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The 22 Most Instagrammable Places In Edinburgh

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Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, is a treasure trove of photographic opportunities. Perched atop rugged mountain crags or nestled beside picturesque harborsides, the city’s iconic landmarks and quaint alleys are a visual feast waiting to be captured. As one of the world’s most photogenic destinations, Edinburgh boasts numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Old Town, Calton Hill, The Royal Mile, and Dean Village. With its labyrinthine streets and winding lanes, your inner shutterbug will revel in strolling through this enchanting city. But how do you uncover the hidden gems that will elevate your Instagram feed? As a local photographer with years of experience, I’m here to share my expertise and favorite Instagram spots in Edinburgh, revealing the unique perspectives and off-the-beaten-path locations that will set your photos apart from the crowd.

Preparing For Your Photo Walk in Edinburgh

As you explore Edinburgh’s charming streets, make sure to lace up your trusty walking shoes – this compact city is best navigated on foot. Don’t be surprised if the weather decides to get creative, though; in one day, you might experience a beautiful blue sky giving way to gusty winds and even an unexpected shower or two. To be prepared, dress in layers and top off your outfit with a waterproof jacket. Consider bringing a backpack to stash your camera gear, extra clothes, and other essentials – it’s the perfect way to stay organized while taking in all that Edinburgh has to offer.

Things to Bring With You on Your Photo Walk of Edinburgh

When venturing out with your camera equipment, it’s essential to be prepared with the right gear. I find it helpful to bring both a smartphone and DSLR camera with me, using one for casual snapshots and selfies, while reserving the other for more artistic shots. To ensure you capture the perfect moment, consider packing a lightweight portable tripod equipped with Bluetooth remote functionality. This allows for hands-free operation, perfect for taking self-portraits in front of popular Instagram spots throughout Edinburgh.

Don’t forget to bring power sources to keep your devices charged. A phone charger or portable battery pack is crucial, as no one wants to miss a shot due to a low battery. If you’re working with a DSLR, consider bringing a backup battery and additional memory card, just in case.

/nStaying organized is key. Download an offline map of Edinburgh and mark your favorite photo spots beforehand. This will ensure you never miss an opportunity to capture a unique shot.

Lastly, don’t forget to stay hydrated on the go by bringing a reusable water bottle that can be easily refilled at various locations throughout the city. With Scotland boasting some of the cleanest and tastiest tap water in the world, there’s no excuse not to drink up!

Getting Around Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s city center, comprising Old Town, The Royal Mile, New Town, Princes Street Gardens, Stockbridge, and Dean Village, is remarkably pedestrian-friendly. Many iconic photo spots are nestled within a short walking distance of each other, making it easy to explore the city on foot.

If you’re looking to venture further or simply need a break from walking, Edinburgh’s comprehensive bus and tram network is at your disposal. The Lothian Busses App is an excellent resource for navigating the city, and purchasing a day ticket ensures a convenient return journey from any of Edinburgh’s attractions.

Ross Fountain

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Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens are a treasure trove of Instagram-worthy spots, and Ross Fountain is the crowning jewel. Situated at the heart of the gardens, this stunning fountain, sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Jules Klagmann, provides a picturesque backdrop for your social media posts. With Edinburgh Castle looming in the background, you can’t go wrong snapping a photo that showcases the city’s rich history and architecture. But Ross Fountain is just the beginning – the surrounding area is steeped in Scottish heritage and culture. Take a short stroll to The Scotts National Monument, a poignant tribute to Sir Walter Scott, and climb the steps to the top for breathtaking views of Princes Street, Calton Hill, and many other Edinburgh Instagram hotspots. Meanwhile, The Mound, which connects the Old and New Towns, is home to one of Scotland’s national galleries. During the holiday season, this scenic spot transforms into a winter wonderland, offering an unparalleled photo opportunity of Princes Street Gardens decked out for the Edinburgh Christmas Market.

Starbuck’s Window on Princes Street

Imagine strolling through Edinburgh’s city centre, surrounded by the majestic grandeur of Edinburgh Castle. You’re sipping on a rich coffee, feeling cozy and cultured as you gaze out at the breathtaking views of Princes Street Gardens. It’s not just a fantasy – this idyllic scene is waiting for you at the iconic Starbucks location on Princes Street. Head upstairs, grab a cup of joe, and indulge in unobstructed castle views that will transport you to a world of elegance and sophistication. So why wait? Treat yourself to an afternoon of relaxation and Instagram-worthy moments.

Calton Hill

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Edinburgh’s Calton Hill is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a prominent landmark that offers breathtaking views of the city. Nicknamed ‘Edinburgh’s Acropolis’, it’s home to Scotland’s National Monument, an architectural masterpiece inspired by Greece’s Parthenon. The hill also features the telescope-shaped Nelson Monument, adding to its charm. In my opinion, the real highlight of hiking up Calton Hill is the panoramic view it affords. From atop the hill, you can see the entire city of Edinburgh unfold before your eyes, with landmarks like Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle, and New Town stretching out as far as the eye can see. The views are simply stunning, making Calton Hill one of the best Instagram spots in Edinburgh. Additionally, if you’re visiting around Samhain (Halloween) or Beltane (Easter), don’t miss the vibrant Beltane Fire Festivals, which take place on Calton Hill. These immersive outdoor festivals celebrate the changing seasons with music, dance, acrobatics, drumming, and more. The fire festivals are truly unique events in Edinburgh that offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Circus Lane

As you meander through the charming streets of Edinburgh, make sure to take a leisurely stroll down Circus Lane. This quaint, cobblestone street has become increasingly popular among visitors for its picturesque Mewes houses adorned with vibrant flowers and lush ivy. With its unique blend of elegance and charm, Circus Lane is an absolute must-see destination for anyone looking to capture the essence of this iconic city on camera.

Cockburn Street

As you exit Circus Lane, make a beeline for Cockburn Street – don’t worry about the pronunciation, it’s simply Co-burn! This iconic cobbled shopping street in the heart of Old Town is a treasure trove of boutique shops and Instagram-perfect backdrops. Take your time to meander along the colorful street, stopping to snap a swoon-worthy selfie or two as you tick off another must-visit spot on your Edinburgh bucket list.

Arthur’s Seat

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For nature enthusiasts, tackling Arthur’s Seat is an unmissable experience that rewards with breathtaking views. To give your Instagram photos a unique spin, why not attempt to capture the perfect shot at St. Anthony’s Chapel Ruins? Find a vantage point within the ancient archway, framed by the imposing peaks of Arthur’s Seat, and snap a portrait of yourself standing amidst this picturesque backdrop.

Dean Village

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Step into the past in Dean Village, nestled by the picturesque Waters of Leith just a short walk from Princes Street. This former miller’s village has transformed into a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasting historic stone houses and meandering cobbled streets that transport you to a whimsical world. While breathtaking at any time of year, autumn brings an added layer of magic as the foliage bursts into vibrant hues. As you wander through Dean Village, be sure to pause on the footbridge spanning the Waters of Leith, where you can take in the serene atmosphere and snap a photo against the stunning backdrop of iconic architecture that’s sure to delight your Instagram followers.

Victoria Street and the West Bow

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Edinburgh’s Victoria Street and Victoria Terrace are renowned for their captivating beauty, rivalled only by Circus Lane and Cockburn Street. As you explore this picturesque area, it’s easy to see why it’s a hotspot for photographers. Located just off the Royal Mile in Old Town Edinburgh, Victoria Street boasts storefronts designed in a neoclassical style reminiscent of ancient Greece. The West Bow area, with its narrow and winding layout, is often likened to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, providing a unique and immersive experience. Today, Victoria Street has evolved into a charming destination for shopping and browsing local cafes, including the famous Elephant House, where J.K. Rowling drew inspiration from. This iconic spot has become one of Edinburgh’s most sought-after Instagrammable locations.

Greyfriars Bobby

As you wander along Victoria Street, why not take a stroll uphill via George IV Bridge to one of Edinburgh’s most iconic attractions? The allure of Greyfriars Bobby beckons – a testament to canine devotion that has captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike. This revered statue tells the poignant tale of a loyal dog who steadfastly guarded his master’s grave for 14 years, only to succumb to mortality himself. Today, Greyfriars Bobby is an Instagram darling, drawing throngs of enthusiasts eager to capture the magic of this enchanting spot. Visitors flock here to pay homage by gently patting the dog’s nose for good fortune and immortalizing their visit with a cherished photograph.

Royal Mile

As you wander along the Royal Mile, you’re surrounded by centuries of history and some of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks. Flanked by Edinburgh Castle at its peak and Holyrood Palace and Holyrood Park at its base, this stretch is a photographer’s dream come true.From stunning architectural details to lively street performers, there are plenty of opportunities to capture unforgettable moments. If you’re visiting during the August Festival period, be prepared for crowds as you snap photos of musicians and artists in action. But don’t worry – early morning strolls often yield fewer people and more prime photo spots to boot!Year-round, The Royal Mile offers a unique chance to explore top attractions like St. Gile’s Cathedral and the Scottish Parliament building. Take your time, soak up the atmosphere, and let this enchanting street be the highlight of your Edinburgh adventure.

Holyrood Palace

Perched in the heart of Holyrood Park, next to the ancient volcano of Arthur’s Seat, lies Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the king while he is in Edinburgh. This iconic attraction is surrounded by a vast and beautiful green space, making it an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts. But what truly sets Holyrood Palace apart is its rich history and culture, which can be fully appreciated through one of its many guided tours. Whether you’re interested in learning more about the palace’s famous architecture or uncovering its intriguing past, a tour of Holyrood Palace is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.

The Writers Museum

Stepping away from the bustling Royal Mile, the tranquil courtyard at Lady Stair’s close in Gladstone Land conceals the Edinburgh Writers Museum, a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. As you explore this Instagram haven, take a moment to stop and capture the picturesque scene before moving on to uncover the museum’s treasures. This esteemed institution is dedicated to celebrating Scotland’s literary legacy, paying homage to renowned writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns, and Sir Walter Scott. But it’s not just about the history – the Writers Museum also boasts a photogenic setting, with its 17th-century brick architecture and winding staircase, Lady Stairs. One of Edinburgh’s most charming spots, it’s an ideal place to while away a quiet afternoon, surrounded by literary greats and Instagram-worthy moments.

The Witchery by the Castle

Nestled on the iconic Royal Mile, just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle, The Witchery Restaurant and Boutique Hotel exudes an air of mystique. Its Gothic architecture is a feast for the eyes, beckoning visitors to step inside and immerse themselves in its opulent surroundings. Whether you’re stopping by for a selfie or indulging in a meal within the restaurant’s lavish dining room, you’ll be spoiled for Instagram-worthy moments. The Witchery’s ornate interior design ensures that every glance, pause, and photo opportunity is nothing short of breathtaking.

The Miss Jean Brodie Steps

For a dose of quintessential Edinburgh charm, head to the renowned Miss Jean Brodie Steps, a photogenic gem that’s been plastered across countless Instagram feeds. The picturesque scene features a winding stone staircase, a vintage cast iron street lamp, and a majestic Castle Rock backdrop, offering breathtaking views in every season. This iconic spot, named after the titular character from Muriel Spark’s celebrated novel ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’, is an absolute must-visit for anyone seeking to capture the essence of Edinburgh’s elegance.

St. Cuthbert’s Churchyard

Stepping into the midst of Edinburgh’s eerie landscape, you’ll discover a lesser-known gem that transforms into a photographer’s paradise during the spine-tingling autumn season. The juxtaposition of crunchy leaves falling from ancient trees, amidst the solemn backdrop of historic graves and the imposing silhouette of Castle Rock in the distance, creates an otherworldly atmosphere that will leave you captivated.

Roof Terrace of the National Museum of Scotland

Surprisingly, one of Edinburgh’s most impressive viewpoints is tucked away on the rooftop of the National Museum. From here, you can gaze out upon the stunning skyline, taking in the rooftops of Old Town and the majestic presence of Edinburgh Castle looming large. After exploring the museum’s fascinating exhibits, why not linger awhile to capture some breathtaking photos? And if you’re feeling peckish, you can even treat yourself to a meal at the rooftop restaurant – it’s the perfect way to cap off your visit.

Camera Obscura

Edinburgh’s offbeat charm can be found in unexpected places, like the Camera Obscura World of Illusions on Castle Hill. This unique attraction at the top of the Royal Mile is a must-visit for anyone looking for a quirky Instagram spot. The three-story building is filled with mind-bending mirrors and optical illusions that will leave you mesmerized. And let’s not forget about the photo opportunities – there are plenty of chances to get creative and capture some truly unique shots.

One tip: make sure to head up to the outdoor roof deck for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Edinburgh skyline, including a glimpse into nearby Edinburgh Castle. This perspective offers a fresh look at this historic city and is definitely worth the visit.

Duddingston Village and Dr. Neil’s Garden

For those seeking to elevate their Arthur’s Seat hiking experience, consider venturing beyond the summit to discover a hidden gem in Duddingston Village. This charming enclave, tucked away from the bustling city center, is an Instagram hotspot that remains largely off-the-beaten-path for visitors to Edinburgh.

As you meander through the village, take in the picturesque homes with immaculately manicured gardens and the authentic Sheep’s Heid Inn pub, where you can soak up the quintessential British atmosphere. Make sure to snap a photo or two to capture the essence of your journey.

While exploring Duddingston Village, be sure to pay a visit to Dr. Neil’s Garden. This meticulously maintained oasis features meandering paths, a serene pond, and an astonishing array of flora from around the world. As you wander through the garden, take in the breathtaking views of Arthur’s Seat in the distance and pat yourself on the back for uncovering one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets.

Rosslyn Chapel

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For those seeking adventure beyond Edinburgh’s city limits, this enchanting gothic chapel is just one of many Instagram-worthy day trips accessible without a car. This iconic destination, which served as a filming location for The Da Vinci Code, is a must-see attraction. Rosslyn Chapel and its picturesque grounds offer a wealth of photo opportunities, while a leisurely stroll to the nearby ruins of Rosslyn Castle provides even more chances to capture stunning shots. Don’t forget to pause on the footbridge that spans the river into Rosslyn Glenn for a magical selfie that will transport you to a whimsical realm.

The Royal Botanic Garden

Step into a tranquil retreat amidst the bustling city of Edinburgh as you explore the majestic Royal Botanic Garden. This lush haven boasts an impressive array of plant species from around the globe within its meticulously maintained gardens and glasshouses, making it an Instagram-worthy destination that shines in every season.

The School of Divinity at New College

Nestled within the campus of Edinburgh University, these striking gothic structures serve as an ode to literary greatness. For fans of J.K. Rowling’s magical world, a visit to these iconic buildings is a must, providing a unique opportunity to channel your inner wizard and relive the enchanting moments of Hogwarts. As you wander through the historic halls, the atmosphere is sure to transport you back in time, making for an unforgettable experience on your Instagram-filled adventure through Edinburgh’s most picturesque spots.

Tolbooth Tavern

Since 1591, the traditional Scottish pub on the Royal Mile has been a cornerstone of hospitality in Edinburgh. Its iconic clock, a prominent feature on the exterior, has become an iconic photo spot for visitors. But there’s more to this historic building than just its picturesque facade. For centuries, it has played host to a rich tapestry of stories and characters, including those with a darker edge. Rumor has it that the pub was once a prison, and the spirits of former inmates are said to still linger within its walls, adding an air of mystery and intrigue to this already enchanting destination.

Edinburgh Farmer’s Market

Nestled on Castle Terrace, you’ll find a gem of an award-winning farmer’s market boasting stunning views of the iconic Castle Rock. This often-missed Instagram hotspot in Edinburgh offers the perfect opportunity to stock up on fresh, organic produce and mouthwatering baked goods. Be sure to pause and capture some unique photos of Edinburgh Castle from this uncommon vantage point – a must-have for any photography enthusiast or simply to commemorate your visit.

Newhaven Harbor Lighthouse

Since its construction in 1869 by James Dove & Co, this striking 50-foot cast iron lighthouse has stood sentinel over Newhaven Harbor, expertly guiding mariners safely into port. One of my go-to Instagram spots in Edinburgh, it’s a hidden treasure that offers breathtaking vistas of the Firth of Forth estuary. Take a leisurely stroll along the harbor, indulge in some quintessential fish and chips, and bask in the serene atmosphere as you soak up the sea air.

The Takeaway

Edinburgh, Scotland, is a city that embodies its reputation as one of the world’s most visually stunning destinations. The city’s picturesque charm is undeniable, with hidden gems waiting to be discovered around every corner.

Our previous guide highlighted some of the city’s most Instagram-worthy spots, including Circus Lane, Dean Village, Lady Stair’s Close, and what can only be described as Edinburgh’s very own Diagon Alley. These locations are sure to set your social media feed ablaze.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking architecture, Edinburgh offers a wealth of unique photo opportunities that will leave you in awe. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or simply looking for ways to capture the essence of your trip, there’s no shortage of inspiration in this captivating city.

Have you stumbled upon any utterly Instagrammable spots in Edinburgh that we missed? We’d love to hear from you and learn about your own experiences.