Plan A Trip To Ireland And Visit One Of The Most Scenic Vacation Spots In The World

Emerald green hillsides, misty mountain peaks, and rocky coastal cliffs make Ireland a beautiful and popular vacation destination. But one Irish county, in particular, was named one of the top 50 places to travel to in the world, according to Forbes. Full of quaint towns, big attractions, gardens, beaches, museums, and many opportunities for outdoor adventure, Ireland's County Kerry deserves its every accolade.

Though any month of the year is a great time to visit, Kerry offers long summer days with 17 to 18 hours of daylight. The ideal season for travelers looking to explore the great outdoors, summer provides the best weather and is the county's busiest time of year. Spring and fall bring everything from sunshine to rain and can be a bit unpredictable, but it's not too chilly to spend time outside in the gorgeous landscape. Even winter, which is usually cold and wet, is a festive time of year to visit Kerry. Tourists can expect Christmas lights, parades, and busy shopping centers.

Luckily for visitors, getting to County Kerry is easy. Tourists have three airport options: Kerry Airport and major international airports: Shannon Airport and Cork Airport. If traveling by boat, the nearest seaport is in Cork. Trains travel from Kerry to Dublin, the capital of Ireland and a major European city (with opportunities to connect elsewhere), and buses travel to Cork, Limerick, Dublin, and many other cities.

Things to do in Kerry, Ireland

Kerry's most famous attraction is the Ring of Kerry, and it's no wonder why. Sheep-spotted hills, big blue lakes, and spectacular sea cliffs make this one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland. For gorgeous views, start and end the journey (a little over 100 miles all the way around) in Killarney and travel around the Iveragh Peninsula.

Another famous sight nearby is Killarney National Park. The landscape is beautiful and home to the Macgillycuddy's Reeks mountain range, Ross Castle and Muckross House. The historic 15th-century Ross Castle sits on Lough Leane. The Muckross House is a 19th-century mansion tucked into beautiful scenery with an on-site cafe, shop and working farm. 

For even more dramatic scenery, check out Skellig Michael. This jagged rock off the coast is one of the Republic of Ireland's two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Visitors can climb the 618 steps to its summit, where they'll find St. Fionan's monastery and incredible views. For a simpler stroll, head to Banna Strand. The shoreline stretches over 6 miles from Ballyheigue Beach to Barrow Beach. Or wander around the Kerry County Museum to learn more about the history of Kerry.

Where to stay, eat, and drink in Kerry, Ireland

Kerry has a plethora of accommodation options ranging from luxury to budget-friendly. For those looking for something a little fancy, try the Muckross Park Hotel & Spa. Set amongst the natural beauty of Killarney National Park, this hotel is a beautiful spot for walking, bike rides, and exploring outside. It also has an award-winning spa, fine dining, a gastro pub, and luxurious rooms. For budget-friendly travelers, try Tralee Townhouse. This cute 19-bedroom bed and breakfast is close to shops, restaurants, and pubs, and a stay won't break the bank.

On the culinary front, Kerry is home to nine Michelin-recognized restaurants. Out of the Blue is one of the most famous. Located in Dingle, Out of the Blue started as a seafood deli in 2001 and grew into one of the best seafood restaurants in Kerry. Fun fact: Fish is caught daily. Nothing caught? It doesn't open. For casual dining and also a great place to grab a pint and listen to live music, try P.F. McCarthy's. It's one of the oldest establishments in Kenmare, a small town south of Kerry. Make sure to chat with the locals. There's a reason tourists call Ireland the friendliest European destination!