All you need to know to plan a visit to the cliffs of Moher. Practical tips for the perfect visit to this most famous Irish attraction.
The cliffs of Moher are one of if not the most visited attraction in the whole of Ireland.
Their distinctive outline graces web articles and travel magazines as the quintessential Irish landscapes and a stop to admire their windswept beauty is a staple of any good Ireland itinerary,
Visiting the cliffs is easy and a highlight for many, however, weather conditions and crowds can hinder your experience and so, I decided to put together this guide to help you make the most of your time at the cliffs.
This is my guide for visiting the Cliffs of Moher.
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Essential tips for visiting the cliffs: Cliffs of Moher Map
Where are the Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher are in the West of Ireland, in Country Clare.
The closest town is Galway but several villages are in the vicinity, making a visit here way not only if you come from the day but also if you are considering the area for an overnight stop.
The closest airport is Shannon.
You can reach the cliffs by car, bus or private tour.
The most pleasant ones go from Galway but if you are short on time, you can even visit from Dublin.
If you do so, consider that a day and the cliff from there is a very long one: Dublin is on the opposite coast so the driving time adds up fast.
You can look at options for day tours here and get all the info you need to see what solution works for you best.
What is the best time to see the Cliffs?
The Cliffs of Moher can be visited all year round but, if you can choose, there is no doubt that some times are better than others.
In terms of season, the best time to visit the cliffs are spring, summer and early fall.
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in summer
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in summer I’ve got the highest chance of getting a dry, sunny day and therefore the best views.
Good weather is never guaranteed in Ireland and not strictly necessary to visit the cliffs however if out are hoping for good photos and maybe a walk in the area, it definitely helps!
The summer however, is also the time with the highest crowds and that can be annoying.
If you go in the summer, early morning or evening visits are best (the days re long in Ireland in summer and this is a good way to make use of them!)
Visiting the cliffs in spring or autumn
Spring and autumn are great times to visit the cliffs but do come with a risk of rain. Personally, I don’t mind when that happens.
The rain is annoying but the cliffs are very atmospheric under a moody sky so, if this is when you find yourself in Ireland, I would have no hesitation to go anyway.
Need to know: while light rain is usually ok for visiting the main part of the cliffs, you should avoid them in case of a weather warning or storm. Please do check the local weather forecast before going. The official website is MetEireann.ie
The cliffs of Moher in winter
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in winter is possible but checking the weather beforehand is paramount.
Ireland, especially the west, does get strong winds and heavy rains and the cliffs are very exposed and should be avoided in severe weather conditions.
If visiting the Cliffs in winter, you may also want to be careful with light conditions: in winter, it gets dark early in the afternoon so make sure you get to the cliffs in the morning and leave before the sun goes down.
What is there to do at the Cliffs of Moher?
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher is as easy as showing up at the main viewing area and take in their impressive outline.
There are several viewing spots at the cliffs.
The main viewpoint is just after the visitors center and has the view you see in all the photos, all the way to Hag’s head.
The very first time I went to see the cliffs, nothing was here but the cliffs themselves and you can walk all the way up to the edge (scary!)
In the last years though, stone barriers and paved pathways have been built to make the visit to the cliffs easier and less dangerous: this is good for anyone with the fear of height – visiting this part of the cliffs is not scary nor dangerous.
Another beautiful viewpoint is from O’Brien’s tower. This viewpoint is close to the highest part of the cliffs and has expansive views over the whole cliffs extension.
Last but not least there is the southern platform which is popular especially with bird watchers.
The cliffs are home to many species of seabirds and even puffins that you can see from this location in particular, should the season allow.
If you want to do more than just stare in awe and take a million photos, there are other things you can do at the Cliffs of Moher.
Learn about the cliffs in the visitors’ center
The visitors center is between the car park and the cliffs and it can be an interesting stop to learn about the cliffs and their peculiar geological history.
We skipped it the first time we went but devoted some time to it when we visited with the kids and it is worth a stop to put the cliffs into context and hide from the rain if needed!
The visitors center is also where you get a café, facilities and souvenir shops.
One thing worth noticing about the center is that it has been built to be as unobtrusive as possible and indeed, it has been done quite well.
It hides under the natural features of the landscape and while you cannot miss it due to the throngs of tourist flocking to it in the good season, it does blend it with tit surrounding pretty well.
Explore O’Brien’s tower
O’Brien tower sites on top of the cliffs and it is a wonderful viewpoint to take in the landscape around you.
Built in 1835 by Cornelius O’Brian, descendent of the first High King of Ireland, the tower is easy to reach from the visitors center and a good place to head to, to stretch your legs and get in a slightly different view of the cliffs.
Watch all the birds
The Cliffs of Moher are the largest seabird nesting colony in mainland Ireland and a special protection area for birds, a real treat for birdwatchers!
The best time to spot the birds is from May to August and some of the colonies are pretty neat the visitors center and easy to spot Bring your own binoculars.
See if you recognize the film locations
The Cliffs of Moher are famous for being the set of many movies and it is fun to spot specific locations.
Among the many, the ones that stood out for us where Ryan’s Daughter (1970), The Princess Bride (1987) and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009).
Do you have to pay to see the cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher are a landscape feature but the upkeep of the area comes at a cost and therefore access to them is now ticketed.
Prices range from 4 to 8 Euro depending on advance booking (cheaper) / on the spot purchases and children under 16 go free when accompanies by an adult. You can find the full price breakdown here.
How long do you need at the cliffs of Moher?
On a sunny day, we usually stay at the cliffs a couple of hours.
The first time we went, the coastal path was open and we were able to walk all the way along the cliffs.
However, on our last visit the coastal trail was closed (rather: it was accessible but with strongly worded sign about its dangers and recommending people to turn back) so we did not tackle it.
Should the path be open and safe at the time of your visit, then I recommend planning a half day for a full cliff experience.
Can I visit the cliffs of Moher if I have a fear of heights?
My husband and I both suffer from a fear of height but a visit to the cliff posed no problem.
The main viewing area and the walk to O’Brien’s tower are fenced with tall stone barriers and there is nothing scary about them.
The coastal path is unsuitable for people with a fear of heights as it follows the very edge of the cliff (it was also closed on our last visit, see above, as deemed unsafe)
Is it safe to visit the Cliffs of Moher with kids?
We brought our young kids to the Cliffs of Moher and yes, the cliffs are child-friendly.
The main area is paved and stroller accessible and the fences make the place safe.
It goes without saying however that kids must be supervised at all times and it is not a place to simply let them run wild as dangerous spots do exist. You can find our full guide to visiting the cliffs with kids here.
What do you wear for the cliffs of Moher?
You do not need any special equipment for visiting the cliffs unless you want to watch the birds, in which case you should bring your own binoculars.
Rain and windbreakers are recommended. You don’t need walking shoes to visit unless you intend to also takes hikes in the area; the main viewing area is paved and accessible.
Where should I stay near the cliffs of Moher?
There are many places to use as a base for visiting the cliffs.
Galway is the biggest town in the vicinity and has a plethora of hotels and guesthouses for all budgets. This is a good choice if you want to visit the cliffs by public transport
Doolin is also a great base at is also allows you to visit the Aran Islands, which are lovely and allow you to see the cliffs from the sea.
Many local B&Bs are also available just near the cliffs, you can find offers and deal in the box below.
How to get to the cliffs
There are several ways to get to the cliffs:
By private car – parking is available on the other side of the road form the visitors center
By public bus – from Galway or Ennis
By shuttle bus (June-August only) to/ from Ennistymon, Lahinch, Liscannon, Doolin and Lisdoonvarna
By organized coach tour.
You can find all the official info about these options here while our recommended bus tours to the cliffs are listed in the next paragraph.
Best tours and organized activities at the cliffs of Moher
You can visit the Cliffs of Moher by bus tour departing from several parts of Ireland.
These are some coach tours to the Cliffs worth checking out:
- Coach trip to the Cliffs and the Burren from Galway
- Full day coach tour from Dublin the cliffs (long day)
- Cliffs of Moher bus tour from Limerick
- Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher boat tour
- 1-hour Cliffs of Moher Cruise from Doolin
I hope you found this overview useful and it helped you plan your visit to the Cliffs of Moher safe travels!