Looking for the perfect destination for summer in Europe? Here’s why Edinburgh, Scotland should be at the top of your list for an amazing trip!

Most American travelers visiting the UK head to London — it’s actually the number one destination in Europe for Americans.

And while London is great, there’s another city a few hours north that is, in my personal opinion, even better: Edinburgh.

Scotland is the only part of the UK that is breaking its pre-2020 tourism records, and last year the country welcomed a record-setting 4 million visitors.

Even with this record number of visitors, Edinburgh is still an underrated destination compared to London, but here’s why it’s perfect for your summer trip:

A Cool Capital City

Edinburgh is, quite literally, a cool destination for summer. If you’re looking to beat the heat, Edinburgh is the perfect place to go during the summer months.

The scenic Dean Village in a sunny afternoon, in Edinburgh, Scotland

Even in July and August, the hottest months of the year, the average high temperature in Edinburgh is 65° F and the average low is 51° F.

This is 20 to 30 degrees cooler than many other popular European cities in the summer — even London has been experiencing major heat waves during the summer.

Summer is a great time to visit Edinburgh for mild weather and less rain than the city typically sees.

views of edinburgh city

Beautiful And Walkable

When I went to Edinburgh for the first time earlier this year, I was amazed when I hopped off the train from London and realized how small and walkable Edinburgh actually was.

Unlike London, which is a massive, sprawling city, Edinburgh is very compact. The two most popular areas for tourists, Old Town and New Town, are extremely walkable.

The architecture of Edinburgh is also stunning and will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale city. It’s truly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Victoria Street In Edinburgh Old Town, Scotland, United Kingdom

Amazing Castles And History

One of the highlights of a fairytale city like Edinburgh is, of course, the castles!

Edinburgh Castle is probably the most famous tourist attraction in the city, and it’s definitely worth a visit. Dating back to the 11th century, this imposing historic castle in the middle of Edinburgh was a royal residence for many centuries.

You can also visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse while in Edinburgh, the official royal residence of the British monarchy in Scotland. Even though this castle is still in use today, visitors can book a tour and see the public rooms of this impressive residence.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Some other interesting castles to check out in and around Edinburgh are Blackness Castle (a filming location for Outlander) and Craigmillar Castle, which was used as a safe haven by Mary Queen of Scots.

Direct Flights From The U.S.

Getting to Edinburgh from the U.S. is easier than you might think.

While there aren’t as many nonstop flights to Edinburgh as there are to London, there are direct flight routes from half a dozen U.S. cities.

Edinburgh skyline

Most of these routes are seasonal, lasting from late May until September or October. For example, JetBlue just launched new nonstop flights from New York to Edinburgh beginning May 22, 2024 and running through September 30, 2024.

And these direct flights can actually be cheaper than flying to London first — for example, a one-week trip in June from New York to Edinburgh is $700 on JetBlue, while New York to London for the same dates is $803 on JetBlue.

JetBlue Airplane in Flight

And from London, it’s a 1 hour 20-minute flight or a 4.5-hour train ride to Edinburgh, so it’s not worth going to London first unless you’re planning to spend a few days there.

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