The stunning 7km Bray Head loop walk on Valentia Island in Kerry is well worth doing if you have time. Actually, you should really make time for this one! It’s spectacular and a great vantage point for viewing the magical Skellig Islands. From Portmagee where we stayed, it’s only a short drive across the bridge to Valentia Island. As you drive across the bridge you can clearly see Bray Head to your left so just head that way at the next junction where you’ll see it signposted. Follow the coastal road and you’ll come to a carpark (cost €2) from where you start the walk. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.
It’s a steady climb up Bray Head but the views are amazing from the outset. Behind you are great views across the water back to Portmagee and you’ll also enjoy the views out towards the Kerry Cliffs, over Puffin Island and out to the Skelligs as you make your way to the summit. Just a heads up, you will have to share the view with plenty of sheep and cows too though. Luckily there’s plenty of room for everyone, so no pushing or shoving required!
When you reach the ruin of the old signal tower, take a breather to enjoy the stunning panoramic views. This is also the perfect spot for a picnic. Not that we thought of that beforehand of course. We just looked on with envy as another couple took out their food and wine, preparing to relax and enjoy the sunset! And we were treated to a pretty incredible sunset to be fair. One of those ones where the whole sky turns pink and the colour lingers on well after the sun has vanished below the horizon. We walked out to the tip of the headland, gazing out towards the Skellig Islands as the last light skimmed the rocks and getting excited about the fact that we would actually be heading out to Skellig Michael the follow day.
We eventually managed to pull ourselves away, heading back towards the tower to continue or walk before it got too dark. From the signal tower, continue climbing upwards to complete the loop around Bray Head. The few people we came across seemed to just walk up to the tower and then return the same way they had come. I don’t know if that saves you any time but either way I would recommend finishing the loop. There are beautiful views to enjoy on the other side of the headland towards Dingle and the north, which you would otherwise miss.
Having said that, the final part of the loop walk does cover some some rough, uneven ground though. So I can see why people might prefer to take the straightforward route back. Just take your time and don’t go twisting an ankle! I reckon this is a really great walk where you get fantastic reward for not too much effort. You can probably be finished in 2 hours if you don’t linger forever soaking in the views but then again, isn’t that the point. This really is a spectacular part of the country, so slow down and savour it!