Scotland’s capital of Edinburgh shines on those long winter nights – it might be cold and blustery, but the city evokes a certain ambiance that you just can’t get anywhere else in Europe. Your typical Edinburgh travel guide will tell you to stay away during winter, but that’s a mistake, and here’s just a few of the great reasons to visit Edinburgh in winter.
Edinburgh can feel decidedly overwhelming anytime between June and September, due to the hustle and bustle of the Edinburgh festival. Winter means the crowds subside, allowing you to linger at that painting a little longer, take longer to get the perfect shot, or just admire the city’s timeless Georgian architecture in peace and quiet.
Cozy Bars and Pubs
Edinburgh has one of the highest ratios in Europe of bars to residents – so that means you have plenty of options when it comes to enjoying a wee tipple and watching the sunset (even if it sets at 3PM!) Whether it’s a wine tasting or you’re working your way through sampling the many “real ales” on tap, there are plenty of pubs to enjoy. Some favorites are to be found in the New Town, from the modern-cheesy-but-fun Jekyll and Hyde pub, to the classic and famous-written-in-books, the Cumberland Bar.
Festivals and Events
Winter doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. Edinburgh plays host to several events throughout the year, winter included. Perhaps Christmas and New Years are two notable entries, and you can’t miss them – the cheery German Christmas Market found smack in the center of town, and Hogmanay, the city’s massive fireworks festival for New Year’s Eve. The idea of celebrating the night of a year change was actually founded in Scotland, and many of the traditions we carry forward today were founded here.
Lastly, some Winter Travel Tips…
While Edinburgh can be great, a few tips to ensure you have an uneventful trip:
- While there are no crowds, some hotels close their doors during winter and flight schedules are reduced, so be sure to book in advance for the best deals.
- Pack warm clothes in layers because the winds from the North Sea can be bitterly cold. Having said that, layers are important because Scottish winters aren’t always as cold as you expect.
- Choose a centrally located hotel, either in the old town or new town. Rates are lower making prime locations affordable, and in the event the weather does turn miserable, you can quickly retreat to dry quarters without any hassle.
Enjoy your winter trip to Edinburgh – it’s heaven!