Without a doubt, one of the best ways to explore Edinburgh is on foot. The city is incredibly compact so you won’t have to travel far to get to some of the best walking routes.

Leith Shoreline Copy

From conquering an extinct volcano to a scenic walk along a 12 mile water walkway, there’s bound to be a walking route in Edinburgh that that will fit your mood. Pack your camera and your walking books, and let's go for a stroll...

Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat

Holyrood Park

For breathtaking panoramic views of the city, the summit of Arthur's Seat is hard to beat. This 800 ft extinct volcano climb is short but challenging enough to get that adrenaline pumping. To make it even more rewarding, get up early and watch the sun rise over the city for a view that is truly spectacular.

Finish your walk up Arthur’s Seat with a stroll around Queen's Drive through Holyrood Park, where you can explore and admire the wildlife at St Margaret's Loch, Dunsapie Loch and Duddingston Loch.  

Water of Leith

Water Of Leith Walkway Juniper Green Credit Water Of Leith Conservation Facebook 500X210

[Image credit: Water of Leith Conservation Trust's Facebook]

For a peaceful and tranquil walk with lots of wildlife, look no further than the Water of Leith Walkway. This 12 mile walk spans through the city from Balerno to Leith, however don't feel like you have to do the whole trail at once. Many locals join in the walk and drop off as they please from places such as Haymarket and Juniper Green.

Arguably one of the most charming sections is the route from Stockbridge to Dean Village which twists and turns through the New Town with landmarks such as St Bernards Well and the mighty Dean Bridge. Top marks if you can also spot the otter statue! 

Blackford Hill and the Braid Hills

NG Blackford Hill 6

For a different city perspective why not try walking up 500 ft Blackford Hill where you can admire views over the north of Edinburgh and Arthur's Seat. Here you will also find the Royal Observatory, a beautiful Victorian example of architecture that opened in 1896 and is still uncovering knowledge of the stars.

Located next to Blackford Hill are the famous Braid Hills. Get some height here and you'll spot some of the most famous sights in the city, such as Edinburgh Castle, the River Forth and Rail and Road Bridges. On a clear day you can even see over to Fife.

Union Canal

Union Canal Harrison Park NG 500X210

Walking along the Union Canal is a great way to spend your day, starting out at Fountainbridge and walking the route towards Ratho Village.

Here you can explore some fascinating slices of industrial heritage which makes for an exceptionally rewarding walk. Keep an eye out for the brightly painted canal boats, ducks, and the occasional rower along the way.

John Muir Way

Take a trip out of the city centre and head towards East Lothian to take in part of the 134 mile walk of the John Muir Way.

Even if you fancy taking on a few miles around Musselburgh, or are brave enough to tackle bigger sections of the route, this historic route is accessible for all levels of walkers with some bracing views over the Firth of Forth.

From parks & gardens, to beaches & coastlines, take a look at more ideas to enjoy Edinburgh's great outdoors