If you have ever been an Ireland, you have probably noticed how prominently the Cliffs of Moher are advertised as a must-see place. Fair enough, these beautifully rugged cliffs on the magnificent west coast are definitely worth paying a visit. The thunderous sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, the many species of birds nesting in impossible places and the pleasant trails that run beside it all make the Cliffs of Moher worth the drive. However, as you can expect, you won’t be the only one that wants to get the best views. I visited the cliffs in March, which is pretty much low tourist season. But even then I could see a few tour buses and a lot of cars in the main car park. I can only imagine the crowds in peak summer season…
How to hike the Cliffs of Moher cheaper and without the tourists
I drove slowly past the visitor center to check out the prices. It seemed that an adult ticket was € 6,-, which included parking. Not an extraordinary fee to visit 319 million-year-old cliffs, taking in account the conservation and staff costs. However, it was the groups of ipad-camera-using tourists that bothered me, as even from a distance I could see them clumping together to take the same pictures of the designated viewpoints. So my girlfriend and I decided to drive on a bit, see if we could find another place to park.
A little bit further south on the R478 road I notice a crossroad with a small country road leading to the cliffside. We decide to follow the road, making some quick decisions when we reach a few forks in the road. We end up at a little private-looking car park, which has a sign next to it: “Cliffs of Moher coastal walk car park: € 2,-“. We park our car and walk up-hill. After about 500 meters we find an entrance to what turns out to be a beautiful coastal walk trail, past the ruins of the Moher Fort Site Telegraph Station and towards the visitor center. The full Cliffs of Moher hike is about 3 kilometer one way; this will get you near the “famous” part of the cliffs.
Getting to the €2,- private car park
Let’s get practical. How can you get to this cheap car park? Follow these steps and you’ll find it. I can’t guarantee that there will be any places to park (especially in high season), as the car park only has space for about 20 or so cars.
- Take the R478 south from the Cliffs of Moher visitor center for about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles).
- Turn right at the first intersection.
- Follow this road for about 3.5 kilometers (2.1 miles), keeping right at every fork or equal crossing.
- Make sure you have € 2,- in cash, as you’ll have to make the payment at an unmanned deposit box.
The Cliffs of Moher coastal walk
If you’re not convinced on why you should visit the Cliffs of Moher, let these photos and videos be an inspiration.