With its windswept coastlines and bucolic landscapes, Ireland abounds with hiking routes and the Wicklow Way remains one of the most popular. Boasting notoriety as Ireland’s first waymarked trail, the Wicklow Way opened back in 1980 and attracts nearly 24,000 walkers each year, making it the busiest National Trail in the country.
If you’re looking for a long-distance trail that offers some spectacular views along with constantly varying terrain, the Wicklow Way offers up an array of Irish countryside. This is storybook Ireland at its best: gently undulating foothills and trickling brooks; lush farmlands dotted with sheep and separated by rickety wooden stiles; mist-covered bogs and heather-carpeted moorlands. The Way starts in the southern suburbs of Dublin and runs to County Wicklow – aptly nicknamed the ‘Garden of Ireland’ - through the scenic Wicklow Mountain range. The winding country roads traverse glacial passes, the 2083-foot (635-meter) White Hill (the route’s highest point) and the 6th-century monastic settlement of Glendalough, a popular tourist destination in its own right, before ending at Clonegal village in County Carlow.
At 80 miles (129 km) long, the Wicklow Way takes from five to seven days to complete, although many less-ardent hikers enjoy day treks and weekend camping expeditions based around shorter sections of the route.