Self Guided Hiking Tour Grades

How we grade our Hiking Holidays

Please Note that we have currently suspended all self-guided walking holidays because of the uncertainty around Covid.

We continue to offer fully guided day hikes, foraging and unique on farm cultural experiences !

This is always a difficult nut to crack and can be subjective depending on anyone’s current level of fitness and past experience, but it is very important that you choose the best level to suit you.

We have graded our self guided walks:

1) Leisurely
2) Moderate
3) Challenging

Please note that, regardless of which level of difficulty or grade you choose, every Mountain Ways Ireland hiking holiday within a specific region follows the same Waymarked trail. For example, if you choose to go walking on The Dingle Way, it doesn’t matter whether you choose a ‘Leisurely’ or a ‘Moderate’ tour – you will still be walking along the official ‘Dingle Way’ trail.

Mountain Ways Ireland has put a lot of planning and work into how to make these these walking trails more accessible to all walkers. For the most part what we have done is either:

  1. Chosen less demanding sections of the trail, or
  2. Created a shorter average daily hike between accommodations.

Our hiking Grades are based on the distance, gradient, and terrain of the route involved. Hiking times are based on 4 km/h and takes into account ‘Naismith’s rule’ to allow for ascent however this is not an exact science and many factors can change this, not least the weather overhead and underfoot conditions. Lunch or photo stops are not included.


Our leisurely self guided hikes are designed to allow you plenty of time to take photos, immerse yourself in the landscape and have a leisurely lunch stop . The terrain will vary from road, to forest track to mountain and can at times be wet underfoot. There will be uphill and downhill sections on most days unless maybe beach walking.

Leisurely is our ‘lowest’ grade of hiking holiday however please don’t assume that you can turn up and enjoy the experience without having put in some preparatory walks for a while before you come.

Mountain Ways Ireland Guide ,Lorrain walking on the Camino de Santiago
Hillwalking group on walking holiday in Ireland taking a selfie on mountain top


Our moderate self guided hikes are designed with regular hikers in mind or the person that is fit and takes some sort of regular exercise. The terrain will vary from road, to forest track to mountain and can at times be wet underfoot. This level will stretch you a little more than the leisurely option but don’t worry you’ll still have plenty of time to soak up and enjoy the landscape, culture and heritage as you cross our beautiful country.

Moderate is our ‘mid -range’ grade of hiking holiday. You should be taking regular exercise and longer hikes at the weekends for a good period of time before you begin your Mountain Ways Ireland hiking adventure.


Our Challenging self guided hikes are designed to do exactly what it says on the tin, challenge you. This grade is for the very experienced or fit distance hikers or moderate hikers who really want to push it and take on with a physical challenge. The distance is greater, the elevation gain is greater, and endurance is a factor with back to back days of this nature.

That doesn’t mean, you won’t enjoy it! The stunning landscapes, exhilarating sea-scapes, the history, culture, food, craic is still the same and you will enjoy that hot shower in the evening even more so.

Lone walker in Glendalough wicklow way descending rocky ground to blue lake

Be realistic, this will help you get the most out of your walking holiday!

Remember this is all very personal and we can only advise as best we can. Not every day will be the same or fall neatly into these categories. If you’re unsure then have a closer look at the daily distance and overall height gain that is shown for each individual Mountain Ways Ireland Hiking Holiday package.

Not sure? Request a callback!

We’re here to help. You ask the questions and tell us what you want. Be sure that we’ll listen and one of the Mountain Ways Ireland team will be back to you as soon as possible.

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