Where to stay in Dublin without a car: 7 Best areas

I love to explore places without a car, and on my website, I cover many topics for car-free travelers. In this article, we will visit Dublin and help you find the best places to stay in Dublin without a car. 

I will share my recommendations for the top areas to stay in Dublin without a car, along with a helpful map. I’ll also tell you where I stayed in Dublin and suggest the best hotels in Dublin for all budgets.

Dublin is the capital and the largest city of Ireland located on the east coast of Ireland, along the banks of the River Liffey. Dublin is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and friendly atmosphere. 

Dublin is home to many historic attractions, including Trinity College, where you can find the Book of Kells; Dublin Castle; St. Patrick’s Cathedral; Christ Church Cathedral; and Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison turned museum.

Dublin is a compact city with a well-developed public transportation system, so it’s entirely possible to enjoy your stay without a car. In fact, the best way to get around the city is on foot. You can also use buses, trams (LUAS), and trains (DART), making it easy to navigate around without a car.

Dublin is a very walkable city, especially in the city center. Most major attractions, shops, and restaurants are within walking distance of each other. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for occasional rain.

You can also rent a bike to explore the city at your own pace. Many dedicated bike lanes and cycling paths make it relatively bike-friendly. Dublin has a bike-sharing system called DublinBikes

Dublin Bus operates an extensive network of bus routes that cover the entire city and its suburbs. You can consider a hop-on-hop-off tourist bus if you want to see the main sights of Dublin or on a tight schedule.

The Luas is Dublin’s light rail tram system, consisting of two lines (Green Line and Red Line) that connect Dublin City Center and its suburbs. You can use a Leap Card or buy individual tickets to pay for your journeys.

DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is a suburban railway system that connects Dublin City Center with coastal areas in Dublin such as Howth, Dun Laoghaire, Bray, and Dalkey. You can take ferries from Dublin’s city center to visit areas like Howth or Dun Laoghaire.

Dublin has two intercity train stations, Connolly Station and Heuston Station, both of which are on the Luas Red Line and served by several bus routes. 

Taxis and ride-sharing services like Lynk and Free Now are available in Dublin, and you can use them for shorter, on-demand trips.

If you need transportation to or from the airport, consider using the Aircoach or Airport Express bus services. They connect Dublin Airport to various city center locations. 

Where to stay in Dublin without a car?

The best areas to stay in Dublin without a car are O’Connell Street, Trinity/ Grafton Street, Merrion/St. Stephen’s Green, Temple Bar, Portobello, The Docklands, and Smithfield. These areas offer easy access to tourist attractions and amenities, so you can easily get around on foot and by public transportations.

If you want a central location and easy access to major attractions, O’Connell Street, Trinity/Grafton Street or Merrion/St. Stephen’s Green are excellent areas to book hotels. 

If you prefer a more local experience with a touch of history, Portobello or Smithfield might be more suitable. Temple Bar is perfect for those seeking a lively nightlife scene. 

Additionally, consider your budget, as some areas may have more affordable options than others. Be sure to book your accommodation well in advance, especially during the peak tourist season.

On my trip in Dublin, I stayed in Dublin City Center, at the 3-star Stauntons on the Green Hotel. This is a good value for money hotel, located right next to the St. Stephen’s Green, and easy access to tram, restaurants, tour buses and airport express bus. Trinity College and Grafton Street are a short walk away.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Dublin for car-free travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Dublin without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Dublin without a car

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Dublin, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Dublin have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Best areas to stay in Dublin without a car:

1. O’Connell Street

O’Connell Street is one of the best areas to stay in Dublin for tourists who want a central location with historical significance and access to shopping and dining. It’s a central, bustling part of the city and is an excellent base for exploring Dublin.

O’Connell Street is one of Dublin’s major thoroughfares and has played a central role in the city’s history. It’s home to important landmarks, including the General Post Office (GPO), which was the headquarters of the 1916 Easter Rising.

The area offers a mix of retail shops, including department stores like Clerys and Arnotts. It’s also close to Henry Street and Parnell Street, other popular shopping streets in Dublin.

O’Connell Street and the surrounding areas have a variety of dining options, from casual pubs serving traditional Irish fare to international cuisine. It’s a great place to experience Irish hospitality.

The Spire of Dublin, a 120-meter-tall stainless steel monument, is an iconic landmark on O’Connell Street. It’s often used as a meeting point for locals and tourists.

O’Connell Street is well-connected to public transportation, making it easy to access different parts of the city. You’ll find bus stops, trams, and the Connolly Train Station nearby.

Several cultural and historical attractions, such as the Hugh Lane Gallery, National Leprechaun Museum, and St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, are within walking distance.

O’Connell Street offers a mix of hotels, from mid-range to budget options, making it suitable for a range of budgets. There are also several hostels and guesthouses in the vicinity.

Best places to stay in Dublin in O’Connell Street  without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin, super popular 4-star hotel, located on Upper O’Connell Street, in the heart of Dublin city center. It is only a few mins walk away from Connolly train station, River Liffey, Temple Bar, and the shopping districts.
  • Mid-range ($$): Moxy Dublin City, 5-star hotel located in central Dublin, within walking distance from Connolly Train Station, Pipers Corner, and steps away from Dublin Express bus stops for links to the airport. It has a 24-hour front desk and continental breakfast. 
  • Budget ($): Wynn’s Hotel, great 3-star hotel, centrally located in Dublin, within walking distance from the historical Ha’Penny Bridge on the River Liffey, O’Connell Street and Henry Street.

2. Trinity/ Grafton Street

The Trinity/Grafton Street area is one of the most popular and vibrant places to stay in Dublin for tourists. It offers a central location with a wide range of attractions and amenities. 

The neighborhood is home to Trinity College, one of Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious universities. You can explore the historic campus and visit the famous Book of Kells exhibition.

Grafton Street is a renowned shopping district with a mix of high-end boutiques, department stores, and street performers. It’s a great place for shopping enthusiasts and people-watching.

The area also offers easy access to Temple Bar, and several other cultural attractions like the National Museum of Ireland and the Dublin Castle within easy reach.

This area is ideal for tourists who want to be at the heart of the action, with easy access to shopping, dining, cultural attractions, and nightlife. It’s a great choice for first-time visitors to Dublin who want to explore the city’s most famous landmarks on foot. 

Best places to stay in Dublin in Trinity/ Grafton Street without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Westbury Hotel, 5-star hotel located in  Grafton Street, between Trinity College and St Stephen’s Green, offering easy access to all major attractions including Dublin Castle and the Gaiety Theatre.
  • Mid-range ($$): Staycity Aparthotels Mark Street, popular 4-star hotel, conveniently located within walking distance from Merrion Square, Trinity College, and  EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. Close to the bus and train stations.
  • Budget ($): Trinity Townhouse Hotel, popular 3-star Georgian hotel, situated beside Trinity College, in a quiet area, only 5 to 10 mins walk from Grafton Street,  O’Connell Street, and Temple Bar. Easy access to Air Coach, city tour bus stops, and Stephen’s Green LUAS station.

3. St. Stephen’s Green and Merrion 

The area around  Merrion Square and St. Stephen’s Green is one of the best areas to stay in Dublin due to its central locations and relaxing atmosphere. They are one of the most upscale areas in Dublin known for its Georgian architecture and beautiful gardens.

The area is home to numerous green spaces such as St. Stephen’s Green park, Merrion Square Park, Fitzwilliam Square. They are all beautifully landscaped oases in the heart of Dublin and are great places for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

You’ll be within walking distance of cultural institutions like the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland, and the Little Museum of Dublin. You’ll also close the shopping streets of Grafton Street, as well as Trinity College and the lively nightlife Temple Bar.

The area offers a variety of upscale dining options, including Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s a great place for fine dining and exploring Dublin’s culinary scene.

Best places to stay in Dublin in Merrion/ St. Stephen’s Green without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Fitzwilliam Hotel, great 5-star hotel, centrally located right next to St Stephen’s Green, within only a few mins from Temple Bar, Grafton Street, and Trinity College. Lots of restaurants and bars can be found nearby.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Mont, 4-star hotel located next to Merrion Square, in central Dublin, offering Fabulous breakfast, family rooms, and 24-hour front desk. It is close to the bus/train station for links to the airport and the downtown area of Dublin.
  • Budget ($):  Stauntons on the Green Hotel, great 3-star good value for money hotel offering views of St Stephen’s Green. It is within 10 mins walk from popular Trinity College, The National Gallery , and the shopping of Grafton Street.

4. Temple Bar

Temple Bar is a vibrant and lively neighborhood in the heart of Dublin, and it’s a popular base for tourists to enjoy its energetic nightlife as the area is renowned for its bustling nightlife. 

You’ll find a multitude of pubs, clubs, and live music venues, making it a great choice for those who want to experience Dublin’s traditional and contemporary music and social scene. Note that it can get quite lively and noisy at night.

The area is home to cultural gems such as the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Project Arts Centre, and the Irish Film Institute. You can explore contemporary art, theater, and film here.

Temple Bar Square is often the hub of activity and a gathering spot for locals and tourists alike.

While Temple Bar is lively, it’s also within walking distance of major Dublin landmarks, including Trinity College, Dublin Castle, and the Ha’penny Bridge.

Best places to stay in Dublin in Temple Bar without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Merchant House, 5-star hotel located in Temple Bar, close to the Button Factory venue, easy walk from numerous restaurants, theaters, bars and historic landmarks.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hard Rock Hotel Dublin, 4-star hotel, set in a prime location, a short walk from The City Hall, Chester Beatty Library and St Patrick’s Cathedral. It has Fabulous breakfast and 24-hour front desk. Close to the airport bus stop and the river.
  • Budget ($): Harding Hotel,  great 3-star hotel located in the Temple Bar district, offering views of the Christ Church Cathedral, a bistro-style restaurant and a bar. Easy access to Dublin Castle, the Guinness Storehouse, Airlink bus (747) and Dublin city Hop-On Hop-Off buses.

5. Portobello

Portobello, aka Little Jerusalem, is a trendy and charming neighborhood that is ideal for couples, families, and travelers who appreciate a quieter, more local atmosphere.

Portobello is situated along the Grand Canal, which provides a beautiful backdrop for leisurely strolls and picnics. The peaceful waters and tree-lined paths offer a more serene atmosphere compared to the bustling city center.

While Portobello has a more laid-back ambiance, it’s still within walking distance of Dublin’s city center, making it easy to access major attractions and transportation links.

Best places to stay in Dublin in Portobello without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Camden Court Hotel, 4-star hotel, conveniently located close to St Stephen’s Green, on the Luas line tram system, offering excellent access to the city. Also within 10 mins walk from Dublin Castle and the Temple Bar district.
  • Budget ($): Albany House, 3-star historic hotel located on Harcourt Street, a short walk from a wide variety of bars and restaurants. Close to the lively Temple Bar and St Stephen’s Green. Convenient location for the airport express bus.
  • Budget ($): Kilronan House, 3-star hotel located on Adelaide Road, within walking distance from major sights, close to Iveagh Gardens and Fitzwilliam Square.

6. The Docklands

The Docklands is ideal for business travelers and tourists looking for a more modern and upscale experience in Dublin. It offers proximity to the city center, cultural attractions, and the convenience of being in a thriving business district. 

The Docklands is home to numerous multinational companies, tech firms, and financial institutions. If you’re visiting Dublin for business purposes, this area is convenient and offers excellent transport links.

The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre hosts a variety of performances, including musicals, concerts, and theater shows. The EPIC Irish Emigration Museum is another notable cultural attraction in the area.

The Grand Canal Dock area is a scenic part of the Docklands, with waterside paths, benches, and public art. It’s perfect for leisurely walks and relaxation.

The Docklands is well-connected to public transportation, with the Luas tram system and numerous bus routes serving the area. You can easily access other parts of the city from here.

Best places to stay in Dublin in The Docklands without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Anantara The Marker Dublin, 5-star hotel, located on Grand Canal Square, within walking distance from many shops, theaters, and pubs  for traditional Irish music and dance.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Samuel Hotel, 4-star hotel located close to 3Arena, The Convention Centre Dublin and EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. It has family rooms and a very good breakfast. You can find a tram right in front of the hotel.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hilton Garden Inn Dublin City Centre, 4-star hotel set right next to Arena, EPIC Ireland museum and Bord Gais Theatre. Offering views of the River Liffey and Good breakfast. Easy access to Busaras and Connolly Station as well as a tram stop.

7. Smithfield

Smithfield is a historic and vibrant neighborhood known for its market square, cultural attractions, and local character. 

The heart of the neighborhood is Smithfield Square, a public space that hosts events, markets, and festivals. It’s surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a lively place to spend time.

One of the highlights of Smithfield is the Jameson Distillery Bow St. It’s a popular attraction where you can learn about the whiskey-making process and enjoy tastings.

Smithfield is rich in history, with notable landmarks such as St. Michan’s Church and the Four Courts nearby. The Dublin Writers Museum and the Hugh Lane Gallery are also within walking distance.

This area has a variety of hotels, hostels, and serviced apartments. Prices can be more reasonable compared to the city center, making it a good choice for budget-conscious travelers.

Best places to stay in Dublin in Smithfield without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Hampton By Hilton Dublin City Centre, 3-star hotel, located on Chancery Street Smithfield, close to St. Michan’s Church and Jameson Distillery. Easy access to the airport express bus, tram line, and the hop on hop off bus. 5 mins walk away from  Capel street with lots of restaurants and shops. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Maldron Hotel Smithfield, 4-star hotel, located only 3 LUAS tram stops away from O’Connell Street. 2 mins walk from Old Jameson Distillery and the Smithfield LUAS station.
  • Budget ($): McGettigan’s Townhouse – Olives & Figs Bistro, great accommodation, close to St. Michan’s Church, Jameson Distillery and The City Hall.

In conclusion, O’Connell Street, Trinity/Grafton Street, Merrion/St. Stephen’s Green, Temple Bar, Portobello, The Docklands, and Smithfield are the best places to stay in Dublin without a car. These areas offer easy access to tourist attractions and amenities on foot and by buses, trains, trams, and taxis.

If you are new to Dublin, you can read this article: Best areas to stay in Dublin for first time. Other articles about Ireland are Best places to stay in Galway without a car.

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas that you can stay during your car-free trip to Dublin. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality travel guides.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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