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Burren Way and Cliffs of Moher

Burren Way and the Cliffs of Moher on Foot

Overview

The Burren Way is a relatively short walking route of 77 km in County Clare on Ireland’s rugged Atlantic west coast. Walk the best sections of the Burren Way, taking in the famed Cliffs of Moher and the unique limestone escarpment of The Burren. The tour starts in Liscannor and finishes on the north Clare coast at Ballyvaughan, overlooking Galway Bay.

If you are interested in cycling the Burren Way instead, we have something for you too.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Liscannor

The village of Liscannor is reachable by public bus services from Shannon or Galway airports via Ennis and Lahinch. Liscannor overlooks Liscannor Bay and takes its name from its old castle.

Day 2: Liscannor to Doolin via Cliffs of Moher | 19 km

Walk along the coastal path overlooking Liscannor Bay and through the farmlands of Kilconnell to reach the cliff path at Hag’s Head. Take in the dramatic scenery as the cliffs rise to over 200 m above the Atlantic. On a clear day, you can see across to the Aran Islands and the waters of Galway Bay and even over to the hills of Connemara. Pass the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and follow the green road into Doolin village, the home of traditional Irish music. Overnight accommodation in Doolin Village.

Day 3: Doolin/Aran Islands | 10-14 km

Enjoy a free day in Doolin village with its traditional fishing atmosphere. Or consider a boat trip (not included) to one of the Aran Islands to explore cliffs and limestone formations and island dwellers’ unique culture. Miles of dry stone walls and centuries of history await you!

Day 4: Doolin to Fanore | 20 km

Climb onto the Burren plateau via the old road with beautiful views of the Atlantic coast to the west and east to the scarred limestone hills. Descend to the Caher Valley, one of the few rivers above ground. This section offers views North and West of jagged coastline and unusual “striped” lulls caused by the layering of limestone. Fanore is a gorgeous coastal settlement; golden sands, undulating dunes, stone walls, flagstone rocks. Overnight accommodation in Fanore townland.

  • Walking for the day: 20 km, 6 hours, ↑285 m
  • Accommodation: Orchid House or similar

Day 5: Fanore Circular Walks | 12 km

Today you have several walking options – or you can take another rest day. A circular walk around Black Head climbs to 1st-century Caher Dun Irghus and Gleninagh Mountain. A gentler route takes you along the coast, following dunes and beaches to the Black Head lighthouse. Then there’s always the chance of an Atlantic swim! Overnight accommodation in Fanore townland.

  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 4 hours, ↑320 m
  • Accommodation: Orchid House or similar

Day 6: Fanore to Ballyvaughan | 16 km

Back into limestone country for the last walk to Ballyvaughan village. Walk over the Khyber Pass before descending by the Rathborney River to the restored 15th century Newtown Castle a stronghold of the O’Loughlin clan. Ballyvaughan is a sheltered fishing port looking across Galway Bay. Overnight accommodation in Ballyvaughan village.

  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 4 hours, ↑240 m
  • Accommodation: Ivies Guesthouse or similar

Day 7: Departure

Scheduled bus service to Galway or Ennis for onward connections. Or you can book an extra night and do a circular walk from Ballyvaughan to the 12th century Churches at Oughtamama, Cormcomroe Abbey and enjoy superb views from Turlough Hill (18 km, 5 hours, ↑540 m).

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming B&Bs and guesthouses. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere, cuisine and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. Note that it is sometimes necessary to accommodate you a short walk away from the trail itself, as there is not always suitable accommodation close to the trail. Details will again be given in your pre-departure info pack.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse you are staying at or at the village inns and restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

This itinerary is graded moderate and suitable for regular walkers. However, the day you walk via the Cliffs of Moher is more strenuous as the path undulates, and there are many elevation gains and losses. It is important not to stay too close to the edge when walking along the Cliffs of Moher, especially if you have vertigo, as there are no barriers, and it can get very windy. You will be walking along green roads (old cattle drover’s roads), pathways, forest tracks and minor tarmac roads. Overall about 1/2 of the route follows quiet and scenic rural roads. This is unavoidable because rights of way are almost non-existent in Ireland (read more about difficulty grades). The routes are generally well waymarked, and the itinerary is easy to follow. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from mid-April till mid-October.

The 2022 season is already fully booked. We do accept bookings for 2023 already.

The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your journey on any date during the season. The walk is popular, so it is best to book as far in advance as you can.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Dublin (DUB) or Shannon (SNN).

By train or bus
  • Dublin Airport is easily accessible from the UK, with several low-cost airlines covering the route as well as scheduled international carriers. Irish Ferries also operate from Holyhead to Dublin. From Dublin Airport there is a good bus service to Dublin city centre. Board a Citylink bus to Galway (2-3). Then, buses are available from Galway to Liscannor (2.5h). You can also take a train from Galway to Ennis (approx 2.5h) and then a bus from Ennis to Liscannor.
  • Shannon Airport: Flights are available to Shannon Airport from Dublin, Bristol, Manchester, London Heathrow and Birmingham, and Boston and New York JFK. There are buses available from Shannon Airport to Liscannor (2.5h).
  • Ballyvaughan is a one-hour bus ride away from Galway. There are just two buses per day to Galway. Once you are in Galway, you can take a bus to Shannon Airport (1.5h). Galway is also accessible to Dublin Airport (2.5h) by Citylink bus. See website links above for up-to-date schedules.
  • See Bus Éireann, Citylink and Irish Rail for details or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 nights in private en-suite rooms (B&Bs and guesthouses)
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 20 kg per person)
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information (road notes, 1:50000 maps)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

Gallery

Reviews

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Rating

     

John and Fran Pikus

Just got back from our hiking trip to the Burren Way and the Cliffs of Moher. It was outstanding. Exactly what we wanted to experience on our first trip to Ireland. The views were breathtaking and the walks easy for any semi-experienced hikers (age 66 and 58). Each leg took us more than twice as long as estimated, but that was due to the fact that we stopped every 50 yards just to take in the quiet and beauty of our surroundings.(add that my wife took pics of almost every rock that was on top of a another rock 🙂 April is a great time to go. Soft rain and mist only enhanced our experience and kept foot traffic to a minimum. Only saw 4 people on our 9 hour slow walk encompassing Black Head Loop/Caher River enroute Fanore. The BnBs and most importantly the hosts took our experience to another level. While we were still 40 minutes out, the host at the Orchid House sent out the proprietor of the only food shop in Fanore in search of us just to ask what we wanted for dinner. Proving once again that the Irish are the friendliest people on earth. Sliente!

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