5 Most Scenic Places To Visit In Cork

Thinking of booking a holiday in the rebel county for the family? Why not check out some of the gorgeous natural features Cork has to offer while you’re there.

Between beautiful beaches, majestic castles, picturesque parks and pretty towns, Cork has it all. In fact, there’s so much to choose from that it can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve selected our top five scenic destinations in Cork, just for you! 

There’s something for everyone, whether you like strolls along the beach, exploring towns, or historical sites.  We’ve chosen places that you can make the most of. You could take a look around, or make a whole day out of it. 

We can almost guarantee you will find yourself enjoying the natural beauty and charming atmosphere of these locations. And to top it all off, all of these fantastic destinations are an hour’s drive or less from Cork City and our own Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City, meaning you can come back after a long day of exploring, and relax in our comfortable rooms.

Blarney Castle & Gardens  

A short, fifteen-minute drive from Cork City, Blarney Castle & Gardens provides a whole day out. Whether you want a walk around the gardens, a tour of the castle or a picnic outside the cafe; Blarney Castle & Gardens has all that and more.

There are over 60 acres of gorgeous and diverse native flora and fauna. And with themed areas like the Poison Garden, the Bog Garden, the Himalayan Walk and the ‘Jungle’, you could spend hours wandering through this magical estate, or picnicking while taking in the view.

Speaking of magic, while you’re there you could see the famous Blarney Stone which gives you the gift of a silver tongue should you kiss it. There’s also a lovely cafe overlooking a stretch of grass if you want to stop and grab a bite to eat, or bring your food out to the picturesque gardens for a picnic.

Open all year round from 9am-5.30pm, you can plan your trip whenever you like!

To plan your trip, go to Blarney Castle And Gardens. You can go to Blarney Castle and Gardens via car and bus.

Youghal Beach

Only a forty-minute drive from Cork City, Youghal Beach is a 5km long beach strand that’s perfect for walking and is a popular outdoor attraction in Cork. There’s a 2km, wheelchair accessible boardwalk spanning the whole beach strand, so you can decide if you just want to take in the gorgeous views, if you want to walk on the sand or maybe dip your toes in the water. There’s also a bird trail where you can observe different local seabirds like oystercatchers or cormorants.

Youghal beach itself is divided into three: Frontstrand beach, Claycastle Beach, and Redbarn beach. Frontstrand & Claycastle beaches have finer sand, and have toilet & car parking facilities nearby. Perfect for kids to play and paddle in, or for you to sunbathe or swim. Redbarn beach has a mixture of sand, pebbles and shells. It’s great for swimming, a beach walk or for kids to collect stones and shells. Sometimes, while walking along Redbarn beach, you can hear the birdsong from Ballyvergen Marsh. A place classified as a special amenity and very popular with migratory birds. 

You could spend a whole day on these three beaches or you could walk along them and admire the view. You could even do both if you’re feeling adventurous!

There are no opening and closing hours, but there is only lifeguarding during the bathing season.

To discover more about Youghal and its beaches here. 

Here are the directions to Youghal Beach via car or bus

Cobh; ‘Deck of Cards’ Houses & Spike Island 

If you ask any photographer, they will tell you that Cobh is one of the most scenic places near Cork City you can find. This is because this is where you will find the iconic ‘Deck of Cards’ houses. Many tourists and visitors go up Spy Hill to photograph it and have a look. The contrast between St. Colman’s cathedral and the whimsical, colourful houses makes it so picturesque. 

If you’re looking for a whole day trip in Cobh, look no further than a fifteen-minute ferry to Spike Island. Also known as Ireland’s Alcatraz. Named the Top European Tourist Attraction in 2017, Spike Island is a place of extraordinary scenery, as seen in the photo above. Its rich history will have the whole family interested. I mean, come on, what’s cooler than an island that used to be full of criminals? 

It has been a home, a prison and a monastery in the last 1300 years. And if its own natural beauty isn’t enough for you, it’s also a perfect vantage point to see Fort Camden and Roches Point (the last docking point of the Titanic). There’s also toilet facilities and a cafe where you can sit back and enjoy the view.

A trip to Cobh has a little bit for everyone, with the historical cathedral and Titanic museum and tour, the farmers market, and Fota Wildlife Park nearby. Only half an hour from the Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City, the town is a vibrant place that’s full of personality and heritage.

To book or plan your trip to Spike Island here. 

Here’s how to find the ‘Deck of Cards’ Houses vantage point via car or bus

Ballycotton Cliff Walk 

If you’re looking for a nice, long stroll on your stay in Cork, we would recommend the Ballycotton Cliff Walk. This destination is definitely the most physically taxing. It’s a 7k walk if you choose to walk the full route to Ballyandreen and back again. There is a shorter route if you prefer. However, even a section of this cliff walk is well worth it for the gorgeous views of the ocean.

This trail also gives you the chance to sneak a peek at one of the only two black lighthouses in Ireland. If you’re particularly interested in it, you can book a tour to learn more about its history.

There are facilities at the beginning of the walk so you can stock up on snacks and goodies. There’s a beach at Ballyandreen (halfway through the walk, before you turn back). It’s a perfect spot to sit down and relax for a bit, regain your energy, maybe have a picnic!

The Ballycotton Cliff Walk is a 50-minute drive away and open 24 hours a day.

To find directions and discover more here. 


If you’re looking for where to go for a drive in Cork, look no further. The whole town of Clonakilty is a scenic destination in itself. It was named the Best Town in the UK & Ireland in 2017, and for good reason too. 

You couldn’t possibly be bored in Clonakilty. The buildings and scenery in the town are incredibly pretty and picturesque. Not to mention, it has seven different beaches to explore and enjoy. 

One of the most popular beaches is Inchydoney Beach, which is renowned as one of the most beautiful and family friendly beaches in west Cork. There’s plenty of sand and dunes to play around on, as well as great surfing conditions. 

If you’re all beached out, go explore the West Cork Model Railway Village. While there, see the fully scaled, hand made model of the West Cork Railway from the 1940’s and grab a bite to eat in the cafe. You can visit the historic Michael Collins Heritage Centre and learn more about the famous rebel. If you or your kids have an interest in marine life, book an Atlantic Whale & Wildlife Centre Tour to see these majestic creatures up close.

Clonalkilty has all of these experiences to offer and so much more. The entire village is jam packed with tours, beautiful shops, historical centres and even an adventure centre! 

All of the above is why we believe Clonakilty is a scenic destination well worth an hours drive down from our hotel. It’s not an opportunity you should miss.

See Clonalkilty’s wide range of activities here. 

Click your preferred mode of transport for directions via car or bus

Your Base for the Most Scenic Places in Cork 

We hope this article helped you in planning your holiday. Our hotel is only a 15-minute walk from Kent train station and there are multiple bus stops right beside our hotel, making your travel experience as stress free as possible. 

Check out our hotel rooms in Cork city and avail of our brilliant offers today. 

People also read...

Start planning your trip!

Book your perfect break at Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork.

Search our FAQs

Common Questions

  • General Hotel Information

    What time is check-in?

    This Summer, check-in is from 3.00pm on the day of arrival. We understand that you might want to make the most of your time in Cork this Summer, so in the case of an earlier arrival, we will try our best to accommodate our guests, where possible, at no extra cost. Please note that an early check-in is subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed until the day of arrival. If we cannot check you in early, we will store your luggage for you, ensuring you maximise your time exploring Cork this Summer. As our desk is manned 24/7, late arrivals are possible as well.

    What time is check-out?

    This Summer, check-out is by 12 noon on the day of departure. We do understand that you might want to extend your time in Cork this Summer and we will try our best to accommodate our guests, where possible, with a late departure. Please note that a late check-out is subject to room availability, is charged at €10 per hour and must be arranged with the reception during your stay.

    Does the hotel offer baggage storage?

    Yes, we can store your luggage until your room is ready or you are ready to depart. Its important to us that you have the opportunity maximise your time in Cork this Summer 

    Does the hotel have WiFi? 

    Yes, Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City is pleased to offer complimentary WiFi in all public areas and bedrooms, to allow you to research all the amazing things to do in Cork this Summer

    Is there a laundry service available? 

    Yes, we offer a laundry service in the hotel for an additional charge.

    What do I do if I accidentally left some items in the hotel? 

    If you have left any items behind following your stay at the hotel, please contact our reception team directly via phone on +353 (0)21 452 9200 and if found, we will return to you via post. 

    Are pets permitted in the hotel? 

    No, pets are not permitted in the hotel, with the exception of guide and service dogs.

    Is the hotel reception desk open 24 hours a day? 

    Yes, our reception desk is staffed 24 hours a day. We’re here to help you with everything. From printing Boarding Passes, directions and recommendations on the best places to eat and visit in Cork during the Summer Season 

    What is the hotel’s smoking policy?

    Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City operates a strictly smoke-free policy within the entire building and therefore also in all bedrooms. Please note that a failure to adhere to this policy will result in an additional cleaning charge.

    Is the hotel accessible? 

    Yes, we are proud to be verified as offering very good levels of accessibility throughout our hotel, with all being accessible by lift. Please click the button below for full details or contact us if you would like any additional information.

    Hotel Accessibility


    Do you sell gift vouchers?

    Yes, we have Maldron Hotels gift cards available to purchase at reception or online. Our gift cards can be used in any Maldron Hotel or Clayton Hotel. 

    Do you provide printing facilities for boarding passes?

    Yes, our reception team can assist with printing your boarding pass.

    Do you supply travel adapters?

    No, we don’t have any travel adapters available for purchase at the hotel.

  • Location & Parking

    How far away is Cork city centre? 

    We are located in the historic Shandon district of Cork city at John Redmond Street. The famous Cork Opera House is just a 3 minute walk, across the River Lee with St Patrick’s Street a short stroll beyond, making us your perfect city centre hotel for Summer 2022 in Cork. Our hotel is also conveniently located near Cork’s premiere concert venues; Pairc Ui ChaoimhMusgrave Park and Live at the Marquee, University College Cork and Cork University Hospital are also a short drive from our hotel. 

    What is the history of the hotel? 

    Constructed in 1720, our building was the North Infirmary Hospital serving the people of Cork until its closure in 1987. After a period of dereliction, it was converted into a hotel and subsequently acquired and upgraded to the 4 star Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City. Read here more of our history. 

    How far is Cork Airport from the Hotel?

    Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City is just a short 15-minute drive from Cork Airport, making us your perfect base for exploring Cork during your 2022 Summer vacation. There is a frequent bus to the city centre from and to the airport available. Alternativity, taxis are available outside arrivals. The journey time and fares depend on traffic.

    How far are Kent Train Station and Parnell Bus Station from the Hotel?

    Kent train station is a 15-minute walk from the hotel and Parnell bus station is only a 10-minute walk from our hotel. Our proximity to Cork’s main transport services makes travelling to or from Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City for your 2022 Cork Summer Vacation easy and stress-free.

    Are there any shopping areas nearby?

    Yes, for everyone planning a shopping trip to Cork this summer, you will be spoiled for choices right at our doorstep. Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City is located just a 5-minute walk from Opera Lane Shopping Centre and a 7-minute walk from Merchants Quay. Both have a wide range of high street shops and unique boutiques. For those looking for an authentic Cork experience, The English Market, which has many local food stalls selling wines, meats and cheeses, is also only a 10-minute walk from our hotel, the perfect place to stock up on local produce for your summer time picnic in Cork.

    How close are public transport links to the hotel? 

    There is a bus stop, servicing the 202, 203, 215 and 248 bus routes on the doorstep of the hotel, which will take you to many locations around the city. The 215 bus will take you to Blarney Castle and Gardens or Cork Largest Shopping Centre, Mahon Point. Either of these places are perfect day trips for Summer 2022. 

    Is there a car rental station near the hotel?

    Yes, there is Hertz Car Hire just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Please ask our reception team and they’ll provide you with directions and recommendations for road trips to take while in Cork for Summer 2022.

    Is car parking available at the hotel?

    Due to our city centre location, there is only a very limited number of parking spaces at the hotel allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. On-street metered parking is available in the immediate locality at €2 for 2 hours. Parking is also available at Q- Park Carrolls Quay Car Park located only 3 minutes walk from the hotel. For more details, please visit our parking at Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City page.

    What are the top things to do as a family in Cork City for Summer 2022?

    There are louds of things to do as a family in Cork city for Summer 2022. We would recommend checking out our Fun Family Things to do in Cork  page to find out more.

    What are the top things to see and do in Cork city for Summer 2022?

    Cork is a vibrant place to be throughout the year, but it really comes alive during the Summer season. For Culture Vultures there are many events throughout the summer in Cork including concerts in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Live at the Marquee or Musgrave Park. Alternatively soak up the atmosphere at one of Cork’s many festivals, including Cork Pride.  Find Out more on our Events in Cork Page.  For those who want to explore all the city has to offer check out our see and do page.

  • Rooms & Amenities

    What room types does the hotel offer?

    Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City boasts 101 spacious and comfortable hotel rooms. Depending on your needs, you can choose between 5 different room types, including Standard Double Rooms, Standard Twin Rooms, Executive King Rooms, Double & Single Bedded Rooms and Family Rooms. Our family rooms can accommodate either 2 adults and 2 children or 2 adults and 3 children. We also have a number of Interconnecting Rooms available at the hotel.

    Are there wheelchair accessible rooms available?

    Yes, we have wheelchair-accessible rooms available at Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City. These are spacious rooms which include a walk-in shower and grab rails. 3 of these rooms are available on a request basis. To check availability or to book an accessible room, please contact our reservations team on +353 (0)21 452 9200.

    Does the hotel have family rooms?

    Yes, Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City has a number of family rooms that can cater for up 5 guests,  2 adults and 3 children. For all families that need some extra space, we also have interconnecting rooms available. To book one of our amazing Cork Summer Family packages click here.

    Can I get a cot in my room?

    Yes, cots are available upon request. Please make sure to book your cot at the time of the booking as they are on a first booked, first served basis. To book one of our amazing Cork Summer Family packages click here.

    Are the hotel rooms air-conditioned?

    No, unfortunately, our bedrooms are not air-conditioned.

    Do the bathrooms have a shower or a bath?

    All hotel bedrooms have both a bath and a shower.

    Does the hotel offer wake-up calls?

    Yes, we offer wake-up calls for guests. Please speak to a member of the reception team to arrange a wake-up call.

    What amenities are included in the room?

    All our bedrooms feature a hairdryer, iron and ironing board, flatscreen TV, safe, tea and coffee making facilities as well as toiletries.

  • Dining

    What dining options are available at the hotel?

    Our famous Vitality Breakfast is served Monday to Friday from 7:00am – 10:30am and Weekends from 8:00am to 11:00am in our Grain & Grill Restaurant. Bells Bar is opened for food 7 days a week from 12:30pm right through to 9:30pm, serving light bites, lunch and dinner. Special Occasions can be booked in our Grain & Grill Restaurant.

    Does the hotel offer breakfast?

    Yes, Our famous Vitality Breakfast is served Monday to Friday from 7:00am – 10:30am and Weekends from 8:00am to 11:00am in our Grain & Grill Restaurant. we are renowned for a great selection of breakfast options available each morning. Choose from a full Irish breakfast as well as healthier and nutritious options to kickstart your morning. Add Breakfast for just €14.00 per adult or €8.00 per child, if booked on check-in with our reception team. On the day Breakfast is €15.50 per adult or €8.00 per child.

    The Maldron Vitality Breakfast is the perfect way to start your day while on holidays in Cork this Summer.

    What times is food served?

    Breakfast is served in Grain & Grill Restaurant Monday to Friday from 7:00am – 10:30am and Weekends from 8:00am to 11:00am. While light bites, lunch and dinner are served in Bells Bar daily from 12:30pm until 9:30pm.

    Does the restaurant cater food for allergies?

    Yes, all of our menus have a full allergy listing. Please inform your waiter if you have any allergies, vegetarian or dietary requirements and our kitchen team will be delighted to assist.

    Does the Bell’s Bar offer a dedicated kid’s menu?

    Yes, we offer a separate kid’s menu for our younger diners.

    Do you provide room service?

    Yes, in-room dining is available daily. You can order from our Click & Go menu, available through our Guest Service Platform. The food can be collected at the collection point in our restaurant at your requested time.

    Is there a reservation for dinner required?

    No, a dining reservation is in general not required. However, we advise you to reserve your table to avoid disappointment. To book, please contact our reception team on +353 (0)21 452 9200.

    Do you cater for large groups? Can I book a private dining space for a special occasion?

    Yes, we offer a private dining space for groups or special occasions such as birthday parties, Anniversary parties, first communions, Confirmations and graduations. For more information or to book, please contact us via phone on +353 (0)21 452 9200 or email iginnell@maldronhotels.com

  • Leisure Facilities

    Does the hotel offer a swimming pool, spa and gym facilities on-site?

    Yes, our leisure centre has a 20m swimming pool with a separate kiddies pool. We also have a poolside jacuzzi, sauna and steam room on-site. For our more active guests, we also provide a fully equipped and air-conditioned gym on-site with Precor resistance machines, free weights area and cardio equipment. Whether you want to maintain your workout routine or take a dip in the pool, you can do both in Club Vitae at Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City.

    What are the opening hours of the swimming pool and gym?

    The leisure facilities at Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City opens from 6:30am to 9:15pm Monday to Thursday, 6:30am to 8:00pm Friday and from 8am to 8pm at weekends and bank holidays. Please note that children must vacate the pool area already at 7pm each day of the week. We would recommend pre-booking on our website or by phoning Club Vitae directly on +353(0)21 452 9226 or emailing cork@clubvitae.com.

    Is there an age limit for using the leisure facilities?

    Yes, children under 16 are not permitted to use the jacuzzi, sauna, steam room or the gym. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times and must be fully supervised when using the facilities. Children must vacate the facilities at 7pm.

    Is the use of the leisure facilities complimentary for guests?

    Yes, all hotel guests have full complimentary use of our leisure facilities.

  • Meetings & Events

    Are there meeting and event room facilities available at the hotel?

    Yes, Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City has 2 recently refurbished and air-conditioned meeting rooms available, catering for interviews, board meetings, training sessions and group/community talks and events. For prices and availability, please contact us via phone on +353 (0)21 452 9200 or email reservations.shandon@maldronhotels.com.

    Does the hotel facilitate conferences?

    Yes, we host small conferences on-site for up to 80 delegates..

    How many people do your meeting rooms accommodate?

    Our meeting rooms can accommodate up to 80 delegates depending on the room chosen.

    What equipment is included in the meeting rooms?

    All our meeting rooms are equipped with standard presentation facilities (LCD projector and screen), flipcharts, water, mints as well as delegate stationery. Free WiFi will be provided complimentary in all meeting rooms.

    Are there food and beverage options available?

    Yes, we have a variety of dining options as well as customised menus available for meetings to suit your budget and requirements.

    Do you have corporate rates available?

    Yes, we have corporate rates available at Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City. Please contact us directly via phone on +353 (0)21 452 9200 or email reservations.shandon@maldronhotels.com for more information and to discuss a reduced corporate rate.

  • Booking & Cancellation

    What is Make It Maldron and how do I sign up?

    Signing up and being part of Make it Maldron means you can save €10/£10 per room per night every time you book directly on our website (excludes selected sale and promotional special offers). To sign up, visit our ‘Make It Maldron’ page and join in 3 simple steps to ensure your discount is applied to all future online bookings.

    What is the best way to make a reservation?

    Reservations can be made via our online secure booking process on our hotel website where you can easily see our best rates and also find all our exclusive offers and packages available. Alternatively, you can call the hotel reservations team directly on +353 (0)21 452 9200 or email reservations.shandon@maldronhotels.com.

    What should I do if I haven’t received a booking confirmation?

    If you have not yet received a booking confirmation by email, please check your junk/spam folder of your emails. Alternatively, you can also contact our reservations team via phone on +353 (0)21 452 9200 or email reservations.shandon@maldronhotels.com and they’re happy to help you or re-issue a new confirmation to you immediately.

    What payment methods does the hotel accept?

    At Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City, we accept all major credit/debit cards and cash payments.

    What is the hotel’s credit/debit card policy?

    A valid credit/debit card is required to secure all bookings made online or over the phone, unless in cases where this is otherwise stated. Please note nothing is charged to the card at booking stage when booking directly with the hotel (with the exception of advance purchase offers or bookings that require a deposit. This will be clearly noted on the booking offer).

    For all rooms that are being paid for in cash must be accompanied with photographic ID. No rooms will be let unless payment is guaranteed.

    What age are children for the purpose of hotel packages?

    Children under the age of 2 can stay complimentary in the hotel. For the purposes of packages, a child is noted as being between the ages of 2 and 12.

    How do I make a group or multiple room booking?

    To make a group or multiple-room booking, please contact our reservations team via phone on +353 (0)21 452 9200 or email reservations.shandon@maldronhotels.com.

    Are there any age restrictions when booking a hotel room?

    One guest must be 18 or older to guarantee the booking. All under 18s must be accompanied by a guardian or parent.

    Can I show up at the hotel without a booking?

    Yes, you can. However, as rooms are subject to availability, pre-booking is recommended to avoid disappointment at arrival. Please note that an ID must be provided on check-in.

    Can I extend my stay?

    Yes, depending on availability, we’ll be happy to accommodate you for further nights at an additional cost. Simply let our reception team know by calling +353 (0)21 452 9200.

    How can I amend or cancel my booking?

    If you booked on our website, you can amend or cancel your booking online by clicking the ‘Manage Booking’ at the top of our website. Alternatively, you can call us directly on +353 (0)21 452 9200 to cancel or amend your booking.

    What is the cancellation policy?

    Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City offers free cancellation up to 2pm on the day of arrival unless advance purchase non-refundable rate was selected. Please note that some special offers and key dates outlined in the terms and conditions may specify a special cancellation policy applicable to that offer and date.

    How can I cancel my reservation if I booked via a third-party website?

    If your reservation was booked through a third-party website or online travel agent, you must cancel your booking through the same website or agent as we are unable to do this on your behalf. Please note that they have their own cancellation policies, so please refer to your confirmation email.

    What does our “no show” policy entail?

    If you do not successfully cancel your booking or show up on the selected date of arrival, you will be charged the full amount for your first night’s stay. If your booking is advance purchase, the total amount will be non-refundable and you will incur a 100% penalty charge for the entire duration of your stay.


Book a room

minus 1 night-plus 1 night+


Thank you for signing up to our newsletter.


There has been an error and you have not been signed up to the newsletter. Please try again. If the problem persists, please contact us.