Dingle Peninsula Drive in Ireland: Best Route, Tips & What to See!

If you’re looking for information on the Dingle Peninsula drive then you’ve come to the right place! This guide is going to cover everything you need to know, such as what to see, where to stay, and some other top tips. I’ve also included some great tour options if you’re unable to drive the route yourself.

The Dingle Peninsula is located along Ireland’s iconic Wild Atlantic Way. Famous for its dramatic landscapes, charming towns, and rich history, this part of the country is a must-visit and it should be on top of your Ireland bucket list! This popular route covers a distance of around 30 miles (47 km) long, making it a great option for those who are short of time, but would still like to road trip the area!

After driving the Dingle Peninsula I fell in love with this route in Ireland, and I meticulously put this guide together. Although it won’t take long to drive the route, you don’t want to rush your time along the Dingle Peninsula. There are plenty of awesome places to stop off at, and you can also extend the route by including the Ring of Kerry if you wish!

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Dingle Peninsula Drive

Dingle Peninsula Drive Quick Overview

📍 LOCATION: County Kerry, the Republic of Ireland

⏳ DINGLE PENINSULA DRIVING TIME: The entire drive along the Dingle Peninsula is around 30 miles (47 km)

🌍 WHERE IT STARTS AND ENDS: Dingle

🚗 BEST RENTAL CAR: To rent a car for road trips, get the best deals with this reliable car rental which compares prices across several companies

🏨  BEST PLACE TO STAY: Dingle Bay Hotel (⭐️ 8.7/10) | Dingle Skellig Hotel (⭐️ 8/10)

📸 BEST PRIVATE TOUR: Dingle Peninsula 4-hour Private Tour (⭐️ 5/5)

🏆 OVERALL BEST TOUR: Exhilarating Rib Experience – Dingle Sea Safari (⭐️ 5/5)

Dingle Peninsula Drive

The Dingle Peninsula is one of the major peninsulas within County Kerry. The best way to experience the rugged beauty of this place is by driving Slead Head Drive. The route covers a distance of around 30 miles (47 km) and it’s recommended to spend a full day doing the drive.

Of course, you can drive around the whole peninsula if you wish, although this will take longer. However, there are plenty of cool spots to see that aren’t located along Slea Head Drive, so it may be worth doing some research to see which attractions you’d like to prioritize.

The main route along Slea Head Drive starts and ends in the town of Dingle, and you’ll want to travel clockwise. Otherwise, you’ll end up meeting the large tour buses that travel along this route. As part of the road is single-lane and very narrow, it’s best to try and avoid these encounters.

Best landscapes in Ireland

Driving Your Own Car in Dingle Peninsula

When it comes to the Dingle Peninsula drive, you’ve got two options. Firstly, you can bring your car over on the ferry if you’re traveling from the United Kingdom or France. However, this can be expensive!

🚗 WHERE PICK YOU YOUR RENTAL CAR: For those who are flying into Ireland (which is the most likely scenario), you can pick up a hire car at the airport. The two nearest airports are Shannon and Cork, and you can pick up a rental at both of them. This means you can start your road trip straight from the airport.

🚗 DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO RENT A CAR IN IRELAND: 1) You must have a valid driver’s license from your home country, 2) International Driver’s Permit 3) a Passport or other identification 4) a Credit Card 5) Age requirements as most car rental companies typically request to be at least 21 years old

🚗 NAVIGATION SYSTEMS: The majority of car rental agencies offer rentals with many extras including satellite GPS navigators and baby car seats at additional cost – the GPS navigator will surely prove to be useful during your driving in Dingle Peninsula.

🚗 CHOOSE A RELIABLE RENTAL CAR COMPANY: You need an online company to help you quickly and easily find the best rates possible. And Discover Cars is an amazing company. So, to rent a car in Ireland just go to their website, enter your preferred pick-up location, and select your favorite rental car pick-up point. 

#1 Our Top Pick
Wild atlantic way route planner

Discover Cars

🏆 When choosing an Irish car rental online, my number one pick is always Discover Cars. I personally use them and love them since they meticulously search through local and international companies to get you the best deal every time.

⭐️ Rating: 4.6/ 5.0 (115,000+ Reviews) | Details: Read more on discovercars.com now!

Preparing to Drive the Dingle Peninsula FAQ

Is worth it to drive the Dingle Peninsula?

If you’ve got the time, then I certainly recommend driving along the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. It’s one of the most beautiful locations along the Wild Atlantic Way and there are so many Irish landmarks to visit here.

Whether you’re looking to wander along beautiful beaches, relax in a traditional Irish pub, or try out some outdoor activities, this part of the country has something for everyone! There are also several great places nearby where you can base yourself.

You can easily drive the Dingle Peninsula in a couple of hours, but make sure you don’t rush your time here. There are also a couple of day trip opportunities from this area, including the Blasket Islands.

Dingle Peninsula Drive

Dingle Peninsula vs Ring of Kerry?

Although the Ring of Kerry tends to be the most popular option, the Dingle Peninsula Drive has a lot to offer!

The first route will take you along the Iveragh Peninsula and covers around 111 miles (179 km). There’s a lot to see along the Ring of Kerry, although it’s much busier than the Dingle Peninsula Drive. The latter is much shorter, at just 30 miles (47 km) so it’s a better option for those who are short of time.

For the best experience though, I’d recommend driving both routes as each one has something unique to offer. I’d allow at least one day for each route, so you don’t rush the amazing destinations that you can visit along the way.

Dingle Peninsula Drive

When is the best time to drive the Dingle Peninsula?

If you’re looking to drive the Dingle Peninsula then I’d recommend avoiding the summer months of July and August if you can. Although not nearly as popular as the Ring of Kerry, this route is part of the Wild Atlantic Way – one of the world’s most iconic road trip routes.

At an absolute minimum, you’ll need around 2 hours for this route. There are so many fantastic places to see along the way, so I’d recommend starting the road trip early. That way, you can really make the most of your time in this beautiful part of Ireland.

If you want a quiet experience, then I recommend starting your Dingle Peninsula drive around 9 am.

Dingle Peninsula Drive

How is the driving in Ireland?

Driving along the Dingle Peninsula will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. However, it requires you to adapt to the left-hand driving style. That means you’ll need to keep left and yield to traffic on the right.

The one thing to consider when driving along the Dingle Peninsula is that the roads can be very narrow. Be mindful of oncoming vehicles and make sure you utilize designated pull-off areas. You’ll also need to exercise caution at roundabouts.

While driving this route, make sure you respect the speed limit and take your time getting used to driving on the left side. If you don’t feel comfortable hiring your own car, then I’d recommend going on a tour instead.


Best Tours at Dingle Peninsula

If you’re looking for top-notch travel agencies offering tours in Dingle Peninsula, I highly recommend Get Your Guide and Viator.

These two tour companies are featured in this article and have received outstanding ratings on Trustpilot. They provide exceptional customer service and offer a wide range of affordable tours with a hassle-free booking process.

#1 OVERALL Best Tour

Exhilarating Rib Experience – Dingle Sea Safari

🏆 TOP TOUR: This awesome tour will take you to the most spectacular dramatic scenery of the Dingle Peninsula. You will admire the rugged coastline, see Blasket Island, and glimpse the wildlife.

⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 3-hour

⭐️ Rating: Rating: 55 (679 reviews) | Details: Read more reviews now!

#1 Best Private Tour
Dingle Peninsula Drive

Dingle Peninsula Four-Hour Private Tour

🏆 TOP PICK: This day tour will allow you to see the best of the Dingle Peninsula and the Slea Head drive route. You’ll also have a personal local guide with you throughout the trip, so you’ll get to learn all about the area.

⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 4 hours

⭐️ Rating: Rating: 5/5 (143 reviews) | Details: Read more reviews now!

#1 Top Day Tour
Things to do in Killarney

Full-Day Tour of the Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head, and Inch Beach

🏆 TOP TOUR: This full-day tour will take you to some of the area’s most popular spots such as Dingle Town and Slea Head Drive. You’ll be on a spacious coach with a guide and live commentary.

⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 6.5 hours

⭐️ Rating: Rating: 4.5/5 (209 reviews) | Details: Read more reviews now!

Dingle Peninsula Driving Highlights

You’ll want to allow at least 2-3 hours for the Dingle Peninsula Drive. However, even then you’ll be rushing as there are so many great places to visit along the way. For the best experience, try to allow at least a full day, and that way, you’ll have much more time to experience all that this area has to offer.

Whether you’re looking to visit beautiful beaches, go on a dolphin-watching tour, or explore the charming town of Dingle, this scenic peninsula has something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit along the Dingle Peninsula!


1. Dingle Town

As you’ll likely be starting the Dingle Peninsula drive in Dingle itself, exploring the town is a great starting point. This charming port town is located on the edge of an estuary and is famous for its food, shops, and galleries. There also used to be a resident dolphin here called Fungi, although unfortunately, he’s not been spotted for a couple of years. You’ll find a statue of him in town though!

Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium is one of the town’s most popular attractions, and you can also head out on boat tours from here. You’ll find plenty of traditional Irish bars in Dingle too, many of which host live music.

If you’re planning to explore the Dingle Peninsula, then this town is the perfect base. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options here for every budget. Also, if you do not want to drive, you can join a private tour with a personal guide.

Dingle Town

2. Slea Head

Slea Head is a promontory along the Dingle Peninsula that offers stunning views of the nearby Blasket Islands. For the best experience of this headland, you’ll want to head along the Slea Head drive route.

This is the main loop along the Dingle Peninsula and it will take you past some of County Kerry’s most iconic attractions. Not to mention this part of Ireland is absolutely beautiful, rain or shine. Just make sure you don’t rush your time here as there’s a lot to see!

If you don’t have your transport, this Slea Head peninsular tour will show you the area’s highlights. It lasts for around 6 hours and you’ll have a guide with you who’ll be able to tell you all about the local area.

Dingle Peninsula Drive

3. Dingle Peninsula Hike Trails

The Dingle Peninsula boasts an array of captivating hiking trails that cater to all skill levels, and it is referred to as a hiking in a “wild paradise”. From leisurely coastal strolls to challenging mountain treks, you can immerse yourself in Ireland’s breathtaking scenery. Some popular trails include:

  1. Dingle Way: a 179-kilometer (111 miles) long-distance trail that encircles the entire Dingle Peninsula, providing a comprehensive exploration of the region’s diverse landscapes and cultural heritage. If you are looking for a shorter distance, you can hike the Dingle to Dunquin section, with 20 km long.
  2. Slea Head Coastal Walk: This is a shorter, more manageable hike compared to the Dingle Way. It typically covers a distance of around 8 kilometers (5 miles), showcasing the stunning coastal scenery and offering a taste of the peninsula’s beauty.
  3. Mount Brandon: This route starts in Faha. The ascent of Mount Brandon is approximately 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) long. This challenging hike rewards adventurers with majestic views from the summit, making it one of the most popular mountain treks in the area.

You have the option to join a self-guided tour starting in Dingle. If you are going to hike the Dingle Peninsula, make sure you have sturdy footwear, dress in layers for unpredictable weather, carry water, and respect the environment’s fragility to preserve this natural wonder.


4. Coumeenoole Beach

Ireland is full of beautiful beaches but Coumeenoole will undoubtedly take your breath away! It’s located along Slea Head Drive and offers spectacular views of the bay, the Blasket Islands, and Dunmore Head.

This unspoiled beach is known for its turquoise water, rugged landscapes, and fine sand. It’s the perfect place for a picnic and is also a popular surfing spot so there’s something for everyone. Some people do choose to swim here as well but it’s not advised as the waves are rough and there are strong undercurrents.

Coumeenoole Beach is around a 30-minute drive from Dingle. You can either make a quick photo stop here, or you’ll probably want to relax and enjoy the views if the weather is pleasant. Just don’t leave this place off your itinerary!


5. Dunquin Pier

Also known as Dun Chaoin Pier, this incredible place is located along a small bay. It’s one of the most scenic spots along the Dingle Peninsula and the Wild Atlantic Way in general, so you don’t want to miss it.

Try to time your visit on a clear day, as the views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding cliffs are jaw-dropping. As you wander down the pier, make sure you take plenty of photographs. Just don’t drive your car down here, as it’s far too narrow! Unfortunately, this is more common than you would think! Instead, park at the car park located just above the pier.

If you’re not short of time, a seasonal ferry service runs to the Blasket Islands from the pier.

Dunquin Pier, Slea Head Drive

6. The Blasket Islands

If you do decide to take a trip over to the Blasket Islands, then allow at least 3-4 hours for your visit. Often referred to as Na Blascaodaí, this island archipelago is located off the Dingle Peninsula’s most western point.

Famous for their rugged wilderness, beauty, and unique rock formations, the Blasket Islands have a lot to offer. This archipelago is also known for its incredible sea life, including dolphins, seals, and whales. Depending on the time of year, you can see puffins too!

If you don’t have time to visit the islands, then head to The Blasket Centre in Dún Chaoin. This fantastic museum and cultural center will outline what life was like on these islands up until their evacuation in 1953!


7. Conor Pass

Another great place to visit on the Dingle Peninsula is Conor Pass. It’s one of Ireland’s highest mountain passes and runs for 12 km between Dingle Town and Kilmore Cross. The pass isn’t located along the Slea Head Loop, but I’d certainly recommend taking a detour to experience it.

Driving along the pass, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of mountains, lakes, and valleys. Not to mention, this is where you’ll find Conor Pass Waterfall, although you’ll want to get here relatively early to avoid the crowds.

There are two main viewpoints along Conor Pass; one at Peddler’s Lake and the other which is located right at the top of the pass. From here, you’ll have fantastic vistas of the Dingle Peninsula.

Things to do in Clifden

8. Dingle Whisky Distillery

If you’re looking for another place to visit along the Dingle Peninsula drive, then head to Dingle Whisky Distillery. It’s just a short drive from the center of Dingle Town and is a great rainy-day activity.

For the best experience of this place, make sure you book a tour. These guided tours last for around an hour and you’ll get to learn all about whisky production. You’ll also get to sample two whiskeys along the way, and you’ll have a signature serve too at the end of the tour.

Just keep in mind that there are no alcoholic products available on site but you can purchase them in town. As such, you may want to visit this distillery first before heading into Dingle.

If you want to explore more the taste of Dingle, I recommend joining this Dingle tasting tour for a half-day of tasting, featuring some of Dingle’s best places to eat and drink authentic Irish local food.


9. Inch Beach

Another beautiful beach along the Dingle Peninsula is Inch Beach. It’s not located along the famous Slea Head Drive, so you will have to extend your route if you want to visit. It’s one of the first places you’ll head past as you come onto the peninsula and is located off the R561.

Also known as Inch Strand, this blue flag beach is one of the best places to visit if you’re looking to swim, surf, or sunbathe. You’ll find decent parking here, but during the summer, you’ll want to get to the beach relatively early, especially if it’s a nice day!

There’s a campsite right by the beach if you’re looking to stay overnight and you’ll also find Sammy’s here which is a quaint cafe.

Things to do in Clifden

10. The Fanan Beehive Huts

If you’re looking for unique places to visit along the Dingle Peninsula drive then check out the Fanan Beehive Huts. These huts are just a 12-minute drive from Coumeenoole Beach and they’re a fascinating sight to see.

There are 18 clachans (beehive huts) on-site and it’s thought that they date back to between the 8th and 12th centuries AD. Although you’ll find these types of houses all across Ireland, this cluster is certainly one of the most remarkable!

You’ll also find earthen ring forts, inscribed stones, and sculptured crosses here so there’s a lot to see. Not only are the beehive huts impressive, but from this site, you’ll also get fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean. You won’t need a lot of time at this place either so it’s a great option for those who are short of time.


11. Go on a Dingle Peninsula Sea Safari

If you’re wondering what to do in Dingle then head out on a sea safari-watching tour! The waters surrounding the Dingle Peninsula are rich with marine life, and although you can often spot dolphins from the shore, you’ll get a better experience on a boat.

Dingle sea safari tour is one of the most popular operators in the area and they offer a variety of boat trips. This awesome 3-hour tour gets close t the dramatic scenery and glimpses of wildlife.

Some of the species found in these waters include killer whales, minke whales, humpback whales, fin whales, and basking sharks. Not to mention the variety of birds in this area, including puffins.

Dolphin watching

Where to Stay in Dingle Peninsula

So you don’t rush your trip, choose somewhere to base yourself so you can take your time and just enjoy the drive.

You’ll find plenty of charming towns in County Kerry, although Dingle will be the most convenient. It marks the start of the Dingle Peninsula Drive, and there’s a lot to do here. Not to mention you’ll find plenty of great places to visit in the surrounding area.

There are also lots of awesome hotels on the Ring of Kerry if you’d prefer to stay there and just drive out to the peninsula. From the popular town of Killarney, it’s less than an hour’s drive to the Dingle Peninsula. Here are my top hotel recommendations!

TOP LOCATION: Dingle Bay Hotel

⭐️ Rating: 8.7/10 (1,192 reviews) | Details: Read more on booking.com now!

This hotel is located in the heart of town, right near the pier and marina. With a stylish bar, on-site restaurant, and gorgeous rooms, this place has a lot to offer!


Dingle Peninsula Hotels

MOST LUXURIOUS: Dingle Skellig Hotel

⭐️ Rating: 8/10 (114 reviews) | Details: Read more on booking.com now!

The Dingle Skellig Hotel offers plenty of awesome facilities including an on-site spa, indoor pool, fitness center, and restaurant. There’s also a bar.


BUDGET-FRIENDLY: The Hawthorn Rooms Dingle

⭐️ Rating: 9.7/10 (291 reviews) | Details: Read more on booking.com now!

This property offers several deluxe rooms and some even feature sea views. Not to mention you’ll benefit from free private parking, Wi-Fi, and a garden area.


Dingle Peninsula Drive Conclusion

If you’re heading to County Kerry then don’t miss out on doing the Dingle Peninsula Drive! There are plenty of awesome places to stop at along the way, so this isn’t a route you want to rush.

If you’re short of time, then the Dingle Peninsula is a great option as the drive won’t take you long at all. However, you’ll want to allow time to visit some of the highlights including Dingle Town, the Slea Head Drive, Coumeenoole Beach, and the Blasket Islands.

The great thing about this road trip route is that there are plenty of places where you can base yourself. Not only that but there are tons of awesome day trip opportunities. You could even add more of the Wild Atlantic Way onto your trip!

If you’ve got any further questions about driving the Dingle Peninsula then just leave a comment below. If you’ve done the route yourself, where did you stay and what were your highlights? I’d love to know!

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

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