Hillwalk Ireland - About Us

Which Ireland Hiking Tour Should You Choose?

Choosing the right hiking tour can be tricky. It's important to consider the balance of physical challenge and comfort level that you require. To make your decision easier, we have drawn up a menu of Gentle, Moderate and Challenging hiking tours.

Before we explain the difference between the various grades, it is important to note that each hiking tour within a specific region follows the same official hiking trail. For example, if you choose to go walking in Kerry, it doesn't matter whether you pick a 'Gentle' tour or a 'Challenging' tour - you will still be walking along the official 'Kerry Way' trail. To make these walking trails more accessible to all walkers, we have either 1) picked out the sections of the walking trails that are less demanding or 2) shortened the average daily hike between accommodations.

  1. Same Trail, Easier Sections: In Kerry, our 'Gentle' tours are restricted to the less demanding sections of the Kerry Way while our 'Challenging' tours cover the entire trail including the most difficult sections.

  2. Same Trail, Shorter Distances: In Wicklow, you can walk the entire trail on a 7-Day Challenging Tour or a 10-Day Gentle Tour. However, while the Challenging tour requires you to keep up a brisk pace of 27km (17 miles) per day, the Gentle tour has a more leisurely average of just over 16km (10 miles) per day.

Below is a general overview of each tour grading level. Note that the figures for 'Average Daily Hike' and 'Hiking Time' may vary between regions. Poor weather conditions can affect the average hiking time which is based on a person of normal fitness walking at a moderate speed of around 4km/h (2.5 mph). The hiking time takes into account the terrain covered but not the time required for lunch stops, photos, etc. For more details on daily distances, the level of ascent and the terrain the trail crosses; refer to the itinerary page of each individual tour.

Gentle Hiking Tours • Average Daily Hike: 12-18km (8-11 miles) • Hiking Time: 3-6 hours
Our Gentle Hiking Tours are designed with the part-time hiker in mind. While you can still expect some climbs, these tours offer the shortest average daily hikes, which in turn means less ups and downs. This will give you plenty time to enjoy the sights and scenery, take photos, have a long lunch and, if necessary, negotiate the more tricky sections of a walk.

Moderate Hiking Tours • Average Daily Hike: 16-23km (10-14 miles) • Hiking Time: 4-7 hours
Our Moderate Hiking Tours will suit people who are used to some regular exercise or who have done some previous hiking. They offer longer but still manageable daily hikes and should give you a little more of a challenge without going beyond your limits. There will be more climbs in a day but harder days are generally followed by easier ones. Of course, you will also still have time for a relaxed lunch and to take photos.

Challenging Hiking Tours • Average Daily Hike: 22-30km (14-19 miles) • Hiking Time: 5-9 hours
Our Challenging Hiking Tours are designed for the experienced hiker or those walkers who love a good challenge. They offer the longest daily hikes with more elevation gain and will often test your endurance by having you walk all day. Of course, as with all of our tours there will be a hot shower and the finest local hospitality waiting at the end of your walk to re-charge your batteries each evening.
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