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Best 2 Days in Dublin Itinerary (Locals Guide)

Best 2 Days in Dublin Itinerary (Locals Guide)

2 days in Dublin is arguably the perfect amount of time (once you’ve a logical itinerary like ours below!).

There are endless things to do in Dublin, so, if you want to see the best of the capital, you need a clear plan of action. 

We’ve created two 48 hours in Dublin itineraries that:

  1. Are planned from start to finish: We’ve included everything for you from getting around Dublin to money-saving-tips
  2. Follow a logical route: You’ll see the main attractions, discover hidden gems and visit historical pubs
  3. Use 35 years of local knowledge: Dublin has been my home since 1989. I’m confident you’ll love both itineraries below

Oh, and we also get straight-to-the-point so that you can get the key info for for exploring Dublin in 2 days without any messing about! Cheers!

Table of Contents

Some key info before spending 2 days in Dublin

Before we dive into the different 2 days in Dublin itinerary guides, there are a few need-to-knows worth considering first.

1. A well-planned itinerary is key

Dublin is very walkable. However, this can lead some people into a false sense of security. It’s walkable, but you need to be walking in the right direction… Having a nice, clear itinerary is key to making the best use of your time, and it ensures you don’t end up walking in circles.

2. Pick a good base to stay

If you’ve read our where to stay in Dublin guide, you’ll know that picking the right base is extremely important, both from a safety and a convenience perspective. Our preferred locations are around St Stephen’s Green, Ballsbridge and The Liberties.

3. Don’t rent a car

Renting a car in Dublin is expensive and it is in no way needed. If you follow either of the routes below, you can easily use public transport to get around.

4. Book tickets in advance

If you’re planning on visiting major tourist sights, try and book ahead! Queues can be big and you’ve limited time. Once you’ve picked your 48 hours in Dublin itinerary, get your tours locked in.

5. Save, save, save with the Dublin Pass

If you’re spending 2 days in Dublin, the Dublin Pass is a no brainer. You simply buy the pass from €69 and you get access to the city’s main attractions, like the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery. You can easily save from €62.50, depending on how many places you visit.

48 hours in Dublin: An overview of our 2 itineraries

Dublin City

Photos via Shutterstock

I’m going to give you a quick overview of our different 2 days in Dublin itinerary guides, so you can see what each one involves.

The itineraries vary massively – one uses public transport while the other uses a rental car. Both take you to different sides of the county, too.

Itinerary 1: The tourist favourite

our first 48 hours in Dublin itinerary will take you around the most popular attractions in the city centre.

You’ll be walking between the different sites and visiting old-school pubs and great places to eat.

Itinerary 2: The explorer’s favourite

Pack your day bag, and grab some car keys, this itinerary will take you beyond the city’s limits and show you a different side to Dublin.

In this two days in Dublin itinerary, you’ll hike, soak up views of the city and visit some gorgeous towns and villages.

Dublin in 2 days: Itinerary 1, Day 1

Our first itinerary revolves around Dublin City Centre and it’s main attractions. This is ideal for those of you visiting for the first time.

On day 1, you’ll eat great food, visit some of the top museums in Dublin and polish off your day in some traditional pubs.

08:30: Breakfast

breakfast

Photos via Shutterstock

There are some excellent places to have breakfast in Dublin. Head for Brother Hubbard on Capel Street. They have hearty classics with a twist; meaty mezze or Eggs Baba Bida are both delish!

If you’re on the south-side, go to Joy of Cha, just near the Liffey for a solid cuppa tea and Irish breakfast, or Beanhive on Dawson St.

09:00: Trinity College

Trinity College

Photos via Shutterstock

Now you’ve made your belly happy, take the ramble over to Trinity College – it’s here that you’ll find the Book of Kells exhibit.

It is strongly suggested that you book in advance, as this is an extremely popular tour.

Trinity was founded by Queen Elizabeth I of England way back in 1592. The grounds are a joy to stroll around thanks to its impressive architecture. However, the main attraction here is The Long Room.

This breath-taking library was built between 1712 and 1732 and it’s home to 200,000+ of Trinity’s oldest books.

If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin for 2 days that’ll live on in your memory for ever more, get yourself to The Long Room.

11:00: Temple Bar

Temple Bar on St Patrick's Day

Photos via Shutterstock

When you leave Trinity you’re a handy 8-minute walk to the well-trodden streets of Temple Bar.

This area is popular with tourists and has iconic cobbled streets, pubs, and boutiques where you can purchase souvenirs and necessities alike.

There are endless pubs in Temple Bar that you can nip into later in the day, if you like, but try not to get distracted just yet!

Related read: Stuck for time? See our guide to spending 24 hours in Dublin!

11:15: The Ha’penny Bridge

Ha’penny Bridge

Photos via Shutterstock

You’ll find the Ha’penny Bridge just 2 minutes from Temple Bar. This is a historic cast-iron bridge that spans the River Liffey.

This was Dublin’s original toll bridge and it takes its name from the cost of cross it back when it was built in 1800s – a ha’penny!

You’ll see its image plastered across countless postcards and tourism adverts. You’ll be crossing it to get to the next stop in this Dublin in 2 days itinerary.

11:35: GPO Tour

GPO

Photos via Shutterstock

Our next stop is a handy 6-minute walk away. Now, you don’t see the GPO in many guides to Dublin, for some reason. However, it’s home to history-by-the-boat-load.

It’s on the incredible GPO Witness History Tour that you’ll discover the many events that took place around the 1916 Easter Rising, and it’s a sombre reminder of a not too distant past.

Located on historic O’Connell Street, it’s a very handy option for those of you wondering what to do in Dublin for 2 days if the weathers terrible!

14:15: Lunch in Dublin’s Oldest Pub

Brazen Head

Photos via Shutterstock

Our next stop takes us on a 20-minute walk down the quays to the oldest pub in Dublin – The Brazen Head.

Dating back to the 12th century, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you stroll through its doors.

Particularly impressive in winter when the fire is blazing away, it was frequented by famous figures such as James Joyce and Brendan Behan.

Get in and grab a bit of lunch to tide you over for the rest of day 1 of your 48 hours in Dublin.

15:00: Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

Our next stop is a short 7-minute walk from the Brazen Head and it’s arguably one of the most beautiful buildings you’ll come across in this 2 days in Dublin itinerary (along with the nearby St Patrick’s Cathedral).

First constructed from stone in the early 11th century, Christ Church Cathedral has been remodelled several times over the years.

It now houses different exhibits, incredible stained-glass windows, and if you dare to venture into the crypt you’ll even see a mummy or two.

15:40: The Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

Photos © Diageo via Ireland’s Content Pool

Coffins, crypts, and creepy things aside, it’s time to warm up inside and out, and that means taking the 15-minute walk to the Guinness Storehouse!

St. James’s Gate has been home to Guinness since 1837 and is where you can take their tasting experience to gain a new appreciation for the art of brewing.

There’s also a rooftop bar with magnificent views of the city! Booking is essential.

17:30: Time to relax

The best places to stay in Dublin

Click to enlarge map

Having been all over the city, it’s time to set yourself down for a little bit before dinner and an evening on the town.

Either head back to your accommodation, or you can always stroll through the nearby Phoenix Park, along the River Liffey, or keep a seat warm in one of the many Dublin pubs.

Accommodation recommendation: Struggling to decide where to stay during your 2 days in Dublin? See our guide to the best Dublin hotels!

18:45: Dinner

Trocadero

Photos via Trocadero on FB

Although some people would lead you to believe otherwise, Dublin excels when it comes to food.

The city has a nice, diverse foodie scene, with everything from African and Thai to Vietnamese, Italian and Greek. There’s also some excellent Irish restaurants in Dublin to sample, too.

20:00: Traditional Dublin pubs

Kehoe's

Photo left © Tourism Ireland. Others via Kehoe’s

Two days in Dublin is plenty of time to explore some of Dublins pub scene. On this website, we only ever recommend old-school, historic pubs.

We’ve put together an old-school Dublin pub crawl guide (complete with a handy Google Map) that’ll take you to some of the oldest pubs in Dublin.

Dublin in 48 hours: Itinerary 1, Day 2

The second day in this 2 days in Dublin itinerary is filled with interesting and unusual attractions, and plenty of great food and drink.

Below, you’ll find everything from Dublin Castle and one of the finest whiskey distilleries in Dublin to some more brilliant museums.

08:30: Breakfast

breakfast

Photos via Shutterstock

Time’s a-wastin, so up and at ’em! Either grab breakfast where you’re staying or sample the produce from one of the best bakeries in Dublin.

It’s hard to beat The Bakery Temple Bar, or Green Door Bakery. You can linger if you want, or you can take in some of Dublin’s streetscapes as you make your way to your first destination.

09:00: The Molly Malone Statue

Molly Malone

Photos via Shutterstock

Our first stop of the day is a quick pitstop for some history. I’m talking, of course, about the famous Molly Malone statue near O’Neill’s Pub on Suffolk Street.

This statue has graced the cover of a million postcards and the song of the same name has been bellowed out for hundreds of years.

09:30: Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Barely a 10-minute walk from Molly is Dublin Castle. It was built in the 13th century and, like many castles in Ireland, it underwent numerous renovations and expansions.

Those with an eye for architecture will notice hints of medieval, Georgian, and Gothic styles during their visit.

Explore the grounds, first, then take the tour to discover the sites Viking past. This is one of the most popular stops in this 2 days in Dublin itinerary. 

11:00: Chester Beatty Museum

Chester Beatty

Photos courtesy of Chester Beatty via Ireland’s Content Pool

The Chester Beatty Museum is located on the grounds of Dublin Castle and it’s here you’ll find one of the greatest collections in the country.

Beatty was a New York mining magnate and he donated countless pieces of artwork, manuscripts, and historic pieces to the people of Ireland.

The museum collections are from China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, India, Iran, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

They are considered to be world-class and include Egyptian Books of the Dead, Chinese woodblock prints, and date as far back as 2700 BC.

12:00: St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a 10-minute walk from our previous stop. This stunning building dates from the early 1200s and it really is a sight to behold.

Take your time to wander around the outside of the Cathedral, first, noting the flying buttresses, stained glass windows and Gothic features.

When you’re ready, the magnificent interior awaits. Remember that this is a place of worship, so behave accordingly.

12:25: Marsh’s Library

Marsh's Library

Photos by James Fennell via Failte Ireland

Located next door to the Cathedral is one of the hidden gems in this 48 hours in Dublin guide.

Marsh’s Library is Ireland’s oldest and it was opened in 1707.

It’s arguably best known for its beautifully unique interior, which has been preserved in its original state.

13:30: Lunch

Irish food for st patrick's day

Photos via Shutterstock

After a full morning of exploring, it’s time to grab a bite-to-eat. Head to The Fumbally – it’s a 7-minute walk away.

There’s a great lunch menu here with something to tickle even the fussiest of tastebuds.

15:00: Teeling Whiskey tour

Teeling’s Whiskey

Photos courtesy Teeling Whiskey Distillery via Failte Ireland

The Teeling Whiskey Distillery is around a 5-minute walk from the last stop! Dublin’s newest Irish whiskey distillery is also extremely popular with both locals and visitors alike.

Take one of their whiskey tasting tours and gain a new appreciation for the craft of whiskey distilling.

If you’d like to squeeze a different whiskey tour into your 48 hours in Dublin, the Jameson Distillery tour is a 20-minute walk away on Bow St.

17:30: Chill time

Stephen's Green

Photos via Shutterstock

You’ve explored much of the southern sights in Dublin city, and it’s time to put your feet up for a while. Head back to your digs and recoup for a bit.

Or, work up an appetite by taking a stroll through any of the nearby parks, like St. Stephen’s Green, the Phoenix Park, or the Iveagh Gardens before heading out for a bite to eat.

18:45: Dinner

Brookwood

Photos via Brookwood on FB

Now, depending on which of the many hotels in Dublin you’re staying in, you’ll have a fair number of dining options to choose from.

If you fancy a great steak, see our guide to the best steak in Dublin. Or, for something more casual, see our guide to the best burger in Dublin.

20:00: Old school Dublin pubs

The Celt

Photos via The Celt on FB

And that’s a wrap on our first 2 days in Dublin. If you didn’t make it to the previous night’s recommendations, be sure to check them out tongiht.

Or, you can follow our Dublin pub crawl guide if you want a route to stick to.

2 days in Dublin: Itinerary 2, day 1

Our second 48 hours in Dublin itinerary is completely different to the first and, while it uses the city as a base, it takes you up and down Dublin’s coast.

This Dublin 2 day itinerary will suit those of you that have visited the city before and who are looking to see a different side to the capital.

Now, you’ll need a rental car for this one (see our guide to renting a car in Ireland without the stress). This itinerary will show you a side of Dublin that many tourists miss.

08:00: Drive from the city to Malahide

Malahide Village

Photos via Shutterstock

A mere 30 minutes drive from central Dublin on the N1/M50, Malahide sits to the north and boasts the beautiful Malahide Castle and Gardens, a harbour and beaches.

It’s also an ideal location for those needing quick and convenient access to Dublin’s airport. Park at Malahide Beach and take the short walk into the village.

08:45: Breakfast in Malahide village

breakfast

Photos via Shutterstock

While there are some excellent restaurants in Malahide for you to choose from, there are three names that immediately come to mind for breakfast.

The Greenery (near Malahide Beach – there’s a handy car park here too!), McGovern’s and Deja Vu are all great options.

09:40: Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Fuelled up and ready to explore, walk through the village and past the DART station and you’ll find the entrance to the castle on the left.

Malahide Castle has a dramatic 800 year history that is bound to enthral, a butterfly house that amazes, and also 260 acres of verdant parkland for you to discover.

Do book tickets in advance, as this site is popular, especially in summer. There’s plenty of other things to do in Malahide, like Malahide Beach and the coastal walk to Portmarnock.

11:40: Drive to Howth

Howth cliff walk maps

Photos via Shutterstock

The seaside village of Howth is a quick 20 min drive away and it’s one of the highlights of this Dublin 2 day itinerary guide.

The village is arguably best known for its busy harbour, which is where you’ll want to park up.

12:45: Grab something tasty from Howth Market

Howth Market

Photos via Howth Market on FB

Come hungry is the best advice on offer as this market is as extensive as it is mouth-watering, with a range of stalls offering everything from tasty treats to meats and cheeses.

You’ll find it right across from the DART station.

13:15: Do the Howth Cliff Walk or saunter along the pier

walks in howth

Photos via Shutterstock

The Howth Cliff Walk is one of my favourite walks in this 2 days in Dublin itinerary. There are several routes that range from 1.5 to 3.5 hours.

The good news is that each will give you spectacular views out to sea, and over towards Dublin.

If you don’t fancy a long walk, there’s plenty of other things to do in Howth.

15:00: Lunch in Howth village

King Sitric

Photos via King Sitric on FB

With your walk complete, it’s time to return to Howth for lunch. Now, if you fancy something casual, there’s lots of pubs in Howth offering casual pub grub.

If you fancy something a bit more formal, there’s some great restaurants in Howth worth checking out, like Aqua, which is located on the pier.

16:30: Bull Wall 

the bull wall

Photos via Shutterstock

From Howth, you’re a handy 20-minute drive from our next stop.

The small spit of land in the photos above is North Bull Island and is home to the North Bull Island Nature Reserve.

Cross over the the wooden bridge, and find a spot to park. There are beautiful views of the city, and Dollymount Beach is a nice spot to dip your feet in while enjoying an ice cream or coffee.

17:30: Chill time 

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

Time to head for ‘home’ and make your way back to the city, which is only a 20-minute drive from North Bull Island. Cross back over the wooden bridge, and head southwest around the shoreline via Clontarf.

Either rest up at your base, or take in some of the city’s nighttime sights, like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Ha’Penny Bridge (it looks great at night!), or Temple Bar.

18:45: Dinner

Etto

Photos via Etto on FB

Having spent the first 24 hours of this 2 days in Dublin itinerary outside of the city, it’s time to sample some of the city’s restaurants.

If you fancy something swanky, see out guide to the finest Michelin Star restaurants in Dublin. If you’d like to see a good mix of places worth trying, hop into our Dublin food guide.

20:00: Old school Dublin pubs

Darkey Kellys

Photos via Darkey Kellys on FB

As was the case with our other 2 days in Dublin itinerary guides, we’re going to polish off the evening in a cosy pub.

If you’d like to saunter around some old-school pubs, see our Dublin pub crawl guide. If you follow it, you’ll visit 6 very old pubs all near each other.

Two days in Dublin: Itinerary 2, day 2

The final day of this 2 days in Dublin itinerary takes us out to south Dublin, where you’ll be treated to glorious coastal views on a number of walks.

There’s also some great food to be had, a stunning beach to saunter along and some very fancy houses.

08:30: Breakfast

breakfast

Photos via Shutterstock

The drive to your first destination is only around 40 minutes or so, but why drive with an empty belly when there’s plenty on offer around you!?

Stop off at any of the city’s bakeries for an easily transportable breakfast, or dine-in and take your time.

10:30: Drive to Ticknock

Dublin Mountains

Photos via Shutterstock

The Ticknock Walk is arguably one of the best walks in Dublin, and it’s a handy 25 to 30-minute drive from the city centre.

The walk here follows a steep path to the summit of Ticknock, in the Dublin Mountains. It’s a reasonably moderate walk and the views of the city are outstanding.

13:00: Lunch in Dalkey

Dalkey

Photos via Shutterstock

Having worn you out on Dublin’s Mountains, it’s time to head downhill to Dalkey. Fortunately, there’s some brilliant restaurants in Dalkey.

Two of our favourites are Benito’s Italian Restaurant; a seasonal menu that features pizza, pasta, etc.

Or, DeVille’s, which is upmarket and more in the fine dining category, but is renowned for its seafood chowder and beef Bourguignon.

14:30: More views from Killiney Hill

Killiney Hill

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s time to head back uphill to take in some more magnificent scenery, this time on the Killiney Hill Walk.

If there’s only one walk you do during your 2 days in Dublin, make sure it’s this one.

Park in the nearby car park, and make your way up the 20-minute-long path to see what all the fuss is about.

Don’t miss out on seeing the Obelisk, or the Pyramid of Dublin!

15:30: Coffee and a paddle

Killiney

Photos via Shutterstock

What better way to rest tired feet than to dip them in the sea?!

Making your way down to Killiney Beach, you can park nearby the beach and grab a coffee and ice cream from Fred and Nancy’s (an iconic seafront cafe with snacks and drinks).

Sit back, relax, and take in the air that comes blowing fresh off the Irish Sea.

17:00: Chill time

parks in Dublin

Photos via Shutterstock

As the final day of your 2 days in Dublin draws to a close, you’ll return to central Dublin and your accommodation (see our Dublin hotels guide for great places to stay).

But, when you’re ready, it’s time to make the most of your last night in the city, so wear something comfy on those feet, there’s still so much to do!

18:45: Dinner

PHX Bistro

Photos via PHX Bistro on FB

Dublin really is a foodie haven. On the last night of this Dublin 2 day itinerary, treat yourself to something tasty.

If you fancy a beaut of a burger or some of the best steak in town, head to PHX Bistro – its never fails to deliver!

20:00: Old school Dublin pubs

Doheny & Nesbitt

Photos via Doheny & Nesbitt on FB

As was the case with our other 2 days in Dublin itinerary guides, we’re going to polish off the evening in a cosy pub.

Each has a rich history, a traditional feel, and should not be missed out from your stay in the nation’s capital, Dublin.

FAQs about what to do in Dublin for 2 days

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is 48 hours in Dublin enough?’ to ‘What are the best things to do in Dublin in 2 days?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is two days in Dublin enough?

Yes. 48 hours in Dublin is more than enough. However, even with this amount of time, a good itinerary is needed so that you’re not walking around in circles.

How many days is enough in Dublin?

2 days in Dublin is the perfect amount of time to explore the capital. I’d recommend taking one of our itineraries above and following it, as it’s save you time and hassle.

What can you do in Dublin in 48 hours?

In 2 days in Dublin, you can explore the city, visit many of the many attractions, take a day to visit Howth, Malahide and Clontarf and soak up the food and pub scene.

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