Ireland's ‘Fair City' has plenty of tours – but which are worth your money? While the best tours of Dublin are (obviously) a personal choice, the tours that follow are my favorites.
I have actually taken these Dublin tours so I can share what you can expect, the easiest way to book, and whether the tour is kid-friendly.
Best Tours of Dublin (in my opinion)
I am of the opinion that you don't need a private guide (or driver guide) in Dublin. The city is very walkable, easy to navigate, and quite a lot of the fun is found in just wandering the storied streets.
Is Dublin Walkable?
YES! Tips for how to get around Dublin
Even though you don't need a private tour guide to take you around Dublin I believe that joining a walking tour or even a hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to familiarize yourself with Dublin's sometimes confusing streets and get an overview of this historic city.
Best Dublin Food Tour
Irish Food Trail is Dublin's #1 food tour, and it was easy to see why when I took my tour. Of course our guide was personable (she is Irish, after all!), but more than that, this was a complete Dublin tour that included food.
While our guide Grainne took us to three different Dublin restaurants- more on the food in a minute- she also gave us a walking tour of Dublin. From Dublin Castle and Molly Malone to the storied pubs, we would stop for a bit of a history lesson, well laced with craic, as we walked through the busy streets and narrow lanes of Temple Bar.
What I like about the Irish Food Trail is that you aren't sitting down for small nibbles at half a dozen places and rushing off to the next spot. Instead you visit three restaurants and have a proper experience.
The first restaurant is for starters, the second for your entree, and the third for dessert. Each stop is at least 45 minutes; long enough to enjoy a pint or glass of wine with your food, a chat with your server or the chef, and actually learn about the food you are eating.
Tours take place in the afternoon and early evening and are easy to book online. If you have a large group, or would like to request a private tour you can easily do that from the booking page.
Who is this tour best for? I would choose this tour for ages 13+, mainly due to the time spent in restaurants. If you would like to do a food tour with younger children or a private group simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and make an inquiry.
Podcast Extra: More about Irish Food Trail tours and Irish Whiskey Tours
Best Afternoon Tea Tour
Wait- an afternoon tea tour? YES! It's such an intriguing idea, isn't it? Instead of a tea room your seat with Vintage Tea Tours is on a circa 1960s Routemaster double decker bus.
Seats have been replaced with tables that seat four, and the bus has been decorated to resemble a tea room. Once aboard you are shown to a charmingly set table, a tea tray with mini sandwiches, scones, and small sweets awaiting your pleasure.
While driving through the city as you enjoy tea your host will share stories and point out their favorite Dublin sites. A complimentary booklet digs deeper into the history of these sites if you wish to know more.
It is important to know that the tour does not stop at any locations, there is no restroom on board, and the tour lasts 70-80 minutes.
The tea menu is available in Traditional, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, and Vegan. You would note your preference when booking. Tours run 7 days a week, 2 or 3 times daily, depending on the day.
Who is this tour best for? Obviously ladies love this tour and it is popular for girl's afternoons and bridal parties. My husband joined me on this tour and enjoyed it; I think it is a great activity for couples. Adult and child rates are available. When considering young children remember that the bus does not stop and there is no restroom aboard.
Podcast Extra: Hear more about Vintage Tea Tours
Best Musical Tour of Dublin
Fiona Dalton has taken the traditional Dublin walking tour and turned it up to 11 with her Musical History Tour.
While you'll visit some of Dublin's most popular sites- including Dublin Castle and the Molly Malone statue- and learn the history surrounding them, you'll be drawn a bit closer to the history of place by song.
Yes, you will sing on this tour. And yes, people will stop. And watch. And maybe even take video of you. But it's amazing how much history there is in music, and how much more you can understand the history when you feel the passion from the songs. (I may have cried when singing The Foggy Dew at Dublin Castle.)
Who is this tour best for? I think this is a great tour for all ages! Fiona is a terrific storyteller and the element of singing is great fun for everyone (even if you're not a singer).
Podcast extra: Meet Fiona and learn about her musical tour of Dublin
Dublin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours
If you want to get your bearings in Dublin quickly, a bus tour is a great way to do that!
A hop-on hop-off bus tour gives you the chance to take a guided tour of the city while being able to hop on or off at some Dublin's most popular sites!
Most hop-on hop-off Dublin tours are aboard a double decker bus with a partially open top- so be sure to dress in layers to enjoy the tour no matter the weather.
You'll find a few hop-on hop-off bus options in Dublin:
Tip: A 24 hour Big Bus Tour is included in the Dublin Pass.
Tip: Your BigBus ticket from DublinPass will also allow you to hop aboard the CitySightseeing bus.
I have ridden every one of these buses and can say that they are quite similar in attractions and stops.
Who are these tours best for? A Hop-on Hop-off bus is terrific for all ages and great for families! In many cases young children ride free! (Be sure to check T&C for each bus.)
Don't forget the Dublin Pass!
If you'll be in Dublin for 2-5 days definitely consider purchasing the Dublin Pass. Not only will this attraction card grant you access to many of the city's top sites, it will also allow you to ‘skip the queue' in many places, saving you time.
The Dublin Pass also offers exclusive savings on tours, meals, and events.
The Dublin Pass is available in 1, 2, 3, and 5 day denominations.
Learn more about the Dublin Pass, including tips on how to use it to save time an money.
Does Dublin Have a Free Walking Tour?
Yes, you can find free walking tours in Dublin. Kind of. Free walking tours are tips based, meaning your guide will accept a gratuity at the end of the tour. The best free walking tour of Dublin is from Yellow Umbrella Tours.
Best Day Tours from Dublin
If your Ireland vacation is based in Dublin but you want to explore a bit beyond the city check out the best day trips from Dublin– no car required!
I recommend the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough, Malahide, Kilkenny, Galway city, and Belfast, but tours & day trips from Dublin to the Giant's Causeway, historic Boyne Valley, and the Cliffs of Moher are easy to find.
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