Valentia Island is located off the Iveragh Peninsula in southwestern Kerry. It has a population of over 600 people spread in its two small villages – Knightstown and Chapel town. Despite being small, there are several things to do on Valentia Island.
Technically, Valentia is no longer an island because it is connected to the mainland by the Maurice O’Neill Memorial Bridge at Portmagee since 1971.
Valentia Island, despite being easily accessible is still not that touristy and crowded during peak season, and is said to have one of the best sunset views in Ireland. It is also one of the best islands to visit in Ireland.
Roads here are quite narrow, so visitors are encouraged to explore Valentia on foot to really enjoy the unique scenery. The island vibe is relaxed and peaceful, with friendly locals and sights that are still unspoiled.
Valentia’s long history is evident in the various structures and natural wonders you’ll see as you explore, from tetrapod tracks to an old lighthouse.
Things you'll find in this article
How to get to Valentia Island
If you are visiting Valentia during summer and want that island feel, you may also reach it by a ten-minute ferry trip from Renard, located just outside Cahersiveen town.
Things To Do in Valentia Island
Home to diverse landscapes, stunning views, and fascinating historic places, visitors will never run out of things to do in Valentia. Here are some places to see and things to do in Valentia Island when you visit.
Walk along the Tetrapod Trail
One of the best things to see in Valentia are the sets of tracks made by tetrapods. These four-legged amphibians existed 350 million years ago, back when Ireland has located south the equator.
These tracks are among the earliest records of the existence of tetrapods, which makes Valentia a valuable geological heritage site.
The views on the way to the tracks are quite spectacular so make this activity a part of your visit to Valentia.
Visit Glanleam House and its gardens
The beautiful gardens of Glanleam are among the best attractions in Valentia, with its exotic plants and hiking trails. Visit and surround yourself with various plant species from around the world.
From the garden, there are also trails that lead to the forest, river, or beach if you fancy a relaxing stroll. Glanleam was the former home of the Knight of Kerry.
It is now a privately owned bed and breakfast that visitors can book if they want to stay on the island for more than a day.
Hike Geokaun Mountain in Valentia Island
If you’re up for a more daring adventure, the top of Geokaun Mountain is waiting for you. This is the highest point on the island and offers sprawling views in every direction.
From here, you can see the Skellig Islands, the Kerry Mountains, the village of Portmagee and the rest of Valentia.
If you’re not up for a leg workout, Geokaun is also accessible by car. Just be sure to stop at viewpoints to fully appreciate the area’s diverse landscapes.
Climb the Bray Head Tower
Can’t get enough of the views? Valentia has more places where you can enjoy views of the island and surrounding areas.
Head towards the Bray Head Tower, a structure that dates back to 1815, and was a naval sentinel until 1920.
Situated along a circular path, the Bray Head Tower offers stunning views of the Skelligs and Valentia Island, as well as the Iveragh Peninsula.
Valentia Island Lighthouse
Another attraction in Valencia that offers stunning views even along the way is the lighthouse.
Located in Cromwell Point, this used to be fort built in the 16th century. It became a lighthouse in March 1828 but only started operating 10 years later.
As you make your way to the lighthouse, stop, and appreciate the views. The open landscapes are breathtaking, and you can see the island of Beginish and further into Mount Killelan.
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