For a relatively small city, Dublin has a lot to offer! Whether you’re a history lover, architecture fan, foodie, party animal or just someone looking for something interesting to do, this city has you covered.
As is happening in many other famous European cities, there is also a growing demand for tours that offer something more than just the standard fare of walking tours through the historic heart of the city, pub crawls and other generic or overcrowded offerings.
The Guinness Storehouse is great, and so are the castles and cathedrals, but there is so much more to Ireland’s capital. To help you see some of it for yourself, we’ve created this list of the best alternative tours in Dublin.
All of the below experiences are easily accessible from our city centre hotels and can be completed in a day or less. They’re also either free or extremely affordable – as any good day tour should be!
True Crime Tour
Bored of true crime documentaries yet don’t quite fancy being the subject of a manhunt yourself? Get a taste of the dark side of Dublin with this fascinating 90-minute walking tour. While the city is now considered one of the safest capitals in the world, it has played host to many a crook over the course of its long and storied history, making it an ideal place to enjoy a spot of true crime tourism.
Learn about everything from famous heists to serial killers while exploring some of the locations where these crimes actually took place. This tour is also popular with locals, always a good sign!
The company that organises it, Alternative Dublin, also offers several other alternative themed tours, including one that takes in the city’s eclectic street art, another focused on the secret history of gay Dublin and even an excursion that spotlights the amazing women of Irish history.
Cost: €15 per person
Book it here.
Dublin Alternative Tour
Be Original is a company that offers free walking tours and experiences all over Europe. Their Dublin offerings include a regular tour that takes you past most of the famous sights and locations, a pub crawl and a 2.5 – 3 hour long alternative tour that will give you a taste of the other side of Ireland’s eclectic capital.
Guided by locals, this tour is all about exploring Dublin’s thriving underground culture and visiting some of its hippest spots. The route and places you’ll visit depend on who your guide is, with Be Original encouraging all of its guides to make the experience their own and showcase their unique local knowledge. Expect everything from trendy cafes and hipster-filled galleries to street art and bohemian vibes. It’s a great opportunity to socialise with like-minded people and learn about the city from a local’s perspective, all the while avoiding the crowds and queues at more mainstream attractions. In that sense, it’s undoubtedly one of the best alternative tours in Dublin.
Book it here.
Dalton’s Musical History Tour
Music tours may be a dime-a-dozen in Dublin, but a musical history tour with a singing guide is about as unique and alternative as you can get! Hosted by professional singer and qualified tour guide Fiona Dalton, this two-hour walking tour will take you on a musical journey that introduces you to some of Ireland’s most storied events, places and people.
If you’re a fan of interactive tours, you’ll likely want to take up the invitation to join in with Fiona as she sings her way through Irish history, although just enjoying the music is perfectly fine as well. Amongst other things, you’ll visit Dublin Castle to relive the Irish Rebellion through one of its most famous rebel songs, learn about Dublin’s ‘first lady’ through the famous Ballad of Molly Malone and become an Irish Viking as you sing an age-old melody and practice traditional braiding techniques at Wood Quay.
Cost: €30 per person
Book it here.
Dublin Kayaking Tour
Not quite ready to skip all of Dublin’s most famous attractions but don’t fancy a crowded walking tour or an open-top bus? Not to worry, with this lovely Dublin kayaking tour you can experience the historic city centre and still do something a little bit different. Paddle gently down the calm waters of the River Liffey, taking in some of the city’s most renowned sights from an entirely different perspective.
The experience is open to anyone over the age of 6 (under 18s require adult supervision) and you don’t need any previous kayaking experience. Before setting out, you’ll be provided with a life jacket and be given some basic instruction on how to paddle. There are also safety kayaks crewed by trained professionals who stand ready to help out at any moment, including by providing a gentle tow if your untrained arms start to get a little bit tired.
Cost: €35 per person
Book it here.
7 Wonders Of The City Exploration Game
As alternative tours in Dublin go, this one is right up there with the most unusual of them. Embark upon an epic quest to uncover the hidden secrets of the city while exploring some of its most famous areas and also walking a few less trodden paths as well. Part outdoor escape game, part treasure hunt, this is a self-guided tour that compels you to follow your nose and decipher clues provided to you by an app. Each time you solve one, you are provided with your next location and detailed instructions on how to get there.
As your journey progresses you’ll learn about the landmarks you visit and the history of Dublin itself – built by Vikings, invaded by the English and ruled with an Iron fist by the catholic church. While the tour can be completed in around two hours, you’re free to move at whatever pace you prefer. The puzzles that you must solve in order to proceed are well thought out and interesting yet not overly difficult, making this tour suitable for the entire family. If you’re looking for a truly different way to explore this historic city, the 7 wonders game certainly won’t disappoint.
Cost: €7.50 per person
Book it here.
Your Base For the Best Alternative Tours Dublin
Are you excited to book these cool, unusual tours? Don’t forget to book your hotel first! Consider staying at Maldron Hotel Kevin Street, which overlooks St. Patrick’s Cathedral. St Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street are also just minutes away, perfect for tour aficionados!