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Edinburgh is compact, atmospheric and packed with winding side-street treats. A raw, rugged terrain jammed with churches, cathedrals, and Georgian streets, parks, palaces and monuments form its heart. When you've overdosed on architecture - museums, wacky shops, markets, bars, restaurants, boat, bus and bike tours will divert you until the wee small hours. For a city its size, there's an awful lot to do.

 

And that's not including the Festival.

The highlight of Edinburgh's annual calendar, The Festival is actually several intertwining festivals that, when combined, last all summer and explode Edinburgh in a blaze of music, dance, theatre and song.

THE EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL

This infamous festival also had its beginnings in 1947, when, like Sleeping Beauty's christening, the International Festival attracted so much attention that eight theatre companies turned up uninvited i.e. on the "Fringe." It has now overtaken the International Festival to become the largest arts festival in the world.

Unlike the International Festival, which showcases well-known and well-financed arts companies, The Fringe is where many of the world's finest talents have been discovered and where unusual acts like Stomp first shot to fame: it is a showcase for the wild, off-the-wall, straight and traditional alike. It is also a critic's nightmare: with 1350 shows in nearly 200 venues, you have to take your chances from an enormous range of acts from dawn to the wee hours of the morning. Sorting the wheat from the chaff is part of the fun, as tickets are inexpensive: dive in and you'll see stellar performances…along with some occasionally terrible dross!

DINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL

This is Europe's largest and liveliest public book event for big and little bookworms alike.

You might wonder how such festivities evolve around something which essentially spends its life sitting on a shelf, but the program includes readings, debates, workshops, discussions, lectures and late night music events with a literary flavor, on almost any subject you can think of. READ MORE

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