If you’re in search of the best things to do in Spanish Point, you’ve landed in the right place.
Named after the Spanish Armada ships that were wrecked nearby in 1588, Spanish Point is a popular holiday destination on the Wild Atlantic Way in County Clare.
As well as being home to “the biggest hotel in the British Isles” in 1810, this pretty coastal area also boasts one of Ireland’s oldest golf courses.
In the guide below, you’ll discover a clatter of different things to do in Spanish Point, along with loads of places to visit nearby.
Our favourite things to do in Spanish Point
The first section of this guide tackles our favourite things to do in Spanish Point, from walks and coffee to food and forts.
Below, you’ll find everything from surfing and walks to a fine spot for a coffee and much, much more.
1. Grab a coffee (and something tasty!) from the Armada Hotel
The Armada Hotel is one of the best hotels in Clare, and it has been welcoming discerning guests to this West Clare beauty spot for over 50 years.
Enjoying breathtaking Atlantic Ocean views from its Spanish Point location, this hotel is open to non-residents in search of hot coffee and sustenance!
Take a table with a view and ogle the legendary carvery lunch buffet in the Pearl Restaurant or hang out over a bowl of creamy chowder in Johnny Burke’s Pub or the Ocean Bar. The pub’s Coffee Hatch is open daily so grab yourself a bite while you’re here and linger a while enjoying those dramatic views.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best hotels in Spanish Point (with something for most budgets)
2. And then head for a ramble along the beach
Fed and watered, it’s time for a stroll along the sheltered sandy beach at Spanish Point. The firm sands stretch into the distance and makes the perfect spot for a long energetic walk with a little shell-hunting and sandcastle-building in sight and sound of the pounding waves.
There’s plenty of parking at the northern end of Spanish Point. Pause a while to watch the surfers and spare a thought for those top-heavy galleons of the Spanish Armada in 1588 battling unsuccessfully against wind and waves in the storm.
3. Or brave the chilly water on a surfing lesson
Spanish Point is one of the most popular places to go surfing in Ireland, thanks to the persistent high waves rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a Surf School here in summer, so no excuse not to get in the water with your bodyboard and join in the exhilarating experience.
The Whitewater Surf Co. offers two-hour group lessons for adults and children from €35 (€25 for kids) teaching water awareness and beach safety along with basic surfing skills. Pro-quality wetsuits and boards are included. Just bring your towel and you’re all set!
4. Explore the mighty Burren National Park
One of 6 national parks in Ireland, the Burren National Park is a unique area. Named after the Irish word Boireann meaning “rocky place” it gives a clue to the windswept Burren landscape.
Open all year round with free admission, there’s an Information Centre in nearby Corofin (open April through September) offering guided walks, talks and a series of graded way-marked trails (download the app).
In our Burren walks guide, you’ll find a mix of long and short rambles to head off on, that range in difficulty level.
Other brilliant things to do in Spanish Point and nearby
Now that we’ve got our favourite things to do in Spanish Point out of the way, it’s time to tackle some other things to see and do.
Below, you’ll find everything from places to eat and more walks to a plethora of nearby attractions to explore.
1. Kick back with a fine feed at the Red Cliff Lodge Restaurant
The original thatched Red Cliff Lodge is an award-winning restaurant surrounded by six luxury suites for overnight stays.
Frequently listed “Best Place to Eat” and “Best Restaurant on the Wild Atlantic Way” this historic restaurant has earned its credits. Head Chef Christopher applies his culinary talents to seasonal local produce from shore and sea and never fails to wow.
Enjoy a romantic evening meal with sea views or drop in for a spot of lunch – the 2 course menu is just $24.95 and includes a good range of tempting choices.
2. Spin along the coast to Lahinch (15-minute drive)
Back on the road, head northeast along the coast road to Lahinch Beach. It’s a big surfing town and is always buzzing in summer. If you don’t want to get your hair wet, just grab an ice cream and had off for a ramble along the 2km-long golden sandy beach.
Known internationally as a top surf centre, Lahinch has several surf schools and equipment rentals but it caters for other watersports too.
Fill your day with fishing, sailing, swimming, snorkelling and kite-surfing, go birdwatching or enjoy seaside entertainer on the promenade.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Lahinch.
3. Or take a trip back to Kilkee (28-minute drive)
Follow the coast south to Kilkee, another pretty beach town with a curving mile-long sandy beach on Moore Bay. The entrance to the sheltered bay is protected by the Duggerna Rocks and providing some of the safest swimming beaches along this coast.
The historic resort town has oodles of appeal but if you want to stretch your legs, the much-loved Kilkee Cliff Walk is ideal.
Starting from the Pollock Holes (natural tidal rock pools) at the west end of town, the loop walk is 18km long and takes 4-5 hours to complete.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Kilkee.
4. And then continue on to Loop Head Lighthouse (54-minute drive)
Drive right down to the tip of the Loop Head Peninsula and you’ll come to the gorgeous Loop Head Lighthouse which many tourists miss. The Lighthousekeeper’s Cottage has interactive exhibits and you can even take a guided tour up the lighthouse to the balcony.
The lighthouse offers aerial views of the Shannon Estuary, Blasket Islands and Twelve Pins in Connemara. Back on terra firma, spot whales, dolphins and seals and listen to noisy seabirds nesting on the cliffs.
5. Have a ramble around the Bridges of Ross (45-minute drive)
On the return drive from Loop head Lighthouse, take a diversion to the Bridges of Ross. It’s a natural sea arch (there were originally three but two collapsed due to sea erosion so now we’re down to just one!).
The broad arch is topped by grass with restless waves below. Parking is free but here’s the thing: you have to follow the path around the cliff to see the Bridges of Ross, so don’t quit too soon!
6. Visit the Cliffs of Moher
While you’re in the Spanish Point area, you’ve got to visit Ireland’s most visited attraction – the Cliffs of Moher.
Stretching along the west coast for 8km and towering up to 214 metres at the highest point, these majestic cliffs are the highest in Europe.
Start at the Visitor Centre (or Doolin, if you want to try the Doolin Cliff walk) and enjoy the audio-visual film before heading out along paved paths to see the most famous cliffs in Ireland!
7. Then explore the village of Doolin
Quaint but colourful, the tiny village of Doolin is a gorgeous place to stop on the Wild Atlantic Way. The village many be compact but it has several traditional pubs, cafés and restaurants for enjoying a pint and some lively music in congenial company.
8. Take a trip over to the Aran Islands
Just a ferry ride from Doolin Pier, the three Aran Islands (Inis Mor, Inis Oirr and Inis Meain) are a fascinating place to drop in and explore. The smallest and closest is Inisheer home to just 250 Irish speaking locals.
Check out the 50-year-old rusting shipwreck on the beach and the 9th century church that has subsided into the ground. The boat trip is all part of the pleasure with dolphins a common sighting leaping in the boat’s wake.
FAQs about the best things to do in Spanish Point
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything for what are the most unique things to do in Spanish Point to where to see nearby.
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 are the best things to do in Spanish Point?
I’d argue that the best things to do in Spanish Point are to kick start your visit with a coffee (and something tasty!) from the Armada Hotel before heading for a ramble along the beach. Or brave the chilly water on a surfing lesson!
Is Spanish Point worth visiting?
Yes. Spanish Point is a great base to explore Clare from and it’s also a nice stop off point when driving along this section of the Clare coastline.
Are there many things to do near Spanish Point?
There’s an almost endless number of things to do near Spanish Point, from Doolin, Lahinch and Kilkee to hundreds of natural attractions.
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.