The Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Ireland

The diverse and majestic Irish landscape is famous for its breathtaking beauty and it is therefore no surprise that this small but special island, bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean, often features high up on most people's travel bucket lists. Dotted with castles, rolling hills, spectacular cliff edges and many other natural wonders, Ireland is a real hotspot for adventure enthusiasts. It has plenty of popular places to satisfy visitors' thirst for a memorable trip away! While both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are home to an array of interesting, quaint, and edgy cities, it's what lies beyond the manmade metropoles that has that extra special twinkle. Nature lovers will adore the walks and scenic drives that the "Emerald Isle" – a poetic allusion to Ireland's glorious green countryside – provides in abundance. As there is so much to see here, we thought we'd keep you from feeling overwhelmed and offer up a refined list of some of the best places to visit. When travel restrictions ease, Ireland is one of those destinations that you really must venture to! So, read on to see which locations in particular are well and truly worth the trip.

What to see and where to go in Ireland: famous cultural destinations

If you're wanting to do things properly and plunge into cultural tradition, then no trip to Ireland is complete without a visit to Croagh Patrick – one of the island's most renowned mountains. Situated in the area of County Mayo on the Western coast, this rugged mountain takes its name from Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who supposedly prayed upon its summit for 40 days. Strap up your walking boots and clamber to the top to soak up some jaw-dropping views of the surrounding countryside and nearby Clew Bay. If you time your visit for July then, rather than going it alone, you might even be able to join in the annual pilgrimage all the way to the highest peak.

What is the most visited place in Ireland? Natural tourist attractions

While the Guinness Storehouse tends to come in as Ireland's number one tourist attraction, when it comes to the most visited natural landmark the Cliffs of Moher are the real winner, with over a million annual visitors under usual circumstances. A popular day trip from Dublin and an hour and a bit’s drive from Galway, these rugged cliffs tower 214m over the coast of County Clare. Geologically mesmerising, they are a picture-perfect representation of nature's grandeur, stretching an impressive 8km along the glinting Irish coastline. On a clear day, the views across the expansive North Atlantic Ocean are simply stunning, with the Aran Islands and Dingle Peninsula coming into focus.

Best place to go for a dip in Ireland

If you're wanting to really make the most of Ireland's scenic coastline, Silver Strand at Malin Beg deserves a visit. Just remember to pack your swimwear and sandals (although colder months of the year probably require a wetsuit)! Stretching 400m with gently shelved waters, this sandy beach along Donegal's shores forms a perfect horseshoe and is definitely one of the best places for a dip (or even a dive) – just keep in mind that there is no lifeguard present here. Free from crowds and sheltered in a small cove, this really is an idyllic oasis. Locals will tell you that it's also the best place to catch the sunset since it faces the West. So, go on – add it to your bucket list!

What is the prettiest and most beautiful place to see in Northern Ireland?

A natural masterpiece and a Unesco World Heritage Site, The Giant's Causeway – one of the most beautiful places on earth – is a must-see Irish location. It is an awe-inspiring collection of over 40,000 basalt columns that jut out from the sea. A product of volcanic activity millions of years ago, this place is shrouded in myth and legend and is one of the best places to visit for history buffs! Take in the unique sights of the Giant's Causeway and the Causeway Coast by following one of the many National Trust trails, just make sure you're equipped with a windbreaker when atop the cliffs to shield against the bracing breeze that rolls off the sea. From the globally renowned stones to the Wishing Chair – a throne naturally forged out of the age-old columns – this location is a popular place, enjoyed by many people each year!

Where else to go when on holiday in Northern Ireland?

About 60 miles north from Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is another tourist hotspot. This rickety bridge is a frequent feature of travelers’ snapshots and lets you cross a short distance of the Atlantic Ocean on foot! This exciting walking-on-water experience is everything you could want, though it's not necessarily one for the faint hearted. The rope bridge has hung over the sea for over two and a half centuries, originally erected by local fisherman – although the one that stands in place today is a new and improved version. After this dare devil excursion, why not hop back in the car and head to the Glenoe Waterfall for a little respite? A bit of a hidden gem just an hour and a quarter drive from the rope bridge, this waterfall is another one of Northern Ireland's best places to visit. Although it’s less on tourists' radars and is not quite on par with the natural extravagance of some of Ireland's other wonders, this 30ft waterfall is still a beauty to behold! Protected by the National Trust, it's found tucked away in a tranquil glen, a short walk from the quaint village of Gleno.

Look ahead and plan your visit now

A trip to the Republic of Ireland, or Northern Ireland, or both will not leave you disappointed. As you'll have gathered (if you didn't know already!) Ireland is a treasure trove of beauty that is really worth discovering. Get ahead and start planning your adventure there today – it'll give you something to look forward to and, when the time comes to actually explore its stunning scenery firsthand, we promise you’ll be in for an invigorating experience.

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