What are some of the best hiking trails in Ireland?
Ireland is a walker’s paradise. Trust us, we know; we live here and have been guiding walks in Ireland since 1994! That’s also how we’ve become so familiar with the best hiking trails in Ireland (and beyond). As locals who live in and love this land, we are passionate about sharing the trails, history, culture, and endlessly fascinating stories of Ireland.
Whether you’re looking for a physical challenge or a leisurely stroll, Ireland’s walking trails cover a vast expanse and range. From the crashing waves on the Atlantic coastline to the forested paths and farmland trails…Ireland’s hikes are diverse, awe-inspiring, intriguing, and they are our favourite trails in the whole world.
Broken up by region, you’ll find the best hiking trails in Ireland with plenty more detailed information for each trail linked below.
If you’re keen to lace up your boots, browse our Guided Walking Tours of Ireland and join us! Or, if you prefer to hike without a small group, you can check out our Self-Guided Walking Tours of Ireland for detailed itineraries and luggage transfers to make your adventure seamless and enjoyable.
Best Hiking Trails Along Ireland’s West Coast
The West Coast of Ireland is internationally recognised as a premier destination for outdoor adventures. From water sports like surfing and kayaking to iconic walking routes like the Wild Atlantic Way, the Western Way, and more, outdoor enthusiasts adore this part of Ireland for good reason.
The Cliffs of Moher may attract the casual tourist for a glimpse of the dramatic scenery, but keen hikers won’t just stop there. The Wild Atlantic Way follows these cliffs for miles, granting exceptional views and a healthy dose of sea air as well.
And while many tourists will visit Galway and drive past the Burren, fewer will traverse that otherworldly landscape on foot. It’s slowly, on foot, where we experience the wonder of this scenery. That’s how we can appreciate every detail of the flora, fauna, and mind-boggling history: when we slow down and leave the busy roads to witness these wonders.
If you’d like to experience this iconic scenery, these are our favourite hiking trails in the west of Ireland:
Don’t worry, you needn’t do the entire Wild Atlantic Way to experience the wonder of this incredible hiking route. You can choose sections, like the southwestern Wild Atlantic Way or the northwestern Wild Atlantic Way. Or choose even smaller portions to suit your time and preferences.
North of Ireland & Northern Ireland Hiking Trails
There are jaw-dropping vistas and fantastic hiking trails in the North of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Maybe you’d like hiking along coastal trails to watch crashing waves off the Atlantic and experience the bracing sea breeze as you walk along dramatic cliffs.
Or perhaps you’d prefer more leisurely strolls as you explore iconic spots like the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Bridge.
From meandering paths at the foothills of the Bluestack Mountains in Donegal to the tranquillity of Rathlin Island in County Antrim…you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking trails in Ireland’s North and Northern Ireland.
Here are a few of our favourite hiking trails and routes in Ireland’s northern regions:
Hiking in the South & South West of Ireland
Hiking in Ireland’s south and southwestern areas means getting a glimpse into yesteryear. Some of the more remote areas of these regions continue to adhere to traditions long forgotten elsewhere in Ireland.
From the Dingle Peninsula to the iconic Ring of Kerry, with countless small islands and coastal hikes all around, this part of Ireland is a walker’s paradise.
Take on the epic Carrauntoohil Mountain and the MacGuillycuddy’s Reeks in Kerry or challenge yourself along the extraordinary 179-kilometre long-distance route of the Dingle Way.
For less arduous hikes, consider the lesser-visited Beara Way. This hiking trail particularly appeals to history lovers, but its limited elevation changes also make it preferable for those seeking longer distances without the altitude challenges.
Some of our favourite hiking trails in Ireland’s southwest include:
The Best Hiking Trail in Ireland Is in the Ancient East
The Wicklow Way in beautiful Glendalough is unsurpassed in the east of Ireland. As the country’s first waymarked trail, the Wicklow Way offers a little something special for hikers and walkers.
Wicklow is known as the “Garden of Ireland” — but it’s also where we call home! Footfalls Walking Holidays HQ is right in the heart of Wicklow so we walk these trails more than most folks out there. And yet, despite that regularity, the views are still simply breathtaking.
Within beautiful Wicklow is the gorgeous Glendalough. The Gaelic name for this area, Glen Dá Lough, means The Valley of The Two Lakes. Walking in Glendalough yields boundless vistas across those two lakes, the Wicklow Mountains, and across the Irish Sea beyond.
To say we’re fond of our own backyard is an understatement. We daresay the Wicklow Way is Ireland’s best hiking trail, above all the others on this list!
Of course, we do adore all the hiking trails we’ve mentioned here, as well as a great many we’ve left out to keep this list concise. If you’re looking for guided or self-guided walking holidays in Ireland, we’d love to help you plan your perfect trip.
Feel free to get in touch so we can chat about our favourite routes and answer any questions you may have. We’d be delighted to speak with you soon and share these beloved trails with you!