Ireland is home to some of the most spectacular and diverse landscapes in the world, making it the perfect destination for hiking enthusiasts. From soaring coastal cliffs to gentle family-friendly walks, there’s a hiking trail for every level of the adventurer in Ireland. Hiking is one of the best ways to explore and experience the country’s natural beauty up close and personal.
The rugged terrain, rolling hills, and picturesque scenery make Ireland a must-visit destination for hikers. To help you plan your next adventure, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best hikes in Ireland. From the famous Cliffs of Moher to the stunning Wicklow Way, each of these routes offers a unique and unforgettable hiking experience.
Belfast is a city with an abundance of natural beauty, and the Divis and Black Mountain Ridge Trail are one of their best hikes. This moderate 4.2-mile circular walk starts and ends at the National Trust car park at Divis and the Black Mountain.
The trail is perfect for hikers who want to experience the stunning views of Belfast and beyond. At a height of 1,568ft, Divis is the highest point in the Belfast Hills and offers panoramic views of the city, the Stormont, and Titanic Belfast, as well as the iconic Harland and Wolff cranes. On a clear day, hikers can even see all the way across Scotland.
This vantage point is an excellent spot to catch your breath and take in the breathtaking views.
The Divis and Black Mountain Ridge Trail is a must-visit for anyone who loves hiking and wants to experience the natural beauty of Ireland. Don’t forget to pack your camera and capture the stunning views along the way.
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2. Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Trail, Co Antrim
Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Trail in Co Antrim is a must-visit for hikers looking for a moderately challenging hike. This 6-mile circular trail starts and ends at the visitors center in Glenariff Forest Park, providing a beautiful woodland setting for your hike. As you begin your journey, you’ll be surrounded by the stunning waterfalls in the ravine before starting the ascent to the Antrim Plateau.
While the hike is steep in places, the effort is well worth it. The panoramic views from the high points of the trail are breathtaking, with stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape and even a glimpse of Scotland across the sea. If you’re planning to hike the Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Trail, make sure to visit in the spring when the bluebells are in full bloom, particularly at the Inver River gorge at the start of the trail.
Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Trail is one of the best hikes in Ireland for those seeking natural beauty and a bit of a challenge. So lace up your boots, pack your gear, and prepare for an adventure that you’ll never forget!
3. The Great Sugar Loaf, County Wicklow
If you’re looking for a family-friendly hike with beautiful panoramic views, the Great Sugar Loaf in County Wicklow is the perfect option. With a length of 2.5km (1.5 miles) out and back, the hike takes approximately 1-1.5 hours and is considered easy, making it a great choice for hikers of all ages and skill levels.
The Great Sugar Loaf is one of Ireland’s most recognizable mountains, and it’s easy to see why. Its unique shape resembles a giant pile of sugar and offers hikers a scenic climb to the summit. While the ascent can be a bit steep in some areas, the breathtaking panoramic views from the top make it all worthwhile. If you’re lucky enough to hike the Great Sugar Loaf on a clear day, you can even see Snowdonia in Wales from the summit, which is a pretty remarkable sight for a mountain that stands only 501m (1643ft) tall.
All in all, the Great Sugar Loaf is one of the best hikes in Ireland for those looking for an enjoyable and accessible outdoor adventure. Don’t forget to pack your camera to capture the stunning views from the summit!
4. Mweelrea, County Mayo
Mweelrea is one of the best hikes in Ireland, located in County Mayo. As the highest mountain in Connacht, standing at 814m (2671ft), Mweelrea offers multiple routes to the summit that vary in difficulty and scenery.
One of the most popular routes is the 10.5km (6.5 miles) out-and-back trail that begins and ends at Silverstrand beach. This route offers hikers constant views of the beautiful coastline as they ascend, and provides the perfect opportunity to cool off with a refreshing swim in the sea after the hike.
While the trail can be challenging, taking around 3.5-4.5 hours to complete, the panoramic views from the summit make the effort worth it. Mweelrea is one of the best hikes in Ireland for experienced hikers who want a challenging yet rewarding adventure.
Moreover, hiking Mweelrea is an unforgettable experience for anyone who loves outdoor adventures, beautiful views, and a bit of a challenge. So grab your gear and get ready to explore one of the most beautiful mountains in Ireland!
5. Lugnaquilla, County Wicklow
When it comes to hiking, Lugnaquilla in County Wicklow is a must-visit destination. This challenging 13km (8 miles) out-and-back trail takes 3.5-4.5 hours and offers sweeping views of the Wicklow mountains.
If you’re an experienced hiker, the challenging terrain of Lugnaquilla is perfect for you. It’s a great way to pick out other peaks you might want to attempt in the future. Once you finish your hike, head over to Glenmalure, where you’ll find an array of activities to indulge in.
So, lace up your boots and get ready to explore one of the best hikes in Ireland at Lugnaquilla. The challenging terrain and stunning views make it a favorite among adventure enthusiasts.
6. Glenbarrow Waterfall Loop, County Laois
If you’re looking to reconnect with nature and experience one of the best hikes in Ireland, head to Glenbarrow Waterfall Loop in County Laois. This 4.5km (2.8 miles) loop takes only 1-2 hours to complete and is an easy stroll along a picturesque riverside. You’ll explore a moss-covered forest, taking in the serenity of the flowing water and natural landscape.
The highlight of the hike is the stunning waterfall, where you can go for a refreshing dip or meditate beside it while enjoying the calming sounds of the flowing water. The Slieve Bloom Mountains, where the trail is located, is a popular destination for hikers and trail runners of all abilities. With trails ranging from 2km (1.2 miles) to 60km (37 miles), there’s something for everyone.
So, if you’re looking for a peaceful escape and a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, the Glenbarrow Waterfall Loop is a perfect choice. The gentle hike is ideal for families with children, couples, and solo hikers alike, and the breathtaking views of the waterfall will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
7. Croaghan Cliffs, County Mayo
Croaghan Cliffs, located in County Mayo, offers one of the best hikes in Ireland, especially for island lovers. The 12km (7.5 miles) loop takes 4-5 hours to complete and offers breathtaking views of the third-highest sea cliffs in Europe. The hike is located right next to one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland and is accessible by car, making it a must-visit destination on your west coast tour.
The views from this vantage point are nothing short of spectacular and are definitely worth the trip. The hike is challenging and requires some experience, but the stunning views and natural beauty of the cliffs make it all worth it.
So, if you’re looking for a challenging hike with breathtaking views, Croaghan Cliffs are the place to be. The hike is perfect for adventure enthusiasts and those who love to explore islands and the natural wonders they offer. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to experience one of the best hikes in Ireland.
8. Mt Errigal, County Donegal
Mt Errigal is an exceptional hiking destination located in County Donegal and is a must-visit spot for those seeking the best hikes in Ireland. The 5km (3.1 miles) out-and-back trail takes 2-3 hours to complete and offers a moderate hiking experience.
The mountain has recently added new trails and stairs, making it easier to reach the summit and enjoy the spectacular views. The hike is best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset, and the 360-degree views of Donegal from the top provide the perfect vantage point to witness the sun appear or disappear.
On a clear day, you may even be lucky enough to witness a cloud inversion, where the clouds sit below the summit, giving you an awe-inspiring view. The best time to see this phenomenon is during autumn or winter.
Mt Errigal provides a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience, and the stunning views make it an excellent spot for photography and sightseeing. It’s perfect for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers looking for a memorable hiking experience. So, plan your visit and experience one of the best hikes in Ireland.
9. Carrauntoohill, County Kerry
Carrauntoohill, located in County Kerry, is the highest peak in Ireland and a popular destination for hikers. The 13km (8 miles) out-and-back trail to the top takes an average of 4-5 hours to complete, with a level of difficulty rated as hard.
The most common route to reach the summit is known as “the Devil’s Ladder”. However, as the name suggests, this trail can be extremely challenging, steep, and even dangerous. Potential falling rocks from above and the difficulty of the trail should be taken into consideration before embarking on this hike.
If you’re not a seasoned hiker or not confident in taking on this challenging hike, there is no need to worry. Local guides are available to safely lead you to the top of Ireland. Hiring a guide will ensure that you can enjoy the hike without worrying about your safety, and also get a chance to learn more about the history and culture of the area.
The views from the summit are breathtaking, and the challenging hike is a great way to test your physical limits. Make sure to add “best hikes in Ireland” to your list and book a local guide to make the most of this unforgettable hike.
10. Glendalough and the Spinc cliffs, Co Wicklow
Glendalough and the Spinc cliffs in Co. Wicklow is a must-visit destination for avid hikers looking for a challenging trek. The 8.5-mile hike, with a level of difficulty rated as hard, begins and ends at the Glendalough Visitor Centre.
This trail takes you through the picturesque landscapes of the 20,000-hectare mountainous region, starting at the world-renowned monastic site and Lower Lake. Here, take a break to catch your breath while admiring the breathtaking views of the Lower and Upper Lakes, which are 1,000 ft below.
The Glendalough and the Spinc cliffs trail is a perfect way to explore the beauty of the Irish countryside, located within easy reach of Dublin. The terrain is steep, rugged, and challenging, which makes it an ideal option for experienced hikers. With some of the most stunning views, this trail is undoubtedly one of the “best hikes in Ireland”.
Ensure to bring appropriate hiking gear and pack enough water and snacks for the hike. The stunning natural beauty and historic sites of Glendalough make this trail a must-see attraction for those who love a good hike. So, make sure to add it to your list of the “best hikes in Ireland” and experience the magic of the Irish countryside!