Dublin has everything you need for an unforgettable holiday experience. A city of contrasts, it gives you the opportunity to see castles and medieval sites standing still a stroll away from science galleries and high tech headquarters. It's a quick drive away from the beach, the forest and the mountains, and a place where food and drink are an attraction by its own merit.
Moving around town
If you're moving around in the city center, getting a five-day Leap Card is an excellent budget friendly alternative to taking taxis or renting a car. You can also get a temporary subscription to Dublin Bikes and grab a bike in one of the many spots in the city.
You'll easily recognize The Spire as the epicenter of it all. The stiletto-like sculpture rises in the middle of O'Connell Street, one of the most popular areas to walk around. Pubs, convenience stores, exchange houses, tour operators and other useful shops and services can be found here.
Shopping in Dublin
Although there are some nice shopping centers, such as St. Stephen's Green (or DunDrum Twon Centre and Liffey Valley Shopping Centre if you don't mind venturing into the suburbs), Dublin's best shopping is done on its streets.
Brand lovers will want to indulge on Grafton Street, where they can browse dozens of designer shops or enter department store Brown Thomas for their fix of global luxury. If you go by the local's advice, Henry Street—a 5-minutes’ walk from Grafton—offers better value and some excellent brands as well.
Another option is to go to Kildare Village, an outlet shopping center in a nearby county with frequent busses and vans servicing it and in which you will find many of the shops you know and love with prices that will pleasantly surprise you.
Eating in Dublin
Fancy a taste of traditional Irish food? Places like The Oval and The Boxty House might be your thing. Many restaurants offer the traditional breakfast, which will keep you going for hours, but if you really want to start the day in style, go for brunch. Dublin is fantastic for brunches and there are many restaurants that shine at it: If you want something Irish yet modern, Hatch and Sons will please you. If you are looking for a place where breakfast becomes lunch and then party time, you'll never want to leave 37 Dawson; for a gastronomic experience, Forest Avenue is your place.
For lunch, those wanting to save Euros can enjoy burritos at Boojum (the queue is absolutely worth it) or just walk in into one of the many independent cafés where soup and a sandwich rarely exceeds a tenner. If you are looking for something more upscale, there are lovely bistros such as Brioche in Ranelah, Klaw in Temple Bar or Yamamori in George's Street. Looking to splurge for real? Book a table at Chapter One, L'Ecrivain or Etto.
All of those places are also fabulous come dinner, for which you can also consider The Greenhouse and Patrick Guilbaud, two of the best fine dinning restaurants in the city.
Cheap and cheerful alternatives for a night bite? Stop in Candem Street or Capel Street and your wishes will come true: burgers, Asian, Mexican, Arab, rotisserie, Korean, Spanish and more—these two street concentrate some of the coolest and tastiest affordable options in town.
Time for a drink
Temple Bar is the ultimate tourist area for a drink in Dublin. The bar itself or the dozen pubs around it will give you a taste of an almost theme-park like experience of the local drinking scene. If you want to shy away from the more mainstream spots, the chain of pubs managed by Galway Bay is a good place to start (especially if you have a thirst for craft beers).
It's not all beers and ciders in the fair city though; Dublin is home to some fabulous cocktail bars: Vintage Cocktail Club and The Liquor Rooms are fantastic spots for fine mixology, and Ely Wine Bar or Green Man Wines are great places to be if you're a wine lover.
If you want a more educational experience, there are a few drink-based tourist attractions not to miss: The Guinness Storehouse, the Old Jameson Distillery and Teeling Distillery.
Culture and history
Ireland has many museums and all the national ones are free; you have Archeology, Decorative Arts and History and Natural History in Dublin. There's also the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which is conveniently close to other important historical location, and Kilmainham Gaol, a building that used to be a prison and has a rich history worth hearing about. Another cultural must is Trinity College and, within it, a visit to the Book of Kells exhibition.
If you get nice weather, it's almost an obligation to honor it by enjoying it outdoors. A hike in Dublin Mountains, for example, or having a soft serve ice cream by the sea on beaches such as Malahide (close to the stunning Malahide Castle), Portmarnock or Bray, all within the reach of Dublin Bus in less than an hour.
If you’d rather stay in the city, Phoenix Park is a great choice with lots of friendly wildlife and Dublin Zoo in the middle, but you can also relax in the Botanical Gardens, St. Stephen's Green or the Iveagh Gardens.
Are there any other places in Dublin that you feel are a must to add to this list? Feel free to share them with our other readers in the comments below!