Scotland's capital city Edinburgh is vibrant and exciting, yet it also emanates the charm of a small, friendly town. Historic buildings line cobbled streets, and the majestic Edinburgh Castle guards the city from its vantage point on Castle Rock.
Edinburgh is divided into Old Town and New Town by a valley, with the train-tracks and Waverley station running through the valley. In Old Town you'll find winding streets, quaint buildings, the famous University Edinburgh, and important landmarks like St Giles' Cathedral and the Royal Mile.
New Town, by contrast, is defined by elegant Georgian buildings situated on a neat grid of streets. Here you'll find myriad shopping options on Princes Street and George Street, as well as several award-winning restaurants and museums.
A trip to Edinburgh isn't complete without a walk along the aptly named Royal Mile. This historic thoroughfare has the 12th-century Edinburgh Castle at one end and Hollyrood Palace (the Queen's official residence in Scotland) and the Scottish Parliament building at the other end.
There are two occasions when Edinburgh really comes to life: the first is the Fringe Festival in summertime, and the second is the Christmas Market in the winter.
Edinburgh's lively theatre scene has a constant flow of top-notch performances year-round, but it culminates in the world famous Fringe Festival, which takes place in August. This month-long event takes over the city, with stand-up shows and dramas being staged on almost every corner.
And in December, East Princes Street Gardens is taken over by festive food stalls, Santa's grotto, a family-friendly fairground and an ice rink. 'Tis the season!