallery of Scotland, which is
“home to a major part of Scotland`s sensational national collection of fine art” ,
the Royal Scottish Academy Building (RSA), which is one of Europe`s “premier
venues” for international exhibitions, and the Weston Link, which connects the
two buildings and offers areas for learning, shopping, eating and drinking! So
spend a little while strolling around in these peaceful surroundings and discover
masterpieces from Raphael and Rembrandt to Rubens!
The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the first pur-
pose-built portrait gallery in the world, is currently
undergoing a major refurbishment and is actually
closed. Following the planned reopening in 2011
more portraits will be shown “within the context of
various historical and thematic exhibitions” and will
reveal the “fascinating stories behind the sitters and
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the
nearby Dean Gallery will be your favourites, if you
cherish modern and contemporary art in all its vari-
ous forms. And even if you`re not that keen on visit-
ing art-exhibitions – enjoy the beautiful surrounding
parkland with the sculpture works by important ar-
tists or rummage in the wonderful galleries shops!
for further information please check out Website:
Literature & Film
For book worms and film nerds
Where Book Lovers have to go
Text and photos by Melanie Schütte
Why Edinburgh is THE book-city
Edinburgh was the first UNESCO World City of Literature. This is not the only rea-
son why you should have a look at the widespread history of literature in this city
during your stay. There are a lot of opportunities for literary interests. Discover
the places where famous authors found inspiration for their stories on a litera-
ture tour. Learn more about them in the National Library and finally go shopping
in the unique antiquarian bookshops.
The Writers’ Museum
Start your literature adventure with a visit to the Writers’ Museum. You can reach
it easily from Royal Mile going down Lady Stair’s Close. Even the courtyard is just
worth having a look at. This place is called Makars’ Court and also known as the
‘walk of fame of literature’. The inscriptions carved into stones commemorate all
famous Scottish writers from the 14th century to the present.
The museum is quite small but a comfortable place because of its homely ar-
chitecture. Built in 1622, it was home of one of the city’s wealthiest families. The
permanent exhibition is dedicated to three famous Scottish authors: Robert
Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. A comfortable couch on the
second floor invites you to sit down and have a look at the books of the three
Writers‘ Museum and Makars‘ Court
Lady Stair‘s Close, Edinburgh, EH1 2PA
Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm Sunday 12 - 5pm (during August only) Admission free
Robert Burns – The
Let’s start with the most
celebrated Scottish Poet:
Robert Burns. Of course
you don’t have to know
all poems of this world-
wide celebrated author,
but at least the most
popular one: Auld Lang
Syne (engl.: old long
since) is traditionally
chanted at Hogmanay
and became one of the
best known songs in the
English speaking world.
A lot of Burns works are
in Scottish dialect. Regar-
ded as a pioneer of the
Burns was even voted
as the greatest Scot in a
public vote TV-Show in
2009. And because the
Scots love him so much
he has even got his own
holiday called Burns
Night or Burns Supper
celebrated 25th of Janu-
ary. This day is not just
celebrated in Scotland
but also everywhere in
the world where Scottish
migrants live. The supper
includes traditional Hag- ming soup, neeps and
gis, a toast to the author tatties, a main course
accompanied by whisky of Scottish salmon or
and one of his songs or Aberdeen Angus beef
poems. If Haggis turns and rounded off with a
your stomach, try a war- Scotch Trifle.
Where Book Lovers should go
Text & photos by Kerstin Mahler
Having been on a literary journey through Edinburgh you surely want to get
yourself a book that you could take back home with you.
You, of course, could go to the big Waterstones Stores in Princes Street, but for
real book lovers, the side streets are much more interesting. Here you can find
second hand bookshops. They are not only worth a visit because they often sell
bestsellers cheaply but also because the atmosphere of some of these shops is
One of the most impressive second hand bookshop is the Old Town Bookshop in
Victoria Street near Grassmarket. The narrow room is crammed full of books from
the bottom to the top. It gives you the impression, that someone was set the fol-
lowing task: Fill a small space with as many books as possible. So you stand in the
shop in awe and secretly ask yourself how someone could ever reach those top
shelves. If you have the overview you could find exotic titles like Birds in Britain
Volume 41, Portraits in oil and vinegar or Games and sports in the Army but also
well known books like an Ian Rankin novel.
While being at Grassmarket you should stroll down West Port. Here are several
second hand bookshops next to each other.
If you are a fan of fantasy or science fiction the Transreal Fiction Bookshop in
Cowgatehead is just the right location for you. You’ll find everything from Adams
Also highly recommendable is the Broughton Street Bookshop. It is located in
the New Town and provides a wide range of quite cheap bestsellers. Additionally
there is another very interesting life story to discover as Brian Rafferty, who runs
the shop, suffers from the Aspergers Syndrome (a form of autism).
If you just want to get yourself a cheap book though you should pop into one of
the charity shops, like Oxfam or PDSA (Pets in need of Vets). In one of these you
can buy donated books for a small amount of money and do something good at
the same time.
Following the footsteps of Ewan McGregor and
Text and photos by Friederike Ebel
Imagine you are on a shopping tour on Princes Street,
looking in the windows, chatting with your girls, ab-
solutely amazed by the city. Suddenly you hear some
hectical steps behind you, and just as you’re turning
around, three thin, pale boys nearly bring you to fall
by running down the street. As you follow them with
your eyes, you think: “Was that really Ewan McGre-
With a bit of imagination or the help of whisky and
beer, you could really feel like being a part of Danny
Boyle’s “Trainspotting” which was shot in Edinburgh
and Glasgow in 1996. It deals with heroin abuse and
the problems of young people who grew up in Leith,
an economically depressed area of Edinburgh in the
You may recognise some houses or crossroads while
walking down Edinburgh’s most famous shopping
paradise, Princes Street, but there are a lot more
places which are worth a visit for a Trainspotting fan.
Just stroll down Leith Walk, the main street of Leith.
Irvine Welsh, the author of the novel, was born in this
quarter of the city, which is known for its troubled
past, drug addicts, unemployment and a high crime
rate. Today Leith is about to become the new fashio-
nable quarter of Edinburgh, but you can still feel the
special atmosphere, which made the book and mo-
vie so authentic. At the end of Leith Walk you’ll arrive
at “The Foot of the Walk” a pub where some drinking
scenes with Ewan McGregor were filmed. Feel free
to sit down, grab yourself a beer and clink glasses to
Mark, Spud, Sick Boy, Tommy and Begbie. But be care-
ful not to copy the movie figures too much, the bar-
man might get angry when you start throwing beer
glasses like Begbie did in the movie.
In addition, some parts were filmed on the train
tracks between Edinburgh and Glasgow, so if you’re
on a one day visit to Glasgow, don’t miss thinking of
Mark and Sick Boy lying in the grass, watching trains
go by and talking about Sean Connery films.
As a real Trainspotting addict, you can join the
Trainspotting tour, which is offered all year around.
For further information check out the programme of
the Trainspotting tours on www.leithwalks.co.uk or
call 0131 555 2500.
Prices: about £4, all tours take around 2 hours
If you’re not that interested in drugs, alcohol, sex and
crime, but in adventure and tension, there is an old,
mystical place near Edinburgh, which played an im-
portant role in the 2005 blockbuster “The Da Vinci
Code” Do you remember Tom Hanks and Audrey Ta-
tou alias Professor Langdon and Sophie Neveu ente-
ring a church, placed in romantic surroundings, just
to find out the secret of the Holy Grail? This scene,
full of magic, was filmed in the 15th century Rosslyn
Chapel, which is not far away from the capital. You
can reach the chapel by bus. It is seated near the
little village of Rosslyn and is only about 30 minu-
tes away from the city centre. There may be pictu-
res of the movie popping into your head when you
enter the romantic church, and while you’re walking
around the nave you’ll probably empathise with the
excitement Robert and Sophie felt by discovering
who Sophie’s ancestor was. When you are climbing
down the stairs to the chamber where Langdon and
Sophie were expecting the Holy Grail to be arranged
in, you will feel a prickle in your belly and your feet
So enjoy your visit and keep in mind to walk the little
path down to the Rosslyn Castle, an old hulk of ma-
sonry next to the church. It is the perfect backdrop
to take some nice pictures and to enjoy the beautiful
A Sean Connery view on Edinburgh
An elegant man is leaning against the bar. His eyes
are brown, his hair black. The suit he wears is of the
best material. All of the women in the room glance
him with interest. One of them will spend the night
with the stranger. The man smiles, lifts his eyebrow
and then, very slowly, turns to the barman: “I have it
shaken, and not stirred! “
Everybody knows that famous sentence from James
Bond, who was first played by Sean Connery in 1962.
After his James Bond period, Sean Connery develo-
ped into an actor with a strong character and ap-
peared in a lot of famous movies such as “The Name
of the Rose”“The Hunt for Red October” and “Finding
But this man, known for being someone men want
to be and women want to be with, has not always
been that high-flying. He was born in the Edinburgh
of the 1930s, not in one of the nice quarters but in
Fountainbridge. The factories made the area dusty
The Connerys weren’t very rich and lived in an old
tenement at 176 Fountainbridge with no hot water
and no bathroom.
At age 13, the young Connery left school to earn
some money for his family by delivering milk around
You will have a lot of problems seeking the Connery’s
former home today. It was knocked down in the
1960s to make way for a new bottling plant. Today
Fountainbridge is unrecognisable from the area that
Connery grew up in. You’ll need a lot of imagination
to fancy the streets, shops and houses of his child-
hood. There is also McEwans brewery, where Sean
Connery’s father worked.
The world renown Edinburgh College of Art sits at
Lauriston Place. In his young years the actor was also
a bodybuilder and because of his athletic physique
and of course good looks, Connery earned some ex-
tra money by posing nude for art students. Some naked pictures still survive of
the man voted as the Sexiest Man Alive in 1989 and the Sexiest Man of the Cen-
tury in 1999.
Take the time to visit the King’s Theatre at Leven Street. It is one of the most im-
portant and historical theatres of Scotland and the starting point of Connery‘s
career as an actor. In addition to his model jobs and the bodybuilding, he picked
up some extra money by helping out backstage at the King’s. This is where he got
interested in acting.
Even in the evening Connery’s footsteps echo around Edinburgh. When the ac-
tor, who is now living in the Caribbean, comes to visit his city he likes to have
dinner at the Italian restaurant “Ciao Italia” which is close to the Royal Mile at 64
Southbridge. If you are really lucky, the person at the table next to you may be
Connery himself. Ask him questions about Scotland. He is very passionate about
Scottish politics and its history.
So enjoy your trip to Connery‘s hometown. Maybe you can feel a bit of the passi-
on he feels for his city yourself.
Did you know…
There’s a small tho-
roughfare that is named
after Sean Connery? It
runs past the site of the
tenement at 176 Foun-
tainbridge where Sean
Connery was born.
“When I took a taxi du-
ring a recent Edinburgh
Film Festival, the cabbie
was amazed that I could
put a name to every
street we passed.
‘How come?’ he asked.
‘As a boy I used to deliver
a milk round here,’ I said.
‘So what do you do
That was rather harder to
Sean Connery, in: Being
Shopping & Fashion
Shop till you drop
Shopping that suits everyone!
Text & photos by Desi Ilker
The second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, Edinburgh
offers a shopping experience like no other. It’s a place with a variety of shops and
malls and whatever you’re looking for, the city has something to suit. Edinburgh’s
shops are not only best known for traditional Scottish souvenirs, but also for an
increasing number of designer stores and funky boutiques providing a wide ran-
ge of opportunities. You’ll be spoilt for choice.
The medieval buildings which elegantly dominate the city are already asto-
nishing eye catchers. What is also recognizable about Edinburgh are its inha-
bitants wearing stylish clothes with screaming colours. Let’s have a look which
shopping areas are the most worth seeing and which stores bear a hand to fill
The main shopping quarter is Princes Street. It’s a shopper’s paradise with a diffe-
rence. It combines shopping and sightseeing at the same time. On the north side
you’ll find the most favourite department stores, such as Zara, Gap, H&M, Top-
shop, Jenners and many others, opposite you’ll see the spectacular Edinburgh
Castle. A block away from Princes Street you’ll find George Street. Flooded with
boutiques, bars and restaurants, it’s the city’s most stylish street. St James Shop-
ping Centre is the place extending the fabulous range of stores on Princes Street.
It is home to stores like Next, Republic, River Island and John Lewis.
The best place for Scottish souvenirs is the Grassmarket. Popular for its deep his-
torical background, it offers a large variety of interesting things to see and do.
Also worth visiting is the Royal Mile, where you can’t avoid shop windows de-
corated with scary-looking dolls wearing traditional tartan and kilt outfits. Here
you’ll find finest cashmere and first-class tartan as well.
Amongst all this tourist kitsch, the beautiful St. Andrews Square offers much for
all those who are looking out for chic clothes, designer stores and exclusive bou-
tiques. Like the multi-coloured tartan patterns found in the boutiques and High
Street stores, Edinburgh mixes different kinds of shopping: From tourist kilts to
high class design.
Let me entertain you!
The Fringe effect
Text & photos by Ruth Amelung and
Anna Katharina Laschke
The streets are roaring and every last alley, nook and
cranny are crammed with masses of exhilarated peo-
ple. A nice mid- summer breeze carries the sound of
laughter, clapping hands and jubilant cheers to every
corner of the capital. And with that the festival sum-
mer has officially begun. Every year people from all
over the globe flock to Edinburgh to visit any of the
12 cultural spectacles the European festival hotspot
has to offer.
So if you already happen to have plans, especially for
the weeks of August, consider rescheduling because
all eyes will be on this city that knows like no other
how to throw a festival.
The Edinburgh International Festival lures millions of
inspired visitors to its shows every year. Three weeks
from around mid- August, it is host to the ‘who-is-
who’ of international theatre, opera, music, drama
and dance promising world class performances and
The Fringe, the world’s biggest arts festival, holds the
pole position in the Festival hit list. Originally it was
established as a protest by eight theatre groups who
were not invited to the inauguration of the Edin-
burgh International Festival; yet felt that they should
have the right to perform. The idea of the Fringe was
born and from 1947 alternative performers could
participate and present anything they wanted - as
long as they found a venue. Today around 270 ve-
nues are nearly bursting and over 30.000 individual
performances turn the city into a colossal stage.
Also part of the Edinburgh festival is the Royal Edin-
burgh Military Tattoo. It is the biggest music festival
throughout Scotland and takes place on the Esplana-
de, right in front of the Edinburgh Castle. The name
Tattoo is said to be derived from the Dutch language
meaning “last orders” Military bands, British armed
forces and the Commonwealth are still the center of
the musical attention and perform an entertaining
mix of parades and military ceremonies.
The complete festival program will be published
three months in advance, tickets and reservations
are available online.
Celebrating the New Year at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
Text by Fred Gratzer
Come to Edinburgh to take part in one of the most important and traditional
festive days in Scotland.
To celebrate New Year’s Eve‘ at Edinburgh’s famous Hogmany, which is Europe’s
biggest winter festival, is really exciting. During the four day celebration, which
lasts from 29 December to 1 January, you and further more than 200.000 enthu-
siastic revelers have the opportunity to enjoy over 20 events around the city cen-
ter. Visitors are getting spoilt by live music stages in Princes Street, giant screens
and laser and light shows and finally you will certainly be impressed by the spec-
tacular midnight fireworks which illuminate the sky.
The celebrations begin with the spectacular Torchlight Procession which starts
at 6.30pm on 29 December on Parliament Square leading along Princess Street
and Waterloo Place to end up at Calton Hill. Hundreds of torch carriers will be
accompanied by the pipes and drums in both traditional and contemporary out-
fits. By visiting the festivities of the Night Afore International on 30 December,
you will get a foretaste for the next night’s Hogmanay celebrations. With enjoy-
ing the carnival of street theatre, Scottish dancing, music, bagpipes and ceilidhs
you will be in high spirits for the following day.
The highlight of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations on 31 December is the
street party, which claims to be the biggest New Year celebration in the world.
Music and dancing takes place along the entire length of Princess Street and at
Waverley Bridge. The concert in the Princes Street Gardens, where famous artists
perform after 9 o’clock, is the music centerpiece of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and
is really worth to be visited. If you aren’t tired after celebrating the New Year in
the “Home of Hogmanay” you can follow the tradition to enjoy the sunrise from
Arthur’s Seat. Joining Scotland’s capital on New Year’s Eve’ will be certainly an
Facts: more information at www.edinburghshogmanay.com Tel.: +44 (0) 131 5293914
The main party area is ticketed after 8pm on 31 December. Advice: book in advance!
The Gift of the Scottish Pub
Text by Anne Becker and Sharne Plummer
The way I see it, everyone has a gift. I discovered my
gift fairly late in life, well, perhaps not late but defini-
tely not until I was of legal age.
I like to think of myself as something of a connois-
seur of alcohol and pubs. If I’m honest Scotland’s
pubs are topping my list for atmosphere, character
I’m fairly confident I’m not alone when I say that ha-
ving the infamous Whisky or a pint in a Scottish bar
is quite high up on the “must do” list of anyone tra-
velling to Scotland. It’s hard to avoid the plethora of
warm, inviting pubs with friendly faces inside.
Whether it be for a quiet beverage with friends or an
all night bender Edinburgh will be able to cater for
Edinburgh is full of traditional pubs like Port of Leith,
Canny Man’s and Café Royal where you can talk to lo-
cals in a friendly atmosphere with original Victorian
style interiors. Edinburgh locals use their neighbour-
hood bars as a social centre to meet friends, watch
sports, listen to live music or just relax with a wine or
one of the long beer brewing heritage originals.
However, if you are in the mood for a party don’t miss
Bramble or Amicus Apple or one of the many other
cool, stylish bars with occupants dressed to impress.
These bars come fully equipped with DJs, a young
trendy crowd and state of the art cocktails. All over
the new town, particularly on George Street, you will
find many of the city’s most fashionable cocktail bars.
As Edinburgh is a city with more than 700 pubs and
has more bars per square mile than any other UK city
it can be a bit tricky to know where to start. If you are
travelling alone or need a little guidance, there are a
multitude of pub crawl tours only too happy to assist.
These tours vary in price and cater for a variety of age
groups. The most common location to pick up one of
these tours is the Royal Mile. In summary, Edinburgh
is certainly a drinking town par excellence.
I feel I need to mention the two words most com-
monly uttered the morning after a really good night
– hangover cure – the Scots believe Irn Bru and a fry
up can relieve the symptoms of a hangover. Conside-
ring they are experts in the field I fully support this
Whisky in the jar
Text by Anne Becker
If you want to have a wee dram of the world’s famous
drink, that keeps Scotland warm in the winter and
genial in the summer, don’t miss a trip on The Scotch
Whisky Experience right opposite the Camera Obs-
cura at the beginning of the Royal Mile.
There you can enjoy a single malt whisky tasting. Choose between the Silver,
Gold or Collection Tour and experience for yourself the varying aromas and whe-
ther you like fruity, sweet and smoky flavours. Enjoy a tutored nosing and tasting
of their selected dram within the world’s largest collection of Scottish devil water.
For the cheapest tour an Adult pays £ 11 and Concessions £ 8,50. This one inclu-
des a dram of Scotch Malt whisky, a Glen Cairn whisky tasting glass to take away
plus a discount voucher for their shop. Under 18’s are given a soft drink.
In 1736, the word whisky developed from the Scottish-Gallic word uisge beatha,
spoken uschkeba and means water of life. A real scotch whisky shouldn’t have
less than 40 % of alcohol and a regular maturing of three years in an oak wood
barrel. In Scotland, there are 99 active distilleries and 31 inactive. Twenty five
of them are in the Highlands. From south to north the flavour gets heavier and
smokier. The region of Speyside is the main production with 48 active distilleries.
The upper-class of Edinburgh taste their devil water at the Scotch Malt Whisky
Society in Queen Street. They buy the barrels, casks and butts from the distil-
leries and don’t dilute with water to 40 %. These whiskies are not reduced and
can get up to 68%. If you are standing at the bar upstairs, don’t wonder about
the number on the bottles. They are all limited. The first number stands for the
distillery and the second for the cask. If you want to take part on this tasting, you
must be a member. The tasting and nosing begins with the lightest one from the
Lowlands, developing to a little heavier, but sweet
aroma from Speyside and the Highlands, with much
more flavour and ends with a smoky and peaty drop
from Isla. For every taste you need 15 minutes, to let
it work its magic.
After your trip to Edinburgh, you should not miss
buying one of over 300 different Single Malt, Grain
and Blended scotch whiskies on The Scotch Whisky
Experience, to remember such a truly breathtaking
Escaping the city
Leith - the new upcoming “Hot-spot”
Text & photos by Pamela Kölbl
With modern houses by the port, many different
pubs and restaurants and the new shopping centre
“Ocean Terminal” it’s easy to see why Leith is known
as the new trendy neighbourhood. A lot of people
know the cult hit-film “Trainspotting” from Danny
Boyle (based on Irvine Welsh’s novel 1993), but few
realise that the story was set in Leith. The film is about
a generation in the 1990s who were caught up in the
drug scene, once known as a problem area. During
the last 10 years many changes have occurred and
the district has become quite ambitious in impro-
ving its reputation and social scene in Edinburgh.
There will be more changes in the future. Leith also
sees itself as distinct and separate from Edinburgh.
Locals proudly call themselves “Leithers” rather than
Edinburgh residents. So, if you want to experience an
adventure, just start at the top of Leith Walk and head
the whole way down to the harbour. Don’t forget to
stop at one of the charming Swedish pubs like the
Victoria Bar. Due to its location it is filled with local
residents and you’ll have an extensive drinks menu
with Lagers from all over the world. After having a
pint with a real “Leither” the Leith Walk will lead you
to the historic port of Leith where you can, among
This small beach has a charm of its own. You can wander along the coast on a
footway or you can cross the pedestrian bridge to Cramond Island. Be mindful of
the tides, as you may stay overnight when the tide comes in. This beach is easily
reached by bus or by car. If you like to have a pint and a good dinner near a fire-
place before you go back to town, don’t miss the village pub “The Cramond Inn” .
This picturesque expanse of beach with its sandy dunes is situated next to the
little village of Gullane. It’s easy to get there by bus and by car as it is only about
15 miles from Edinburgh. As well as watching the gorgeous surfers, it is also po-
pular for its breathtaking views of Edinburgh. It’s just a short walk to the cosy
village where you’ll have a large choice of pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Did you know that you can find an old Roman ruin on the coast of Cramond?
No Englishmen around? - Just fight with each other!
Text & photos by Raphaela Schedel
Imagine, on a really hot July-day in 1746 you‘re walking around through the won-
derful nature of the Highlands. You see the mountains, the Lochs, some red deer.
But you‘re not here to enjoy the nature. You are here to fight. To battle for your
You are wearing a kilt and a huge sword. You are running into your enemy and
hopefully you are the one who beats him to death. Otherwise...
Battles are daily bread for the Scottish people. The history is full of it.
Up to this day, no one knows exactly, why they fought that much. But it‘s sure
that combat is in the Scots‘ blood. They just love to fight each other, and for cen-
turies the English.
So if you are this kind of person, who likes bloody battle stories then you are
totally right for the Highlands.
There are hundreds of clans in the Highlands. They still exist nowadays. And they
are very proud of their history as well as of the battles. Just to mention a few: The
MacDonalds, The Frasers, The MacKenzies and so on, revel in their blood-stained
Dipping into a Highland adventure for a day
Text by Julia Nickenig
Beautiful lochs, great mountains, historic castles - a
trip into the Highlands is unforgettable.
Explore the wildlife with sheep, goats and highland
cows grazing in the meadows and enjoy the calm-
ness of nature. You will be impressed by the amazing
landscape surrounding you.
The Highlands are the mountain range located in
the north-west of Scotland. They are home to 650
000 people living in Inverness, the northernmost city
in the UK, in small villages or even in the middle of
Due to its natural beauty thousands of tourists come
every year to spend some relaxing days in the moun-
Loch Ness, famous for its legendary monster Nessie,
is the most visited place in the Highlands. With an
impressive depth of 226 metres it is the largest loch
in Scotland by volume.
On your way to Loch Ness you will pass another su-
perlative - Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the
British Isles. It is 1344 metres high and simply known
as “the Ben” .
Many locals and visitors refer to the Highlands as
the real Scotland. Indeed you can see traditional
culture there. The Gaelic language has survived and
although everybody understands English the native
folk are still able to speak the old language.
If you are there in summer don’t miss the chance to
see one of the Highland games that are held in diffe-
rent villages. You can observe competitions in discip-
lines like throwing the hammer or tossing the caber,
as well as enjoy music and dances in traditional kilts.
Since Queen Victoria first attended the games in Bra-
emar in 1848 the Royal Family is traditionally a guest
of the spectacle.
The Scottish Kilt
Did you know…?
- the history of the kilt dates back to the
- its origin lies in the Highlands – in the
rough land kilts were more practical
- most clans have their own pattern
- it is knee-length and shouldn’t touch
the ground when the wearer kneels
- most people don’t wear a kilt in eve-
ryday life but on formal occasions and
The Scots are very proud of their own country being separated from the Eng-
lish. Of course they also formed their own Scottish slang (out of the Gaelic lan-
guage) which has over 25,000 different words and can sometimes be very hard
to understand. As a little help for you, we have collected some Scottish words.
Have fun with the pronunciation, it could be difficult.
Scottish Slang English
Alba The Gaelic name for Scotland
Cannae Cannot, can‘t.
Chaynge No idea
Hing aff us Leave me alone
Hogmanay New Years Eve
Laddie Young Man
Lassie Young Lady
All good things come to an end. And so does this travel guide.
Now that you‘ve read this guide - hopefully you did because otherwise
you might have missed some important facts - and we hope that you en-
For more information about what‘s going on in Edinburgh please see the
attached websites and addresses.
Your Travel Guide Team
Layout/Design: Sanna Giovanoli
Editor: Ruth Amelung
Writers & photographers:
Anna Katharina Laschke