The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in IrelandIreland
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland is at the top of many people’s Ireland bucket lists, and it is an absolutely unforgettable experience!
We’ve now visited the cliffs twice, staying in the area for several days each time, and have put together this guide to make your Cliffs of Moher visit even easier.
Want to walk along the top of the cliffs, admire them from below via boat, climb a 19th-century tower, or even watch a sunset? We’ve got you covered.
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland!
Table of Contents
- Fun Things to Do at the Cliffs of Moher
- What to Know Before Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
- How Long to Spend at the Cliffs of Moher
- Can you take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin?
- Where to Stay When Visiting the Cliffs of Moher
- What to Pack for the Cliffs of Moher
- Other Cool Things to Do Near the Cliffs of Moher
Fun Things to Do at the Cliffs of Moher
Stroll to Hag’s Head.
Named Hag’s Head after a local legend of a woman who killed herself trying to follow her lover across the cliffs (so, not a cheery legend), the southernmost point of the Cliffs of Moher is home to a crumbling watchtower, some truly impressive views, and some well-earned peace and quiet.
There are far fewer crowds here than near the visitor’s center, so if you walk all the way there (it should take a bit over an hour each way), you’ll most certainly be rewarded.
Walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher.
This beautiful walk takes about 2 hours each way, so if you’re looking to soak up a solid half-day worth of stunning Irish beauty, this is an excellent way to get it!
… Or walk the entire Coastal Trail!
Stretching 18km from Doolin to Liscannor, the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail opened in 2013 and is no doubt the most comprehensive way to visit the Cliffs of Moher–but if you take it on, be prepared for quite a long day!
Climb O’Brien’s Tower.
This tiny, castle-like tower perched on the highest section of the Cliffs of Moher may look slightly medieval, but it was actually built in the 19th century for the express purpose of giving the tourists (yep, tourists already loved the Cliffs of Moher in the mid-1800s!) an excellent view of the cliffs.
Today, you can check out the view for a couple of Euros.
Admire the Stack.
Standing at 60 meters high just off the coast of the Cliffs of Moher, the Stack (or An Branán Mor in Irish) is a beautiful and unmistakably identifiable feature of the Cliffs of Moher–its location near O’Brien’s Tower means that it ends up in a lot of photos!
Spot filming locations.
Two enormously popular and famous movies had scenes filmed right here at the Cliffs of Moher.
Remember the sea cave from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Filmed right here.
Remember the Cliffs of Insanity from The Princess Bride? Also filmed at the Cliffs of Moher!
Take a Cliffs of Moher cruise.
If you want to enjoy visiting the Cliffs of Moher from all angles, consider adding a Cliffs of Moher cruise to your plans!
While visiting the top of the cliffs is among the most popular tourist activities in Ireland, far fewer people board a boat to check out the views from below.
Cruises are both inexpensive and chock full of spectacular views, and you can’t go wrong with adding one to your Cliffs of Moher itinerary!
Watch the sunset at the Cliffs of Moher.
Watching the sunset over the cliffs is a spectacular experience, so be sure to add it to your list of things to do at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.
What to Know Before Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher is more than just the visitor’s center.
While heading to the Cliffs of Moher visitor’s center will give you the most iconic views of the cliffs in the quickest, simplest way, the cliffs themselves expand far beyond that small space, so don’t forget to check the rest out!
In fact, you don’t have to go to the visitor’s center at all if you don’t want to.
Heading to the visitor’s center might be the easiest way to see the cliffs, but it’s not a requirement to go: if you’d rather hike a bit and avoid the crowds, consider heading to one of the other small parking lots with access to the Cliffs of Moher in the region.
You’ll definitely need to walk a bit more to access the most famous views, but the Cliffs of Moher are stunning from all angles.
… But if you do, show up early (or late).
If you’re visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland on a time crunch, definitely don’t show up at the cliffs in the middle of the day–especially during high season!
We’ve seen the parking lot completely full and closed to new visitors more than once (this is one of the reasons we recommend booking a tour if you’re coming all the way from Dublin), so definitely try to arrive early… or late.
Sunset at the cliffs can be a magical experience, and the crowds do tend to thin out by then as the daytrippers head off for the day.
The Cliffs of Moher can be dangerous, so be careful!
This story is sadly only one example of many: while the Cliffs of Moher are absolutely beautiful, their sheer drops combined with high winds also make them dangerous.
Add in more than a million annual visitors, and you have a recipe for occasional tragedy.
While how close you get to the edge of the cliffs is ultimately a personal choice, we strongly recommend erring on the side of caution and remaining a reasonable distance from the edge.
How Long to Spend at the Cliffs of Moher
One day spent at the Cliffs of Moher is more than enough and should give you time to see the Cliffs from above, take a Cliffs of Moher cruise to see them from below, and also spend a bit of time in nearby Doolin.
If you’d like to hike the full Cliffs of Moher trail, you can do that in one day as well, though it is a full-day commitment.
However, that’s assuming your first day spent visiting the Cliffs of Moher is a clear one–this is Ireland, after all, and the weather is not always perfect.
If you have your heart set on seeing the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, considering book two days nearby in order to give yourself better odds–the region is certainly lovely enough that you’ll find plenty to fill your time on both days.
Can you take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin?
Yes–but think twice before you do.
The Cliffs of Moher are about a 3.5-hour drive from Dublin in each direction, making it a less-than-ideal day trip by any normal standards, and we don’t generally recommend taking one.
However, there’s also no doubt that the Cliffs of Moher top many people’s Ireland bucket lists, so if you’re absolutely determined to make the trip happen, we recommend booking a tour (this one is extremely popular and well-reviewed) to ensure that you have the smoothest day possible.
Keep in mind that if you take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, you’ll likely be visiting in the middle of the day, and the cliffs will be very crowded (especially during the summer).
Limerick, Galway, and even Killarney are all better options for a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher than Dublin–and of course, if time allows, the best option of all is not to take a day trip at all, and to spend a night (or more!) in the area.
Book your Cliffs of Moher tour today!
Where to Stay When Visiting the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are most easily accessible from Doolin (located about a 10-minute drive to the north) and Liscannor (about a 10-minute drive to the south).
There’s also plenty of country bed and breakfasts, hotels, and family-run cottages and properties in the general area that are absolutely lovely.
Personally, Doolin holds a special place in our hearts, and we’ll always recommend staying there if you can.
Here are a few options for places to stay in Doolin–if you do end up staying in the village, or even passing through, we can definitely recommend Doolin Cafe for an excellent breakfast and unbeatable pastries and snacks.
Aille River Hostel — This popular hostel in Doolin is located right next to the city center–and is housed in a 300-year-old cottage!
If you’re looking to visit the Cliffs of Moher on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the tried-and-true Aille River Hostel!
Killilagh Accommodation — Though the name has changed slightly since then, this is the property we fell in love with in Doolin during our first visit!
The location is truly perfect (right across the street from Doolin Cafe and less than a 5-minute walk from Doolin’s two most popular pubs), and the building and rooms cozy and lovely. We’d be thrilled to stay again!
Ballinalacken Castle Country House Hotel — This 19th-century castle has been expanded over the years to turn into a roomy hotel just outside of Doolin and gets rave reviews!
If you’re looking for a soft place to land at the end of the day during your stay near the Cliffs of Moher–not to mention an extremely popular included breakfast to start your day with–this is the hotel for you.
Prefer an Airbnb?
On our most recent trip to the Cliffs of Moher, we stayed in a private room at this amazing property located less than a 10-minute drive from the cliffs (and yes, we definitely drove into Doolin to eat most days!).
The host is phenomenal–almost as lovely as her adorable dog–and the room very cozy.
What to Pack for the Cliffs of Moher
Comfortable Shoes — You don’t necessarily need hiking boots to visit the Cliffs of Moher, but you definitely want comfortable, closed-toe, waterproof shoes.
Water — On our first visit to the Cliffs of Moher, we decided to walk to Hag’s Head without bringing water, which was absolutely bad idea. Definitely bring a bottle along with you–we recommend a reusable Nalgene.
Binoculars — The Cliffs of Moher are home to some truly beautiful birds, including the famous puffins–but good luck spotting any detail on them without binoculars!
Other Cool Things to Do Near the Cliffs of Moher
The colorful village of Doolin is just a few minutes by driving from the Cliffs of Moher, and it is an absolute delight!
Tiny and adorable, this is the perfect place to stay while visiting the cliffs.
Be sure to spend at least one evening that you’re in town soaking up some traditional Irish music and tasty pub food–we’ve personally spent several lovely evenings at McDermott’s.
Pay a visit to the Aran Islands.
Located just a short ferry ride away from the cliffs (in fact, you can even combine a day trip to the Aran Islands and a Cliffs of Moher cruise), the three Aran Islands are among some of the most interesting places in all of Ireland.
The smallest and closest island, Inisheer, is home to less than 250 full-time residents and boasts Irish as the main spoken language–and it’s beautiful, too!
Book your trip to Inisheer today!
Head out to the Burren.
Drive out to the Burren, and you’ll suddenly start to wonder if you’ve left Ireland: when you enter the Burren, Ireland’s distinctive green abruptly vanishes in favor of a rocky, otherworldly landscape.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call it pretty–but it’s definitely impressive and very interesting.
Check out the Doolin Cave.
Home to one of the largest stalactites in the world, a visit to Doolin Cave is a fun and interesting way to mix up your visit to the area surrounding the Cliffs of Moher!