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In the center of Edinburgh is the unmistakable landmark of a 300-million-year-old extinct volcano. If you can muster the courage and stamina (little that you truly need), you can hike up Arthur’s Seat for a stunning, panoramic view of Edinburgh.
If you go on Tripadvisor, you’ll see ten negative reviews from dweebs who couldn’t find the chair at the top. Um, not that kind of seat! I like to think of it more like the “center of authority” type of seat, like that of King Arthur. Okay, maybe that’s not the real etymology, but it is the mythology of the pinnacle, so I’m forwarding this one.
Nearly everyone can enjoy a hike up Arthur’s Seat, although some trails are more difficult than others. The easiest way is to drive up to Dunsapie Loch (click for location) and hike up the eastern side to the summit. A bit of a longer hike is to park on Queen’s Dr by Dynamic Earth and hike around the front or back side of the Salisbury Crags and then take the stairs up the south trail.
The Tripadvisor reviews are accurate about one thing. There are no bathroom facilities, cafes or shelters at the top. On a hot day, bring some water. If it’s cold, windy, rainy or snowing, all of which are much more likely than sun, make sure you bundle up accordingly.
Once you get to the top, you’ll have a full 360° view of Edinburgh. To get you oriented, beneath you before the City Center is Salisbury Crags. Just to the right you’ll see a green and white stadium. That’s almost due north of you. Out to sea you can see Inchkeith Island. Just beyond the crag, you can see Carlton Hill with Nelson’s Monument. To the left of the crag is Edinburgh Castle, St Giles Cathedral and the rest of Edinburgh laid out in its splendor. But while I say the rest, Edinburgh actually surrounds Holyrood Park, which Arthur’s Seat is the centerpiece of.
How many cities can boast a hike this beautiful?