The Kerry Road Trip: A Full 2 And 3 Day Kerry Itinerary That Packs A Punch

A detailed itinerary that you can steal

kerry road trip
Photo left: Poogie. Right: Joe Dunckley (shutterstock)

In this guide we’ll be giving you a 2 and 3 day Kerry road trip itinerary that you can follow from start to finish.

This is for anyone that wants to see some of the best places to visit in Kerry during a speedy, 2 to 3 day visit.

Now, a quick warning: If you follow this Kerry road trip guide, you’ll be moving about a fair bit, and packing in lots of things to see and do.

It’s going to be an adventure/scenery/walk/hike and pint-packed trip that’ll suit anyone that’s looking see and do a lot in a short space of time.

Our Kerry road trip: A quick look at the itinerary

kerry itinerary
Photo by Lukasz Pajor (Shutterstock)

I’m going to pop an overview of our Kerry itinerary below. This is just a quick overview of the 3 days – you’ll find more detail below.

Note: Is this the perfect itinerary? Of course not – what’s ‘perfect’ in my eyes could look mental to you. 

So, in an attempt to make it as easy for you as possible to plan your Kerry road trip, we’ve popped in several Kerry road trip itineraries at the end of this guide. 

Day 1

  • Breakfast in Killarney town
  • Pick a Killarney itinerary (4 options)
  • Food and pints in the town
  • Spend the night in Killarney

Day 2

  • The Ring of Kerry
  • The Skellig Ring
  • Food and pints in the town
  • Spend the night in Killarney

Day 3

  • Inch Beach
  • Dingle Town for lunch
  • The Slea Head Drive
  • Food and pints in the town
  • Spend the night in Dingle

Our Kerry itinerary mapped out

The map above gives you a rough outline of where you’ll visit on each day of the Kerry trip outlined below.

The purple arrows are for day 1, the yellow are for day 2, and the blue are for day 3 of our Kerry itinerary.

OK, now that all that’s out of the way, lets dive into the guide! Now, remember – you don’t have to follow this to a tee – chop and change it however you see fit!

Kerry road trip: Day 1

Day one of our Kerry road trip takes us straight to Killarney Town where we’ll be kicking off our visit with breakfast and coffee.

From there, you’ll have an option of picking one of four walks, that vary in both length and difficulty. After that, it’s time for either a cycle through the park or some chill time.

We’ll then be polishing off day 1 of our Kerry itinerary with food and pints in one of Killarney’s many mighty pubs.

1. Killarney for breakfast

48 hours in kerry
Photos via Café Du Parc on Facebook

Right. First things first. Let’s fuel up for the day ahead. For those of you arriving in Killarney with an appetite, you’re in luck – there’s a clatter of great places to eat.

If you arrive to the town in the morning, there’s some brilliant places for breakfast in Killarney and if you arrive at lunch, nip into one of the many restaurants in Killarney.

Once your belly’s happy, it’s time for you to decide how you want to spend your time in Killarney (there are 4 ways to tackle the town, in my opinion).

2. Deciding how you’ll spend your day in Killarney (4 options)

torc mountain walk
Photos via Shutterstock

If you’re Kerry itinerary only has you in Killarney for 1 day (as is the case with our one), you need to decide how best to spend your time.

In my opinion, there are 4 different ways to spend a day in Killarney in order to get the best bang for the time you have:

  • Option 1: Walk the Gap of Dunloe from Kate Kearney’s (this isn’t a looped walk) and then drive out to Ladies View, Moll’s Gap etc.
  • Option 2: Rent a bike and take a boat from Ross Castle to Lord Brandon’s Cottage and cycle the Gap of Dunloe and then head back to the town
  • Option 3: Tackle one of the walks near the town (Cardiac Hill or the Torc Mountain Walk) and then ramble around the park
  • Option 4: Rent a bike and explore the National Park then take a spin up to Torc Waterfall, Ladies View and Moll’s Gap

Option 1: The Gap of Dunloe + some of the areas top attractions

weekend in kerry
Photos via Shutterstock

You’ll find the mighty Gap of Dunloe 12km west of Killarney (roughly a 15-minute drive). There’s a lovely 5-hour walks from here that starts and finishes at Kate Kearney’s.

The walk (it isn’t looped) will take you across beautiful little bridges, alongside rushing streams, past crumbly ruins and treats you to glorious views throughout.

The only downside of this walk is that it isn’t looped, which means that, when you reach Lord Brandon’s Cottage, you’ll have to walk back the way you came.

When you’ve finished your walk, nip back to the town, grab some lunch and then take a drive out to Torc Waterfall, Ladies View and Moll’s Gap.

Each of the above are a short drive from the town and, if you fancy, you can also spin out to the Black Valley, too (it’s a short spin from Moll’s Gap).

Option 2: A unique tour and a fine cycle

ross castle in killarney
Photo left: Hugh O’Connor. Photo right: Andrea Bernhardt (Shutterstock)

The second option is to rent a bike in Killarney (loads of places to hire one from) and then take a boat from Ross Castle over to Lord Brandon’s Cottage.

When you hop off the boat, you can cycle all the way through the Gap and then take a break at Kate Kearney’s Cottage (it’ll take 42 minutes to cycle).

Grab a coffee in Kate’s and then cycle back to the town (roughly 42-minute cycle). The roads can be narrow in places, so care is needed.

After arriving back in Killarney, chill with a bite to eat and then either take a walk through the park or drive out to the attractions mentioned in option 1.

Option 3: A hike and then a ramble around the sights in the National Park

boardwalk on torc
Photo by Randall Runtsch/shutterstock.com

Option 3 on day 1 of our Kerry road trip involves a hike and then a saunter through Killarney National Park.

Now, there are two great hikes near the town: the Torc Mountain Walk (see photo above) and Cardiac Hill.

Having done both, I’d say that Cardiac Hill is tougher, as you need to climb hundreds of steps at the start.

The views from the Torc walk are also out of this world (click either of the links above for guides to each walk).

When you finish up, head for a feed in the town and then walk over to the park after. There are plenty of brilliant Killarney National Park walks you can head off on.

Option 4: Explore the park by bike and then drive to the other popular attractions

Muckross Abbey in killarney
Photo left: Milosz Maslanka. Photo right: Luca Genero (Shutterstock)

The final option on day 1 of our Kerry itinerary is to rent a bike in the town and head for a cycle around the park. You can visit:

When you finish your cycle, you can grab lunch and then take a drive up to Ladies View, Moll’s Gap and out to the Black Valley.

Rounding off day 1 of your Kerry road trip in style

one of the best stops on our kerry road trip
Photo via the Arbutus Hotel Killarney

If you’re fond of a pint, there are plenty of great, traditional pubs in Killarney where you can round off day 1 in style.

I’m a big fan of The Laurels and O’Connor’s, personally, but there are loads of other places to drop into, including Ireland’s Lord of the Rings themed pub.

Finding a place to stay

killarney accommodation guide
Photos via the Europe Hotel

So, we’ll be spending night 1 and 2 of this Kerry road trip in Killarney, so you’ll need to book accommodation in the town in advance.

Here are some Killarney accommodation guides to help you pick a place to stay:

Kerry itinerary: Day 2

The second day of our Kerry itinerary requires a little more time in the car than the first, as we’ll be driving both the Ring of Kerry and the Skellig Ring.

Now, you don’t have to follow the full itinerary laid out below – you can chop and change wherever you fancy!

The Ring of Kerry/Skellig Ring mash-up

ring of kerry road trip
Photo by Johannes Rigg (Shutterstock)

Day 2 of our Kerry road trip is a mash up of two of the finest drives in the county: the Ring of Kerry drive and the Skellig Ring drive.

Now, if you were to drive this entire route without stopping, it’d take you around 4 hours. With stops, it’ll take a lot longer.

So, with that in mind, try and get up and out the door early. I’m going to take you through each of the stops below now.

1. Kenmare

kenmare in kerry
Photo left: © The Irish Road Trip. Photo right: Lena Steinmeier (Shutterstock)

Stop 1 of the day, Kenmare, is a short, 25-minute drive from Killarney, and it’s well worth a visit for a coffee and a ramble.

The town here is gorgeous and it’s a joy to stroll around. Here’s a few Kenmare-related guides if you fancy exploring/staying here:

2. Sneem

things to do in Sneem in kerry
Photo left by SydneyRaunien (Shutterstock). Photo right via Gossip Café on Facebook

Our next stop on day 2 of our Kerry itinerary takes us 35 minutes along the coast to the gorgeous little village of Sneem, a place that’s surrounded by mountains.

Although there isn’t a huge amount to see in the village, it’s a scenic spot that’s home to plenty of cafes and there’s a nice little river you can have a nosey at.

3. Derrynane Beach

derrynane beach
Photo by Johannes Rigg on Shutterstock

Our next stop is 29 minutes from Kenmare. Derrynane Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Kerry and it’s one of the most popular beaches near Killarney.

The sand is golden, the scenery that surrounds it is magnificent and there’s a nice big car park right next to it. Get out here and head for a saunter along the sand.

When you finish up, you can drop into the nearby town of Caherdaniel for lunch (7 minutes away), if you’re feeling peckish, or you can head off on your merry way.

4. Views, views and more views

ring of kerry road trip
Photo by Johannes Rigg (Shutterstock)

One of the beauties of this stretch of our Kerry road trip is that there’s no real designated stops – just keep driving and you’ll stumble across views like the one above.

You physically can’t go wrong on this section of your Kerry itinerary. You do the driving and the Ring will do the rest. 

Pull in whenever your fancies tickled (safely, of course) and spend as much time soaking up the views as you like.

5. Waterville

Waterville in kerry
Photo left by Nenad Basic on Shutterstock. Photo right via Brookhaven House

Our next stop, Waterville, is 15 minutes along the coast. This is a gorgeous little seaside village and it’s the perfect spot to grab lunch or a coffee.

There’s plenty of places to eat here (I tend to nip into An Corcan) and it’s a nice spot for a ramble. Keep an eye out for the Charlie Chaplin statue.

Waterville was one of his favourite holiday destinations back in the day.

6. The Skellig Ring

valentia island in kerry
Photo left by mikemike10. Photo right: MNStudio (Shutterstock)

From Waterville, we’re going to move off the ‘official’ Ring of Kerry route and take a detour onto what’s known as the Skellig Ring.

This is a glorious driving route that’s home to some incredible scenery. Here’s the route to follow to tackle this section of our Kerry road trip:

  • Stop 1: Ballinskelligs (14 minutes from Waterville and home to a beach, a castle and mighty views)
  • Stop 2: The Kerry Cliffs (15 minutes from Ballinskelligs – these rival the Cliffs of Moher, in my opinion)
  • Stop 3: Portmagee (6 minutes from Kerry Cliffs – nice little village made famous by the Skellig Islands appearance in Star Wars)
  • Stop 4: Valentia Island (attached to the mainland via a bridge at Portmagee – home to the Geokaun Cliffs where you’ll get one of the best views in Ireland)

7. Cahersiveen, Glenbeigh and another glorious beach

the best beaches in kerry
Photo by Monicami/Shutterstock.com

You should aim to finish up on Valentia Island at around 14:00/14:30. When you do, aim for the village of Cahersiveen (25 minutes from Valentia).

The town is the birthplace of Daniel O’Connell, a celebrated political leader from the first half of the 19th century.

If you fancy it, you can have a ramble around the town. If not, take the 25-minute drive to the village of Glenbeigh.

It’s here that you’ll find the incredible Rossbeigh Beach (above). Hope out here and head for a saunter along the sand.

When you finish here, you’re a 35-minute drive from Killarney. You can drop into the town of Killorglin on the way (home to the Puck Fair).

Rounding off your first 48 hours in Kerry in style

best pubs in killarney
Photo via the Arbutus Hotel Killarney

You’ve now polished off 48 hours in Kerry. Day 2 was a long aul slog, but it’s definitely worth it, as you get to see a huge chunk of Kerry over the course of your spin.

When you arrive back in Killarney, you can refuel in one of the many brilliant places to eat in Killarney and then, if you fancy, drop into one of the towns pubs.

Haven’t picked a place to stay yet?

killarney accommodation guide
Photos via the Europe Hotel

If you’re flicking through our Kerry road trip guide and you’re wondering where to stay in Killarney on night 1 and 2, here are some options.

Note: if you book a stay through one of the links below we’ll make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.

Kerry trip: Day 3

The final day of our Kerry itinerary takes us out to the Dingle Peninsula, where there’s everything from hikes, walks and scenic drives on offer.

Again, remember, you don’t have to follow this guide to a tee – just pick the stops you want to visit or add ones in wherever you see fit.

1. Inch Beach

Inch Beach kerry
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

The first stop of day 3 of our Kerry road trip takes us 38 minutes west to the mighty Inch Beach – one of the finest beaches on the Wild Atlantic Way.

There’s a big parking area here and there’s a nice little cafe where you can grab a coffee. If you’re here on a fine day, you’ll see surfers tackling the waves.

This is a great place for a walk, and you’ll be treated to mountain views out on the horizon while the sound of the waves crash away in your ears.

2. Conor Pass

conor pass dingle
Photo via Shutterstock

When you finish up at Inch, you’re a 28-minute spin from what’s arguably the most unique stop on this Kerry trip – Conor Pass.

This road tends to make nervous drivers sh*t bricks. A quick glance at the photo above should give you an idea as to why.

The road here has a colossal drop on one side and a towering cliff on the other. If you fancy seeing it but your don’t want to drive it, you can stop at a pull in area just before it.

There’s plenty of space to park and you can soak up the views out over the valley while watching the cars spin along the very narrow mountain pass.

3. Dingle Town for lunch

Reel Dingle Fish
Photo left via Google Maps. Photo right via Reel Dingle Fish on Facebook

When you leave Conor Pass, you’re a short, 8-minute drive from Dingle Town. If you’re feeling peckish, there’s plenty of great places to eat in Dingle.

I was in Dingle last summer and had lunch (chicken burger and chips) from the Fish Box. It was some of the best food I had last year (we’ve been talking about it ever since!).

Fuel up and then head back to the car – you’ll have plenty of time to ramble around the town later in the day.

4. The Slea Head drive

slea head drive dingle peninsula ireland
Photo left: Lukasz Pajor. Right: Violeta Meleti (Shutterstock)

The mighty Slea Head drive kicks off at the edge of the town and it takes in many of the best things to do in Dingle in one magnificent looped drive.

If you drove the loop without stopping, it’d take you around an hour, but you want to leave at least 3 hours to take it all in. Here’s the stops:

  • Stop 1: Ventry Beach (9 minutes from Dingle – nice beach here for a stroll)
  • Stop 2: Views, views and more views (continue along the coast – the best bits of this route is the scenery you encounter as you drive)
  • Stop 3: Coumeenoole Beach (18 minutes from Ventry – gorgeous beach here where part of Ryan’s Daughter was filmed)
  • Stop 4: Dun Chaoin Pier (5 minutes from Coumeenoole – the very quirky departure point for the Blasket Islands)
  • Stop 5: More ‘not-really-stops’ (enjoys the views, pull in safely wherever catches your eye – other places to see include Clogher Strand and Gallarus )

Rounding off day 3 of your Kerry road trip in style

dick macs bar dingle
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

When you finish up on the Slea Head drive, head back to Dingle and check into wherever you’re staying (info on places to stay below).

When you’re ready, there’s plenty of great places to eat in Dingle, regardless of whether you’re after fine dining or a cheap and cheerful bite to eat.

When you’re finished, there’s an endless number of great pubs in Dingle to nip into (Dick Mac’s and Foxy John’s are 2 of the best, in my opinion!).

Finding a place to stay

new rooms at the skellig hotel

You’ll be spending night 3 of your Kerry road trip in Dingle. Now, as was the case with Killarney, there’s plenty of places to stay.

Here’s a handful of Dingle accommodation guide where you’ll find some great places to sleep in the town:

Wrapping up our Kerry road trip

And that’s a wrap on our Kerry road trip. Hopefully you’ve found the guide above useful in planning out your own Kerry itinerary.

Kerry’s a peach of a county and you could easily spend a month exploring it and still have only scratched the surface.

However, if you’ve only got 2 or 3 days to play with you can still see plenty, so don’t be worrying!

FAQs about our Kerry trip

guinness at the dingle Skellig hotel

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from which Kerry road trip route is the most scenic to which packs in the most castles.

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.

What’s the best Kerry road trip for 2 and 3 days?

Spend 2 days in either Kenmare of Killarney and explore the National Park and the area that surrounds Killarney on day 1. Drive the Ring of Kerry and detour onto the Skellig Ring on day 2 and then round off your Kerry itinerary in Dingle on day 3.

Is it worth spending 48 hours in Kerry?

Yes, it absolutely is. You just need to make sure your itinerary is planned out in advance to make the most of your time.

Can the Kerry itinerary above be done with public transport?

No, unfortunately not! It was mapped out with a car in mind, for flexibility, so it wouldn’t be possible if you’re reliant of buses and trains. 

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

3 COMMENTS

  1. Keith, Just wanted to say thanks for all of your great work in this site. I am hoping to organise an ‘escape’ trip to Ireland with some friends; 3-4 couples from the Gloucestershire area; later this year; in some cherished cars, and your information is just perfect to help plan. Cheers, Denis

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