The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Doolin to Cliffs of Moher at sunset

Are the Cliffs of Moher on your Ireland bucket list? No? Well, they most definitely should be. They’re Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction, with over 1 million visitors braving the wind to witness 8 km of rugged coastline on the Wild Atlantic Way. Spending a day at the Cliffs of Moher is well worth your time. These are my top tips to help you make the most of visiting the Cliffs of Moher.

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Ireland travel resources

Where are the Cliffs of Moher?

The Cliffs of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare. The Cliffs of Moher stretch 8km (5 miles) from Liscannor Village to Doolin. They are part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and are a special protection area for birds and wildlife.

Shannon Airport is the closest airport to the Cliffs of Moher.

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 (bus and train combination)
  • From Limerick to the Cliffs of Moher: 1hr 15 minutes
  • From Ennis to the Cliffs of Moher: 40 minutes
me standing in front of the Cliffs of Moher at sunset

The Best Time of Year to Visit the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are open all year long except for the 24th-26th of December. Sometimes, the Cliffs of Moher visitor center has to close due to extreme weather conditions.

Summer at the Cliffs of Moher (July to August): The summer months are a great time of year to visit the Cliffs of Moher as the summer brings longer days and warmer weather with average temperatures ranging from 11oC to 19oC(52oF to 66oF). However, the one drawback to visiting the Cliffs of Moher during the summer is its peak tourist season. You will likely encounter large crowds! To avoid crowds, plan your visit for the early morning or later. Sunset is a magical time to visit the Cliffs of Moher.

Fall at the Cliffs of Moher (September to October): In the fall, the weather is mild, and the cliffs will have warm fall hues—average temperatures in the fall range from 9oC to 15oC (48oF to 59oF). Tourist crowds decrease in the summer months, allowing you a bit more peace and solitude.

Winter at the Cliffs of Moher (November to March): The winter brings cold temperatures and short days. However, it can provide an ethereal atmosphere as the rain comes down, lending to the area’s wildness. If you’re dressed appropriately for the weather, with temperatures running from 4oC to 9oC (39oF to 48oF) and rain, you can enjoy an afternoon at the Cliffs. Plus, winter is the least crowded season!

Spring at the Cliffs of Moher (April to June): Spring is a magical time of year to visit the Cliffs of Moher as the bluffs bloom with wildflowers. Puffins start nesting in the Cliffs in March, so you have a good chance to see them. The temperatures begin to warm up, ranging from 7oC to 15oC (45oF to 59oF), but still plan for rain.

Center of Doolin, Ireland

How to Get to the Cliffs of Moher

As the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions, with over one million visitors annually, there are plenty of options for visiting them. The best way to get to the Cliffs of Moher depends on your time in Ireland and your budget. 

Cliffs of Moher via Group Tour

There are multiple guided day tours to the Cliffs of Moher from multiple places in Ireland. The most popular places for a Cliffs of Moher tour are from Dublin and Galway. Most of these day tours include stops in popular places like Burren National Park, Dunguaire Castle, and Doolin. 

Check out Cliffs of Moher Tours from Dublin.

Check out Cliffs of Moher Tours from Galway.

Cliffs of Moher via Public Transportation

The best option for getting to the Cliffs of Moher via public transport is from Galway. Bus Éirrean route 350 offers multiple daily services from Galway to the main car park for the Cliffs of Moher. It takes approximately 2.5 hours via bus to get to the Cliffs.

If you choose this option, leave on the first bus out and purchase your ticket in advance, as they sell out. 

Check timetables and fares here.

Cliffs of Moher via Rental Car

The most flexible option for getting to the Cliffs of Moher is with a rental car. If you’re planning an Ireland road trip, add the Cliffs of Moher as a destination! 

If you’re driving to the Cliffs of Moher during peak season, I recommend arriving early in the morning or late in the afternoon for sunset to avoid tour buses, which are there in the morning and afternoon. 

You’ll also more easily secure a parking spot.

Book your Ireland car rental here.

Cliffs of Moher via Doolin Cliff Walk

One of my favorite ways to visit the Cliffs of Moher is via the Doolin Cliff walk. This walk starts in the cute town of Doolin and follows the rise of the Cliffs to the central area of the Cliffs of Moher. You’ll pass farmland and a few steep inclines. It can be a fairly muddy walk after the rain, so wear good hiking boots. 

The walk is 8km or 4 miles in one direction.

When you reach the Cliffs, take your time exploring and then catch Bus Éirrean back to Doolin town for a pub dinner and traditional Irish music session. 

Cliffs of Moher Boat Cruise

If it’s not your first time visiting the Cliffs of Moher, a boat tour is a unique experience. I’ve done a group tour to the Cliffs, a solo sunset Doolin Cliff Walk, and a Cliffs boat cruise and found it was a fun way to catch a different perspective of these rugged cliffs. The guides are also quite funny and informative.

There are boat tours from Doolin and Galway. Often, they can be combined with a stop at the Aran Islands (another must-visit on your Ireland itinerary). 

If it’s rough weather, they won’t sail, so have a backup plan for how to spend the day if they cancel.

Book your Cliffs of Moher boat tour here.

Doolin Coastal Walk at Sunset

What to Bring to the Cliffs of Moher

The weather in Ireland changes rapidly. You may have a sunny Dublin morning, but by the time your day tour arrives at the Cliffs of Moher, fog makes them invisible and dangerous.

No matter what the sky looks like, sunny or cloudy, expect high winds. I had a sunny day on my first trip to the Cliffs, but the wind almost knocked me over. However, on my second trip to the Cliffs, when I walked to them from Doolin, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and only a gentle breeze. I’ve been blessed with the luck of the Irish on both of my trips. I hope the same goes for you! 

Here’s what to bring to the Cliffs of Moher so you’re prepared for any weather.

Wear layers: If you follow my Ireland packing list, you’ll have everything you need for a comfortable day at the Cliffs of Moher. Start with a comfortable base layer, add a fleece as a mid-layer, and bring a waterproof jacket as protection against the wind and rain.

On the bottom, jeans are OK unless it’s absolutely pouring; then, jeans can be miserable. Alternatively, try to wear fleece leggings (I love these) or moisture-wicking hiking pants like these.

Sturdy Footwear: The area around the visitor center is paved, but if you plan to explore any trails off the main paths, the terrain can be uneven and muddy. Wear waterproof hiking shoes (I love my Keens) or shoes with good traction. 

Sun Protection: Even on overcast days, UV rays can be strong. Apply and reapply sunscreen as you explore the Cliffs. Sun Bum is my favorite sunscreen! Also, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. I’d recommend a hat, but if it’s windy, the hat could blow off, so use your discretion here. 

Gloves, Scarf, Beanie: Wear gloves and a scarf to keep warm if the weather forecast calls for cold temperatures. Also, add a beanie to keep your head and ears warm on windy days. 

Backpack: In a small backpack, bring snacks, water, and maybe a change of clothes if it will be pouring. 

Camera: You will definitely need a camera for your visit to the Cliffs of Moher. Whether you use your Smartphone or a big camera, you’ll be snapping photos consistently! If you’re going solo and want photos of yourself with the dramatic landscape, bring a tripod that is sturdy enough against the wind or ask someone to take your photo for you. 

Portable Charger: A day out always requires a portable charger. I use this one, and it fully charges my phone and camera at least three times. 

visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Planning Your Day at the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher Experience includes access to all site areas: the visitor center, the self-guided exhibition, an optional audio guide, O’Brien’s tower, and parking. 

Cliffs of Moher Opening Times

The Cliffs of Moher opening times vary throughout the year. 

  • November – February: 09:00-17:00
  • March – April; September – October: 08:00-19:00
  • May-August: 08:00-21:00

Cliffs of Moher Ticket Prices

Ticket prices to the Cliffs of Moher Experience vary based on the time of day you visit and your age. Children under 12 are free. A family ticket includes two adults and two children under 12. If you book online, you’ll also save a couple of euros.

Online Prices

Off-peak hours: 08:00-11:00; 16:00-Close

  • Off Peak AM Prices: Adult, Student, Senior: €7; Family: €14
  • Off Peak PM Prices: Adult €8; Student, Senior: €7; Family: €16

Peak hours: 11:00-16:00

  • Adult: €10; Student, Senior: €9; Family: €20

Gate Rates (any time of day):

  • Adult      €12.00
  • Student   €10.00
  • Senior     €10.00
  • Family    €24.00
Cliffs of Moher Cruise

How to Avoid the Crowds

Since most people visit the Cliffs of Moher with a day tour from Dublin or Galway, the busiest times of day at the Cliffs are between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. You can avoid the crowds by timing your trip towards the beginning or end of this time frame. Plus, if it’s a clear day, you must witness sunset at the Cliffs, when they take on an even more magical essence when colored in pink and orange.

If the only time frame that works for your itinerary is during peak times, don’t worry. I’ve got a tip for that, too. Tours usually only allow for about two hours at the Cliffs of Moher, and they congregate at the Visitor’s Center and O’Brien’s Tower. 

But since you’re on your own, you can spend as much time as you’d like wandering the walking trails to the North towards Doolin and South towards Hags Head. When you’re done with your walk, you can return to enjoy the Visitor’s Center and O’Brien’s Tower with fewer crowds.

Safety Visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Yes, the Cliffs are absolutely stunning and incredibly photogenic. But we are also talking about a 700-foot drop into the Atlantic Ocean. The main viewing area of the Cliffs of Moher has waist-high barriers as a reminder to stay back from the cliff’s edge. But if you wander away from this central point, the barriers disappear.

Just because there aren’t any barriers does not mean it is safe to stand by the edge for your Instagram photo. It may seem like there is earth below you all the way to the sea, but there may not be. The sea erodes the Cliffs from the bottom up, so there’s potentially only a few feet of earth below your toes that could give way at any moment.

Don’t be like the people in the photo below, who were sitting on the edge before I had a chance to snap it! Later, I passed a girl dancing on the edge while her boyfriend took a video.

Don’t be reckless! Stay on the path, away from the edge. 

Mistakes to avoid at the Cliffs of Moher

Key Points of Interest at the Cliffs of Moher

O’Brien’s Tower

One of the main attractions at the Cliffs of Moher, besides the actual Cliffs themselves, is O’Brien’s tower, located near the highest point of the Cliffs. O’Brien’s tower was built by Cornelius O’Brien, who was the local landlord in the 19th century. He saw it as a way to create jobs and to bring visitors to witness the majestic beauty of the Cliffs of Moher. 

Your admission to O’Brien’s Tower is included in your ticket.

O'Brien's Tower at the Cliffs of Moher

Hag’s Head

Hags Head to the South of O’Brien’s Tower gets its name for two reasons. The first is that the rock formation resembles a head facing the sea. See if you can make out its nose! The second comes with a lovely Irish legend behind it. 

Supposedly, Mal fell in love with a great Irish hero who did not return her feelings. She chased him all over Ireland, and they eventually ended up at the Cliffs, where the hero jumped, and Mal followed. While the hero survived, poor Mal did not, and her likeness is forever enshrined at Hag’s Head.

Hag's Head at Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs in Cinema

Did you ever watch Princess Bride as a child? The Cliffs of Moher were referred to as the Cliffs of Insanity as the main characters climbed from the bottom to the top.

In more recent cinema, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry takes a trip with Dumbledore to a cave in the middle of a raging sea. That cave is in the Cliffs of Moher.

Wildlife Sightings

Thousands of bird species call the Cliffs of Moher home. The most popular among these birds is the Atlantic Puffin. The best time of year to see them is during their breeding season, which is from April to July.

Tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher

Things to Do Near the Cliffs of Moher

Consider combining these other tourist attractions into your Cliffs of Moher day trip or weekend in Doolin. 

Visit Burren National Park

Just down the road from the Cliffs of Moher is another unique landscape in the Burren National Park. The Burren is known for its unique limestone ground and the plants that grow in the challenging environment. There are multiple hikes you can do in the Burren as well!

Most guided tours to the Cliffs of Moher stop in the Burren, so a guided tour can be an efficient and cost-effective way to see multiple beautiful places simultaneously.

Explore Aillwee Cave

In the heart of the Burren is the Aillwee Cave. The cave is suspected to be over 330 million years old! A 45-minute guided tour takes you through the caves, where you can see a flowing and frozen waterfall and the 10,000-year-old skull of a brown bear. 

Book your ticket to the Aillwee Cave here.

Tour the Doolin Cave

A guided tour takes you 125 steps underground into the Doolin Cave to view one of the longest free-hanging stalactites in Europe – the Great Stalactite. When you’re done exploring the cave, you can walk along the eco-trail, enjoying views of the glacial valley and native plants. 

Book your tickets to the Doolin Cave here.

Explore the Cute Town of Doolin

Second to Galway, Doolin is one of my favorite places in Ireland. You’ll definitely experience the warm Irish hospitality here.

There are so many fun things to do in Doolin beyond the Cliffs of Moher. Doolin is considered the home of traditional Irish music, so you’ll hear beautiful music in the pubs every night. You can take a day trip to the Aran Islands, go hiking in the Burren, or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful Irish countryside.

Doonagore Castle at Sunset in Doolin, Ireland

Where to Stay Near the Cliffs of Moher

Staying in a nearby town not only lets you visit the Cliffs of Moher when the weather is favorable, but it also provides the opportunity to see them in a different way. 

Staying in Doolin, you have immediate access to ferries that will sail you underneath the Cliffs in the morning, and in the afternoon, you can walk the stunning 8 km coastal walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher. This way, you can see what those busloads of day tours can’t while avoiding the crowds for most of your day.

Dubhlinn House: Dubhlinn House is a charming bed and breakfast located in the heart of Doolin. In addition to cozy rooms, Dubhlinn House will offer you a packed lunch for your day exploring the area, onsite yoga classes, and bicycle rentals! You’ll have everything you need in this charming B&B.  

Check rates and availability here.

Hotel Doolin: Hotel Doolin is Ireland’s first certified carbon-neutral hotel! The rooms are elegantly decorated, there is a pub onsite with live music and a gorgeous outdoor area. I highly recommend considering staying here!

Check rates and availability here.

Fiddle + Bow: Fiddle + Bow is a boutique hotel located in the heart of Doolin. The rooms are beautifully decorated, there is an onsite bar and restaurant, and friendly staff. This is a beautiful place to stay in Doolin. 

Check rates and availability here.

The Cottage Fairwinds: Stay in a quintessential Irish cottage at the Cottage Fairewinds. This gorgeous three-bedroom cottage is excellent for families or friends looking for a relaxing getaway. The cottage has a patio with great views of the lush green fields, and it’s a short walk to some of Doolin’s best pubs! 

Check rates and availability here.

With these tips, you’re almost guaranteed an excellent time visiting the world-famous Cliffs of Moher. The biggest thing you can do to have an enjoyable time is to expect rain and wind, then be pleasantly surprised when you’re struck with the luck of the Irish and get a sunny day. No matter what, your visit to the Cliffs of Moher will be a highlight of your Irish adventure. 

I’d love to hear about your experience visiting the Cliffs of Moher! Let me know how it went in the comments below.

And as always, if you found this post useful, please share it on Pinterest so others can have a memorable trip to the Cliffs of Moher.

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5 tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher
tips for an epic visit to the Cliffs of Moher
Tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher

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