The Howth Cliff Walk: 5 Howth Walks To Try Today (With Maps + Routes)

The route in detail

howth cliff walk guide
Photo left: edmund.ani. Right: EQRoy

The Howth Cliff Walk aka the Howth Head Walk is arguably one of the best walks in Dublin.

Now, there are 4 different versions of this walk, each of which varies in length and difficulty, depending on your fitness levels.

The shortest trail takes around 1.5 hours while the longest (the Bog of Frogs Purple Route) takes 3 hours, and starts in Howth village.

In the guide below, you’ll find a Howth Cliff Walk map for each version of the trail along with info on where to park, the start point for each walk and more.

Some quick need-to-knows about the different Howth Cliff Walk routes

walks in howth
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

The different versions of the Howth Cliff Walk are relatively straightforward, once you take some time to get to know the route before you set off. Here are some quick need-to-knows:

1. The trails

There are four long versions of this Howth walk to tackle, each of which kicks off at the DART station in Howth Village, and one shorter walk (#5) that starts from Howth Summit:

  1. The Black Linn loop
  2. The Bog of Frogs loop
  3. The Howth Cliff Path loop
  4. The Tramline Loop
  5. The Howth Summit Walk

2. Difficulty

If you start any of the Howth walks at the DART station, prepare for a long, steep walk. A moderate level of fitness is needed. If you fancy an easier walk with less inclines, drive or get the bus to Howth Summit and do the shorter walk mentioned below.

3. Walk time

If you’re wondering how long does the Howth Cliff Walk take, it varies: The Red Route is 8km/2.5 hours. The Purple Route is 12 km/3 hours. The Green Route is 6 km/2 hours). The Blue Route is 7 km/2 hours). The Howth Summit Walk takes around 1.5 hours.

4. Parking

So, there’s no official Howth Cliff Walk car park. Your best bet, if you’re starting the walk in the village, is to park at the harbour. Note: the various walks in Howth are some of the most popular things to do in Dublin – if you’re driving, arrive early!

5. Safety

Regardless of which Howth Head walk you tackle, care is needed. Never get too close to the cliff edge and be mindful of dressing for the weather (the cliffs are exposed, so dress appropriately).

Howth Cliff Walk maps, trails and guides to each of the five routes

If you fancy a long walk and you don’t mind walking at a reasonably steep incline for a decent chunk of time, the longer routes (trail guides below) are your best bet.

If you fancy a reasonably handy stroll that treats you to class views and that doesn’t require a whole lot of incline, the short routes (trails below) will suit you.

Route 1: The short-and-easy Howth Head Walk

OK, so I’m calling this the ‘short-and-easy ramble’ as I’ve no idea what it’s called… This is the Howth Cliff Walk that I do most frequently.

Now, you could also extend this and take a stroll down to Bailey Lighthouse, if you fancied. Take a right just after you walk in under the barrier at the car park and continue down the hill.

  • Starting point: The car park at Howth summit
  • Duration: 1.5 hours max (you could do it in less time if you don’t stop to soak up the views, but sure what’s the point in that
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Where to park: The summit Howth Cliff Walk car park (turn at the Summit pub)

Route 2: The Black Linn loop (aka the Red Route)

howth cliff walk red route
Photo via Discover Ireland

The next Howth Head walk is known as the Black Linn Loop. This is, as the name suggests, a looped walk and it follows red arrows from the DART station.

This is one of the longer Howth Walks, so make sure to bring some snacks and water with you to keep you going. 

  • Starting point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Finishing point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Duration: 2.5 hours / 8km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Ascent: 160 m
  • Where to park: You’ll find plenty of parking near the DART station

Route 3: The Bog of Frogs loop (aka the Purple Route)

howth cliff path walk purple route
Photo via Discover Ireland

Next up is the Bog of the Frogs (what a name!) loop, aka the Purple Route. This is one of the tougher walks in Howth, and decent fitness is needed.

This Howth walk kicks off from the DART station and follows purple arrows. It takes in everything from Howth Hill and Red Rock Beach to Bailey Lighthouse and more.

This is the longest (and arguably the most challenging!) of the many different walks in Howth and takes a total of 3 hours to complete.

  • Starting point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Finishing point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Duration: 12 km / 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Ascent: 240 m
  • Where to park: You’ll find plenty of parking near the DART station

Route 4: The Howth Cliff Path loop (aka the Green Route)

howth cliff path route
Photo via Discover Ireland

Next up is the very popular Howth Head walk. As was the case with the others, you’ll start and finish this walk at the DART station.

This ramble will take you around 2 hours and you’ll be treated to mighty coastal views for a good chunk of it. Follow the green arrows from Howth village.

  • Starting point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Finishing point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Duration: 6 km / 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Ascent: 130 m
  • Where to park: You’ll find plenty of parking near the DART station

Route 5: The Tramline Loop (aka the Blue Route)

howth head walk
Photo via Discover Ireland

Last but by no means least is the Howth Cliff path Tramline Loop. I’m like a broken record at this stage – this walk starts and finished at the Dart station and takes 2 hours to do.

You’ll follow the blue arrows from the village and, similar to the other strolls, you’ll be treated to class views throughout. 

  • Starting point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Finishing point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Duration: 7 km / 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Ascent: 130 m
  • Where to park: You’ll find plenty of parking near the DART station

What to do after the Howth hike

So, there’s plenty of things to do in Howth after you’ve polished off one of the Howth walks, from boat tours and pubs to great food and more.

1. A post-walk feed (or pint)

best pubs in howth
Photos via McNeill’s on Facebook

If you fancy a feed or a pint after the Howth Head Walk, you’ve your pick of cosy pubs and excellent restaurants. Here are two guides to hop into:

2. Beaches galore

howth beach guide
Photos via Shutterstock

Although you’ll see several of the beaches in Howth over the course of the Howth hike, you won’t see them all. Red Rock, Balscadden Bay Beach and Claremont Beach are all worth a look!

3. Tours and castles

howth castle dublin
Photo left by mjols84 (Shutterstock). Photo right via Howth Castle

If you want to do some more exploring after conquering one of the walks in Howth, you’ll find plenty to see and do in our guide to Howth, from Howth Castle and the boat tour to Ireland’s Eye to the Hurdy Gurdy Museum and more.

FAQs about the Howth Head walk routes

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to find a Howth Cliff Walk map to which Howth Cliff Walk car park is the most convenient.

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.

Which is the best Howth hike?

Personally, I tend to go for the short, Howth summit walk, however, the longer Howth walks mention above are popular among locals and tourists alike.

Where is the Howth Cliff Walk car park?

This is going to vary depending on which Howth walk you tackle. Many of the ‘official’ starting points are the DART station, so aim for the parking in the harbour.

How long is the Howth Cliff Walk?

Depending on which Howth walk you go for, the walk will last between 1.5 hours and 3 hours. See the maps above for a better understanding of time.

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  1. I was in Dublin recently and took DART out to Howth on a Sunday morning. Had great weather for the cliff loop walk. Amazing views, not too difficult, and enough to do in Howth while waiting for the next train back. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip. The walk back to town after the summit isn’t that interesting so it might be worth taking another connecting trail.


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