Last Updated on 9th July 2018 by Sophie Nadeau
Instagrammable Edinburgh is right around the corner if only you know where to look for it. Here’s a complete Instagram guide to Edinburgh and where to find the top photo spots in the Scottish capital! After all, this UNESCO world heritage literary city is packed with historic landmarks, beautiful panoramas, and days worth of exploring to uncover…
Located on the end of Princes Street, Calton Hill offers one of the best panoramic views of Edinburgh. Best-seen at sunset or sunrise when candy colours dance across the sky, highlights of Calton Hill include plenty of monuments and follies which commemorate various achievements of former residents from over the years. On a warm summer’s day, this green space is the ideal place not only to snap photos, but to enjoy a picnic among friends!
Read more: 25 Free things to do in Edinburgh
Picture perfect and pretty as a postcard, Dean Village first started out as a settlement on the fringes of the city where local millers would live. Once upon a time, eleven mills donned the river, driven by the water’s current. Now, the former mills and millers’ houses make up some of the most prime real estate in Edinburgh. Today, a small stream babbles by while birds sing in the overhead trees, easily making this one of the most instagrammable spots in the city.
Read more: Dean Village history & riverside walk
For the very best panoramic view of Edinburgh, you simply must climb the steep ascent that is Arthur’s Seat. Located pretty close by to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh, this now extinct volcano is a place of incredible natural beauty.
The summit of Arthur’s Seat is around 250 metres above sea level, meaning that it’s even higher than the adjacent Edinburgh Castle. While hiking Arthur’s Seat, be sure to check out the ruins of St Anthony, a small and abandoned 14th-century that’s thought to have ties with the nearby remains of Holyrood Abbey.
Read more: Hiking an extinct volcano in Edinburgh!
To the base of Edinburgh Castle, the flat historic market area and event space is known as Grassmarket and is actually located below the water table. Although in the past, this Edinburgh district was used for executions, today the Grassmarket is Filled with unique and quirky pubs. This spot of the city is perfect if you want to grab a bite to eat, catch up with friends, or simply want to snap some street shots.
Harry Potter Locations
If you’re in search of some magic and inspiration, then you most certainly must take yourself on a Harry Potter self-guided tour of the city. It’s well known that during much of the creation of the wizarding world, JK Rowling lived in Edinburgh. And she even finished the world-famous book series in the Balmoral Hotel!
Highlights of the mystery and magic that is the world of potter include the Elephant House (a coffee shop which is self-proclaimed to be the birth of Harry Potter) and the Writer’s Museum (a delve into the city’s literary past). Not only will you find some of the best Potter spots in the city, but you’ll also find plenty of photogenic and very instagrammable places in Edinburgh.
Read more: Harry Potter tour of Edinburgh
Of course, you can’t visit Scotland and not see a castle or two! Edinburgh’s main castle is conveniently located in the very heart of the city upon Castle Rock. Presiding over the city, it’s thought that there has been human habitation on site, which is home to an extinct volcano, for well over three millennia. Today, this historic fortress is open to the public, can be visited for a fee, and is fun for all ages.
Read more: Best castles in Edinburgh!
Though not strictly in Edinburgh proper, Cramond Island is a beautiful tidal isle characterised by its leafy vegetation and rugged nature. Twice a day, the waves roll in, rendering this piece of land a complete tidal island. During low tide, it’s possible to walk to the island where you’ll find spectacular views onto the glittering sea, as well as onto Scotland mainland behind.
If you’re looking for the most iconic photography spot in Edinburgh, then you simply must head to The Vennel, a pedestrianised and stepped side street which leads away from the Grassmarket. The meaning of the word ‘vennel’ itself relates to a passageway which leads between the gables of two buildings.
That in Edinburgh features in the film ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ and is best visited in the early morning when the light is at its best. After all, within this Instagram guide to Edinburgh, this is probably my favourite photo spot of them all!
The Royal Mile
Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare is so called because it stretches roughly a mile between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Populated by stores, taverns, and all manner of quirky museums, a wander along this road while in the Scottish capital is an absolute must!
Read more: A free & self-guided Edinburgh walking tour
Circus Lane, Stockbridge
For a different side of Edinburgh, you need to visit Circus Lane, a pretty area in the Stockbridge district. If you’ve ever spent any time looking at Instagram photos of Edinburgh, then you’ll likely have seen this street. Once there, you’ll find terraced mews houses, trailing greenery, and plenty of photo opportunities. Circus Lane itself is situated behind St Stephen Street and isn’t far from the impossibly picturesque Dean Village.