Edinburgh Travel Tips

Why You Should Add Edinburgh to Your Round the World Trip Itinerary

Round the world trips are getting more and more popular as people are sick of waiting until retirement to see the world. When travelers plan a trip around the world, they have a lot of things to think about. First on the list is usually the itinerary. Figuring out where to go is no small task, and travelers need to consider a variety of factors when planning their trips.

Many people don’t like to add places in Europe to their trips because of the high cost of traveling there. But if you have a higher budget, Europe would be a great place to add. If you are planning on adding the continent to your travels, you have even more choices to make as Europe is huge and has many popular destinations. For some reason, Scotland isn’t the most popular of places to add. But we think that adding a city like Edinburgh to your RTW trip itinearary would be a great idea.

Edinburgh is a city of festivals, so if you’re hoping to get an authentic Scottish experience, try to plan your time here around one of its many festivals. Coming around New Year’s would give you a chance to take part in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebration. It’s one of the biggest New Year’s celebrations in the world. You’ll be in for a treat and get to party with both travelers and locals alike. If you can’t make it for Hogmanay, though, then think about coming to Scotland in the summer. The weather sure will be a lot better, and it seems like there’s a new festival every week during the summer, with the largest arts festival in the world being the highlight. When planning your round the world trip, don’t leave out the Athens of the North.

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Edinburgh Places to Go Things to Do Travel Tips

What Are You Doing for New Year’s Eve?

Each year, my New Year’s Eve plans range between: night in with my better half, night with parents, party with friends or concert in the city’s public square…and , honestly, it gets really boring after a while. So, I’ve decided to do something totally different this year. Yes, travel to a city which holds interesting New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In Europe, among the interesting places to celebrate New Year’s Eve are: Edinburgh, Paris and Barcelona. I’ve always had a soft spot for Edinburgh though, so celebrating Hogmanay this year sounds absolutely amazing.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are busy traveling times and the rates are higher than during the rest of the year (but slightly lower than during peak summer season). So, start looking for the cheapest flight to Edinburgh ahead of time. You could easily plan to arrive in the city on December 29 (the celebrations start on December 30) and leave the city on January 3 (after you manage to see some of the city when it’s not overcrowded). A round trip flight from London starts at £95 per person (on easyJet); of course, that’s unless you manage to find a deal.

Also, look for hotels in Edinburgh while you plan your flight. Of course, it’s not hard to find expensive rooms but when you want cheap accommodation you need to spend a bit of time researching the options. You can find 2-star hotels at £86 per night but the hotel is located far from the center. On the other hand, hostels can be a good choice especially if you travel with your friends. Private rooms start at £40 per night and the hotel is located close to the city center.

Edinburgh Places to Go Planning a Trip Things to Do Travel Tips

When You Get Stuck and Cannot Write … Travel

writerAs a writer myself I know how annoying it can be to get stuck and not be able to write a single world. Each of us knows that such issues require creative solutions. The “rule” is to find an inspirational location so that you can restart your creative process. And I bet you know at least one place in your city where you can go, relax and start writing again.

But what about taking a big leap and choose one of the inspirational travel locations to cure the writer’s block? I’ve definitely done it and let me tell you there’s nothing like writing in the train or at a café in the middle of an old town.

Europe is filled with beautiful cities which can inspire you even when you think nothing else could. So, the first step is to look for cheap tickets to Europe. Paris, Moscow, Ljubljana and Edinburgh are excellent choices to get you started. And if you have enough time on your hands, you can plan to visit them all. After all, low-cost carriers and trains are the writers’ best friends. And by the way: in some trains there are electrical outlets so you can work while you enjoy the scenery.

You can fly into Paris, spend several days there to soak up the atmosphere and then catch a flight to Edinburgh. Look for Edinburgh hotels before you leave because they tend to get expensive and crowded during the summer. And if you think the city is a bit too exciting for you, you can always plan a trip to the Scottish Highlands.

Then you can make the transition to Eastern Europe, stopping in Vienna for a weekend getaway. You’ll fall in love with the city and you’ll surely unleash your imagination. Then take a train to Ljubljana and explore the old city and the surrounding landscape. Last, but not least, go to Moscow (tip: choose summer if you hate cold as much as I do). There’s something intriguing about this city and you’ll surely get some interesting ideas.

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Accommodation Germany Travel Tips

Germany: Next Stop on Your European Tour

Planning a European tour can be very fun but the possibilities are just as numerous as the number of European countries you can visit. So after you have visited Edinburgh, why not head to Germany next?

Cheap flights to Germany are easy to find as there are quite a lot of large cities to head to and all are served by low-cost carriers.

Choosing which city to fly into

Frankfurt is served by Germany’s largest airport, therefore flights to Frankfurt are easier to find and are typically cheaper than into the other German cities.

Munich’s airport is known to be the best airport in Europe. It is a hub for Lufthansa, Germany’s national carrier and flights to Munich from any European large city are easy to find.

Where to stay

Once you’ve decided to visit Germany, you should also plan what cities you want to visit. And when you have a set plan in mind, you should start booking the accommodation. If you happen to travel during the low season (winter, spring, autumn) you can book the hostel or hotel once you arrive in the city (or before you leave the previous city) but during summer you must book in advance. Likewise, if you plan to visit Munich during Oktoberfest, make sure to book your hotel or hostel way in advance.

None of the large German cities are cheap destinations, but with careful planning, you can find places which are affordable. When you look for Berlin hotels you don’t need to look at a particular area. For the past years, the city has been changing rapidly and pretty much all areas offer at least some budget hotels. To save even more, you can look for Berlin hostels .

Likewise, hostels in Munich are an excellent choice, especially if you plan to visit the city for Oktoberfest or during the summer. Actually, regardless of which large city you want to visit, the situation is basically the same. Cheap hotels in Frankfurt are easy to find if you know where to look for them. Research is the key for finding good accommodation at affordable prices.

Accommodation Edinburgh Travel Tips

Edinburgh Hostel Reviews – Trekker’s Hostel Highlights

Greetings and salutations fellow travelers, I hope you are all starting the new year off with plans and dreams of travel. To help you with this task here is a wrap-up of my reviews during my recent trip to Edinburgh. Well I did not stay at every hostel I did spend many hours visiting and touring them and have written a basic review and guide to 7 of the main hostels in Edinburgh.

Click on the links below for the full review of each hostel, including maps and photos for each location.

Castle Rock Backpackers : The 3rd of the Macbackpacker Tour Hostels in Edinburgh is located right at the base of Edinburgh Castle. It has great decorations based off Scottish life and history scattered throughout the hostel and is one of my favorites.

Edinburgh Backpackers : Back in 2000 this was the very first hostel I ever stayed in and it was a great experience then and you won’t be disappointed now. Located between Waverly Station and the Royal Mile, it is easy to get where you need to be going. With many amenities such as TV lounge and pool table, it has something for everyone. Just beware the very steep hill to get to it.

High Street Backpackers : Another of the Macbackpacker Tour locations, located opposite the Royal Mile Hostel, this is a bigger building with a full kitchen and lounge area. It is a great spot for the single traveler or a group.

Prince’s Street East Backpackers : Located not on the main Prince’s Street as you might assume but rather in a little alley that takes some exploring to find, this hostel’s dark and dingy entrance makes many think twice before entering. Well it has character, it’s confusing halls and dark appearance may be intimidating for the single first time traveler or even the veteran traveler for that matter.

Royal Mile Backpackers : Home of Macbackpacker Tours, this small hostel is cozy and laid back. Located right off the Royal Mile it is in a prime tourist area. There isn’t much in the way of a kitchen, but there is enough to equipment to get by. The super friendly staff make it a perfect place to take a load off.

Smart City Hostel : Located down the hill off the Royal Mile, this is one of the newer hostels in Edinburgh and brings all the modern amenities with it. Due to its large size it is more suited to groups of all ages and size. For the single traveler there isn’t much vibe and may seem a little sterile compared to some of the other hostels in the city.

St. Christopher’s / Belushi’s Bar : Just up the stairs from Waverly train station and right where the airport bus drops you off, for location you can’t get much better than this. One of the quirky things with most if not all St. Christopher’s is the lack of any kind of kitchen but the presence of a pub and restaurant on the main floor. So if you are not planning on saving money by cooking yourself and want a place close to the station this is a perfect stop.


3 Day tour of the Isle of Skye with Macbackpackers

The tour busCarry the lad that’s born to be King
Over the sea to Skye

— Skye Boat Song —

Shrouded in mystery and myth, the Isle of Skye is a magical place with enough history to fill more than one text book. Join Macbackpackers, an independent Scottish owned tour company, on their 3 day exploration of legends and history, faeries and warriors, love and war as you journey from Edinburgh through the highlands and up to Skye.

Day 1

HermitageLeaving on a Friday morning we are met by our kilted guide, Neil Mclennan. After picking up the rest of the troops we head out of the city on our faithful steed, the Macbackpacker bus. Neil is a fantastic story teller and is soon entertaining us with legends and stories. Our first stop is “The Hermitage” (see photo left) , where, Neil reveals, he was possibly once approached by faeries who hoped to lure him to their kingdom. There is certainly a strange magical feel about the place for sure.Killicrankie is our picnic spot where Neil enthusiastically recreates the highland charge that scared the shite out of the British troops. A brief stop at Culloden Battle Field to pay homage to the many men who lost their lives in this historic battle, a battle that was surely a turning point in Scottish history. Nearing the end of a long day of traveling we search for Nessie at Loch Ness and dip our feet in the frigid water. Finally pulling into Kyleakin Town on the Isle of Skye in the early evening.

Edinburgh Planning a Trip

Smart City Hostel

Smart City EntranceBarely a year and a half old, Smart City Hostel is located at the bottom of a hill just off the Royal Mile. It is following the way of newer hostels, with the shiny, modern look. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of the vibe that makes a hostel so much fun is lost to glitz and glamour. Catering mostly to large groups with 622 beds in summer, they also offer winter student accommodation. There is a licensed bar and the Smart City Café, a small meeting room and a great outside area for BBQ’s, in summer the chef cooks up a great feast there. All the rooms are en-suite, shower gel and shampoo are provided, on the girl’s floors there is also lotion and conditioner.


Castle Rock Backpackers

Castle Rock entranceLocated at the foot of Edinburgh Castle you are welcomed by exceptionally friendly staff along with stunning wall art, coat of arms and suits of armor. Castle Rock is one of the bigger hostels in Edinburgh with over 230 beds ranging from 4 to 16 bed dorms. The huge kitchen provides plenty of space and storage for you to cook to your heart’s content. There is a pool table in the large common room, a movie room with regular showings at 6pm and 9pm, not to mention the “Posh Lounge” for those who prefer a bit of quiet and an outside area that is great for BBQ’s. In the morning there is a decent continental breakfast for a mere £1.90 or you can head down to the Grassmarket and go to Biddy Mulligans for a 2 for 1 full Scottish fry-up, makes a great hangover breakfast and all you need is to show your little orange ticket from the hostel. On Thursday nights be sure to join the hostel for the local Pub Crawl, a great experience, visiting 4 pubs, or was that 3, might have been 5, it’s all a little hazy.

Accommodation Edinburgh Travel Tips

Booking a Hostel in Edinburgh

hostelEdinburgh is one of the favorite cities on a backpacker’s tour – there’s culture if you want it, and more partying than you can handle. But finding the right hostel to stay in during your trip to Edinburgh isn’t always easy – especially with so many booking sites to sift through. What’s more, many of the sites are actually listing the same properties, so what makes one different than another?

Some hostel booking sites are going to seem pretty much the same, so things to look for that will set them apart – and help you decide which one you like best – include whether a site gives good directions for getting from public transportation to the hostel, whether there are good pictures of the hostel so you can see what you’re booking, whether there are ample reviews of the hostel, and whether there are good maps so you know where the hostel is in relation to the city’s sights.

Here are some booking sites – we recommend that you take a look at each of them so you can decide which you prefer when you’re trying to find the perfect hostel in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Travel Tips

Sample Some Haggis in Edinburgh

haggisLet’s face it – Scotland isn’t exactly known for its cuisine, at least historically speaking. While there are some chefs these days that are doing more than just the usual meat and potatoes fare, Edinburgh probably isn’t the place to go for a food-centric holiday.

Unless, of course, you’re in the mood for some haggis.

Haggis is one of those legendary foods that often trotted out in conversations with the culinarily squeamish, but there’s very little reason it should be any more unappetizing than any other sausage. Of course, what’s the old joke about sausage? You don’t want to know how it’s made. Well, if you’re among that lot, you’ll want to look away, because you’re about to learn how haggis is made.

In most recipes, the innards of the haggis consist of the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep, minced together with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices. The entire mixture is then stuffed inside a sheep’s stomach (or a more modern sausage casing) and then boiled for about an hour. The end result is a large brownish sausage-looking thing, which is sliced into and shared. And though it might not sound very appetizing, unless you’re strictly an herbivore – give it a try. You only live once, right?