When visiting Dublin you should take a day trip to the pretty fishing village of Howth and do the Howth Head Walk.
The charming seaside village of Howth has some spectacular views and walks, and at less than 30 minutes on the train from Dublin City Centre, it makes for a very convenient day trip from the capital.
The Howth Coastal Walk around the Howth Head peninsula is one of Dublin’s best scenic walks and is a must-do on any Dublin itinerary.
The views on the walk over Dublin Bay and across the Irish Sea are simply breathtaking. The Howth Head Walk is an easy 6km loop walk and it can be done in around 2 hours.
The walk will take you along the spectacular cliffs and the scenery is honestly out of this world – it is some of the most magnificent coastline surrounding Dublin!
Whether you live in Dublin and you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy nearby nature, you’re on a luxury trip or even you’re backpacking across Ireland, the Howth Coastal Walk is definitely somewhere not to be missed!
Howth Head Walk
Time: 2 hours
Start point: Howth Railway Station
Finish Point: Howth Railway Station
Format: Loop walk
How To Get To Howth:
Howth is very easy to get to from Dublin by public transport. Just take the DART Train (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) from Dublin Connolly Station. You can check the train timetable here.
If you’ll be coming by car, you can park your car at the car park by the beginning of the Coastal Walk.
Howth Cliff Walk
There are actually four similar trails that are all referred to as the Howth Cliff Walk – all of which start and end at Howth Train Station.
They all follow the same outbound path along the cliffs and the harbour, they just differ in the inland route back to Howth. Check the map in Howth and the descriptions below to see which one you would like to do.
I also recommend you to download the free Discover Howth App which guides you along the different trails and gives you lots of useful information.
There isn’t always good phone signal on the Howth Peninsula so it’s good to have this downloaded beforehand so you have a map to guide you.
Howth Cliff Walk Trails
Howth Cliff Path Loop – 6km trail, quickest and most popular route. Follow the green markers. 130 metre gain in elevation. Returns via the Upper Cliff Path so this route features the most cliff views.
Tramline Loop – 7km trail. Follow the blue markers. 130 metre gain in elevation. Features views of the harbour and Ireland’s Eye & follows the route of the old tramline back to Howth.
Black Linn Loop – 8km trail. Follow the red markets. 160 metre gain in elevation. Features views of Dublin coastline as well as travelling inland over Howth Head.
Bog of the Frogs Loop – 12km trail. Follow the purple markers. 240 metre gain in elevation. Features views of the Wicklow Mountains and Dublin City.
Howth Head Coastal Walk:
The start of the Howth Head Coastal Walk beings on a path just off the Howth seafront.
You should be able to see some trail markers that will direct you – they are quite easy to spot, but if you can’t find the path, ask one of the locals and they’ll be sure to point it out to you.
It doesn’t matter which direction you do the walk in as it is a loop trail.
Howth Cliff Path Loop
The Howth Cliff Path Loop is the best trail on Howth Head – as well as the quickest one, therefore it is the one most people do. This is known as the Green Route, so follow the green arrow markings.
This 6km walk takes you up to the magnificent cliffs where the walk will begin, and the narrow path hugs the cliffs along a large portion of the walk.
The walk is fairly even most of the way and not too challenging, but proper walking shoes are recommended (check this packing list for other things you might need on your trip to Ireland).
There are a few benches along the walk if you want to have a sit down, rest and enjoy the views.
Main things to look out for on the Howth Cliff Path Loop:
- Baily Lighthouse
- Louis’ Point
- Tiny Hidden Beach
- Views across to Ireland’s Eye
- Balscadden Bay Beach
Along the Howth Coastal Walk you’ll pass Baily Lighthouse that sits in a really picturesque location on a rocky promontory on the Howth Peninsula. Baily Lighthouse was built in 1814 as prior to this there had been many shipwrecks in the area.
Louis’ Point is about the halfway mark on the walk and so is a good place to sit down and relax for a little break whilst enjoying the spectacular views of Baily Lighthouse.
Tiny Hidden Beach
You will also see from above a very small hidden beach below the cliffs. There were a few people sunbathing down there when I did the walk!
You can reach this remote secret cove beach on a cliff path if you wish to go down, just be careful as it is very very steep and there aren’t hand rails!
The entrance to the path is a bit tricky to find behind a bush. If you do the Howth Coastal Walk during the summer months you’ll be able to see the stunning heather blooming.
Enjoy the scenic views out across Ireland’s Eye and Lambay Island from the Howth Head Walk, and if you’re lucky you might even be able to spot some grey seals!
Balscadden Bay Beach
Balscadden Bay Beach is near Howth Harbour and is a popular place for locals to swim.
What To Bring On The Howth Head Coastal Walk:
- Good trainers/hiking shoes
- Water & some snacks
- Sunscreen, sunglasses
- Layers of clothes as the weather can change quickly
You can find bathrooms in the car parks and at the harbour, so make sure to go before you head off on the walk!
When To Do The Howth Coastal Walk
It’s obviously best to pick a sunny day to do the Howth Head Walk so you can really appreciate the views.
It’s just not the same on a rainy or windy day (plus you need to be careful if you attempt the walk during these weather conditions as it’s a narrow path and you walk fairly near the edge of the cliff).
The Howth Coastal Walk will be busy during the peak summer months and holidays, so you may want to time your trip outside of this. If that’s not possible, it’s good to do the walk nice and early before the crowds arrive.
Howth Harbour & Howth Village
Once you finish the walk you can check out Howth Harbour and its lighthouse before heading to one of the many pubs, cafes and restaurants by the harbour.
Howth is a beautiful village and so it’s definitely worth spending some time enjoying here. If you visit Howth on the weekend you’ll be able to visit Howth Outdoor Market – located right next to the train station.
This is a really cute artisan market with local products and lots of great international food!
Jennifer M. Bell
Saturday 4th of February 2023
The Howth Head Walk is a must-do for anyone visiting Dublin, Ireland. Great article!