Ireland’s breath-taking landscape is alive with color at autumn time, so if you’re planning a break make sure to include a foray into nature. That’s surprisingly easy in Dublin, as there are many gorgeous walks close to the city, all offering picture-perfect views and somewhere to grab a creamy pint, a coffee or a cozy meal at the finish. Here are six of the best.
1. Howth cliff walk
A short bus, train or car ride from Dublin takes you to Howth and its spectacular 4.5km cliff walk. Passing the historic nineteenth-century Martello Tower, skirting sheer cliffs and sheltered beaches, this walk affords superb views over Dublin Bay, Lambay Island and Ireland’s Eye. At its highest point at the Ben of Howth sits an ancient burial cairn. Along the way take a break for delicious pub grub in the cozy Summit Inn.
2. Glencullin moorland hike
Why not enjoy a hike through lush mountain forests stopping off in the highest pub in Ireland – Johnnie Fox’s? Less than an hour from Dublin is the village of Glencullin from where you can hike into the Dublin Mountains. Try the Prince William’s Seat circular seven-mile loop which passes over the scenic Glencullin Valley and climbs through colorful heather-clad slopes to the summit.
3. Glendalough waymarked trails
Stunning at any time of year, Glendalough valley is particularly beautiful in the autumn. There are nine waymarked trails in this ‘valley of two lakes’, which is part of Wicklow Mountain National Park. Wander through the sixth-century monastic ruins on the pilgrims’ path or climb through a forest to the top of a cliff overlooking the Upper Lake for breath-taking views.
4. Dalkey seaside stroll
Medieval Dalkey is one of Ireland’s most picturesque villages with its backdrop of hills and fantastic views over Dublin Bay. An easy commute by train from Dublin, the village boasts a heritage trail and a lovely seaside walk past its busy harbors. Make for the top of Sorrento Park for panoramic views over the Irish Sea and then return to the heart of the village to enjoy a snack or beverage in one of its upmarket eateries.
5. Powerscourt garden ramble
Lose yourself for a few hours in the magical space that is spectacular Powerscourt Estate, just 20 minutes south of Dublin. Its ornate gardens have been voted among the top three in the world and include Italian and Japanese themes, waterfalls, tree-lined arbors, fine statuary, ornamental lakes and over 200 variations of trees and shrubs.
6. Devil’s Glen descent
Descend into the Devil’s Glen, a deep wooded gorge in the Wicklow Mountains that features a dramatic waterfall cascading down to the River Varty. This peaceful forest walk, just 50km south of Dublin, is the perfect chance to reconnect with nature. Another trail in the upper reaches of the glen – the Seamus Heaney walk – also feeds the soul, with quotes from the Nobel prize-winning poet carved on benches along the way.