Kerry Way: best route, distance, when to visit, and more

Tracing through ancient lands and covering some of Ireland’s most majestic attractions, the Kerry Way is a bucket list destination in Ireland, no doubt.

The Kerry Way is one of Ireland’s most epic multi-day hikes. Starting and ending in the charming town of Killarney, the Kerry Way traces through lands and valleys, abreast to the wild ocean and overlooks pastoral settings fit for a postcard.

Read on to learn all you need to know to plan your visit, including when to visit, what to see, and where to eat along your travels.

Basic info – the essentials

  • Route: Kerry Way
  • Distance: 230 km (142.9 mi)
  • Start / End Point: Killarney
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Duration: 9+ days

Overview – in a nutshell

Kerry Way route map.
Credit: Ireland Before You Die

The Kerry Way trail is a well-trodden trail that is signposted with a yellow arrow on a black background.

The trail is one of the longest marked walks in the country and is popular with experienced hikers and hillwalkers who tackle the route in an anti-clockwise direction.

Tracing the Iveragh Peninsula, there’s much about this epic hike that makes it one of the best things to do in Kerry.

When to visit – the months in question

When to visit the Kerry Way.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

We recommend visiting the Kerry Way hike during spring and autumn due to the fewer number of tourists. During these seasons, accommodation and travel prices will be often lower, too, reflecting the lesser demand.

Summer boasts the largest footfall in the area, as well as the warmest temperatures. In comparison, winter is the quietest and coldest time to visit the Kerry Way.

As always, however, it comes down to personal preference and what you hope to take away from your visit.

Key stops – what not to miss

Don't miss Torc Waterfall.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

This trail is often broken into nine sections and completed in nine days, although it is worth noting that this is a challenging feat.

We recommend you give yourself at least two weeks to allow for more laid back days that can offer you some time to explore off the beaten track.

Key sights along the Kerry Way walk are numerous. Killarney National Park (including Ladies View, Torc Waterfall, and Muckross House are all must-sees), Carrauntoohil (Ireland’s highest mountain), Black Valley, Waterville, and Kenmare are just some of the trail’s highlights.

Expect breathtaking backdrops of rugged, unspoiled beauty, fairytale towns and warm Irish welcomes along the Kerry Way.

Directions – how to get there

How to get to the Kerry Way.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Kickstarting the Kerry Way hike is an effortless endeavour. Beginning and ending in Killarney makes this an easy trail to access.

From any Irish city, head west, towards Kerry. Once in the near vicinity, signs to Killarney will start to creep up.

Distance – the fine details

Kerry Way distance.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The Kerry Way is 230 km (142.9 mi) in distance. The looped trail is often broken into nine sections and completed in nine days.

We suggest bookmarking two weeks for the Kerry Way Walk for those who would prefer a more laid-back approach.

Where to eat – for the love of food

Grab a bite to eat at Cafe Waterville.
Credit: Facebook / @cafewaterville

Kerry is known to have some fantastic food, and with so many traditional pubs offering hearty local grub and artisan coffee shops along the Kerry Way, you will be spoiled for choice.

Some of our favourites, however, include:

Beachcove Café, Waterville – for breakfast

Murphy Browne’s, Killarney – great food, great location

Kenmare Brewhouse, Kenmare – for burgers and beers

D. O’Shea Bar, Sneem – for the views

Emilie’s, Glenbeigh – for mouthwatering pizza

Where to stay – for a golden slumber

Spend the night in Aghadoe Heights.
Credit: Facebook / @aghadoeheights

There are many options of where to stay along the Kerry Way hike. Whether you’re a budget traveller or prefer to hit the trails by day and sleep in luxury by night, there’s much to suit all sorts of budget.

Some of our favourite places to stay when walking the Kerry Way include:

Caitin’s Pub and Hostel, Kells: for a two-in-one social experience

The Stepping Stone, Glencar: a charming home-away-from-home B&B

Old Weir Lodge, Killarney: for an upmarket lodge-style setting

Brook Lane Hotel, Kenmare: the four-star stay

Butler Arms Hotel, Waterville: the old-school hotel experience

Quinlan & Cooke Boutique Townhouse, Cahersiveen: the boutique stay

Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa, Killarney: for a five-star experience

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