A short hop from Dublin’s city centre is the fabulous coastline of Dublin Bay, which is dotted with hidden gems, awash with spectacular views and overflowing with exciting water-based activities.

The new Dublin Coastal Trail now makes it easier than ever to access and enjoy everything that Dublin’s majestic coastline has to offer.

Stretching from the pretty harbour village of Skerries in the north and running to delightful Killiney in the south, the trail passes through 11 towns and villages where way-finding signs in six languages highlight key attractions and experiences.

Almost 70 diverse sites and activities are indicated on the trail, which can be followed on foot, bike or by rail.

Among the heritage highlights are medieval Malahide Castle and Gardens with gorgeous period interiors and acres of lush parkland to explore. The James Joyce Tower and Museum at Sandycove is a must for Joyce fans, while the National Maritime Museum of Ireland offers a fascinating insight into Ireland’s seafaring history.

Cliff hikes, seaside strolls, and rock climbing are just some of the outdoor activities to be enjoyed along the trail. The more adventurous may be tempted to dive into the Irish Sea at the 40-foot drop at Sandycove or enjoy a spot of kayaking or kitesurfing in the bay.

Dublin Bay is a UNESCO designated biosphere, internationally recognised for its fascinating natural heritage which includes important habitats and species of wildlife.

The best way to experience its diversity is on a cruise taking in the idyllic Dalkey Island, which is home to a colony of grey seals, the unspoilt Ireland’s Eye island with its large variety of seabirds and the important Bull Island Nature Reserve. Boat tours are available from several points along the trail.

Among the scenic towns and villages along the coastal trail are Howth with its picturesque lighthouse and dramatic cliffs, and Dalkey. This charming medieval village is a great place to relax with a coffee and perhaps catch a glimpse of some of its famous locals such as Enya, Chris de Burgh and Neil Jordan.

Elegant Dún Laoghaire offers a wealth of water-based activities and a pier walk which affords stunning views of Dublin Bay.

With many harbours and fishing coves along the trail it’s no wonder that the freshest seafood is always available and a stop in a restaurant or café will deliver a feast fit for the most discerning foodies.

The Dublin Coastal Trail can be easily joined from Dublin city centre by train and presents over 40km of magical and memorable experiences.