Round trip Ireland (16-day): Planned route + itinerary & map
On vacation in Ireland? Use our mapped tour + tips!
Ireland is one of our favorite holiday destinations. The country has a long history of which traces can be found everywhere, from neolithic tombs 5,000 years old, to monasteries from the early Middle Ages and countless castles. Not to mention the beautiful nature!
From the bustling city life of Dublin, Cork and Belfast, to the rugged beauty of Dingle and Kerry, to the Cliffs of Moher... there's something for everyone in Ireland.
Planning to visit Ireland? Our itinerary is the perfect start to your trip to Ireland.
Map of the 16-day tour through Ireland
The complete route is available in our Ireland travel guide.
Day 1: City walk Dublin
As the capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin is a centre of art, culture and entertainment, with a rich, welcoming atmosphere and compelling history. But where to start? In our Ireland travel guide we've mapped out 2 walks that will take you along the best parts of the city. On the first walk you'll be able to enjoy the classic sights, while the second digs a little deeper into the city's literary history and pub culture.
Want to know what to see in Dublin? We already wrote about our favorite sights in Dublin on our blog, so make sure to have a look!
Looking for a nice hotel in Dublin? Book here and get a discount!
Day 2: Wicklow Mountains
After Dublin, it's time to explore the rest of Ireland. We'll drive south, deep in the Wicklow Mountains, where we'll visit the stately Powerscourt Estate, Ireland's highest waterfall and the ancient monastery site of Glendalough, which is very picturesque and great to do beautiful walks. In this blogpost you'll find more information.
We spend the night in Kilkenny. You can find an overview of hotels with prices and discounts here!
Day 3: Kilkenny to Cork
Day 3 of the tour takes us from Kilkenny to Cork. The day starts at Kilkenny Castle, in the heart of Kilkenny. This is a 12th century castle that has been restored to its former Victorian glory. It is located in a large park next to the River Nore. Both the domain and the castle itself are open to the public, and worth a visit.
On the way to Cork we make a stop at the majestic castle and cathedral ruins of the Rock of Cashel, and at Dunmore Cave, a cave with special calcite formations.
We spend the night in Cork. Here you will find the cheapest hotels.
Day 4: Cork to Skibbereen
Cork is an interesting university town near the river Lee. The city is connected to the sea by its port and has a long history. We will make time to visit the main sights of Cork before continuing the tour along the south coast of Ireland to Skibbereen.
Day 5: Skibbereen to Killarney
On day 5 of the trip you will discover the rugged landscapes of South-West Ireland. The road paves its way along winding roads with regularly breathtaking views. On the way you should definitely stop at Moll's Gap, a picturesque mountain pass. There's a viewpoint over the panoramic Macgillycuddy's Reeks mountain range. The road today ends with a piece of Ring of Kerry, which we will explore further tomorrow.
The next 2 days we will spend the night in Killarney. We booked the Dromhall Hotel.
Day 6: Ring of Kerry and Skellig Michael
We start the day with a visit to one of the most remote places in Ireland: Skellig Michael, a special island off the coast that can only be reached by boat. Attention: book your place in advance for the sailing, because the number of places is very limited. Also bear in mind that the trip depends on the sea and weather conditions. If it is too dangerous at sea, they don't sail out. But don't worry, even then there is still enough to see along the Ring of Kerry to fill your day.
The Ring of Kerry is a 179-kilometer touristic route that takes you through County Kerry and guarantees fantastic views along the way. Read our tips + favorite stops along the Ring of Kerry.
Day 7: Dingle Peninsula
During this part of the tour you will discover the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, which protrudes into the Atlantic Ocean. The coastline is a special mix of cliffs and sandy beaches. As you will notice, this region is bursting with Irish history, language and culture. Read more about the beautiful Dingle Peninsula.
We spend the night in Tralee. Find your ideal hotel here.
Day 8: Tralee to Ennis
Our first stop brings us to the nice town of Limerick, where we discover the most important sights in a short city walk. We end the day in the charming town of Ennis, at the Fergus river. Along the way you can expect to see beautiful castles, a fantastic scenery and many more sights, such as the Bunratty Castle & Folk Park.
Day 9: Ennis to Galway
Day 9 of the Ireland tour takes us to the beautiful Cliffs of Moher, and the strange, landscape of The Burren. We end the day in Galway, which is the ideal place to enjoy Irish hospitality and music.
We stayed in the Park House Hotel, excellent location in the heart of Galway with very friendly personnel.
Day 10: Galway to Westport
Today we are going to Connemara National Park! We selected roads that lead along the most beautiful landscapes of this region, make some nice walks and visit Kylemore Abbey, an old monastery.
Day 11: Westport to Sligo
On day 11 of the tour, we drive from Westport to Sligo. Along the way you will come across both historical and cultural sites. Along the way we stop at the two megalithic tombs of Carrowkeel and Carrowmore, each thousands of years old.
Need to relax along the way? You can do that on the vast and windy beach of Strandhill. This pristine stretch of coastline is particularly popular with surfers as perfect surf waves are formed in the right weather conditions. Of course it's also the perfect place for a nice walk on the beach.
We stayed the night in the modern Glasshouse Hotel in Sligo. Central location, with all the necessary comfort.
Day 12: Sligo to (London)Derry
On day 12 we drive from Sligo to (London)Derry and cross the border, from Ireland to Northern Ireland. On the way we come across several castles whereby the castle of Donegal is definitely worth a visit. If you make an extra detour you can drive via Donegal Bay. A must to include in your tour because the view along this road is fantastic. You will pass the Slieve League cliffs which are over 600 meters high and therefore the highest in Ireland.
In (London)Derry we make time for a short walk over the city walls, along the Catholic and Protestant districts. The Northern Ireland Civil War has left a lot of wounds, not all of which have healed yet. Would you like to know more? Join a local and take a city walk.
Day 13: (London)Derry to Belfast
Today we visit The Giant's Causeway, a special natural phenomenon along the northern coast of Northern Ireland. We also taste whiskey in the Old Bushmill's Distillery.
Today's ride ends in Belfast, which we will explore further the next day.
We stayed in the Stormont Hotel, located directly opposite the Northern Ireland Parliament. beautiful rooms and a nice restaurant.
Day 14: Belfast city walk
Belfast has a long and fascinating history. Although the city has had hard times, there is hope for the future. Since the golden days of shipbuilding and the successful linen industry, Belfast has known a lot of black snow, but today the city is slowly but steadily recovering.
Still, Belfast has a major tourist attraction thanks to its links with the Titanic. The ship was built and launched here. Many places in Belfast refer to it, commemorating both its technical excellence and all the people on board who lost their lives in the disaster. Discover the main sights of Belfast on this city walk.
Day 15: Belfast to Drogheda
On this penultimate day of your tour of Ireland, we say goodbye to Northern Ireland and return to the Republic of Ireland. We will visit a number of places where truth and myth are so entwined that they make the region what it is today, such as Old Mellifont Abbey, the High Crosses of Monasterboice and the battlefield of the very important Battle of the Boyne. The final destination for the day is Drogheda.
Day 16: Drogheda to Dublin
Today is the last day of our Ireland tour. But don't worry! There is still a lot to visit on the way back to Dublin. You will pass by Hill of Slane and the Hill of Tara.
We also visit the important sight of Newgrange and Knowth, graves that were built about 5000 years ago, and are unique in Europe. Both can be visited from the Bru Na Boinne visitor centre, which is also very worthwhile in itself!
Where to stay in Ireland? (with discount)
Looking for a place to sleep during your stay in Ireland? If so, we recommend that you search around Dublin, Belfast and Galway. These are the cities where you'll find the widest variety.
Which car to rent?
- Are you still unsure which car to rent for your road trip?
- Do not rent a car that is too small, go for a comfortable car.
- Be sure to book an all-inclusive insurance policy so you can drive around in peace.
- A reliable car rental company is Rentalcars (very large offer).
- Read more tips about renting a car on vacation.
Don't miss out on anything during your stay in Ireland with our travel guide!
Like most of us, you don't want to miss out on anything during your stay in Ireland. Well, we have some good news, because we already did the research for you! Buy our travel guide Ireland with 187 highlights (+ GPS coordinates) and a mapped route. Want to try it out first? Download your free preview travel guide Ireland with a city walk in Dublin!