Best Places To Visit Or Drive In West Cork

by Thomas Lyons
west cork

This season when we were planning our trip to West Cork, we were dumbfounded to find that there’s a surprising amount of breathtaking scenic routes and places to see in West Cork. From pristine beaches and stunning landscapes to small coves, ancient Irish villages, and old castles, you can find so many best places to visit in West Cork.  

Trust us; whether you’re looking for a quiet stroll on the beach or a walk in the country, you can’t go wrong with so many scenic drives in West Cork. Oh, we’re so excited to share all these beautiful places with all of you.

Great Places To Visit or Drive To in West Cork:

When we first saw West Cork, all the places looked like a magazine advertisement for ideal holidays for nature and wildlife lovers, with awe-inspiring fishing villages, craggy coastlines, and scenic drives. But that’s not all; West Cork has several landscapes and many hidden treasures just waiting to be found. Here’s some top on our list for best drives:

1. Bantry Bay:

The next best drive in West Cork is Bantry Bay. Bantry Bay is one of the “undiscovered treasures” of West Cork. The tourists who had already visited Bantry Bay define it as “nature at its best.” From scenic hiking trails to breathtaking scenic drives of Cork, you’ll never get bored of seeing amazing sights in Bantry Bay!

You can drive to Bantry Bay and enjoy many beaches, walking trails, golf courses, restaurants, lively pubs, and sailing adventures. 

2. Clonakilty and Ballydehob:

If you have a passion for exploring galleries, Clonakilty and Ballydehob are places to go in West Cork.  Both these towns are worth visiting and considered nice drives in Cork to enjoy streets overflowing with vibrant flowers. 

Ballydehob is known as the “heart of Ireland”. Its charm and beauty will surprise you, giving you everything you desire and more than you could ever need on a weekend trip. 

If you’re looking for a romantic weekend away or a family holiday experience, explore these two gorgeous villages that balance their roots with the modern world.

3. Skibbereen:

The next on our list is the place often referred to as the “capital of West Cork’ – Skibbereen. With castle ruins, stunning stone cottages, and a harbor to walk around, Skibbereen is a village that’s a big attraction for visitors. The “Skibbereen Heritage Centre” is also home to many stories about the past.

4. Lough Hyne

Just outside of Skibbereen is a unique seawater lake – Lough Hyne. If you are a nature lover, Lough Hyne is a must-place to visit or drive to. The lake is not only enriched with lush green plants and trees but is also home to several animals (even some scarce species). Atlantic Sea Kayaking is among the best attractions in Ireland. Everybody loves kayaking at night – don’t tell us you don’t.

5. Baltimore:

The next on our best drives list is Baltimore. It is the most visited village in West Cork. You might not know this, but Baltimore Village is home to Ireland’s most photographed round tower. With its vibrant mixture of spectacular scenery, fantastic food, and friendly locals, it’s an unforgettable experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

6. Mizen Head:

With spectacular panoramic views, highly varied wildlife, and calming scenic beauty, it is a famous tourist destination to visit or drive to. Mizen Head is a headland on the southeastern coast of Ireland. It faces Mizen Island from which it derives its name. Mizen Head is the meeting point of two counties— Cork and Kerry. You can also explore the famous “Fastnet Lighthouse” in Mizen Head.

7. Schull:

If you want to enjoy West Cork in a day, Schull may be perfect for you to visit. Close to the Ring of Beara and the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, Schull has many brilliant things to see in West Cork – a colorful past and an amazing natural environment.

The Schull region of West Cork is one of the jewels of Ireland. This warm town has all the qualities of a West Cork seaside resort – dramatic cliffs, sheltered coves, plenty of sunshine, and an ever-changing Atlantic coastline. 

Schull also has beautiful beaches surrounding the town, including Schull Harbour, which you can swim in. There are many things you can do in the area of Schull. Surfing, sailing, horseback riding, seal watching, and golfing are just some of the activities locals recommend visitors try. 

8. Glandore:

If you need a break from the world’s hustle-bustle, Glandore will become one of your favourite places to see in West Cork. With its tranquil setting and breathtaking views, you won’t want to drive away from this place.  You can also visit famous tourist destinations like Union Hall (a beautiful fishing port) and Drombeg Stone Circle (a Bronze Age monument) in Glandore. 

9. Timoleague:

If you like places rich in history, you will love to drive to Timoleague. 

Timoleague is a large village on the main road from Clonakilty to Dunmanway in County Cork. With West Cork’s beautiful mountains and rugged coastline just moments away, Timoleague is the perfect place to explore and experience the old rich history of Ireland.  

10. Courtmacsherry

Courtmacsherry, on the other hand,  is a fishing village on Courtmacsherry Bay with historical traces of the 17th-century war between England and Spain. The town lies on the narrow peninsula between Courtmacsherry Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. 

Courtmacsherry is a relaxed and friendly place and is hugely popular with day-trippers and holidaymakers who drive here to swim and sunbathe on its spectacular beach.

Conclusion:

West Cork is all about breathtakingly beautiful sceneries – from stunning mountains and awe-inspiring seacoasts to the unique town and colourful villages. 

Among the best, West Cork tourist attractions include Ballydehob, Skibbereen, Baltimore, Clonakilty, Glengarriff, Castletownshend, Bantry, and many more. 

West Cork offers a great deal of best drives. Once you get to witness the natural beauty of the West Cork, it will remain stuck in your mind – leaving you no choice but to visit it again and again. 

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