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Get outside with these scenic walks in Dublin, perfect for nature lovers!
Ireland’s capital city is home to an impressive collection of walking routes. There are options for every ability level, and you don’t have to travel too far from the inner city metropolis to soak up some of the country’s verdant nature.
There’s nothing quite like getting out into the crisp Irish air to blow off the cobwebs – especially the morning after consuming a few too many Guinnesses! Read on to discover the thirteen best walks in Dublin.
Howth Cliff Walk
There are four versions of the Howth Cliff Walk, a scenic coastal route, varying in length and ability levels. The shortest takes 1.5 hours; it’s one of the best easy walks in Dublin, boasting plenty of stunning scenery without too much incline.
The walk will take you around the beautiful Howth Peninsula, famed for its remarkable vistas. Ramblers are rewarded with views of the quaint lighthouse perched atop rolling heather hills, set perfectly into the background of the Irish Sea.
The scenery along this walk changes constantly and rain or shine, it has a guaranteed wow factor. Due to the rugged nature of this route, some of the pathways are uneven, so walking boots are recommended.
Bray Head to Greystones Cliff Walk
The Bray head to Greystones Cliff walk is a 4.4-mile stretch following the railway line along the Dublin coast. It sits 100m above sea level at its highest point, so the scenery along this hike is second to none. Rugged ocean views and jaw-dropping cliffs are in abundance at every step along the route.
There is vibrant flora and fauna on display during the spring and summer – the red valerian paints the grassy green hills and is just beautiful. The walk will take 1.5 – 2.5 hours depending on pace, and how often you stop to admire the dramatic views.
There is parking available at whichever end you choose to start, and if you don’t fancy walking the route twice, you can jump on the DART to get back to your car. You’ll likely have built up an appetite by the end of the walk but don’t worry – both towns offer plenty of brilliant restaurants for a hearty post-walk feed.
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Dublin Botanic Gardens
This is one of the best walks in Dublin… with a twist. Dublin’s Botanic Gardens are situated in the leafy suburb of Glasnevin, just a stone’s throw away from the city center.
Here, visitors can stroll around the garden amongst 50 acres of land, taking in the 17000 different plant species on display. The pathways are beautifully maintained, making this one of the more gentle, easy walks in Dublin.
The Botanic Gardens are home to 7 stunning glasshouses, some of which are over 200 years old but have been lovingly restored and maintained. Ireland is certainly not a tropical location, but spend some time in the humid Palm house, admiring all the lush and leafy green species – and you might just be fooled into thinking you’re in the Caribbean.
Entrance to the botanic gardens is free, making this walk a great budget Dublin activity.
The quaint little harbor village of Howth (the starting point to the Howth Cliff Walk) also features a smaller walk around the idyllic pier area. The harbor is a working harbor, so during your peaceful amble, you can watch fishermen unloading their boats with the day’s catch.
Few places offer the opportunity to watch Ireland’s working seaside life so much as Howth. You can spend an hour or so circumnavigating the harbor, before taking shelter from the blustery winds in one of Howths’ many seafront restaurants. Don’t miss out on trying some of the freshly caught seafood!
Poolbeg Lighthouse Loop
Poolbeg Lighthouse Loop is a 6.7-mile circular route is considered one of the best walks in Dublin. Walking along the coastline, you’ll be completely exposed to the salty sea air – you’re sure to feel invigorated by the end!
As the name suggests, the loop centers around a 254-year-old lighthouse – this fat red lighthouse is somewhat of a celebrity in this region. It’s believed to have been the first lighthouse to operate by candlelight, and it’s still used as a navigation aid today.
The longer version of the walk starts at Sandymount Strand and will take just over 2 hours to complete, taking in impressive vistas of Dún Laoghaire harbor and the Wicklow mountains along the way. The loop can be shortened by starting at the Pigeon House Road car park; this version takes 40 – 60 minutes. Both routes traverse fairly flat terrain so this isn’t a difficult walk.
Liffey River Walk
One of the more popular walks in Dublin is the inner city Liffey River Walk. This winding path follows the course of nature along the fabled river that splits the city in half. Starting in the recently regenerated Docklands area, you’ll cross multiple bridges, each featuring different architecture.
This walk will take you through some of the city’s most fascinating historical sites. Close to the Civil Defense Depot, you’ll see the ‘Croppy Acre,’ which is a mass grave built for the vast number of Irish killed during the 1798 uprising. The history doesn’t stop there – this route takes you through Viking Dublin, and you’ll notice bronze inlets within the pavement which represent artifacts dug up in the area in the last few years.
Dublin wouldn’t be Dublin without its favorite tipples, and you’ll pass both the Jameson and Guinness factory along the walk. If the wind is blowing in the right direction, you’ll even get a whiff of malt!
At nighttime, the Liffey River Walk has a great view of the city’s sparkling skyline – making this one of the nice walks in Dublin at night.
Dalkey and Killiney Hill
Nestled in between the two affluent suburbs of Dalkey and Killiney sits the brilliant Killiney Hill. It’s a short climb to the top – it should take about 10/15 minutes. The view at the top is simply incredible.
The Wicklow mountains sit on the horizon on one side, and Dublin sprawls out in front of your eyes on the other. This is one of the easy walks in Dublin and is suitable for all abilities.
When you’ve completed your walk, both towns will leave you spoilt for choice with options of restaurants and cafes where you can refuel!
One of the best ways to escape the fast pace of inner city Dublin is to go on a walk around Phoenix park. This inner city park is one of the largest parks in Europe and is home to wild deer, as well as an impressive species of flora and fauna.
A stroll along the well-maintained pathways is a peaceful experience, and you’ll find it hard to believe you’re still in the same city. This park covers a whopping 1752 acres of land – making it larger than New York’s Central Park!
You won’t run out of stomping ground in Phoenix Park, and it’s one of the most pleasant walks in Dublin.
Dun Laoghaire East Pier
A walk around this pier will take you around 30 minutes, and it’s one of the most popular walks in Dublin for tourists and locals alike. You’ll be treated to stunning views of the wild Irish Sea, and on weekends the area is filled with street performers and buskers – so you can expect a vibrant atmosphere.
The Victorian bandstand has been beautifully restored and is a great shelter from the famous Irish drizzle. When you’ve finished your stroll, Dun Laoghaire is home to a fantastic range of coffee shops and gastro spots and is a great place to spend an afternoon.
Slightly further afield, the coastal walk from Portmarnock to Malahide is a walk that isn’t on the usual tourist trail but is well worth a visit. These two towns are popular for locals escaping the city at the weekend, and for good reason – the beach is simply stunning, and the two seaside towns are oozing with Irish charm.
The beach walk is 5.6 miles long and should take around 2 hours. Both towns are on the DART line, so this is a nice Dublin walk to do even if you don’t have a car – just jump off the DART at one town and board at the other when you’ve completed the walk. The walk is very flat for the entire duration and takes in impressive views of the Howth peninsula.
Fairy Castle Loop
If you fancy a slightly more challenging hike, the Fairy Castle Loop is perfect. This 3.6-mile moderate hike starts in the Ticknock forest and ends at the summit of Two Rock Mountain.
You’ll reach a total elevation of 1740 feet, and the views at the top are spectacular – your efforts are rewarded with panoramic views of the sprawling Dublin City and the Mournes Mountains.
The walk gets its name from the Fairy Castle at the summit of Two Rock Mountain, an ancient cairn that sits atop a megalithic tomb. This is a moderate-level hike, but there’s plenty to stop and admire throughout the entire route, and the paths are accessible for all ability levels.
Cruagh Wood Loop
Just south of Dublin is the Cruagh Wood Loop, a circular route offering diverse views of mountains and woodland. At its highest point, this hike will take you 1811 ft above sea level, which means it offers one of the best views of the city you can find.
The loop is 2.5 miles long and is easily one of the best walks in Dublin. The dark, moss-covered forest is nothing short of enchanting, and records suggest these ancient woods have been around for over 1000 years. The route is rated as moderately difficult, but most people can complete it in around an hour.
Saint Catherine’s Park Loop
One of the easiest walks in Dublin is the Saint Catherine’s Park Loop. This 2.3-mile route is mostly made up of a flat, paved surface and takes around an hour to complete – making it a great activity for families.
The park is packed full of unique flora and fauna, and no matter what time of year you visit, you’re guaranteed to find wonderful wildlife. St. Catherines Park is a popular place, and for a good reason – it’s full of different things to do.
The loop walk can be extended into one of the many diverse trails on offer should you want to do a longer walk. If you visit on a Sunday, you can spend time browsing the Urban Market, which hosts a huge array of tasty food and artisanal produce. The park has plenty of parking and is well connected by public transport.
As you can see, there are plenty of brilliant walks in Dublin. Hiking enthusiasts can tackle one of the more challenging routes on offer, but those seeking a simple Sunday stroll also have plenty of options to choose from.
The best part is – Dublin’s fantastic public transport network means you don’t have to have a car to experience some of the city’s wonderful walks. Make sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes on your next trip to Dublin!
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