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The best socially distant outdoor experiences in Cork
Discover Drombeg Stone Circle in West Cork.
While most of the world has returned to travelling as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still those who wish to keep their distance from others while out and about. If you're one of them, don't fret - you can still enjoy unforgettable outdoor experiences in places like Cork.

If you’re ready for a new adventure, here are some of our top recommendations to try in the Rebel County.

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1 Take the Ballycotton Cliff Walk

A walk along this acclaimed 9km cliff walk from Ballycotton Village to Ballyandreen is a chance to soak up the stunning coastal vistas that are plentiful in Cork. There are lots of seated viewpoints on the Ballycotton Cliff Walk where you can enjoy beautiful views of local landmarks like Ballytransna Beach or Ballycotton Lighthouse.

A view of flowers and blue skies with Ballycotton Island in the distance
Soak up the stunning coastal views on the Ballycotton Cliff Walk.
2Walk the Carrigaline to Crosshaven trail on the old railway line

The old Carrigaline to Crosshaven railway line has been reinvented as a family-friendly, scenic walking route that hugs the coastline of one of Cork’s prettiest inlets. The views are arguably better at high tide but it becomes a bird watcher’s paradise at low tide.

Views of trees and boats bobbing in the still waters along the Carrigaline Crosshaven walk
Walk the scenic route from Carrigaline to Crosshaven.
3Visit Nohoval Cove outside Kinsale

As you approach this little-known gem, you’ll be blown away by the sight of the turquoise waters, giant sea stacks and soaring cliffs at Nohoval Cove that make it such an eye-catching destination. Whether viewed from the clifftops or the rocky beach below, this secluded cove is a little piece of heaven and one of Cork’s best-kept secrets.

4Step into the Drombeg Stone Circle

Also known as the Druid’s Altar, Drombeg Stone Circle outside Glandore is arguably the most famous one in Ireland. Our top tip is to visit this mystical site early in the morning if you want to have it all to yourself. Don’t forget to check out the nearby fulacht fiadh, a communal cooking pit that lies beside the remains of two stone huts.

Two visitors taking pictures of Drombeg Stone Circle on a sunny day in County Cork
Visit the Druid's Altar in Cork.
5Discover Castletownshend Village

This picture-postcard village overlooks the water and it’s an ideal place to grab a coffee and take a stroll. The town is built around a steep hill lined by quaint 18th Century houses and leads down to Castletownshend. The castle itself is certainly impressive but so is the view of the harbour when you get to the bottom.

A woman looking out at the still waters and blue skies from Castletownshend Harbour
Check out the stunning views at Castletownshend Harbour.
6Go through the tunnel to get to Christ Church, Kilfaughnabeg

The famous Christ Church in Glandore is perched on a rocky outcrop on the edge of the water so the only way to reach it is to go through a tunnel that’s been carved out of a solid rock face. Walking through this remarkable tunnel is sure to bring a smile to your face, even before you get to this pretty church and the view on the other side.

7Hike along the Warren Beach cliff walk, Rosscarbery

From rocky headlands to sandy dunes, the Warren Beach walk is a glorious 6km long trek through a landscape that’s all about sand, sea and green hillsides. You can take in views of Galley Head, the Black Islands and the Stags off Toe Head as you walk from Warren Beach to Owenahincha Beach.

Warren Beach
8Take a walk on Silver Strand, Sherkin Island

There are hidden beaches and then there’s Silver Strand on Sherkin Island, which is a 10-minute ferry ride from Baltimore. This huge, white sand beach looks like something you’d find on an exotic holiday brochure. It’s the perfect place to kick off your shoes, go for a walk and feel the sand between your toes.

Clear waters and stone beach on Sherkin Island, County Cork
Embrace the stunning surrounds of Sherkin Island.
9Look out over Bantry Bay from Whiddy Island

Another off-shore gem in these parts is Whiddy Island, an oasis of tranquillity with some incredible views over Bantry Bay from the island. Pack a picnic, get the short ferry from Bantry Town and prepare to enjoy one of the most scenic meals you’ve ever had.

Whiddy Island
Whiddy Island
10Explore Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve

With everything from woods and grasslands to waterfalls and mountains to explore, there’s something for everyone here. The Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve has a range of trails to suit everyone, regardless of age or level of fitness. You can choose a gentle walk or a challenging hike.

11Enjoy a hike on Mount Hillary

Enjoy a serene hike on Mount Hillary in the beautiful Cork countryside. The forested mountain lies in between Mallow and Banteer, and provides a fantastic afternoon of walking with some beautiful views. Beginning at the car park, the 10km long Mount Hillary Loop swoops around the mountain with lookout points over the Galtee and Derrynasaggart Mountains. Turn left at the fork and take the shorter Fr. Murphy's Loop, or keep right to finish the three hour long walk.

12Have a picnic at Gougane Barra

Even by West Cork standards, the rocky mountains and forested valleys of Gougane Barra Forest Park are seriously impressive. The park has some of the county’s best hiking routes and scenery that will blow you away. Depending on the route that you choose, you can also get a fantastic view of St Finbarr’s Oratory, which peeks out of the tree-covered island on the lake below.

Saint Finbarr's Oratory County Cork
Discover St Finbarr's Oratory in Gougane Barra Forest Park.

Have you discovered all of Cork?

Cork is full of memorable places so choose an activity and get on the move! Take a look at our Things to Do page  for more inspiration on outdoor fun across the Rebel County and plan your next trip.

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