Up, Down, and Around Edinburgh’s Old Town
It’s been said that Edinburgh is the most beautiful city in Europe but until I got there, I didn’t believe it.
It’s not that I expected Edinburgh to be unimpressive. It’s just that cities like Paris and Rome are usually on the receiving end of such accolades and, well, I hadn’t even heard of Edinburgh being beautiful until I started planning my visit there. But now that I’ve seen Edinburgh, I understand why many think it should be near or at the top of the “most beautiful” lists.
I think the key ingredient in what makes Edinburgh so visually breathtaking is some of the outstanding architecture in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
At the top of the Royal Mile, Old Town’s “main drag”, are buildings like the dark, gothic Tolbooth Church, built as a parish church in the mid-19th century.
Further down the Royal Mile is St. Giles Cathedral with its statue of Sir Walter Scott. If only I’d taken the time to view those magnificent stained glass windows from the inside.
Other beautiful buildings include the Bank of Scotland headquarters on (where else?) Bank Street.
The High Court building on Lawnmarket is another example of elegant architecture in Old Town Edinburgh.
As varied as the architectural styles seem to be, they somehow manage to look perfectly natural together when taken as a whole.
But my favorite part of Old Town wasn’t along the Royal Mile. On my first night in the city, I stumbled upon my now-favorite avenue, the impossibly pretty and colorful Victoria Street, leading down away from the Royal Mile to the Grassmarket area where you can find lots of pubs and such in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. Victoria Street is flanked by small shops and blessed with an almost small town atmosphere, mere steps away from one of Edinburgh’s busiest throughfares.
Isn’t it pretty?
And while these buildings aren’t an exhaustive catalog of what you’ll see in Edinburgh, they provide a glimpse of an elegant and eclectic city that truly is beautiful in its own right.