Going for a hike in Cork? Here are the best routes to choose from.

 If you are packing up the car with gear and readying yourself for your holiday in Cork. Make sure to get out of the city and go for a ramble in the countryside, we’ve got some hikes for you to try your hand at. From an easy 5km to a 200km trek, you’ll find a route to suit you amongst our six best walks.

1. Gougane Barra – Sli Sleitbhe

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Distance: 2.40km

Height: 130m

Time: 1hr 45min

Type: Coillte Recreation Trails

Starting point: Upper carpark, Gougane Barra

Difficulty: Strenuous

What to expect:

The most difficult of the Gougane Barra trails but worth it, as it’s the best. The trail brings you up through the forest, across the River Lee and out onto the side of the mountain to stunning views of the Shehy Mountains, Gougane Barra Lake, and the valley below. There is also a small oratory there to explore.

2. Ardgroom – Pulleen loop (part of the Beara Way)

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Distance: 5km

Height: 100m

Time: 2hr

Type: National Loop Walk

Starting point: Trailhead at Cuas Quay

Difficulty: Easy

What to expect:

This small loop along coastal tracks has stunning views of Kenmare Bay and the Kerry coastline to feast your eyes upon. You won’t be bored as there are several archaeological sites along the route, as well as sea caves to explore and a small beach at Dog’s point to take a dip in if you are feeling brave. It is well waymarked, as it is part of the larger Beara Way trail. Keep an eye out for the megalithic monument, the Canfie stone circle.

3. Old Head of Kinsale Loop Walk

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Distance: 6km

Height: 100m

Time: 1.5hrs

Type:  Looped Walk

Starting point: The Speckled Door Bar and Restaurant, Kinsale, Co. Cork

Difficulty: Easy

What to expect:

The Old Head is a stunning headline jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, so get excited for the panoramic views of the cliffs and ocean you will see throughout the walk. Look out for the Old Head Lighthouse built in the 17th century and the remains of the Lusitania passenger ship, which was torpedoed by a German U-Boat during WW2.

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4. Seven Heads Walk


Distance: 42.5km

Height: 110m

Time: 2-4 days

Type: Loop walk

Starting point: Timoleague village

Difficulty: Moderate

What to expect:

If you are a bird watcher then this is the route for you. The Seven Heads walk passes through the Courtmacsherry Estuary, which is a conservation area and protected by the Wildlife Bill. En route, you can spot redshanks, greenshanks, oyster catchers, herons and fulmars. If you are really lucky you might catch a glimpse of a peregrine falcon or a kestrel soaring above. If you don’t have the time to do the whole route, don’t worry there are several return routes and smaller circular walks along the way.

5. Sheep’s Head Way

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Distance: 150km

Height: 300m

Time: 7 days

Type: Long Distance Walk

Starting point: Bantry

Difficulty: Strenuous

What to expect:

If you are looking for a more serious challenge the Sheep’s Head Way is one of Cork’s most spectacular long distance hikes. The circular walking route begins in the town of Bantry and runs the length of the North Coast peninsula over a variety of terrain. There are plenty of sites to occupy the eyes along the way, including the remains of an old copper mine, a blow hole, stone circles, standing stones, a Napoleonic signal tower and several quaint villages where you can stock up your supplies. Watch out for dolphins and whales off the westernmost tip of the headland. There are 20 shorter loop walks connected to the Sheep’s Head Way if you looking for a taster of what it entails.

6. The Beara Way

Distance: 196km

Height: 350m

Time: 7- 9 days

Type: National Waymarked Trail

Starting point: Glengarriff

Difficulty: Strenuous

What to expect:

The Beara Way is the better-known long distance hike in Cork. If you are after something off the beaten track, this is for you. The perfect mixture of mountains and seacoast, dotted with evidence of our prehistoric past throughout the route. Make sure to go to Bere Island and take a ride on Ireland’s only cable car, which takes you across to Dursey Island. Again, several smaller loops exist within the Beara Way if you are after something a little less rigorous.

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