A complete guide to the most romantic things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland (including the best sunset spots, whisky tasting and the most romantic castles).
When you think of romance, Paris always comes first to mind. It’s hard to beat the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, the sunsets over Champs-Élysées and, of course, the famous French cuisine. However, the City of Light wins first place only if we talk about a modern romance.
If you look for chivalry and a medieval kind of romance, there is only one place to go – Edinburgh. I’ve always wanted to visit the city, because of its haunted look. Still, I was quite surprised how romantic is Edinburgh in fact.
The city pulls you out of reality and takes you back to a medieval world, full of enchanting castles, kings and everlasting love. It’s a perfect choice not only for a romantic getaway but also for a honeymoon.
Most romantic things to do in Edinburgh
Being the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is one of the most popular cities in the country. So, prepare for crowds, especially if you’re visiting the city during the summer (and Fringe Festival). But don’t worry, crowds won’t ruin your trip if you follow my tips.
Edinburgh is full of tiny cobblestone streets, picturesque gardens and medieval romantic places. You just need to step away from the main tourist attractions to discover them.
In this Edinburgh guide, I’ve gathered the most romantic places and experiences for couples, including some of the loveliest day trips to take!
Most romantic things to do in Edinburgh (for couples)
- Explore the tiny closes on the Royal Mile
- Whisky tasting
- Enjoy the view of Edinburgh Castle
- Chocolate tasting
- Have a picnic in Princes Street Gardens
- Take a stroll in the Royal Botanic Garden
- Get lost in the picturesque Dean Village
- Watch the sunset from Calton Hill
- Immerse in the romantic Outlander novels
- Explore Linlithgow Palace
- Tour a desolate castle
- Cross the causeway to Cramond Island
Explore the tiny closes on the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is the street that connects Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. This famous street is soaked in a medieval atmosphere, lavish architecture and live Scottish music.
Numerous tiny streets (called closes) extend the Royal Mile. And while the latter is full of tourists because of its popularity, the closes are almost empty. Wander hand in hand with your loved one on these tiny streets and discover the fascinating architecture of medieval Edinburgh.
The most famous close of all is Mary King’s Close. It is located under the Royal Mile and still looks exactly as it was in the 17th century. You can visit Mary King’s Close only on a guided tour.
Whisky is Scotland’s national drink, so doing a whisky tasting is a must while in Edinburgh. It’s not only fun but also a very popular activity for couples, especially if you are a scotch drinker!
There are several whisky distilleries where you can do this, but the most popular is the Scotch Whisky Experience. You can visit the distillery and learn how the ingredients and ageing methods influence the colour and flavour of the whisky.
You’ll also experience the famous Diageo Claive Vidiz whisky collection. With more than 3500 individual bottles, it’s the largest collection of Scotch Whisky in the world!
You can find more details about the Scotch Whisky Experience here.
Enjoy the view of Edinburgh Castle
Standing on a high extinct volcano, the Edinburgh Castle is pretty much visible from everywhere. However, for a truly remarkable view, go to the National Museum of Scotland. The panorama from its rooftop terrace is outstanding. Hug your partner and enjoy the lovely view together (with no crowd around you).
The entrance to the museum is free. Thus, you can go only for the view from its terrace (in case you’re not a museum lover).
If whisky is not your thing, but you’re looking for a fun activity for couples, then visit the Chocolatarium. This chocolate heaven offers guided tours of the chocolate-making process (with many samples along the way).
You’ll follow the journey of chocolate from the jungles of South America to the Scottish chocolate makers. You’ll also taste some crazy flavours like malt whisky-infused chocolate and haggis-inspired chocolate. And the best part is that you can make your own personalized Edinburgh-themed chocolate!
You can find more information about this chocolate tour here.
Have a picnic in Princes Street Gardens
If you’re lucky with the weather and catch a few sunny days, don’t miss the opportunity for a picnic with your loved one! And Princes Street Gardens is one of the best places to do. Plus, the park offers amazing views of the castle.
So, take your partner, a blanket and some delicious food and spend some precious time together. Or you can just grab something to drink, sit on the wooden benches and enjoy the castle’s views.
Take a stroll in the Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic Garden is one of the most romantic places in Edinburgh. Featuring more than 3,000 exotic plants and 70 acres of beautiful landscapes, it’s the perfect place for a lovely walk!
You can spend a few hours in this tranquil oasis, away from the crowds. Moreover, the garden offers fantastic views of the capital’s skyline, including Edinburgh Castle.
You can book your skip-the-line tickets for Royal Botanic Garden here.
Get lost in the picturesque Dean Village
Dean Village is the most charismatic place in Edinburgh, a place where time stands still. Once being a grain milling village, today the area is a part of the city.
This serenity place is like a frozen picture from the 19th century. Take your time and discover, hand in hand with your loved one, the little alleys and bridges along the Water of Leith River. The perfect place for long romantic walks.
Watch the sunset from Calton Hill
The views over the city from Calton Hill are incredible during the day. However, in the evening, the hill becomes one of the most romantic places in Edinburgh. I’ll just let the photos talk for themselves.
Calton Hill is the best spot to watch the sunset with your loved one. Go early, at least an hour before the sunset, if you want to find a free bench.
Edinburgh Castle – over 5,500 tourists visit the castle every day and lines are long, especially in the summer season. You can book your skip-the-line ticket here.
Another option is to use the Explorer Pass. I highly recommend it, if you’re planning to visit more than 2 castles.
Holyrood Palace – it’s also a popular attraction, so if you’re visiting in the high season, book your Holyroodhouse Palace ticket in advance.
Romantic hotels in Edinburgh
Often, a hotel can make or break your trip. This is especially true when it comes to a romantic vacation. For a truly lovely weekend in Edinburgh, check out my hand-picked recommendations for accommodation.
For more information, you can take a look at my detailed guide to where to stay in Edinburgh.
This boutique hotel with a central location is the best place to stay for a romantic getaway. Housed in a 19th-century building, the Scotsman features spacious rooms with scenic views of the city.
Why book – central location, luxury Egyptian cotton linen, quiet rooms with marble-tiled en suite bathrooms
If you’re looking for a posh experience, stay at the Kimpton Charlotte Square. The hotel features an outstanding modern design with touches of Scottish charm. The perfect place to stay for couples!
Why book – central location in the New Town, close to restaurants, excellent spa centre with a swimming pool
The Witchery by the Castle is the most lavishing and romantic hotel in the city. This is the number one place to stay for a special trip or a honeymoon. Located in the heart of medieval Edinburgh, the hotel features unique indulgent suites that will satisfy even the most capricious taste.
Why book – 50m from Edinburgh Castle, opulent themed rooms with huge comfortable beds, outstanding breakfast
Most romantic restaurants in Edinburgh
If you’re a food lover couple, Edinburgh won’t disappoint you. The city is bursting with top-class restaurants, great places for an afternoon tea and hidden gems.
Mary’s Milk Bar
Mary’s Milk Bar is the best place for gelato and chocolate in Edinburgh. The gelato flavours are heavenly with different ones every day. What makes it worthy to be on this romantic Edinburgh list is not only the food but also the view of the castle.
Choose your flavour and eat the gelato outside on the Grassmarket Square for some amazing views of the castle.
Address: 19 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS, United Kingdom
If you look for a nice place for an afternoon tea, look no further. Mimi’s Bakehouse is the best choice. The freshly prepared sandwiches and mouth-watering cakes are the perfect addition to a good cup of tea.
Address: 63 Shore, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6RA, United Kingdom
Monteiths combines a chic cocktail lounge with a romantic restaurant. Located just off the historic Royal Mile, it’s a lovely place for intimate dining. The menu is seasonal and the quality of the ingredients is great.
Address: 61 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SR, United Kingdom
For a special romantic dinner, there is one place to go – The Witchery. It’s really atmospheric, a spectacular dining room with a unique gothic décor and candle lights.
Address: 352 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NF, United Kingdom
The Ship on the Shore
The Ship on the Shore is an absolute must for seafood lovers. The great atmosphere, faultless service and the delicious local seafood are a guarantee for a fantastic dinner.
Address: 24-26, Shore, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6QN, United Kingdom
Romantic day trips from Edinburgh
There are plenty of options near Edinburgh, where you can escape with your partner for a romantic adventure. From desolate castles and beach walks to Outlander themed day trips, just name it!
Immerse in the romantic Outlander novels
Outlander is the most romantic series (and books) for Scotland. If you’re a fan of the series, I highly recommend taking this Outlander, Palaces and Jacobites Tour.
You’ll spend the day, exploring some of the most iconic locations shown in the movie, including Linlithgow Palace and Doune Castle. Plus, you’ll learn more about the Jacobites, Royal Stuarts and the Scottish clans.
Linlithgow Palace is one of the most romantic places near Edinburgh. This former royal residence was a thriving place in the 15th-16th century and its halls were always full of people.
Today, only pigeons play hide and seek in the palace’s great halls. Take the hand of your loved one and discover its gloomy corridors and abandoned halls, following the steps of the royals.
You can explore the palace on your own. And the best part is that there are no crowds. There is a great chance to have the place all to yourselves! Don’t miss climbing the tower for stunning views over the lake.
How to get to Linlithgow Palace
Take a train from Edinburgh Waverley Station to Linlithgow Station (20 min journey). The palace is just a short walk from there.
Tour a desolate castle
As a must-see, Edinburgh Castle is stuffed with crowds of tourists. And because of that, it loses a little of its romantic charm. So, if you’re looking for a romantic experience, I’d recommend you to head to Craigmillar Castle instead.
This 15th-century castle is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Scotland. Craigmillar Castle played an important role in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. She used it as a safe haven after the murder of her private secretary Rizzio. The plot of the murder of Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley, was hatched here, too.
How to get to Craigmillar Castle
Take bus number 14 (going towards Greendykes) and get off at Craigmillar Castle Roads. From there is about 800m to the castle.
Cross the causeway to Cramond Island
What could be more romantic than a walk on the beach? A walk on a causeway, of course! You can walk to Cramond Island at low tides for some fantastic views of Firth of Forth. Also, there are a few military fortifications from the WWI and WWII.
Keep in mind to check the times of the tides listed on the beach, not to get stuck on the island.
How to get to Cramond Island
You can reach it by taking bus 41 from the city centre to Cramond Glebe Road. From there it’s 500m to the beach.