10 best towns in CORK for a SUMMER STAYCATION in 2024

Need some inspiration for your summer plans? Look no further than our list of the best towns in Cork for a summer staycation in 2024!

A stunning view of St. Colman's Cathedral in Cobh, Cork County, Ireland, showcasing its intricate Gothic architecture and towering spires against the backdrop of a cloudy sky, a testament to the rich heritage and craftsmanship of the region.
Credit: Photo by Fabrício Severo on Unsplash

In recent years, the popularity of County Kerry, in the southwest of Ireland, has boomed. With Killarney National Park and its accessibility to the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s not hard to see why.

But Kerry’s beautiful neighbour, County Cork, is often overlooked.

County Cork offers stunning natural beauty, charming towns and villages, and welcoming locals. It is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. 

We’ve got you covered with our selection of the best towns in Cork for a summer staycation in 2024. Read on to get inspired!

10. Cork City – you’ll never be bored

A vibrant image of a Ferris wheel towering over Cork City's skyline, offering panoramic views of the bustling streets and riverside, showcasing one of the best towns in Cork for a summer staycation with its lively atmosphere and scenic attractions.
Credit: Photo by 2sometravel on Unsplash

If you only have a weekend in Cork, many will choose Cork City as their base. The reason for this is apparent. 

On your doorstep, you’ll find trendy coffee shops, art galleries, food markets, museums, and a vast selection of restaurants, so you’ll never be short of things to do!

9. Schull – one of the best spots for surfing

Surfers are heading to catch waves along the coastline of Cork, epitomising the vibrant seaside atmosphere of the best towns in Cork for a summer staycation, where the thrill of the surf meets the tranquillity of sandy shores.
Credit: Pexels/Photo by Elle Hughes

Set beside the stunning Mount Gabriel, this harbour town has been growing in popularity in recent years.

It has developed a reputation for being a haven for artists, with some big names reportedly buying homes there.

The southwest has some of the best surfing spots in the country, and Schull is the perfect base for any surfing enthusiast.

8. Clonakilty – for the best ice cream

Beautiful view of Clonakilty.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Clonakilty Distillery

The stunning Inchydoney Beach conveniently locates another ideal surf spot on the list, Clonakilty. 

Start your day off on the waves, then take in some history at the resting place of Irish legend Micheal Collins before treating yourself to some of the town’s famous ice cream.

7. Bantry – for history lovers

A charming view of Bantry town, nestled amidst lush greenery and overlooking the tranquil waters, offering a picturesque setting for a summer staycation in Cork, one of the best towns in Cork for a summer staycation.
Credit: Photo by mana5280 on Unplash

If you are a history lover, this is one of the best towns in Cork for a summer staycation in 2024. 

Reputed as the home of the iconic Brendan the Navigator, Bantry is also the location of an unsuccessful invasion by French Revolutionaries.

If you’re less of a history buff, there is still plenty to keep you occupied in this quaint harbour town. 

6. Glengarriff – for nature enthusiasts

A picturesque view of lush green surroundings enveloping a serene water body in Glengarriff, showcasing the natural beauty and tranquility of one of the best towns in Cork for a summer staycation.
Credit: Photo by Debbie May on Unsplash

Many people who visit Cork are here to explore its natural beauty. If this is the case for you, Glengarriff could be an ideal base. 

Home to the beautiful Glengarriff Nature Reserve, this town is also known for its abundance of spring flowers, which blanket the surrounding hillsides. It is a peaceful town off the usual tourist track.

5. Union Hall – for an authentic staycation

A distant view of Unionhall, a charming coastal town in Cork County, Ireland, nestled amidst lush greenery and overlooking serene waters. A perfect destination among the best towns in Cork for a summer staycation.
Credit: Geograph/ Desmond RyanCC-BY-SA-2.0

If you are looking for a more authentic and low-key place to base yourself for your summer staycation, then Union Hall may be the spot for you.

The village itself is quaint and quiet, but it is perfect for use as a base to explore nearby sites such as the Ceim Hill Museum and the Drombeg Stone Circle

4. Eyeries – for beautiful ocean views

A charming exterior view of O'Shea's Bar in Cork County, Ireland, with traditional Irish signage and colourful benches and flowers adorning its facade, inviting patrons to experience the warm hospitality and authentic atmosphere of an Irish pub.
Credit: Photo by Colin C Murphy on Unsplash

Another often overlooked town in Cork, Eyeries has a certain old-Irish charm about it. 

With friendly locals and proximity to popular spots like the Ogham Stone in Ballycrovane, this community-focused town is worth a visit. You’ll also enjoy some of the finest ocean views on the Wild Atlantic Way – a bonus! 

3. Glandore & Leap – for a cheaper and more peaceful staycation

The Drombeg stone circle, a prehistoric archaeological site in Ireland, comprises a ring of ancient standing stones set against a backdrop of lush greenery, offering a glimpse into the ancient rituals and mysteries of Celtic culture.
Credit: Photo by Ingo Doerrie on Unsplash

The beautiful town of Clonakilty can get very busy (and expensive) in the summer months, so many choose to base themselves in the quaint villages of Glandore and Leap. 

Just a short drive from the activities in the bigger town, these spots offer more than enough to enjoy on their own. 

From stunning coastal and cliff-lined views to tasty food and beer, Glandore and Leap are two of the best towns in Cork for a summer staycation in 2024.

2. Allihies – for film-worthy views

A historic engine house stands amidst rugged cliffs and lush greenery in Allihies, Ireland, serving as a poignant reminder of the area's rich mining heritage and industrial past.
Credit: Geograph/ John GibsonCC BY-SA 2.0

If the village of Allihies is familiar to you, you may have spotted it on the big or small screen. With its stunning views, white beach walks, and quaint buildings, Allihies has become a popular filming location for directors worldwide.

If you’re a hiker who plans to attempt the Maulin Mountain, this could be the perfect spot to lay your head.

1. Kinsale – an iconic, colourful town

A picturesque street in Kinsale, Ireland, lined with colourful buildings adorned with the Ireland flag colour, captures this historic coastal town's charm and quaint beauty.
Credit: Photo by Kirsten Drew on Unsplash

One of the most famous towns in Cork, this place should be high on your list, especially if you haven’t been here for long. 

With many restaurants, shops, and pubs all painted in bright colours, it is a picture-perfect place to spend the weekend. To soak up some culture, don’t forget to visit the Courthouse and Regional Museum.

We hope this selection of some of the finest towns in Cork has inspired you to plan that summer staycation! 

The West of Ireland should be on everyone’s bucket list at some point, so why not make 2024 the year you take the plunge?

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