The 5 BEST TOWNS in West Cork for a BREAK in 2024

Located in the southwest of Ireland along the Atlantic coastline, West Cork is a truly breathtaking corner of the Emerald Isle that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The 5 BEST TOWNS in West Cork for a BREAK in 2024.

Known for its sweeping coastline, stunning scenery, and quaint towns and villages, West Cork is a truly unique and magical corner of the island of Ireland.

With so much to discover, we’re helping you plan your trip by sharing our top five best towns in West Cork that you should visit in 2024.

Each one is unique and offers its own special sense of charm and beauty; you are sure to find the perfect town to suit your desires.

From lively pubs serving pints of Beamish and Murphy’s with live music sessions and a friendly local feel to chilled-out seaside towns perfect for relaxing, there really is something for everyone.

So, whether you’re heading for a weekend away with the family or want the perfect base from which to explore the majesty of West Cork, read on to discover our top five best towns in West Cork for a break in 2024.

5. Baltimore – perfect for exploring off the coastline

A shot of the Baltimore Beacon and people visiting it. The Atlantic Ocean is in the background.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Acting as the main ferry port for Sherkin Island, Cape Clear Island, and the eastern side of Roaring Water Bay and Carbery’s Hundred Isles, Baltimore is a beautiful seaside town that is undoubtedly one of the best towns in West Cork for a break in 2024.

Surrounded by beautiful scenery and not far from the famous Baltimore Beacon, it’s the perfect base from which to explore this breathtaking corner of the Irish coastline.

If you’re in the mood for adventure, we highly recommend going whale watching or taking a boat trip out to Fastnet Lighthouse.

Hungry? Casey’s of Baltimore, the Algiers Inn, and Jacob’s Bar are all great spots to grab a delicious bite to eat and enjoy a pint after a day spent exploring.

Address: Baltimore, Co. Cork, Ireland

4. Schull – the gateway to the Mizen Head Peninsula

An aerial shot of the town of Schull and its surroundings. Schull is one of the best towns in West Cork for a break in 2024.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Tourism Ireland by Joshua Hannah

The main town on the Mizen Head Peninsula, Schull is the perfect town from which to explore this scenic area and pay a visit to Ireland’s most southerly point.

The rugged cliff scenery and crashing wild Atlantic waves make this place like something out of a mythical fairytale.

Overlooked by the majestic Mount Gabriel, Schull is unique in that it offers both ocean and mountain views, thus making it one of the most scenic towns in Cork, if not the whole of Ireland.

If you’re a relatively experienced hiker, it’s worth taking the trek up Mount Gabriel while you’re here to take in the breathtaking views.

Aside from that, Schull is home to lots of quirky, independently-owned shops that are worth checking out while you’re here. And when you get hungry or thirsty, you can check out one of the town’s best restaurants, such as the Bunratty Inn or Hackett’s Bar.

Address: Schull, Skull, Co. Cork, Ireland

3. Bantry – perfectly located with plenty to see and do

Three empty boats sit on the water in Bantry Harbour. Colourful houses and green hills make up the background.
Credit: geograph.ie / Colin Park

Located on the port of Bantry Bay on the border between Cork and Kerry, Bantry is undoubtedly one of the best towns in West Cork you need to visit for a break in 2024.

Surrounded by breathtaking coastal scenery, this is an idyllic place to enjoy a relaxing weekend break.

Some of the best things to do in the area include exploring the historic Bantry House and Garden, wandering the stalls of the weekly Bantry Market, and taking a trip out to the scenic Garnish Island.

If you want to see the area from a different perspective, you can take a kayak out on the Bantry Blueway Trail for a truly memorable experience.

If you’re exploring the colourful streets of Bantry town itself, you can find lots of local independent shops selling everything from clothing to trinkets, furnishings, and more.

The dining and drinking scene here is also worth checking out. O’Connors Seafood Restaurant is a must-visit for seafood fans. The Fish Kitchen, the Brick Oven, and Organico are three other spots that are worth checking out for a delicious feast.

Address: Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland

2. Clonakilty – beautiful beaches and plenty of culture

Several tables of people enjoy coffee and a chat on a sunny day in Clonakilty. Clonakilty is one of the best towns in West Cork for a break in 2024.
Credit: Flickr / The Academy of Urbanism

At the head of Clonakilty Bay, this quaint rural town is well worth visiting when spending time in West Cork. Having been named the best town in Ireland and the UK at the 2017 Urbanism Awards, this spot has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

Not far from the famous Blue Flag Inchydoney Beach, Clonakilty is ideally placed for those who want to spend some time by the water.

Alternatively, if you want to experience a real Irish music session, you can’t miss DeBarras Folk Club, which has hosted a huge array of both local and international artists.

Clonakilty Distillery, the West Cork Model Railway Village, and Fernhill House and Gardens are some other fun things to do in the area if you have a bit of extra time to spare.

Address: Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.



LEARN MORE: 24 hours in Clonakilty: a perfect one-day itinerary for this West Cork gem

1. Kinsale – a beautiful harbour town with stunning scenery and a friendly atmosphere

A shot of an empty street in Kinsale highlighting the colourful facades of the town's buildings.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Tourism Ireland from Emilija Jefremova

Topping our list of best towns in West Cork for a break in 2024 is the beautiful harbour town of Kinsale. A popular holiday destination among locals, this stunning town is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the beautiful Irish scenery.

Here, you can find two 17th-century fortresses overlooking the River Bandon, making this the perfect place to visit if you’re a fan of Irish history.

Aside from that, the Old Head of Kinsale is worth checking out for epic scenery, and the beautiful Scilly Walk offers a different perspective on the town.

If you’re looking for great food and drinks, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Kinsale. The Bulman is a super popular spot serving plenty of seafood and pub grub favourites.

Meanwhile, the Lemon Leaf Cafe Bar and Townhouse, Kitty Ó Sé’s, and Fishy Fishy are popular spots that are sure to keep your tummy more than satisfied.

Address: Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland

READ MORE: The 10 best things to do in Kinsale, ranked

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.



Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts

Disclosure

Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend