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With its striking architecture, cute village-like neighbourhoods and castle on a hill, Edinburgh is a canvas for your camera. Jam-packed with Harry Potteresque avenues, it’s not difficult to find the most beautiful places in Edinburgh, but as always, we’ve done the hard work for you. Keep reading to find out the most Instagrammable spots in Edinburgh, as sourced by your friendly Edinburgh guide.
Whip out your tartan props and tag us at @everythingedinburgh_. We can’t wait to see your captures and captions.
So let’s dive into the definitive Edinburgh Instagram spots list made up of pretty locations, exciting attractions, plush restaurants, cool bars and iconic cafes.
Edinburgh’s Prettiest Streets, Bars & Cafes For Photos
Victoria Street, Old Town
The colourful buildings make Victoria Street one of the prettiest streets in Edinburgh.
This popular shopping and dining area curves from the Grassmarket up to George IV Bridge, another tourist hot spot where you will find Greyfriars Bobby and The Elephant House.
However, it’s not just the restaurants, the shops or the tourist attractions that make this street such a muse!
Many believe that Victoria Street is She Who Cannot Be Named’s inspiration for Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, although she has never confirmed this. Find out more about the Harry Potter sites in Edinburgh.
There are two Harry Potter locations on Victoria Street, a Potter-themed shop and Diagon House, which fans shouldn’t miss.
Annoyingly, this cobbled road is not pedestrianised so be cautious of moving vehicles when taking pictures.
The most popular angle is from the Bow Well at the bottom of the street (West Bow), where the shops slope down to the Grassmarket.
Another unique thing about Victoria Street is that there is another level stacked on top of the bottom. The upper level is accessed by steps halfway up the street.
Read next | How to take a virtual tour of Potter locations
From Victoria Terrace, you can capture Victoria Street from above, looking down on the madness.
Hands down, one of the most Instagrammable places in Edinburgh has to be The Vennel.
Because these steps show off Edinburgh Castle perfectly, and who doesn’t want the landmark Castle in their city shots?
Ideally placed Sherlock Holmes-style lamps line the stairs which start at the bottom end of the Grassmarket, next to Mary’s Milk Bar on Candlemaker Row.
In autumn, head round to Kick-Ass Hotels on the Grassmarket to see city ivy turn from green to red.
For more fall photo tips and things to do, check out our autumn guide.
Wondering where to stay? Here’s Edinburgh’s areas explained
Advocate’s Close, The Royal Mile
Quite a few Instagram spots in Edinburgh can be found on or just off the Royal Mile.
For a lovely arched frame of the Scott Monument and a perfectly located lamp, pop into Advocate’s Close.
Thirsty? Enjoy a cocktail at the Devil’s Advocate.
Warriston’s Close is another popular photo spot in Edinburgh. The green moss lets it down.
Fans of the movie, One Day, will recognise it as a filming location.
Ramsay Lane/Ramsay Gardens
Tucked behind the New College at Castlehill, Ramsay Lane opens up to views of the Princes Street and the New Town.
Excellent spot for a landscape photo.
Ramsay Gardens has a striking red against white staircase too.
Want to find out more about this architecture? Check out these walking tours in Edinburgh.
Harry Potter fans will definitely want to set up a shot at New College on The Mound.
Look up, down and around at Makars’ Court!
This is home to the free Writer’s Museum. There are author quotes on the ground.
The Writer’s Museum is where some say the city’s first African servant lived. His name was Oronoce.
The house was owned by Lady Stair.
Canongate Tolbooth On The Royal Mile
The Canongate Tolbooth is instantly recognised by its sticky out clock and witch’s top hat.
This building was erected in 1591 when the Canongate area of the Old Town was a separate burgh/area.
It served the community as a courthouse, jail and town council meeting place.
Look out for Sir Lewis Bellenden’s initials, the man responsible for its construction.
You can rent this property on the Canongate or steal a snap of the dreamy ivy heart.
White Horse Close
One of the lesser-known Old Town Edinburgh Instagram spots, White Horse Close is a hidden street of houses, some of which look as if they are floating in mid-air.
These houses are privately owned so please be respectful. Best to leave the wardrobe rail and props out of this photo spot.
Dunbar’s Close Garden
Dunbar’s Close Garden is serene green space among the grey and brown tones of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
This 17th-century garden was donated to the City of Edinburgh and is free to access.
Scottish Parliament, Holyrood
Debate time, do you love it or hate it?
The Scottish Parliament was opened in 2004, over budget and ridiculed by many.
The design, which we are fond of at Everything Edinburgh, is the creation of the Spanish architect, Enric Miralles.
Look out for the Raeburn’s Skating Minister (below) which is said to be depicted in the design.
There are also quotes on the walls at the bottom of the Royal Mile.
Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags
Arthur’s Seat is a busy urban hike which takes around 1-2 hours to complete.
It peaks at 251 metres (823 ft) and offers views over to The Kingdom of Fife.
Salisbury Crags, the cliffs by Arthur’s Seat, is an easier hike but not as high at 46-metre (151 ft).
St Anthony’s Chapel Ruins, Holyrood Park
We’re actually surprised that the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel don’t appear in Instagram feeds more often considering how popular ruins are in the rest of Scotland!
Loch, greenery and ruins with a cityscape. Sounds like one of the undiscovered Instagram worthy places in Edinburgh.
Tag us in your pics! @everythinedinburgh_
This short hike is not only a popular photo spot, it’s also really busy with tourists, so time wisely and aim to visit for sunrise if you want crowd-free shots.
The common composition is to angle the Dugald Stewart Monument in shot, along with Edinburgh Castle.
The National Monument offers cool shadow shots if that is your vibe.
There are 12 pillars of this unfinished Parthenon.
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Princes Street Gardens
If visiting in summer, prepare for a cool picnic shot or use Scott Monument to frame other landmarks.
Don’t miss the cute Gardener’s Cottage or annual flower clock.
If visiting in winter, get ready for Christmas lights, bothy huts, hot chocolate and mulled wine!
To capture the famous shot of Scott Monument, arrive early at St David Street.
Find out more in our guide to Princes Street Gardens.
Keep reading to find out the best Edinburgh Instagram spots for cafes and bars.
The jury is out on the green and gold facelift, but the Ross Fountain is a nice focal point with Edinburgh Castle as the backdrop.
Catch the building reflections and boats in the water at Leith Shore.
You’ll find three of the most romantic restaurants in Edinburgh down Leith.
Find the ‘The Things I Love Are Not At Home’ graffiti on Maritime Lane in Leith.
I used to live on this lane and spent many a weekend night at Port o’ Leith before it was gentrified!
Undeniably one of the most beautiful places in Edinburgh, Circus Lane is actually a mews of Gregorian Houses.
St Stephen’s Church pops up over the mews, adding height to the landscape.
Grab a sunset shot looking down at St Stephens Church from Howe Street.
This is often said to be one of the prettiest areas in Edinburgh.
Well Court is the photographed collection of houses, including the yellow one, with the water running through the street.
You wouldn’t believe this is less than 10 minutes walk from the city!
St Bernard’s Well is worth a find too.
Plan a walk through Dean Village to the National Museum of Modern Art.
Affluent Stockbridge has a lot of offer photographers, from the well kept Potted Garden at 33 New Circus Place to the etched Stockbridge Market sign.
Read next | Things to do a night in Edinburgh
Lauriston Castle and Japanese Gardens
A little out of the way but a double photography opportunity, Lauriston Castle is a 16th-century Edwardian tower house which overlooks the Firth of the Forth waters.
While you have to pay to enter the building, the grounds are free and include Japanese gardens.
Here’s our favourite fluff pooch posing at Lauriston Castle.
The Meadows is a large park close to the Old Town where people hang out in summer.
However, spring is the time of the year you want to bring your camera because there are arching cherry blossom trees!
Move over Japan…
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Instagrammable Cafes in Edinburgh
- The Elephant House – Harry Potter fame
- RSA Museum Cafe – Princes Street Gardens framed by windows
- Starbucks on Princes Street – Big windows, city views
- City Cafe – Cool throwback cafe with boozy milkshakes
- The Milkman – Hip coffee shop
- Mary’s Milk Bar – Get that ice cream against the Castle shot
- Mimi’s Bakehouse – Photogenic setting and aesthetically pleasing cakes, features in The Princess Switch movie
- Lovecrumbs – Pink coffee maker, ‘nough said
- Cafe Party at Jupiter Artland – pink cafe designed by artist Nicolas Party
Many of these cafes deliver! Find out who here
Most Instagrammable Bars & Restaurants in Edinburgh
- Maxies – Overlooking Victoria Street
- Juniper Edinburgh – View of the castle and cocktails
- Cold Town House – Newish kid on the block next to the Castle
- Cafe Royal – Historic and ornate decor
- Tattu – Smoking and golden egg puddings, also features in our cherry blossom guide
- The Ivy – Extravagant seasonal floral decor at the door – we love it
- The Dome – ‘The’ place to take a photo at Christmas
- Rose Street Garden – Summer decor, heaters because it’s Scotland
- The George Hotel Bar – 1920s vibes
- Le Monde – Stylish bar
- Tigerlily – Boutique hotel with a trendy bar and cocktail list
- Chaophraya – Thai with castle views from its terrace
- Skybar Edinburgh – Outside terrace and views of the Castle
- Brewhemia – 10/10 for flower crown effort
- Roseleaf (Leith) – Cocktails in teapots
- Teuchters Landing (Leith) – Unique building on the canal, former waiting room for steamboats
Read next | Edinburgh restaurant guide – every cuisine!
& what to eat in Scotland
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Instagram Spots in Edinburgh Map
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