Edinburgh: 2 Days on a Budget

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Church in Scotland

St. Johns Church in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland

There is a lot to do in the city of Edinburgh. But if you only have 2 days, and want to save some money, here’s an itinerary that might help you plan your trip.

Edinburgh is an ancient city sitting on the edge of an extinct volcano. Its history sounds like a fiction novel, featuring a cast of characters that includes philosophers, scholars, witches, ghosts, and murderers.

Inspiring the authors of both Dr. Jekyll and Harry Potter, the city features numerous castles and cathedrals that line its narrow cobblestone streets. Restaurants in Edinburgh sell everything from sheep organs to deep fried Mars bars.

Oh, and don’t forget the Whisky!

Gallery Painting in Scotland

Scottish National Gallery

Explore on Foot

Because Edinburgh is a relatively small city, it’s easy to walk around. Most of the best attractions are close by. And you won’t get sick of marveling at the impressive 16th, 17th, and 18th century architecture either! At least I didn’t.

A good start to the day is visiting some of Edinburgh’s amazing FREE galleries. The Scottish National Gallery houses some of the world’s greatest art on both a permanent and rotating basis. In the photo above, my friend and fellow travel blogger Kirsten from Aviators and a Camera gazes at the famous Feast of Herod.

The Royal Mile

When you’ve finished admiring exceptional art, a short stroll up the hill will bring you to Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. The castle sits atop a volcano, and has seen many battles over the years.

With some structures dating back to the 16th century, and home to the Crown Jewels and Stone of Destiny, going inside to look around is well worth the entry fee.

From there you can walk down the Royal Mile, a cobblestoned street lined with ancient taverns, cathedrals, and dark alleyways that helped inspire Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous book the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Greyfriars Kirkyard Edinburgh

Flowers in Greyfriars Cemetery

Haunted Cemetery

Find a local pub and drink up some liquid courage before the next stop, as you’ll need it! Greyfriars Cemetery has a twisted history that includes torture, grave robbing, executions, black plague, and people being buried alive.

With around 400,000 corpses piled underneath your feet, I can’t imagine anyplace more deserving of ghosts. Go after dark for a truly creepy experience!

There are ghost tours that explain some fascinating history of the place, but it’s possible to just wander around on your own too.

Scottish Breakfast

Traditional Cooked Breakfast

Food & Drink

Scotland is well known for its Scotch Whisky and Haggis (sheep organs wrapped in stomach lining), so those are must-try items for your to-do list. Another famous treat is the Deep Fried Mars Bar, which you can buy at The Clam Shell along the Royal Mile.

Not only will they deep-fry chocolate bars, but they’ll do haggis, cheeseburgers, fish, butter, and anything else you can think up or bring in to them.

To fill your belly in the morning, I highly recommend ordering a full Scottish cooked breakfast that includes egg, toast, beans, black pudding, sausage, ham, and mushrooms. Maybe some warm porridge as a starter…

WishBeen Itinerary

Below I’ve attached an example 2 day WishBeen travel itinerary that should help you discover fun activities to do in Edinburgh. Especially if you’re traveling on a budget.

Use the map to follow my route, or click around to learn more about an activity, hostel, or restaurant. You can even plan your own personal itinerary based on my recommendations.

This article was created in partnership with WishBeen. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Any Questions Or Comments?

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  1. I love your blog! I am a blogger as well and I have traveled to Edinburgh this past summer. I would appreciate if you’d like to check out my blog, themichelleholder.com! Make sure to read my travel posts :)

  2. Excellent post! It always helps to get an itinerary and since Edinburgh is on my bucket list, will have to bookmark this page. I have heard a lot about the cafe culture in Edinburgh. Do you have any suggestions? A friend suggested Mimi’s Bakehouse.

  3. Great post! Your friend had the perfect outfit on for that gallery shot! That breakfast looks awesome. I love how you have the WishBeen itinerary. It’s nice to see where things are in relation to one another. Scotland is second on my list after I stop in Iceland. I’ll be sure to check some of these things out.

  4. Lovely pictures. Glad to hear you had a nice time :-)
    Did you happen to try any ‘tablet’? Traditional scottish sweet. :-)

  5. I was there last week with my friend. I suggest also climbing up Arthur’s Seat (the volcano). We weren’t able to go all the way to the top because the sun was setting and the ground was slippery and wet but we got some beautiful pictures. Someone else mentioned the National Museum of Scotland. They have a really cool exhibit on people from the Pacific. With a display of masks and musical instruments. Also the huge animal exhibit is pretty cool and if you like Mary Queen of Scots they have a replica of her tomb from Westminster Abbey in the Kingdom of the Scots section. I love History so I also enjoyed talking to various people who worked at the museums and Edinburgh Castle and they are more than happy to talk to you :)

  6. I went to Edinburgh a few years ago for the ‘Make poverty history’ march. I loved the city and the quirky old pubs. Scottish people are so warm-hearted, but I never understand a word they are saying. :-)

    1. That’s quite understandable. I’m from Scotland myself and I cannot understand people from some parts (glaswegian accent is very strong!!) :-)

  7. Met a bunch of lovely Edinburgh-ites (Edinburghonians?) on my trip to Nepal and now I can’t wait to visit. The breakfast looks both delicious and frightening at the same time – my favorite type of food!

  8. The National Museum of Scotland is worth checking out – entrance is free and there are so many exhibitions. Plus they have a roof terrace that provides a fantastic view across the city!

  9. That is a great 2 day trip in one of my favorite cities! I would also add Holyrood Palace if it is open. The ruins of the chapel and the gardens are lovely. The gardens on Prince’s Street are beautiful in the spring and summer as well.