The Irish Road Trips That Are The Best Value For Money

Save Money On Your Next Staycation

Summer is here and for many of us, a holiday is on the horizon.

Staycations can be a great solution to avoiding airport chaos and costly travel fees, and with Ireland being rich in natural beauty, it’s no wonder staycations are a popular choice.

We’ve looked at some of Ireland’s favourite road trips to discover which are the best value for money. So you can bask in the natural beauty Ireland has to offer whilst saving some cash.

Using a range of factors including the number of free activities in the area, the number of cycle routes and the average price of petrol and diesel, we’ve discovered the top Irish road trips that will give you the most for your money.

The top eight Irish road trips that are the best value for money

The top eight Irish road trips that are the best value for money

1. Priest’s Leap and Caha Mountain Pass Scenic Loop Drive, Cork and Kerry

Taking the crown as the best value Irish road trip is the Priest’s Leap and Caha Mountain Pass Scenic Loop Drive, which passes through counties Cork and Kerry. Boasting the highest mountain pass in Ireland, you can enjoy breathtaking views; admire rocky waterfalls, streams, and sheep. Admiring the scenery won’t cost you a penny, making Priest’s Leap great value for money as you can soak in the sights, take snapshots and create memories - for free! From hiking trails in Beara Way to exploring the village of Bonane including the heritage park. It also has the third most cycle routes in our study and a total of 105 affordable restaurants to choose from, based on the number of TripAdvisor ‘cheap eats’. With all that on offer, it’s no surprise that Priest’s Leap earns the number one spot.

Priest’s Leap and Caha Mountain Pass Scenic Loop Drive, Cork and Kerry

2. The Burren Scenic Loop, Clare

From stunning coastal views to picturesque landscapes, The Burren Scenic Loop in Clare is the second-best road trip in Ireland that’ll give you the most bang for your buck. Enjoy 98 free activities in the area such as a stroll down Doolin Pier, exploring The Burren National Park, or a dip in the sea at Fanore beach. After a day of fun with the family you can choose from 41 cheap restaurants, so there’s plenty to do and see without breaking the bank. Also, with the highest Instagram engagement rate of 62,000, it’s clear that this road trip has an abundance of natural beauty.

The Burren Scenic Loop, Clare

3. Ring of Kerry, Kerry

The popular circular route, aptly named Ring of Kerry is the third-best Irish road trip for your money. With a number of hotspots to visit including the panoramic viewpoint, Ladies View, and Lough Leane, it’s as easy on the eye as it is on the pocket! Hosting 206 free activities, children can enjoy the Irish Fairy Trails and explore O Carrolls Cove making this a great road trip for families. With 73 cheap restaurants, this is the perfect spot to park up and unwind after a day on the road.

Ring of Kerry, Kerry

4. Copper Coast, Waterford

With the second-highest number of cycle routes at 138 and an Instagram engagement rate of over 30,000, Copper Coast in Waterford places fourth in our index. With 62 cheap restaurants to choose from and 33 free activities, it’s clear that Copper Coast is excellent value for money. Home to the Geopark Visitor Centre and the Copper Coast B&B, families and couples alike can make the most of their time in this stunning location, learning about the area's rich history and enjoying the Irish coast. Pairing this with scenic landscapes and coastal views, Copper Coast lands comfortably in our top five.

Copper Coast, Waterford

5. Inishowen 100, Donegal

Named after its distance in miles, the Inishowen 100 in County Donegal completes our guide to the top five best value Irish road trips. On a clear day you can even see Scotland - so keep your eyes peeled! With the cheapest average price of petrol at 188.15 cents and one of the highest number of free activities, it’s clear that the Inishowen 100 has more to offer for your money than just the breathtaking views.

Inishowen 100, Donegal

Road Trip County Petrol Stations Petrol Avg. Price /c Diesel Avg. Price /c Free Activities Cycle Routes Cheap Restaurants Instagram posts
1 Priest’s Leap and Caha Mountain Pass Scenic Loop Drive  Cork 19 203.63 202.82 83 96 105 1,266
2 Burren Scenic Loop  Clare 3 201.26 200.33 98 16 41 62,000
3 Ring of Kerry Kerry 17 200.07 198.95 206 30 73 100
4 Copper Coast Waterford 35 197.95 197.78 33 138 62 30,177
5 Inishowen 100 Donegal 133 188.15 197.51 143 23 76 57,400
6 Slea Head Drive Kerry 2 192.9 196.9 206 37 73 41,139
7 Ring of Hook Peninsula  Wexford 46 194.67 194.11 45 48 18 5,807
8 Cooley Peninsula Scenic Drive Louth 123 189.95 187.95 34 304 40 5,795

Most Instagrammable Irish road trips

No journey is complete without a few scenic pics for your Instagram feed, right? A stunning snapshot costs nothing, so to land those all-important holiday pics we also discovered the most Instagrammable Irish road trips.

The Burren Scenic Loop in County Clare came in first place with the highest number of Instagram posts, celebrating the beauty of its crystal blue waters and green clifftops. There were over 62,000 posts using the Burren Scenic Loop’s hashtags, making it the most Instagrammable road trip in our study.

Completing the top three for scenic views on Instagram were the Inishowen 100 in County Donegal with 57,400 posts and the Slea Head Drive in County Kerry with 41,139.

Price of petrol

Fuel prices are a huge factor in any road trip. That’s why we found the average price for petrol and diesel for each road trip to determine the cheapest places to fill up for fuel. The Inishowen 100 came out as the cheapest for petrol at €188.15/c, followed by the Cooley Peninsula Scenic Drive at €189.95/c.

The road trip with the third cheapest local petrol was Slea Head Drive at €192.90/c.

Diesel drivers

For those whose vehicles run on diesel the Cooley Peninsula Scenic Drive is your best place to go for cheap fuel at €187.95/c. Ring of Hook (€194.11) and Slea Head Drive (€196.90) complete the top three cheapest road trip routes for diesel.

Wherever you’re planning to travel in Ireland this summer, let Chill lend a helping hand by saving you money with our car insurance offering.

Looking for more Irish travel advice? Be sure to check out our guide to Ireland’s Best Service Stations.

Methodology

Through researching various road trips within Ireland we identified 8 of the top road trips all being able to complete within 1-2 days. Of these road trips, we looked into various factors to rank them on which road trip is the best value for money.

Price of fuel and number of petrol stations

We used pumps.ie for the cost of petrol and diesel in cents, only using data updated as of 2022. Fuel costs were calculated at an average to prevent the currently inflated prices from having a huge impact. The number of petrol stations were calculated by inputting the road trip route on Google Maps.

Number of cycle routes

This was calculated using the cycling resources ‘Komoot’ and ‘Bikemap; to highlight the number of cycling routes in the region of the relevant road trip.

Number of free activities

Activities in the local region were categorised on Trip Advisor as free entry.

Cheap food and drink

Restaurants in the local region were categorised on Trip Advisor as "cheap eats". We also used public price data to discover the cost of popular Irish drinks in the region.

Instagram engagement

To determine the Instagram rating we used the three most popular hashtags relating to each road trip and local region, analysing the number of posts utilising these hashtags to determine popularity.