Also known as the Athens of the North, Edinburgh is one of the loveliest cities in the United Kingdom. Built on seven hills, just like Rome, it has a medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town with gardens and neoclassical buildings.
Most of which are very Instagram worthy. Edinburgh castle for example. Or much like most of the city. Pretty streets, little mews, architecture, Auld Reekie (another nickname for the city), will always provide some good photo opportunities.
This list of the 15 most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh will help you find the best spots to score that Insta-shot! Landmarks, streets, restaurants or parks, this list is like its very own little guide to Instagrammable Edinburgh. If you are planning a visit, you should definitely bookmark this post!
1. Victoria Street
A lot of you are really familiar with Harry Potter and Diagon Alley. Just so you know, Victoria Street is what inspired Diagon Alley. The small colorful shops, the eclectic ensemble of stores, the pebbled street, the Georgian architecture of the buildings. Funny thing, some of those tiny shops are actually dedicated to selling Harry Potter merchandise.
The street is on two levels. The upper level sits on one side of Victoria Street. It is accessible through Upper Bow via the Royal Mile or Victoria Street directly. The upper level has shops and restaurants as well as a lovely terrace. The lower level is of course Victoria Street itself, which starts on George IV Bridge and ends on Grassmarket.
No need to think twice as per why the street is one of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh. Colorful buildings for a colorful background does remind us a lot of Notting Hill in London. Plus, the cobbles and old architecture gives the street a lot of charm. It looks even prettier at dusk when the fairy lights are lit.
Where: Victoria Street, Edinburgh EH1 2HE, UK
2. Royal Botanic Gardens
There is a thing about nature that is soothing and relaxing. The quiet, the trees, the flowers and more. It’s like magic. You breathe that fresh air and feel instantly better. And more so when the chirping of birds and the buzzing of bees are part of the background soundtrack. It is just how it is.
Not only do you get to learn a lot about plants, trees and the flora in general, you also get to spend an incredible afternoon surrounded by nature and feel like you are somewhere else entirely. Plus, of course, you get to snap some gorgeous pictures for the gram!
The Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh. Whether you visit the gardens or the greenhouse, you will get the perfect picture. The Gardens are mostly known for their huge lily pads inside the greenhouse. You probably have seen those on social media already!
Where: Arboretum Pl, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ, United Kingdom
3. Edinburgh Castle
Probably one of the most famous landmarks in the city, Edinburgh castle sits at the top of Castlehill. Located in the city center of Old Town, it is easily accessible from anywhere in the city. Princes Street Gardens on one side and Old Town on the other, it makes for a very lovely outing in Edinburgh.
The easiest way to get to the castle is via The Royal Mile, another famous Edinburgh landmark. Souvenir shops, cashmere stores, bars and little restaurants, the pebbled street will lead you straight to Castle terrace. From there, you will get an incredible view of the city.
While entry to the Castle is not free, the terrace is. If you are just looking to get a photo in one of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh, it will be just enough. After all, the castle in the background will be the perfect backdrop!
Where: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, United Kingdom
4. Belford Mews
The thing with Edinburgh is that there seems to be a secret city within the city. You may be familiar with the most obvious landmarks and monuments, but what do you know about secret Edinburgh? Sometimes, cute little streets hide in plain sight, in the periphery of a very famous Instagrammable place.
Such as the case of Belford Mews. Located close to Dean village, it is often discovered by visitors completely by accident. And what a lucky accident that is! Hidden like a gem, Belford Mews is one of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh.
It is a mews, so the street is short and small. However, the houses are the cutest with their very distinctive architecture, brown stone and colorful doors. Decorated with flowers and greenery, they will sure make for a beautiful background in a beautiful photo!
Where: Belford Mews, Edinburgh, EH4 3BT
5. Dean Village
Dean Village is a former village located in the northwest of the city centre of Edinburgh. It was known as the "Water of Leith Village". It used to be the centre of a successful grain milling area for more than 800 years.
The buildings all have a medieval look to them. Just look at the colorful walls, half-timbering, towers, castle-like architecture and narrow cobbled streets. Built along the river known as Water of Leith, the village sends you back in time for a moment.
Dean Village is one of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh. It is also a very famous city landmark and makes for a lovely stroll. It looks even nicer during spring when all the trees and flowers bloom. If you walk along the river, you’ll get back to Stockbridge and New Town after a time.
Where: Dean Path, Edinburgh EH4 3AY, United Kingdom
6. Tolbooth Tavern
If you enjoy ghost stories and tales of haunted buildings, Tolbooth Tavern is the place for you. A Scottish pub located in a sixteenth century building, it is the perfect backdrop for some exceptional Instagram photos.
First, because the building looks like a castle with pointy towers and stone walls. Second, the clock leaning against the tower and suspended above the street basically became an Edinburgh landmark. Third, if you look around, you see Canongate, a street made of similar looking stone buildings that have that medieval vibe.
Thus, the entire street will be the perfect place for a lot of photos or a really nice shopping experience. One of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburg, Tolbooth Tavern is also the perfect place for a meal or a pint!
Where: 167 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BN Scotland
7. Princes Street Gardens
There is a street in Edinburgh called Princes Street. It basically is the shopping street of the city. It stretches around 1.2 km from Lothian Road in the west, to Leith Street in the east. On one side of that street sits Princes Street Gardens. They are two adjacent public parks, lying in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.
Regardless of the season, Princes Street Gardens are one of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh. In Winter? You’ve got to enjoy the Christmas marketing. In the fall? Yellow, red and orange leaves everywhere. Spring has all the flowers blooming and summer makes the gardens the perfect location for a picnic.
The gardens are also the home to a few monuments, fountains and statues. The Ross Fountain, The Royal Scots Grey Monument or even the floral clock for example. Just as many photo opportunities in a park that is so conveniently located!
Where: Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2HG, United Kingdom
8. Circus Lane
Circus Lane is one of the prettiest streets in Edinburgh. Located in New Town, the street is just behind Circus Plane and Royal Circus. Located close to both Stockbridge and Dean Village, it is mostly residential and incredibly quiet. The perfect place for a few photos, it is also the perfect place to relax.
We do enjoy a bit of quiet sometimes, and finding it in the city center is something we greatly appreciate. The buildings are a mixture of small houses made of brown stones or smooth white walls. Ivy, climbing plants, roses and other flowers adorn walls, windows and benches. The street is cobbled, which makes it even prettier.
One of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh, it is not always on people’s radar but it remains the perfect place for some cute Instagram pictures! Although amazingly looking all year round, Circus Lane is at its prettiest in spring!
Where: Circus Lane, Edinburgh, EH3 6SU, UK
9. The Vennel
A vennel is a passageway between the gables of two buildings. It usually is considered a small street or passageway between blocks of buildings to another street. Edinburgh has one, which is particularly famous, mostly because of the view of the castle it offers.
Located in the Grassmarket area, directly across the road from Fiddlers Arms Pub, the Vennel is a beautiful alleyway. Once you walk up to the fiftieth step, you will be able to see that gorgeous view of the southern side of the castle.
One of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh, it is the ideal location for a gorgeous photo including stunning architecture, cute houses and the ever famous castle. On a rainy or sunny day, the view is spectacular and so will that Insta-shot be!
Where: The Vennel, Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HU, UK
10. Edinburgh New College
The New College is part of the University of Edinburgh and is one of the most renowned centers for studies in Theology and Religious Studies. Not only does it look incredible outside but it does so inside as well. The building has a gothic architecture with spires and towers.
The inner courtyard makes it look like you are in Hogwarts! The photo opportunities are endless. Especially outside, on the street, as you can use so many angles while incorporating the building in the background. Step down on The Mound so that the flower beds also show in the picture!
Not only is Edinburgh New College super Instagrammable, but as it turns out, the entire street and neighborhood also is! If you were looking for a photoshoot location that would allow you to shoot multiple outfits without moving too much, this is the right place!
Where: New College, Mound Pl, Edinburgh EH1 2LX, United Kingdom
Located in the heart of Old Town, Grassmarket is also very close to Edinburgh Castle and most landmarks and attractions. A rectangular square with a lot of small independent shops, restaurants and cafés, it also harbors the oldest pub in the city.
Vibrant and always busy, it is the perfect place for a meal or a drink. We just love the atmosphere. Each side of the square offers great photo opportunities with cute colorful buildings.
Grassmarket hosts a market every Saturday where you can buy anything, from groceries to jewelry and even prints! One of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh, it is also full of history. Better get up early if you want to take pictures and not have too many people in the background!
Where: Grassmarket, Old Town, Edinburgh, EH1 2JU, UK.
12. White Horse Close
As mentioned earlier, sometimes it feels like there is a secret Edinburgh within Edinburgh. Hidden gems that only locals know about and that are usually hiding in plain sight. A fair few of those are indeed located just next to very busy areas of the city. We had the example of Belford Mews and Dean Village.
Now let’s move on to White Horse Close on Canongate. You will need to spot and take one of the narrow streets hidden between buildings to get to White Horse Close. The place actually looks like a congregation of houses with stairs, colorful walls and plants.
To be fair, the location is not that mind-blowing. It is just cute. Yet, it is still very Instagram worthy and very worthy of a photo! Especially as it is so well hidden, not that many people think of going there! At night, the outdoor lighting looks magical!
Where: White Horse Close, 27 Canongate, EDINBURGH, EH8 8BU
13. Royal Mile
Ah, the Royal Mile. Another very famous street in Edinburgh. You may have already seen it all over social media. Part of Old Town, it is close to the City Center and home to a lot of souvenir shops. One very effective tourist attraction, it runs between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace.
Its name comes from its tradition as a processional route for kings and queens for the last 500 years. Churches, official buildings and other buildings all have that architecture that is so typical of the city and of the gothic era.
One of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh, it is perfect for photos and outfit photoshoots. As you walk up the street, you will spot (most likely hear) bagpipes players which will add to that typical Scottish experience!
Where: Royal Mile, 109 The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1SG, United Kingdom
14. The Meadows
The Meadows is a park running along Melville Drive. Located between the University of Edinburgh and the area called Marchmont, it is ideal if you want to go for a run, a picnic or just enjoy an afternoon in the sun. Yes, Edinburgh is not as rainy as everybody wants us to believe.
The Meadows is a very usual park. However, in the spring, it is completely covered in daffodils and crocuses of all colors. And that makes it a very Instagrammable place! The flowers pop anywhere they want to. There is no order or logic. But that is what makes those impromptu flower beds so beautiful!
Walking paths are also surrounded by cherry trees that all blossom at the same time! Obviously, this adds a constraint to when you can have a photoshoot. No flowers after or before spring. However, you can enjoy The Meadows in many more ways: a nap, a picnic, an afternoon outdoors, etc.
Where: Melville Dr, Edinburgh EH9 1ND, United Kingdom
15. Ramsay Garden
Last but not least of those 15 most Instagrammable Places in Edinburgh is Ramsay Garden. Located in Old Town, just by Edinburgh Castle and only accessible via Mound Place, it is a collection of private apartment buildings. They are also quite recognizable by their red ashlar and white harled exteriors.
If you are looking to take a picture that includes the building in a wider Edinburgh landscape, you can do so from Princes Street. However, if you wish to take photos much closer, you will need to get to Mound Place and then Ramsay Garden.
Street side, you will see cute buildings with brown stone, colorful doors and red stairs. Why do we like it here? Simple. It is cute and quiet. When the sun peeks through the trees, it looks magical. And that’s what you want in a photo!
Where: Ramsay Garden, Edinburgh, EH1 2NA, UK
Edinburgh is one of the prettiest cities in the United Kingdom. With its gothic architecture in Old Town, and a Georgian era vibe in New Town, it offers a lot of different background for Instagram-worthy photos. Some location are very well-known, other a bit less so. Regardless, we hope that this little guide to the 15 most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh will help you when you visit the Athens of the North!