The names of the places you'll pass on this ride sound like something out of a fantasy film. You assume that you'll encounter small trolls, dwarves and other mythical creatures as you glide through the unbelievably green, unimaginably beautiful landscape in front of a magical backdrop. Only this place actually exists — and it's called the Ring of Kerry. Here, in this wonderful corner of Ireland, you'll enjoy picturesque bays, rugged cliffs and lush green mountain ridges. You'll cross idyllic villages and pass mystical stone circles or ancient bridges that are silent witnesses to the long history of this extraordinary landscape.
There is no better means to discover this stunning place than by bike. As you glide over the landscape on two wheels, you'll travel fast enough to discover the Ring of Kerry over a long weekend, whilst being slow enough that you'll have ample time to take it all in. You'll feel the mild wind blowing around your ears, hear the sound of the waves as you roll along the coast and smell the scent of the numerous, rare herbs and plants on the lush green hills of the mountains. And you'll be able to stop whenever you want to see something amazing along the way or just enjoy the breathtaking scenery for a little longer.
By bike, you have access to roads and paths that are rarely used by cars. And this is exactly what you'll be doing on the three stages of this ride. We've planned these routes so that they stick to as many side roads as possible and avoid the centers of the touristy hustle and bustle often found in these parts. We've also planned this route in a clockwise direction as trucks and buses — the very vehicles that ferry tourists in and out of this region — tend to drive in the other direction to avoid road jams along the way. By riding this route clockwise, you shouldn't have many, if any, trucks, buses or lorries riding up alongside you, making this a safer and quieter alternative to the standard tourist route.
When you ride through such an enchanting landscape, it makes sense to spend the nights as close to nature as possible. That's why we've added in campsites as your places to spend the night. This will make your Ring-of-Kerry weekend a really great outdoor bikepacking adventure. If you prefer a little more comfort, the small towns along the way also offer plenty of opportunities to sleep with a roof over your head. The numerous Bed & Breakfasts, which are usually well prepared for cyclists, offer an inexpensive alternative.
To divide the full 150-mile (236-kilometer) ride into something a little more manageable, we've planned three stages, each around 50 miles long (80 kilometers). If you are used to longer distances, you can, of course, make two slightly longer rides out of them. In principle, the routes are intended for road bikes, although some of the streets you'll ride down maybe a tad bumpy. The first stage also includes a gravel passage that is about three miles (five kilometers) long. We therefore recommend that you equip your road bike with slightly thicker tires or use a gravel bike. This will make you much more flexible and safer on the road.
To get you there, there are some non-stop flights to County Kerry Airport, a small airport located just a few miles from Killarney. Alternatively, you can fly to Dublin and take the three-hour train to Killarney. If you want to travel by train, make sure you book your bike in advance, as well as on the plane, of course. If you have more time, it's best to enjoy our Ring-of-Kerry ride as part of a longer holiday — because the rest of Ireland is beautiful too!
Killarney is the perfect starting point for a bike ride across the Ring of Kerry. The small town is easily accessible and has a cozy town center with small pubs where you can sniff a bit of the Irish atmosphere or sip a delicious Guinness the evening before the tour starts. Various B & Bs and hotels offer you accommodation or - if you like it down-to-earth and close to nature - a campsite close to the center.
From Sneem you start with a small uphill over a hill, from which you roll directly to the coast a little later. Here you follow the road from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the sea and the rough coast. On the left you will pass a wonderfully located campsite, which is a nice alternative to accommodation in Sneem, if you prefer to camp.
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Could a day start better? You are on a mini island in Ireland. All around you, water and the fantastic view of a landscape that couldn't be more inviting. And it is precisely this landscape that is the scene of today's bike tour over the Ring of Kerry. But before you start pedaling yourself, you can relax a bit: the ferry takes over the first ten minutes.