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Edinburgh

Hiking around Edinburgh

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Photo: Radwanderer

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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.


Top 20 best walks and hikes around Edinburgh

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    Intermediate
    02:12
    4.07 mi
    1.9 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    2
    Intermediate
    01:50
    3.51 mi
    1.9 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    02:21
    4.76 mi
    2.0 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    4
    Intermediate
    04:12
    9.77 mi
    2.3 mph
    600 ft
    575 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    5
    Intermediate
    04:20
    8.55 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,400 ft
    1,400 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    6
    Intermediate
    03:55
    8.21 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,050 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    7
    Intermediate
    02:30
    5.74 mi
    2.3 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    8
    Intermediate
    02:08
    3.84 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,050 ft
    1,075 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    9
    Difficult
    05:05
    10.5 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,325 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    10
    Difficult
    05:38
    11.8 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    11
    Intermediate
    01:40
    3.22 mi
    1.9 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    12
    Intermediate
    04:41
    10.9 mi
    2.3 mph
    650 ft
    650 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    13
    Difficult
    05:58
    13.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,225 ft
    1,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    14
    Intermediate
    04:03
    9.28 mi
    2.3 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    15
    Intermediate
    03:05
    5.96 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    03:50
    7.75 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    17
    Intermediate
    02:39
    6.15 mi
    2.3 mph
    375 ft
    375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    18
    Intermediate
    02:02
    3.73 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    19
    Intermediate
    01:55
    3.35 mi
    1.8 mph
    700 ft
    700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    20
    Intermediate
    04:02
    9.56 mi
    2.4 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View

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Edinburgh’s diverse landscapes

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. 

Exploring Edinburgh’s stunning surroundings

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.

Edinburgh's best walks and hikes on the map

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