Photo by Imran Perwez on Unsplash

These days, shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars on vacations has become the norm. Most of us won’t even think about traveling until we’ve spent months, maybe even years, saving up for a trip. But traveling doesn’t have to be so expensive.

You can actually find plenty of fun free things to do in most cities if you know where to look. Take Edinburgh, Scotland for example; you can visit most, if not all, of the city’s most popular monuments, landmarks, and parks without spending a dime. And, depending on when you visit Edinburgh, you can even participate in some of the city’s big festivals.

Auld Reekie is proof that the best things in life really are free if you know where to look. Today, we’re going to show you some of our favorite free things to do in Edinburgh. We’ll travel high and low on our little expedition, so you should store your extra luggage someplace safe before we begin.

Hiking Around Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is a large hill that’s located near Holyrood Park. This monumental mound used to be an active volcano many, many years ago. Now, Arthur’s Peak is considered to be one of the best hiking spots in Edinburgh. You’ll get a great workout and an amazing view of Edinburgh at Arthur’s Seat. Best of all, you won’t have to spend a cent to do it either.

Find Your Inspiration at the Burns Monument

Robert Burns was a prolific poet and lyricist who lived in Scotland during the 18th Century. Are you familiar with “the New Year’s song” aka Auld Lang Syne? Yep, that’s Robert Burns’ handiwork. Suffice it to say that Burns made his mark on Scotland and the world for that matter. He’s considered to be a national icon in Scotland, as well as Canada and the United States. Even centuries later, his songs and poems are still inspiring people across the globe. That’s why the Burns Monument was created to pay tribute to the influential poet, and that’s why travelers from all walks of life can visit the monument for free.

Take a Short Trip to Cramond Island

Okay, okay. We’re technically cheating with this one. The article is about “free things to do in Edinburgh”, but Cramond Island is just outside the city. This tidal island is connected to the mainland by a gigantic causeway. Cramond Village, a small village located in the city’s North-West end, serves as Cramond Island’s namesake. From WWII era relics to ancient artifacts, there’s plenty to see at Cramond Island. And we wouldn’t be talking about it today if you couldn’t visit the island for free.

Make Your Way to the Magdalen Chapel

Stained-glass art pieces can evoke many emotions; they can chill your bones, lift your spirits, and inspire your curiosity. The Magdalen Chapel houses several stained-glass art pieces. Legend holds that the chapel also houses the sword of the Covenanter John Paton. Is it true? Is it a myth? Why don’t you head over to the Magdalen Chapel and find out for yourself?

Hangout at The Meadows

Some of our favorite free things to do in Edinburgh are also very close by. Take The Meadows, for instance. This enormous public park is right in the center of the city. This park is a popular cricket, tennis, and rugby spot; it’s actually frequented by sports enthusiasts and professional athletes alike. There’s also plenty of room to just relax or have a picnic if that’s more your style.

Visit The National Monument of Scotland

The National Monument of Scotland is perched atop Calton Hill. There are plenty of exciting free things to do at Calton Hill alone, but this monument is especially noteworthy. It commemorates the sailors and soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the Napoleonic Wars. The monument was built in the early 19th Century, but it has aged like fine wine.

Have a Ball at the Princes Street Gardens

The Princes Street Gardens are two public parks located right next to Edinburgh Castle. West Park and East Park have their own unique features and attractions. One has a gigantic Festival Wheel that visitors can ride on. The other has statues and sculptures galore. Case in point, there are plenty of fun free things to do at both halves of the Princes Street Gardens.

Explore the Royal Mile

People from all walks of life visit Edinburgh whenever they can. However, Harry Potter fans are some of the city’s most consistent visitors. For those who don’t know, J. K. Rowling based portions of the Wizarding World on Auld Reekie. Specifically, Diagon Alley is based on the Royal Mile. Both places are filled with long, narrow streets and hidden alleyways. Certain parts of Edinburgh were used as filming locations for the Harry Potter movies. It can be a lot of fun just walking around the Royal Mile looking for some of these spots.

Photo by Julian Larcher on Unsplash

Stop by St Giles’ Cathedral

Giles the Hermit is a revered and respected holy man from Athens, Greece. In life, Giles founded several abbeys and performed a lot of philanthropic work in several countries. The Scots came to deeply respect Saint Giles by the time he passed away and named this cathedral after him. St Giles’ Cathedral played a major role in the Scottish Reformation. Because of that, this cathedral just oozes history.