Ireland is known for its varied landscapes and stunning natural beauty, which draws hikers from all over the world.
It is important to note that Ireland is divided into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Keep this in mind when planning your trip as these are two separate countries.
We’ve put together a list with the some of the Europe’s best trails from both countries.
Best Hikes in Ireland
1. Hare’s Gap
Hare’s Gap is located in the Mourne Mountains and is considered the most characterful mountain pass in the area. Hare’s Gap once marked the exit point for smuggled goods from the coast.
The hike is 2.1 miles (3.4km) one-way an should take you about 2 hours and 45 minutes. It is a strenuous hike due to rough rocky paths that aren’t levelled and the steepness of the hike.
Once you get to the pass you can choose whether or not you want to continue on to the other mountain peaks or turn back.
There are impressive boulder fields lining the path with glacial cliffs and amazing mountain views. Another great perk of this hike is that it is dog friendly.
2. The Causeway Coast Way
This Causeway Coast Way is absolutely spectacular and offers not only natural beauty but historical beauty as well. This is Ireland’s most famous hike, and for good reason.
It is located in the most celebrated stretch of coastline in Northern Ireland and is 33 miles (53km) long, so I may be a bit challenging in terms of stamina and endurance.
The most famous landmark along this trail is the Giant’s Causeway which is an unbelievable natural rock formation that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as being featured on the popular series Game of Thrones.
The trail features stunning coastal cliffs, secluded beaches, picturesque harbours and numerous landmarks. The mystical rolling hills inspired CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia. Despite this trail being challenging it is a must do if visiting Northern Ireland.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for magical creatures that are said to inhabit the area.
3. Divis Ridge Way
The hike is 4.2 miles (6.8km) and is flat and obstacle free. The path is made of tarmac, boardwalk and stone pitched gravel with a few stiles to cross. The trail is not bad for beginners, but you do need a little bit of endurance.
Divis Ridge Way offers a panoramic view of Belfast with glimpses of Scotland and the Isle of Man as well as being a great spot to view the Mourne Mountains.
Dogs are also allowed on this trail which is a huge plus.
4. The Dingle Way
The Dingle Way is a long-distance hiking trail located in southwestern Ireland and is one of the longest and best hikes in Ireland. It is 179km long and spans the shoreline of the Dingle Peninsula. The trail begins and ends in the town of Tralee and it should take a reasonably fit adult an average of 8 or 9 days to complete.
The popularity of the trail is due to the incredible diversity of the different landscapes along the trail as well as the opportunity to encounter some of the finest archaeological sites along the trail.
The Dingleway is a well-serviced trail that passes through the centre of many picturesque villages and towns, meaning you are never far from refreshments and rest.
The trail is easy to moderate except it does become difficult at the foot of Mount Brendon due to poor weather conditions and visibility and it is recommended that you seek alternative transport to get you through this portion of the trail.
5. Wicklow Way
Wicklow Way is 83-miles (135km) through the Wicklow Mountains right up to the suburbs of Dublin City. It is a great way for city dwellers to experience the beauty of the beautiful Irish countryside without having to travel too far.
Wicklow is known as the “Garden of Ireland” due to the lush valleys and awe-inspiring mountains in the area.
Wicklow Way is a long-distance self-guided trail which should take hikers 7+ days to complete and is moderately difficult.
The hike takes you through a variety of scenic experiences including; mountains, upland lakes, steep-sided glacial valleys, fast flowing mountain streams, forests and farmland.
Glendalough Valley is one of the highlights of the hike for both its cultural importance and natural beauty. Glendalough is a 6th century monastic settlement featuring beautiful lakes and the experience will certainly be worth the trek.