The 12 Best Hikes in Dublin
The Irish capital of Dublin has benefited perhaps more than any other city from Ireland's growing economic clout. At the same time, the city has become increasingly popular as a tourist destination. With impressive historic attractions, famous hospitality, and a unique culture, Dublin has really come into its own as a place for foreign visitors to explore.
If you're the type of person that likes to see the more natural side of a country when you visit, you're in luck. Dublin city itself is a great place to walk around, but beyond that, the rugged beauty of the Irish countryside awaits. The stunning Wicklow Mountains, known locally as the Dublin mountains, offer some of the best hikes in the area. And you won't have to go far from the city to find forest walks, incredible views, and excellent hiking trails that offer the best of both city and country.
If you're looking for the best hikes near Dublin, you've come to the right place. The East Coast of Ireland offers a range of outdoor adventures, from easy walks to long treks. And thanks to Dublin's excellent public transportation, you can reach many great hikes just a stone's throw from the city. Check out our guide on how to get around Dublin for more.
Once you've chosen where to go, all that's left to do is drop off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Dublin. Travel light, and you'll be able to enjoy more of the stunning hiking opportunities in this part of the world.
Our top hiking trail picks in Dublin
Dublin began its long life as a fishing village. And although it has grown over the centuries to become a major metropolis, you can still find traces of that past along the waterside of Dublin Bay. A 3.5 mile loop coastal walk will treat you to stunning views over the ocean, especially at dawn or dusk. Be warned that the trail can be uneven at times, with sharp cliff drops here and there, so make sure you wear good shoes. You can park at Sandymount Strand, or take public transit to the edge of the city to enjoy an incredibly rewarding walk packed with stunning ocean scenery. If you want a little longer challenge, head out along the Great South Wall toward Poolbeg lighthouse to get a few extra kilometers and enjoy even more incredible ocean views.
Howth Cliff Walk
Dublin's coastal setting means that you are never short of dramatic maritime scenery. The Howth Cliff Walk is part of a loop that stretches for 12 km around Howth Head, making it a good option for fitter and more experienced hikers who want to challenge themselves on a longer distance. However, the Howth Cliff Walk itself is a more manageable 6 km long, and the terrain is relatively easy so long as you have no problem with heights. Enjoy stunning ocean views from the cliffs and explore the beautiful fishing village of Howth on this popular walk 40 minutes outside Dublin. The terrain is generally flat, but certain sections will get your heart pumping as you explore. Enjoy the views of Baily Lighthouse, rugged sea stacks, and colonies of seabirds above the crashing waves and the rocky shore. And if the walk and the wind help you build up an appetite, it's an easy journey via public transport back into Dublin where you can enjoy the best brunch in the city.
Fairy Castle Loop
If you're interested in exploring some mountain paths without traveling too far from Dublin city, the popular Fairy Castle Loop offers a short hike on a trail suitable for nearly any fitness level that is still worthwhile for experienced walkers. The loop travels through a forest just outside the city and offers great views of Dublin and Three Rock Mountain. The 5.5 kilometer loop is relatively well maintained, but you will encounter some steep and rocky sections, so wear decent footwear. At the summit, you'll be rewarded with an amazing view that will explain why this trail is so popular. On weekends and holidays, make sure you get here early so that you can find a place to park and enjoy one of the best walks near the city. You'll also find an ancient prehistoric tomb at the summit, adding some historical interest to what is already a great spot.
The Fairy Castle Loop is part of the wider Ticknock area, and you'll find lots of great hiking trails of varying lengths in this area. As well as the Fairy Castle, you can explore the atmospheric Ticknock Forest and climb to the summit of Three Rock Mountain to enjoy some of the best views Dublin hiking has to offer. The paths through the forest are paved, so you can enjoy an easy hike that is still very rewarding. And if you want more of a challenge after completing the Ticknock Walk, you could take a short drive to Cruagh Woods for more forest hiking.
Bog of Frogs
The quaintly named Bog of Frogs offers that rarest of things: a long hiking trail that is easily reached from the city. You can access this 12 km trail from Howth DART Station, making it accessible by train and bus from Heuston Station and downtown Dublin. Like the nearby Howth Cliff Walk, this longer coastal walk offers incredible views of the rocky shoreline, making it one of the best longer hikes near Dublin. You'll get to explore protected woodlands and travel along a golf course on your way to Howth Summit. It's a great way to challenge yourself during your vacation, and one of the best free things to do in Dublin.
Malahide to Portmarnock
You don't have to be an expert hiker to enjoy the coastal hikes near Dublin. The trail from Malahide to Portmarnock is a 4 km trail that is wide enough to accommodate families, including those pushing buggies. As you journey from one coastal village to another, you'll get to see a more rural side of Ireland. And once you reach Portmarnock, there's a huge beach where you can enjoy the view and even do some swimming if the weather permits. Plus, you'll find lots of inviting restaurants where you can take a break after your walk.
Trim Castle River Walk
If you like to hike and experience history at the same time, this is one of the best hikes near Dublin to take. Using the impressive fortress of Trim Castle as a starting point, this path wanders along a tranquil river to a ruined 13th-century town. Along the trail, you'll find interpretive panels that will tell you more about the history of the area and the changing fortunes of Newtown and Trim Castle. Even with plenty of stops to read about the history, the walk should only take around half an hour. It's a good way to get some fresh air and learn a little bit more about the area without being too strenuous.
The Wicklow Way was the first long-distance hiking trail of its kind in Ireland, established in 1980. It's part of a network of trails that allow for self-guided hikes over a wide range of countryside, including fields, mountains, hills, lakes, and beaches. The Wicklow Way offers access to several popular hiking trails near Dublin, and the range of scenery and historic monuments you'll find along this trail is jaw-dropping.
You can explore sections of the trail from Dublin, but to travel the Wicklow Way in its entirety would require 127 km of walking spread over several days. Still, it's amazing that you can pick up a trail like this in the outskirts of the busy city of Dublin, and the trail offers an unforgettable experience for those who truly want to understand the natural splendor of Ireland.
This 2.5 km trail gives hikers the opportunity to explore some beautiful woodland outside Dublin. At the summit of the hill, you'll find a burial chamber that is believed to date back to the Bronze Age in Irish prehistory, and you'll get very impressive views of Dublin Bay from this ancient monument. For a relatively short and easy walk, Tibradden has a lot to offer, making it an excellent hike near the city.
The Hellfire Club
There's more historical interest on offer at this intriguingly-named hike. The Hellfire Club was an 18th-century club that was reputed to practice black magic and worship Satan. This easy trail leads to a ruined hunting lodge where the club used to meet to practice their dark rituals. Whether the stories are true or not, it makes for an interesting place to explore, and there are two trails that travel over Montpelier Hill, with both of them ending up at the lodge. The trails are well maintained, and each takes an hour to an hour and a half, making this a great place for a hike near Dublin with the family.
The Glendalough region is a stunning area outside Dublin, full of rolling hills and clear cold lakes that will make you feel like you've traveled a very long way from the city. Spinc Glendalough is a 10 km trail through the Wicklow Mountains that lets you travel past an old mining village and enjoy incredible views down into the Glendalough Valley. In some ways, this trail is a victim of its own natural splendor, as it can get very busy on weekends. Best arrive early if you want to get some peace and quiet on your walk.
You'll find this hidden gem close to the more popular Ticknock and Tibradden. There are two trails here, the Lead Mines Way and the Mountain Access Route. The Mountain Access offers better views over the city from the Viewing Rock, but both trails take just over half an hour to travel, so you can explore them both and still have time to head back to the city for dinner. And because these trails are not as well-known as some of the others on this list, it's the ideal way to get some peace and quiet on a short walk not far from the city.
Easy hikes in Dublin
If you're just looking to get some fresh air and stretch your legs a little without over-exerting yourself, you're in luck. Dublin offers lots of trails that aren't too challenging. Carrickgollogan, The Hellfire Club, and the Malahide to Portmarnock trail offer an impressive mix of scenery, from coastal cliffs to inland mountains.
Intermediate hikes in Dublin
Those looking for a little bit more of a challenge have plenty of options to choose from. Spinc Glendalough is a popular but stunning trail that offers a mix of easy and challenging terrain over its 10 km length. The Bog of Frogs also offers a great mix of coastal and inland scenery, and at 12 km is long enough to offer a good few hours of hiking.
Difficult hikes in Dublin
The 12 km loop around Howth Head boasts some rugged terrain that will provide a challenge for more experienced hikers, and the coastal views are undoubtedly worth the effort. Of course, for the ultimate challenge, you can pick up the Wicklow Way right outside Dublin and journey deep into the Irish countryside on your own two feet. This trail, and the many other trails connected to it, offer enough of a challenge for even the most experienced hikers.