A Unique 4 Days in Edinburgh, Scotland

I just had a unique 4 days in Edinburgh, Scotland. After flying in from Lisbon, Portugal with my best friend for a few days of touring around Edinburgh itself, I boarded the Azamara Quest in Leith. I then went to the 3rd round of the Open Championship at St. Andrews and went to my favorite ever AzAmazing Evening at Hopetoun House. I’m dizzy just thinking about it but here’s how my unique 4 days in Edinburgh, Scotland went!
Row Houses, Edinburgh, Scotland
I believe that Edinburgh is the most scenic city in all of Great Britain. The castles and spires, old alleyways, twists and turns along with the old gothic architecture are truly alluring. It is a decent sized city and the biggest in Scotland but it feels small.
Edinburgh Castle, travel, Edinburgh, Scotland
I stayed at the Nira Caledonia boutique luxury hotel; which is located on a quiet street about a 10-15 minute walk from Princes Street. It is the quintessential experience you want from a boutique hotel with bed and breakfast feel and modern amenities. Not to mention excellent Scottish breakfast-hold the haggis!
Scottish breakfast, Nira Caledonia, Edinburgh, Scotland
Walking around Edinburgh is like walking through centuries of history and there’s a photo opportunity around every corner. From the touristy yet brilliant Royal Mile, to Edinburgh Castle across to the new city and everywhere in between; you’ll find yourself enthralled by the scenery-especially if it doesn’t rain!
Tower, Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline and you can pretty much see it from anywhere in the city. I have been to the castle a few times before and didn’t go in this time but taking photos from below is a dream.
Edinburgh Castle, travel, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Royal Mile is home to many of the tourist sites of the old city. Distinctive bagpipers play in front of the high court while tourists take photos and why not, it’s really cool!
Edinburgh, Scotland, bagpiper, high court, Royal Mile
Across the street is the stunning cathedral of St. Giles. I love the look of this beautiful old cathedral from the outside. The gothic look and feel resonates inside as well.
St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland
While the inside isn’t as incredible as St. Peter’s in Rome, it’s fitting for what it is and where it is. It’s also free admission and makes for great photos.
Inside St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland
End your day or spend your day in any of 1000’s of pubs in the city and indulge in some of the best Scotch and beer in the world. Just don’t start talking about the recent referendum for independence that didn’t pass-it’s a little touchy for some!
Scotch, Edinburgh, Scotland
On Saturday, I board the Azamara Quest for the 3rd time in 2 years and I have to admit it feels like home-not to mention another cruise on the Azamara Journey! All the familiar faces make it easy to feel that way and I was particularly excited for this cruise to begin as the first activity was the Open Championship at St. Andrews. Azamara is great because they incorporate sporting events like this and also the Monaco Grand Prix etc. into their itineraries!
Lee Abbamonte, St Andrews, Old course, Scotland, golf
This years Open Championship or the British Open was being contested, as it is every 5 years, at the Old Course at St. Andrews-the home of golf. I was fortunate to play there last year and it was simply put-amazing!
Old Course, 2015 Open Championship, St Andrews, Scotland
The setup for the Open Championship was obviously a little different with different tee locations and of course grandstands but it is still incredible to be at the venerable course where all the greats of the game have played and the best of the best have won including Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.
Old Course, 2015 Open Championship, St Andrews, Scotland, 18th green, 1st tee
I was originally scheduled to see the final round on Sunday but inclement weather forced the Royal & Ancient to postpone the final round until Monday and I was at the 3rd round instead. It made no difference to me as it was still amazing!
Old Course, 2015 Open Championship, St Andrews, Scotland
The story of course is Jordan Spieth who at 21 years old, has a chance to win the first 3 legs of the Grand Slam. This has never happened in my lifetime. I was able to get to within 10 feet of him while he was warming up for his round and I would not be surprised if this kid wins the whole thing-he’s that good!
Old Course, 2015 Open Championship, St Andrews, Scotland, Jordan Spieth
During the tournament, we walked around a bit but posted up at the Road Hole most of the time. The Road Hole or the 17th Hole at St. Andrews is the most famous and most difficult hole in golf because the road and wall you see are both in play and must be contended with if up against it.
The Road Hole, Road Hole, Old Course, 2015 Open Championship, St Andrews, Scotland
Some of the most famous shots in Open Championship history have been ricochets off the wall. Championships have been won and lost at the Road Hole and believe me, it’s not easy…oh and don’t get caught in the Road Hole bunker either-it’s a tough out!
The Road Hole, Road Hole, Old Course, 2015 Open Championship, St Andrews, Scotland
Even during the Open, no trip to St. Andrews is complete without walking around the beautiful town itself. It’s a very small town with a ton of character and a lot of history. Literally, there’s incredible scenery around every corner.
St. Andrews, Scotland, ruins
Of course, St. Andrews University is where Prince William and Kate Middleton met before they were married during University. Not to be confused with Prince Harry who prevented me from reaching the South Pole in 2013!
St. Andrews University, St. Andrews, Scotland
The ruins and the scenery of St. Andrews are simply phenomenal. Don’t forget that St. Andrews is also on the beach. In fact, it was the scene of the famous beach scene in the Oscar winning movie ‘Chariots of Fire’. While the beach won’t make my 30 best beaches in the world, it sure is cool to check out!
St. Andrews, scotland, beach
After the drive back to the Azamara Quest, it was a quick turnaround to get ready for the AzAmazing Evening at Hopetoun House. I was really excited to go there as I’d heard amazing things about the venue.
Hopetoun House, Scotland, AzAmazing Evening, Azamara Quest
AzAmazing Evening’s are one thing that really sets Azamara Club Cruises apart from other cruise lines in my opinion. First, they are free for passengers and involve locally inspired entertainment in amazing and historic venues that you’d likely not get to visit otherwise-at least not in the same manner. This was my 4th AzAmazing Evening and definitely my favorite.
Hopetoun House, Scotland, AzAmazing Evening, Azamara Quest, roof view
Hopetoun House was built in 1699 and has hosted royalty for centuries. It is still in amazing shape and acts as a host venue for so many massive British events. The views from the roof show nooks and crannies that you won’t see from the ground and the yard goes forever in either direction.
Hopetoun House, Scotland, AzAmazing Evening, Azamara Quest
The event featured a massive whiskey and gin room and a bagpipe guard along with an amazing fireworks display to end the evening. It was spectacular and I was happy to spend it with the fantastic crew of the Azamara Quest plus my friend and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, Larry Pimentel!

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  1. I studied in Edinburgh and it’s still my favorite city in Europe even though I’ve traveled all over. I’m very jealous about the Open!

  2. Your photos have seriously improved over the years I’ve been following you. I can’t believe you just use an iPhone. You should do a post on how you edit your photos on iPhone…or write a book on it-I’d buy it!

    • Yes I’ve really been focusing on my pics in the last year especially as I’ve been doing more Instagram. Editing can be fun but I never use filters…fun what you can do these days in the palm of your hand…I’m still learning.

  3. Amazing pics Lee! Glad you’re having a great trip as always!

  4. I went there when I studied abroad in London for a weekend. It looks much prettier than I remember as I barely left the pubs! Great article!

    • Haha, ya I think I had a similar problem when I first came to Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1998 during my abroad year with a group of friends! Thanks!

  5. Actually, Edinburgh isn’t the biggest city in Scotland – that’s Glasgow!
    Just sayin’!
    (nice pics though!)

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