Ireland is a beautiful country full of history and spectacular scenery. You will find rolling hills, rugged cliffs, old architecture and even beaches on this wonderful island. Don`t miss the best activities, restaurants, and places to stop while backpacking Ireland.
How To Get There
If you are traveling internationally you will most likely fly in and out of Dublin. When traveling from the UK you can also get flights into Belfast, Northern Ireland. Either of these cities are a great place to begin backpacking Ireland.
Best Time To Travel
July and August are the busiest times to travel and offer the best weather. May, June and September are the shoulder season where you will still get decent weather with lower prices and smaller crowds. May to July is ideal because prices and crowds are lower and rain is minimal.
- Ireland: Euro €1.00 = $1.50 CAD, or $1.20 USD
- Northern Ireland: British Pounds £1.00= $1.41 USD, €1.15 Euros, or $1.80 CAD
Average Daily Budget
€100 ($120 USD) per day per person
Our average daily budget breakdown:
- Accommodation €25 (private room in a house on airbnb)
- Car rental €17 (splitting the car rental between 2 people)
- Gas €12 (splitting gas between 2 people)
- Breakfast €6
- Lunch €8
- Dinner €15
- Attractions: €9
- Tolls and parking: €4
For the most part, you wont need any special vaccinations while backpacking Ireland. It is smart to make sure your routine vaccinations are up to date. Consider getting your Hepatitis A & B vaccines if you don`t already have them. Always double check with an immunization clinic before departing to be safe.
You will find no shortage of hotels, Airbnbs and local B&B`s throughout Ireland. We chose to stay in Airbnbs to keep our cost to a minimum.
- Budget: €30-65 for 2 people/night: Staying in an Airbnb or hostel. We found the private rooms in the Airbnbs to be comfortable and affordable.
- Mid Range: €70-140 for 2 people/night: A private room in a Bed and Breakfast. You can find many optons through B&B Ireland.
- Luxury: €140 + for 2 people/night: It isn’t hard to spend a lot of money on a hotel in Ireland. For example; in a city like Dublin you won’t find a hotel for under €140/night.
Meals: €4-18 euros ($5-$22 USD) per person
You can expect to get a reasonable breakfast for €4-6 euros ($5-7 USD), lunch for €6-10 euros ($7-12 USD), and dinner for €12-18 euros ($15-22 USD).
Some of our favorite local foods:
- Beef and Guinness Stew: A delicious meal you can find in most pubs and restaurants.
- Colcannon: A traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage.
- Boxty: A traditional Irish potato pancake.
- Soda Bread: Local bread made using sodium bicarbonate instead of yeast.
- Black Pudding: A type of blood sausage commonly served with an Irish breakfast. This one we didn’t try, but give it a taste if you’re up for something new!
Rent a Car: In my opinion, this is the best way to travel while backpacking Ireland. It is reasonably priced and you can move at your own pace. If you time it right; you can often beat the tour buses and have many landmarks almost to yourself. Make sure to read our guide on Renting a Car in Ireland before you go.
Tour Bus: Ireland is full of tour bus companies. Whether you want a hop on hop off bus tour in Dublin, a 12 day tour of the island or anything in between you can find it. Bus tours will be more expensive than driving yourself. The upside is that the planning is done for you and you get to stay in some spectacular places.
Train: Ireland has an extensive railway system allowing you to get to most parts of the island affordably. They travel much faster than cars (around 100 mph) and have multiple departure times per day. Be warned that the central hub is Dublin, so you may have to backtrack to get to your next destination.
Packing for a trip to Ireland can be challenging. No matter what time of year you travel the weather can be unpredictable. Make sure to bring a rain jacket, closed toed shoes and a warm layer in any season. Although rain is a possibility any day of the year, it is almost guaranteed during the off season. Bring layers and be ready for anything. If you plan to spend time exploring the coastline and hiking make sure to bring sturdy shoes.
- Stay somewhere with breakfast included
- Rent a car and see sights that way
- Find small cafes off the beaten path for most meals
- Bring your National Trust membership card to Northern Ireland
- Pick up water and some snacks for the car
- Spend the majority of your time in smaller towns instead of in big tourist cities