If you plan to spend three days in Dublin, Ireland, you’ll want to read this article! From cozy pubs, innovative dining, exciting museums, friendly locals, lovely coastal villages, and a ton of music, Dublin is one of the best cities in Europe to visit.
In the western reaches of Europe, Dublin is the lively capital of Ireland. Its storied history dates back to the Vikings, who settled on the banks of the River Liffey that runs through the city’s heart.
Under British rule until the turn of the last century, Dublin emerged as a vibrant European capital. Famed for the exuberant “craic agus ceoil” (fun and music), Dublin is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Ireland. Whether planning a long weekend city break or an Ireland road trip, this article will help you plan the ultimate 3-day Dublin itinerary. Céad Míle Fáilte – Welcome to Dublin!
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Helpful Dublin, Ireland Travel Tips
The Best Time to Visit Dublin: The best time to visit Dublin is from late Spring to early Autumn when sunny days occur. The Dublin climate is mild, and you can expect rain at any time of the year. Pack an umbrella or a raincoat. In Autumn and Winter, the days are shorter and can be blustery and grey, although you’ll find great prices and much less crowds.
How to Get to Dublin: Getting to Dublin is a breeze with well-connected flight options from major international gateways in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. When you touch down at Dublin Airport, you can take a taxi or AirCoach bus to the city center.
How to Get Around Dublin: Navigating the city is relatively easy. Most of Dublin is walkable. However, you’ll also find the DublinBikes scheme, taxis, trams and buses. FreeNow is the local taxi app. Only licensed taxis are allowed to pick up passengers.
Where to Stay in Dublin: The River Liffey divides the city into two areas – the Northside and the Southside. The Northside has traditionally been considered less desirable, but it is a fascinating and authentic part of the city with some of the best bars and neighborhoods.
The Southside, on the other hand, is often seen as more affluent. As you explore Dublin, you’ll cross the Liffey and discover all this diverse city offers. Look out for postal codes that start with D1, D2, D4, D8 & D7 to be close to the city center.
Dublin has an array of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to boutique boltholes. If you can stay around the Dublin 2 area, you’ll be in the city’s center with plenty of sites.
If you’re on a tighter budget, opt for authentic neighborhoods like Smithfield or the Liberties, just a few minutes walk to the city’s center. You’ll find cool spots like The Hendrick or the Hyatt Centric The Liberties Dublin.
Day One in Dublin, Ireland: Discover the City
Take a Bus Tour
Dublin is super compact, so you can pack a lot in one fun morning on your Dublin itinerary. While you can take conventional hop-on-hop-off buses, opt for the fun and frivolous Viking Splash tour instead. Put on Viking helmets and find yourself amid the boisterous revelry aboard a WWII amphibious DUKW. The adventure sets sail – quite literally – from the heart of Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green Park. High above the bustling streets, perched in the lofty seats of this transformed vessel, the guides are a mix of entertainers and historians who will bring you on a unique trek across the city!
Have Lunch & Hit the Shops
In the afternoon, opt for a leisurely lunch and some retail therapy. If you’re lucky enough that the sun graces the sky, grab a sandwich from Green Bench Cafe and head for the serene surroundings of St. Stephen’s Green or the lesser-known haven, Iveagh Park.
While historic St. Stephen’s Green attracts a crowd of tourists, a hidden oasis awaits a couple of minutes just south of the square. Iveagh Gardens is a sanctuary tucked behind the National Concert Hall and one of the most peaceful corners of Dublin. Enjoy this Georgian park of rustic grottos, fountains, woodlands, and its pretty rosarium.
Let’s be honest, though – Dublin’s weather is unpredictable, and having an indoor backup on your Dublin itinerary is always good. Whether your vibe is an elegant afternoon tea at The Shelbourne hotel or a more down-to-earth experience, like delving into the local specialty, Coddle (originally a pauper’s food), at the Hairy Lemon, there are many places to explore.
Dublin’s city center is tiny, which is an excellent advantage for shopping. Whether you seek elite fashion labels like Chanel and Hermes or more unique treasures, Dublin has plenty of shops. Head straight for Kilkenny Design on Nassau Street or the Irish Design Shop on Drury Street, a haven for indigenous designers. Explore pottery at Arran Street East, fashion at Om Diva, literary delights from Gutter Bookshop and Book Upstairs, and Chupi’s jewelry in the elegant Powerscourt Shopping Centre. A print from Jam Art Factory is a great souvenir to bring home.
Traditional Irish Music
As the night falls, an evening of authentic traditional Irish music awaits. Stop for dinner at L Mulligan Grocers in the historic Stoneybatter neighborhood and then head around the corner to The Cobblestone.
In the heart of history, Smithfield, this iconic pub is an absolute addition to your Dublin itinerary. Step inside and discover Irish hospitality, live music with well-worn wooden floors and seats. Experience the sounds of Irish tunes, fiddles, and bodhráns. Locals and visitors gather for one of the best places in Dublin for a pint and to experience the heart of traditional Irish culture.
Day Two in Dublin, Ireland: Explore the Top Attractions
Kickstart your morning with a visit to Ireland’s top attraction and usually the top of any Dublin itinerary, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, home to Ireland’s famous export.
The Guinness brewery is woven into the fabric of the nation’s history, and the immersive exhibit will teach you all about Dublin and its famous drink.
The experience ends with a ‘pint of plain’ at the Gravity Bar, with panoramic windows and some of the best views of Dublin’s low-rise skyline.
Next stop, visit Kilmainham Gaol, a 20-minute walk away, and learn how this former prison played a pivotal role in Ireland’s struggle for freedom.
Built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol witnessed a chronicle of events that shaped the nation’s destiny. Its cold corridors once confined political dissidents, rebels, and visionaries.
A guided tour will give you a fascinating insight into the 1916 Rising, an important period in Irish history. Step into the cells that once housed revolutionary figures and learn about an era marked by hardship, heroism, and the legacy of the fascinating figures who fought for a better future for Ireland—book tickets early, as Kilmainham Gaol tours sell out quickly.
The Phoenix Park
A further 20-minute walk away lies Phoenix Park, a verdant expanse that ranks among Europe’s largest urban parks.
Its roots trace back to 1662, and it’s home to Dublin Zoo, the home of the president, Áras an Uachtaráin, and the stately residence of the US ambassador.
Take a stroll or rent a bicycle and explore the park’s hidden gems. Near the park’s north end, Farmleigh House is an elegant Edwardian manor house built in the 18th century. Once the Guinness family residence, you can explore the picturesque gardens, clock tower, boathouse, and 78 acres home to donkeys, horses, and Kerry Black cows.
Not quite as far from the city center, the Victorian Walled Gardens is worth a stop for cake and tea in the Tea Rooms beckons. Watch for the graceful fallow deer that gracefully roam the park. In summer, Dubliners congregate around the Pope’s Cross and the Wellington monument.
In the likely event that inclement weather intervenes, stay around the city center instead. The Chester Beatty Library within Dublin Castle houses a trove of rare books, manuscripts, and relics and is the perfect place to while away an afternoon on your Dublin itinerary.
Or, opt for a guided tour at the Little Museum of Dublin and discover the city. The Little Museum is home to plenty of U2 memorabilia for fans of Dublin’s most famous band. The EPIC Irish Emigration Museum is another journey through Ireland’s history to learn about the colossal diaspora. EPIC is an immersive experience and a great addition to your Dublin itinerary if you have Irish ancestry.
No Dublin itinerary is complete without time spent in the tourist hotspot, Temple Bar. While many come for the pubs and bars, you’ll also find music venues, independent shops, and plenty of dining spots between Westmoreland Street, Fishamble Street, the River Liffey, and Dame Street.
Explore murals of music icons like Sinead O’Connor and U2, the tiny Photo Museum Ireland, the Irish Film Institute, the Gutter bookshop, and a lovely food market on a Saturday.
Have a pint at The Temple Bar. It might be overpriced, but it’s worth stopping for one so you can say you’ve done it. Or, for something more sophisticated, try Vintage Cocktail Club. Book a table at a restaurant like FX Buckleys, Piglet Wine Bar, or Rosa Madre for dinner.
The atmosphere of Temple Bar is fun, but beware that it can be messy later into the night at weekends. Spending the night, or at least a few hours in Temple Bar, is a must on your Dublin itinerary.
Day Three in Dublin, Ireland: Live Like a Local
Visit the Coast or Mountains
Going beyond Dublin’s city center is a must on your Dublin itinerary. The most challenging part is deciding which area to pick. There are three highlights to consider.
Hop on the DART train, a coastal passage along Dublin Bay, and choose whether to venture north or south.
Option #1: Killiney
If the compass points you south, set your sights on Killiney, home to famous figures like Bono’s picturesque Killiney Hill and the charming village of Dalkey. While Ireland might be far from tropical paradises like Seychelles or Maldives, you can still bask in the Irish Sea’s embrace at the Vico Baths. Even in winter, if the sea is safe, you’ll find locals popping in year-round for a dip. Have a bite to eat in DeVille’s in Dalkey afterward.
- From Dublin: Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough & Kilkenny Tour
- From Dublin: Kilkenny and Wicklow Mountain Full-Day Tour
Option #2: Howth
For those leaning northward, the picturesque harbor village of Howth awaits. Embark on a hike across Howth Hill with sweeping views of Lambay Island and the Irish Sea.
Howth’s hidden treasures lie in its secluded beaches. While Burrow Beach attracts locals and visitors alike, the lesser-known Red Rock Beach remains a tranquil haven accessible via a narrow path along the Howth Cliff Walk. Whether for a serene hike or a refreshing dip, Howth is one of the best destinations to add to your Dublin itinerary.
The rewarding loop returns you to the harbor, where some of the world’s finest fish and chips await. Meander along the waterfront and stop at Crabby Jo’s for lunch. The warm and cozy Mamo is a top neighborhood spot, too.
- Howth Coastal Half-Day Bus Tour from Dublin with Live Guide
- Dublin Panoramic E-Bike Tour with Howth Adventures
Option #3: Dublin Mountains
A third option for Day 3 of your Dublin itinerary is to head to the Dublin Mountains and neighboring Co. Wicklow.
High atop Montpelier Hill, the Hellfire Club is an 18th-century ruin that is said to be haunted. Constructed as a lavish hunting lodge for an affluent Irish peer, its reputation turned dark as it gained notoriety for hosting wild parties and occult rituals – whispers of devil worship added to the mystery. The Hellfire Club has the best view across Dublin.
Johnny Foxes, one of Dublin’s most legendary pubs, is just a 15-minute drive away.
Venture into the next county, Wicklow, known as the Garden of Ireland, for stunning scenery and beautiful hikes. Enchanting Glendalough should be at the top of your Dublin itinerary if you choose this option.
Glendalough means “Valley of Two Lakes,” which will hint at the picturesque landscape that awaits. A network of hiking trails weaves through the valley and surrounding woodlands and hills.
St. Kevin founded the Glendalough Monastic Site in the 6th century. The well-preserved ruins of churches, a round tower, and other structures offer glimpses into Ireland’s ancient past.
Nearby, ‘Fancy Mountain’ is one of the best hikes to add to your Dublin itinerary. It will take you past breathtaking Lough Tay, with views of Luggala. Luggala was owned by the Guinness Heiress and her son, Garech Browne. Luggala’s storied walls have embraced famous artists and musicians, nurturing the talents of household names and offering a haven for creativity.
Garech’s brother, Tara Browne, passed away in London in the 1960s, inspiring The Beatles’ iconic song “A Day in the Life.”
- Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough and Kilkenny Day Tour from Dublin
- The Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Pub Tour
Have an Authentic Night in Dublin
Venture back to the city center and end your 3-day Dublin itinerary with an authentic Dublin night with culinary delights and libations that will make you want to book a second trip.
While the tourist-laden pubs and restaurants in Temple Bar may be fun, dive deeper into the local scene.
Dublin may not traditionally have been known as a foodie hot spot, but the culinary scene is thriving. For contemporary Mexican food, try 777. For Chinese delights, Hang Dai, and for Indian fans, Pickle is a must. L’Gueleton serves up delectable French classics, and the covered outside area is perfect for people-watching.
If Michelin Guide-approved havens are more up your street, try to nab a table at Patrick Guilbauds, Chapter One, Bastible, or Uno Mas.
Have one more pint at the favorite haunts of Dubliners like Grogans, Mulligans of Poolbeg Street, O’Donoghues, Frank Ryans, and Walshes of Stoneybatter.
Want somewhere unique? The Hacienda in the north inner city is not open to anyone. You must ring the bell and hope you’ll be granted access by the carefully curating owner.
Maybe you’ve had enough Guinness? There are plenty of modern cocktail bars and speakeasy-inspired sanctuaries. Peruke & Periwig, Fidelity, The Blind Pig, The Big Romance, and Sitting Room Delahunt are worth adding to your list.
End your 3-day Dublin, Ireland itinerary on a high with an authentic night out.
3-Day Dublin Itinerary
We hope you’ve found this 3-day Dublin itinerary helpful! We could have included many other sites, like the Book of Kells at Trinity College, the National Gallery of Ireland, the Jameson Distillery, and the literary walking tour showcasing the city of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. However, we’re confident that this 3-day Dublin itinerary showcases the best the city offers. Enjoy your trip to the Emerald Isle!
This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex.
Kaz is a former travel agent based in Dublin and founder of The Honeymoon Guide.