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Where Can You Snap the Best Photos in Edinburgh?

Answer: Everywhere. But seriously, it’s a mammoth task to try and pin down where the best spots are. This is due to a few reasons. The main one is that “best” is very subjective – what’s beautiful for one person is ghastly for another photographer.

Another reason is that there are more than just a few things in Edinburgh that would be worthy of a signature travel photo from your adventure. That’s why we’re going to offer you some obvious places if you’ve never visited this magical city before, and a few of our favourites so you can waddle like the best of us!

This is post two in our Ultimate Travel Guide to Edinburgh Series. Check below for the other editions!

Part 1: Best Restaurants in Edinburgh
Part 3: Edinburgh’s Best Bars and Pubs
Part 4: Things to Do in Edinburgh: Free & Paid Activities
Part 5: One Day in Edinburgh: Your Food, Drinks, and Sights Guide
Part 6: Best Places to Stay in Edinburgh
Part 7: Day Trips You Should Take from Edinburgh
Part 8: 7 Great Coffee Shops in Edinburgh

If you’re just arriving here, WELCOME! Edinburgh plays a significant part of our backstory here at P & P so if you need to get up to speed, read our first post about how one photo in Edinburgh brought us together. As for where you should head to get the best snapshots, here they are – without further ado!

Our 10 Best Photo Spots in Edinburgh

1. Arthur’s Seat

Nature and Sky Arthur's Seat EdinburghVisiting the famous hiking spot seems like a no-brainer, but the photos really are gorgeous. You can see for ages in all directions from the top – from Portobello Beach, to Old Town, to the distant Pentland Hills.

The weather can change quickly and dramatically so the lighting can shift and change in seconds. Be sure to bring a raincoat and a back-up plan for your camera if the rain starts to come down!

2. Calton Hill

Calton Hill Edinburgh at SunsetThis place is very special to Eric. When he lived in Edinburgh, he would wander up the hill almost nightly to catch the sunset with the other photo enthusiasts and the odd tourists that got a tip to make the trek. They were rarely disappointed.

While up there, there’s lots of things to photograph – like the National Monument and the Dugald Stewart Monument. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can pay to climb Nelson Monument for an even higher view of the city!

3. Greyfriar’s Kirkyard

Gravestones in Edinburgh ScotlandIf you’re a Harry Potter fan, this stop is a must. The old cemetery is littered with folklore about the people who are buried there. It’s been said that J.K. Rowling got the inspiration for “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” by one of the graves in the cemetery.

Located in the South End of Old Town, there’s plenty of photographer inspiration to discover. For an extra creepy experience, go at night before the gates close. Just… don’t get left in there overnight.

4. Circus Lane

Woman in Circus Lane Edinburgh ScotlandAh, yes –  the famous Instagrammable street known for its cute flowers planters and curved cobblestone road. If you’re heading into New Town – aim a little more north west and you’ll stumble upon it. We’ve been there – and we went without a tripod to capture some great shots.

You might even find another photographer or two set up capturing the quaint beauty that it brings. Just remember to be respectful of the people living on the street!

5. Victoria Street

Sunrays in front of building Edinburgh Photo SpotsSomewhat underrated and usually walked by without realizing, Victoria Street is a main artery road to connect the Royal Mile to Grassmarket below. On the way, you’ll pass a variety of coloured store fronts (the pink one is for Oink) and you can capture a really neat shot.

The lighting changes quickly, and the angle changes as you walk – allowing you to get different shots as you stand in different spots on the sidewalk. Just watch for cars!

6. Princes Street Gardens

Park Princes Street Garden with Scott Monument EdinburghIn the Gardens, anywhere will do! Ideally, people walk along the path running parallel to Princes Street and get Edinburgh Castle in their shot – but to each their own. In the winter, you’ll have the Christmas Markets all lit up with the Ferris wheel and the wooden shops all aligned in lights. It’s a sight to see any time of the year!

7. Vennel Alley

Vennel Alley with houses Edinburgh Photo SpotsThis is one is a little obscure, but you’ll understand when you get there. It’s a small alleyway between Grassmarket and Lauriston Pl – and it provides photographers a direct line of sight to snap Edinburgh Castle.

You’ll also get some nice street lamps, and the remains of the ancient Flodden Wall – which you should totally read more up on because it’s a neat piece of Edinburgh history!

8. Dean Village

Brown Stone Buildings Edinburgh Dean VillageLocated a little north of New Town, Dean Village is a little paradise walk that almost transforms you back in time to old Scottish times. The river that cuts through the buildings makes for some great photos – and you can follow it along all the way to Leith. It’s a very photogenic spot in Edinburgh!

9. Scott Monument

Photo of Scott Monument Photo Spots EdinburghThis little wonder is an absolute personal favourite. It offers the best views in the city centre if you’re up for paying a few pounds and making the climb. We love the mini-adventure you feel like you’re going on each time you ascend the monument.

As a photographer, you’ll get great shots of the Balmoral Hotel, Waverley Station, North Bridge, and the Castle in the distance. Don’t forget to take in the windy view while you’re at the top!

10. Portobello Beach

Ocean and Beach Grey Sky Edinburgh ScotlandThe seaside is always a good choice. So hop on a bus from South Bridge heading to “Portobello” and you’ll be taken there in around 30 minutes. Once there, you’ll have kilometres of sea walls and breakers to photograph, all the while listening to the sound of the sea.

It’s a perfect afternoon in the sun, and it’s a perfect afternoon in the rain, too. It’s Scotland, c’mon people. Wear a rain coat and suck it up – just watch the moisture for your camera!

There you have it – a not-so-short- guide to the best photo spots in Edinburgh. We know there’s incredible shots of the Forth Bridge out there, but frankly we never wandered over there on foot – only by train! So, did we miss any more? Let us know what your favourites are in the comments below!

As always, Happy Waddling!
– L & E

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Best Photo Spots in Edinburgh, Scotland

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Author

Eric is a Canadian & Hungarian content writer with over 45 countries under his belt. From volunteering in Australia to studying his Master's degree abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, his travel experiences have taken him across the globe. Next to writing on Penguin and Pia, he has also contributed to companies in the travel space such as Matador, GoOverseas, and Spot.

2 Comments

  1. Your post reminded me of just how beautiful Edinburgh actually is. What I love is the connection to nature, as well as the beauty of its streets. I love the l little secrets covered such as Vennel Alley. Totally cool!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Gearoid! Yes, it is! We’re a little biased having spent so much time there but it’s actually one of the most beautiful European cities. Period. The green space was always good for the perfect side adventure or getaway – without having to really leave the city. Let us know if you snap any photos in the future – we’d love to see your work.

      Unrelated, we’re heading to South America in January so your blog is perfect for us first-timers. Looking forward to reading!