Take on the trails of the first national park in Ireland, then head back to town for hotel-brewed beers, farm-fresh food and flickering fires at these on-point places to stay – bookable with Culture Trip.
The County Kerry town of Killarney has attracted tourists for more than 200 years – more recently for the neighbouring national park, the first in Ireland, created in 1932 as a natural wonderland of scenic lakes, lush peaks and countless waterfalls. But it’s not just the wilderness that makes visiting this corner of southwest Ireland worthwhile. With a collection of 19th-century buildings, cosy pubs and excellent restaurants, spending time in town rewards the curious, too. Whatever type of traveller you are, we’ve handpicked just the right Killarney hotels.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Locavores are spoiled for choice at this grand-looking hotel, with two restaurants focused on locally grown produce. The Café du Parc promises one of the best brunches in town and an all-day menu where modern Irish cooking takes centre stage. A little more formal, the Tan Yard combines an atmospheric setting for seasonal dishes with ingredients sourced from surrounding farms. A big spa and a snug late-night bar complete the impressive features.
Lovers of refinement should book themselves a stay in the stately surrounds of this sophisticated hotel. The Great Southern Killarney was built in 1854, with the remit “to take the visitor’s breath away” – and it certainly remains among the most impressive hotels in the town. Together with a deluxe spa, fine dining and immaculate service, the hotel has rooms that offer guests the epitome of traditional sophistication – with many of them overlooking the splendid hotel gardens.
Nature buffs who enjoy a little luxury will find the perfect combination of high-end comfort and spectacular views at the Europe Hotel & Resort. It has a rare and enviable lakeside setting, along with smart contemporary design that makes the most of it. Guests have direct access to the stunning natural beauty of the area, as well as activities including horse riding and lake boating. When you’re done, there’s a swish spa to soak tired limbs, and farm-to-fork dining in the lake-view restaurants.
If fine wining and dining is high on your holiday priorities, this hotel in Killarney provides some of the best in the region. The twice AA Rosette-winning Lake Room restaurant offers fine cuisine cooked from the freshest seasonal and locally sourced produce. A stock of superb wines is stored in the cavernous wine cellar too. Plush guest rooms, lake views and a spa with a heated indoor pool complete the five-star experience.
Fans of the historical can immerse themselves in the past at the richly storied Muckross Park Hotel. The first inn on the site operated as a hunting lodge at the end of the 19th century. Within a few years, the Herbert family turned it into the Herbert Arms, which was the first hotel to open in Killarney. While it has certainly undergone plenty of changes in the 200 years since – not least the addition of five-star facilities – a palpable sense of the past remains.
Travelling families with kids in tow are sure to find the Gleneagle Hotel just what they’re looking for. Rooms and suites cater for groups of all sizes, while apartments offer the convenience of a self-catering option – some are even pet-friendly. But it’s the family-focused facilities that really shine, including full-size and splash pools, a kids’ club, and sports diversions for all ages. A location on the edge of town also puts the great outdoors on your doorstep.
If your perfect evening is holed up in a traditional Irish pub, then the snug and welcoming Kenmare Rooms at the Killarney Avenue Hotel is just the ticket. Find yourself a cosy corner with a pint of Guinness and kick back with the locals to enjoy some live music. A town centre location also means plenty of other local pubs are within an easy stroll, plus you have the famous Golden Gate entrance to Killarney National Park just opposite.
Visitors with an eye for flamboyant design will love the Ross hotel, set in the heart of Killarney town. Rooms are a riot of crushed velvet, bold patterns and exotic tones, while huge suites also add flickering fireplaces. Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner at the Cellar restaurant, or head to the jazzy surrounds of the Lane for creative cocktails and gourmet finger food. Another bar with a plush and playful vibe is the Pink Lounge, where gin and fizz is their speciality.
Travellers with a taste for the traditional will find that the International Hotel Killarney pushes all the right buttons. Built in the mid 1800s, the storied building originally stood at the entrance to Killarney Railway Station. It opened as a hotel in 1906, and little has changed in appearance since . Guest rooms are finished in the style of old-school elegance, though with contemporary comforts that include pillow-top mattress and jacuzzi tubs in some.
For those who like a pamper, this hotel in Killarney has the spa facilities to provide everything to delight and de-stress. The Zen Day Spa offers a 20m (65ft) heated pool, a sauna and steam rooms, plus a long list of luxuriously indulgent beauty and massage treatments. The rest of the hotel is a picture of traditional elegance, nowhere more so that in the sumptuous guest rooms. Also, ale-lovers: don’t forget to sample the hotel Killarney Brew craft beer.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.