If you’re debating staying in Greystones in Wicklow, our Greystones guide should come in handy.
This gorgeous little seaside town is named after the grey stones that separate the areas two beautiful beaches.
Greystones has a harbour, marina, golf club, and was once crowned the world’s “most liveable community”.
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from things to do in Greystones in Wicklow to where to eat, sleep and drink.
Some quick need-to-knows about Greystones in Wicklow
Before we hop into the belly of our Greystones guide, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Greystones is a coastal resort on Ireland’s east coast, 24km south of Dublin City. Sandwiched between the Irish Sea and the Wicklow Mountains, it is 5km south of the larger town of Bray. Greystones has good infrastructure, served by a railway, M11 and M50 motorways.
2. Size and population
Greystones has a population of over 18,000 which swells considerably with summer visitors. Expanding from a former fishing village, this compact coastal community has retained its friendly village atmosphere. It is now the second largest town in County Wicklow after neighbouring Bray.
3. A fine base for exploring
As well as being a hop-and-a-skip from Dublin, Greystones is close to some of the best attractions and things to do in Wicklow. However, you don’t have to leave the town to enjoy Blue Flag beaches, coastal walks, boat trips, great dining and a host of sports including golf, rugby, tennis, hurling and Gaelic football.
About Greystones in Wicklow
Greystones, like many towns and villages in Ireland, was once a sleepy little hamlet that was home to a handful of families.
Then, in 1855, the railway arrived and the town was, quite literally, put on the map. When cars and petrol became accessible to the masses after the end of the second World War, the town expanded.
In the 1990s, the DART (train) was extended from Bray, making the town more accessible to those living in Dublin, and making the city more accessible to those living in Greystones.
The result was that Greystones became a popular spot for day trips and the town became one of the more desirable commuter towns near Dublin.
Things to do in Greystones (and nearby)
One of the beauties of Greystones in Wicklow is that it’s home to plenty to see and do and it’s also a stone’s throw from some of the best places to visit in Wicklow.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Greystones (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Fuel up with coffee first
You’re in for a busy day sightseeing so fuel up on coffee to start the day with a buzz of energy. The town has plenty of cafés to choose from such as the Happy Pear, a plant-based vegan hub on Church Road.
Further along Church Road, Café Grey has a homely ambience to complement strong coffee, a range of teas and home baked goodies.
Alternatively, head over to Spendlove Coffee and Ice Creamery on Trafalgar Road which has a lovely outdoor deck overlooking the harbour. PS. It opens at 7am if you’re an early bird looking for a caffeine fix!
2. Then try the Greystones to Bray Cliff Walk
The scenic Greystones to Bray Cliff Walk is a linear footpath connecting Greystones with Bray along a stunning coastal path. It take around 2 hours to complete the walk allowing for stops to enjoy the views.
If you’re apprehensive about the 9km distance (each way), there’s an easy return journey via the DART light rail. Starting from Greystones Linear Park, the well-maintained footpath heads north, climbing gently through woodland and skirting the golf course.
When you reach Bray Head pause and drink in the panoramic views of the town and the Wicklow Mountains. As you approach Bray, the path descends and merges with the Promenade.
3. Or ramble along the Greystones Way
Another gem for a ramble is the Greystones Way. This 8km trail starts at the railway station in Greystones and heads up Whitshed Road and through Edwardian Burnaby, passing the remnants of Kindlestown Castle.
After the Golf Club, Kindlestown Heights gives a clue to the ascent! Follow the waymarked trail through Kindlestown Woods to Ballydonagh where it’s worth a stop to take in the mountain views.
After crossing the N11, follow Sugarloaf Way around the base of the mountain before returning on foot or catching Bus 184 back into town. Now back to those cafés for a well-earned cuppa!
Related read: Check out our guide to the best walks in Wicklow (from handy rambles to long-distance hikes)
4. Brave the icy water on Greystones Beach
Greystones is home to 2 of the best beaches in Wicklow. While North Beach has a mix of shingle and pebbles (grey stones to be exact!), South Beach has more sand.
There’s a car park and a railway station near South Beach which is about half a mile long bordered by a promenade/footpath.
The Blue Flag waters are safe for those brave enough to plunge in for a swim. Brrrrrr! There’s a lifeguard in the main tourist season and good facilities including toilets and a playground.
Dogs are welcome on a lead. See our guide to Greystones Beach for more!
5. Or keep your feet dry on a stroll around the marina
Between the two beaches there’s a modern marina development, opened in 2013 and recently expanded due to the demand for berths.
Have a wander around the boats and check the stern where the port of registry reveals the boat’s name and where they are from. The marina attracts visiting vessels from the UK, France, Finland and even the USA!
Browse the advertisements of yacht brokers and pick yourself a nice luxury yacht or cruiser. Well, there’s no harm in dreaming!
6. Soak up the views at Gorse Hill Gardens
Gorse Hill Gardens are beautifully laid out with the feel of a lovingly-tended private garden, and that’s exactly what they are. Open May to October by appointment, a visit to the gardens is one of the more unique things to do in Greystones.
Owner Joan Davis pioneered contemporary dance in Ireland in her earlier life and works as a professional artist, psychotherapist and spiritual therapist following the Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.
Exploring her garden is a real solace, reflecting her lifestyle with a Moon Garden, Ancestor Tree, amphitheater and Earth Sky Dancers decorating a raised terrace.
7. Take a spin out to Bray
Walk along the Cliff Path or take a spin by car, light rail or bus to neighbouring Bray. It’s a lively little seaside resort with plenty of places to eat, drink and people-watch.
Main attractions are the Golf Club, watersports and the National Aquarium of Sealife Centre on the seafront. It’s one of the largest marine aquariums in Ireland with 1100 creatures, from sharks to seahorses.
Bray Head with its stone cross dominates the town and the Bray Head Walk (not to be confused with the Cliff Walk) rewards climbers with wonderful views of coast and countryside.
8. See the mighty Powerscourt Waterfall
Head 14km inland to Powerscourt House and Gardens for a refreshing surprise. The estate is home to Powerscourt Waterfall – 121 metres of cascading water in beautiful parkland at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains.
There’s plenty of parking nearby allowing you to enjoy a picnic and a stroll through this beautiful area spotting birds and red squirrels.
There’s a snack bar, toilets, playground, walking paths and a Sensory Trail. These beautiful falls on the River Dargle have been featured in over 50 movies and TV dramas.
9. Or conquer the Great Sugarloaf
The Great Sugarloaf (in Irish Ó Cualann) is hard to miss, rising 501m above sea level and delivering panoramic views of Dublin Bay, the Wicklow Mountains and beyond.
Its conical shape and sparkling quartz rock make it look like a giant pile of sugar. Take your pick from two routes, but neither can be classed as “easy”!
The shorter route takes about an hour and follows the marked path up the south side of the mountain from the car park. The longer route starts from the GAA sports ground in Kilmarcanoge village and takes about 2.5 hours.
If you’re thinking about staying in Greystones in Wicklowy (if you’re not, you should!), you’ve a pick of places to stay.
Note: if you book a hotel 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.
Hotels in Greystones and nearby
The best hotels in Greystones are all a short drive from the town centre, taking advantage of the breathtaking setting in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains.
The Parkview Hotel is one of our favourite hotels in Wicklow and it offers luxury accommodation with stunning views and topnotch facilities. Treat yourself to afternoon tea or an unforgettable meal in the Synnott’s Restaurant.
Set in Wicklow’s scenic Glen of the Downs, the four star Glenview Hotel and Leisure Centre has an indoor pool and gym. A little further inland, Powerscourt Hotel offers 5 star accommodation and award-winning dining (it’s also one of the best spa hotels in Wicklow).
Restaurants in Greystones
If you read our guide to the best Greystones restaurants, you’ll know this lovely little town is home to its fair share of places to eat. Here are 3 of our favourites.
Bochelli offers an extensive menu of authentic Italian cuisine elegantly served in upscale surroundings. From lasagne to sea bass, it’s a gastronomic delight. Their signature dishes are seafood and pizza, but not on the same plate!
2. The Hungry Monk
Centrally located on Church Road, Greystones, The Hungry Monk has a fabulous menu and an award-winning wine list. Family owned and operated since 1988, the menu emphasises local game, lobster and crab accompanied by fresh organic produce.
3. Chakra By Jaipur
Located at the Meridian Point Centre in Greystones, Chakra by Jaipur restaurant is part of a Michelin listed chain known for its fabulous food created by Executive Chef Sunil Ghai. The stylish modern restaurant has imported Indian refinements to transport you on a culinary journey to Jaipur.
What have we missed in our Greystones guide?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant things to do in Greystones in the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about visiting Greystones in Wicklow
Since mentioning the town in a guide to Wicklow that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Greystones in Wicklow.
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 Greystones worth visiting?
Yes! Greystones is a gorgeous little village to stop off in for a ramble around if you’re visiting the area. It also makes a great base to explore Wicklow from.
Are there many places to eat in Greystones?
Yes – you’ve a mix of everything from cheap and tasty eats to fine dining, as you’ll discover in our Greystones guide above!
What are the best things to do in Greystones?
There are plenty of things to do in Greystones; Start off your visit with coffee in the town, and then try the Greystones to Bray Cliff Walk or the Greystones Way! You can then head for a paddle on Greystones Beach or keep your feet dry on a stroll around the marina!
Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.