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Is Dublin Expensive? (A 2024 Travel Cost Breakdown)

Dublin is Ireland’s capital city, home to a rich history, vibrant culture and welcoming locals. It is visited by over 6 million people each year. All hoping to catch a glimpse of the city’s fun filled nightlife and top tourist attractions. However, there is one question everyone wants an answer to. And that is…Is Dublin expensive?

As a local Irish girl, it breaks my heart to see our capital become less and less affordable as the years go on. Many young people are feeling as if they are forced to leave in search of a better quality of life. Fleeing to the likes of Australia, Canada and various other countries across the globe.

But…what about tourists? Is Dublin too expensive to visit in 2024? Let’s find out!

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Picture of Dublin City River Liffey with a famine Shit, Samuel Becket Bridge and the Convention centre Building. A Modern Part of Dublin
The River Liffey, Dublin City, Ireland

Is Dublin Expensive for Hotels? (Cost Breakdown)

Yes, Dublin can be quite expensive when it comes to hotels. The cost of staying in a hotel in Dublin is much higher compared to other cities in Ireland. This is due to high demand, especially during the peak tourist season.

Mid-range hotels can cost around 150 euros per night, while luxury accommodations can go well beyond 300 euros.

However, there are also budget options like hostels and bed & breakfasts that offer more affordable prices.

If you’re visiting Dublin, it’s a good idea to book your accommodation well in advance to get the best deals.

Is Dublin Expensive for Food? (Cost Breakdown)

Yes, food can be quite expensive in Dublin.

Eating at a restaurant, you can expect to pay around 18 euros for a meal at a reasonably priced place, and upwards of 35 euros at more upscale establishments.

Even fast food can be more expensive compared to other cities, with a combo meal at a fast food restaurant costing around 14 euros.

One way to keep costs down is by eating fast food in a local chipper and/or Chinese takeaway. However, be mindful that these meals tend to be on the unhealthy side.

Alternatively, for those who opt to stay in an apartment while visiting Dublin, I recommend shopping in the likes of LIDL or ALDI for the most affordable food options. Unfortunately, we do not have big supermarket chains like Walmart in Ireland, but Tesco does come closest to that concept.

Dublin also offers a range of food tours for tourists to experience the local culinary scene, and while these tend to be more on the expensive end, it is a great way to combine both food and stories with local knowledge.

Is Transportation Expensive in Dublin? (Cost Breakdown)

The cost of transportation in Dublin can also add up.

The public transportation system consists of buses, trams, and trains. We do have a Leap Card system which allows you to ride public transport around Ireland for a discounted rate.

For those preferring private transportation over public, we do have taxi services in Dublin. Please note that we do not have Uber in Ireland, but myTaxi is a good alternative.

To hail a taxi, simply extend your hand out–without this signal, they may not stop for you.

However, keep in mind that taking a taxi can be quite expensive. Therefore, unless absolutely necessary, I suggest walking or using public transportation as a more economical way to explore the city.

The Molly Malone Staue in Dublin Ireland
The Molly Malone Statue in Dublin Ireland

Is Dublin Expensive for Tourists? (Cost Breakdown)

Dublin has a range of exciting tourist attractions and compared to other European capitals they don’t seem to be overly expensive. Which is great for those planning a trip to Ireland.

The most popular is the Guinness Storehouse, which will set you back around €20 but honestly this is one of my favourite things to do in Dublin. I recommend it even to those who dislike Guinness.

Kilmainham Gaol is a must, although it can be hard to get tickets so plan in advance for this one. The entry fee is only €8 for adults which is great value.

The Trinity College Library is another great attraction worth visiting, this will cost you around €15 to enter but also includes a viewing of the famous book of kells. I recommend walking around the grounds of Trinity college once you finish. This is completely free and a worthwhile visit.

Outdoor enthusiasts would enjoy a trip to the Phoenix Park, one of the largest city parks in Europe, which is free to enter and explore.

Dublin also has a range of budget-friendly hidden gems such as the Smithfield Tower which offers 360 views of the city for just €5. The only catch is you need to walk up a couple hundred spiral steps to reach the top.

Is Dublin Expensive to live in?

Dublin is extremely expensive to live in. I would love to give you figures and facts here but to be honest, the numbers are changing every day. It’s a sad reality that we have to face. I would love to advise people to move to Dublin because honestly, it is a great little city but unfortunately in my opinion the cost of living is just not worth it.

But…Why is Dublin so Expensive?

Dublin, known as the business capital of Europe, it is home to many international firms and corporations, contributing to its high cost of living.

Companies in the technology, finance, and pharmaceutical sectors have set up their European headquarters in Dublin, creating a pool of high-paying jobs. And, most people would presume that is a good thing.

But the problem is, the average day person living in Ireland is not earning these big corporate salaries. Meaning that the cost of living is climbing but the population’s average income stays stagnant.

Consequently, while the country’s wealth is growing, its people are finding themselves grappling with escalating costs, thus widening the wealth disparity.

This situation presents a paradox – a wealthier country, but considerably poorer people. It’s a sad reality really. All in all, Dublin is definitely expensive to visit but it remains a relatively safe and fun place to explore as a tourist. So, I would recommend still visiting, just make sure you budget well before you do!

Dublin City at Night on the River Liffey. Convention Centre and Samuel Becket Bridge
Dublin City at Night: The Samuel Becket Bridge & Convention Centre

How to Visit Dublin on a Budget as a Tourist?

I would like to sugarcoat things for you and tell you ‘No, Dublin is not expensive for tourists’ but that would be nothing short of a lie. Unfortunately, the reality is a trip to Ireland’s capital can cost an arm and a leg if you are not careful. However, in saying that with some simple planning, you can reduce your costs significantly. Here are some tips I recommend to keep costs down while in Dublin.

  1. Pre-plan your itinerary in advance: Dublin has an array of tourist attractions which can be costly. However, by planning your Dublin trip ahead of time you may find that many have discounted prices for pre-booked tickets. This can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
  2. Make use of FREE activities: There are plenty of free activities to enjoy in Dublin such as walking tours, visiting the national museums and galleries, or simply taking a stroll around the city’s beautiful parks and nearby mountains. These are great ways to experience the city without breaking the bank. Some of Dublin’s Free attraction still remain on Ireland’s Hidden Gem List like the Hellfire Club in the Dublin Mountains (a great spot to watch the sunset in Dublin) and Howth Cliff Walk (one of my favourite Cliffs in Ireland).
  3. Book an apartment instead of a hotel: Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses when travelling, especially in a city like Dublin. Consider booking an apartment instead of a hotel as it can be more cost-effective, especially for larger groups or families. It also means you buy your food in local supermarkets and cook many of your own meals too. I recommend Beckett Locke for affordability with a modern design.
  4. Don’t spend too much time in Temple Bar: Temple Bar is a popular area for tourists, however, it can be quite expensive and crowded. Instead, check out other areas like George’s Street or Camden Street where you can find great pubs and restaurants without the high prices. Plus, these areas are more popular with locals so you’ll get a more authentic experience.
  5. Walk Everywhere: Ireland is a relatively small country, and that is even true when it comes to it’s capital city with most of the main attractions are within walking distance. Instead of taking taxis or public transportation, try exploring on foot to really soak in the atmosphere of the city. Plus, you’ll save money and get some exercise too.
  6. Pack Well: The Irish weather is unpredictable, so make sure you really study your packing list to avoid having to buy things once you land. If you do happen to forget something Penny’s and Dunnes Stores are your best clothing stores for budget-friendly buys.
  7. Use Dublin as a base: It is common to receive a discount on longer stays, so if your time is limited and you can not afford to spend more than a week in Ireland, why not use Dublin as your base. Spend a day or two in Dublin, and then take advantage of the many wonderful day trips on offer, from the stunning Glendalough in County Wicklow, the famous Cliffs of Moher in County Clare and the iconic Giants Causeway in County Antrim.
Related Post: Is Dublin in the UK?

Dublin VS London: Cost Perspective

I am recently back from a trip in London and I was shocked to find England’s capital city on par with Dublin expense-wise. And honestly, this really shouldn’t be the case. London is a far more advanced city in terms of public transport, jobs and housing options. Yet, paying for all of these things worked out to be relatively the same price.

My Final Thoughts on Visiting Dublin as a Tourist

Now, with all this said and done. I do still recommend visiting Dublin. Yes, it is expensive but our capital has so much to offer in terms of history, things to do and culture. It would be a shame to miss it. I just recommend carefully planning your trip to ensure you spend as little money as possible while exploring.

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