Discover the BEST Edinburgh viewpoints for some epic photo opportunities! These are hands-down the most beautiful places in Edinburgh!
Edinburgh one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s actually been on my list of top 5 favorite places for over a decade.
A big part of why I love Edinburgh so much is how picturesque and breathtaking it is.
Cobblestoned streets, medieval charm in Old Town, Georgian luxury in New Town, narrow stairways and hidden tunnels, cozy pubs, and an imposing hilltop castle. Add the friendly locals with their wee accent and welcoming smiles…you’ll find yourself loving this city even if the weather outside cloudy and wet.
Though Edinburgh may be compact and smaller in size than other tourist cities, it's bursting with gorgeous backdrops. It's easy to arrive and quickly become overwhelmed by all the Instagrammable spots and photo opportunities.
If you haven’t been here before and only have a few days to explore, you’ll need a plan of what areas you want to take pictures in.
I’ve collectively spent about a 2 months in Edinburgh, so I’ve had plenty of time to scout out the most beautiful places in Edinburgh with the best viewpoints and backdrops for pictures.
Every spot has been pinned in Google Maps. You can easily save this list on your phone and jet from place to place without having to second guess a thing!
This map shows the best Edinburgh viewpoints and Instagram photo spots. Click the icon in the very top left to see a list view of each pinned location. Click the top right button to enlarge the map. Click the star to save to your own Google Maps account. To access this map once saved (after clicking the star), open Google Maps (on your phone/computer/tablet), click the menu button, go to "your places", select "maps", and you will see this map listed.
1. Victoria Street/Bow Street
One of the best views in Edinburgh for color and depth
Victoria Street is one of the most famous streets in Edinburgh. It’s said to have inspired J.K. Rowling for Diagon Alley…and you’ll see why.
The curved cobblestoned street is lined with colorful, multistoried buildings. The height, depth, and color make this one of the best views in Edinburgh and a popular Instagram spot.
There are a few areas to snap some amazing photos along this street.
Start at the base by the cute little French cafe, La Barantine.
Then go up to the top and take a photo facing down the street by Howies.
Go up to the second level, called Upper Bow, to take some pics from above.
As always, go early because this street is packed during the day with people walking up and down.
2. Cockburn Street
One of the best Edinburgh photo spots for medieval vibes
Cockburn Street is similar to Victoria Street in how it’s curved and has those charming cobblestones and tall buildings.
This street feels a bit more medieval with the uniform, natural stone color.
Walk down Warriston’s Close Stairs to get here. These steps are a great photo opportunity.
The area at the base of the stairs, across from The Milkman (one of my favorite coffee shops in Edinburgh), is a very Instagrammable photo spot capturing the curve of the street.
Also, go to the top of the street by La Locanda to grab a photo from another perspective.
3. Calton Hill
The best Edinburgh viewpoint for a skyline backdrop
Calton Hill is an icon of Edinburgh. You'll see this Edinburgh viewpoint all over marketing materials and social media accounts featuring the city.
Head to the Old Observatory building for your photo opp. This spot gives the perfect view of the Dugald Stewart Monument with the Edinburgh skyline in the background.
Go in the early morning to bypass the crowds and for the best lighting. Because this is on a hill, the afternoon sunlight can get pretty harsh.
Stop at Fortitude or Wellington Coffee while you’re in New Town. Wellington Coffee has the BEST scones!
4. Princes Street Gardens
One of the most beautiful places in Edinburgh to enjoy castle views and lush green space
The Princes Street Gardens are easily one of the best Edinburgh viewpoints. Lush green space and an outstanding view of the Castle above.
The staircase by the “Floral Clock” is the perfect photo spot as you’ll be able to fit the castle and all the greenery around it in a vertical frame.
Ross Fountain is another popular Edinburgh Instragram spot with the Castle in the background.
Be sure to spend time and walk around the gardens as it's very peaceful in the morning and the ideal spot for an afternoon picnic when the weather is nice.
5. The Vennel
one of The most photographed (yet hidden) Edinburgh viewpoints
If you're looking for one of the best views in Edinburgh that isn't packed with tourists 24/7, head to The Vennel.
Widely known to photographers, this Edinburgh viewpoint seems to be off the radar for most tourists. It's never crowded like Victoria Street.
Here you'll find a unique view of the castle. Instead of getting a shot where it’s just the castle, The Vennel will showcase the castle at the end of a narrow stairway with stone buildings on each side.
Bonus: Dean Village
One of the most beautiful places in Edinburgh for a charming village backdrop
About a 20-minute walk from New Town you'll find charming Dean Village...one of the most beautiful places in Edinburgh. Missed by most tourists, Dean Village is beyond tranquil and charming.
It’s well worth leaving the city center to explore...especially if Edinburgh is particularly busy and you want to escape the crowds.
The walk to Dean Village will feel like a mini nature escape. You’ll pass through forested areas and walk along a river. It’s quite serene and you'll forget you're in a major tourist city in no time.
Now you know the best viewpoints and most beautiful places in Edinburgh!
Grab your camera, save the Google Maps I created for you, and hit the ground running.
It’s absolutely doable to visit these top Edinburgh viewpoints in one very hectic day or two normal paced days. These are all areas that you'll be sightseeing around anyway. So outside of Dean Village, you won’t have to go out of your way to visit these photo spots.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect Instagram shot or just a beautiful Edinburgh viewpoint to enjoy, these spots are sure to stay in your memory for a lifetime.