A playground for thinkers, dreamers, creatives and students, coming to Edinburgh is always an adventure. As the original seat of enlightenment, Scotland’s capital is well versed in the art of academia and education, making it the perfect platform for students. Here we give you the low down on the best studenty spots and things to do. May the world be your oyster and Edinburgh mark the start of your life’s adventure.
Cool student bars
Aside from choosing your subjects, sorting out accommodation and meeting your new bffs, sourcing out a place’s best watering holes is a mandatory rite of passage. It helps to begin with finding that familiarity with Edinburgh’s main student night-out hotspots — think the Grassmarket and George IV Bridge, George St, Teviot Row and the Cowgate. For boozy conversations and alfresco moments, look no further than The Pear Tree, a popular student haunt suited to both cosy times by the fire and sunny days in the beer garden. Brass Monkey, BrewDog, The Cellar Monkey and The Blackbird Bar and Restaurant are also main contenders for relaxed pints. Panda & Sons can do no wrong with its cool cocktails and speakeasy essence. Those who appreciate a perfectly-crafted cocktail and good music will fall for Bramble.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Best clubs and places for live music
Glasgow may be the music city but Edinburgh certainly gives it a run for its money. Filled with boozy deals a plenty and wild rave vibes, Sneaky Pete’s, Opium, Cabaret Voltaire, The Liquid Room and The Bongo Club are all go-to options for nights free from unnecessary bells and whistles. Those who like to get dressed to the nines should gravitate to George St and the New Town area where you will find clubs like Lola Lo, Lulu, Opal Lounge and Why Not. A gem in its own right, The Jazz Bar is the kind of place you return to again and again — think spellbinding live music, sumptuous drinks, beatnik feels and cosy nooks and crannies. Sandy Bell’s is a local institution with an international following. This charming pub boasts an impressive range of real ales, malts and other liquid elixirs but the star of the show is the live Scottish traditional folk music most nights.
It’s true that Edinburgh has a bit of a name for being an expensive city to live in but don’t fear — we have the hyper-local tricks of the trade to see you through. First off, places like Ting Thai Caravan (vibrant Thai cuisine in a trendy industrial space), Edinburgh Larder (honest, locally and ethically sourced eats), The Piemaker (local pie institution with every kind imaginable), and Union of Genius (a pioneering soup kitchen with yummy bread, gluten free cakes and the full soup works) will become your new best friends! Oink (simple yet quality hog roast rolls from local farmers) and Broughton Deli (classic deli choices and top salads at fab prices) are perfect for on-the-go lunches, while Wings (wings, wings, wings in a cool pop-culture- themed setting) and Mosque Kitchen (mouth-watering Indian cuisine with fresh ingredients and relaxed vibe) will satisfy all culinary cravings. The jewel of all Edinburgh budget eateries is The Dogs, with its homey British dishes and effortlessly stylish décor. When sweet-tooth cravings hit, try Mary’s Milk Bar and S.Luca’s.
Fitness and fresh air
Whether self-confessed fitness fanatic or low-key gym bunny, Edinburgh caters to all kinds when it comes to fitness options. And a significant portion are totally free. Arthur’s Seat and its surrounding Holyrood Park, with its panoramic views, swan colonies and hidden ancient ruins, is a magical place for hiking, biking, running and walking. A horticultural wonderland awash with tribes of pretty plants, the Botanics is suited to restorative study breaks and gentle meanders. Beach wise, hit up Portobello Boardwalk or take a bus to Cramond and explore its beach, causeway and walks. A tried and true student haunt is the Meadows — this green space sees love all year round and caters to all sorts of pastimes from lounging and running to frisbee sessions, football and more.
Fun free things to do
Students are spoiled for choice with the range of stimulating free things to do. An otherworldly nexus where history, anthropology and innovation collide, the National Museum of Scotland is an ever-evolving cabinet of curiosity and dreamy space to get lost in thought. Between the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Gallery, art lovers can escape the trials of deadlines and presentations. And when it comes to festivals, there is literally something for everyone spanning the realms of the Fringe, including magic, science, books, film, gin, food, jazz and blues and more. Seek and you shall find!
The best shopping spots
For times when only retail therapy will suffice, head to the main shopping thoroughfares of Princes St and George St for all the high street names, complete with their life-saving student discounts. For something a little more customizable and out-the-box, try Armstrongs. This local vintage emporium boasts everything and anything — think James Dean cool denim, retro dresses, costume jewellery, leather, lace and cowboy boots — from all the memorable decades. Similarly, the city has some dynamite second hand and vintage shops.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.