To get some of the best views of the city, you MUST enjoy the Calton Hill walk in Edinburgh.
With many Greek inspired monuments and lots of greenery, it is quite a contrast with the streets of the old town.
Below is my practical guide to visiting Calton Hill, especially at sunset.
Before my tips + photos, here are my favorites for Scotland:
My favorite platform to rent a car in Scotland: DiscoverCars
The unmissable boat tour: Seal spotting on Loch Linnhe from Fort William
My favorite excursion from Edinburgh: Glenfinnan and Glencoe
About Calton Hill in Edinburg – Intro
Why visit Calton Hill
It offers great views of the whole city all the way to the sea. It is a favorite sunset spot for locals.
So this is probably the most photographed place in Edinburgh.
Calton Hill Walk Map
But the interest is not only in the views but also in the many monuments standing on top of the hill.
Below is the map of Calton Hill with all the places to see:
More photos and info after the planning tips.
PLANNING TIPS – Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland
How to get to the Calton Hill Location
- Located at the east end of Princes Street
- Busses do stop at the foot of the hill, but you will have to walk up anyway
- Mix of stairs and well-maintained paths
- Calton Hill and the best locations in Edinburgh are included in my eBooks:
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- 8 easy-to-plan maps
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- Useful planning tips
- 115+ large photos
- GPS coordinates
How long does it take to walk up Calton Hill?
- You can walk from the city center. Plan 15 to 20 min to reach the top of the hill from the city center
- Otherwise, 5 min uphill from the Regent Street entrance
- Calton Hill is a park open all day.
- Several monuments are located on Calton Hill. Go to the section below for more information and opening hours.
- Paths are well maintained, no more stairs once at the top
- Where to park? I always recommend exploring Edinburgh without a car. It is a very walkable city and there is an hop-on hop-off bus. However, if you really want to get there with a car, the largest carparks in the area are OMNI and Edinburgh Waverley Station which are both 5 min away.
Accommodations in Edinburgh
Check out the best rated accommodations in Edinburgh
or find suggestions in my article about where to stay in Scotland
Calton Hill Walk
To reach Calton Hill, walk on Princes Street towards the East.
You will find signs indicating the access with steps and walking pathways.
Below is a picture of Princes Street as you are climbing the hill.
You will find boards explaining the different monuments you can see from the viewpoints.
See below the path leading to the grassy area and the first monuments. This is coming from the Regent Street entrance.
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Views from Calton Hill at Sunset
The most famous and most photographed view of Edinburgh is taken from the back of the Dugald Stewart Monument. This is a memorial to the Scottish Philosopher Dugald Stewart modeled on the Greek architecture.
It makes a great foreground with the old town behind and the Edinburgh Castle at the back. This only issue is that people will keep standing in front of you to take their pictures. It gets quite busy at sunset…
What can you see from Calton Hill?
So many things!!!
- Edinburgh Castle
- Arthur’s seat
- Parliament Building
- The top buildings of the old center
- The sea and Inchkeith island
Zoom on the Edinburgh Castle from Calton Hill
From the Edinburgh Calton Hill you can clearly see the other hill across the old town with the Edinburgh Castle on top.
Can you see in the pictures below the medieval fortress above the other buildings? This is the castle.
View towards the sea
As you walk around the hill (see the map at the top of the article), you discover the newest parts of the city of Edinburgh. On one side, you can see the sea and the island of Inchkeith.
Calton Hill Monuments – Things to do in Edinburgh
You don’t go to Edinburgh Calton Hill only for the views. Many monuments are located there.
- We already talked about the Dugal Stewart Monument.
- You also have the National Monument that looks like the Parthenon in Athens. It is a memorial to the Scottish soldiers who died during the Napoleonic Wars. Construction finished in 1829
- The Nelson monument is the tall tower commemorating Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson. It is built at the highest point of Calton Hill (171m – 561ft) and is 32m high (105ft). Open during the day, you can climb the 143 steps to get an even higher view of Edinburgh (Opening hours here)
- You can also find Observatory House and the Calton Hill Observatory. Inspiration is Greek again. You can learn more on the ROE website.
South Slope views from Calton Hill
The South slopes of Calton Hill Edinburgh are very steep. From there you have a really good view of the New Parliament House building.
View towards Arthur’s Seat
Calton Hill Edinburgh really has 360° views of the city. On one side you can see Arthur’s seat, the famous volcanic feature. There are some signs set up with geological explanations and benches to admire the view.
View from Edinburgh Castle
Below is what Edinburgh Calton Hill looks like from afar. This was taken from the Edinburgh Castle. You can clearly see the Nelson Monument and the National Monument.
Other things to do in Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Castle – Read article
- The Royal Mile – Read article
- St Giles Cathedral – Read article
- Or check out my complete article with the best things to do in Edinburgh
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