• Tips for Navigating Ireland's Scenic Drives

    Tips for Exploring the Irish Countryside

    Heading to Ireland? Check out these tips for ways to explore the Irish Countryside!

  • One week in Basque Country

    [Itinerary] One Week in Basque Country

    Spending a week in Basque Country? Check out our itinerary for inspiration when planning time on the French + Spanish sides!

  • Best Pintxos Bars in San Sebastian

    Top 5 Pintxos Bars in San Sebastian

    Heading to Basque Country? Today I'm sharing my top 5 favorite pintxos bars in San Sebastian!

  • Monte Urgull, San Sebastian

    Monte Urgull, San Sebastian

    Heading to San Sebastian? The views from Monte Urgull are not to be missed!

  • Tips for wine tasting in La Rioja

    5 Tips for Wine Tasting in La Rioja

    Heading to La Rioja? Here are 5 tips to get you started in your planning!

Tips for Navigating Ireland's Scenic Drives

The Best Ways to Experience Ireland’s World-Class Landscapes

We went into our Irish road trip feeling pretty well-researched and confident about our way of exploring the famously beautiful drives of County Kerry. In the end, I loved our experience – it was pure magic – and everyone in my family left feeling as though it was the best travel experience of their life. If you’re also hoping to experience the landscapes in Ireland, you essentially have three options:

  1. Hire a car and self-drive the peninsulas (this is what we did)
  2. Hire a driver for a private tour experience
  3. Go with a big bus tour

Having gone through this experience ourselves, I hope that some of this knowledge will be valuable to other travelers looking to experience this area who are perhaps unsure about the best way to see the region.

Hire a car and self-drive the peninsulas

Ring of Beara, Ireland

1This was the route we took, knowing that we’d want the flexibility to explore at our own pace and stop along the way based on our own preferences. To hire a care in Ireland, you need a valid license (from our experience you don’t need an International Driving Permit, despite what you’ll read online), and you’ll need to be prepared to fork over nearly double for an automatic vehicle. Unless you’re extremely comfortable with the idea of driving a stick shift in a right drive car on the left side of the road, you’re probably better off with an automatic for comfort and peace of mind. I recently shared some tips on renting a car in Ireland so check it out if this is something you’re considering!

While the self-drive scenario was a great option for us, it did have one downside: someone had to drive. In a country whose culture is somewhat anchored in pub experiences, whiskey tastings and a pint at lunch, this can become a bit of a drain on whoever is driving. Do note that Ireland has an absolute zero drinking and driving policy that’s not worth testing (this means zero, not 0.08); don’t plan on having a single pint if you’re taking on the task of driving.

Also factor in that for many people, this involves driving on the opposite side of the road while navigating narrow passages on some of the peninsulas. This isn’t always comfortable for everyone, and it’s worth making sure that your intended driver feels okay with the task at hand. In our case, though we paid for a second driver (my dad, an additional €10 per day), Scott was kind enough to take the helm for the entirety of our trip. He’s used to driving on the left since that’s become commonplace with life in Anguilla, and had mastered maneuvering the narrow roads after a day. For him that meant having to opt out of mid-day pints and having to stay awake – and maintain vigilance! – while passengers were able to be a bit more carefree.

Unless someone is 100% okay with having to be the driver for the entire experience, I do think it’s worth discussing having two alternating drivers for the trip. This will allow everyone to enjoy the experience without having to place sole responsibility on one person for the entire experience.

{Keep reading, and find out why we would have done our trip a bit differently in hindsight.} Read More

One week in Basque Country

7 days exploring Basque Country + La Rioja

French + Spanish Basque Country Itinerary

When we decided on booking a trip to San Sebastian, we chose to round out the experience by including a couple of days in Spanish wine country and a few days based in French Basque Country to balance it out, and compare and contrast the experiences.

Here is how we spent our week in Basque Country, plus some recommendations from our experience:

Day 1: Arrival, French Basque Country // St. Jean-de-Luz

Travel Planning: One week in Basque Country

Our first day was our arrival day, and we settled into Hotel La Marisa in St. Jean-de-Luz to kick start our three days in Pays Basque. After exploring a variety of towns in French Basque Country, we agreed that St. Jean-de-Luz was the perfect home base for exploring. We were a couple of minutes from the beach, and close to a number of great restaurants and shops.

Spend your first night exploring the town, enjoy an evening dining out (we visited Chez Kako) and have a glass of wine at Chez Renauld while people watching and taking it all in.

Day 2: French Basque Country // St. Jean-de-Luz, Biarritz & Bayonne

Bayonne, Basque Country

If you’re a beach person, you could easily spend a day in St. Jean-de-Luz enjoying the beach and the promenade. We chose to explore the famous French Basque towns of Biarritz and Bayonne by train.

Worth noting: Sundays are quiet in the area. Bayonne was absolutely comatose during our visit and the Basque Museum was the only thing open during our time there. If you want a primer on the region and the unique culture and history of the Basque people, the museum is worth putting on your agenda to start your time in the area.

By contrast, Biarritz was a bustling glitzy resort town dripping with people and replete with a lively energy. Sip sangria at a seaside cafe and spend a couple of hours soaking up the sun and people watching.

Read about our day in Biarritz, Bayonne and St. Jean-de-Luz. Read More

Best Pintxos Bars in San Sebastian

Standout food + ambiance at five San Sebastian hot spots

San Sebastian is its food scene. If the city is known globally for one defining characteristic, it’s the world-class gastronomic scene. With more Michelin-starred restaurants than nearly any other city in the world and a slew of delicious pintxos restaurants, its not hard to see why the city is a draw for foodies the world over.

With two full days and nights in San Sebastian, we opted to forgo the Arzak and Mugarritz experiences and instead dedicate both nights to comprehensive pintxos crawls. A friend of Scott’s advised us, if you’re not doing at least four bars a night, you’re not doing it right. She couldn’t have been more right.

Four is a given. We started early and ended late both nights and visited around ten places each evening. Seriously. There were a few favorites that we visited twice after seriously incredible bites, but we maximized our limited time by popping into as many spots as possible and tasting one nibble that represented each bar’s claim to fame.

Here is a list of our top 5 pintxos bars in San Sebastian + the must-try specialty at each! Keep in mind this list is subjective, but these five were stand-outs for the four of us traveling in the region.

You can order a G&T, but if you’re delving into some local favorites you really have three options when you’re on a pintxos crawl on the beverage front: txacoli, refreshing Basque white wine with a touch of effervescence; a caña, a small pour of beer to wash down your small bites; or sangria, a go-to to be combined with Spanish cuisine if you prefer life on the sweeter side.

A Fuego Negro

Best Pintxos Bars in San Sebastian

Find It: Calle 31 de Agosto, 31, 20003 San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain

1A super hip, dimly lit space that oozes cool, A Fuego Negro has a vibe all its own. For non-meat eaters, their tuna tartare is a delicious option for a healthy bite. For meat eaters, the Kobe beef sliders are an absolute must by all accounts. If you need a break from txacoli, their sangria is lovely.

Beti-Jai Berria

Best Pintxos Bars in San Sebastian

Find It: Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 22, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain

2Friends, acquaintances and tour guides shared their top lists with us before we set off on our dining adventures in San Sebastian. In many instances, their lists overlapped with published must-try pintxos bars and best bites in the city. Beti-Jai made none of those lists, and I couldn’t help but find myself a bit perplexed by the omission.

The stark lighting inside was a bit of a turn-off for me, but I couldn’t help but love the food and the bartenders there. We ended up visiting Beti-Jai both nights. Their grilled octopus is a delicious hearty nibble, great when washed down with a crisp glass of txacoli for good measure.  Read More

Monte Urgull, San Sebastian

Hiking to Monte Urgull for the best views of La Concha

Oh, beautiful San Sebastian.

Despite the drizzly, slightly overcast weather when we arrived in San Sebastian (locally referred as Donostia, its Basque moniker), the stunning city was utterly captivating.

When we began planning our trip to Basque Country, our itinerary was mostly anchored on this part of the journey. We knew that San Sebastian, the foodie mecca with iconic views, was our primary draw, and we built everything else around it.

The October weather was too brisk for us to spend time on La Concha, but we knew we wanted to take in the view from Monte Urgull and make our way to the statue of Christ, which people liken to the acclaimed statue in Rio de Janeiro (we visited Rio’s version in May).

From where we were based in central San Sebastian, the walk to the base of Monte Urgull was simple, and despite not wearing tennis shoes we were able to weave our way up the cobblestone at a comfortable pace. When we embarked on the climb, we didn’t quite know what to expect but we were sure that the elevation would provide great views of the city and beach.

Donostia-San Sebastian, View from Monte UrgullMonte Urgull: Best Views of San Sebastian Read More

Tips for wine tasting in La Rioja

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy. – Benjamin Franklin 

Our experiences in La Rioja left us loving the region and the people and scheming on how we could find our way back for a follow-up visit to Spain’s go-to wine area. If you’re thinking about heading to La Rioja for the first time, here are some tips and thoughts from our foray into Spanish Wine Country.

Know that tastings include winery tours.

Wine tasting at Bodegas Marques de Riscal La Rioja

1Unlike many US wine tasting experiences, wine tasting in La Rioja is more than walking up to a bar and tasting off of a wine list/menu. The tastings in La Rioja, often at a cost, hinge on tours of the estates, the processing areas and bottling facilities and culminate with a visit to the tasting room to test the wares. In our experience, the tours lasted about an hour, sometimes more, not including the tasting component. All of the bodegas we visited standardly charged a fee for the visit, most in the neighborhood of €10 per person, which includes the tour and a series of pretty hefty pours.

Schedule your tasting appointments.

Wine Tasting in La Rioja, Bodegas Ysios

2Building off of the first point, it’s important to know that tastings generally require advanced appointments or reservations. Since the tasting constitutes a tour, you’ll need to coordinate with the bodega in advance to find availability that works. As was the case with Bodegas Ysios for us, despite booking about a month in advance, our only option was a Spanish-language tour for the time we planned to visit. This will take a bit more forethought to craft your itinerary but also allows you to select some key highlights in advance!

Manage your time.

5 Tips for Wine Tasting in La Rioja, Spain #winetasting #larioja

3This was a lesson that we learned on day one! We quickly realized that what we thought was an appropriate allocation of time was way off. For our first day, we scheduled an 11AM tasting, a 1:15PM tasting and a 4PM tasting, thinking we’d even have time for a 2:30PM lunch nearby. Sounds good, right?

We couldn’t have been more wrong! Being novices to the wine scene in Spain, we assumed that 1 1/2 hours would be plenty of time for a single winery, but we found ourselves rushing from bodega to bodega on our first day, without time to stop for lunch. Our 11AM tasting and tour took us through 1:45PM, and our second tasting had us going until slightly after 4PM, making us about 25 minutes late for our final tasting of the day.

Our second day was paced infinitely more appropriately: a morning tasting at around 10:30AM, lunch with wine pairings at 12:30PM and an afternoon tasting at around 3PM. Yes, we were only able to see two wineries but this balance kept things moving along at a comfortable pace and never had us feeling rushed. Two wineries + lunch is a safe setup.

TIP 3.5: Don’t forget lunch! You’ll be wine tasting from morning until late afternoon so it really is worth penciling in lunch so you can stay awake and alert during the day. I would totally recommend the option of having lunch with wine pairings so you can continue to enjoy the wine culture of the region (find a place that appeals to you in advance or work with a guide to choose something that will be a good fit). It’s a great option that keeps you tasting tempranillos but also allows you to consume real food, not just tiny bread sticks and nibbles of cheese. Read More

Wine tasting in La Rioja, Spain

“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” – Ernest Hemingway

We spent our first day wine tasting in La Rioja at three wonderful wineries and winding down in our temporary home in Laguardia at Castillo el Collado, a castle-cum-hotel within the walled town. The region is jam-packed with hundreds of unique bodegas so we planned on a second day of wine tasting in La Rioja to explore a different set of offerings.

While we mapped out our first day on our own, we worked with Ernes from Basque Country-based tour company Ikusnahi to help us craft our itinerary for our second day.  We shared with him information about the wineries we’d already visited, and he recommended two other bodegas to round out our experience in Rioja Alta: Álava-based Remelluri and Haro-based R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia. In Euskara, the Basque language, Ikusnahi means ‘curiosity’, and we were excited to work with a company that was helping to satisfy our curiosities about the region with some serious inside knowledge.

Ikusnahi offers a range of options for exploring Basque Country (from gastronomy to culture and adventure) but our focus was on working with them to delve deeper into La Rioja from a viticulture perspective with a bit of gastronomy thrown in for good measure. We opted for Ikusnahi’s Rioja Wine Tour, which appealed to all of us from the get-go. The tour typically includes two different winery experiences, including one larger, more modern winery, plus one smaller, family-run experience. In our case, having been to Bodega Ysios and Marques de Riscal the day before (two larger wineries that would typically be woven into an itinerary like this), we focused on one traditional winery and one bodega that melded modern elements into their traditional ways.  As an intermezzo, we had a five-course meal (!) with wine pairings to test our sipping prowess.

Within five minutes of departing our hotel we were thrilled with having chosen Ernes as our guide. A fellow traveler with an interesting career in crafting tours (dream job, anyone?), he immediately made us feel comfortable and excited for what we were about to experience. In all honesty, the more we embark on private tours like this, the more I recognize the value in them. I always hesitate to use the term ‘tour’ because it has a bit of a nasty connotation for me; a bit of that big bus tour feel, which is precisely what we avoid. Private or small group options like this are something that I find incredibly appealing though. They’re generally a great way to add an inimitable layer of local knowledge with the perk of going off the beaten path and allowing yourself to defer – or collaborate – with a professional on the itinerary front. In hindsight, the format of our second day in La Rioja represented what I think is a perfect day in the area.

Granja Nuestra Señora de Remelluri

Wine Tasting in La Rioja, Bodega Remelluri

Our first stop of the day was Remelluri, a small winery surrounding by stunning vineyards. Remelluri has been certified organic since 2010, and while this isn’t necessarily a common certification, it’s becoming a more desired direction in the global movement towards sustainability. We began inside of the winery with a couple of other visitors and a guide who shared the history and foundations of the winery before we were escorted into the wine cave where barrels were stored for aging. Read More

Bodegas Ysios: Wine tasting in La Rioja

Journey from French Basque Country to La Rioja

We spent our first three days in Basque Country based in St. Jean-de-Luz on the French side to compare and contrast the Spanish vs. French experiences. Our first day was spent exploring the nearby towns of Biarritz and Bayonne, and we spent our second day on an impromptu road trip adventure to explore a number of quaint towns in Pays Basque. After our time on the French side, we made our way to Spain to delve into the country’s most famous wine region, La Rioja. We knew we wanted to spend time in foodie San Sebastian, but decided that a dose of wine tasting/education would be a good preface to San Sebastian’s gastronomic focus.

We were picked up at 9AM at Hotel La Marisa by our driver, Nadege of Ze Chauffeur. Nadege was great with working with me in advance to coordinate our tastings in La Rioja, providing a bit of guidance about what time frames seemed realistic for tastings + lunch in the area. As I mentioned in my initial post about our planning for this trip, wine tasting in Spain is a bit different from what we were familiar with in Napa and Sonoma, our old stomping grounds. In Northern California, appointments aren’t generally necessary and tastings are actually just little tastes of a variety of wines.

In Spain, appointments are essentially universally required which means there’s a bit of planning that goes into this process. Unlike wine tastings in California, ‘tastings’ in La Rioja are generally a tasting preceded by a tour of the grounds and processing plants, which is part of the reason there’s typically a charge for tours. This was our first day of wine tasting in La Rioja, and we pre-arranged visits to three different wineries: Marques del Puerto, Marques de Riscal and Bodegas Ysios.

Wine Tasting in La Rioja, Spain Read More

A Road Trip through Pays Basque (French Basque Country)

A Road Trip through French Basque Country

Our day was off to a terrible start. We woke up with the greatest of intentions: for a mere $50 per person for the day, we were going to rent Vespas and set off, hair blowing in the wind, while visiting the quaint little towns in Pays Basque. We had originally planned on taking the bus to Espelette, our tentative final destination for the day, but we wanted to up the ante, plus the bus there was a rather round about route.

Giddily, we headed to the Vespa rental company and let them know we were going to rent scooters to explore.

“You’re both going to rent?” the guy asked, clearly staring at me while he was asking the question.

“Yes, we’re both going to rent.” I was actually a bit perturbed that he picked me out as the culprit in this scenario.

“Well, have you ever ridden before?”

Damn. That minor detail. I couldn’t lie, so I told him that no, I hadn’t ever ridden. I mean, could it really be that difficult? I just saw a 90-year-old scooting down the street. He responded that he could most definitely not rent me a vespa. Then he turned to Scott and suggested that he rent a vespa, put me on the back and set sail. Mind you, Scott hasn’t ridden either, but I suppose him being a man makes people assume he’d have a better natural inclination for these things. We were both completely uncomfortable with this idea. It’s not that I don’t trust my husband, it’s just… well, I just saw this all going south very quickly.

Our plans were foiled. Agh. Luckily the vespa rental station was adjacent to the train station so we walked that direction to see if we could perhaps get a train – or even a bus – to where we needed to go. A train to Bordeaux didn’t leave for hours so that didn’t make sense, and we were beginning to become disillusioned. Our perfect plans were slowly disintegrating. Soon we saw a door that I thought may lead to an information desk. Instead, it was the door to a car rental agency.


How did we not think of this?! We could rent a car! So, I’ll spare you the details but we had to bounce around a bit to find a car rental agency that offered an automatic that would work for us. $101 later, we were off, heading down the French roads of Pays Basque. The world was our oyster now since we weren’t tied to a bus or train schedule. Armed with a book on the French Basque Country, we bookmarked four towns that we wanted to see in the region: the quaint town of Sare and the equally storybook town of Ainhoa, the pepper-laden village of Espelette, and the pilgrim town of St. Jean-Pied-de-Port at the foot of the Pyrenees.


Sare, Pays Basque

In researching the small French towns in the Basque region, we never once came across information about Sare. If we did, we completely disregarded it. It wasn’t until we were actually in Basque Country at our hotel in St. Jean-de-Luz that we stumbled upon a Basque Country guide book that pinpointed Sare as one of the prettiest towns in the region.

Since we were driving, it made sense to stop along the way and see it for ourselves.

Located in the Labourd province about 30 minutes’ drive from St. Jean-de-Luz, Sare is a petite town with a load of beauty around every bend. Admittedly, there aren’t many bends in this teensy town. The facades reflect that gorgeous medieval French architecture that we saw in St. Jean-de-Luz and Bayonne; that storybook image that makes you feel like you’ve fallen into a Disney fairytale.

Road trip through Pays BasqueThe town of Sare, Pays BasqueThe town of Sare, Pays Basque

There was a tiny market happening when we popped in; a handful of tents popped up in a main square with vendors selling espadrilles and handmade French soaps. A tiny shop, Le Piment Rouge, was our first shopping stop for the day where we picked up Basque cider for future consumption. The star of Sare for us was the church and the stunning burial grounds. It sounds morbid, but we were immediately drawn to the graveyard, a sea of beautiful crosses and brightly colored blooms springing up from each plot. It this little town, this space seemed to dominate the nearby landscape and we were captivated for a few minutes before departing.

One of our attempted stops was the Sare Caves (referred to locally as the Grottes de Sare), a somewhat regionally famous site. We attempted to visit the caves which are actually on the outskirts of Sare in a nearby town, only to find that visitors can only tour the caves with a tour group for an hour-long experience. Tour groups go regularly during the day but are done almost exclusively in French but for one tour (at 1:30PM), which is done in Spanish. Like I mentioned yesterday, English doesn’t generally seem to be a priority in the region and is mostly an afterthought. French and/or Spanish skills are very helpful though not necessary. We didn’t want to wait for the Spanish tour, so we said our goodbyes to Sare and moved on to the next town on our agenda.

The town of Sare, Pays Basque

{Total time in Sare: 25 – 30 minutes, with a 10 minute detour to the caves}

Keep reading to find out what other towns we visit during our impromptu French Basque Country road trip! Read More

St. Jean de Luz, French Basque Country

Glitz, glam and history in Pays Basque

After our road trip in Ireland, my family and I parted ways. They were off to Scotland to fulfill the rest of my dad’s dream birthday trip, while Scott and I headed to Basque Country, a region that has long captured both of our interests. Our friends joined us for this adventure, which was a great way to wine and dine more socially. San Sebastian (Donostia in Basque) was the anchor for this trip; a city that we both knew unequivocally that we wanted to see. It was the city we associated with ‘Basque Country’. To us, San Sebastian didn’t warrant a full week and after a hefty amount of debate as to what destination we could add on to the front end, we decided to keep it close and delve deeper into Basque Country and look at the lesser traveled French side (Pays Basque), something I’m so grateful that we did.

St. Jean-de-Luz

Harbour in St. Jean de Luz, Pays Basque

Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a gorgeous seaside town in the Basque Province of Labourd, one of three Basque provinces on the French side (there are seven provinces in total). Going in, people would talk of its charm but warn that it’s the more bustling and built up of cities in Pays Basque. From our experience in September, it was perfect. After having driven through a number of the main towns on the French side, there’s no doubt that St. Jean-de-Luz is a city amongst towns. There are a few other towns that are well-trafficked (Biarritz and St. Jean Pied de Port come to mind) in a different way. To me, St. Jean-de-Luz feels like the hub of not only this Basque province, but of Pays Basque broadly.

Basque Festival in St. Jean de Luz, Pays Basque

The town has a Beauty and the Beast French charm about it, with medieval buildings lining the city. This is a stark contrast to what was seen on the Spanish side and will forever be the picture of Pays Basque in my mind. Admittedly, Scott and I didn’t spend a ton of time during the day in St. Jean-de-Luz, instead spending our evenings taking in the sunset along the main beach and dining in charming restaurants serving up French and Basque cuisine.

For those spending time in St. Jean-de-Luz, there’s a lot going on, which is something we realized as we began exploring other towns. The town is perfectly walkable and is too beautiful to get around any other way. Choose a well-located hotel if you’re going to stay here so everything’s in close proximity. We chose the quaint boutique offering, Hotel La Marisa, which provided the perfect location and comfortable accommodations. We could have spent our days just walking around the town, taking in the gorgeous facades and popping into the independent retailers lining the pedestrianized streets. There’s great shopping in town, including an amazing selection of artisanal and gourmet food shops doling out foie gras, duck confit, specialty meats and cheeses, oils, and wines, amongst other things.

St. Jean-de-Luz is a seaside town though, and while Scott and I don’t take advantage of the beach when we travel (we get plenty of it at home!), that is definitely a draw for travelers. We were both stunned by how beautiful the beach was here; a huge stretch of golden sand with very few people and virtually no litter. I am sure that the beach is busy during the summer months, especially with domestic travelers heading to the seaside town for a beach and dining combo, but during September it felt as though we had the beach to ourselves. Being a harbour town, boating is a big draw, too, along with kayaking and other water sports. Fun fact: the Basque coast is actually famed for its world-class surfing, and while Biarritz and San Sebastian may draw more surfers, St. Jean-de-Luz has its share catching waves, too.

During our time there, a festival was taking place (though we didn’t realize it at the time), with an art sale in the main square, live music, and people dressed in costume. It added a cool cultural layer to our already-enchanting experience in the provincial capital.

For us, St. Jean-de-Luz was an absolutely perfect home base. It may be more bustling than many towns in the region but that ended up being a very positive thing for us because it meant access. There were ATMs in town, a main train station within walking distance, car rentals, vespa rentals, and more resources all within close proximity. Plus, there’s no shortage of options for dining.

{Keep reading to see more pictures + our journey to Bayonne and Biarritz!}

St. Jean de Luz, Pays Basque Read More

Tips for going on a road trip in Ireland

An Irish road trip could take any of a thousand forms: it could take you through the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, up to Northern Ireland, to the scenic drives of Counties Kerry or Cork, or even focus on a tour of golf courses, castles and cathedrals, or distilleries and breweries. Unless you have months and months to explore, you’ll have to narrow your focus and figure out what your priorities are for exploring.

For us, finding a home base was our first point of attack (I have a post forthcoming on having a home base vs. jumping from place to place). From there, we were able to bookend our trip with different locations on the front and/or back-end. Below is a sample of what we did for anyone wanting to recreate our adventure or anyone wanting to use this information as a departure point for crafting a trip of your own.

Tips and Highlights from a Road Trip through Ireland #roadtrip #europe

Ireland by the Numbers

Kilometers Driven: 1471

Nights Spent: 8

Castles & Manors Visited: 6

Breweries & Distilleries Visited: 2

Restaurants Experienced: 13

Peninsulas Covered: 3

Hotels Stayed In: 2

Villas Rented: 1

The Itinerary

Tips + Sample Itinerary for a Road Trip through Ireland

  • DAY 1: DUBLIN // We arrived at 6:30AM into Dublin airport and had a full day in Ireland’s capital to kick-start our trip. We chose the well-located Cliff Townhouse for our two nights and couldn’t have been happier! To maximize our time with two short days, we opted for the Hop On Hop Off Bus, including stops at major cathedrals and the Guinness Storehouse. Read about our first day here.
  • DAY 2: DUBLIN // Our second full day in Dublin brought us face-to-face with the Book of Kells at Trinity College for a dose of morning scholarship. From there, we enjoyed a local food market for lunch and an afternoon touring and sipping at the Jameson Distillery. Read about our second day in Dublin here.

Road Trip through Ireland

  • DAY 3: CASHEL, CAHIR + DROMOLAND // The road trip begins with a day of castles! We rented our car at 8:30AM with Sixt from the Dublin airport and began our road trip. Our final destination for the night was the Inn at Dromoland, but we mapped a path that allowed us to see the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle on the way. As you can see, it took us a slight bit out-of-the-way but it was worth it for us based on our interests. Dinner was a magical night at Dromoland Castle. Read about our castle-filled day here and here.

This marked the end of our hotel experiences. For nights 4 – 8, we based ourselves in the picturesque town of Kenmare on the Ring of Kerry. We stayed at the four-bedroom, five-bath Dromard Villawhich was the perfect place for our party of five to settle in for the week. Keep reading for the rest of our itinerary, highlights, and tips for renting a car in Ireland. Read More