One of the best ways to get the feel of a new city quickly is to let a knowledgeable local show you around and Edinburgh is very well served by a range of organised tours that do just that, often in a very entertaining manner.
Open-top bus tours offer fantastic views of the city and are the perfect introduction to the history, architecture and culture of Edinburgh. Tour with live guides or commentary, including multi-language option. There are frequent departures from Waverley Bridge, just off Princes Street. Tickets are valid for 24 hours so you can hop on and off at stops along the routes.
Several companies along the Royal Mile offer walking tours of the street, including Auld Reekie Tours and Mercat Tours. These two companies also offer night-time ghost tours around the Old Town, as does the entertaining Witchery Tour.
Geowalks (t: 0131-555 5488), offers guided walks up Arthur's Seat in the company of a qualified geologist;
Rebustours (t: 0131-557 6464), traces the footsteps of Inspector Rebus, hero of Ian Rankin's bestselling detective novels.