Insider Tips

23 Stunning Dublin Walks and Cycles

By Visit Dublin

16th May 2021

From north to south, Dublin is full of scenic spots to explore. Soak up spectacular views at the summit of Killiney Hill, take on the Howth Cliff Walk and spend an afternoon cycling around the Phoenix Park. Lace up your trainers and explore the great outdoors with Dublin coastal walks, city cycles and mountain hikes.

Wonderful walks in the city


St Stephen's Green

Take a leisurely wander in St Stephen's Green, a peaceful sanctuary in the heart of Dublin City. Grab lunch-to-go in one of the cafés on nearby Grafton Street and enjoy a picnic in the picturesque park. 

Follow the tree-lined paths to see the historical sculptures, some of which have great significance to Irish history. Tell the kids to watch out for mallard ducks, elegant swans, crafty foxes, and spritely squirrels and don't leave without a visit to the playground. Opening hours vary depending on daylight hours.

The Iveagh Gardens

Just 450 metres from St Stephen's Green, you'll find the majestic Iveagh Gardens. Admire the gorgeous rose garden or get lost in the yew maze, a miniature copy of London's Hampton Court Maze. Look out for the pretty rockery, with a gently flowing waterfall that features rocks from all 32 counties. 

Spend a relaxing afternoon in the Iveagh Gardens, a serene retreat in the city. The park is open during daylight hours, and dogs must be on a lead. 

The Phoenix Park

Open all year round, The Phoenix Park is thought to be the largest enclosed urban park in Europe. Spot the fallow deer, visit the Visitor Centre and 15th-century Ashtown Castle, and while you're at it pick up a delicious 'picnic in the park' from the Phoenix Café to sustain you while you explore.

A popular 6.4km route begins at the Magazine Fort, off Military Road, and continues to the Hole in the Wall pub on the outskirts of the park. Or take the 6km walk from the Castleknock Road entrance, along Chesterfield Ave passing Dublin Zoo on the way. 

Venture outside the city centre 

National Botanic Gardens & Glasnevin Cemetery Museum

With its winding paths and impressive collection of plants, the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin is perfect for a peaceful stroll. Ramble through the rose garden and admire the architecture of the Great Palm House. Discover the 15,000 plant species, see the Sensory Garden and after, grab a snack in the cosy tearoom. 

A pedestrian gateway in the gardens leads to Glasnevin Cemetery, the resting place of Michael Collins. Garden admission is free, and free guided tours are available on a Sunday; please note that only guide dogs are allowed in the gardens.

St Anne's Park

Popular with walkers and runners, St Anne's Park in North Dublin has 112 hectares of pitches, tennis courts, walking trails, a dog park and a playground.  

To enjoy a scenic 5.8km loop, enter from the Clontarf side and walk around the park passing through St Anne's Woods, back to the starting point. Order a coffee and home-baked treat at Olive's Room café or if you visit on a Saturday, check out the Red Stables Market and pick up artisan cheese, organic meat, or fresh bread.

Marlay Park 

Venture outside the city and visit Marlay Park in Rathfarnham. Roam the 121 hectares of green space across pretty ponds and enchanting woodland walkways.

There are many pathways and routes to follow, depending on your fitness levels. More ambitious walkers can kick off the Wicklow Way walking trail here, near the main car park. Bring your pup to play in the enclosed dog park and visit at the weekend to check out the Marlay Park Farmers Market. Saturday is a great day to bring the kids as there's a miniature train ride.

St Enda's Park

Also in Rathfarnham, find St Enda's Park. Perfect for a leisurely ramble, stroll along the paved gravel pathways and enjoy the sound of the babbling stream. Discover the Pearse Museum, which tells the story of Patrick Pearse and his brother William and, after, drop by the tearooms for a tasty snack. Dogs are allowed in the park if kept on a lead but avoid the courtyard or the walled garden if bringing your furry friend.

Ardgillan Demesne

Plan a day out at Ardgillan Demesne near the pretty coastal village of Skerries. The 81-hectare area has plenty of scenic picnic spots, a stunning rose garden, and the 18th-century Ardgillan Castle, where you can relax over a coffee while the kids play in the impressive playground. Later, take on a 4.8km loop of the park and marvel at the views of the Mourne Mountains and the Dublin coastline.

Pass by The Ladies Stairs, a walkway linking the Demesne to the coast. It's said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Louisa Augusta Conolly, Baroness of Langford, who drowned here while swimming in 1853.

Discover stunning coastal walks

Sandymount Strand

Adjacent to the village suburb of Sandymount, take a walk along the stunning strand. The 1km stretch provides outstanding views of the Poolbeg Chimneys, Dún Laoghaire and Irishtown Nature Reserve Park. Enjoy an ice cream from Scoop on the Strand Road with a seat on one of the benches looking out to the sea.

Dún Laoghaire

Breathe in the fresh air as you stretch your legs in the coastal village of Dún Laoghaire. For a perfect stroll, begin at Dún Laoghaire DART Station, continue 1km along the seafront and enjoy a Teddy's ice cream

Walk a little further to the James Joyce Tower in Sandycove, where you can take in views of Dublin Bay. You can turn back and return to your starting point or continue to Dalkey for more amazing scenery.

Killiney Beach

The backyard of U2 frontman Bono, take the DART out to the scenic suburb of Killiney and enjoy the epic views along the way. Walk along Killiney Beach, where you'll experience unrivalled views of Bray Head and Dalkey Island; dogs are allowed when on a lead. The beach is also a great place for a swim, so bring your gear and brave the roaring waters of the Irish Sea.

Bull Island

For an invigorating walk and incredible scenery, head to Bull Island in North Dublin. Park up at Causeway Road and walk along the sand dunes at Dollymount Strand. Depending on what time you visit, you might see ferries in the distance crossing the sea. The 5km stretch is suitable for all fitness levels and is popular with dog walkers. Go for an evening stroll and capture some sunset photos as the sky lights up in shades of fiery red and orange.

Portmarnock

Plan a day at one of Dublin's best beaches, Velvet Strand in Portmarnock. The golden beach stretches for 8km; walk along the powdery sand, or brave the water and enjoy a refreshing swim. If you're feeling energetic, continue along the 11km pathway parallel to the beach, which brings you to Malahide village. Here, you can refuel with coffee in the Gourmet Food Parlour.

Howth Pier

Head north to Howth village and take a walk along the pier to feel the bracing sea air on your face. A popular spot for families and dog walkers, you might even experience a performance from one of the local buskers. On a weekend, take a trip to Howth Market for delicious food and handmade crafts. Continue your day out in Howth with a visit to one of the restaurants. Enjoy seafood tapas at Octopussy or drop by Beshoff Bros for fish and chips to eat sitting by the pier.

Donabate to Portrane Walk

Beginning at Donabate Beach, set out on the Donabate to Portrane Cliff Walk. Trek past hidden caves and majestic towers, basking in the panoramic sea views. The coastal path connects Donabate Beach to Portrane, and the entire walk is 4km in total, 2km out and 2km back again. A new walkway was recently built, and it's the perfect destination for an evening stroll.

Skerries

Clear away the cobwebs and check out North Dublin's amazing coastal views with a brisk walk in Skerries. Bring the kids to make sandcastles while you walk the 2.5km of Skerries South Strand or stroll the promenade footpath that runs alongside it. Time your walk with low tide so you can walk as far out as possible, and after, treat the whole family to an ice cream from Storm in a Tea Cup.

Plan an epic hike

Hikes in the Dublin Mountains 

Get out of town and get some exercise on a visit to the Dublin Mountains. A mere eight miles from the city centre and encompassing 43km of mountain trails, country paths and rural roads, it's a natural playground on Dublin's doorstep. Here you'll find mountain walks to suit every level.

Howth Head 

Discover the Howth Cliff Walk — begin at Howth DART station and walk along the harbour before heading upwards towards the cliffs. Experience breathtaking views of Ireland's Eye and The Baily Lighthouse: and on a clear day, you might see seals and dolphins in the sparkling blue water below you. Continue to The Summit, where you can catch your breath and grab a bite to eat. Follow the path back to Howth village, completing the 6km loop. More energetic types can take on the 12 km Bog of Frogs Trail challenge to get an even greater sense the area's beauty. And if you'd like more of a guided hike, try Shane's Howth Adventures where plenty of local knowledge is part of the package; choose from a variety of touring options taking you through this diverse habitat.

Killiney Hill 

Take the DART or spin out to Killiney and park in Killiney Hill Park. Climb to the summit of Killiney Hill and admire the spectacular views of the Irish Sea, Bray Head and the Wicklow Mountains. Check out the Killiney Hill Obelisk and the nearby Pyramid of Dublin; make sure you bring your phone to snap some photos. On your way down, stop and refuel with a refreshing iced coffee at Killiney Hill Tearooms, a popular spot for dog owners as pups are welcome in the outdoor seating area. 

Get on your bike

Dublin Mountains 

Enjoy amazing views of Dublin Bay with a cycle up the Dublin Mountains. Hire a bike at the foot of the Three Rock Mountain and take on the Ticknock Mountain Bike Trail. The trail is a network of single-track trails and forest roads designated for mountain bike use on a way-marked circular route of 13km. Pass through beautiful woodlands and see the majestic Wicklow Mountains in the distance.

The Phoenix Park 

The perfect spot for a day's cycling, The Phoenix Park has lots of routes and trails for you to enjoy. If you don't have your own bike, book ahead and hire one from Phoenix Park Bikes at the Parkgate Street entrance. Tandem bikes and kids' carriages are available, as are guided tours. The park's main road, Chesterfield Avenue, has a cycle path, and more off-road tracks can be found throughout the park. 

Malahide Castle

Set on 250 acres of parkland, discover Malahide Castle. Rent a bike from the Irish Centre for Cycling, found at the lodge in the park, or book a cycle tour. Enjoy a leisurely cycle around the gorgeous grounds, bring the kids to the playground, and stop by Avoca café for tea and treats.

Clontarf

Make the most of the coast as you cycle along the 11.5km Clontarf to Howth Cycleway. Cycle the whole way out to Howth and back again, or choose a smaller section of the straight, paved route. Grab a coffee in one of Clontarf's seafront cafes or welcoming coffee trucks and enjoy a picnic on the grass — this is the perfect spot to take a snap of the famous Poolbeg Chimneys.

With so many beautiful parks in the city and Dublin coastal walks nearby, it's time to really explore the capital. Discover the Dublin Mountains or enjoy a day at the beach in Malahide. What are you waiting for? Get planning your next outing now!

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