Soak in western Ireland's inspiring coastal landscape on this 12-day itinerary, which features both two and four wheels. Flying into Dublin, you'll head directly west to Galway and journey down the Wild Atlantic Way. Between short drives, you'll cycle around striking scenery, from the lunar-like Burren region to a host of awesome peninsulas. There'll be time to discover key sites on foot, too, from the Cliffs of Moher to Muckross House, as well as Dublin's highlights.


  • Cycle around several west coast peninsulas with a wild Atlantic backdrop
  • Take the bike on a ferry to the Aran Islands; explore ancient sites on two wheels
  • Toast your cycling successes at authentic Irish pubs to the tune of live music
  • Discover protected beauty spots such as the Burren and Killarney National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dublin, Free Day Dublin
Day 2 Drive to Galway, Explore Galway City Galway
Day 3 Drive to the Aran Islands, Cycle on Inishmore Galway
Day 4 Drive to Doolin, Hike the Cliffs of Moher Doolin
Day 5 Cycle the Burren Loop  Doolin
Day 6 Drive to Loop Head, Cycle or Hike Tralee
Day 7 Drive to Dingle, Cycle Slea Head  Dingle Town
Day 8 Drive the Ring of Kerry, Cycle, or Visit the Skellig Islands Cahersiveen
Day 9 Drive to Kenmare, Cycle the Beara Way Kenmare
Day 10 Drive to Killarney National Park Killarney National Park
Day 11 Visit the Rock of Cashel, Drive to Dublin Dublin
Day 12 Depart Dublin  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dublin, Free Day

Downtown Dublin, Ireland.
Frenchman's Lane, near Dublin Docklands

A Céad míle fáilte: Welcome to Ireland! You'll touch down in Dublin, at the mouth of the River Liffey, home to more than a third of the Republic of Ireland's population. For a small capital city, it packs a lot of personality. You'll find architectural splendor and a proud literary culture combined with youthful energy and zest for a good old time.

Whether you want to travel back in time at Dublin Castle or look into the future with a visit to the modern Spire of Dublin, you're sure to find plenty to do in this global city. Cross the river via the Ha'penny Bridge, or stroll through St Stephen's Green and neighboring Grafton Street for shopping, people-watching, and street performers. Stop for a pint in the toe-tapping Temple Bar district, and see how the "black stuff" is made at the Guinness Storehouse.

Day 2: Drive to Galway, Explore Galway City

Galway, Ireland
Get to the heart of Bohemian Galway with a stroll down its High Street

Today, you'll pick up your car in Dublin and start your road trip, traveling 129 miles (208 km) west to Galway. Collect the bikes and load them into your car for the rest of the adventure—then, the rest of the day is yours to experience Galway's delights. This city is Ireland's bohemian heart, with a booming creative scene evident in the street performances, galleries, and shops selling local crafts.

Walk the High Street and dip into the cafés offering endless pots of tea or pubs with cozy snugs and the perfect pour of Guinness. If you're here at a weekend, meander the farmers' market and sample culinary treats such as sushi, bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwiches), or Mediterranean-inspired crepes. Whether rain or shine, a stroll down to Galway Bay is always relaxing and offers far-reaching views of the wild Burren landscape.

Day 3: Drive to the Aran Islands, Cycle on Inishmore

Inis Mor
Wide-open views and prime cycling terrain on the island of Inishmore (Inis Mór)

Pack your bikes and drive your rental car 23 miles (37 km) to the passenger ferry port in Rossaveel. Once you reach Rossaveel, park your car in the lot and take your bicycle on the ferry. Your destination is Inishmore (Inis Mór). This is the largest of the three islands that make up the Aran Islands—out here, Irish heritage holds strong, including the native Gaelic tongue.

Spend your day cycling around the perimeter of Inis Mór, a loop of around 11 miles (17 km). As you pedal, look out for migratory seabirds and marine life, such as dolphins, whales, and seals. Discover churches and ancient ruins atop towering cliffs, including the stone fort of Dun Aonghasa, 330 feet (100 m) above the Atlantic. When you're finished exploring, board the ferry back to Rossaveel and drive to your hotel in Galway for the night.

Day 4: Drive to Doolin, Hike the Cliffs of Moher

Experience one of Ireland's most iconic natural landmarks at the Cliffs of Moher

Jump back in the car and drive 43 miles (70 km) south down the Wild Atlantic Way to the colorful coastal town of Doolin. Once you park and check in at your hotel, take the three-hour walk along the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland's most-visited natural attraction. Rising from the raging Atlantic to 700 feet (214 m) at their highest point, standing here is like teetering at the world's edge. 

As Doolin is the home of traditional Irish music, you might want to spend the evening listening to some local musicians in one of the town's many bars. An excellent place to taste Irish tradition is Gus O'Connor's Pub, one of Ireland's best-loved boozers since 1832. Tuck into seafood chowder or Atlantic mussels while settling in for an evening of merry music. 

Day 5: Cycle the Burren Loop 

Poulnabrone dolmen
Cycle past Neolithic sites like Poulnabrone Dolmen as you explore the Burren

It's back on your bike after breakfast today for a ride of 24 miles (40 km) around the Burren. Named for the Irish word boireann, meaning "rocky place," you'll find miles of lunar-line limestone plateaus, hazel scrub, woodland, springs, and cliffs. Take a break from cycling at the Burren's archaeological sites, some of which date back more than 5,000 years, such as the Poulnabrone Dolmen Neolithic tomb. After, ride back to Doolin, where you'll have the rest of the evening free. 

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Day 6: Drive to Loop Head, Cycle or Hike

On the road in Loop Head
Follow the 34-mile (55 km) Loop Head route for a scenic look at County Clare

Drive south this morning for about an hour to reach the peninsula of Loop Head, at the mouth of the River Shannon in County Clare. Depending on how energetic you feel, you could have a lazy lunch at a pub, stroll around on foot, or take on an exhilarating 34-mile (55 km) bike ride around the peninsula's perimeter.

Take a break at the iconic white lighthouse at the landmass's tip to climb to the viewing balcony and enjoy majestic views of the cliffs and the Atlantic. Come the evening, you can stay in Loop Head for the night or drive another two hours south and stay in the charming coastal town of Tralee, County Kerry's capital.

Day 7: Drive to Dingle, Cycle Slea Head 

The Dingle Peninsula
 Cycle along the Dingle Peninsula for some of Ireland's most spectacular coastal views

Today's drive and bike ride takes you to the Dingle Peninsula, one of the most scenic areas of Ireland, where a mountain range is ringed by white beaches and soaring cliffs. First, you'll take a 40-minute drive to Dingle town, check in at your hotel, and unload your bicycle. Then set off on a 25-mile (41 km) ride along the twisting Slea Head coastal road around the peninsula. Pass castle ruins, ancient Celtic crosses, and glorious sands such as Ventry Beach

Back in Dingle, listen for traditional Irish music drifting out of venues and Irish being spoken as you explore. Popular spots include Dingle Distillery, Louis Mulcahy Pottery, or one of the many working farms open to visitors. When it comes to pubs, start at Foxy John's, a part-pub-part-hardware store, or Dick Mac's Pub & Brewery, which shares its drinking space with a leather goods shop.

Day 8: Drive the Ring of Kerry, Cycle, or Visit the Skellig Islands

Big Skellig Island
Discover sixth-century ruins on a day trip to the Skellig Islands

After breakfast, set off on a scenic two-hour drive of the Ring of Kerry. This route loops the Iveragh Peninsula, running 111 miles (172 km) through wilderness and villages along the rocky coastline. Today, you'll drive as far as the northern coastal town of Cahersiveen, where you'll spend the night. Unload your bikes and enjoy another spectacular ride with constant ocean views.

For a more sedate afternoon, book a boat trip to the Skellig Islands, 7.4 miles (12 km) offshore. History buffs won't want to miss Skellig Michael's ruins of a sixth-century monastic settlement, and nature lovers will also be treated to puffins and other unique birds. You might want to stop at the famous Skelligs Chocolate to see how they make their chocolates and sample a few treats before heading back to Cahersiveen.

Day 9: Drive to Kenmare, Cycle the Beara Way

A picturesque country lane in Kenmare

Hop in the car again this morning for a two-hour drive along the rest of the Ring of Kerry. Your destination is the vibrant town of Kenmare or Ceann Mara. This colorful town sits against the backdrop of misty mountains—you'll find great bars and restaurants and some of Ireland's finest scenery.

Once you arrive and check in at your hotel, you can bike along one of the six cycling routes from the town. A popular biking trail is the two-hour Beara Way & Bonane Heritage Park Loop, which will take you past ancient stone monuments and unspoiled mountain scenery. If you prefer, you could book a horseback riding excursion or book a boat tour of Kenmare Bay

Day 10: Ride to Killarney National Park

Muckross House
Stop for a stroll around the grounds of Killarney's 19th-century Muckross House

Today, you'll set out on a 17-mile (28 km) drive to Killarney National Park. Home to the largest expanse of native forest in Ireland, the country's first national park holds the distinction of being a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. You will get to see even more of Ireland's natural beauty on your way, and once you reach Killarney, you can stop at Muckross House, a 19th-century mansion set among mountains and woodland.

When you're finished, you'll travel back to the town of Killarney to stay overnight. You could visit the neo-Gothic St Mary's Cathedral to see its vivid stained-glass windows, then stroll around the peaceful Franciscan Friary. Come the evening, catch a live band at one of Killarney's pubs, with shows nightly in the summer and several times a week in spring and fall. 

Day 11: Visit the Rock of Cashel, Drive to Dublin

A colorful corner in Dublin at twilight

After breakfast, you'll pack up the car and travel 191 miles (308 km) east back to Dublin. Stop off at the Rock of Cashel, a spectacular group of medieval buildings that were once home to the High Kings of Ireland. Set on an outcrop of limestone, the site also provides sweeping views over the surrounding green fields. 

Once you arrive in Dublin, you'll have the rest of the day to enjoy the city. Before hitting the pubs to toast your final evening, you could take a stroll around the university campus of Trinity College. Its elegant white bell tower is one of the symbols of the city, but another of Dublin's iconic sights lies behind closed doors: the Book of Kells. On display in Trinity's library, this Christian manuscript is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 800 CE.

Day 12: Depart Dublin

Leave your bike behind and say goodbye to Ireland
Leave your bike behind and say goodbye to Ireland

After breakfast, it's time to bid the Emerald Isle farewell. You'll return your rental bikes and car before heading to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Ireland Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Ireland? Check out these other Ireland itineraries, explore different ways to spend 12 days in Ireland, or discover the best time to visit Ireland.


Map of Ireland Self-Guided Cycling Tour: Dublin, Galway, Doolin & Dingle - 12 Days
Map of Ireland Self-Guided Cycling Tour: Dublin, Galway, Doolin & Dingle - 12 Days