The Best Guide for How to Get to the Cliffs of Moher

how to get to the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s top tourist destination, receiving over 1 million visitors annually. Most of these millions add the Cliffs of Moher as a stop on their Wild Atlantic Way road trip. Others choose a guided day tour from Galway or Dublin so they can see the most of Ireland in a short amount of time. How you visit the Cliffs of Moher depends on your budget and how much time you have to spend exploring the Emerald Isle. In this post, we will dive deep into how to get to the Cliffs of Moher and other tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher. 

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Ireland travel resources

Where are the Cliffs of Moher

First things first, where exactly in Ireland are the Cliffs of Moher? The Cliffs of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare, nestled between Doolin and Liscannor Village. 

Shannon Airport is the closest airport to the Cliffs of Moher if you want to head there directly after your flight! 

Below is the drive time to the Cliffs of Moher from popular destinations in Ireland:

  • From Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher: 3 hours
  • From Galway to the Cliffs of Moher: 90 minutes
  • From Cork to the Cliffs of Moher: 2.5 hours
  • From Limerick to the Cliffs of Moher: 1hr 15 minutes
  • From Ennis to the Cliffs of Moher: 40 minutes

5 Quick Facts about the Cliffs of Moher

  1. The Cliffs of Moher are a popular filming location. They’ve appeared in Princess Bride Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Leap Year.
  2. The highest point of the Cliffs of Moher is 214 meters (702 ft), and they stretch for 8km (5 miles)
  3. The southern point of the Cliffs of Moher is called Hags Head, as the rock formation resembles a woman’s head looking out to sea. The name is based on the legend of a woman who chased her love and mythical warrior, Cu Chulainn, across the sea. He fled across the sea stacks where she could not follow and fell. 🙁
  4. Many birds make their home at the Cliffs, including the Atlantic Puffins. For your best chance at seeing the Puffins, visit during their nesting season, from March to September.
  5. O’Brien’s tower was built in 1835 by Cornelius O’Brien, a local landowner, to provide visitors with an even better viewpoint from the top of the tower.

How to Get to the Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher via a Group Tour from Dublin

If you only have a few days in Ireland and plan on basing yourself in Dublin, the best way to see the Cliffs of Moher is on a day tour. Although this isn’t the most budget-friendly option, it is the most convenient. These day tours typically include a visit to Burren National Park and Galway City. These guided tours are a great way to see many of Ireland’s top tourist attractions when you’re short on time. 

To maximize your time at the Cliffs, begin by walking away from O’Briens Tower in either direction. The crowds will thin out as you get away from the tower, and you’ll be able to witness the height and distance of the Cliffs from the periphery. This is where you’ll get your best photo ops. 

Return to O’Brien’s Tower and take in the sweeping Atlantic Ocean views when your time at the Cliffs begins to dwindle. The crowds will have dissipated as everyone is heading back to their bus tours at this point as well. If you’d like, you can stop by the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center to learn more about the geological history of the Cliffs.

Book your Cliffs of Moher Day Tour from Dublin here.

visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher via a Group Tour from Galway

Galway is my favorite place in Ireland, and I recommend that you spend at least a day or two checking out the fun things to do in Galway. One of Galway’s most popular day tours is to the Cliffs of Moher. 

Like the day tours from Dublin, Galway Cliffs of Moher tours also include a stop in the Burren. However, as the travel time is shorter, you’ll also be able to stop at the picturesque Dunguaire Castle and spend time in the charming town of Doolin. 

Book your Cliffs of Moher Day Tour from Galway here.

O'Brien's tower at the Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher via Public Transportation from Galway

If you want to avoid doing a group tour, you can easily visit the Cliffs of Moher on a day trip via public transport. 

Bus Éireann Route 350 offers several daily services from the Galway bus station to the Cliffs of Moher car park and back. Purchase a round-trip ticket for €25 (one way for €17) at the kiosk inside the bus station or from the counter in the bus station. The staff working the counter are also incredibly helpful in answering timetable questions.

I recommend taking the first bus to the Cliffs of Moher and the last bus back to Galway, so you have plenty of time to explore!

The bus ride takes approximately 2.5 hours from Galway to the main car park. It’s an incredibly scenic route along the coast, so snag a window seat on the same side as the driver for the best views. It’s also a thrill because the coastal route roads are pretty narrow, so you’ll pass just inches away from other tour buses and be able to wave to those passengers. 

Once you reach the car park, you’ll have to pay the Visitor’s Center entrance fee, which ranges between €4 and €8 depending on the time of your visit. Then, you can explore the Cliffs of Moher at your leisure. Depending on your time frame, you could hike to Hag’s Head, about two hours south of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center, and then snag a bus back to Galway from the southern end of the Cliffs. But I suggest wandering the trails close to the Cliffs of Moher and O’Brien’s Tower.

If you get hungry, the Visitor’s Center has a cafe for lunch or snacks. Or pack food from Galway for a picnic on the side trails of the Cliffs. Just stay away from the cliff edge and on marked trails. The last bus returns to Galway from the car park at 7:20 pm.

Make sure to check current timetables!

Tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher from Doolin

Doolin is a charming fishing village that is home to traditional Irish music. It’s my second favorite place in Ireland (with Galway at the top). While it’s a small town, it has lots of fun things to do in the area and is well worth a visit in its own right. Staying in Doolin provides unique ways to visit the Cliffs, then ending the day in one of the town’s cozy pubs.

Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk from Doolin

My favorite way to experience the Cliffs of Moher is via the Doolin cliff walk. The walk will take approximately three hours along the coast and through the farms of Doolin. The trail is clearly marked, and it’s pretty easy, with only a few steep inclines. However, be sure to wear sturdy shoes you are okay with getting muddy. 

If it’s a clear day, try to time your walk for sunset; it adds to the magic of the Cliffs. If you want to join a group, each day Pat Sweeney offers a guided walking tour for €10 that leaves O’Connor’s Pub at 10:00 am and ends at the Cliffs of Moher.

The biggest issue with the coastal walk to the Cliffs of Moher is bad Irish weather. If there are strong winds, thick fog, or rain, skip the walk and take the shuttle or the bus to the Cliffs. It’s just not safe to attempt the walk during poor weather conditions.

Book your guided walk to the Cliffs of Moher here.

me standing in front of the Cliffs of Moher at sunset

Cliffs of Moher Cruise

The other way to see the Cliffs of Moher from Doolin is by boat tour. The Cliffs of Moher cruise is a unique way to see the Cliffs from below! It provides an amazing perspective on how high they are, and you’ll get fun facts from the crew. 

Of course, weather is also a factor in these cruises, and they will only sail if it’s safe.

The day I went, I was seriously blessed with a crystal clear day and an incredibly smooth sail. The following day, I saw people in one of Doolin’s pubs looking quite yellow from the sail. The passengers said it was akin to sailing on Gilligan Island’s boat.

Take the Cliff’s cruise if you’re not prone to motion sickness. It’s also wallet-friendly, as my off-season cruise cost €15. 

Two companies provide cruises under the Cliffs, Doolin2AranFerries and The Doolin Ferry Co. These companies also combine some of their cruises with a cruise to Inisheer – the smallest Aran Island located just 20 minutes by sea away from Doolin.

If a day trip to the Aran Islands is also on your bucket list, this might be a great way to do both!

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher on a Cruise.
Cliffs of Moher Cruise

Cliffs of Moher via Rental Car

Renting a car provides the ultimate freedom when you’re in Ireland. Admittedly, I have never experienced this freedom as I haven’t rented a car in Ireland…yet. I have a perfect rationalization for avoiding it, which I won’t dive too deep into here, but it’s not the most financially sound decision for me as a solo traveler. But it’s also something I want to do on one of my visits, so one day, I will. 

Those renting a car in Ireland can easily add a stop at the Cliffs of Moher to their Wild Atlantic Way road trip! 

Parking is included in your Visitor’s Center entrance fee (€4 or €8, depending on the time of day).

If you don’t want to pay for a car rental for the entirety of your trip, you could book a two-day car rental in Galway.

Here’s how that could look: Pick up your car rental in Galway and drive to the Cliffs of Moher. Spend the day at the Cliffs and the night in Doolin. The following morning, do the coastal walk to the Cliffs of Moher and ride the bus back to Doolin to get your car. On your way back to Galway, stop in the Burren to check out the landscape and the Aillwee Caves. 

Book your rental car for Ireland here.

Sunset cliff walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher

Top 5 Tips for Visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Now that you’ve gotten to the Cliffs of Moher, how do you maximize your time there? While I share in-depth details for visiting the Cliffs of Moher, including safety and avoiding crowds, here are a few of my top tips for a fun trip to the Cliffs of Moher

  1. Check the Weather: The weather at the Cliffs of Moher can be unpredictable; it could be sunny one minute and shrouded in fog the next. It’s best to be prepared for any conditions. Expect a windy day and be pleasantly surprised if it’s not!
  2. Dress Appropriately: As the weather is unpredictable, it’s best to dress in layers. Jeans would be appropriate unless you plan on doing the Doolin walk or walking the length of the Cliffs; I’d recommend hiking pants and sturdy, waterproof shoes. A warm jacket and waterproof layer are also essential. If you follow this Ireland packing list, you’ll be set!
  3. Stay Safe: While the cliffs offer stunning vistas, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Stay on designated paths and barriers, especially if you’re exploring solo. Be cautious of the edges and avoid risky behaviors. If you’re uncomfortable with heights, take it slow and enjoy the views from the viewing platforms.
  4. Plan your Visit Early or Late in the Day: To avoid crowds and enjoy a more serene experience, plan your visit early in the morning or later in the day. Sunrise and sunset provide magical lighting for photography and a quieter atmosphere to take in the breathtaking views. This is easier to do without a group tour!
  5. Bring Snacks and Water: Exploring the cliffs can be a rewarding but energy-consuming activity. Pack snacks and a reusable water bottle to stay nourished and hydrated during your visit. The Visitor Center does have food and water as well.

Whether you visit on a Cliffs of Moher tour or DIY your visit, the Cliffs of Moher deserve a spot on your Ireland bucket list! I hope you have fun visiting, that the weather is in your favor and that you see a puffin or two!

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