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Scotland’s magnificent capital city is perched on the shores of the Firth of Forth with plenty of hills and sprawling parks within the city itself. Walks near Edinburgh provide fresh sea air as you explore the coastline and fantastic views of the capital when you go adventuring in the nearby Pentland Hills.
Unlike many major cities, it’s easy to head off on hikes from Edinburgh as you don’t have to wander very far to be in relative wilderness and dramatic scenery. You can use the city itself as a base or stay in one of the many pretty towns nearby to have quick access to Edinburgh’s trails and those through the surrounding hills.
Edinburgh has some wonderful family-friendly walks, particularly in the hilly city parks. Holyrood Park is home to the famous Arthur’s Seat and sits right in the city centre. Meanwhile, it doesn’t take long to get to one of the nearby beaches for a stroll.
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Edinburgh sits in a dramatic landscape thanks to its volcanic history. The famous Seven Hills provide some of the best hiking trails in Edinburgh with fantastic views of the old and new city which, together, form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Salisbury Crags are a classic example of Edinburgh’s impressive geology and can be found in Holyrood Park near Arthur’s Seat. These towering cliffs are around 325 million years old and were created during a volcanic eruption. Well, we did say walks in Edinburgh could be dramatic.
Glacial erosion has created the incredible hill and valley structure of Edinburgh and you can easily rack up the miles without ever leaving the city limits. Exploring just a little further afield will take you to even more spectacular places.
The Pentland Hills are immediately south of Edinburgh and if you’re after sweeping views of the city, the Firth of Forth and north across the river mouth, this area is the place to be. This regional park is covered in trails that wind up and down the hills, giving you some fantastic hikes in the Edinburgh area.
The city centre is only a stone’s throw from the protected Firth too, sheltered from the North Sea with plenty of beaches to reward you on your walks. Cramond Beach is a wonderful place for a hike and the estuarine area looks completely different depending on what the tide’s up to. At low tide, you can walk out to Cramond Island and get a 360° view of the Firth and both sides of the water. If you continue west, you can explore the trails around Hound Point and Mons Hill too.
East of Edinburgh, the coast continues to lure you along its numerous paths. Around Longniddry Beach you won’t be wandering alone by a long shot as this area is rich in birdlife. You’re sure to see wading birds delicately strutting their stuff on the shore and Sandwich terns in the summer, with their distinctive white feathers and black caps.
Hiking in and around Edinburgh allows you to roam at sea level, climb to great heights for the best views and discover all sorts of trails in between.
Explore more of Scotland: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.