Beara Way: Map, Accommodation, Walking Route and More!

By Natascha Langelaan

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Beara Way: Map, Accommodation, Walking Route and More!
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The Beara Way offers a unique possibility to discover one of Ireland's best-kept secrets. The Beara Peninsula is a 48-kilometre-long mountainous strip of land that extends into the Atlantic Ocean. The rather remote location makes it perhaps one of the most pristine parts of southwest Ireland. Just like the more northern Kerry Way and Dingle Way, it is a magical world of mountains and lakes, surrounded by a picturesque coastline. The route leads past grandiose archaeological remains of prehistoric inhabitants, in the form of standing stones or Tombstones. In this blog post, we have included all you need to know to walk the Beara Way, including the full route, a map, distance, baggage transfer services, accommodations, and more!

Step Into History on the Beara Way

The Beara Way is a 152 kilometre (95 miles) circular walk along the Beara Peninsula, starting and ending in Glengarriff, County Cork. The route leads you through the beautifully rugged mountain and coastal areas in the Counties Kerry and Cork. With additional walks over the islands of Bere Island and Dursey Island, you can extend the route to a total length of more than 200 kilometres. Are you ready for this adventure? Let's go!

There are two explanations for the name Beara. The first is that the name Beara comes from the Kerry dialect word béarach, béara, which refers to "rocks on the coast against which the sea breaks with great force''. A second explanation is a story about a king who was wounded in a lost battle on his peninsula. His followers brought him to a fairy, who healed him, after which the king sailed to Spain to marry his beloved Beara, the daughter of the king of Castile. He then sailed back to the peninsula with a large army, recaptured it, and brought Beara to the highest mountain on the island. He showed her his land and said, "I call it after your name: Beara''. To this day, the peninsula bears her name.

That's the peninsula. But what about the Beara Way, in Gaelic Slí Bhéara? Planning and development started in 1991 with funding from the West Cork County Development Team after a decline in fisheries. The completed trail was opened in June 1996. In 2009 a massive upgrade was undertaken and these days plans are still underway to make the Beara Way one of the National Long Distance Trails.

Step Into History on the Beara Way

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Distance: How Long Is the Beara Way?

The Beara Way is a circular walk and starts and ends in Glengarriff. The basic trail is 152 kilometres long, which is equal to 95 miles and is divided into 9 stages. On the way, the route guides you past mountains, valleys, harbours and picturesque villages. You can add some extra kilometres with additional walks over the islands of Bere Island and Dursey Island. You will end with a Beara Way route of more than 200 kilometres.

Beara Way: Weather and Best Season

You can walk the Beara Way all year round. The popular season is between March and October, May being the most recommended month. What you should know is that the weather conditions are frequently wet and windy, regardless of the season that you choose, so pack the necessary wet/warm weather gear and always have an extra dry pair of shoes to wear at the end of the day. A good rain jacket and overtrousers will be your best allies.

Do you have a self-guided adventure on your wish list and are you curious about all the possible alternatives? Check out all our offers for the Beara Way here!

The Beara Way: Map

Below, you will find a map with the stages of this circular walk, with the starting and ending point in Glengarriff. The map includes the routes over Bere Island and Dursey Island.

The Beara Way: Route From Day to Day

Below you will find a 9-day itinerary of the Beara Way, starting and ending in Glengarriff. This route excludes Bere and Dursey Island, which can be done in two additional days. 

Day
1

Arrival in Glengariff

Today you will have to make your way to Glengariff. Here, you will spend the night preparing for your Beara Way adventure.

Casey's Hotel (Glengarriff)

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Casey's Hotel (Glengarriff)
Day
2

Glengarriff to Adrigole

Duration: 05:31 h
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 590 m
Descent: 600 m
Quiet roads and forest trails lead you through the beautiful forests of Glenariff Forest Park to the remote Coomerkane Valley. From there, a steep climb takes you to a ridge of the Caha Mountains leading to Sugarloaf Mountain, where the Beara Way reaches its highest point at 560 meters. Enjoy stunning views of Bantry Bay before descending again to the village of Adrigole.

Hungry Hill Lodge and Campsite (Adrigole)

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Hungry Hill Lodge and Campsite (Adrigole)
Day
3

Adrigole to Castletownbere

Duration: 06:41 h
Distance: 22.3 km
Ascent: 690 m
Descent: 680 m
Today you pass the famous Hungry Hill. After a walk around Hungry Hill, the trail follows a route along the southern slopes of the Slieve Miskish Mountains to the charming fishing harbour of Castletownbere. Along the way, you can enjoy the views of Bere Island and Berehaven, one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world.

Island View House (Castletownbere)

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Island View House (Castletownbere)
Day
4

Castletownbere to Allihies

Duration: 04:39 h
Distance: 14.6 km
Ascent: 510 m
Descent: 470 m
A walk along ancient country lanes takes you past a Bronze Age stone circle and through forests before the route climbs up to the Slieve Miskish Mountains. You can catch a glimpse of the north side of the peninsula before the path climbs up again and then descends past an old disused copper mine towards the colourful village of Allihies.

Sea View B&B (Allihies)

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Sea View B&B (Allihies)
Day
5

Allihies to Eyeries

Duration: 03:45 h
Distance: 12.5 km
Ascent: 390 m
Descent: 390 m
From here, a beautiful mountain path takes you past the ruins of the local copper mining past and over the northern slopes of the Slieve Miskish range. The route now follows the mountain slopes with stunning views over Coulagh Bay before descending again towards the coast of the picturesque village of Eyeries.

Coulagh Bay House (Eyeries)

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Coulagh Bay House (Eyeries)
Day
6

Eyeries to Ardgroom

Duration: 03:45 h
Distance: 13.9 km
Ascent: 180 m
Descent: 190 m
Start today with a beautiful coastal walk along the shores of Coulagh Bay, with the waves pounding the shore beside you. Pass a rock formation known as the 'The Hag of Beara', one of Ireland's oldest mythological creatures, before a small old country road (called a 'boreen' in Ireland) takes you along Lough Fadda to the small village of Ardgroom.

Sea Villa (Ardgroom)

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Sea Villa (Ardgroom)
Day
7

Ardgroom to Lauragh

Duration: 03:48 h
Distance: 13.7 km
Ascent: 230 m
Descent: 250 m
Quiet roads are now followed by a beautiful walk along a rugged mountain path over Drung Hill. The trail then leads you to the Cashel Keelty stone circle which is almost 3,000 years old, before ending in the small hamlet of Lauragh, hidden in a large ancient forest.

Mountain View B&B (Lauragh)

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Mountain View B&B (Lauragh)
Day
8

Lauragh to Kenmare

Duration: 07:48 h
Distance: 25.9 km
Ascent: 790 m
Descent: 790 m
Today's walk goes through fields and valleys and over several hills. Almost at the end of this walking day, you will visit the mystical Uragh stone circle - an undoubted highlight of the whole Beara Way and, on a calm day, possibly one of the most peaceful and beautiful places on earth. The trail follows the highway for a couple of miles, then heads inland along a wooded lane with beautiful scenery. The trail then ascends steeply up to the gap in the ridge. From here, you will have beautiful sights towards Kenmare, down Kenmare Bay, all the way to the sea.

The Rose Garden Bed & Breakfast and Cafe (Kenmare)

Info
The Rose Garden Bed & Breakfast and Cafe (Kenmare)
Day
9

Kenmare to Glengarriff

Duration: 06:45 h
Distance: 24 km
Ascent: 450 m
Descent: 460 m
Today you walk along small roads through the beautiful Sheen River valley. Quiet country roads then lead you to a remote old pass between the Esk and Barraboy mountains. From there the route descends into the beautiful Glengarriff Forest Reserve - a wildlife-rich woodland with many different walking trails. These lead you to the charming village of Glengarriff, situated on the shores of Bantry Bay, where the mountains meet the sea.

Casey's Hotel (Glengarriff)

Info
Casey's Hotel (Glengarriff)
Day
10

Departure

After breakfast, our services and your Beara Way adventure will be over. Have a safe trip back home!
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Possible Extra Stops

From Castletownbere, you can plan an extra day to visit Bere Island. A short ferry ride across the sheltered harbour takes you to Bere Island, where hikers are spoiled with trails varying in length and difficulty. On this Island, you can enjoy some of the highlights of the Beara Way. From locations with a rich military heritage from different eras to views of the spectacular scenery of the Slieve Miskish and Caha mountains on the mainland.

From Allihies, you can schedule an extra day to visit Dursey Island. A ride on Ireland's only cable car takes you across Dursey Island. With only 6 permanent residents, little motorized traffic and a wealth of wildlife, Dursey Island is a walker's paradise.

Beara Way Accommodation

On the Beara Way, you can either spend the night in a cosy hotel or in a typical Irish B&B, where you will receive a warm welcome and, if possible, a typical Irish breakfast. There are also campsites along the path. Wild camping is also possible along the Beara Way. In case you prefer this, please keep in mind to place your tent sheltered. The wind can change in a few hours from calm to strong. Ask for drinking water at the houses, water from the streams is unreliable due to the many sheep that are drinking from it.

Beara Way Accommodation

Luggage Transport on the Beara Way

The Beara Way is a very popular trek and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Thanks to this popularity, there is always a possibility to have your luggage transported. Your suitcase will be picked up from your hotel each morning and it will be ready for you at your next hotel at the end of the day. Quite convenient, isn't it?

Walking the Beara Way: Starting and Ending Point

The Beara Way begins and ends in Glengarriff. Since it is a circular route, the path can be walked in both ways. Glengarriff is reachable by public transport.

Starting point

To get to Glengarriff, you first have to travel to Dublin. From there, you can take the train or bus to Glengarriff. You can also drive to Glengarriff by car. Glengarriff is a tourist town. Here you can find a bamboo park, Glengarriff Nature Reserve and Sugarloaf Mountain

Ending point

Since the Beara Way is a circular walk, the route also ends in Glengarriff. You can travel back to Dublin by train or bus. In case you came by car, you can pick it up where you left it.

Walking the Beara Way: Starting and Ending Point

Packing List for the Beara Way

No matter where you go hiking or for how long, bringing the right equipment is of utmost importance. For your hike, the first thing you need is a good backpack. The size of it will depend on the number of days you will be trekking, the season and the clothes you take with you. If you have luggage transport, the comfort level of your daypack is most important. We have compiled a packing list with a few essential items of clothing you should bring and some extras you might find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

Safety tips for the Beara Way

Although this is far from being a trek in the Himalayas, unexpected things can always happen and you might also find obstacles on the hiking trails along the way. The Beara Way is safe, the trails are quite straight forward and there is not an extreme difference in altitude. However, for your safety, every hike deserves a level of respect; respect for the terrain, the trails, wildlife and vegetation, local rules and regulations, and above all, your physical capabilities and safety. Therefore, for an unforgettable and safe hiking memory, please keep the following safety recommendations in mind:

  • Know your limits

    Always prepare each stage carefully to use your energy wisely, respect your physical and mental limitations, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. When ascending or descending, if applicable, always use the aids provided, such as handrails and ropes. Is this trek suitable for you? Well, familiarize yourself with the grading system and figure out if this trek matches your capabilities. If you still need professional advice you can always contact Bookatrekking.com experts.

  • Stay on marked trails

    The most important thing is to never leave the marked paths. For easy navigation we work with our trusted partner Komoot, whose interactive maps, also available offline, provide you with the necessary digital means to get from A to B in the Beara Way . As a backup, make sure to bring a hiking guide or a paper map with you.

  • Fully equipped

    Make sure you have the necessary gear for the conditions you'll be facing, including appropriate clothing, footwear, and any necessary equipment for the terrain you'll be hiking on. Always wear clothing adapted to the weather of Beara Way and protect yourself from cold and wetness or heat and sun. Besides, make sure you carry enough food and water for the duration of your trek. On the way, you might (or might not) be able to buy snacks.

  • Stay reachable

    If you are hiking solo or in small groups it is advisable to inform people back home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies so make sure you are available at all times. Bring a charged phone containing at least the phone numbers of immediate family members, your accommodations en route and the emergency phone numbers operating in the Beara Way .

  • Respect for nature

    Do not litter, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect protected areas.

Where Can I Book the Beara Way ?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book the self-guided Beara Way and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations, organizing luggage transportation and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the Beara Way not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:

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