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Best Things to do in Dingle

Best Things to do in Dingle

Dingle is one of the most desirable places to live and visit, not only in Ireland but in the world – a place famously described by National Geographic as “one of the most beautiful places in the world”.

People become captivated by the lure of Dingle, with something on offer for everyone – a rugged and captivating coastline, Caribbean-blue stretches of ocean, miles of golden sandy beaches, magical coastal islands, the greatest concentration and variety of archaeological sites and monuments in Western Europe, some of the best walking and hiking trails in Ireland, sporting activity hubs, a thriving Irish language community, traditional Irish music & dancing nightly, a great sporting heritage, an iconic foodie scene (voted No. 1 Foodie Town in Ireland!), bustling pubs…the list goes on and on. Like so many of us…you are going to love Dingle and you are going to want to come back!

Below you will find our top suggestions on the best things to do in Dingle. During check-in we will give you maps and plenty of additional tips / recommendations on how to make the most your time on our beautiful Dingle Peninsula. 

Helpful Tip

Advice / Recommendation

Not a week goes by where we don't hear from guests who deeply regret not spending longer in Dingle. Dingle tends to be a highlight (if not ‘the’ highlight) of their Ireland vacation. Allow yourself sufficient time here. 1 day is definitely not enough - you will be able to say that you have seen some of Dingle but you will not have experienced it. 2 days is better but 3 days or more is ideal.

Orla & Ronan's Dingle 'Must Do's'

The Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula
Dingle's Slea Head Drive

No. 1: Experience Ireland's Most Scenic Route - The majestic Slea Head Drive

An absolute must – this is the one of the best coastal drives in the world! Nobody should leave the Dingle Peninsula without embarking on this 30 km journey(approximately). Every scene paints a picture! You will pass through picturesque villages such as Ventry, Dunquin, Ballyferriter, and Ballydavid. You will witness some truly breathtaking scenery as you look out upon the Blasket Islands and the “Sleeping Giant”. Along your way you shall also pass through the most westerly point in Europe. You will not have witnessed the wonder of the Dingle Peninsula until you have toured the Slea Head Drive!

No. 2: Traverse Ireland's Highest Mountain Pass - The Conor Pass

The Conor Pass is Ireland’s highest mountain pass (elevation of 456m) and considered to be one of the most scenic drives in Ireland. It is an area of immense natural beauty. Lakes, waterfalls, rivers and valleys that have been etched out by enormous glaciers during the ice age typify the area. The panoramic views from the viewing park at the top of Conor Pass are simply breathtaking with incredible vistas down both the northern and southern sides of the Dingle Peninsula.

Be forewarned, the drive is not for the faint hearted! At the steepest part the road weaves its way around sharp cliff faces and passes high corrie lakes. There are some very narrow sections where two cars cannot pass, so drivers need to keep their eyes peeled when driving and be ready to stop at the wider sections.

Don’t worry – it will be an adventure and a worthwhile one at that!

The Conor Pass - Ireland's Highest Mountain Pass
The Conor Pass - Ireland's Highest Mountain Pass
Great Blasket Island
Great Blasket Island

No. 3: Explore the most westerly island group in Europe - the magical Blasket Islands

Three miles west of the tip of the Dingle Peninsula, the Blasket Islands rise spectacularly from the Atlantic Ocean. The most westerly point in Europe – next stop America! The islands are renowned for their magnificent beauty, rugged wildness and their historic, cultural and literary heritage. Sadly, due to persistent emigration, the last of the island’s inhabitants left in 1953.

It is one of our favourite places to go and we do our best to visit at least once per year. There are great walks, an abundance of marine life and sea birds, diverse flora and fauna, and an amazing history which guides on the island passionately recount. It is a special place. As soon as you land on the island, you feel like you have stepped back in time. There is just something magical about sitting on the magnificent golden sandy beach of the Great Blasket Island, watching the seals run in and out of the turquoise blue water as you look back on mainland Ireland.

While the Great Blasket Island remains uninhabited today (if you discount the seals, donkeys, sheep and rabbits that is!), it remains a splendid place to visit.

No. 4: Eco Tour / Sea Safari Experience around Dingle Bay

Our guests rave about and we highly recommend taking to the water for a unique Eco Tour / Sea Safari experience along the breathtaking coastline of Dingle Bay. It is a memorable experience. You will take in the caves, cliffs, various rock formations, and hear some local history as you make your way for a close up view of the Great Blasket Islands.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled throughout the trip. The waters around the Blasket Islands are a haven for marine mammals and birds. Sightings are obviously subject to seasonal fluctuations but it is  not uncommon to be greeted along the way by Dolphins, Seals, Whales (Minky, Humpback, Fin, Killer / Orca), Basking Sharks, Puffins (March – July) and other marine life.

Dingle Eco Tour / Dingle Sea Safari
Dingle Eco Tour / Dingle Sea Safari
Hiking Dingle's Slea Head Drive
Hiking Dingle's Slea Head Drive

No. 5: Experience some of Ireland's Best Walking & Hiking Trails

When it comes to walking and hiking, one word describes the Dingle Peninsula – PARADISE!

Dingle is a top destination for outdoor adventurers, attracting climbers, walkers and hikers from all over the world each year. Whatever your level of ability, you’ll find a route that is perfect for you in Dingle – from more strenuous ridge walking to more gentle slopes, cliff walks, beach walks, forest walks, etc.

Regardless of what route(s) you choose, you are sure to find yourself immersed in an amazing landscape. You will be breathing in the fresh sea air, listening to the thunder of the waves and the call of the birds, surrounded by a wonderful variety of flora and fauna and most likely passing by some magnificent archaeological and ecclesiastical sites that are dotted throughout the Dingle Peninsula.

You’ll find a sample of some walks & hikes in this ‘Walking Guide To The Dingle Peninsula’ booklet. We are happy to tailor some recommendations for you during check-in also.

No. 6: Immerse yourself in Ancient History

The Dingle Peninsula boasts the greatest concentration and variety of archaeological sites and monuments in Western Europe, stretching back over the past 6,000 years. Helped by the peninsula’s remote location at the edge of Europe, and lack of specialised agriculture, there is an incredible preservation of over 2,000 archaeological sites and monuments. It is impossible to visit the Dingle Peninsula and not be impressed by its unique and expansive archaeological heritage.

History buffs will be in their element on the Dingle Peninsula. Set off and explore beehive huts, ogham stones, ring forts, ancient castles, monastic sites, oratories, medieval monasteries, etc. Aside from the various archaeological sites and monuments there are also great number of other attractions for you to enjoy. These include the Blasket Island Heritage Centre, Dún Beag Fort Visitor Centre, Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne, Gallarus Oratory Visitor Centre, Díseart Visitor Centre, etc.

If you do have an interest in exploring the archaeology of the Dingle Peninsula, we would highly recommend doing a tour with one of the specialist local operators such as Sciuird Archaeological Tours.

Sciuird Archaeological Tours
Archaeological site on Slea Head Drive
Other Voices Dingle
St. James Church - Venue of the hugely popular Folk Concerts

No. 7: Best of Traditional Irish Music, Song & Dance

The Dingle Peninsula is home to many of Ireland’s most famous Traditional Irish Musicians, Singers, and Dancers. We are fortunate that each night, sessions with music, song and dance spring up in bars all over the town. Nightly entertainment ranges from Traditional Irish Music,  to Ballads & Folk Songs and even world champion Irish dancers. Ramble through the colourful streets of Dingle and listen out for what takes your fancy!

Away from the pub scene, the Folk Concerts at St. James Church are hugely popular and a top recommendation of ours. Hear some of the Dingle Peninsula’s best musicians / singers, in the comfort of a small intimate venue with incredible acoustics. Concerts take place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 19.30 to 21.15 (100 seats).

No. 8: Enjoy Dingle's Iconic Foodie Scene

The Dingle Peninsula is developing into one of Ireland’s top culinary destinations. In fact Dingle Town is a recent winner of the Irish Restaurant Award ‘Foodie Town of Ireland’ which recognised Dingle for great dining experiences, and an active food culture. The Dingle Peninsula is well known for award winning bars, cafés, micro breweries and an independent Distillery along with a wide variety of artisan food producers.

For a town of it’s size, Dingle has a remarkable clutch of top restaurants. Menus are dominated by locally sourced produce with offerings to suit all palates and all budgets. For seafood lovers, Dingle is a haven – with fresh fish being landed into the town’s port on a daily basis you will be spoilt for choice!

The hardest part is deciding where to go – but we will happily help you with that.

Freshest of fish being landed daily
Freshest of fish being landed daily
Behind the counter of one of Dingle's night time establishments

No. 9: Savour Dingle's Vibrant Nightlife - Pub Crawl

You don’t just pass through Dingle – you need to experience it. Dingle is renowned for it’s vibrant nightlife – filled with bustling pubs that come alive at night. The atmosphere is relaxed with a lovely mix of locals and visitors alike. The pubs are unique and each one is no more than a stone’s throw away from the next. No neon signs here – it’s all old world traditional charm with interiors that have been untouched for decades! Expect open fires, flagstone floors, cozy snugs, quirky decors and of course the best of traditional Irish music and dancing every night of the week. We’ll give you plenty of pointers to some of our favourites. 

If you are feeling thirsty – enjoy a point of the black stuff or one of our local ales. Alternatively, perhaps you will be tempted by one of the offerings from the town’s distillery such as Dingle Whiskey, Dingle Gin or Dingle Vodka.

No. 10: Experience one of Dingle's Festivals

Dingle is home to a jam-packed schedule of fun festivals and events spread throughout the year. The big annual events such as the award winning community arts festival Féile na Bealtaine, The Dingle Races, The Dingle Marathon, The Dingle Food & Wine Festival, The Animation Dingle Festival and ‘Other Voices’ Music Festival have all become favourite annual pilgrimages for many.

Check out our Dingle Festival & Events Guide / Calendar to see what is scheduled in Dingle during your visit.

Féile na Bealtaine
Béal Bán Horse Races

No. 11: Europe's Most Stunning Beaches

The Dingle Peninsula boasts some of Europe’s most stunning beaches. From the spectacular sweeping curve of Brandon Bay, the seemingly endless sea and sky of Inch, to the many secluded and hidden sandy coves the Peninsula has been gifted by Mother Nature. You can easily find a deserted beach with nothing but the sound of the ocean and crying gulls for company.

For further ideas / suggestions we would suggest exploring the official tourism website for The Dingle Peninsula.