Edinburgh doesn't always look its best in close-up, and sometimes you need to take a step back to get a sense of perspective on the city. The Old Town, in particular, is easier to appreciate by stepping out of it and looking back on it from Princes Street Gardens in the New Town, for example, or from the elevated angles of Calton Hill or Arthur's Seat.
So here's my handy guide for rising above it all, featuring some of the city's best elevated positions from which to enjoy the views, or simply catch your breath before returning to the fray.
The city's oldest purpose-built visitor attraction, the Victorian era outlook tower and camera obscura is still a popular draw to visitors at the top of the Royal Mile.
On wet days the tower's five floors of optical illusions and visual trickery will keep everyone entertained, and when the weather is good the views from the top - some long-distance outlooks aided by telescopes - are unbeatable.
Entry fees apply, but tickets are valid all day for exit and re-entry and as such represent great value.
National Museum of Scotland
Nestled at the top of the new wing of the National Museum of Scotland is an open roof terrace giving views across to the castle as well as out towards Arthur's Seat.
Access is free, although it can be something of a challenge to find the staircase that will take you up and out - finding it is half the fun! This does also mean it is rarely crowded, so you'll truly feel like you're away from the hustle and bustle of the streets below.
Another paid entry attraction, with 287 steps up and the same number back down, this is the world's tallest monument to a writer (Walter Scott, obvs.) with four separate landings including the crows' nest viewpoint at the very top.
Reaching the pinnacle takes nerves of steel as the stairs are incredibly tight, narrow and enclosed, even for someone without much fear of tight spaces. The views across the New Town are well worth it, though, and seeing the monument up-close is a pleasure too.
The granddaddy of all the viewpoints in the city, Edinburgh Castle offers unbeatable outlooks over the Old and New Towns, though of course it costs you the entry fee into the castle to get inside.
Wherever you go, and whether you stay an hour or just a few minutes, the detachment from the busy streets can be invaluable to let you recharge your mental batteries before taking the plunge back to discovering the city up-close and personal.
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