Kerry Way
9 stages . 10 nights . Western Ireland
Kerry Way
Kerry Way
9 stages . 10 nights

Kerry Way
Self-guided trekking holiday

Key information

Start: Killarney, Western Ireland
End: Killarney, Western Ireland
Season dates: 1 May to 15 Sept 2024
Length: 9 days' walking
Typical walk: 22km per day
Total distance: 198.80km
Highest altitude: 385m
Grade: Red 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 960 per person

The Kerry Way is a circular trail around the Iveragh Peninsula, starting and ending in the bustling town of Killarney. This 9-stage hike passes by remote lakes, wild waterfalls and dramatic mountains and offers fantastic coastal views onto the Atlantic Ocean. The variety of different landscapes as well as the cultural history of the area will give hikers a wide appreciation for County Kerry.

Start your hike by heading into Ireland's very first national park, Killarney National Park. The lush green scenery immediately begins to reveal itself with views onto the lakes and surrounding hills. The Kerry Way is principally a low-level trail that follows the lower mountain ridges and valleys rather than the high peaks known as McGillycuddy's Reeks. As the trail progresses, views open up onto the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy the mix of sea and mountain views on this trail!

The trail has a very remote feeling to it and has some long daily walking distances included in the itinerary. As such, we ask that at least one party member is competent navigating with map and compass. Our walking holiday follows the trail anti-clockwise with 9 walking days and 10 nights accommodation. We plan the entire walking holiday for you and provide you with our detailed routecards, maps and lots of local information.

Enjoy Irish hospitality in B&Bs and guesthouses along the way. County Kerry's Irish motto, “Comhar, Cabhair, Cairdeas” translates to “Cooperation, Help, Friendship” and we hope you'll find plenty of this on your holiday! Walk at your own pace on a self-guided trip, or please email us for details of walking with a leader.

Alternative trip options
Prefer a different trip? Why not try one of our other trips:
Affric Kintail Way - 4 stages, 5 nights
West Highland Way - 7 stages, 8 nights
Hebridean Way - 12 stages, 13 nights
Make the trip shorter
To make your trip shorter, we can recommend walking the trip in just 8 stages. This would mean a long stage on Day 2 walking from Black Valley to Glenbeigh, skipping the stopover in Glencar. This would be a 33km stage.

Make the trip longer
We can offer a 10-stage or an 11 stage option on the Kerry Way which will involve some taxis off-route for your accommodation. For example, it is possible to split the longer stage between Sneem and Kenmare by finishing the day's waking at Blackwater Bridge, and then taking a taxi back to Sneem for a further night in the B&B there. This splits the 30km distance to be 13km on the first day, and 17km on the second day to Kenmare.

Rest Days
We do not include a rest day as standard on the Kerry Way, but we'd be more than happy to add one to your schedule for you. We would advise taking a rest day in the coastal town of Cahersiveen. It's a popular place to take a boat trip to visit the UNESCO heritage site of Skellig Michael.

Hike with a guide
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and arrangements taken care of. You're welcome to walk on any date within our season and we can adjust the hike to suit your needs.
Kerry Way (Self-guided)
1 May to 15 Sept 2024
Classic Comfy
8 stages
(9 nights)

GBP 890
Singles 490
GBP 1030
Singles 640
9 stages
(10 nights)

GBP 960
Singles 540
Main Trip
GBP 1,100
Singles 700
10 stages
(11 nights)

GBP 1,090
Singles 590
GBP 1,240
Singles 760
Baggage transfer
All stops
Please ask
Baggage transfer
Please ask

Where we stay
Our standard schedule uses a mix of comfortable and welcoming guesthouses and B&Bs for 10 nights of your trip. Breakfast is included during these stays and we book ensuite rooms as standard. We also include dinner on 2 nights in Black Valley and Glencar. The majority of our accommodation stays on the Kerry Way, except for one night in the coastal town of Cahersiveen. Here we organise a taxi to take you back to the trail for you.

For a touch of luxury while you trek, our ‘Comfy’ option upgrades your accommodation on 4 nights on the trip in Killarney, Cahersiveen and Sneem. We aim to book a 4* hotel in Killarney, a boutique hotel in Cahersiveen and a 4* hotel just outside the centre of Sneem.

Single Supplement
The single supplement covers the difference in cost between a single room and a double room on a per person basis.

Solo Travel
We do not take bookings for solo walkers on self-guided trips. If you are still interested in this trip, we do have availability on our guided trips.
Stage 2: Steep rocky zigzags on the way to Derrynafeana

Our approach to the Kerry Way
The Kerry Way is Ireland's oldest signposted walking trail starting and ending in Killarney. We offer a 9-stage trip as standard following the well-known circular route. We follow the trail in the counter clockwise direction starting with the Black Valley stage and ending with the Kenmare stage. Walking the trip in 9 stages results in some long walking days including two days in particular that we estimate to take around 10 hours of walking across 30km. These are the stages between Glenbeigh and Cahersiveen as well as the stage between Sneem and Kenmare.

The Terrain
The Kerry Way is mostly a low-level inland route surrounded by hills which would see you walking through valleys, mountain passes, moorlands and along the rocky coastline. The Kerry Way runs on good clear paths but can be quite wet underfoot. There are a few boardwalks throughout the trail to help with the wet ground in places. For some long stretches of the route, the track underfoot is on long abandoned country lanes known as “boreens” which are quite firm underfoot. Good boots and fresh thick socks will help reduce the pressure.

People at Alpine Exploratory
Latest research on the Kerry Way by Alpine Exploratory'sSteph.

Is it for me?
The Kerry Way makes a delightful trek for fit walkers who are happy to walk for on average 8 hours per day along a long-distance trail. Due to the remoteness of the trail, the daily walking generally alternates between 5 hour days and 9 hour days. Despite county Kerry being home to some of the highest mountains in Ireland, the Kerry Way does not pass over these higher peaks. Instead it passes over some of the lower passes and ridges to create a more low-level walk.

The challenge of the Kerry Way lies in the daily walking distances rather than the terrain and navigation. The waymarking on the trail is very clear (similar to the West Highland Way).
How to get there

Travelling to Killarney

Killarney is the largest town on this trip and marks the start and end point of your holiday. There are many options to reach Killarney as the town boasts a train station, bus station and is just 15km away from Kerry Airport. Kerry Airport offers direct flights from Dublin, London and Manchester.

If you are unable to fly directly to Kerry Airport, we'd recommend flying into Dublin Airport, Cork Airport or Shannon Airport. From each of these airports you can take the bus or the train to reach Killarney. The train from Dublin takes around 4 hours, and the train from Cork takes 1.5 hours, and the bus from Shannon (via Limerick) takes around 3.5 hours.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to provide plenty of notes on how to reach your trip as well as notes on travel options during the trip. We supply these both on booking and in your information pack which we send via the postal service. We also offer personalised tips at any point.
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast on 10 mornings on our standard itinerary
  • Dinner on 2 nights on our standard itinerary
  • Taxi transfer between Cahersiveen and the Junction South of Teeraha on Stage 5
  • Detailed Routecards KRW1-9 of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • 3 topographical maps of the route
  • Downloadable GPX Tracks covering the route
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (8am until 8pm in the UK)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

We offer our baggage transfer service for all nights as an extra. Please ask us for details if you are interested. Alternatively it is possible to leave your bag at your hotel in Killarney.
Got questions about the Kerry Way?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Rob, Evie, Ben and Amy will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.

Enquiry Form
Kerry Way Self-guided

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Contact Alpine Exploratory
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
Our times 9am to 5pm UK time
Monday to Friday
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USA 646-757-1102

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Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.

The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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  Arriving into Caherdaniel on stage 6

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