The exciting capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is surrounded by a handful of castles that once reined over various parts of Scotland. A short walk or drive can take guests to different sites, whether still a fully ornate castle, or merely a shell of its former self. But right here in Edinburgh, the namesake Edinburgh Castle is perched on an inactive lava tube, as if standing watch over the city. While our top magical castle tours list doesn’t feature every single kingdom in the area, this compilation is a great place to start when on the hunt for that classic adventure through the emerald landscape of Scotland.

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Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour
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Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour

Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour

Edinburgh Castle is noted to be one of the oldest of its kind in all of the United Kingdom. Countless significant events took place here, and one can almost imagine themselves as a part of the crowd, witnessing a coronation centuries ago. Some of the best views in the city can be found from atop the landings. With this special admission, you can skip the line, which is especially handy if short on time. A guided walk is included, but afterward, explore the maze of rooms on your own.

Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh Castle
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Edinburgh Castle

Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

Before the optional glimpse into Edinburgh Castle, guests along this excursion will explore medieval sites of the city, including UNESCO defined nooks in Old Town. St. Giles Cathedral, Parliament Square, and John Knox House are part of the “Royal Mile” experience, which is named so because of the royal residences on both ends of the walking stretch. Learn the significance of statues and have a laugh or two over fun folklore tales—and most definitely, round it all out with a bang at the castle.

Edinburgh Shore Excursion: City Highlights Tour Edinburgh Shore Excursion: City Highlights Tour
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Edinburgh Shore Excursion: City Highlights Tour

Edinburgh Shore Excursion: City Highlights Tour

Delve into the coastal features of Edinburgh while winding through significant Edinburgh sites like the Royal Mile. A bit of everything “Scottish crown” is on display, like Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. By seeing first hand the British Royal Yacht Britannia, which is owned by our favorite international family, is certainly a highlight of the day. This alone offers an intriguing look into the life of leading bloodlines.

Edinburgh Royal History Walking Tour with Optional Palace of Holyrood House Admission Edinburgh Royal History Walking Tour with Optional Palace of Holyrood House Admission
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Edinburgh Royal History Walking Tour with Optional Palace of Holyrood House Admission

Edinburgh Royal History Walking Tour with Optional Palace of Holyrood House Admission

The Palace of Holyrood served as the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II when her highness was fulfilling duties in the country. Significant public figures often graced the rooms of this grandeur filled abode at the end of the Royal Mile, and today it beckons to be explored alongside Edinburgh Castle. After strolling through Old Town, the experience ends here.

Edinburgh Luxury Private Tour with Scottish Driver Edinburgh Luxury Private Tour with Scottish Driver
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Edinburgh Luxury Private Tour with Scottish Driver

Edinburgh Luxury Private Tour with Scottish Driver

Sometimes it’s nice to call the shots, therefore there are private experiences waiting for you in Edinburgh. This luxury ride is hosted by a Scottish driver who knows a thing or two about the area, and you overall have a say so as to where in the city to go. So Edinburgh Castle and every other royal site can be checked off the bucket list in one swoop.

Edinburgh Panorama Edinburgh Panorama
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Edinburgh Panorama

Edinburgh Panorama

A tour that traverses locations that best show off Edinburgh’s land and the cityscape is a photographer’s dream. You’ll be whisked around from overlooks to panoramic viewpoints, where the most beloved places in the area can be viewed with clarity and ease. Craigmillar Castle is also on the itinerary and is an understated feature of this part of Scotland. The Royal Yacht Britannica will also be viewed from afar!

Edinburgh Castle Tour Edinburgh Castle Tour
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Edinburgh Castle Tour

Edinburgh Castle Tour

With Edinburgh Castle being one of the most sought after sites to see in the country, every opportunity to immerse is likely going to be pretty awesome. This tour takes you into the castle with a guide, and this is what patrons rave about most. Enthusiastic, funny and super fact loaded hosts elevate the experience from great to memorable.

Best of Edinburgh Highlights and Hidden Gems Private Tour Best of Edinburgh Highlights and Hidden Gems Private Tour
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Best of Edinburgh Highlights and Hidden Gems Private Tour

Best of Edinburgh Highlights and Hidden Gems Private Tour

Locals know best, and when you can lock in a private tour with someone who has lived here, you’re bound to dive deep within the roots of the city. Hosts have created this expert “gems” tour to give both detailed knowledge and an overall but thorough look into Edinburgh. Museums, the university, a cemetery and grassmarket are all stops, but you better believe Edinburgh Castle is on that list.

St Andrews & the Fishing Villages of Fife Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh St Andrews & the Fishing Villages of Fife Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
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St Andrews & the Fishing Villages of Fife Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh

St Andrews & the Fishing Villages of Fife Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh

Falkland Palace is a glorious depiction of the renaissance era in Scotland. Hop aboard the luxurious Mercedes van to make the short day trip to the Kingdom of Fife. The ride itself is a treat, as fishing villages, St. Andrews (housing another castle) and marvelous Forth Road Bridge which was built in suspension style in the 1960s are things you’ll see. After all is said and done, the journey lasts just under nine hours.

Loch Lomond, Kelpies & Stirling Castle Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh Loch Lomond, Kelpies & Stirling Castle Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
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Loch Lomond, Kelpies & Stirling Castle Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh

Loch Lomond, Kelpies & Stirling Castle Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh

A top attraction in Scotland, Stirling Castle hails from the 12th century and remains an intact piece of history, significant enough to warrant a day trip from Edinburgh. Preceding arrival to Stirling, your vehicle will go by the empty shell of Linlithgow Palace, where royalty was once born, along with the somewhat unsettling huge  “Kelpies” sculptures. Nature walks, lake views and diverse countryside are to be expected along the way.

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