Doolin Cliff Walk: best route, distance, when to visit, and more

Incredible views, rugged coastal scenery, and salty sea air are just some of the things to be enjoyed along the Doolin Cliff Walk.

The Doolin Cliff Walk follows the cliff path from the town of Doolin in County Clare to Hag’s Head and the iconic Cliffs of Moher that rise an impressive 214 m (702 ft) above the wild Atlantic Ocean below.

Boasting spectacular views of the rolling green fields to one side and the swirling Atlantic Ocean as it reaches out into the distance on the other, you’ll be in awe at the natural beauty as you make your way along this coastal cliff path.

Basic overview – essential hiking info

  • Distance: 14 km (8.6 miles) one way
  • Start point: Doolin.
  • Parking: Doolin Park and Ride or Coastal Walk Trail Head.
  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Total time: 4.5 hours (one way).

Best route – Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher

The route from Doolin to Liscannor.
Credit: Ireland Before You Die

Start your hike along the Doolin Cliff Walk in the quaint and colourful town of Doolin, County Clare. Great places to park include the Doolin Park and Ride or the Coastal Walk Trail Head.

From Doolin, follow the well-marked coastal path south to the Cliffs of Moher, taking in the sights and sounds of the breathtaking coastline along the way.

After walking about 8 km (5 miles), you should reach the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre.

Many people choose to end their walk here and take the shuttle bus back to Doolin, but if you fancy more exploring, you can walk a further 6 km (3.7 miles) to Hag’s Head in Liscannor.

Distance – different options

The incredible Doolin Cliff Walk.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The full length of the Doolin Cliff Walk from Doolin to Hag’s Head is 14 km (8.6 miles). However, if you prefer a shorter walk, you can trek the 8 km (5 miles) from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and take the Cliffs of Moher shuttle bus back to Doolin.

Walking the entire length of the coastal path should take around four-and-a-half hours from Doolin to Liscannor, and the walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre should take around three hours.

When to visit – weather and crowds

The best time to visit the cliff walk.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Due to the exposed position of the coastal path, which sits directly on the Wild Atlantic Way coastline, we advise checking the weather forecast before visiting.

Stormy conditions will make the walk along the cliff significantly more difficult and dangerous. Due to slippy pathways and decreased visibility, we recommend visiting on a clear and mild day. For this reason, late spring, summer, and early autumn will be your best bet.

The Cliffs of Moher boast over a million visitors annually, making them one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. So, we recommend visiting in late spring or early autumn rather than the summer months and avoiding bank holidays if you want to miss the crowds.

What to see – rugged coastal beauty

The beautiful Doolin Cliff Walk.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The views from the Doolin Cliff Walk are arguably some of the best in Ireland. You can take in the iconic Cliffs of Moher close up and from a distance. Alternatively, you’ll get the chance to enjoy the quieter points of County Clare’s rugged coastline that rises above the wild Atlantic Ocean below.

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Leap Year (2010), or The Princess Bride (1987), you may wonder where you’ve seen the Cliffs of Moher before. It is no surprise that this iconic Irish landmark has been cast as a location for many big Hollywood movies.

O'Brien's Tower at the Cliffs of Moher.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Along the route, you can also check out the Moher Tower, the stone ruin of an old Napoleonic watchtower on Hag’s Head, and O’Brien’s Tower, which marks the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher.

The town of Doolin is also well worth a visit, particularly if you’re a fan of traditional Irish music. Irish pubs, like the popular Gus O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin town, frequently host lively traditional music sessions that are sure to make your time here unforgettable.

What to bring – come prepared

Wear your walking boots when taking on the Doolin Cliff Walk.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Conditions are changeable on the Doolin Cliff Walk. So, it is important to come prepared when planning to undertake the trek.

We recommend wearing a good, sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots. You should also pack layers and waterproof clothing to allow for the possibility of all four seasons in one day.

It is also a good idea to bring a bottle of water and enough food to keep you going for the entire hike. And, since the views are so spectacular, you really shouldn’t take on the coast path without a camera!

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