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Aran Islands: Day Trips and Tours from Dublin

Located just off the coast of Galway and Doolin, the Aran Islands are a great place to discover Ireland’s Celtic and Christian heritage.

Take a break from the busy city to explore rocky landscapes and traditional villages atop sheer and windswept sea cliffs.

Visit prehistoric ruins, such as the forts of Dún Eoghanacht and Dún Dúchathair and natural wonders like the famous Wormhole of Inis Mor. Explore a landscape like no other on an Aran Islands day trip from Dublin.

You will find below everything you need to know about the Aran Islands, one of the best destinations for day trips from Dublin.

How to get to the Aran Islands from Dublin?

The Aran Islands are around 300 kilometers from Dublin. Ferries to the island are for foot passengers only and run from the ports of Galway and Doolin on Ireland’s west coast. If you plan to travel from Dublin, a guided tour is the simplest way to explore the Aran Islands.

Guided tour to the Aran Islands from Dublin

For an easy way to explore the Aran Islands, consider booking a guided tour from Dublin. These trips usually include all transportation and accommodation fees and a knowledgeable local guide to accompany you. Take the hassle out of booking your Aran Islands tour from Dublin.

What is the typical itinerary for a day tour to the Aran Islands from Dublin?

An Aran Islands day tour begins with the long journey from Dublin to the port of Galway or Doolin on Ireland’s west coast. This part of the journey is usually traveled via a combination of train, bus and taxi.

You will have three islands to choose from on your trip — Inis Mor (Inishmore), Inis Meain (Inishmaan) and Inis Oirr (Inisheer). Bike paths are available for quick tours, and hiking trails are suited for travelers who wish to take more time in their explorations.

If you choose a single-day tour from Dublin to the Aran Islands, you will visit the island of Inis Mor. The tour will focus on exploring villages, churches and ancient Celtic sites and make a stop at the Aran Sweater Market, where you can pick up souvenirs.

The day trip from Dublin to the Aran Islands will conclude with an opportunity to grab lunch at a local restaurant. You will return to the ports of Galway or Doolin to spend some free time exploring before making the journey back to Dublin.

What kinds of tours are available to go to the Aran Islands?

An Aran Islands day trip from Dublin offers several tour options, including single-day, multi-day trips from Dublin and scenic flight tours.

Scenic flight and rail tour to the Aran Islands plus Galway from Dublin

The most popular Aran Islands day trip, this 1-day journey begins with a train ride to Galway followed by a flight to Inis Mor, where you can see scenic views of the ocean and island.

Next, explore the island on foot with a professional guide. Travel through the austere landscape of thatched villages to learn about Irish heritage, taking time to stop by a local pub and the Aran Sweater Market.

3-Day trip to the Aran Islands plus Cliffs of Moher and Connemara from Dublin

If you have extra time to explore the Aran Islands, a three-day tour from Dublin is a fantastic option. You will travel by coach, ferry and rail and enjoy a full Irish breakfast each morning before exploring sites such as the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.

Scenic views will show off Connemara across the water, and your tour guide will explain the history of the local villages along your day trip to the Aran Islands from Dublin. This Aran Islands excursion offers a full experience of the Cliffs of Moher and Ireland’s most dramatic scenery.

Self-guided 6-Day cycling tour to the Aran Islands plus Clare from Dublin

Calling all adventure seekers! This self-guided tour is perfect for those who want to explore the Aran Islands and Ireland’s wild west coast on a bicycle. The tour has a pre-defined itinerary and includes accommodation and transport from Dublin, touring bike rental and a Full-Irish breakfast each morning.

How much does a tour to the Aran Islands from Dublin cost?

There are few options when choosing an Aran Islands day trip or tour from Dublin. The longer trips are more expensive as they include accommodation and at least one daily meal in the cost of the tour.

A single-day Aran Islands flight and rail tour from Dublin costs €170. A 3-day tours cost between €550 and €700, and a self-guided 6-day Aran Islands bicycle trip costs around €890.

What will you see and do on the Aran Islands?

Taking an Aran Islands day trip from Dublin offers you a choice of three islands to explore. If you plan on staying for multiple days, then you will be able to venture to them all.

The islands and the nearby mainland coastline are known for their impressive cliffs that provide dramatic views over the Atlantic Ocean. The Cliffs of Aran, Cliffs of Moher and Cliffs of Inis Meain are must-see locations when touring this part of Ireland.

The villages here maintain the traditional architecture of the region, and stone-walled thatched cottages are everywhere. Scattered throughout the islands, you can also see the ancient remains of stone structures, including the clifftop forts of Dún Aonghasa and Dún Ducathair.

Each island offers churches and memorials for gaining spiritual awareness, such as Tur Mhaitin, Leaba Chinnderig and Cill Ghobnait.

There is also no shortage of impressive natural features, including puffing holes (blow holes), the freshwater lake of Loch Mor, and the famous Inis Mor Worm Hole.

When is the best time to visit the Aran Islands?

The best time for a day trip from Dublin to the Aran Islands is in the summer, especially if you want to make the most of the island’s outdoor activities. The Aran Islands have very few trees to offer shelter from the coastal winds, so exploring here can be an invigorating experience.

You can still embark on Aran Islands day trips and tours from Dublin in the fall and spring, but be sure to pack warm and waterproof clothing as the weather can be cold and wet.

Are there any tours to Aran Islands from other cities in Ireland?

Yes, there are tours departing from other cities in Ireland:

Travel tips

  • Depart early in the morning to see as much of the islands as possible.
  • Pre-book flights and ferries to get the best deals and meet your schedule.
  • Dress in layers to stay warm and dry when visiting the Aran Islands in the fall, winter or spring.
  • Bring water and snacks to stay energized, and see as much of the Aran Islands as possible.