Ultimate Guide to Hike & Walk the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

There’s no denying that Ireland is a dream destination, and it is full of fantastic experiences; whether that be awesome road trip routes, ancient castles, or listening to traditional music in an Irish pub. However, not many can top the iconic Cliffs of Moher walk & hike making it a must for any Ireland itinerary, and to be able to witness 300 million years of history!

When you hike and walk the Cliffs of Moher, you’ll feel the wind in your hair and the salty sea spray on your skin as you make your way along the path. It’s an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. But don’t worry if you’re not up for a long hike, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the Cliffs of Moher. Boasting a fantastic coastal cliff trail, breathtaking views, and the opportunity to spot marine life from the clifftop, the Cliffs of Moher have so much to offer.

Are you dreaming of a thrilling adventure at the Cliffs of Moher? Then let me be your guide! In this article, I’m going to give you all the insider tips and tricks you need to make the most out of your visit. From how to get there, what to expect, and even some top-notch accommodation options if you want to do the Cliffs of Moher walk first thing in the morning, I’ve got you covered!

What to Expect of Cliffs of Moher Walk & Hike

The Cliffs of Moher soar to a staggering height of 214 meters (702 feet) at their highest point, extending along a majestic stretch of 8 kilometers (5 miles). They are part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark which supports sustainable tourism, and are one of the most famous landmarks in Ireland!

Be prepared for fantastic views and jaw-dropping landscapes if you’re heading to the Cliffs of Moher. The epic coastal trail will allow you to see the very best of this magical destination. Honestly, it’s a must for any Ireland bucket list!

Even better, you’ve got a chance of spotting marine life in the waters below including basking sharks, seals, whales, and dolphins. There are over 20 species of nesting seabirds found in this area too with the most popular being the puffin.

To make sure you’re well prepared, I’ve brought together some key information for your Cliffs of Moher walk and hike!

Location: Liscannor, Co. Clare, Ireland
Entrance Fee: Free to visit the cliffs, €7-10 to visit the Cliffs of Moher Experience (includes parking, the visitor center, and other amenities)
Cliffs of Moher Experience Opening Hours: March-April (8 am – 7 pm), May-Aug (8 am – 9 pm), Sep-Oct (8 am – 7 pm), Nov-Feb (9 am – 5 pm)
Distance of Entire Walk: 20 km (12.4 miles)
Time Required: At least two hours for a short visit, although you’ll need at least 5 hours for the whole hike (if you want to do it).
Where to stay: Doolin
Cliffs of Moher Ireland

Preparing for Cliffs of Moher Hike: Tips & Essentials

How to hike the Entire Cliffs of Moher Trail

If you’re looking to hike the entire route, then you’ll need to leave a full day free on your itinerary. This will give you ample time to walk the trail and split up your journey at the Cliffs of Moher Experience. Here, you can wander around the visitor center, grab a bite to eat at the cafe, or treat yourself to authentic souvenirs!

For the best experience, arrive in Doolin the night before and book a hotel or B&B. Then, you’ll want to start the walk super early, preferably 8 am if that’s possible. This will allow you to cover a good chunk of the coastal trail before the crowds descend between 11 am – 4 pm.

If you’re starting the walk from Doolin, you won’t need to pay to walk along the cliffs. However, if you’re looking to explore the visitor center, you’ll need to pay for this. In my opinion, the price is totally worth it as you’ll get to learn so much about the local area and how the cliffs formed.

I think you’re best off starting in Doolin as you’ll be just a 14-minute walk away from the trail. You can start in Liscannor if you wish but you’ll need to catch a bus there which takes around 25 minutes. However, you’re then free to walk all the way back to Doolin and your hotel if you choose this option.

Guide of Cliffs of Moher

How Long it takes to Walk the Cliffs of Moher

The entire Cliffs of Moher coastal walk cover a distance of around 12.4 miles (20 km). It runs between Liscannor and Doolin, with the Cliffs of Moher experience located somewhere in the middle!

Many people choose not to walk the entire route as it’s rather time-consuming. It’s also quite challenging, especially since you’ll need to walk to the Cliffs of Moher and back. There used to be a shuttle service here, so you could just hike one way, but unfortunately, it is no longer running. A public bus runs during the summer months, but the times are rather spread out.

Here’s a quick breakdown of shorter hiking options at the Cliffs of Moher:

Coastal Walk North: Cliffs of Moher Experience Visitor Center – Doolin (and vice versa)
Coastal Walk South: Cliffs of Moher Experience Visitor Center – Hags Head & Liscannor (and vice versa)
Visitor Center: North Viewing Platform
Visitor Center: South Viewing Platform

Later in this guide, I’ll go through the best Cliffs of Moher hiking trails for you!

Cliffs of Mother guide

Best ways to get to Cliffs of Moher

As the Cliffs of Moher is such an iconic attraction along the Wild Atlantic Way, you’ll have no problems getting here! Below, I’ve done a quick round-up of the most popular options so you don’t have to spend hours researching.

BY CAR: Easily the best way to reach the Cliffs of Moher as it offers you complete flexibility. There’s plenty of space in the main car park and you can book your tickets in advance so you won’t need to wait around. You’ll find plenty of car rental options in Ireland too, but if you hire with Avis Budget Ireland, you can get 10% off your entrance ticket to the Cliffs of Moher Experience.
BY BUS: Bus Éireann services a route between Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. You’ll need the No. 350, which travels along the road six times a day during the summer months. However, you may be more limited during the winter so just keep that in mind.
BY TOUR: For those who are short of options, there are plenty of fantastic day tours from Dublin. Some of them include different destinations such as Kilmacduagh Abbey, Galway, and The Burren, as well as the Cliffs of Moher.
BY BICYCLE: The area around the Cliffs of Moher is known as one of the top cycling routes in the world. For this reason, many people choose to base themselves nearby, and then cycle to the cliffs.
BY FOOT: You can easily reach the Cliffs of Moher on foot, as there are several excellent hiking trails in the area. As the route runs between Liscannor and Doolin, you can start at either of these villages if you wish.

When is the best time to hike/walk the Cliffs of Moher?

The Cliffs of Moher is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. It can get extremely busy, especially during the peak months. For the best experience, you’ll want to avoid visiting between 11 am – 4 pm as this tends to be the most popular period. During this time, bus tours start to arrive, so you’ll be sharing this encounter with a lot of people!

I’d recommend getting there as early as possible because there’s a lot to see. This will give you plenty of time to walk the entire trail (if you want to), visit the best viewpoints, and explore the visitor center. If you decide to visit during the later afternoon, you’ll be rushing your time here.

Another thing to consider when visiting the Cliffs of Moher is the weather. It can be unpredictable at best, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the forecast before you book your ticket in advance. Try to go for a day that doesn’t have a rainy forecast as you’ll get much better views this way, and look out for strong winds, as it gets pretty wild up on the cliffs.

Cliffs of Moher walk hike

The Best Day-tours to Cliff of Moher from Dublin

If you don’t have your own form of transport, then you’ll need to reach the Cliffs of Moher some other way. There is a bus that runs from Galway, but a lot of tourists tend to visit from Dublin – the capital of the Republic of Ireland.

Luckily, there are plenty of fantastic day tours that will take you from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. Better yet, many of them include a variety of other destinations too so you’ll really get to see the best of Ireland’s rugged landscapes.

Below, you’ll find some of the best Cliffs of Moher tour options from the capital!

This 13-hour tour starts from the capital and will take you to the iconic Cliffs of Moher and some other destinations. This includes Kilmacduagh Abbey, Galway, and The Burren. On this tour, you’ll drive part of the famous Wild Atlantic Way, and your entrance tickets to the Cliffs of Moher are included in the cost.

You’ll get to spend two hours at the Cliffs of Moher with this tour, so you’ll have plenty of time to walk some of the coastal trails and wander around the visitor center. You’ll also get to listen to traditional Irish music in Galway and have a 30-minute guided tour of the city, drive through Burren National Park, and pass through three different counties.

This fantastic 12.5-hour tour will take you along the Wild Atlantic Way, where you’ll get to make several stops. Of course, you’ll get to visit the Cliffs of Moher, but you’ll also stop off at Kilmacdaugh Abbey, and the city of Galway. Your entrance fees to the Cliffs of Moher are included, but you’ll need to pay for food and drinks.

Best Places to Stay to Go Hike/ Walk the Cliffs of Moher

Doolin is Ireland’s country music capital, but it’s also the gateway to the Cliffs of Moher. It’s just an 11-minute drive from the visitor center and a 14-minute walk from the start of the coastal trail.

This makes it the perfect location for an overnight stay or two. Known for its charming colored houses, traditional Irish music, and jaw-dropping views, you won’t want to rush your time here!

Although Doolin is only small, you’ll find some fantastic accommodation options. Some of these are located in the village itself, while others are located more towards the coast you’ll be treated to epic sea views. Below, I’ve included somewhere for every budget, so there’s an option for everyone.

Cliffs of Moher Hotels

TOP OVERALL: Hotel Doolin

Rated: 8.9 Fabulous

Hotel Doolin is the first certified carbon-neutral hotel in Ireland. Here, you’ll find beautiful rooms, Fitz’s Pub which is known for its live Irish music, and Glas Restaurant.

Where to stay near Cliffs of Moher

BUDGET: Coastal View House

Rated: 9.3 Superb

You’ll be in a great location if you stay at Coastal View House as many of the rooms offer sea views. There’s also private parking, free WiFi, and a garden area where you can relax.

Hotels in Cliffs of Moher

MID-RANGE: Sheedy’s Doolin

Rated: 9.9 Exceptional

Sheedy’s Doolin offers cozy rooms; each of which features free WiFi, a private bathroom, and complimentary breakfast. On-site, there’s a shared lounge area and a garden.

Hotels to stay near Cliffs of Moher

LUXURY: Fiddle + Bow Hotel

Rated: 9.1 Superb

You’ll be right in the town center at Fiddle + Bow Hotel, and all 12 rooms are beautifully decorated. Russell’s Seafood Bar is located on-site and known for its live music, open fire, and seafood.

Choosing Your Route: Selecting the Best Cliffs of Moher Hiking Trail

While at the Cliffs of Moher, you’ve got a few different choices when it comes to hiking this coastal trail. To give you an idea, here are your main options:

The Entire Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail: Around 20 km (12.4 miles) – takes upward of 4.5 hours one-way (more like 5.5-6.5 with all the stops)
Coastal Walk North (Doolin-Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center): Around 8 km (5 miles) – takes approximately 2 hours one-way
Coastal Walk South (Liscannor-Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center): Around 5.6 km (3.5 miles) – takes approximately 1.5-2 hours one-way

As you can see there are three main starting options; Doolin, Liscannor, and the Visitor Center. If you start at the latter, you can decide to walk half the route either way, so you’ll have an option of both the North and South Coastal Walks.

There used to be a shuttle bus that operated in this area, so you could easily walk the entire route and then catch the shuttle back. This service is no longer operating, but there is a public bus that services this route. However, it’s much less frequent so it can be a bit of a pain to time the journey right!

If you’re short of time then I’d recommend walking either the North or South Routes. This way, you can take your time admiring the views and stopping to take photographs, rather than trying to cram the whole thing in! If you’ve got the full day, then why not tackle the whole trail?

For those who’d prefer a quick wander, start from the visitor center and walk to either O’Brien’s Tower, the North Viewing Platform, or the South Viewing Platform.

Cliffs of Moher hiking trail

Awe-Inspiring Views: What to Expect on Cliffs of Moher Walk

Where to start with the views from this place? Trust me, the vistas from here will take your breath away! As you walk along the coastal trail, you’ll want to allow longer than the recommended time. This is so you can make plenty of photo stops!

First of all, near the visitor center, there are three primary viewing platforms. The main viewing area is just a short walk from the center, and from here, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Hag’s Head and the South Cliffs. You’ve also got the North and South platforms, which tend to be less crowded.

To reach the North Platform, you’ll need to head right from the main viewing platform. Once here, you’ll get stunning views as you’ll be standing along the highest point of the cliffs. If you head left from the visitor center, you’ll reach the South platform which offers views of Goat Island and the local puffin colony.

Another fantastic viewpoint is O’Brien’s Tower, but honestly, you’ll get incredible views along the whole trail. Generally, the closer you are to the visitor center, the more crowds you’ll encounter. If you continue along the clifftop trail, you’ll get to experience the epic vistas in peace. Depending on the time of year, anyway!

Cliffs of Moher Ireland walk hike

Must-See Sights on Cliffs of Moher

While at the Cliffs of Moher, there are a few notable spots that you’ll want to visit during your trip. Of course, the Cliffs of Moher walk is the absolute highlight, but don’t rush off after you’ve hiked it.

Here are some other places you need to see:

  • O’Brien’s Tower – You can actually climb to the top of this tower to appreciate the epic views. It’s located out on a headland and if it’s a clear day, you’ll see right out to the Aran Islands.
  • Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre – This center is the perfect place to learn about the cliff’s geology, the wildlife that can be found here, and how tourism has developed at the Cliffs of Moher over the years. You’ll also get to learn about the area’s UNESCO Global Geopark.
  • Cliffs View Café – As the name suggests, this cafe offers stunning vistas of the surrounding landscapes and ocean. You can enjoy these views, while you try some traditional Irish food or treat yourself to tasty cake!
  • Craft and Gift Store – Within the visitor center, you’ll come across a quirky gift shop where you can grab a souvenir. Whether you’re after jewelry, clothing, postcards, or ceramics, this place will have something to your liking.
  • The Craftworkers’ Street – Just outside the visitor center, there’s a row of charming shops, all selling Irish goods. Here, you can pick up local knitwear, Celtic jewelry, traditional instruments, quirky t-shirts, gemstones, and so much more!
Cliffs of Moher Ireland

Scenic Views and Hidden Gems at Cliffs of Moher

As I mentioned previously, there are plenty of awesome viewing platforms to be found along the way when you walk the Cliffs of Moher. However, they all tend to get busy, especially during the summer which is the peak season.

For a quieter experience, you can head to some of these other viewpoints and hidden gems:

  • Pollboy Lookout – Located on the way to the North Platform, you’ll get fantastic views of the cliffs from here. Just be careful not to step too close to the edge, which is what many people tend to do at Pollboy Lookout!
  • Moher Tower at Hag’s Head Although cordoned off, from Moher Tower you’ll be offered fantastic views of the cliffs. It’s quite a walk to get here, which is why it’s one of the quieter spots along the coastal trail.
  • Moher Fort Site Telegraph Station – Right next to Moher Tower, there’s another awesome viewpoint. It’s also very quiet, and you’ll be able to get some awesome photographs here – without anyone in either, which is always a bonus!
Cliffs of Moher walk hike

How to prepare for the Cliffs of Moher Walk: Fitness, Gear & Safety

To make the most of your experience at Cliffs of Moher walk and hike with safety, here are some essential top pro-tips to follow:

  • The weather here can be very unpredictable so you’ll want to pack for all conditions. Even if it’s sunny, the wind chill can be intense so make sure you’ve packed a good quality jacket (preferably waterproof).
  • You must have a good quality day backpack and pack a water bottle, energy food for hiking, and a first-aid kit.
  • Another must is a quality pair of walking boots. You’ll want a good grip along this coastal trail, especially if it’s been raining as the path can get very muddy.
  • The Cliffs of Moher walk and hike is rated as medium to high difficulty, so you’ll need a relatively good level of fitness. I recommend you to check these 9 steps to hike like a Pro! However, you don’t need to do the whole route so you can just choose a section that’s flat and easy to traverse (probably from the visitor center is best).
  • Keep an eye on where you’re walking, as parts of the trail are rough and uneven in places. The last thing you want to do is trip over, as there’s an electric fence that runs alongside some of the routes to keep livestock in.
  • For those with limited mobility, there are two ‘Lifts of Moher’ buggies which are operated by trained staff. You can go on a guided tour this way, but there’s also an access path that’s suitable for wheelchair users.
  • It’s important to note that the Cliffs of Moher can be steep and windy, and caution should be exercised while walking along the cliff edges. It’s recommended to follow any posted signs or guidelines, stay on designated paths, and prioritize safety at all times.

Cliffs of Moher Walk and Hike Conclusion

Cliffs of Moher walk and hike is a must for any Ireland itinerary so don’t leave this place off your list. Boasting a fantastic coastal cliff walk, an immersive visitor center, and the chance to spot marine life, you’ll want to allow plenty of time here!

From deciding where to stay, to when to visit, there’s a lot that goes into planning the perfect Cliffs of Moher trip. Hopefully, this guide has given you an idea of what you can expect, the two different trail options, and how to get here. If you’re limited on transport options, then don’t hesitate to check out some of the tours available from Dublin. They’re a great option for those short of time and all the logistics will be covered too!

If you’ve got any further questions about the Cliffs of Moher walk and hike then just leave a comment below. For those who’ve done the hike, which option did you choose, and what were your highlights?

If you are planning a trip to Ireland, then here are some other guides for you:

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2 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide to Hike & Walk the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland”

  1. I will be cycling most of the Wild Atlantic Way, but thought it might be better to hike the Cliffs of Moher portion. Is this wise?

    Also, I’d rather not walk more than 5 miles. Which area would you recommend then?

  2. Hello Joan – Yes, I think it will be a wise decision to hike the Cliffs of Moher portion instead of cycling it, as it allows for a more immersive and scenic experience of the cliffs. If you prefer not to walk more than 5 miles, I would recommend focusing on the main visitor area of the Cliffs of Moher. This area offers stunning views and is easily accessible, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the cliffs without having to cover a significant distance on foot.

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