With every coastal view more dramatic than last, with the briny smell of wild Atlantic ocean and flawless exhibitions of natures wonders, Dingle is and always has been close to my heart because there is more to it than just scenic terrain.
She’s a beauty with a big inspiring soul. Utterly irresistible with layers of uncrowded corners unfolding before your eyes, allowing you to think, feel, and breathe.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or fifth time, there is always something new and something extraordinary to see on Dingle Peninsula; it has to be one of the most stunning places in the entire world!
While most recognizable for its long and craggy cliffs and deserted beaches, Dingle offers noteworthy hikes, picturesque fishing villages, and traditional food too.
But, the best thing about the peninsulas open-air ventures is that you’ll never be able to do it all in one lifespan. You can catch a boat to the Blasket Islands, search for demanding waves, get a healthy dose of adrenaline rush by cliff jumping into the ferocious Atlantic ocean and raise your heart rate by ascending sea stacks and then do it all again.
Dingle Peninsula: Everything you need to know for a perfect trip
Are you planning your autumn holidays and a staycation in Ireland? Why not embark on an epic road trip to Ireland’s southwest and plan to explore one of its wild peninsulas?
With this blog post, we are very excited to introduce you to an utterly incredible corner of Ireland we’ve just had a chance to explore – remote yet naturally fertile Dingle Peninsula.
Things to know before you go
Prepare for the weather | To make sure unpredictable Irish weather doesn’t affect your plans or your travels, always prepare in advance. Bring warm socks, quality rain jacket, and water-resistant boots to keep you warm and comfortable.
Driving in Ireland | If you are arriving by car – driving in Ireland is on the left side. If you have no experience, then it can be tricky at first. It can also be intimidating especially if you rent a car in Dublin Airport and head out straight on one of the motorways. Still, after a day or two, it’ll be second nature to you.
Driving requirements | Residents of Canada, USA, and European Union, are allowed to operate in Ireland’s once they have a valid drivers license. Travellers from other countries need to secure an International Driver’s License. Once on the road, remember that the use of mobile phones, while driving, is strictly forbidden and you have to wear the seatbelt all the time.
Roads in Dingle | In the past year’s roads in Ireland have improved dramatically and are in top conditions if you need to cover the long distances between the most significant cities. However, in the rural region, be prepared for small country roads, many of them single lane. Take your time to navigate them and leave some room for flexibility.
Dingle Loop Drive | It takes a full day to drive the Dingle peninsula loop and around 2-4 hours to drive the Slea Head, even more, if you wish to explore all the tourist attractions along the way. Plan your trip accordingly; don’t rush and spend quality time in each place you choose to explore.
Getting to Dingle and around
Getting to the remote peninsula isn’t that easy as it takes nearly 5 hours to reach from Dublin. The nearest airport is in Cork from where you will need to hire a vehicle for the 2-hour journey to Dingle town. Cork Airport is connected to many European destinations, but Shannon Airport, located 173 km from Dingle, has direct flights from the USA.
Travelling from Dublin | If you are driving from Dublin Airport, rather than spending the whole time behind the wheel, you can stop overnight at Limerick or Tralee and see the attractions along the way. You can break up the 350 km journey by stopping at Adare village to stretch your legs and admire traditional thatched cottages.
Public Transport| Nearest train stations to Dingle are Killarney, Tralee, and Farranfore. You can get a train from Dublin’s Heuston station to Tralee, which takes around 4 hours one way and then from Tralee get a bus to Dingle town. You can also use Bus Eireann service which links many cities, airports and ferry ports within Ireland.
Getting around | The best way to get around the Dingle peninsula is by car. As the loop drive is approximately 47 km, you could also opt for a bike. Self-guided bike trips are always exciting, and you get the freedom to explore the area on your terms. Stop for a photo, a coffee or to chat with a local and keep paddling on.
Organised Tours | If you don’t want to drive or cycle and wish to see Dingle Peninsula on organised tours, get in touch with Dingle Slea Head Tours. They specialise in private and group tours and take visitors to various attractions such as Ventry Harbour, Star Wars Locations, and The Fahan Group Beehive Huts.
Where to stay on the Dingle Peninsula
Dingle is peninsulas biggest town, and many travellers choose it as their home base for exploring. Book your accommodation well in advance, especially if you plan on visiting during the busy summer season.
Hostels | For budget-friendly accommodation, choose one of many Dingles hostels. Hostels usually provide goo value for money, and it’s a great way to meet other travellers. Choose Mount Brandon hostel located in Cloghane, Dingle Gate hostel in Annascaul or Rainbow independent hostel in Dingle, and you’ll receive a warm welcome.
Campsites | For avid campers there a couple of good campsites that cater for tents, motorhomes, caravans and campervans with access to services such as showers and shared kitchens. Green Arches Caravan Park and Teach an Aragail Campsite are two of the places on Dingle Peninsula.
Hotels | You’ll find a great variety of hotels on Dingle peninsula to suit every budget. Benners Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Dingle.
Best things to do on the Dingle Peninsula
Dunmore Head, Slea Head drive, Dunquin, Inch beach, and Brandon Point are just a few of the main points of interest on the peninsula. If you are visiting for the first time, make sure you mix a couple of famous tourist attractions with lesser-known.
Photography | If landscape photography is one of the reasons you love to travel, you’ll like this part of Ireland. The best way to make the most of your morning photo session is to stay close enough to the place where you want to take sunrise and sunset photos.
Scenery | From charming villages and rocky cliffs to beautiful sea views and small, winding roads, you’ll be spoilt for many picture-perfect moments to enjoy along the way. Dingle peninsula is home to some of the best coastal drives rewarding you with unforgettable sights.
Food | Ireland has some of the best comforts foods, and many of them you can sample in Dingle. Whether you fancy a full Irish breakfast, Guinness pie or ice cream from the world-famous Murphy’s.
Hiking | Mount Brandon, located on the peninsula, is Ireland’s second-highest mountain and if you are a hiking enthusiast, why not make it to the top for fantastic views? Always check the weather forecast and wear appropriate clothing before any hike in Ireland.
Surfing | Dingle town surf shops have everything you need for a surf lesson. You can arrange lessons in advance and they cost around €25. Dingle Surf also offers SUP tours that start at €35.
Best time to visit Dingle Peninsula
Every season brings something new and exciting to see. September is one of the best times to visit Dingle; it’s warm enough to hit the trails before the winter arrives. There still be lots of tourists, yet it’s considerably better than in the summer months.
Winter | In the wintertime you can expect fewer people and fantastic accommodation rates yet the weather conditions can be brutal. With limited daylight hours, you might need to plan your trip thoroughly.
Spring | The weather is often pleasant by late spring, and seasonal business is reopening. Forests are blooming with wildflowers; temperatures are gradually rising. And the rolling green countryside can be a joy to explore. April and May are some of the best months to visit Ireland due to warmer temperatures and fewer crowds.
Summer | During the summer month, the midges are out, and it’s the most crowded time of the year, yet it’s relatively warm. But even at the height of summer, it’s impossible to be guaranteed a spell of good weather.
Autumn | Tourist crowds and midges start to disappear, and the weather is still pleasant in September. Late autumn arrives with lots of rainfall, and many businesses are closed by late October.
What to pack for your Dingle adventure
It doesn’t matter where you travel to; you always have to pack for the environment. Are you planning on spending your time cafe crawling in towns or getting lost in the wilderness? Ireland is a perfect blend of urban adventures, and for a stress-free travel experience, come prepared.
However well-laid plans you may have the weather will always have the last word. As long as you are willing to go with the flow, rain and bad weather won’t stop you from having a great time exploring the Island. Rain and fog look good in the photos, and all you have to do is to bring appropriate clothing and footwear.
- Warm socks
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Mosquito repellant and bug bite
- Warm clothing
Top places to see on Dingle Peninsula
Some of Ireland’s most incredible sights are located on Dingle Peninsula. Dingle has a lot going for it, especially if you are looking to get off the beaten path and hike your way through its hidden corners.
- The Great Blasket Island | Jump on a boat and explore the Blasket Islands, which is the westernmost point of Europe.
- Inch Beach | With its lovely golden sands and amazing looking dunes that stretch for miles Inch Beach is perfect for walkers and surfers alike.
- Mount Brandon | For an impressive panoramic views hike Ireland 8th highest mountain and enjoy the views across the Irish landscape.
- Go dolphin- or whale-watching | The waters around Dingle are a fantastic place to see Dingle’s most famous dolphin named Fungi.
- Dunquin Harbour | Whether quiet or busy, beautiful weather or windy gales, Dunquin Harbour is a must-see place that offers fantastic views of cliffs, rock formations, and the islands.
- Beehive Huts | Learn more about the way people lived in Ireland by visiting Beehive huts. It costs only a few euros to see the amazing structures build without fancy machinery.
What travel photography gear to pack
Dingle peninsula is known for its stunning photography locations. If you are a landscape photographer, you need to be prepared, because what gear you pack can have a significant impact on photographs you capture. On Dingle Peninsula, you are going to be exposed to natural elements and its inhabitants, puffins, and dolphins included.
Although bringing along all the essential photography gear can quickly add up to lots of extra weight, they are important if you want sharp images that can tell stories.
- Camera body and a selection of lenses that ideally cover wide-angle to medium telephoto (for instance 25mm to 200mm).
- At least 2+ camera batteries and at least two memory cards. If you have more than two camera bodies, bring a separate charger too.
- Bring a small laptop so you can backup your images and external hard drives.
- Camera backpack
- Hot-shoe spirit level (if your camera has a level indicator built-in that’s fine).
- Lens cloth, polarisers, travel adapter, camera rain cover
- Tech Pouch to keep all your cables, small accessories and chargers all in one place
Follow ‘leave no trace” principle
The outdoors belong to everyone. Minimise your impact and be kind to people you meet on the trails. Don’t play loud music and don’t disturb wildlife. Dispose of your waste correctly. There are so many things we can do to protect nature; we have to adjust our attitudes, behaviour, and the way we see the world.
- Pitching your tent or parking your campervan in designated areas helps to protect the natural environment and ecosystem.
- When hiking, stay on the trail whenever possible, and always follow an established route.
- Say yes to recycling and reducing. Reduce water and electricity consumption and buy reusable products.
- Stay off of delicate foliage like moss, heather, and wildflowers.
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Now, over to you!
Have you ever been to the Dingle Peninsula? Let us know in the comments below!
Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Dingle and have travel-related questions!