Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes is a non-fiction travel book written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. It was first published in December 1878 as "a paean to his birthplace" and was his second published book following An Inland Voyage.
The book began as a series of articles which appeared in the magazine, Portfolio. It provides Stevenson's personal introduction to each part of the city and some history behind the various sections of the city and its most famous buildings:
"The ancient and famous metropolis of the North sits overlooking a windy estuary from the slope and summit of three hills. No situation could be more commanding for the head city of a kingdom; none better chosen for noble prospects.... the quarter of the Castle overtops the whole city and keeps an open view to sea and land. It dominates for miles on every side; and people on the decks of ships, or ploughing in quiet country places over in Fife, can see the banner on the Castle battlements, and the smoke of the Old Town blowing abroad over the subjacent country. A city that is set upon a hill. It was, I suppose, from this distant aspect that she got her nickname of Auld Reekie. Perhaps it was given her by people who had never crossed her doors: day after day, from their various rustic Pisgahs, they had seen the pile of building on the hill-top, and the long plume of smoke over the plain; so it appeared to them; so it had appeared to their fathers tilling the same field; and as that was all they knew of the place, it could be all expressed in these two words." - Robert Louis Stevenson, Edinburgh:Picturesque Notes (1903 edition)
It was then published as a book divided into ten chapters and consisting of a series of essays describing different areas of Edinburgh: the Old Town, the Parliament Close, Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, the New Town, the villas in Morningside, Calton Hill and the Pentland Hills.