The Cliffs of Moher Walk: A Local’s Guide featuring the best routes, parking & inside tips
The Cliffs of Moher are the most famous Cliffs in Ireland. And, while the cliffs are visited by 1.5 million people each year, most do not venture further than the visitor centre. Today’s guide is all about the Cliffs of Moher Walk, a detailed local guide showing you how to get off the beaten path all while adding the leading attraction to your Ireland Itinerary.
Technically, the Cliffs of Moher has two coastal cliff walks, the first starting from a small town called Doolin and the Second starting at Hag’s Head. You can of course combine the two if you feel like walking 25km in total.
If you are planning on visiting from Doolin, I’d highly recommend taking a day trip out to Inis Mór while you’re there.
In this guide, we will discuss both walks, how to get there, where to park, fitness levels and more.
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Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher Cliff Walk
The Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher Cliff Walk is the most popular of the two. As the name suggests, the trail begins in a small town called Doolin.
Where to Park for the Doolin Cliff Walk?
I’d advise parking your car in Doolin town. To access the Cliffs of Moher hike walk across the bridge and head towards Doonagore Castle. Instead of turning left to reach the Castle continue on straight until you reach a sign for the Cliff Walk (Google Map Location).
How long is the Doolin Cliff Walk?
The Cliff Walk is 8km each way. It takes 2 hours to reach the visitor centre. As you stroll you will be presented with amazing views of Clare’s coastline, please note that the Cliffs are not visible until an hour and a half into the walk.
Is the Doolin Cliff Walk Difficult?
A moderate level of fitness is needed to complete the Cliff Walk. While the trail itself isn’t overly steep or difficult, it is long, meaning walkers need to be prepared to be on their feet for a long period of time.
What is the terrain like?
The Doolin Cliff Walk terrain is not as well maintained as one would expect. At times, the trail can get quite narrow and overgrown. However, my last visit was in 2021 and the maintenance of the trail could be down to lack of tourism in the area.
Do I have to walk back to Doolin?
The walk back to Doolin is a further 8km, however, once you reach the visitor centre it is possible to get a free shuttle bus back to Doolin.
Is it free to enter the Cliffs of Moher from the Doolin Cliff Walk?
Yes, entering the Cliffs of Moher from the Doolin cliff walk is free. However, it is important to note that in order to use the toilet and café facilities on site you must pay entrance into the visitor centre.
Where to stay in Doolin?
Budget-Friendly Stay: Oar restaurant and Rooms
Mid Range Stay: Lanelodge Doolin
High-End Stay: Doolin Inn
Hag’s Head to Cliffs of Moher Walk
Hag’s Head Cliff Walk is a little hidden gem in County Clare. While it is the gateway to the famous Cliffs of Moher not many know about it. It’s a great way to see the cliffs from a different perspective.
Where to Park for the Hag’s Head Cliff Walk?
I have linked the Google Maps location of a privately owned car park perfect for those looking to take part in the Hag’s Head Cliff Walk. Parking cost 3 euro per car.
How long is the Hag’s Head Cliff Walk?
Hag’s Head Cliff Walk is a 5.6km trail that takes 1.5 to 2 hours to complete depending on your fitness level.
Is the Hag’s Head Cliff Walk Difficult?
Personally, I found the hag’s head cliff walk a lot easier than the Doolin Cliff Walk. The path is slightly wider and in parts, there are two paths, one a little further away from the cliff edge. Great for windy days.
Do I have to walk back to Hag’s Head?
There is a free shuttle bus that serves different spots along the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail route. However, at times you may be waiting a while for the bus to arrive. In this case, it is possible to call a taxi from the visitor centre.
Is it free to enter the Cliffs of Moher from Hag’s Head Cliff Walk?
Yes, it is free to visit the main area of the Cliffs of Moher when walking from Hag’s Head. Once again it is important to be mindful that toilet and café facilities are only available to those with a visitor centre ticket.
General Questions About the Cliffs of Moher
Where are the Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland on the southwestern edge of the Burren in County Clare. They are a short drive from the small towns of Doolin (10-minute drive) Lahinch (20-minute drive) and Ennis (45-minute drive). They lie at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, offering jaw-dropping views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and so much more.
How high are the Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher soar to a height of 214 metres high (390 feet). The heightist point is slightly north of O’Brien’s Tower. Let’s just say it’s rather scary looking down.
The O’Brien’s Tower (the highest point) costs an additional 2 euro to climb. The views from this point are extremely beautiful, even from ground level.
Are the Cliffs of Moher Safe?
At times the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk can get fairly narrow, however, there is an option to walk away from the edge and I advise you to take it. There are signs all over the terrain warning guests to stay away from the edge as the ground may shift. It is also common to experience gusts of wind as the Cliffs are located on the coast. As always it is important to be careful and stay far away from the edge.
Check Out My Clare Road Trip Video on Youtube
In this video, we explore both the Doolin Cliff Walk, Hag’s Head and we even get the opportunity to view the Cliffs from a whole perspective by hopping on board a boat. This is another great way to see the cliffs from the sea on you way back from Inis Mór or Inis Oirr. If you are looking for fun things to do in Clare then this is the video for you!
The Cliffs of Moher Tips and Advice
Preparing for the Cliffs of Moher Weather: The photo above was taken on a different day. The truth is the Irish weather is unpredictable. All I can say is plan ahead, check the weather before you go and bring some layers just in case. It may look like a nice sunny day, but Ireland’s weather is always changing, and you never know when the rain may decide to show up. The Cliffs are also a magnet for windy conditions.
The Cliffs of Moher Opening Times: The Cliffs of Moher opening times can vary depending on the time of year. The times below are general guidelines to each season opening times. Please note it is possible to park and visit the cliffs after hours but the Visitor Center will be closed. I stress the importance of staying safe at all times when visiting the cliffs and stay far away from the cliff edge.
January\February 09:00 – 17:00. September\October 08:00 – 19:00
March\April 08:00 – 19:00. October 08:00 – 19:00.
May \August 08:00 – 21:00. November\December 09:00 – 17:00.
Is the Visitor Center worth my time? For first time visitors, I do believe the visitor centre is worth a visit. It is a great spot to learn about the Cliffs history and wildlife. You can view a virtual tour of the experience to see if it suits before visiting.
If you just want to visit the outside of the cliffs then I recommend walking from either Hag’s Head or Doolin. That way you avoid the ticket price and are still rewarded with the same epic view.
Interesting Facts You May Want to Know Before Your Visit to Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs Rise to Fame: Being one of Ireland’s leading tourist attractions is not the Cliffs only claim to fame. In fact, the Cliffs are only short of having its own IMDB page. The beautiful natural backdrop is used for many famous blockbuster film and TV sets, Harry Potter, Father Ted and the Princess Bride to name a few. The Famous Irish Cliffs where even used by Irish 90’s boy band ‘Westlife’ for the set of their ‘My Love’ music video.
Tourists, Tourists and more Tourists: Like most popular attractions, the Cliffs of Moher is a busy place. The astonishing natural wonder attracts over 1 million visitors each year. However, don’t let the crowds scare you away because the out of this world beauty will make up for the number of people. Besides, further down the trail, there are many stunning viewpoints that most people don’t bother visiting. It’s always worth walking a mile or two more for some unique viewpoints.
Irish Myths and Legends: Most popular Irish landmarks are subject to myths and legends and the Cliffs of Moher are no different. Stories passed down through Irish Folklore suggest that a witch named Mel fell in love with the ancient Irish warrior Cú Chulainn. The famous warrior, however, did not return the same love. As a result, the hag began to chase Cú Chulainn around Ireland. One day while chasing the warrior south of the Cliffs, Mal leaped across towards Cú Chulainn but quickly fell and crashed into the rocks. Legend has it that her blood cause a red hue across the bay, suggesting that ‘Malbay’ was named after the witch herself. Today, the rocks are now known as ‘Hag’s Head’ and are said to resemble the shape of Mal’s profile.
The Cliffs Are Old: The Cliffs of Moher are old, real old. The Cliffs date back to over 300 million years ago. It is believed that they were formed in the Carboniferous period and are made up of sandstone, siltstone, mudstone and shale. If you would like to know more about how the cliffs where made be sure to check out the official website.
Wildlife Opportunities: The Cliffs of Moher are known for their wildlife spotting opportunities with Dolphins, Basking Sharks and Grey Seals known to roam the area. The Cliffs are famous for housing the Atlantic Puffin, with 30,000 of the bird species to be present at the cliffs peak season. I personally think these are the cutest birds ever. They remind me of mini penguins. However, I am yet to see them in person, it is definitely something I want to tick off the bucket list.
The Cliffs Name: The Cliffs got their name from an old fort called ‘Mothar’ that once stood on the southernmost point of the Cliffs, hag’s head. Today, the point is home to the old ruins of a watch tower named ‘Moher Tower’.
How Far are the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin? How do I Get There?
Driving to the Cliffs of Moher From Dublin: Travelling from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher by car should take about 3 and a half hours. Making it the perfect destination for any Dublin itinerary and the ultimate day trip Location. There are 3 possible routes. The fastest route has tolls. Directions can be seen on Google Maps.
If you can, I would 100% recommend renting a car and making your own way to the cliffs. It allows for more time to explore both the cliffs and the surrounding areas. With organised tours, time is limited. It is hard to go with the flow as you have to obey the tours schedule.
I have, however, attached some Cliffs of Moher tour companies down below, as I understand that this may be the best option for some visitors. Be sure to always check the reviews before purchasing a tour.
The good thing about Cliffs of Moher organised tours is the value for money. Prices range from 30 to 40 euros and some include stop off at Doolin, the Burren and Galway.
Driving to the Cliffs of Moher From Galway, Shannon or Limerick
The best Way to See the Cliffs of Moher is for sure by car. Having the flexibility to take your time and really appreciate the beauty of the cliffs is key. Below is driving routes from Galway, Shannon and Limerick.
The Cliff of Moher from Galway: Galway is only a 1 and a half hour drive from the Cliffs of Moher. I have linked the direction via Google Maps.
The Cliff of Moher from Shannon: Shannon Airport (map) is the closest airport to the cliffs, taking only an hour to get there by car.
The Cliff of Moher from Limerick: It takes just over an hour to reach the Cliffs of Moher from Limerick. Visiting the cliffs is the ideal day out for those living or staying in County Limerick. Directions from Limerick can be seen on Google Maps.
Where to park? The Cliffs of Moher Carp is located directly opposite the visitor centre. It cost 6 euro per adult (4 euro for a student) to park there, this, however, includes admission into the visitor’s centre. Children under 16 can visit the visitor centre for FREE.
Where to Stay near the Cliffs of Moher:
It is a great idea to research some hotels near the Cliffs of Moher, staying the night allows exploration of surrounding areas. Clare is honestly one of the most beautiful Counties of Ireland. Below is a list of some possible destinations worth staying the night.
Galway is a great city, full of many places to explore. It is a great place for nightlife, as well as experiencing some Irish culture.
Lahinch is a small Irish town located on Liscannor Bay (As seen in the image below). It is extremely popular among surfers, maybe you could even get a lesson or two during your stay. Lahinch is a 15-minute drive away from the Cliffs of Moher.
Ennis is the main town in County Clare, located approximately 40 minutes away from the Cliffs. It is a great way to get a feel for Irish culture in a small rural town.
Have you ever wanted to sleep in a castle, well in Ireland you can? Check out Dromoland Castle, located approximately one hour away from the cliffs of Moher.
My Favourite Irish Blog Posts:
Ok, Guys, this brings us to the end of our post on tips and tricks on the Best Way to See the Cliffs of Moher. If you are planning a vacation to Ireland, I have listed down below some of my favourite posts on Ireland to help you with your planning.
- FREE Things to do in Dublin
- Dublin Hidden Gems
- 4 day Dublin Itinerary
- One Day Dublin Itinerary
- Best Walks in Dublin
- The Best Place to Watch the Sunset in Dublin
- The Top Days Trips from Dublin
- Explore the hiking trails in Glendalough (Wicklow National Park)
- Visit the Hellfire Club – Dublin’s Spooky Building Ruins
- Guide to Hiking Ireland’s Stairway to Heaven
- 7 Days in Ireland Itinerary
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any further questions be sure to reach out to me on Instagram. As Always, happy travels and see you in the next blog!
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