Ireland’s capital city is one of the most vibrant in the world. Dublin is full of life, culture, history, and incredible attractions. Big cities can be tricky to visit when on a budget, but there are still plenty of ways to reduce costs to travel cheaply through Dublin and
experience this incredible city.
Tips for Traveling in Dublin, Ireland on a Budget
Dublin, unfortunately, is not a particularly “cheap” place to travel. On the contrary, it’s one of the more expensive European cities, and it can get pricey if you aren’t careful. Luckily, there are ways to save some money and travel cheaply through Dublin if you plan ahead and are smart about how to spend your money.
Here are a few general tips for traveling cheap in Dublin.
1. Be patient when finding a flight to Dublin
Set up price alerts and track when flight prices drop to find a more affordable ticket. Alternatively, flights from mainland Europe to Dublin tend to be relatively cheap. So, if you can find an affordable flight to Europe and then a flight over to Dublin, you might save a
good amount of money.
2. Dine at restaurants for lunch and buy groceries when you can
Dining out can get expensive quickly, so if you have a kitchen at your accommodation, make the most of it! Even without a kitchen, buying quick breakfast fixings will save some money each day.
To still have the experience of dining in Dublin and trying Irish foods, eat out for lunch. Many restaurants will have lunch menus that are cheaper than their dinner options.
3. Don’t overdo it at the pubs
Dublin is full of pubs, and it can be pretty tempting to go out for a pint every night. If you’re trying to travel cheap through Dublin, limit your pub time or the pints you buy while out.
Check out pubs outside of the more expensive city center. In addition to saving some money,
you will get to experience a more authentic view of Dublin’s pubs!
How to Travel Cheap in Dublin with Accommodation
Next to your flight, accommodation is one of the highest costs you’ll have while traveling in Dublin. Staying in a hostel will be the cheapest way to visit Dublin. It’s possible to find hostels that fit any age range and interest, and you can always pick a private room if you don’t want to stay in the shared dorms.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel, check out surrounding neighborhoods outside the city center that might have better rates. Or, if you’re traveling with a group, Airbnb or Vrbo might be an excellent option to make your accommodation stretch further.
Transportation Tips for Cheap Travel in Dublin
To cut transportation costs, try to walk shorter distances and take public transportation otherwise. For example, within the city center of Dublin, you can walk pretty much everywhere you want to go in 20 minutes or less.
Dublin’s public transportation is also decent and affordable. It includes buses, a tram network (LUAS), and the commuter rail system (DART).
If you plan on using public transportation frequently during your weekend in Dublin (which you may need to if you stay outside of the center), you might want to consider purchasing a Leap Visitor Card to save some money. It costs €16/person for 72 hours of unlimited access to:
- All Dublin Bus services (including from the airport)
- Go-Ahead Ireland Dublin City services
- All LUAS services
- DART services in Dublin city and county
You can take the 24-hour Aircoach 700 bus from the Dublin airport to the city center or call a taxi. Remember that the public transportation system typically closes at midnight, so if you are out late at night during the rest of your trip, you will likely need to call a taxi to get home.
While you won’t need a car if you’re only staying in Dublin, you may need one if you want to explore any of Ireland’s countryside and nature attractions. If you plan on renting a car and driving through Ireland, secure your rental early for the best prices. Plan the days
you will be outside of the big cities (where you can walk or take public transit), so they are back-to-back to utilize the car most efficiently.
Top 10 Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Dublin, Ireland
Of course, you will still want to explore as much of the city and top sites as possible without breaking the bank. There are many fantastic free (or cheap) things to do and see throughout Dublin to stick to a budget.
1. Take a Free Walking Tour of Dublin
Free walking tours are the perfect way to familiarize yourself with a new city and get a great overview of what the city has to offer.
Many hostels have free city walking tours, so start with your accommodation to see what they might offer. Otherwise, there are at least three free walking tour companies in Dublin:
- Dublin Free Walking Tour
- Foot Self-Guided Dublin
- Generation Tours
2. Have a Picnic at Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park in Dublin is one of the largest enclosed parks in any capital city across Europe. Pack some food and stroll around the park to find somewhere nice to settle in for a picnic.
There is a free guided tour of Aras an Uachtaráin, the home of the current president of Ireland. The tours take place on Saturdays and include viewing the main reception and staterooms.
3. Check Out Some of the Free Museums
A few museums in Dublin offer free entry to their permanent exhibits, including:
4. Have a Drink at a Pub Outside of the City Center
Stay out of the Temple Bar for food and drinks to find lower prices. Rumor has it that the Auld Triangle or Downey’s have the cheapest pints of beer in Dublin!
5. Walk Through Temple Bar on Saturdays During the Farmers Market
Temple Bar is typically a very touristy location where prices are hiked up. On Saturday
mornings, there is a Farmers Market where local vendors will sell trinkets and Irish goods. It’s a
great time to wander through, browse the shops, and listen to pub music to experience Temple Bar without paying exorbitant prices.
6. Window Shop on Grafton Street
Grafton Street is one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets full of cafes, stores (from mid-range to high-end), restaurants, and street performers.
It can be fun to wander along Grafton Street and do some window shopping while stopping to watch the street musicians and entertainers along the way.
7. Be Thoughtful About How you see Dublin’s Top Sites and Attractions
Even while trying to travel cheap, you will want to see some of the top attractions while in Dublin. There are a few ways to make touring the sites more affordable.
- Look into the Dublin Hop-on Hop-off tours. There are a few different kinds (including Big
Bus Dublin and City Sightseeing), some include entrance tickets to specific sites or
discounts for entrance tickets. Plus, this would also take care of your transportation for the
- Tour sites such as Viator often bundle two or more of the top city attractions at a slightly discounted rate than doing them on their own.
- Take any day trips as a tour as well. Especially if you plan to only stay in Dublin, you might still want to see some of the top attractions in other parts of Ireland. Luckily, it’s easy to make day trips from Dublin to most places, such as from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. It will be cheaper to take a tour than renting a car, less hassle, and you will likely see additional sites and learn more information than if you try to go on your own.
- Visit during off-peak hours. Some sites will have cheaper entry if you go during off-peak hours, usually early morning or later in the day as it gets closer to closing time.
- See what you can of the top attractions for free by walking around the outside. For example, Dublin Castle’s outdoors and gardens, as well as the public exhibits, are free to visit. You can view St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral from the outside or go for a worship service to see the inside for free.
8. Listen to Irish Music in a Pub
You don’t need to pay much money to watch performances and hear live music in Dublin. Stop into just about any pub to listen to some traditional Irish music being played by a live band. You might even catch some Irish dancers performing if you’re lucky!
9. Walk Along the River Liffey at Sunset
The River Liffey runs through Dublin, dividing it into the north and south. Start your walk at the Dublin Docklands and follow the river until you hit Phoenix Park (or vice versa).
A stroll down the Liffey at sunset is the perfect free, romantic thing to do as a couple visiting Dublin to watch the city lights turn on and come alive for the night. Don’t miss a photo opportunity at the famous and picturesque Ha’Penny Bridge!
10. Check Out the Surrounding Nature
There is plenty of surrounding nature and beauty outside Dublin’s busy city center. A quick and cheap train ride out of the city will allow you to experience a whole day of wandering around for free in the countryside.
For those who prefer mountains, spend some time in the Wicklow Mountains (also known as Dublin Mountains). Take some time to explore the Glendalough Monastic Settlements, one of Ireland’s most popular free attractions.
For beach lovers, check out the coastal fishing village of Howth and go for a walk along the cliff. Or, if it’s warm enough, spend the day at Dollymount Strand walking along the beach, tossing around a ball, or perhaps even going for a swim if the conditions are right.
Final Thoughts: Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Dublin, Ireland
You shouldn’t miss out on experiencing all the wonders Dublin has to offer because of a tight budget. Use as many budget travel tips as you can, and you will find that there is still plenty to see and do while traveling cheaply through Dublin!
After traveling to over 25 countries and living in Dublin, Janelle created Make the Trip Matter – a travel blog dedicated to helping budget travelers and remote professionals travel more, live abroad, and discover a more meaningful experience from their travels.