Last year while doing the whole long distance relationship thing I took it as an opportunity to travel! My other half was in the South of France and I couldn’t afford to always be travelling there, I also wanted to tick some countries off the bucket list. Using google flights we researched destinations which would be easily accessible for both of us and which wouldn’t break the bank for either. The first destination we chose was Edinburgh. Neither of us had ever been to Scotland and I had heard great things about the city so we booked our flights.
How to get there?
We both flew Ryanair, I flew from Dublin and himself from Marseille. The timing worked out perfectly, I had Friday’s off and was able to arrive back in Galway on Monday morning for my lecture. I was a stressed final year student so needed a break but couldn’t afford to miss class. Our flights arrived and departed at nearly the same times which was convenient!
Ryanair fly from Dublin every day of the week , between 3 and 6 times a day, from Dublin airport to Edinburgh. Prices start from €14.99 one way at the moment making it and incredibly accessible and affordable destination.
The airport isn’t too far from the city and there’s a direct bus which wasn’t too expensive.
The bus took 25 minutes and cost £4.50. Alternatively there is also a tram which costs £5.50.
Where to stay?
We stayed in the Castle Rock Hostel and it was the perfect option for us. We had a tiny room and a shared bathroom but the location was great, it’s right beside Edinburgh castle which our room had an amazing view of, an added bonus. Its also just off the Royal Mile, the main street leading up to the Castle so you’re right in the heart of the city.
I would recommend this hostel if you are on a tight budget or travelling with a group of friends. Staff were friendly, the atmosphere was nice and relaxed and the location can’t be beaten. Breakfast was simple for 1 or 2 pounds you got coffe, a roll, jam/butter and cereal.
What to do?
Obviously a visit to the Castle is a must its one of the main features of the city. We didn’t actually enter into the castle itself choosing instead to admire it from the outside, however if you would prefer to tour the interior tickets are priced from £16.50.
Edinburgh Dungeons is a good option for a rainy day. The experience involve a kind of tour through the dungeons led by actors who know how to play their roles! Its a little scary but mostly just fun and something a bit different. There is story telling, a few rides and lots of special effects. Tickets cost £13.00 online for an adult or otherwise £17.50 at the door.
Usually I’m not a huge fan of visiting museums on holidays, don’t get me wrong they can be fascinating but I prefer spending my time in a new city exploring and eating! However that being said The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh was one I would definitely recommend. The exhibits were fascinating, it was well laid out and didn’t take an entire day to get through. Admission is free so its worth checking out especially on a rainy day.
What to eat?
Before visiting Edinburgh I had read a Buzzfeed article bout Marys Milk Bar, its an ice cream bar conveniently located behind the hostel we stayed in. Mary trained in Gelato University in Bologna so her gelato is top quality. We choose the hot chocolate float – hot chocolate with ice cream scooped on top. Just check out their instagram which is drool worthy.
Of course no trip to Scotland is complete with out deep fried Mars bars, a Scottish speciality which is not for those watching their weight. Its basically a mars bars covered in batter and deep fried and it is delicious! Its definitely something you need to experience once just try not to get too hooked. I thought this would be an easy dish to find but we only actually came across it once in a cafe that’s part of St Christophers Hostel. Its a good thing I don’t live in Scotland, I imagine I would become addicted!
If you are after something savoury try Oink which specialises in pulled pork sandwiches. I love places like this that do only one thing but do it well! You basically get a roll, pulled pork and a choice of toppings. There is limited seating so its maybe more of a take away option.
Our hostel was so close to the centre so it was easy to find lots of places to eat, one pretty interesting restaurant we found was just next door to our hostel. It’s called Hanams and its specialises in kurdish food which was new to me! The menu is a real mix of food and it was pretty interesting to try, it wasn’t very budget friendly but we enjoyed it.
If you’re looking for more traditional Scottish food you may want to try haggis. Personally its not for me, but maybe if you’re more adventurous you’ll enjoy it. Definitely not for any vegetarians/ vegans out there.
Edinburgh is a perfect weekend getaway especially if your based in Ireland as its so easy to get to. I’m thinking I may need to go back as surprisingly, very surprisingly for me I am seriously lacking in photos! Some holidays are all about the photos and others the experience I guess Edinburgh was more of the second. I know lots of people seemed to have visited this Scottish city so if you have any suggestions for a return visit be sure to let me know!