Insider Tips

Cycle Dublin in a Day

By Visit Dublin

24th April 2021

Renting a bike is one of the easiest and most fun ways to see the city of Dublin. No matter what the weather, Dubliners are pedal pushers. Why? Because you can travel from one side of the city to the other in under 30 minutes, and Dublin has over 120 miles of cycle routes – not to mention the ever-expanding Dublinbikes scheme. With 1600 bikes (50% of these being hybrid electric models) and 115 stations around the city, it is one of Europe’s most successful bike rental projects...

Man leaning on bike in Dublin city

Why go cycling?

Dublin is compact enough to see everything – even on a short trip! On a bike, you’ve got access to parks, canals, the city centre, and the modern tech area of town that’s next door to traditional Georgian Dublin. Amongst this mish-mash of old and new, we’ve got lots of spots you can visit: the city, beach and mountains all in a short hop. As well as some city routes compiled below, you can also use Cycling Ireland as a navigation hub for routes around Dublin and beyond.

Check out this video of Dublin mountain biking and city cycling with Niall from Biking.ie:
 


 

Canal bike ride

The Canal Way Cycle Route is a 3.6km route that works as an artery to the city, linking the Georgian elegance of Portobello to the modern tech hub of Spencer Dock and Grand Canal. The scenic route passes Leeson Street Bridge where you can stop and soak up Dublin's café culture before taking in the modern vibe of Dublin’s Docklands. A very easy and short trip, it’s the perfect starting point for those who never usually cycle.

  • Pitstop: Go to Junior’s Café on Bath Avenue in Ringsend for a generously proportioned, potentially waistline-expanding New-York style sandwich – guilt-free for a keen pedaller.
Couple cycling along canal

The Docklands and Ringsend

Dublin’s Docklands is an eclectic mix of old and new, where hip wine bars on the waterside contrast with the old village of Ringsend. On sunny days you can sit on the banks and watch locals race their row boats along the River Liffey, a custom that dates back hundreds of years and is still very much alive today. Afterwards, cycle over to Hanover Quay to view the street art, take a tour of U2's Dublin and breeze past the boys' recording studio and watch paddle boarders on the water.

For a cool down, pedal out to the Great South Wall. Here, there’s a 2km pier jutting out with a red-painted lighthouse at its tip and a designated swimming spot along the way. If you’re feeling sporty, lock up your bike and take a dip in one of Dublin's best swimming spots.

  • Pitstop: ll Valentino on Grand Canal Street will give you an authentic taste of Italy, offering rustic breads, rich coffees and delicious pastries, with a great view for people watching.

Row of Dublin Bikes

Old town Dublin

Located off the south quays of the city is Dublin 8, home to the Guinness Storehouse, where the gigantic steel pipes of the industrial factory tower over the cobble-stoned streets. Spin past the brewery's entrance, St James’s Gate, and take in the historic surroundings. You’re in real old-town Dublin now.

Further south is the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), where you can easily while away the day viewing the very best of contemporary Irish art, as well as travelling exhibitions from renowned international artists.

  • Pitstop: Manning’s Bakery on Thomas Street is a bit of an institution in the city. Think of a baked treat and they probably make it. We recommend you try their rainbow cake. Yum!​​
Close up of bike with a basket

Phoenix Park and Smithfield

North of the River Liffey lies the Phoenix Park – one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. Dubliners spend many summer days picnicking, running, cycling and hanging out on its 707 hectares of green, lush fields. Lots of attractions here too: Dublin Zoo, Áras an Uachtaráin (The President’s House), the beautiful Farmleigh House, as well as one of the largest herds of urban deer in Europe.

Northside of the city is Smithfield. The focal point is the main square, home to The Generator Hostel, art studio Block T, and Irish traditional pub the Cobblestone. Notable landmarks in (or just off) Smithfield Square worth visiting include world-famous whiskey destination the Jameson Distillery Bow Street, and the Lighthouse Cinema, the perfect place for arthouse film-lovers.

Graffiti of bicycle

Rent or borrow a bike

If you don't have your own set of wheels, don’t worry because there are lots of options. Dublinbikes stations are located all around the city (with a fleet including hybrid electric models) while Phoenix Park Bike Hire offer rentals by renowned Dutch brand Giant (opening hours are weather dependent so be sure to phone ahead).

high speed image of man mountain biking
And if you’d like to venture outside the city and head to the nearby Dublin Mountains, Niall Davis at Biking.ie offers sturdy mountain bikes – perfect if you fancy going off track and getting your feet dirty. 

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