The Cliffs of Moher is undoubtedly the most iconic attraction in all of Ireland, and with over one million visitors each year, it’s also the most visited attraction in the country… And for good reason! Perched along the rugged western coastline, these majestic cliffs stretch for over 8.5 miles (14+ kilometers) towering over the Atlantic Ocean, boasting sheer cliffs that plunge over 700 feet (200+ meters) into the swirling depths below. The sheer majesty of these cliffs, coupled with the wild, untamed beauty of the surrounding landscape, creates an experience that is unlike any other. Needless to say, the Cliffs of Moher should be on every traveler's bucket list! We had the pleasure of experiencing this breathtaking natural wonder and learned a thing or two along the way that may help you enjoy your visit to the fullest. But before we dive into the top 5 things to know before visiting the Cliffs of Moher, let’s talk about how to get there, where to stay, and the best time of the year to visit!
Be sure to watch our Cliffs of Moher video on our YouTube channel to get a closer look at our experience! ⬇️
When to Go:
While each season has its own charm, the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn often strike a balance between favorable weather conditions and fewer crowds. Regardless of which season you plan to visit the Cliffs of Moher, be sure to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly, as the cliffs are primarily exposed to the elements. Ultimately, the best time to visit depends on individual preferences.
Spring (April to June):
Weather: Spring offers mild temperatures, blooming flora, and longer days.
Crowds: It is a shoulder season, so the cliffs are less crowded compared to the summer months.
Wildlife: Spring is a great time for birdwatching, as many seabirds nest along the cliffs.
Summer (July to August):
Weather: Summer is the warmest time of the year, with longer daylight hours, making it ideal for exploring the cliffs.
Festivals and Events: There are various cultural events and festivals in the region during the summer months.
Sunset Views: The extended daylight allows for spectacular sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean.
Autumn (September to October):
Weather: The weather remains relatively mild, and autumn colors add a picturesque backdrop to the cliffs.
Fewer Tourists: As the summer crowds disperse, the cliffs become less crowded, providing a more serene experience.
Winter (November to March):
Dramatic Scenery: Winter storms can bring dramatic waves and clouds, creating a unique and atmospheric landscape.
Solitude: Winter is the least crowded time, allowing for a more solitary experience.
Photography: The low angle of the sun can create striking lighting conditions for photography.
How to Get There:
Due to their semi-remote location, getting to the Cliffs of Moher isn’t as easy as hailing a cab (unless you want to spend a lot of money) or hopping on a bike. That said, getting to the Cliffs of Moher can be done through various means, each offering its own advantages. Here are a few of the best ways to reach this iconic destination:
Rent a Car (our recommendation):
Pros: Renting a car provides flexibility and the ability to explore the scenic routes at your own pace. You can take detours and stop at other attractions along the way… Which we highly recommend!
Cons: Driving on the left side of the road along the sometimes narrow and winding route may be challenging for some, and parking at the Cliffs can be limited, especially during peak times.
Pros: Bus services are available from major cities like Galway and Limerick, offering a convenient and cost-effective option. You can relax and enjoy the scenery without the stress of driving.
Cons: Schedules may be less flexible, and the journey might take longer than driving. Buses might be crowded during peak tourist seasons.
Bus Éireann provides daily bus service along Route 350 from Galway to The Cliffs of Moher (and onto Ennis) six times a day in the summer each way between Ennis to Galway. View the Route 350 timetable to help plan your visit.
Pros: Guided tours often provide a hassle-free experience, with transportation, tickets, and sometimes even meals included. Guides can offer insights into the history and geology of the Cliffs.
Cons: Tours may have a fixed itinerary, limiting your time at the Cliffs. The cost can be higher compared to self-guided options.
If you do decide to go on a guided tour, we recommend booking through GetYourGuide!
The most popular cities/towns to home base out of while exploring Ireland’s west coast are Galway, Limerick, and Ennis, but if you have a rental car and are interested in staying closer by, check out nearby Doolin!
Now that we’ve covered when to go, how to get there, and where to stay, let’s talk about the 5 things to know before you go!
Purchasing tickets to the Cliffs of Moher online before arriving offers several advantages for visitors. Firstly, it allows you to secure your admission in advance, ensuring that you won't be disappointed by sold-out tickets or long queues at the entrance. Additionally, when buying tickets online you get discounted rates compared to purchasing tickets on-site. For instance, when we visited, we paid 7€ per person whereas it would have cost us 12€ per person on-site.
Note: Admission includes secure car parking, wi-fi, and access to all areas including O'Brien's Tower and the interactive Cliffs exhibition. In addition, there are two cafes, a craft & gift store and a craft and retail street (on the left as you walk out of the visitor center), restrooms, first aid center, water refill stations, information points, baggage storage, and a free to download app and audio guide. Binoculars and picnic blankets are available on request as well as a "lifts of Moher" mobility vehicle.
2. Arrive Early:
There are two primary benefits to arriving early to the Cliffs of Moher. First, the early morning hours provide a tranquil atmosphere, allowing visitors to appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the cliffs in a peaceful setting. Second, it allows visitors to avoid the crowds that typically gather later in the day creating a more enjoyable experience overall.
3. Allow Enough Time:
The amount of time to spend at the Cliffs of Moher varies based on personal preferences and interests, but generally, visitors should allocate at least 2 to 3 hours to take in the views and explore the visitor center area. That said… We had 2 hours for our visit and it was nowhere near enough time to fully appreciate the stunning natural beauty and explore the surrounding areas. If you want to explore beyond the crowded visitor center area (which we HIGHLY recommend), we suggest planning to spend a minimum of 4 hours. This was the biggest mistake that we made during our visit and we’re still kicking ourselves for it.
4. Bring Wireless Earbuds:
Your Cliffs of Moher Experience admission comes with a free app-based audio guide which we found very helpful in learning more about the Cliffs of Moher. For that reason, we recommend bringing wireless earbuds/headphones so you can enjoy the audio guide without getting tangled up in wires while trying to take photos and videos with your phone! We also recommend downloading the app before arrival just in case your phone service is bad or the wifi is slow… Which was the case during our visit.
5. Explore Beyond the Visitor’s Center:
If all you have is an hour or two or you have mobility issues that don’t allow you to explore off the beaten path… Absolutely, plan a visit to the Cliffs of Moher and take in the views from the visitors center area! You won’t regret it. But pointing back to tip #3… If you have more time and are able, you’ve got to get away from the main viewing area if you truly want to experience the Cliffs of Moher. All around the main viewing area, there is a 3 to 4-foot-high stone wall that really obstructs the views making for a sometimes frustrating experience. If you can get away from the visitor’s center, the walls disappear and you can get that “edge of the world” experience that many people are looking for when visiting the Cliffs of Moher.
All in all, our experience at the Cliffs of Moher was enjoyable, but we can’t wait to go back and correct our mistakes! And we hope that you’ve learned from our mistakes and that this guide will help you make the most of your time at the Cliffs of Moher! And if it has, we hope you’ll consider following us on Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube Channel for more travel content!