Welcome to Wicklow, Ireland, a breathtaking destination nestled amidst lush green landscapes, enchanting mountains, and serene lakes. As an avid traveler and writer, I have explored this picturesque county extensively, allowing me to curate a comprehensive list of must-visit places and activities for you. Join me on this virtual journey as we uncover the hidden gems, popular tourist attractions, and exciting experiences that Wicklow has to offer.
Popular Tourist Attractions in Wicklow
Wicklow Mountains National Park
Venture into the heart of nature at Wicklow Mountains National Park, a sprawling landscape teeming with scenic beauty. Immerse yourself in the rugged charm of the mountains, explore picturesque trails, and witness the captivating wildlife that calls this park home. Don’t miss the iconic Glendalough, a monastic settlement steeped in history and nestled amidst stunning surroundings.
Powerscourt Estate and Gardens
Indulge in the grandeur of Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, a place where nature’s beauty merges seamlessly with architectural magnificence. Lose yourself in the meticulously landscaped gardens, marvel at the stunning waterfall, and soak in the tranquility that envelopes this enchanting estate.
Uncover Wicklow’s dark past at Wicklow Gaol, a former prison turned museum. Step back in time as you wander through the eerie halls and cells, hearing chilling tales of the prisoners who once languished within its walls. It’s an experience that provides a fascinating glimpse into Ireland’s history.
Escape to the charming village of Avoca, known for its idyllic beauty and rich heritage. Stroll along the quaint streets, explore traditional craft shops, and savor delectable treats at Avoca Handweavers. Immerse yourself in the warmth of this village and experience the true essence of Irish hospitality.
Top Things to Do in Wicklow
Hiking the Wicklow Way
Embark on an adventure of a lifetime by hiking the Wicklow Way, Ireland’s oldest long-distance trail. Traverse through diverse landscapes, from gentle slopes to challenging peaks, and witness breathtaking vistas at every turn. Be prepared to be amazed by the untamed beauty that surrounds you.
Kayaking in Lough Dan
Unleash your adventurous spirit and paddle your way through the crystal-clear waters of Lough Dan. This hidden gem offers a serene escape and allows you to appreciate the tranquility of Wicklow’s lakes. As you glide along, embrace the peace and serenity that only nature can provide.
Exploring the Ancient East
Delve into the ancient history of Wicklow by exploring its mystical and historic sites. Visit the imposing ruins of the Black Castle in Wicklow Town, discover the intricate rock carvings at the Baltinglass Hillfort, and wander through the ancient monastic site of Glendalough. Each location holds stories of the past, waiting to be unraveled.
Horseback Riding in the Garden of Ireland
Experience the true essence of Wicklow’s nickname, the “Garden of Ireland,” by embarking on a horseback riding adventure. Canter through rolling meadows, traverse hidden trails, and breathe in the fresh air as you bond with these majestic creatures. It’s an unforgettable way to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the county’s beauty.
Must-See Places in Wicklow for Families
Clara Lara Funpark
Entertain the whole family at Clara Lara Funpark, a wonderland of outdoor adventure. From water slides to ziplines, this park offers an array of thrilling activities for kids and adults alike. Splash in the water, tackle challenging obstacle courses, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Greenan Maze and Farm Museum
Step into a world of enchantment at Greenan Maze and Farm Museum. Lose yourself in Ireland’s largest hedge maze, engage in interactive farm experiences, and enjoy delightful picnics amidst breathtaking surroundings. It’s an ideal destination for families seeking quality time and a touch of whimsy.
Wicklow Historic Gaol
Immerse your family in Wicklow’s history with a visit to the Wicklow Historic Gaol. Take part in interactive tours, hear captivating tales of prisoners and their daring escapes, and even dress up in period costumes. This immersive experience will transport you back in time, providing an educational and thrilling adventure for all.
Escape to Glenroe Farm, a working farm that offers an authentic rural experience for families. Get up close and personal with friendly farm animals, enjoy tractor rides, and explore nature trails. It’s a chance for children to learn about farm life and appreciate the beauty of Wicklow’s countryside.
Best Places to Visit in Wicklow for Couples
Powerscourt Gardens at Sunset
Indulge in a romantic stroll through the enchanting Powerscourt Gardens at sunset. As the golden hour bathes the landscape in a warm glow, you and your loved one can wander hand in hand amidst blooming flowers and meticulously manicured lawns. It’s a moment of serenity and connection that will create cherished memories.
Glendalough at Dawn
Experience the mystical allure of Glendalough at the break of dawn. As the mist gently caresses the ancient monastic site and the first rays of sunlight filter through the trees, you and your partner can immerse yourselves in the tranquility of this sacred place. It’s a truly ethereal experience that will ignite your sense of wonder.
Wicklow Way Walk
Embark on a romantic adventure together by hiking a section of the Wicklow Way. Hand in hand, you can navigate the scenic trails, revel in the beauty of nature, and create lasting memories. The journey will strengthen your bond as you conquer challenges and bask in the serenity of Wicklow’s landscapes.
Wicklow Brewery Tour
Savor the flavors of Wicklow by embarking on a brewery tour. Discover the craftsmanship behind Ireland’s finest beers, sample unique brews, and learn about the intricate brewing process. It’s a delightful way to bond with your partner while indulging in the county’s rich brewing heritage.
Best Places to Visit in Wicklow on a Budget
Enjoy a budget-friendly day out at Bray Promenade, a charming seaside retreat. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, savor fish and chips, and breathe in the refreshing sea breeze. With its picturesque views and vibrant atmosphere, Bray Promenade offers an affordable escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh
Discover the beauty of the National Botanic Gardens at Kilmacurragh, a hidden gem that won’t break the bank. Marvel at the diverse collection of plants and rare specimens, explore the tranquil walking trails, and immerse yourself in the serenity of this botanical wonderland. It’s a peaceful retreat for nature lovers on a budget.
Blessington Lakeshore Walk
Embark on a scenic lakeside adventure with the Blessington Lakeshore Walk. This picturesque trail offers stunning views of the shimmering lakes, rolling hills, and captivating wildlife. Lace up your walking shoes, pack a picnic, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you—all without denting your wallet.
Wicklow’s Coastal Villages
Discover the charm of Wicklow’s coastal villages without breaking the bank. Visit the colorful village of Greystones, wander through its quaint streets, and relax on the sandy beaches. Explore the vibrant town of Arklow, known for its maritime heritage and bustling atmosphere. These coastal gems provide a budget-friendly escape with a touch of coastal allure.
Hidden Gems in Wicklow
The Devil’s Glen
Uncover the mysterious beauty of The Devil’s Glen, a hidden gem tucked away in the Wicklow Mountains. Follow the winding paths through ancient woodlands, listen to the tranquil sounds of the Avonmore River, and marvel at the cascading waterfall. It’s a serene oasis where nature reveals its most enchanting secrets.
The Meeting of the Waters
Discover the mesmerizing Meeting of the Waters, a place where the Avonmore and Avonbeg rivers converge in a breathtaking display of natural harmony. Stroll along the riverbanks, admire the idyllic surroundings, and capture the essence of Wicklow’s poetic landscapes. It’s a hidden gem that showcases the county’s inherent beauty.
Escape to the secluded beauty of Glenmalure Valley, a hidden gem nestled amidst the Wicklow Mountains. Embark on invigorating hikes, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and soak in the awe-inspiring vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. This untouched wilderness is a paradise for nature enthusiasts seeking serenity.
Discover the enchantment of Luggala, an exquisite estate shrouded in mystique and nestled within Wicklow’s captivating landscapes. With its striking beauty and rugged charm, this hidden gem has attracted artists, writers, and dreamers for centuries. Take a leisurely walk around the picturesque lake, explore the surrounding woodlands, and let the magic of Luggala embrace your soul.
Best Places to Eat in Wicklow
The Happy Pear
Satisfy your taste buds with a visit to The Happy Pear, a renowned vegetarian and vegan café in Greystones. Indulge in wholesome dishes bursting with flavor, created using locally sourced ingredients. From nourishing breakfast bowls to hearty plant-based mains, The Happy Pear offers a culinary experience that celebrates sustainable and delicious dining.
Delight in the warm and inviting ambiance of Bates Restaurant, nestled within the picturesque Blessington countryside. This family-run establishment prides itself on using the freshest local ingredients to create mouthwatering dishes. From traditional Irish cuisine to international flavors, Bates Restaurant offers a diverse menu that caters to every palate.
The Strawberry Tree
Experience the epitome of sustainable dining at The Strawberry Tree, Ireland’s only certified organic restaurant. Located within BrookLodge & Macreddin Village, this award-winning establishment showcases the finest organic and wild ingredients, harvested from the surrounding lands. Immerse yourself in a culinary journey that celebrates Wicklow’s natural bounty and indulges your senses.
Discover the warm hospitality and traditional Irish fare at Wicklow Heather, a charming restaurant in Laragh. Feast on hearty dishes such as traditional Irish stew, succulent seafood, and mouthwatering desserts. With its cozy atmosphere and flavorsome cuisine, Wicklow Heather promises a memorable dining experience.
Must-See Sporting Teams in Wicklow
Immerse yourself in the vibrant sporting culture of Wicklow by catching a game played by the county’s Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) teams. From exhilarating Gaelic football matches to thrilling hurling clashes, Wicklow GAA showcases the passion and skill that define Irish sports. Experience the electric atmosphere as you cheer on the local heroes.
Support the local rugby team, Wicklow RFC, and witness the fierce competition on the field. Head to the club’s home ground and become part of the enthusiastic crowd as you cheer for the team and appreciate the camaraderie that rugby fosters. It’s a fantastic way to embrace the sporting spirit of Wicklow.
Bray Wanderers FC
Catch a soccer match played by Bray Wanderers FC, a team that represents Wicklow with pride. Feel the energy in the air as you watch the players showcase their skills and engage in thrilling matches. Whether you’re a die-hard soccer fan or simply enjoy the electric atmosphere of live sports, Bray Wanderers FC won’t disappoint.
Wicklow Cricket Club
Witness the elegance and grace of cricket by attending a game at Wicklow Cricket Club. As the players showcase their batting and bowling prowess, you can soak in the relaxed ambiance and appreciate the strategic nature of this beloved sport. It’s a different sporting experience that adds a touch of variety to your Wicklow itinerary.
Nightlife in Wicklow
The Bridge Tavern
Unwind and embrace the lively atmosphere at The Bridge Tavern, a popular pub located in Wicklow Town. Enjoy a pint of Guinness or sip on a refreshing cocktail as you mingle with locals and fellow travelers. Live music and a warm, welcoming ambiance ensure a memorable night out in the heart of Wicklow.
Experience the vibrant nightlife scene of Bray by visiting The Martello, a lively pub renowned for its buzzing atmosphere and live music performances. Tap your feet to the rhythm of local bands, indulge in tasty pub grub, and enjoy the company of fellow revelers. The Martello guarantees an unforgettable evening in Wicklow’s coastal charm.
The Harbour Bar
Immerse yourself in the authentic Irish pub culture at The Harbour Bar, a legendary establishment in Bray. With its cozy nooks, quirky décor, and an impressive selection of beverages, this pub exudes character and charm. Engage in lively conversations, enjoy the vibrant music sessions, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
The Mystic Celt
Step into The Mystic Celt in Wicklow Town and discover a pub that combines traditional Irish charm with a modern twist. Relish the inviting atmosphere, sample a wide range of craft beers, and savor delectable cuisine with a contemporary flair. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing drink or a night of celebration, The Mystic Celt caters to all tastes.
Wicklow, Ireland, is a destination that captivates with its natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. From the magnificent landscapes of Wicklow Mountains National Park to the hidden gems waiting to be discovered, there is an abundance of activities and attractions to suit every traveler’s interests. Whether you seek adventure, tranquility, or a taste of Irish culture, Wicklow has it all.
As you plan your visit to this remarkable county, remember to embrace the perplexity and burstiness of its offerings. Immerse yourself in the diversity of experiences, from exploring popular tourist attractions to uncovering hidden gems off the beaten path. Let the magic of Wicklow envelop you as you embark on a journey of discovery, where every twist and turn brings a new adventure.
So, pack your bags, embrace the allure of Wicklow, and create memories that will last a lifetime. The enchanting landscapes, captivating history, and warm hospitality of this Emerald County await your arrival.