Walk the 7 Hills of Edinburgh

fitandhappy members walk the 7 Hills of Edinburgh once per year. If you’ve never done it before, we can highly recommend it. It’s a great day out and a unique way to explore the city.  It’s a challenging but very rewarding hike that takes you up and down the famous seven hills of Edinburgh.

Be warned though, it’s not a gentle stroll. It’s a long walk of around 27km with over 700m of climbing.

Why you should consider doing the Seven Hills of Edinburgh Walk:

  • Stunning views: Each hill on the walk offers its own unique views of Edinburgh and its surroundings. You’ll be able to see the city from a different perspective and take in stunning panoramic views of the city's landmarks and natural beauty.
  • Historical significance: Many of the hills on the walk are home to historic landmarks, such as Edinburgh Castle and the National Monument.
  • Physical challenge: The Seven Hills of Edinburgh Walk is a challenging hike. Once completed, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment for conquering the seven hills!
  • Great way to explore the city: The walk takes you through different parts of the city, allowing you to explore neighbourhoods that you may not have otherwise visited. You'll get to see the city in a new light and discover hidden gems along the way.

Where to start

There is no set route and you can start the walk wherever you like. We always choose Arthur’s Seat as our first hill. It means we get the toughest one out of the way when we’re still feeling fresh and we get to see the sunset on Calton Hill. Which can be absolutely stunning.

1. Arthur’s Seat

Start with Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s most famous hill. This extinct volcano is located in Holyrood Park and offers stunning panoramic views of the city. It's a challenging climb, but the views are well worth the effort.

2. Blackford Hill

The second hill is Blackford Hill, which is located in the southern part of the city. It’s known for its beautiful nature reserve, which is home to a wide variety of birds and other wildlife. Blackford Hill also gives you one of the most stunning views of the city.

3. Braid Hill

Continue on to climb Braid Hill, which is the Southernmost of the Seven Hills of Edinburgh. Watch out for golfers, part of the Braid Hills is occupied by a golf course. You get more stunning views and there are plenty of great spots for a picnic.

4. Craiglockhart Hill 

Craiglockhart Hill is located in the southwestern part of the city and is a local nature reserve. It’s really a combination of two hills and you can choose to walk up to the Easter or the Wester summit. The latter is slightly higher. If you’re really keen, why not do them both? You get a nice view of the Pentland Hills from the top.

5. Corstorphine Hill

The most Westerly of the 7 hills is Corstorphine Hill. Its path up takes you through a lovely woodland with superb views looking out over the city and across the Forth. Corstorphine Hill is also home to Edinburgh Zoo and with a bit of luck, you can sport some wildlife through the fences on your way up. You know you’ve reached the top when you get to Corstorphine Tower.

Make sure to keep a good eye on a map, it’s easy to get lost on Corstorphine Hill!

6. Castle Rock

The walk from Corstorphine Hill to Castle Rock is the longest and most tiring stretch of the walk. It’s route is not particularly scenic and at this stage of the walk, your feet may well start to feel tired! You’re rewarded with Edinburgh Castle when you get there though!

7. Calton Hill

We always try and time our walk so we get to enjoy the sunset on Calton Hill. It’s home to the (unfinished) National Monument, which was inspired by the Parthenon in Athens. On a nice day, it can get a bit crowded at the top. For good reasons, the views are spectacular. You can see most of the other 6 hills from the top so make sure to appreciate how far you’ve come!

Whether you're a local or a visitor to the city, the 7 Hills of Edinburgh Walk is definitely worth doing. Take a full day, pack plenty of snacks and water and wear proper hiking shoes. As with any walk, check the weather forecast and bring a map. Enjoy!