The Ring of Kerry Drive Complete Guide: Best Stops and Sights

The Ring of Kerry Drive is one of the best itineraries in Ireland with the most scenic sights, which is why it’s one of the most popular. I have been driving around the Ring of Kerry and I am on my way back there as I am writing this guide.

That’s how much I love this Ireland region and in this post, I will tell you all the most interesting sights to visit, besides practical tips on the different ways to visit.

I love to drive anywhere I go because it gives me the freedom to explore at my own pace, so I rented a car in Dublin as soon as I landed and drove my way to the Ring of Kerry, obviously stopping by many other amazing sights on my way there.

If you are not confident about driving in Ireland, you can either read my thorough guide (linked here) or you can choose among the many tours that take you to the Ring of Kerry. Alternatively, public transportation also works very well in Ireland. I will tell you all about it further below in this post.

The stunning view of the Killarney National Park in The Ring of Kerry Ireland.
Killarney Lake

Table of Contents

What is the Ring of Kerry?

Before we embark on the Ring of Kerry journey, let’s go through some essential information on this scenic route.

Firstly, for those still unfamiliar with the Ring of Kerry, this route is a scenic circular route in County Kerry of about 179 kilometers with breathtaking landscapes and cultural treasures.

Specifically, the Ring of Kerry includes stunning coastal views, picturesque villages, historic sites, and plenty of outdoor adventures, allowing visitors to immerse in Ireland’s natural beauty and rich heritage.

With so many things to do and places to visit, it’s no surprise that’s one of the most popular routes in Ireland.

πŸ“ Ring of Kerry Drive Map 

Ring of kerry drive map
Ring of Kerry Map Β© Google Maps- Click on the image to open the map

⏰ How Long Does it Take to Drive the Ring of Kerry Ireland?

The driving time without any stops for the Ring of Kerry Ireland is usually about 3 to 4 hours. But you can’t just drive this scenic route if you want to fully experience and appreciate it.

So, it’s best to spend at least one full day to explore and indulge in the region’s beauty. 

However, the driving time around the Ring of Kerry also depends on other factors like traffic and weather.

Therefore, be sure to check out the situation on the area and road before venturing on your trip. 

πŸ’‘ Is the Ring of Kerry Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! The Ring of Kerry is definitely worth visiting. This scenic route is an excellent destination to experience Ireland’s stunning natural landscapes, rich history, and authentic cultural experiences. 

In other words, the Ring of Kerry has it all, from breathtaking coastal views and charming villages to ancient castles and traditional music sessions.

So, undoubtedly, this iconic route is a unique and unforgettable destination.

A narrow road in Killarney National Park.

The Ring of Kerry Itinerary and Highlights

1. Killarney (Starting Point)

Killarney is the perfect spot to start your Ring of Kerry adventure. It is a charming town offering plenty of opportunities to indulge in the area’s natural beauty and cultural treasures.

The Killarney National Park, Toss Castle, Muckross House and Gardens, and Torc Waterfall are some must-visit destinations that shouldn’t be missed from your itinerary.

The Killarney Lake - The Ring of Kerry.
Killarney Lake

βœ”οΈ Killarney National Park

First, begin your day by visiting Killarney National Park, a fantastic UNESCO Biosphere Reserve filled with enchanting woodlands, serene lakes, and towering mountains.

You can either explore the park through a leisurely stroll or bike to indulge in everything the park offers.

The Ross Castle under a cloudy sky.
Ross Castle

βœ”οΈ Ross Castle

After indulging in Kllarney’s natural beauty and exploring the area’s wildlife, visit the iconic Ross Castle.

Located by Lough Leane, Ross Castle is a 15th-century fortress that can transport you back in time. Learn of its history, legends, and significance to Ireland’s past through a guided tour. 

βœ”οΈ Muckross House and Gardens

Next, continue your adventure by visiting the Muckross House and Gardens, a gorgeous Victorian mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens.

The Muckross House showcases the elegance of its era and historical significance at that time.

But to glimpse its history, learn of its intriguing story, and explore its opulent rooms and gardens. 

Muckross Abbey.
Muckross Abbey

βœ”οΈ Torc Waterfall

Lastly, make sure to include Torc Waterfall in your itinerary. A short hike through lush greenery will take you to this stunning waterfall that gently falls into a sparkling lake below.

It is a natural beauty that will complete your Killarney magical experience.

The Torc Waterfall.
Torc Waterfall

2. Gap of Dunloe

Located near Killarney, the Gap of Dunloe is a natural wonder that should not be missed on your Ring of Kerry itinerary. It’s a narrow mountain pass stretching for about 11 kilometers and offering breathtaking views of rugged peaks, flowing rivers, and serene lakes. 

Usually, most visitors take a traditional jaunting car ride, which is a  horse-drawn carriage, to experience the Gap. 

Alternatively, adventurers choose to hike through this challenging route and be rewarded with a mesmerizing and unforgettable journey at one of Ireland’s most stunning scenery.

3. Kenmare

Located on the southern part of the Ring of Kerry, Kenmare is a charming town that should not be missed on your itinerary.

Known for its colorful buildings and vibrant atmosphere, Kenmare offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and lively culture. 

So, take a leisurely stroll along Kenmare Bay, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the water and surrounding mountains.

Explore the town’s picturesque streets lined with shops, restaurants, and traditional pubs to savor delicious local cuisine and indulge in authentic Irish culture.

The Circle of Stones in Kenmare.
Kenmare Stone Circle

βœ”οΈ Kenmare Stone Circle

Set within the captivating landscape near Kenmare, the Kenmare Stone Circle is a fascinating historical attraction that adds an intriguing touch to your Ring of Kerry itinerary. 

It’s an ancient stone circle believed to be more than 4,000 years old. Comprising 15 standing stones, it is a remarkable attraction showcasing ancient engineering and holding immense archaeological significance. 

So, visiting the Kenmare Stone Circle is a journey back in time and a chance to connect with Ireland’s rich and mysterious past.

βœ”οΈ Shopping and Dining at Kenmare

Generally, Kenmare offers a fusion of quaint shops and delectable dining experiences.

For instance, the town’s streets are lined with unique boutiques, artisanal craft stores, and designer shops, giving a satisfying shopping experience for every taste. 

Additionally, Kenmare offers a diverse culinary scene, from traditional Irish dishes to fine dining.

So, indulge in a mouthwatering meal in one of the town’s impressive restaurants, pubs, or cafes.

4. Portmagee 

Next on our list that should not be missed from your itinerary is Portmagee, a hidden gem nestled on the stunning coast of County Kerry.

This charming fishing village will surely captivate you with its picturesque harbor, quaint streets, breathtaking views, and the locals’ warm hospitality.

Furthermore, Portmagee offers a selection of charming shops with unique souvenirs, handmade crafts, and locally sourced products.

In fact, whether you’re looking for traditional Irish knits, artisanal pottery, or locally produced delicacies, you’ll find plenty of options to indulge in. 

Additionally, the village is famous for its fresh seafood, with many restaurants serving delectable dishes made with the catch of the day. 

The Portmagee Bridge.
Portmagee Bridge

5. Valentia Island

Tucked off the southwestern coast of Ireland, Valentia Island is a hidden paradise, perfect for an alternative and fun destination along the Ring of Kerry route. 

The island boasts rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and awe-inspiring landscapes that will let you immerse in the island’s and Ireland’s rich natural beauty, history, and culture. 

Visit the impressive Valentia Island Heritage Centre to discover the island’s fascinating past, explore the island’s diverse ecosystem through hiking and birdwatching, and marvel at the iconic tetrapod footprints, the remnants of an ancient creature. 

Last but not least,  savor the island’s local produce and seafood at one of its charming restaurants and cafes.

The Valentia Lighthouse.
Valentia Lighthouse

βœ”οΈ Slate Quarry

One of the most fascinating highlights on Valentia Island is the Valentia Slate Quarry, a quarry holding great historical and geological significance. 

The quarry produces high-quality slate and has been operating since the 19th century. Its slate has been used in many prestigious buildings, such as the British Houses of Parliament and Paris’ SacrΓ©-CΕ“ur Basilica.

In addition to its historical importance, the Valentia Slate Quarry is also a geological wonder. The unique geological formations and the slate’s stunning color variations make it a photographer’s dream. 

Furthermore, the quarry offers guided tours giving information about the mining process and the tools and techniques used in slate extraction. Also, with the help of experts, visitors can try splitting the slate themselves. 

Arch in Skellig Island.
Skellig Ring

6. Skellig Ring

For those seeking an extra dose of natural beauty and cultural discovery along the Ring of Kerry, the Skellig Ring is a scenic detour that should not be missed.

This 30-kilometer stretch of road takes you off the beaten path, revealing awe-inspiring views and hidden gems. 

Skellig Ring features winding coastal roads, mesmerizing rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and panoramic vistas.

Furthermore, the Skellig Ring is home to Skellig Michael, a UNESCO-listed ancient monastic settlement.

However, be aware that a trip to Skellig Michael requires careful planning and booking. 

Along the Skellig Ring, you’ll encounter charming villages like Ballinskelligs, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture, sample delicious seafood, and learn about the area’s rich history. 

7. Waterville

Waterville is a serene and picturesque village, captivating visitors from all corners of the world.

Famous for its breathtaking scenery, sandy beaches, and tranquility, it’s the perfect stop along the Ring of Kerry for relaxing and rejuvenating. 

Wandering through Waterville’s charming streets, you’ll be enticed by a vibrant array of shops and boutiques offering everything from local crafts to designer fashion.

And, of course, you’ll find plenty of traditional Irish pubs with hearty dishes or award-winning restaurants showcasing the best of local cuisine to satisfy every palate. 

For those seeking outdoor adventures, Waterville offers a haven for fishing enthusiasts, water sports lovers, and avid golfers who can enjoy a round at the prestigious Waterville Golf Links. 

Furthermore, the village features several galleries and festivals taking place throughout the year to indulge in authentic Irish cultural experiences.

8. Sneem

Nestled in the heart of the Ring of Kerry, Sneem is a vibrant and picturesque village with colorful buildings, stunning natural surroundings, and warm hospitality. 

In fact, often, it is referred to as the “Jewel of the Ring of Kerry” due to its tranquil ambiance and lively charm.

Specifically, its charming streets offer a delightful array of shops, boutiques, and art galleries, showcasing local crafts, vivid paintings, and unique souvenirs. 

Additionally, Sneem is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, cycling, fishing, and boating along the beautiful landscape of mountains, rivers, and cascading waterfalls. 

Furthermore, the village is known for its cultural events, such as festivals and live music scenes, adding a lively atmosphere to evenings spent in local pubs, where you can sample traditional Irish dishes and raise a pint with the friendly locals. 

9. Cahersiveen

Steeped in history, Cahersiveen is a beautiful coastal town on the southern coast of the Ring of Kerry.

In fact, from ancient forts to picturesque beaches, Cahersiveen is a beautiful blend of historical and natural wonders.

Visit the Old Barracks Heritage Centre to delve into the town’s rich past, discover the region’s significant role during the Irish Revolution, and explore exhibits to learn more about Cahersiveen’s history. 

Additionally, the nearby Ballycarbery Castle is an excellent example of Ireland’s medieval heritage, as well as an ideal spot to explore lush landscapes. 

When it comes to dining, Cahersiveen’s vibrant culinary scene offers a delightful mix of traditional Irish meals and international cuisine, ensuring a satisfying dining experience after a day of exploration. 

The Cahergall Stone Fort on a cloudy day.
Cahergall Stone Fort

βœ”οΈ Cahergal Stone Fort

One of the most captivating highlights along the Ring of Kerry is the Cahergall Stone Fort, a magnificent ancient fort near Cahersiveen and an impressive example of Ireland’s rich archaeological heritage. 

It was constructed during the early Christian period, and with its sturdy stone walls and circular shape, it stands as a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of its creators. 

Therefore, the Cahergall Stone Fort is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone seeking a glimpse into Ireland’s ancient past. 

10. Glenbeigh

Nestled within rolling hills and breathtaking landscapes, Glenbeigh is a picturesque village offering natural beauty and authentic Irish hospitality. 

Glenbeigh is a gateway to the stunning Rossbeigh Beach, a seven-mile stretch of sandy shoreline where you can indulge in beach walks and water sports or soak in the tranquility of the Atlantic Ocean.

Furthermore, adventure seekers can explore the nearby hills and mountains, including the famed MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. 

For an immersive historical and cultural experience, visit the beautifully restored Wynn’s Castle or the Kerry Bog Village Museum to learn about Ireland’s rural past. 

After a day of exploration, indulge in local cuisine at one of the village’s cozy pubs or restaurants for a hearty Irish meal.

11. Killorglin

Killorglin bridge, beautiful town on the ring of Kerry
Killorglin Bridge on River Laune

Located near the stunning River Laune, Killorglin is a vibrant and lively town offering plenty of opportunities to explore the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty.

During my latest trip to the Ring of Kerry, I actually stayed in a cute apartment in Killorgin and had some time to walk around and enjoy some of the local eateries. It’s a great place to stay because, besides being a cute little town, it’s at a short driving distance from many other natural sights of the ring of Kerry but I will talk about it in another post.

Specifically, Killorglin is famously known for its annual Puck Fair, a lively festival held in August that dates back over 400 years.

During this unique event, a wild mountain goat is crowned “King Puck,” and the town comes alive with parades, music, food, and endless merriment. 

Beyond the festival, Killorglin offers several attractions and activities.

For instance, explore the historic ruins of Ballykissane Pier, wander along the picturesque riverbanks, or just relax in one of the town’s many charming cafes and pubs for a hearty meal or a pint of beer. 

If you prefer a day filled with outdoor activities, Killorglin is near many beautiful nature reserves, mountains, and hiking trails. 

So, immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the locals and experience the authentic Irish charm that Killorglin exudes.

Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is only 30 30-minute drive from Killorglin as well.

12. Back to Killarney

After a long but fulfilling journey across the Ring of Kerry, it is time to return to Killarney. But the adventure does not end yet.

So be prepared to be transported by its timeless allure of Ladies View and relish in the region’s uniqueness and beauty.

The Ladies View on a cloudy day.
Ladies View

βœ”οΈ Ladies View (Final Stop)

Perched on a cliff edge overlooking the picturesque Killarney National Park, Ladies Viewi is an iconic viewpoint offering a panoramic vista that will leave you mesmerized.

In fact, it originates from Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, who were captivated by the awe-inspiring scenery during their visit in the 19th century. 

So, gaze out across the tranquil lakes of Killarney, the majestic Macgillycuddy’s Reeks Mountain Range, the lush forests, shimmering waters, and rolling hills, and get ready to capture Instagram-worthy moments. 

Otherwise, simply immerse yourself in the grandeur of nature to ensure that the beauty and allure of this remarkable place will stay with you long after you depart.

Outdoor Activities at the Ring of Kerry

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Hiking and Walking 

Generally, the Ring of Kerry is a haven for adventurers wishing for breathtaking outdoor experiences.

Commonly, adventurers prefer hiking or walking across the region’s stunning and diverse terrain, including rugged mountains, pristine lakes, verdant valleys, and rugged coastlines. 

In fact, the Ring of Kerry provides endless opportunities for outdoor exploration. So, whether you’re an experienced hiker or an occasional walker, you’ll find a trail suitable for you.

From gentle strolls through charming villages to challenging treks along the cliffs or through the national parks, every part of the Ring of Kerry unveils beautiful sceneries and adventures. 

Stunning road in Killarney.
Killarney Road

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Cycling

Cycling is an ideal outdoor activity for those seeking an active and exhilarating way to explore the natural wonders of the Ring of Kerry.

The region’s postcard-worthy landscapes, including rolling hills, charming villages, sparkling lakes, rugged coastlines, and well-maintained roads, make it a cyclist’s paradise. 

Furthermore, the Ring of Kerry offers several cycling routes suitable for different skill levels, from leisurely rides along the coast to challenging climbs through the mountains.

Therefore, you can easily immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings, stopping along the way to capture stunning panoramic views or to sample the local cuisine in quaint cafes.

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Water Sports

The Ring of Kerry’s stunning coastline and pristine waters provide the perfect playground for water sports enthusiasts.

From exhilarating to serene activities, there are endless opportunities to immerse yourself in exciting aquatic adventures. 

Feel the rush while riding the waves at one of the region’s renowned surf spots, harness the power of the wind while gliding across the water on a windsurfing board, or explore hidden coves and tranquil bays while kayaking or paddleboarding. 

Furthermore, the Ring of Kerry’s crystal-clear waters offer abundant marine life you can explore while swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving.

Aghadoe Overlooking.
Aghadoe View

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Golfing

Within the lush landscapes, rolling hills, and stunning coastal views of Ring of Kerry, golf enthusiasts will find many exceptional golf courses that are a joy to play on.

From championship courses designed by golfing legends to picturesque links courses overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, there is something to suit every golfer’s skill level and preference. 

So, immerse yourself in the tranquility of the manicured greens and meticulous golf fields that perfectly harmonize with the surrounding natural beauty. 

How Do You Visit the Ring of Kerry?

🚘 Driving 

Going on a road trip is an absolute must to experience the enchanting beauty of the Ring of Kerry fully.

Rent a car and set your own pace as you navigate the winding roads across the 179-kilometer circular route that offers awe-inspiring vistas at every turn, from towering mountains to serene lakes, charming villages, and rugged cliffs that will surely leave you in awe. 

Furthermore, along the way, you can make spontaneous stops and explore hidden gems that catch your eye, such as ancient ruins or inviting beaches, without worrying over others’ interests or available time.  

So, take your time to soak in the captivating scenery, breathe in the fresh air, and capture Instagram-worthy photos while meandering through the quintessential Irish countryside.

I used New Way car rental and I found it very comfortable renting with them, but their rates come with included insurance, so if you have the car insurance provided by your credit card already you may find cheaper options on Discover Cars, a platform that compares different car rental companies.

Best Car Rental Deals w/ Free Cancellation, Compare & Save! | Discover Cars

Find the best car rental deals and explore around freely, at your own pace. My favorite way to enjoy a destination!

The Gap of Dunloe wishing bridge.
Wishing Bridge in Gap of Dunloe

🚍 Public Transportation

If you find driving across rural Ireland challenging, there is always the option of public transportation, a more convenient and sustainable way.

Buses and trains connect major towns in the area, making it accessible for travelers without a car. 

For instance, you can easily reach Killarney, the gateway to the Ring of Kerry, via train or bus from various locations in Ireland.

Once there, local buses and organized tours offer plenty of routes to explore the region’s iconic sights. 

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic views as you go through the winding roads along the coast, charming villages, and rural routes.

πŸ—Ί Tours

Another excellent way to explore the area for those who prefer to leave the driving to someone else is by joining a Ring of Kerry guided tour.

Numerous tour operators offer various options, including bus tours, walking tours, and even cycling tours, allowing you to choose the best route according to your interests and preferences. 

Furthermore, with knowledgeable guides, you can simply sit back and relax, knowing that every detail of your journey is taken care of.

Specifically, these experts will lead you to all the must-visit sites and share fascinating stories and insights about the region’s history, culture, and natural wonders. 

So, by joining a tour, you can maximize your time, make the most of your visit, and gain a deeper appreciation for the enchanting beauty and vibrant heritage of the Ring of Kerry.

Road in Killarney Park.

πŸš΄πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Cycling

Exploring the Ring of Kerry on a bicycle is a fantastic way to soak in the breathtaking scenery and experience the region’s charm at a leisurely pace.

Numerous bike rental shops in towns like Killarney offer well-maintained bicycles and safety equipment, making it easy to embark on a memorable cycling adventure. 

You can follow the Ring of Kerry’s iconic route or tailor your own path to include specific highlights that interest you the most.

So pedal along the gently rolling hills to enjoy the fresh sea breeze by the coastline and pause to explore charming villages and historical sites. 

πŸ₯Ύ Hiking

An alternative and more exhilarating choice to immerse yourself in the captivating landscapes of the Ring of Kerry is to go on a hiking adventure.

The region offers many beautiful trails suitable for all levels of hikers, from leisurely strolls to challenging treks. 

So, lace up your hiking boots and venture into the wild wonders of the Ring of Kerry, where rugged mountains, shimmering lakes, and dramatic coastlines await. 

You can choose to follow well-marked paths that lead you through pristine national parks, such as Killarney National Park, or explore secluded routes that unveil hidden gems along the way. 

Furthermore, whether you seek panoramic views from mountaintops or the peaceful ambiance of lush valleys, hiking the Ring of Kerry offers an authentic experience that allows you to discover the region’s natural wonders up close. 

The Best Ring of Kerry Tours

πŸ‘πŸΌ Self-Guided Bike Tour of Killarney National Park, Muckross Gardens & Waterfall

5.0 ⭐️ 158 Reviews

An excellent way to explore the Killarney National Park is this half-day self-guided bike tour that offers the flexibility to discover the park’s top landmarks, such as Muckross House and Gardens, Muckross Abbey, Torc Waterfall, and Muckross Traditional Farms.

Simply pick up your bike rental and a map and navigate through the park’s picturesque countryside to immerse yourself in its natural beauty.

Such an awesome experience…!! Beautiful route and the waterfall at the end is breathtaking! The bikes were so easy to ride and the service was great!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Vicki_L, Oct 2023
Killarney Lake boat parked for tours
Visit the Killarney National Park on this incredible tour!

πŸ‘πŸΌ Killarney National Park Tour

5.0 ⭐️ 238 Reviews

Another fantastic way to explore Killarney National Park is through this private horse and carriage tour.

Starting from St. Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney, you will have the opportunity to see stunning lakes and mountains while exploring routes that are inaccessible to cars.

Furthermore, an optional tour of the historic 15th-century Ross Castle is available at an extra cost.

Damien told us some great stories about the history of the land. The tour was amazing! First trip to Ireland and we highly recommend!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Patricia_H, Oct 2023
Ross Castle
Ross Castle

πŸ‘πŸΌ Jaunting Car Tour to Ross Castle from Killarney

5.0 ⭐️ 257 Reviews

If you wish to experience a nostalgic journey through the history of Killarney, join this horse and carriage tour, reminiscent of the traditional jaunting cars used in the past.

It takes you on a scenic ride around Killarney National Park, where you can learn about the fascinating history of the area, including stories of Gaelic chieftains, as you visit iconic landmarks such as Ross Castle, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and the beautiful Killarney House Gardens. 

The scenery was beautiful and our driver, Ruby, was very fun and informative! We really enjoyed this tour and would recommend it.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Janet_B, Sep 2023
Aghadoe overlooking.
Have a stunning ride on Killarney National Park on this tour.

πŸ‘πŸΌ The Gap of Dunloe Full-Day Tour from Killarney

4.5 ⭐️ 127 Reviews

Embark on a full-day adventure through the breathtaking natural landscapes of Ireland on this tour of the Gap of Dunloe from Killarney.

Lace up your hiking boots for a scenic 11-kilometer walk, immerse yourself in the country’s picturesque emerald scenery, marvel at the stunning views, enjoy a tranquil boat ride on the Gearhameen River, and discover the captivating Ross Castle. 

This was a highlight of our trip to Ireland. It was a spontaneous booking, but turned out to be incredible. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Michele_H, Aug 2023
The lake of the Gap of Dunloe.
Gap of Dunloe

πŸ‘πŸΌ The Classic Ring of Kerry Private Tour

5.0 ⭐️ 59 Reviews

If you prefer to experience the beauty of the Ring of Kerry at your own pace but hassle-free, join this private tour.

Journey along the 179-kilometer route in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle, stopping whenever you desire to take in the breathtaking views.

Marvel at the stunning ocean vistas along the renowned Wild Atlantic Way, visit the picturesque Torc Waterfall and the historic Muckross House, explore the ancient Cahergal Ring Fort, and immerse yourself in the charm of Kerry Bog village. 

Had a full day tour… tailored to our family’s interests… This was the best value and way to see the Ring of Kerry. The pace was not rushed… We would enthusiastically recommend Mary!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A Tripadvisor Reviewer, Aug 2023
Interior of Muckross House.
Explore the Muckross House and other attractions on this tour!

Multiday tours to the Ring of Kerry

If you are not into car rentals, but you still want to have the full Ring of Kerry experience, you are in luck, because there are multiple-day guided tours where everything is organized and you don’t have to think about anything other then enjoying the views, the amazing food and the interesting history. I have selected the most highly rated which you can find here below.

Click on the one that resonates with you the most, and make sure you read the details before booking.

Where to Stay to Visit the Ring of Kerry 

🏞 Killarney

Killarney is the perfect base for exploring the scenic wonders of the Ring of Kerry.

After all, this charming town is renowned for its warm hospitality, vibrant atmosphere, and easy access to the stunning Ring of Kerry.

Specifically, Killarney offers a diverse mix of Irish charm, modern convenience, and natural wonders. 

Visitors can choose from cozy guesthouses, luxurious hotels, charming bed and breakfasts, or even self-catering cottages for a homely feel. 

Furthermore, from here, you can embark on scenic drives, hike through majestic mountains, or visit some of Ireland’s most awe-inspiring destinations, including the Lakes of Killarney, Ross Castle, and the spectacular Gap of Dunloe.

Beautiful scenery in the Gap of Dunloe.
Gap of Dunloe

🏞 Kenmare

Kenmare is a picturesque town that offers a peaceful and charming retreat for visitors exploring the beautiful Ring of Kerry.

In fact, as the “jewel in the Ring of Kerry’s crown,” Kenmare is brimming with history, culture, and breathtaking natural beauty. 

The town boasts diverse selections of accommodations, quaint shops, cafes, and traditional pubs, ensuring a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. 

Furthermore, it is ideally located to explore some of the Ring of Kerry’s most iconic attractions, such as Druid’s Circle and the picturesque Derreen Garden. 

The Gap of Dunloe lake.
Gap of Dunloe

🏞 Gap of Dunloe 

Nestled in the heart of the enchanting Ring of Kerry, the Gap of Dunloe offers a truly mesmerizing experience for those seeking natural beauty and adventure.

So, for an immersive experience, consider staying near the Gap of Dunloe to appreciate the magic of this picturesque location fully. 

Specifically, from here, you can embark on a memorable hike or bike ride through the breathtaking landscapes, passing cascading waterfalls, serene lakes, and lush hillsides. 

Furthermore, for a truly unforgettable experience, take a traditional pony and trap ride through the Gap, where you can immerse in the astonishing scenery and learn about the local legends and folklore. 

🏨 Recommended Hotels 

πŸ› Budget: Slieve Bloom Manor Hostel

Slieve Bloom Manor Hostel is an eco-friendly, family-run hostel in Killarney, just a 10-minute walk from the town center and a short drive from the picturesque lakes of Killarney and the stunning woodlands of Killarney National Park.

The hostel offers bicycle rental services, while the surrounding area provides many opportunities for hiking and horse riding. 

You can tell that the hosts have traveled quite a bit because they have thought of everything you could need!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ANNA, SEPTEMBER 2023

πŸ› Mid-range: The Lake Hotel

The Lake Hotel room.
The Lake Hotel – Photo Β© Expedia

The 4-star family-run The Lake Hotel, nestled on the scenic shores of Loch Lein, offers guests breathtaking mountain views.

It provides comfortable en-suite rooms, a restaurant, and an inviting outdoor hot tub. 

Guests can enjoy morning coffee in the Sun Lounge while traditional breakfasts are served in the dining room.

Furthermore, the Castlelough Restaurant offers fine Irish cuisine and overlooks the charming gardens. 

So, with a rich history dating back to 1820, The Lake Hotel is an excellent accommodation option to experience Ireland’s beauty, hospitality, and elegance.

For instance, guests can explore the ancient pathways on the hotel grounds, leading to the ruins of the 12th-century McCarthy Mor Castle. 

 Everything was well maintained and clean and the staff was amazing!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ MELISSA, OCTOBER 2023

πŸ› Luxury: Muckross Park Hotel & Spa

Muckross Park Hotel and Spa room.
Muckross Park Hotel & Spa – Photo Β© Expedia

The Muckross Park Hotel & Spa is a luxurious 5-star establishment in Killarney’s National Park.

The hotel offers an elegant experience with its tastefully decorated, air-conditioned rooms with plush furnishings, bespoke furniture, and luxurious fabrics. 

Guests can indulge in the award-winning Yew Tree Restaurant or enjoy a gastropub experience at Major Colgan’s Gastropub.

Additionally, the hotel’s spa is available to all residents, featuring various treatments with organic and vegan products. 

Lastly, with the town of Killarney only a 5-minute drive away and the beautiful Lough Leane just a 10-minute walk away, guests can easily explore the region’s natural beauty. 

Amazing hotel with exceptional service!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ lina, october 2023

πŸ› Glamping: Killarney Glamping at the Grove

Killarney Glamping provides a delightful glamping experience with options for both Glamping Suites and Luxury Lodges.

The glamping suites offer a comfortable and spacious bedroom, a fully equipped covered outdoor, and a private decked patio to enjoy the scenic views.

Complimentary board games are also available for entertainment, and guests have access to a private BBQ area alongside their patio. 

Wonderful accommodation. It has everything you could need as if you’re in the comforts of home, but you still feel like you are in the great outdoors.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ callan, october 2023
Rainbow on a road in Ireland
Rainbow on a road in Ireland

Best Time to Visit the Ring of Kerry

The best time to visit the Ring of Kerry is during the months of April to October. This period offers milder weather and longer daylight hours, allowing visitors to make the most of their outdoor explorations.

Furthermore, the spring months of April and May bring vibrant blossoms and lush green landscapes, creating a picturesque setting for scenic drives or hikes. 

Summer, on the other hand, offers the warmest temperatures and a chance to enjoy the stunning coastal views and charming towns along the route.

However, July and August can be the busiest months, particularly with tourists, so planning in advance and avoiding peak times can help ensure a more relaxed experience. 

If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, autumn is the perfect season. The end of September and October are in fact my favorite time of the year to visit Ireland. I was actually there last October and I loved the spectacular colors of the beautiful fall foliage as you can see from the pictures here included.

Muckross House in Kerry
Muckross House in Kerry in October

Ultimately, the best time to visit the Ring of Kerry depends on personal preferences, but no matter where you go, the stunning scenery and cultural highlights of this route will leave you in awe.

How Many Days Should You Spend at the Ring of Kerry?

A trip to the Ring of Kerry should last at least two days to have enough time to explore and immerse in this enchanting region’s breathtaking landscapes, historic sites, and charming towns. 

Specifically, with two days, you can drive the entire ring at a leisurely pace, making frequent stops to take in the stunning coastal views, visit attractions like Muckross House and Gardens or Skellig Michael, and explore the quaint villages such as Killarney, Kenmare, and Sneem. 

If you have more time, extending your stay to three or four days will provide even more opportunities to delve into the area’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty by hiking one of the many scenic trails and discovering hidden gems off the beaten path. 

Nevertheless, whether you have just a couple of days or a longer itinerary, the Ring of Kerry promises a truly unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting to return time and time again.

The Ring of Kerry Tips

When embarking on a journey along the iconic Ring of Kerry, it’s always good to remember a few tips to make the most of your experience. 

πŸ“Œ Firstly, consider traveling during the off-peak season or weekdays to avoid crowds and congestion, as well as enjoy a more serene and pleasant journey.

πŸ“Œ Additionally, start your trip early in the morning to have ample time for exploration. 

πŸ“Œ Also, be sure to have a map or GPS, as the route can be a bit confusing. But also, don’t be afraid to venture off the main road to discover hidden gems and lesser-known viewpoints. 

πŸ“Œ It’s also wise to pack layers and rain gear, as the weather on the Ring of Kerry can be unpredictable, even during the summer months. 

πŸ“Œ Lastly, try to engage with the friendly locals since they can offer insider tips and recommendations along the way. 

Amazing view of the Skellig Island.
Skellig Island

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Ring of Kerry Famous?

The Ring of Kerry is famous for its stunning natural wonders, breathtaking coastal and mountainous landscapes, charming folk villages, historic and cultural sites, and the locals’ warm hospitality.

Where is the County of Origin of Kerry?

The county of Kerry is located in the southwestern part of Ireland. It is one of the 32 counties that make up the country of Ireland.

Its county town is Tralee, and other major towns include Killarney, Listowel, and Dingle.

View of the road and lake.
Gap of Dunloe

How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Ring of Kerry?

The cost of visiting the Ring of Kerry can vary depending on various factors, including your mode of transport, accommodation choices, and the activities you plan to partake in.

But overall. It is advised to have a budget of €100 to €150 per day per person.Β 

Can You Swim in the Ring of Kerry?

Many of the beaches along the Ring of Kerry are suitable for swimming, such as Inch Beach and Derrynane Beach.Β 

A resting sea lion at Skellig Island.

Can You Do the Ring of Kerry Without a Car?

Yes, it is definitely possible to explore the Ring of Kerry without a car. For instance, you can use public transportation, guided tours, cycling, hiking, or private hires and taxis.

How Long is the Ring of Kerry Walk?

The Ring of Kerry is primarily known as a scenic driving route rather than a designated walking trail.

However, it is possible to walk portions of the Ring of Kerry and explore the surrounding countryside on foot.

Generally, if you are to follow the walking trails, it can take around 9 to 14 days to complete the entire Kerry Way circuit.Β 

The Ireland coast.
Ireland Coast

What Town is the Closest to the Ring of Kerry?

The town closest to the Ring of Kerry is Killarney, which is often considered the gateway and starting point for exploring the scenic route.Β 

Can You Do the Ring of Kerry in One Day?

Technically, it is possible to drive the entire Ring of Kerry in one day. However, it is best to take your time to explore and appreciate the stunning scenery and attractions.

Stone Ruins of Skellig Michael near the blue sea.
Skellig Michael

Is the Ring of Kerry Better than Dingle?

Both the Ring of Kerry and Dingle offer stunning natural beauty, picturesque landscapes, and cultural experiences.Β 

The Ring of Kerry is known for its scenic coastal drive, with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, rugged coastline, charming towns and villages, and many cultural and historic attractions.Β 

Dingle is renowned for its rugged beauty, dramatic cliffs, secluded beaches, and Gaelic heritage.Β 

So, whether one is β€œbetter” than the other depends on personal preferences.

Beautiful sunset at Cliffs Moher in Ireland.

Wrapping Up: The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a truly remarkable destination offering diverse experiences, from breathtaking landscapes and stunning natural beauty to rich historical and vibrant cultural attractions. 

In other words, a journey to the Ring of Kerry is a guaranteed unforgettable adventure filled with picturesque views, charming towns, and warm hospitality. 

So, as you plan your trip in 2023, be sure to include the Ring of Kerry on your Ireland itinerary and embark on a captivating adventure that will leave you with beautiful memories.