Staggering sea cliffs, ancient castles crumbling amid green countryside, and ocean views that stretch for miles: such beautiful scenery is just one reason to choose a walking holiday in Ireland. Others include the variety of trails – from exhilarating mountain hikes to relaxing strolls that loop through gentle countryside – and of course the warm hospitality and friendliness of locals.
On an Inntravel walking tour of Ireland you will have the opportunity to delve into the country’s rich history – routes take in medieval ruins and Gothic abbeys – and to see its flora and fauna up close.
It’s no exaggeration to say Ireland has a walking holiday for everyone: from long-distance paths with their promise of challenge and discovery to pilgrimage trails that enrich spiritually. Some routes trace the coast, while others connect pretty villages. Choose a self-guided walking holiday in Ireland to explore independently and at your own pace.
Best places to hike in Ireland
Connemara National Park
Rather than one single route, the Connemara National Park in County Galway presents walkers with a network of well-marked and maintained trails. The best known of these leads to the summit of Diamond Hill, from where panoramic views of Connemara’s coastal and mountainous landscapes stretch far into the distance. But whichever route you choose, there will be opportunities to discover more about the Park’s distinctive habitats – from its pristine lakes to its extensive bogs and heaths – and local wildlife, including the gentle Connemara ponies.
The Wicklow Way
As Ireland’s oldest waymarked trail, the Wicklow Way needs little introduction: for over forty years it has delighted walkers with its variety of scenery and cultural interest. The trail begins in Dublin and over its 131 kilometres explores untamed moorland and rugged mountains, ancient forest and the iconic Guinness Lake – so named for its dark, stout-like waters. Before reaching its conclusion in Clonegall, County Carlow, the Wicklow Way also takes in one of Ireland's most important monastic sites, Glenadough, whose evocative ruins offer a window into Ireland's past.
The Kerry Way
At 214 kilometres, the Kerry Way is the longest of Ireland’s waymarked hiking routes – and a fantastic way to experience all that scenic County Kerry has to offer. Among its highlights are a stretch through the Black Valley, a remote glen that lies beneath MacGillycuddy's Reeks, the mountain range that is home to Ireland's highest peak. Much of the trail traces the coast, rewarding with sandy beaches and sweeping ocean panoramas, while charming villages such as Sneem and Kenmare provide a chance to immerse yourself in Irish culture.
Is our walking holiday in Ireland right for you?
To be sure that our walking holiday in Ireland is right for you, take a look at the definitions of our walking grades below. Remember that you don’t have to walk every day if you don’t want to – if you’d prefer to spend non-itinerant days relaxing, that’s entirely up to you. Alternatively, feel free to add in extra nights.
Generally easy walking with few ascents / descents, but perhaps the occasional long day.
Easy-to-moderate walking with some ascents / descents, and occasional longer days.
Moderate walking on varied terrain, with some long days and regular ascents / descents.
Moderate-to-challenging walking on more rugged terrain with significant ascents / descents on most days. Compass skills may be required (check the individual holiday).
Challenging hikes, featuring long days with significant ascent / descent on challenging terrain. Compass skills may be required.
Choice of easier or harder routes, so that you can tailor most days to your requirements.
What to expect on Inntravel's Irish walking holidays
At Inntravel, we are renowned for our welcoming, ideally situated accommodation – including on our walking holidays in Ireland. There is no one type of Inntravel stay: we work with high-quality hotels, family-run guesthouses and even traditional inns – each enhancing your holiday in a different way. Where your itinerary involves walking between hotels, we arrange luggage transfers.
Food and drink
Delicious food and drink is an integral part of each and every Inntravel holiday. On our Irish walking tours, you can expect to enjoy a real variety, from the classic stew – a hearty and often-home-cooked dish that is particularly welcome after a full day’s walking – to the freshest of seafood along the coast. Locally grown apples also make their way onto many tables – in pies, crumbles and cider.
Each Inntravel holiday in Ireland comes with a set of meticulously researched route notes, which act as your guide as you explore. We also have a team of friendly travel experts who have experienced our Irish holidays themselves (staying in our featured hotels and walking our routes); they can answer any question you may have. While away, you have access to 24/7 phone support.
Preparing for your walking holiday in Ireland
What do I need to pack?
You’ll need walking boots or shoes, depending on the terrain of your chosen holiday...
You’ll need walking boots or shoes, depending on the terrain of your chosen holiday and your personal preference, plus a compass, water bottle and waterproofs. Walking poles and a GPS device are useful, but not essential. Clothing-wise, you should pack for all eventualities, remembering that it is often cooler in the evening. As we transfer your luggage when you walk from hotel to hotel, all you need to carry during the day is a camera, your picnic, drinks, sun cream and waterproofs.
Should I train for my walk?
You are the best judge of your fitness level, so as long as you choose a holiday with distances and...
You are the best judge of your fitness level, so as long as you choose a holiday with distances and terrain that suit you, it won’t take long for you to feel comfortable with the walking. Nevertheless, if you’re not a regular walker, do try to have a couple of longish walks near home shortly before your holiday – this will help to stretch your limbs and make that first day a little easier!
When is the best time to walk in Ireland?
The best months for a walking holiday in Ireland are March to October. If your ideal is to walk in...
The best months for a walking holiday in Ireland are March to October. If your ideal is to walk in milder temperatures and on quiet trails, consider travelling outside the summer season – with the added benefit in spring of beautiful wildflowers and in autumn of spectacular foliage. June, July and August are always popular, due to their sunnier days and extended daylight hours – we recommend booking early for these months, to secure the exact dates and itinerary you want.