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Backpacking Edinburgh: An Edinburgh Backpackers Guide to Saving Money in Scotland.

Shout out to all my Edinburgh backpackers who are backpacking Edinburgh on a budget! Because guess what? Edinburgh is an AMAZING place to travel when you’re broke like a joke.

Okay, maybe not homeless broke but you smell what I’m stepping in.

Truthfully though, how fun is penny-pinching when you’re on holiday in Edinburgh, Scotland? I mean, I don’t know too many people who love counting pennies and swiping half stale bread rolls from the breakfast buffet because they can barely afford lunch.

Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of chipping a tooth on an ancient piece of bread that could kill a small duck. 

But I swear, you will NOT feel that way while using this Scotland backpackers guide. Because believe it or not, there are a ton of amazing free things to do in Edinburgh that won’t make you feel deprived of fun (no guides to watching paint dry here). There are also a bunch of amazing cheap eats in Edinburgh, as well as some fantastic budget hostels in Edinburgh, Scotland that might dare I say it, enjoy staying in.

Heck, if you were feeling really adventurous, you could even do a campervan hire in Inverness and take on the NC500 in style. But alas, that’s a topic for another post. 

So read on fearless traveler and explore this detailed Edinburgh travel guide which is chocker bock full of secret tips and tricks to traveling in Edinburgh on a budget with some epic budget Edinburgh travel hacks thrown in for good measure because yes, I want you to love Edinburgh just as much as I do. I mean, I fall even more in love every time I visit, especially with so many Edinburgh Harry Potter sites to explore.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

***On a budget and looking for the perfect Edinburgh backpackers hostel? Then try Kick Ass Hostels (great party hostel and a great view of Edinburgh Castle), Castle Rock Hostel (voted the best hostel in all of Scotland), High Street Hostel (nice central location), and Light House Hostel (donate 50% of their profits to a local housing charity). Looking for something a bit nicer that won’t break the bank? Then check out St. Valery Guest House! Conveniently located in Haymarket (short trip to the city center), this local bed and breakfast offer guests luxurious rooms, impeccable service, fantastic hot and cold breakfast options (included), and all for only $65 a night! One of the absolute best places to stay in Edinburgh if you’re on a budget! And no, they didn’t pay me to say that. I just loved my stay there. I wish they had though!***

The fantastic view you'll get from the top of Edinburgh Castle.
The fantastic view you’ll get from the top of Edinburgh Castle.
Contents show

Before we Swan Dive into this Backpacking Edinburgh Guide, What is a Realistic Edinburgh Backpackers Budget?


I’m not gonna lie to you, Edinburgh is not a cheap European city to visit. In this capital city, you can easily blow your entire backpackers budget on afternoon tea and a fancy hotel room.


If you want to spend between $30 and $40 a day (depending on the exchange rate which is fairly good at the time of writing), you can expect to get a dorm room in a hostel. You will also have to walk most places (for £4 a day, you can get a bus pass that will give you unlimited rides on Edinburgh’s amazing buses. Totally worth it in my opinion) and will only be able to visit free Edinburgh Scotland attractions.


You’ll also need to carry a water bottle and buy most of your food from the grocery store since you won’t really be able to go out to eat and drink.

So not impossible but not pleasant either. 

A much more realistic Edinburgh backpacking budget is between $70 and $90 a day. With this type of Edinburgh backpackers budget, you can get a bed in a hostel, visit some iconic attractions like Edinburgh Castle, and even enjoy some of Edinburgh’s amazing restaurants or pubs.

***The best time to visit Edinburgh is generally between June and August when temperatures hover around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this is also when Edinburgh is packed with tourists for iconic events like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Therefore, if you don’t mind the cold and hate crowds (like me), I highly suggest visiting between October and April, minus the busy holiday season. Sure, prices won’t change much between high and low tourist season, but you also won’t have to do MORTAL COMBAT with crazed, selfie stick-wielding tourists. ***

One of the many amazing views of Edinburgh Castle.
One of the many amazing views of Edinburgh Castle.

Tips for Visiting Edinburgh Scotland on a Budget (a Budget Backpackers Edinburgh and How to Backpack Edinburgh like a BOSS)

1. Avoid Cabs – There is absolutely no need to take a cab in Edinburgh. Not only are the cabs expensive, but Edinburgh has an amazing bus system that will take you almost anywhere you want to go. Just purchase an Edinburgh bus and tram day pass for £4 a day, and you can use the city trams and buses as much as you like (single rides are £1.75 so if you use the bus more than twice then the day pass is worth it).

2. Use the Airlink Bus to get to and from the Airport – Getting to and from Edinburgh International Airport could not be easier unless you could teleport there. As you exit from the international arrivals, you’ll see the Edinburgh sign on your left. Turn right and continue until you see a giant, blue Airlink Bus on your left. Purchase a ticket before or after you’re on the bus (a single adult ticket is £4.50 and a  return ticket is £7.50and it will take you about 35 minutes (depending on traffic) to get to Waverly Station in the center of Edinburgh. There are other stops along the way like Edinburgh Zoo, Haymarket, etc.

3. Do NOT exchange money at the Airport – Exchange rates are notoriously awful at the airport. So if you need to exchange money, definitely wait until you get into the city center. There are a ton of amazing ATMs in Edinburgh that won’t charge you for withdrawing cash from an international account (and the ATMs advertise this everywhere).

4. You NEED Exact Change for the Bus (one fo the most essential Edinburgh travel tips) – Yeah, no change is given when buying tickets for the bus. Therefore, always carry exact change when you purchase bus tickets on the bus. Also, always buy tram tickets BEFORE you enter the tram, from a designated ticket machine since public transportation authorities do check for tickets.

5. Enjoy the Great Outdoors – Between Arthur’s Seat, the Meadows at the University of Edinburgh, Calton Hill, the Water of Leith Walkway, and the Edinburgh Royal Botanical Gardens, there are a number of great places where you can enjoy the great outdoors and some amazing Scotland backpacking trails for free. So get outside and embrace the serenity of nature since Scotland really is one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world (#FACT).

6. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle – An easy and effective way to save money on beverages while traveling in Edinburgh is to pack a collapsible water bottle and indulge in some of the best drinking water in the world.

7. Do Some Free Edinburgh Walking Tours – Along the Royal Mile, there are a ton of amazing and totally free walking tours of the city. My personal favorite is the Edinburgh Ghost Tour (you could even do a self-guided Harry Potter tour of Edinburgh). Pleasantly creepy but in a non-revolting way, this tour lasts about an hour and a half and introduces you to the creepier side of Edinburgh’s dark past, grave robbers and all. Tours depart from154 High Street every day at 5 pm, 7 pm, and 9.30 pm and are a great way to see Edinburgh for less. However, don’t be a dick. Tour guides only earn what they receive in tips generally do an epic job, so please tip these hardworking and mildly starving artists and writers.

8. Eat out for lunch and go grocery shopping at TESCO for dinner – Dinner is typically the most expensive meal of the day. Therefore, eat out for lunch instead (Mimi’s Little bakehouse is amazing for scones. Also, take away is much cheaper than eating in so you can always order here and then have a picnic in the park) and take advantage of Edinburgh’s’ amazing and well-priced grocery stores for dinner. Seriously, I am always amazed at how much cheaper food is in Edinburgh than in the United States.

9. Enjoy some free, live music – Edinburgh has a KILLER music scene. Not only are there a ton of street performers along the Royal Miles but many local pubs offer free, live music daily, that can go on until  3 am. Want a more authentic Scottish musical experience? Then experience ceilidh at Stramash on a Wednesday night at 10 pm! A fun way for visitors to experience local Scottish music and dance. Bring your tartan skirt and let the fun begin.

10. Avoid buying food, drinks, and souvenirs along the Royal Mile – Shocking to no one, the Royal Mile is super touristy and as a result, is super expensive. Therefore, avoid the high price tags and if you’re looking for great places to eat and drink, try the neighborhood surrounding the University of Edinburgh. This area caters to the local student population and has prices that tend to be lower than those along the Royal Mile. Plus the University of Edinburgh is flipping gorgeous and inspired the creation of Hogwarts in Harry Potter so there’s that too.

11. Visit free attractions – Try and visit as many of Edinburgh’s free attractions as possible by using my extensive list of free Edinburgh attractions below (no joke, there are an insane number of free things to do in Edinburgh so I’m not gonna list them all here because you’d pass out and have drool leaking out from your mouth. So just read on and prepare for the awesomeness.

See what I mean? The University of Edinburgh is a heinous beast of a place. No clue why anyone would EVER want to visit. Joking btw because it's absolutely gorgeous and well worth a visit. Also, a great free attraction if you're backpacking Edinburgh, even though you can't go inside.
See what I mean? The University of Edinburgh is a heinous beast of a place. No clue why anyone would EVER want to visit. Joking btw because it’s absolutely gorgeous and well worth a visit. Also, a great free attraction if you’re backpacking Edinburgh, even though you can’t go inside.

Epic Free Edinburgh Top Attractions to Add to Your Backpacking Scotland Trip

1. Arthur’s Seat (One of the most iconic Edinburgh, Scotland backpacking trails)

So before you ask, I hiked to the top but no, I didn’t find a seat with the name Arthur on it. All I found at the top of this extinct volcano in Holyrood Park were incredible views of Edinburgh and a whole lot of wind that made me feel like I was gonna fall off the side of the mountain.

At 251 meters high:

This hike should probably take you between 2 and 3 hours. So be prepared and bring some water, snacks, sunscreen, and the right footwear because portions of the trail are a bit steep, narrow, and rocky (I am not a hiker and got winded on parts of the ascent so the hike may be a little more challenging than you think. But of course the guys in front of me were hopping around like billy goats so I felt totally lame but whatever).

A great place to start this hike is from the entrance that is right across the street from the Palace of Holyroodhouse car park. Follow the Radical Road path along the Salisbury Crags because along the way, you can stop and marvel at the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel before you commence the vertical ascent of doom and exhaustion towards the summit (Okay, it’s not that bad but I did feel like I needed an Iron Lung and Oxygen Machine once at the top. You decide if I’m joking about this or not).


This is not the most unusual Edinburgh attraction on this list so the park can get a bit crowded. Therefore, hike up as early as possible to avoid the crowds.


Try and hike up Arthur’s Seat on a clear day when rain clouds aren’t being obnoxious and obstructing your view of the city.

***Looking for the path of least resistance up this hill? Then avoid hiking up the first path on your right. Instead, keep walking and at the fork in the road, make a left. Here, you’ll find a less steep, slightly less challenging hike up Arthur’s Seat.***

This view is what make's a hike up Arthur's Seat one of the best free things to do while backpacking Edinburgh.
This view is what make’s a hike up Arthur’s Seat one of the best free things to do while backpacking Edinburgh.

2. Scottish National Gallery

Not gonna lie:

The National Gallery is not huge. But it does have some interesting pieces on display that are worth exploring (I also heard the cafe has really good bacon rolls).

When I visited:

Many of the free art exhibits had a modern twist that made me stop and consider the intent of the artist.

Fun little factoid for you:

The two buildings that house the permanent and special exhibit halls were originally separate from one another. However, an ultra-modern
addition was built that now connects the two buildings through the Gardens Entrance overlooking Princes Street Gardens.

While museuming it up:

You can shop till you drop or stuff your face with bacon rolls at the cafe, whichever options suits you more. Also, don’t forget that there is an awesome free gallery bus that operates between the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

So if you’re not too “museumed out”:

Head over to the National Gallery of Modern Art (also free and consists of two separate buildings that sit along the water of Leith walkway) and experience iconic works of art from some of the most prominent modern artists in all of Scotland.

3. Canongate Kirkyard (Kirkyard = churchyard)

If you’re American like me:

Then you probably have no idea what a kirkyard is. At least I didn’t. I literally had no clue that Canongate Kirkyard was the name of a beautiful cemetery and churchyard that sits right off of the Royal Mile.

Ancient gravestones, rolling hills, gnarled trees, and gray steepled buildings all come together to create a stunningly beautiful landscape that is basically every Instagrammers ultimate dream.

But it’s not just about the photo ops here.

This churchyard is steeped in rich history since this protestant graveyard was the site of many city burials between the 1680s  and mid-20th century.

Even the famed economist Adam Smith (I keep wanting to say Adam West but that is so wrong because he played Batman on TV. But in case you have no idea who he is, Adam Smith developed the invisible hand theory in economics) and the poet Robert Fergusson are buried here.

So stroll through this scenic kirkyard and gain a better appreciation for the rich history that this city has to offer.

Some of the historic beauty you'll find in the many buildings around Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh.
Some of the historic beauty you’ll find in the many buildings around Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh.

4. Free Walking Tours


Edinburgh is like a buffet of free walking tours, and I mean that in the best possible way. Just walk down the Royal Mile and you’ll see street advertisements for free walking tours and ghost tours all over the place.


I steer clear of free walking tours because I was raised under the age-old adage of, “you get what you pay for”. So surely if you pay nothing then the tour is gonna suck right?


My tour was awesome. The tour guide was super friendly and super fun. Not only did he show us all around the Royal Mile but he also put a lot of energy and humor into his delivery and really enhanced the experience (It was really a performance because people in the buildings above us were opening their windows to watch him at work).

Was all of what he said factual?

No idea, but some of the stories he told were awesomely creepy, making this tour a fun and creative way to explore the darker side of Edinburgh’s rich history.

*** There is also a free, two hour, City Explorers Walking Tour that meets in front of the Royal Mile Coffee House at 144 High Street. They offer tours at 11 am and 1 pm every day. To book a tour, register online here.***

Free walking tours are a great way to explore some of the most charming neighborhoods in Edinburgh, like Dean's Village.
Free walking tours are a great way to explore some of the most charming neighborhoods in Edinburgh, like Dean’s Village.

5. Scottish Parliament

Even if you have zero interest in politics, a visit to the Scottish Parliament is a must.

Not only is the architectural design of this building thought-provoking (AKA you’ll either love it or think it’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen), but it’s an amazing place to learn about the evolution and establishment of one of the youngest parliaments in the world.

Be sure to explore the exhibit on the history of the parliament and its creation. I was truly moved when watching the joy and exuberance felt by the entire nation when the Parliament was founded in 1997.

I contented myself with exploring just the permanent exhibit and gift shop (I’m not really that into politics), but if you are a political aficionado then free guided tours are available (booking recommended).

You can even witness the political process for yourself by booking tickets to attend a committee meeting or a debate (insert oohs and ahs here).

6. Marvel at Golden Hour on Calton Hill (You MUST add this to your Edinburgh Backpacking Itinerary)

Like most things in Edinburgh, the city’s sunsets have a unique beauty that deserves to be savored, as long as the weather cooperates and doesn’t throw a thunderstorm level tantrum your way.

So on a clear evening (or morning):

Grab a blanket, a thermos of your favorite warm beverage (mine is always coffee), a warm sweater or jacket, and head to the top of Calton Hill.

From here:

Just sit, relax, and enjoy the vibrant light show that mother nature has to offer; a cascade of colors that explode across the sky right before your eyes.

***While you’re here, visit the National Monument which stands as a tribute to the Scottish soldiers who were lost in the Napoleonic Wars. Believe it or not, the National Monument was actually nicknamed ‘the Scottish Disgrace’ because the project ran out of money and was left unfinished in 1829. But the structure’s similarity to the Parthenon reinforces Edinburgh’s claim as the Athens of the North.***

I'm not a morning person but it was definitely worth getting up early to enjoy the view atop Calton Hill.
I’m not a morning person but it was definitely worth getting up early to enjoy the view atop Calton Hill.

7.  Greyfriar’s Bobby

When I first visited Edinburgh:

I knew Greyfriars sounded familiar, but I had no idea why. Then someone reminded me about the legend of Bobby, the little dog who, after his master died, remained by his grave for over 14 years (Geez, talk about man’s best friend. Doubt anyone in my family would do that for me. LoL).

To honor this loyal companion:

A statue of Bobby sits at the top of Candlemaker’s Row, just across from the gates of Greyfriars, the first reformed church in Scotland (A must see for any Edinburgh first-timer, but DO NOT rub the nose).

After seeing the statue of Bobby, take a moment to sit, relax, and enjoy the Greyfriars’ churchyard, which is home to the remains of the medieval Flodden Wall.

Added bonus:

The Scotish National Museum is amazing and literally right down the street. So definitely visit either before or after you pay homage to Greyfriar’s Bobby.

But more on that epic place of awesomeness later.

This statue stands outside of Greyfriar's Bobby and commemorates Bobby's undying loyalty to his owner.
This statue stands outside of Greyfriar’s Bobby and commemorates Bobby’s undying loyalty to his owner.

8. The Water of Leith (Walkway)

An amazing place to stroll along the river and enjoy some the natural beauty of the water, amidst the chaotic frenzy that can envelop Edinburgh (add this to your Edinburgh itinerary and you won’t be sorry).


While this pathway is charming it’s also an insanely long, 12-mile walk that begins in Balerno and ends by the Leith Docks. Yeah, no way was I walking the whole thing.


I loved the short walk between Stockbridge and Dean Village. Not only were the views exquisite, but you also get to admire a fantastic ancient well along the way.

Be forewarned though:

It rains a lot in Edinburgh, duh, so the path is pretty muddy. Therefore, make sure to wear appropriate shoes because let’s keep it real, nobody wants to bust their ass, fall into a puddle of mud, and get strange looks for the remainder of the day.

Been there, done that and it’s rather anti-fun.

Also keep your eye out for some amazing wildlife since this area is a designated urban wildlife site where you can find an assortment of wildflowers, herons, kingfishers, and roe deer.

***You can also start at the Water of Leith Visitor Centre in Slateford and then head towards Leith. Along the way, you’ll pass through Dean Village and a Thomas Telford bridge. From here, continue past St Bernard’s Well to Stockbridge or Canonmills where you can take the bus back to Princes Street.***

Some of the amazing views you'll see as you stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway.
Some of the amazing views you’ll see as you stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway.

9. The Royal Mile

Before you roll your eyes at me and discredit me as a travel blogger, hear me out.

Is the Royal Maile completely touristy?

Yes, but who cares? I mean,  if you’re visiting Edinburgh for the first time then a stroll along the Royal Mile is kind of mandatory (Plus the Museum of Childhood, the Edinburgh City Museum, and St. Giles Cathedral all sit along the Royal Mile and are 110% free totally free).

Just start at the bottom and check out the Palace at Holyroodhouse. Then head over to the Scottish Parliament and slowly work your way up the Royal Mile.


Along the way, you’ll see a ton of touristy restaurants and souvenir shops selling anything you could ever imagine in Tartan, but you can skip these places and check out Canongate Kirkyard instead (on your right, at the church with the red doors), followed by Dunbar Close,


You’ll see Edinburgh Castle itself, all the way at the top. Just a fascinating area that is rich in history, as long as you overlook that shop in the corner hawking fudge to tourists (I gave in and bought some. Don’t judge me).

10. National Museum of Scotland

If you are a museum enthusiast of even the smallest measure then check out the refurbished but appealing, National Museum of Scotland, with an eclectic showcase of basically the entire history of the world (both natural and man-made).

From outer space to the deep sea:

The Natural World galleries have an assortment of interactive exhibits that do an excellent job of explaining the development of our planet and the natural forces that allow our world to function.

What, not into deep space and physics?

Then check out the World Cultures galleries which connect different cultures with their possessions, possessions that reflect distinctive cultural values.

Or better yet:

Explore the Natural History Galleries which showcase a variety of dinosaur skeletons and animal specimens from all across the globe.

Just be sure to save some time to explore the Scottish galleries and see the development of Scotland from prehistory to the present day (don’t miss the famed Lewis Chessmen).

Once you’re totally museumed out:

Board the elevator and head to the 7th floor, where you can enjoy a quaint, rooftop garden with sweeping, panoramic views of the entire city.

Admiring the cloudy view from atop the National Museum of Scotland.
Admiring the cloudy view from atop the National Museum of Scotland.

11. Leith

So I’m really bummed that I didn’t get to explore more of what Leith has to offer.

I mean, I’ve only been to Edinburgh twice and basically just passed through on my way to the Ocean Terminal, to see the Royal Yacht Britannia (A must see because the Queen sure knows how to travel in style).

But Leith has this charm about it; this independence of spirit that I totally relate to as a solo traveler.

Maybe that’s because it only officially merged with the rest of Edinburgh in 1920 and still operates as a working port, a way of life that is in sharp contrast to the Michelin star rated restaurants, boutique hotels, art galleries, and modern bars that are just down the road.


I’ve seen the Royal Yacht Britannia at Ocean Terminal. But I want to experience more of what Leith has to offer. I want to explore the exhibits of the Trinity House Maritime Museum (at the foot of Leith Walk) and stroll along Constitution Street on my way to the Shore for the ultimate cafe experience.

That’s why I clearly need to plan another trip back to Edinburgh. Am I right? I mean, it’s really something I owe my readers (or reader as the case may be).

12. Stockbridge

Who knew that this cozy, quiet gem of a neighbor was just a 10-minute walk away from the hustle and bustle of Princes Street?


A world away from the hordes of tourists that invade New Town is a neighborhood where clicking cameras and selfie sticks are replaced by pretty streets and enchanting squares, making Stockbridge a true wonder to behold.

But it’s not just the scenery that sets this neighborhood apart.

There are a ton of fun and unusual shops, galleries, cafés, bars, and restaurants that are just waiting to be explored.

You can even take a walk through Inverleith Park (you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the west gate of the Royal Botanic Gardens across the street) or stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway or eat/shop your way through the area’s awesome Sunday market.

 13. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (Minus the Glasshouses which you have to pay £6.50 to get into)

Oh look, how surprising, another botanic garden is on a free attractions list, how novel.

I get it.

Gardens are typically free so hence the reason why they are found on many, “free things to do” lists. And while I concur that this may not be the most original idea, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is still worth a visit.

On the first sunny day you get:

Wander over to this relaxing and peaceful, 70-acre park, where you’ll feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of central Edinburgh (in reality this garden is only a 15-minute walk from the city center).

Embrace the tranquility of this place and get lost among the trees, shrubs, and rare plants that give this garden its botanical charm.

If you do get caught in a passing shower:

You can always seek refuge in the Victorian Palm House or in the pinecone and seashell ensconced, stone pavilion in the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden; both of which are absolutely worth a visit.

Not content with just watching the grass grow?

Well, if you are looking for something a little more exciting then head over to the John Hope Gateway and exhibitions in 18th-century Inverleith House for a guided tour of the gardens.

One of the many amazing glasshouses you'll see at the Royal Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.
One of the many amazing glasshouses you’ll see at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

14. St. Giles Cathedral (Only 900 years of history or so)

St. Giles Cathedral sits right on the Royal Mile, so you can’t miss it, both figuratively and literally.

You’ll know you’re in the right place when you look up and see the church’s unique spire, a distinct, architectural detail that dominates the Edinburgh skyline.

Walk inside and you’ll see a Cathedral that is flooded with light, through a series of stained glass windows that only came to the church in the late 19th century.

Admire the intense blue hues that these windows create and visit an amazing statue of an angel playing the bagpipes in the Thistle Chapel.

 Mind blown. BOOM! Plus:

And If you can handle heights, register for a guided rooftop tour that must be booked in advance, for £6 per person.

The exquisite beauty of the stained glass windows inside St. Giles Cathedral.
The exquisite beauty of the stained glass windows inside St. Giles Cathedral.

15. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

This place is amazing!

Not only does the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art consist of two of entirely separate buildings (aptly named buildings one and two), but there are some truly unique exhibits here that give you some real insight into the development of the modern art movement in Scotland.

Explore the amazing, artistic treasures housed here and see distinct, Scottish interpretations of the Cubist, Expressionist, post-war and contemporary art movements.

Also, explore the museum grounds and enjoy the surrounding landscape architecture, which was designed by Charles Jencks and which is home to a fantastic sculpture park that exhibits pieces by Henry Moore.

And if all this epic art has you feeling a bit hungry:

Then stop by the cafe and garden terrace at Modern Ones or head over to the more formal Café at Modern Two which serves a lovely afternoon tea.


I never met an afternoon tea I didn’t like.

16. Dean Village

One of the more unusual things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Dean  Village is a delightful hidden treasure that is perfect for anyone who has a slight Instagram addiction. Located just outside the city center, this lovely place is nestled along the one and only Water of Leith walkway.


Dean Village was an integral part of Edinburgh’s thriving milling industry, Today, however, you’re more likely to find avid Instagrammers wielding monumental tripods in the neverending quest to get that ever elusive, perfect shot of this insanely charming place at Dean’s Bridge.

Before you leave though:

Explore this area’s fascinating history, which can be seen in Well Court, a 19th-century house that has been fully restored to its original appearance, and St Bernards Well, used in the past to draw water from the local river.

Food, Glorious Food! AKA The Best Cheap Eats in Edinburgh (perfect for any budget backpackers in Edinburgh)

You’ll be delighted to know that yes, you really can eat out in Edinburgh without going into foreclosure on your home. And no, eating on the cheap in Edinburgh doesn’t mean that your eggs will be rubbery and that your food will taste like toxic sludge.

But where can you find the best restaurants in Edinburgh for those of us who are less fiscally responsible?

1. Mimi’s Bakehouse – By far one of my absolute favorite places to eat in Edinburgh because the scones are THAT good. And with locations all over Edinburgh, there is a Mimi’s Bakehouse near you that serves delicious scones and cakes for around £5. Want something a bit more substantial? Why not try their french toast, avocado toast, or homemade sandwiches, which range in price from £6 to £12? A delicious and cozy place where you definitely won’t go broke.

2. Brew Lab Honestly, this cafe and coffee house serves some of the best espressos that I have ever had in my life. And while a cup will cost you around £3, it’s totally worth it since the espresso here is smooth and rich, without a hint of bitterness. But if you’re feeling hungry, not to worry because the food here is amazing too. From cakes to baguettes, to sandwiches to soups, to avocado toast, this popular student hang out has it all. And with prices that start at £4.95, you’re wallet will be almost as happy as your stomach.

3. Mosque Kitchen – Popular with university students, this fine purveyor of everything curry is known to have some of the cheapest and most flavorful curries in the entire city. I personally love the garlic naan (£1.50) and the assortment of 3 vegetable curries and rice that wait for it…costs only  £4.50 a portion. For that price, I’ll take two, for er um, a friend. Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

4. I.J. Mellis – With multiple locations across the city (I visited the Stockbridge location), this cheesemonger has a friendly staff that will help you find the perfect cheese (the sheep’s milk cheese I had was mild but delicious), and at reasonable prices too. Just grab a baguette and you have a perfect picnic lunch that is inexpensive too.

5. Stockbridge Kitchen – This cozy and delightful little cafe is right next door to the aforementioned cheesemonger and serves homemade, super delicious pies that are served at a reasonable price. You can choose between sweet and savory pies that start at £5.95 for an individual size sweet pie. I opted for a drink, mushroom pie, and small side salad with balsamic vinegar that all together, cost less than £10.

6. The Blue Bear Cafe – Looking for the perfect brunch spot in central Edinburgh? Then check out the Blue Bear Cafe and yes, it is awesome and has the queue to prove it, so make reservations. And with eggselent (had to shove that lame egg pun in there) entree options like eggs benedict, create your own omelet, avocado toast, and french toast, all of which are under £10, you’ll enjoy a great meal and at the fraction of the cost of some of the eateries you’ll find along the Royal Mile.

7. The Hanging Bat – Looking for a fun place to get some great food and specialty beers without going broke? Then head to the quirky pub with the bat-shaped beer taps. With delicious entrees like mac and cheese, Thai chicken curry, and penne arrabbiata, you can eat out for dinner and for under £10 a dish. What, feel like drinking in your daily caloric intake? Then check out their wide variety of reasonably priced beers, by the bottle and on tap, that start at just £3.25 a glass (I don’t drink and didn’t try their beers myself but I’ve heard they’re lovely).

You did it! You made it to the very end! How does it feel to have survived this mammoth post?

Sorry, this Edinburgh backpacking guide is so long, but there is just so much to see and do in this beautiful city, that I couldn’t help but write an epically long post about it.

Since you survived this marathon post about backpacking in Edinburgh you have earned my undying love and devotion.

Plus, after binge reading this backpacking Edinburgh itinerary, you probably look resemble a sleep-deprived cast member of Twilight who hasn’t seen the sun for days. 

But if this post has inspired you to embrace your Edinburgh backpacker swag then pin this now and read it again later because yes, that’s what the cool kids are doing.

Backpacking Edinburgh and looking for some Edinburgh, Scotland things to do that won't break the bank? Then check out this guide to Backpacking in Edinburgh. Not only will you get secret budget Edinburgh travel tips, but you'll also discover the best Edinburgh backpackers hostels, and learn about some of the best cheap eats in Edinburgh Scotland. #Edinburghtravel #Edinburghguide #Budgettravel #Backpackers #EdinburghTravelTips
Backpacking Edinburgh and looking for some Edinburgh, Scotland things to do that won't break the bank? Then check out this guide to Backpacking in Edinburgh. Not only will you get secret budget Edinburgh travel tips, but you'll also discover the best Edinburgh backpackers hostels, and learn about some of the best cheap eats in Edinburgh Scotland. #Edinburghtravel #Edinburghguide #Budgettravel #Backpackers #EdinburghTravelTips

Lisa - The Wandering Lens

Thursday 27th of July 2017

How amazing is Edinburgh! It's definitely a great city to wander around, the Water of Leith Walkway was one of my favourites and also exploring the closes along the Royal Mile.


Wednesday 26th of July 2017

I have read at least 10 articles about Edinburgh the past couple of days and yours makes me want to visit Scotland even more!!! I definitely need to make plans to go there very soon :)


Wednesday 26th of July 2017

wow Edinburgh looks amazing! And seems like there is so much to do for free! I would love to hike there to see this stunning view! So beautiful! I hope I can visit it soon as its not too far from London!

Steph The Pink Backpack

Monday 24th of July 2017

This post is so great! I love the detail you put into it, I will seriously be doing all of these when I go in Oct. I am especially looking forward to Arthur's seat and photographing some of the cathedrals. I have also pinned for later so I can remember to come back while I am there :D Thanks for sharing girl!

Cherene Saradar

Monday 24th of July 2017

I was only here a day and half but did many of these things. I didn'realize until reading this...yes much of the awesome stuff I did was free! LOL. I loved that Bobby story (dog person here)!! One of my favorite cities. Must go back with your list:)

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