Till this day Dublin is still one of my favorite cities in Europe. At first I really had no idea what to expect from the city. Most cities have left an impression in your mind long before you visit it. Dublin had made no such appearance in my head. Very few people I know visited Dublin before me, and I’ve written and saw very little content about Dublin before going myself.
Why, I still don’t know.
Or maybe I do. It aren’t the landmarks that make Dublin a beautiful city. It isn’t the architecture. It aren’t the museums and it aren’t the typical streets that make Dublin great. It is definitely the atmosphere. Something that you can’t really describe, show or capture to show people around you. You have to witness it for yourself.
I visited Dublin as a solo traveler. Right on the plane I already met so many lovely people, and I continued to meet so many lovely people, both tourists as locals, until the very moment I left Dublin again.
Irish people are the best. I truly mean that. So if you are Irish.. be flattered, because I know there are many people who agree with me on this one.
For this alone I would hop on a plane to visit Dublin again.. today. But there are so many more awesome features to this city. As I just said, there aren’t any particular landmarks that took my breath away. However, as Dublin is surrounded by the most beautiful national parks, cliffs, and quirky little villages PLUS the atmosphere of Ireland, it definitely is worth a visit!
As you probably know already, but as I am still going to mention, Ireland is (still) part of the EU this day. If you are from Europe you don’t need to worry about visas, if you aren’t from the EU you can apply for a 90 day Europe visa, which will get you entrance to Ireland as well.
The airport from Dublin is about half an hour away from the city. Taking the taxi is by far the easiest and quickest option (not even that expensive) but I can imagine you’d rather stick with public transport. Take the airport shuttle, or a normal bus to the city if you prefer.
Dublin itself is a relatively small city. Getting around in the city center is pretty easy for tourists, and you probably don’t need to use public transportation that much. Or at least, I didn’t use it once, to get around in the city. However, there are a lot of busses going around Dublin, which makes it easy to get from A to B if you aren’t a big fan of walking or if you want to see something a bit further out of the center. If you want to get out of Dublin you can just take the train or another bus.
Part of the reason why I think Dublin is one of the best destinations for solo travelers is because Dublin is such a safe city. Really, don’t you worry about getting harmed, robbed or harassed. You can easily walk around the center feeling absolutely safe. Just use your common sense, but I am sure you will use that anyway.
If you are a bit worried about walking around Dublin late at night, just book a hostel/hotel around Temple Bar. That way you can go out at night and arrive home quickly, without having to take long walks through Dublin at night.
To see and do
Trinity College – Trinity College is the ‘Harvard’ of Ireland, and rated as one of the best schools in the world. You should take a look at this magnificent campus and her buildings. But you should also go inside to the Library of Trinity. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to do so.. but even though I haven’t done it myself I’m going to recommend it to you, since the photos do look very promising. Students of the campus offer a 45 min tour through Trinity and the library which will only cost you only €12,00!
Guinness Storehouse – Guinness is that one thing you must experience when in Dublin. Irish lads can drink, and so should you. Guinness is THE Irish beer everyone is talking about and Dublin is the very heart of it. Taste, enjoy and experience Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
Free walking tour – Now it is no surprise that I am a big fan of free walking tours. I did my first one in Dublin and it did nog disappoint. Dublin has fairly few landmarks to see, compared to other big cities in Europe, but a free walking tour will guide you through most of them. See the Dublin castle, a couple of viking remains, Trinity College, the Cathedral, the City Hall and much, much more.
Pay attention to the doors – The doors of Dublin. There are literally books written about this and posters and paintings designed.. all with the doors of Dublin. When walking through the city you’ll be guaranteed to notice them, and that is when you know you have to pay attention to the doors of Dublin. It’s just a thing you do..
Shopping – If you are in Dublin to shop there are two main streets you should visit: Grafton Street and Henry Street. Dublin has all the commercial stores like Bershka, H&M, Zara and Topshop, but also a lot of other brands and stores.
When in Dublin, you at least visit one or two pubs while you are there. Everyone knows Temple Bar is at least one of those streets you need to visit in the evening. If not for a pint, it is for the looks of it. Not only every bar in the street is decorated like it is Christmas, but here is where the atmosphere I was talking about earlier comes to life. Enjoy live music, enjoy the Irish people, meet other tourists and order your first Guinness.
Temple Bar is just one place in the city you must go to. Though, while spotting a lot of Irish people here, you are most likely to find them in the less touristic parts of town, where it is less crowded and probably a lot less expensive.
Get out of town
One thing I definitely like about Dublin is how close it is to the most beautiful pieces nature of Ireland. Ireland isn’t big, and within no time you’ll be standing face to face with the ocean, overlooking the cliffs of Ireland OR you’ll travel inlands to see national parks, mountains, and small, old towns that hopped right out of a fairytale.
From out Dublin it is really easy to travel away from the city as well. There are sooo many tour operation spreaded out through the city that make it incredibly easy to see something else of Ireland. Go on excursion to the Wicklow Mountains, the Cliffs of Moher, go spot some castles or go north, up to Belfast!