The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular and most famous sights. Towering above the sea, the dramatic cliffs are an essential stop on any Ireland trip itinerary and make a great day trip from Galway. Although it is possible to visit the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, I’d suggest at least spending a night or two on the east coast of Ireland so you can enjoy the area and take a more leisurely visit to the cliffs of Moher from Galway.
I visited the Cliffs of Moher as part of my 5-day backpacker tour around Ireland with Shamrocker Irish Adventures. If you are looking for a budget tour of Ireland then they are a great choice! We toured around some of the most popular sites in Ireland, including Galway, the Aran Islands, the Wild Atlantic Way and Blarney Castle before heading back to Dublin. We spent the night in Galway before going to the Cliffs of Moher the following day.
Where are the Cliffs of Moher in Relation to Galway?
The Cliffs of Moher are on the east coast of Ireland, about an hour and a half’s drive south from Galway. Galway is a fairly large town, with plenty of bars and restaurants and lots of live Irish music to enjoy in the evenings. It is also a great base to visit the Aran Islands, so it is definitely worth spending a night or two here!
How to get to the Cliffs of Moher from Galway
Tours to Cliffs of Moher from Galway
If you are spending a night or two in Galway you can easily arrange a day tour to the Cliffs of Moher from Galway. Some tour companies simply offer transport to the Cliffs of Moher with free entry, others may include stops for lunch, a scenic drive around Burren, the region where the cliffs are located, and even a boat tour of the Cliffs of Moher to see it from the sea. Prices vary from €14 for the simplest option, to around €30 and more for more complex itineraries.
Getting from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher by Bus
If you prefer to spend as much time as you like at the Cliffs, you can take a bus from Galway. Regular bus services run every couple of hours or so along the Wild Atlantic Way from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher, ending in Ennis. Fares cost around €12 each way, and the bus will drop you off at the coach park at the Cliffs of Moher. Check the bus timetable and up to date prices here.
Driving to the Cliffs of Moher
If you have a hire car, getting to the Cliffs of Moher by car is easy, but you will have to pay car parking and entry fee. If you arrive in a tour group or by public transport, there are no additional entry fees to the Cliffs of Moher. To get a 50% discount on the fees, make sure you book your ticket online the day before you travel. The cliffs are busiest during the day between about 11am and 4pm, so if you choose a morning or late afternoon visit this will not only save you money, but also mean less people at the cliffs so you can enjoy your visit more! Book your tickets here.
Other Ideas for Visiting the Cliffs of Moher
Taking the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk from Doolin
It is possible to walk along the cliffs all the way from Fisher Street in Doolin. Walking from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher is about 8km, so allow around 2.5-3 hours. Bear in mind though that in windy or wet weather the path can be treacherous, so check the weather forecast before you plan your trip. A waterproof coat and walking boots are recommended!
Cycling to the Cliffs of Moher
The Wild Atlantic Way is a beautiful road and cycle route which runs all along the coastline. You could hire bikes from Doolin or Lahinch to use pedal power to get to the cliffs.
A Cliffs of Moher Boat Tour
Another popular option and a unique way to view the cliffs is on a Cliffs of Moher Cruise. The boat tours leave from the nearby port of Doolin and give you the chance to marvel at the cliffs from the water.
Tips for Visiting the Cliffs of Moher
The Best Time to Visit the Cliffs of Moher
The weather, of course, plays an important part in your enjoyment of the cliffs, so during the summer months, you have less chance of rain. However, summer is also the busiest time to visit the Cliffs of Moher, so you will have to contend with the crowds. If you are visiting in summer, try to arrive either first thing in the morning before the tour groups, or late afternoon when the day tour groups have left. As the cliffs face west, sunset is a great time to visit so you can watch the sun slipping down beneath the waves on the horizon.
Generally, visiting on a weekday is quieter than over the weekend, but during the school holidays, it is busy every day! Peak visiting time at the Cliffs of Moher is between 11am and 4pm, so plan your visit around these times if you can. Opening times vary depending on the season, but from May to August the Cliffs of Moher are open from 8am to 9pm.
Saving Money at the Cliffs of Moher
If you arrive at the Cliffs of Moher and pay the full entry fee for access to the car park and visitor centre, it is €8 per person. If you book online you can save up to 50% if you choose to visit during the off-peak hours in the morning from 8am to 11am, or in the evening from 4pm to 7pm or later, depending on opening hours. The entry fee covers car parking and access to the visitor centre.
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher for Free
If you arrive by public transport or walk along the cliffs, you don’t have to pay the entry fee unless you use any of the facilities in the visitor centre, then it is an honesty policy for you to go and buy your tickets at the reception desk in the visitor centre. So, technically it is possible to visit the Cliffs of Moher for free if you don’t use any of the facilities. However, given the maintenance of the pathways and the fact that the toilets are in the visitor centre, I would advise visiting during off-peak hours and paying the 4€ entry fee online.
Weather at the Cliffs of Moher
Check the weather forecast before you set off to the Cliffs of Moher, as they are occasionally closed in high winds or extreme weather conditions. On the day we visited the cliffs were closed in the morning due to Storm Ali but were re-opened in the afternoon. There were still strong gusts of wind, so take extra care on the cliff tops in windy or wet weather!
Walking Along the Cliffs of Moher
There are two options for the path along the cliffs, one leading to the left of the visitor centre, and one to the right.
The Left-Hand Path on the Cliffs of Moher
This path leads to the south viewing platform which has beautiful views of the Cliffs, Goat Island (where puffins nest) and the Great Stack. You can also see O’Brien’s Tower on the cliffs in the distance which gives a nice sense of perspective for photos. This section of path is accessible, but after the viewing platform the coastal path continues outside the official area of the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre and is not recommended for children under 12 or those with restricted mobility. If you choose to continue along the cliffs, there is a pathway which is ‘fenced’ off with stones, and a path which has no protection from the cliff tops – hence it is not recommended for children. It was very windy when I visited, so I had to be very careful how close I got to the edge!
The Right-Hand Path on the Cliffs of Moher
The path to the right of the entrance leads up to O’Brien’s Tower. There is a large viewing area here which is best for children and those with restricted mobility, although parts of the path are quite steep. You can go up Clifford’s Tower for even more beautiful views, although the spiral staircase is quite tight. Past the boundary of the Visitor’s Centre path, you can continue along the coastal path all the way to Doolin, although this isn’t recommended for children under 12 due to the lack of barrier along the pathway.
I preferred the views from the left-hand path, although in heavy rain or strong winds the right-hand path is definitely a safer option! Allow at least 2 hours for your visit so you have time to enjoy the views on both sides.
Facilities at the Cliffs of Moher
Once you arrive at the Cliffs of Moher, there is a visitors’ centre with toilet facilities.
Baggage storage is available free of charge in the Shannon Heritage gift shop on the ground floor of the Visitor Centre.
There is a café and restaurant on site, as well as several shops where you can buy souvenirs, woollen clothing and traditional Irish musical instruments.
Whether you choose to visit the Cliffs of Moher from Galway on your own, with a tour company like Shamrockers or on a day tour, whichever way you choose you are sure to be impressed by the cliffs. If you are backpacking in Ireland, don’t miss them!
Hostels & Hotels at the Cliffs of Moher
If you decide to spend the night near the Cliffs of Moher, there are several options in the nearby town of Doolin.
Hostels Near the Cliffs of Moher
There are four hostels in Doolin listed on Hostelworld, and all get good ratings. Aille River Hostel is the top rated and is a renovated 300-year-old cottage on the riverside with private rooms and dorms available.
There are more hostels in Galway, although you’re further away from the cliffs there is more nightlife in Galway if you prefer to use that as a base. We stayed at Kinlay Eyre Square hostel with our Shamrockers group, which was clean, in a great location and with a good breakfast.
Hotels Near the Cliffs of Moher
Doolin is a good choice for hotels so you can either walk along the coastal path or catch the bus to the Cliffs of Moher if you decide not to drive. There are lots of bed & breakfasts and hotels in Doolin, Blackberry Lodge gets excellent reviews and also has a restaurant on-site.
If you have your own transport, Moher Lodge is one of the closest hotels to the Cliffs of Moher, and gets wonderful reviews.
Or check the options on Airbnb. If you have never used Airbnb before, use this link to sign up & get up to $40 credit to use on your first trip! Read more about the Airbnb first time discount code or click below for your Airbnb coupon.
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