Edinburgh: Into the Great Outdoors at Arthur’s Seat & Princes Street

Princes Street2

While in Edinburgh, I spent the majority of my time outside. It was cold and rainy when I visited – perhaps just as you would expect from Scotland – but I refused to let that deter me as there were plenty of parks and gardens to explore. After my weekend in the city, I immediately had a longing to return and explore more of Scotland, and this was largely due to the lushness of Edinburgh’s landscape. If a major city had so many gorgeously green spots, I theorized, how stunning would the views be in the rest of Scotland?

That, sadly, is a question for another day, but what I can tell you now is about a few of my favorite spots in Edinburgh, one of which was Princes Street Gardens. I passed through the gardens several times when traveling from Old Town to New, always making a point to linger on the peaceful pathways for a while. As I visited the city in March (yes, I am way behind at blogging), the gardens weren’t yet in full bloom but were still well worth the visit.

Princes Street3

Princes Street5

Princes Street4

One major reason why Princes Street was well worth the visit? The views of Edinburgh Castle, which were stunning. The gardens sit right below the castle, offering lovely peeks at the castle perched high above. In fact, it wasn’t until I saw Edinburgh Castle from this angle that I truly appreciated it; when I visited it up close, I just didn’t get a feel for its grandeur.

Princes Street1

Of course, there is another hill in Edinburgh that must be mentioned: Arthur’s Seat. Indeed, my other great outdoor adventure that weekend was hiking up Arthur’s Seat early on a Sunday morning. Unfortunately, on the day of my hike, the fog was insanely thick and a few of the pathways were closed. Despite those inconveniences, though, the hike made for a pleasant morning. As I walked around the trails, I could not believe how intensely green everything looked.

Arthur's Seat2

Arthur's Seat1

I confess I was a bit disappointed to find the famous panoramas of Arthur’s Seat enveloped in a thick fog. However, the climb itself was still rewarding, as no amount of fog could prevent me from taking in the starkly beautiful countryside, from watching as charming old Scottish men walked their tiny dogs up the hills, and from breathing in the cool, crisp morning air. Plus, the fog left me with another important mission: to return to Edinburgh one day soon and make the hike on a crystal clear day.

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