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Best Cycling Routes In Cork

by Thomas Lyons
cycling routes around cork

If you are a lover of cycling, then you should visit Cork someday. It’s the place where you will find some of the best cycling routes in Ireland. 

Cork attracts cyclists from all over Ireland as well as from other countries. Most paths are very well signposted, so there is no risk of getting lost. 

Another great thing is that each route offers something different to cyclists, which is why many people come back again and again to enjoy these beautiful places.

In this article, we’ve mapped out some of the best cycling routes in Cork so that you can enjoy riding on scenic routes along the coast and through picturesque towns. For cycling in Dublin, click here.

best cycling routes in cork

16 Best Cycling Routes in Cork:

Travelling in Cork by bicycle can be one of the best ways to get around. Cycling can be an excellent way to discover new areas, hidden attractions and historical buildings. It is also a great way to experience some fresh air, sunshine and exercise on your holiday or business trip. Therefore, without further ado, let us share with you the best cycling routes in Cork.

1. Cork City:

The city of Cork is among the best cycling routes in Cork. You can cycle around the whole city and not get bored. 

Cork has a great bike culture with hundreds of miles of cycleways; these include quiet roads, greenways, dedicated cycle lanes, and bike-friendly infrastructure. 

You can cycle from the city centre to Blackrock Castle via the banks of the River Lee. The journey takes about twenty to thirty minutes depending on your speed.

Cork is also home to many coastal bike trails, so if you are an experienced cyclist then this is an ideal place for you!

2. Sheep’s Head Cycle Route:

The Sheep’s Head Cycle Route is a must for any cyclist visiting County Cork. The sign-posted route starts at Ballylickey, before taking in the scenic views and natural beauty of Sheep’s Head Peninsula then returns to Durrus where cyclists should turn right and ride on to Ballydehob. 

This well-signposted and approximately 75-mile route follows quiet roads through villages and small towns that still retain a traditional Irish atmosphere. 

It is important to note that the Sheep’s Head Cycle Route is a long route, and you should allow yourself plenty of time to complete it. 

Also, if you are planning on cycling for three days or more, you should make sure you have the right clothing and equipment for your trip.

3. Blarney Castle:

If you’re into off-road cycling, you can take your cycle 5 miles north out of the city centre towards the nearby suburb of Blackpool. From there, continue to follow N20 and keep going until you hit the River Martin and turn. You should see Blarney Castle at a short distance on your right.

This route is particularly good in late spring when the trees are blossoming. The air is fresh and you can enjoy sweeping vistas of lush greenery on either side of the road.

Blarney Castle is a famous tourist spot in Ireland and one of the best cycling routines in Cork. And if you’ve ever wanted to kiss one of its legendary stone lions, here’s your chance!

4. The Healy Pass:

The Healy Pass (from Glengarriff) is our next best cycling route in Cork. The route features well-paved surfaces and is easy to ride. The starting point of the route is right next to the Glengariff parking lot. 

Travelling from Glengarriff, this route features well-paved surfaces that only the most skilled cyclists should attempt. The road consists of many twists and turns, so you’ll need to be sure to be alert at all times when cycling this path. 

There are some great views along the way, including Kealincha Bridge, Bofickil, Barress Bridge, and Lauragh Bridge so you’ll want to bring your camera along for the trip. This whole route is 82 miles long.

5. Beara Way Cycling Route:

One of the best ways to enjoy Ireland’s beautiful landscapes is to cycle the country’s long-distance trails. The Beara Peninsula in West Cork, for example, is home to a 86 miles trail that will take you all the way from Glengarriff to Dursey Island to Kenmare. 

Located in some of the most scenic and remote areas of Ireland, the Beara Way Cycling Route is for serious cycling enthusiasts. Cyclists can join the route at any point along the way. You can begin your cycling adventure in Glengarriff and cycle to Adrigole for a total of 13 miles. If you feel like it, you can keep going to Castletownbere, adding another 10 miles. What cyclists love most about this route is that there’s no set endpoint; you can ride as far as you like and then return to your starting point.

6. Fitzgerald Park:

Fitzgerald Park is a must for any cyclist visiting Cork. It is a public park in the centre of the city, and it contains one of the best cycling routes in Cork. Also, Fitzgerald’s Park is home to the Cork Public Museum. 

Cyclists can enjoy a pleasant ride through the park that takes them to and from the city centre. There are many trees, flowers, and green spaces throughout Fitzgerald’s Park. 

Fitzgerald Park offers a pleasant mix of challenging and easy cycling routes, depending on your level of expertise.

7. Mizen Head:

The Mizen Head is the next best cycling route in Cork. 

The route begins right next to the Warner Centre parking lot then you head towards Barleycove. From Barleycove, you ride to Mizen Head and then end the ride on Bantry.

The Mizen Head Cycle Route takes in some spectacular views of the coastline and is a nice, flat route. The entire ride is about 70 miles and a car park at Mizen Head is available for cyclists to store their bikes at. This cycle route can be enjoyed all year round but it is especially nice to cycle during summer as it offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean!

8. Bishopstown:

Bishopstown is a leafy suburb outside the city centre, and it is always a peaceful escape. Start cycling on Model Farm Road past the spiralling Gothic Cathedral of Saint Fin Barre and the historic university. Turn right on to the public Curraheen Walk. The riverside nature trail will give you a chance to spot wildlife and enjoy tranquil surroundings.

This route will take you through some of Cork’s most historic streets, including Bishop Street, Cornmarket Street and Patrick Street, as well as other well-known sites like the English Market.

9. Barleycove:

Barleycove Loop from Baltimore is another great cycling route in Cork. It’s a great, challenging road ride for advanced cyclists. A good level of fitness is required to complete the route. Mostly paved surfaces, but some dirt roads as well. 

The route’s starting point is next to a parking lot at Casey’s Hotel Parking. Following the Wild Atlantic Way, 15 miles away reach Ballydehob, a small and beautiful village. Here you can stop for some snacks before the next part of your ride, which takes you to Barleycove and back to Casey’s Hotel Parking. This loop is about 70 miles long.

10. Blackrock Castle:

Blackrock Castle is another of the best cycling routes in Cork. 

From the city centre, follow Liberty street until you reach St. Patrick’s street. Turn to Clontarf Street and continue your ride towards Kennedy Quay. 

You will ride past old quays, which were once used for trading goods but are now popular spots for lunchtime breaks. Along with the River Lee, the path leads you further on to Blackrock Castle, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the coastline and islands beyond the sea. 

This route is about 8 miles long.

11. Skibbereen Cycle Hub:

The Skibbereen Cycle Hub takes riders through the scenic West Cork region, starting at the Skibbereen post office and passing Lough Abisdealy before turning to Tragumna beach and heading back to Skibbereen via Castletownshend. 

It is an approximately 15-mile long cycling route around marvellous views out over the Atlantic Ocean. 

The whole journey takes about an hour and a half, but feel free to break off at any one of the sights along the way or take an extended detour through the scenic towns.

12. Mahon Peninsula:

The Mahon Peninsula Public Walk is particularly great for cyclists because it’s a long, beautiful stretch of the open road with minimal traffic. Mahon Peninsula is another great cycling route in Cork. 

To get to Mahon, cycle out of the Cork city centre and follow the River Lee. On your way, stop at Blackrock Castle, an old castle that’s now an observatory centre. Then continue along the Mahon Peninsula Public Walk. Enjoy your ride by exploring the overgrown ruins. Continue cycling towards Lough Mohan, a fantastic shore view to enjoy with your loved ones. This trail takes around 18 to 20 minutes depending on your speed.

13. Crosshaven:

The Carrigaline to Crosshaven cycling route boasts stunning scenery and is great for all levels of cyclists. The route is over 5km one way or 30 mins. And with plenty of options to explore when you get to Crosshaven with fabulous places to eat, stay or even take a trip to one of the nearby beaches. This cycling route is a must, especially in the summertime.

Find Out More Here

14. Ballyhoura

Ballyhoura famous for its stunning scenery and mountain biking trails has a number of cycling routes to offer. You don’t have to be an expert cyclist to enjoy this route – it’s perfect for all levels of riders! See the loops below;

  • Loop 1: 70 km or 50 mins
  • Loop 2: 83 km or 5 hours
  • Loop 3: 62 km or 4 hours
  • Loop 4: 50 km or 3 hours

Find Out More Here

15. Cobh:

Next on our list is the cycling route from Cork city to Cobh. The path is mostly level, which makes it easy for both children and adults to enjoy this route.

Cycle along the waterfront at Cork city’s Albert Quay and then follow the path to Rochestown Road. Cycle by the Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium and share the footpath with pedestrians. Cycle onward until you reach Passage West and then make for the Irish Ferries terminal. You can hop onto one of the ferries bound for Carrigaloe, which has beautiful scenery and is only a short distance away from Cork city. Now head out onto the Cobh Bike Path, which will take you all the way to Cobh town.

16. Wild Atlantic Way:

If you are a cyclist who loves the thrill of cycling on rough terrain, the Wild Atlantic Way is an excellent route for you to take. It’s 292 miles long and becomes a much more exciting ride when you leave the county of Cork. 

The stretch of Wild Atlantic Way between Kinsale and Cork City is the most popular section of this route. The route follows mostly quiet country roads and many of the towns and attractions along the way have cycle paths and bike hire facilities available, making it possible to stop off and explore as you go along.

FAQs:

Q: Is Cork Bike Friendly?

Yes, Cork is bike-friendly. Cork has improved and continues to improve infrastructure for cyclists and tourists.

For example, there are many cycle trails along the river banks and also through the parklands of the county. Even the Cork City Council is also promoting ‘cycling culture‘ in the city through courses at Fitzgerald’s Park. 

So, if you find cycling on busy streets too stressful, these alternatives will be more to your liking.

Q: Where Can You Rent a Cycling Bike in Cork?

If you’re thinking of renting a bike in Cork, it’s worth looking into TFI Bike Share. TFI Bike Share is a self-service bike rental service open to the public and available at stations throughout the city.

Travellers visiting Cork can use TFI Bike Share to explore all parts of the city. The bikes can be picked up and dropped off at any TFI station, so it’s easy to visit multiple locations in one day.

Q: How Much is it to Rent a Cycling Bike in Cork?

In Cork, you can rent a TFI bike for 30-minutes for free. Longer hires will incur a small service charge. If you are going to use the bikes more often, it might be a good idea to buy an Annual Subscription for €10. This will let you rent TFI bikes all year round without any tension. Additionally, you can also buy 3-Day Subscriptions online.

Q: Should I Bring Rain Gear When Cycling in Cork?

Yes, it is always best to bring one with you. You can check our articles on ‘Best Men’s Waterproof Jackets’ and ‘Best Women’s Waterproof Jackets’ to know some of the best rain gear to buy in Ireland. 

What are the benefits of cycling?

Cycling has a range of benefits, including improving fitness and mental health, reducing congestion and pollution, and providing an affordable and convenient form of transport.

How can I get started with cycling?

There are a few things to consider before getting started with cycling. Firstly, think about what type of cycling you would like to do – whether it be for recreation, commuting or fitness. Once you’ve decided this, you can start to look at things like what kind of bike you need and what type of accessories and clothing will be most comfortable for you.

What should I wear when cycling in Cork?

Comfortable clothing that won’t restrict your movement is ideal for cycling. You might also want to consider investing in some dedicated cycling gear, such as padded shorts and a jacket or jersey.

How do I stay safe when cycling?

There are a few key things to keep in mind to stay safe when cycling. Firstly, make sure you’re visible to other road users by wearing bright clothing and using lights when cycling at night or in low light conditions. Secondly, always be aware of your surroundings and try to anticipate what other road users might do. And finally, make sure your bike is in good working order – brakes and tyres should be checked regularly.

Conclusion:

With its stunning scenery, fascinating history and wonderful people, Cork is a top cycling destination.

The best thing about cycling in Cork is that you can experience all the city has to offer – from the beautiful coastline and vibrant city centre to the picturesque villages in North Cork.

Even if you haven’t got your own bike, there are TFI Bike Share stations around the city where you can rent a bike and saddle up.

So what are you waiting for? Pack those shorts, helmets, waterproof jackets and water bottles and get on one of the best cycling routes in Cork mentioned above. 

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