Boasting a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of the most iconic castles on earth, elegant Georgian architecture and much more, the Scottish capital surely belongs on everyone’s bucket list. If you want to discover this enchanting city, then booking the best tours in Edinburgh is an easy and enjoyable way to do exactly that. 

This guide to the best Edinburgh tours is here to help you choose which tours you should take. From foodie or whisky tasting experiences to spooky, Harry Potter and hop-on hop-off tours, there really is so much scope in this stunning city. 

Edinburgh Castle Tour: Fast-Track Guided Tour in English

Rating: 5⭐ | Price: $$ | Duration: 1.5 hours

Booking an Edinburgh castle tour can really help you make the most of visiting this famous location. It also includes skip-the-line entry to save you precious time

The experience commences with a walk up the Royal Mile, before taking your guided tour of the famous fortress. This includes explanations of the castle dungeons, the iconic one o’clock gun salute and the Argyle Battery. 

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Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

Rating: 4.5⭐| Price: $ | Duration: 1 hour

If the best underground tour in Edinburgh is what you want to find, check out this spooky tour of the city’s ancient underground vaults. It’s said that ghosts lurk here beneath the Old Town, and during the one hour tour your guide will regale you with gory tales about witchcraft and historic murders in the area.

Exploring the South Bridge vaults puts an entirely new spin on things, so don’t miss this if you want to see a different side to this elegant city!

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Edinburgh: The Dark Side Walking Tour

Rating: 5⭐ | Price: $ | Duration: 2 hours

Another of the more quirky Edinburgh tours is this Dark Side walking tour. Expect to hear all about Burke and Hare, the city’s most notorious murderers, as well as the trials and even burnings that witches once endured. The practices of grave robbing and body snatching, plus stories of real life vampires and cannibals, are also discussed.

Sites visited during the tour include narrow, twisting alleyways, Calton Hill, the Old Calton Burial Ground, one of Edinburgh’s chilling cemeteries or Canongate Kirkyard cemetery. The tour finishes at a local pub near the Royal Mile where you can purchase a beverage to steady your nerves!

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Edinburgh: Comedy Horror Ghost Bus Tour

Rating: 4.5⭐ | Price: $ | Duration: 1 hour

If all that after-dark activity sounds a little too gruesome for your tastes, then the best ghost tour in Edinburgh to book might be a more light-hearted comedy horror trip. Your conductor will share tales of ghosts, murder, grave robbings and victims of the plague as you ride around town.

The tour takes you through both the ancient Old Town and the Georgian New Town. It all takes place aboard a restored and black-painted vintage double decker bus. This was the sole survivor of the Necropolis Bus Company fleet, following a rather mysterious 1967 fire. This is a fun, light-hearted tour and a perfect option if you’re travelling with teenagers!

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Edinburgh: Old Town History and Tales Walking Tour

Rating: 4.8⭐ | Price: $ | Duration: 2 hours

This highly rated city tour of Edinburgh allows you to truly explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the safe hands of your knowledgeable tour guide, you’ll stroll along the twisting streets of the historic Old Town.

Expect to be enjoyably entertained throughout this tour, as your guide shares all the stories you’ll want to hear about the Scottish capital. Sights to see include the old pubs of Grassmarket, places that inspired J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, St. Giles Cathedral and more. 

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Original Harry Potter Locations Tour

Rating: 5⭐ | Price: $$ | Duration: 2 hours

Should you be seeking fun Edinburgh tours for the whole family, this Harry Potter locations tour could be spot-on. As well as sites associated with the books and movies about the boy wizard, you’ll also visit key Edinburgh landmarks such as Princes Street, the Old Town and the castle.

J. K. Rowling wrote much of the books in Edinburgh, and during the tour you’ll see sights that inspired her works. These include the Castlehill graveyard that doubles as Voldemort’s final resting place, and winding lanes that Diagon Alley was based on. 

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Edinburgh: JK Rowling’s Edinburgh & the Writing of Harry Potter

Rating: 5⭐ | Price: $$ | Duration: 4.25 hours

Another contender as best walking tour in Edinburgh for a Harry Potter fan is this magical guided tour with Sam. Discover the many Edinburgh locations that inspired JK Rowling. You’ll also get the chance to find out which Hogwarts house you’d be placed in. As well as whether you’re a muggle, a squib or a pure-blood witch or wizard. 

It’s worth noting that this is a long tour lasting over 4 hours so if you’re short on time or prefer a shorter walking tour, check out the other Harry Potter tour listed above.

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Edinburgh: Comedy Walking Tour with Professional Comedian

Rating: 4.9⭐ | Price: $ | Duration: 2 hours

This walking tour led by a professional comedian has to be among the most entertaining tours in Edinburgh. Setting out from the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club in the Old Town, you’ll learn all sorts of fun local facts and trivia during the two hour walk.

Expect some swearing, adult humour and a strong Scottish accent from your guide, which is why this tour is intended for over-16s only. If you want to know why the gun salute takes place every day at one o’clock or other city facts, this could be your chance to find out. This recent review says it all:

“BEST SIGHTSEEING TOUR EVER! Seriously guys, if you’re thinking about booking any of the walking tours through Edinburgh, THIS ONE is the one to go for! Daniel is not only incredibly funny, but also really knows his Scottish History!”

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Edinburgh: 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Rating: 4.5⭐ | Price: $ | Validity: 1 day

As with many cities across the world, some of the best tours of Edinburgh are jump-on, jump-off bus tours where you can travel when you please. This one is especially family friendly, and tickets are valid for 24 hours. 

With stunning city views throughout, this tour allows you to see places like the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, the New Town, Castle Rock and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. You can hop off whenever you like to explore further, before boarding another bus to take you somewhere else. 

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Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

Rating: 4.8⭐ | Price: $$ | Validity: 2 days

Royal Edinburgh is the focus for this hop-on, hop-off bus tour. Tickets include three fast-track entrance tickets for the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Edinburgh Castle as well as flexible transport for up to 48 hours.

To simplify things even further, your pass includes use of buses operated by three different hop-on-hop-off bus tour companies. These are Edinburgh Tour, Majestic Tour and Edinburgh City Sightseeing.

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Edinburgh: The Scotch Whisky Experience Tour and Tasting

Rating: 4.5⭐ | Price: $ | Duration: 1 hour

You simply cannot come to Edinburgh as an adult without sampling the famous Scottish tipple! This whisky tasting and tour allows you to do exactly that. Your guide will also teach you about the five Scottish whisky-making regions. 

Comprising close to 3,500 bottles, one of the largest whisky collections on the planet also forms part of this tour. Single malt and blended whisky tastings are also included, and you’ll also get a crystal tasting glass to keep as a souvenir. 

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Edinburgh: Whisky Tasting with History and Storytelling

Rating: 5⭐ | Price: $ | Duration: 2 hours

Another option for whisky lovers! If you’re looking for something to do in Edinburgh during the evening, how about this whisky tasting experience? It includes local history and folklore tales, so you can learn about the city while sipping for single malts.

The tour takes place on the atmospheric Royal Mile, after meeting your guide at the aptly-named Hot Toddy. With the whole of the first floor reserved for your group, there’s plenty of space to stretch out in while learning about Scottish whisky production. You’ll also sample four distinctive single malts from different distilling regions of Scotland. You can also choose to do the tour with no drinks included.

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Edinburgh: 3-Hour Guided Secret Food Tour

Rating: 4.8⭐ | Price: $$ | Duration: 3 hours

Whether you’re searching for unusual tours in Edinburgh because you’re a second-time visitor or because you really like to get under the skin of a city, this secret food tour can tick that box. Lasting for three hours, you’ll make half a dozen stops to sample Scottish delicacies.

Food and drinks to taste during the tour include haggis, neeps and tatties (mashed swede and potatoes), local cheeses, scones with butter and jam, gin and of course single malt whisky. The secret dish might also tickle your tastebuds. 

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Edinburgh: Silent Disco Adventure Tour

Rating: 5⭐ | Price: $ | Duration: 1 hour

If you want to experience Edinburgh in a truly unique way, then surely this Silent Disco tour is unbeatable! It’s not for shy and retiring types, though, as you’ll need to sing and dance your way through the city streets.

Moving through the historic Scottish capital to hits from several decades, you’ll pass lots of famous landmarks en route. It’s a different way to see the city, that’s for certain. 

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Edinburgh: Chocolatarium Tour, Tasting & Chocolate Making

Rating: 5⭐ | Price: $ | Duration: 1.5 hours

A tour of Edinburgh’s Chocolatarium also provides visitors with something different to do while visiting the city. During the 90 minute experience you’ll discover how chocolate is produced, from South American cacao plantations to the finished bars available from Scottish chocolate makers.

You can even make your own chocolates, including the flavours of your choice, as part of the tour. Sampling Scottish and global chocolates is also included, with options ranging from chilli to whisky. I took my daughter here for something a little quirky to do together and we had such a fantastic time!

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Whether you prefer the idea of dancing and singing your way through the streets, laughing until your sides split or visiting a Chocolatarium, we hope you’ve enjoyed discovering 15 of the finest Edinburgh city tours!

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