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MUST READ – Where to Stay in Cork: Best Hotels in Cork (2020)

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Traveling to the Emerald Isle and wondering where to stay in Cork? Look no further! Here we talk about the best hotels in Cork, Ireland.

Although Cork is the second-largest city in Ireland, it has a charming small-town feel.

Home to seriously awesome pubs, excellent food venues, and quirky museums, Cork is a place you can’t afford to miss when traveling to Ireland.

We visited Cork on a few occasions, and in all of them, we felt as if we were at home.

The friendly locals made us feel very welcome, no matter in which property we were staying in Cork.

Also, the city was one of the stops during our fantastic Ireland road trip. And we certainly will stop by again and again as we discover the four corners of this beautiful country.

Anyway, many Cork hotels offer top-notch service at a reasonable price range. Still, to ensure you find the best hotel in Cork City that suits your needs, we decided to write this complete accommodation guide for you.

We hope it’s useful!

Looking for the best hotel in Cork, Ireland? Read on!

Where to stay in Cork – budget overview

Accommodation in Cork can vary a lot depending on where you want to stay–neighborhood and budget category-wise.

If you are wondering how much does it cost to stay in a hotel in Cork, here’s a general range of what you can expect to spend by each budget category:

Cork Ireland hotels

  • Budget: Around $20-40 per night for a dorm bed or under $60 for a double
  • Mid-range: Around $60-120
  • Luxury: Around $150 per night or more

Best places to stay in Cork

Our top picks for where to stay in Cork

Not enough time to read this article in one sitting? If you want a quick answer to the best accommodation in Cork, here are our top picks in the city.

Best guest house in Cork: Shandon Bells

Shandon Bells is a sweet and simple place with rooms on the smaller side, but still clean and comfortable.

With a lovely decoration, this guest house serves an Irish breakfast for a surcharge in a beautiful area by the River Lee.

The rooms are equipped with a TV, free WiFi, and each has a private bathroom with a hairdryer.

It’s conveniently near the Cork center area, and the free parking on site is very convenient if you’re traveling Ireland by car.

Best hotel in Cork: Maldron Hotel

As far as location goes, the Maldron is one of the best hotels in Cork for first-time visitors. For instance, the English Market is only a 5-minute walk from the property, and most attractions are within walking distance.

The luxurious rooms at Maldron Hotel are equipped with a TV, air conditioning, desk, tea kettle, and a private bathroom with free toiletries.

While the hotel has an onsite bar and restaurant, the surrounding area also has excellent options.

For breakfast, they serve enough food for all tastes.

In terms of location and comfort, this is one of your best options for accommodation in Cork.

Colman Cathedral in Cobh, Cork County
Colman Cathedral in Cobh, Cork County

Cork neighborhood guide

Cork has three distinct neighborhoods to stay in, but we will also talk about Blarney, which is near Cork. Each one of these neighborhoods is suited to a different kind of traveler.

Like Dublin and most Irish cities, Cork is a small town, and all of its neighborhoods are easy to explore. Still, it’s definitely worth considering where you’d like to be based during your stay in Cork, depending on your situation.

Are you traveling on a shoestring budget? Or are you simply traveling solo? As a family or a couple? What do you want to have on your doorstep? Whatever you’re looking for, we’ll cover it here in this Cork neighborhood guide.

NeighborhoodPerfect forCheck accommodation
Victorian QuarterBudget, shopping vintage, hip barsCheck top hotel
Check top hostel
Cork City CenterSightseeing, eating out, shoppingCheck top hotel
Check top B&B
University College CorkFamilies, parks, walksCheck top hotel
Check top guest house
BlarneyCouples, local atmosphere, relaxationCheck top hotel
Check top B&B

Victorian Quarter: From quirky to charming shops, the Victorian Quarter is full of independent stores for all tastes. Not only that, but this area is one of the most lively ones in Cork.

Unsurprisingly, plenty of excellent pubs playing live music and acclaimed theater performances make sure that locals and tourists have a blast here.

Not only the cultural scene is very famous but also the historical buildings in the area are worth your time, including St. Patrick’s Church.

Cork City Center: While the Victorian Quarter feels like a cozy village, Cork City Center is a bustling city like any other European city.

Although relatively small, Cork’s compact city center is a busy shopping district with mainstream boutiques, upscale dining options, and long-standing pubs.

Most of these fantastic pubs serve classic Irish lamb stew and host live folk music sessions, which you can’t afford to miss.

This is an excellent base to go sightseeing since you’re staying in the heart of the city–No doubt this is one of the best areas to stay in Cork for first-time visitors.

University College Cork: The quiet area of the University College Cork is in the southwest of the city center.

This region is filled with fantastic restaurants and lots of green areas that are perfect for those who want to enjoy eating well and walking in the park, but without being far from the city center.

Blarney: Near Cork, this town is famous for the Blarney Castle, which is a significant attraction in the region.

Blarney is a quaint town with lots of green areas, including the castle’s garden, and narrow streets filled with Tudor style and colorful Irish houses.

It’s a short ride from Cork City Center, and a tranquil place to stay near Cork, perfect for those who want to experience the local life.

Map of where to stay in Cork Ireland
Map of where to stay in Cork Ireland – Map Data ©2020 Google

Best areas to stay in Cork Ireland

Whenever we plan a trip, we always start our research by the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in that destination.

That research is based on what that area has to offer and what our needs are. After traveling the world, this system has proven to be essential for us when visiting somewhere for the first time.

And because we want to help you choose an area to stay in Cork that suits your needs best, we wrote about the city’s neighborhoods in more detail, as well as the best hotel, B&B, or hostel in each one of those places.

We hope it’s helpful!

Victorian Quarter: the best neighborhood to stay in Cork for shoestring budget travelers

St Patrick's Quay and River Lee in Cork
St Patrick’s Quay

The Victorian Quarter is an atmospheric hub of 19th-century buildings north of the River Lee.

The historical buildings, including St. Patrick’s Church, are definitely worth your time, and here they are at your doorstep.

Moreover, the area is famous for its cultural scene and lively vibe. From quirky to charming venues, the Victorian Quarter is full of independent and vintage shops.

Vintage clothing, book stores, and music festivals give the area bohemian flavor. Unsurprisingly, the Victorian Quarter also has excellent hip bars playing live music and an acclaimed theater in the area.

Things to see & do in the Victorian Quarter:

  • Marvel at the colorful stained glass windows of the St. Patrick’s Church
  • Explore the quaint streets of this “village” inside of Cork
  • Shop for some vintage clothing and accessories and bring home some Irish gifts
  • Enjoy some live performances in Cork’s oldest pub, Sin é
  • Stroll along the vibrant MacCurtain Street filled with world cuisine restaurants

Best hostel in the Victorian Quarter: Kinlay House Hostel

Kinlay House is ideally located near major attractions in Cork. The hostel is simple, but it has the necessary amenities one could wish for this price range.

The rooms are clean, and if you book the one with bathroom ensuite, you can have much more privacy. This hostel offers single and double rooms, and some of them have a view of the city or the church/cemetery next to it.

On the ground floor, you find locker facilities and a well-equipped kitchen open for guests.

From here, you’re an easy walk away from the Shandon Bells & Tower Church and the Butter Museum. It’s also a very short 10-15 minute walk into the town center.

Best hotel in the Victorian Quarter: The Metropole Hotel Cork

In the heart of the Victorian Quarter, the Metropole Hotel Cork is just a short walk from the city’s business district and many excellent shops, boutiques, theaters, and galleries.

Not only is the location perfect, but the hotel also features an indoor pool, gym, and sauna.

The minimalist designed rooms have a safe, tea kettle, TV, comfortable beds, and free WiFi. They also have a private bathroom with complimentary toiletries included.

Cork City Center: the best place to stay in Cork for first-time visitors

River Lee in Cork City at night
This is your guide to the best hotels in Cork City, Ireland

While the Victorian Quarter feels like a cozy village, Cork City Center is a bustling city like any other European city.

The vibrant city center is jam-packed with mainstream boutiques, fun pubs, excellent restaurants, and plenty of venues where you can enjoy Cork’s bustling heart.

Although relatively small, Cork’s compact city center is lively, and we doubt you will get bored there.

Since this is the heart of the city, the area is an excellent base for sightseeing and travel–from Blarney to Cobh.

No doubt this is one of the best areas to stay in Cork for first-time visitors.

Things to see & do in Cork City Center:

  • Shop organic cheese and meat at the 18th-century indoor English Market
  • Watch a performance at Cork Opera House
  • Learn about Irish art from the 18th-century at Crawford Art Gallery
  • Take a trip to the historical Cork City Gaol, a former prison

Best B&B in Cork City Center: Creedons Traditional Irish Welcome Inn B&B

This family-run B&B in the heart of the city is an excellent option if this is your first time in Cork.

It is located near a bus station, which is perfect if you’re visiting nearby towns or simply continuing your trip through Ireland.

The spacious rooms are equipped with a TV, wardrobe, free WiFi, and each has a private bathroom.

Bernie and Martin, the owners, serve a hearty Irish breakfast that will certainly make you feel at home. Or at least, in an Irish household, for sure.

Best hotel in Cork City Center: Maldron Hotel South Mall Cork City

As far as location goes, the Maldron is one of the best hotels in Cork for first-time visitors. For instance, the English Market is only a 5-minute walk from the property, and most attractions are within walking distance.

The luxurious rooms at Maldron Hotel are equipped with a TV, air conditioning, desk, tea kettle, and a private bathroom with free toiletries.

While the hotel has an onsite bar and restaurant, the surrounding area also has excellent options.

For breakfast, they serve enough food for all tastes.

In terms of location and comfort, this is one of your best options for accommodation in Cork.

University College Cork: the best place to stay in Cork for families and couples

Best hotels in Cork near Cathedral Saint Fin Barre
Cathedral Saint Fin Barre

The University College Cork is a quiet area in the southwest of the city center.

Filled with fantastic restaurants, this area of Cork is perfect for food lovers–the food scene here won’t disappoint you.

Also, the region surrounding the University College has plenty of green areas, making it an ideal place to stay in Cork for those who want to enjoy pleasant walks in the park, and eat well too, of course.

All of that without being far from the city center.

And although Cork has a compact city center, you will want to add comfortable walking shoes to your Ireland packing list. Just to ensure your feet won’t hurt as you will walk within the city.

Things to see & do in University College Cork:

  • Wander through the Fitzgerald Park, and weather-permitting, have a picnic too
  • Look over the city from the 17th-century Elizabeth Fort
  • Walk along the Western Road to Tudor-Gothic University College with its attractive riverside quadrangle
  • Visit the beautiful Honan Chapel, which has a lovely interior including stained-glass windows
  • Marvel at the beautiful interior of the St. Fin Barré’s Cathedral
  • Stop for a drink or two at the hip-chic bar River Club

Best guest house in University College Cork: Shandon Bells Guest House

Shandon Bells is a sweet and simple place with rooms on the smaller side, but still clean and comfortable.

With a lovely decoration, this guest house serves an Irish breakfast for a surcharge in a beautiful area by the River Lee.

The rooms are equipped with a TV, free WiFi, and each has a private bathroom with a hairdryer.

It’s conveniently near the Cork center area, and the free parking on site is very convenient if you’re traveling Ireland by car.

Best hotel in University College Cork: Hayfield Manor

Hayfield Manor offers celebrity treatment to their guests.

With a spa and restaurant onsite, one could easily forget to explore Cork and stay inside enjoying the facilities instead.

The spacious rooms have a beautiful decoration, and each features a TV, air conditioning, bathtub, free WiFi, tea kettle, and ironing facilities.

Also, the hotel serves an outstanding breakfast and offers free parking, which is ideal for those traveling Ireland by car.

In terms of luxury, this is one of your best options for hotels in Cork, Ireland.

Blarney: the best place to stay near Cork for families and couples

Blarney Castle in Ireland
Blarney Castle near Cork

Blarney Town is famous for its legendary castle, Blarney Castle, which is a great day trip from Dublin.

However, most tourists don’t spend much time here when visiting Cork. But because it’s such a short ride from the city, you might consider staying in Blarney to experience the local life a little more.

This quaint town has lots of green areas, including the castle’s garden, and narrow streets filled with Tudor style and colorful Irish houses.

In Blarney, visitors can also find plenty of worldwide cuisine restaurants, classic pubs with live music, and cozy venues.

It’s perfect for families and couples who want to stay in a tranquil place near Cork.

Things to see & do in Blarney:

  • Kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence
  • Wander through the castle’s garden and weather-permitting, have a picnic
  • Visit the Inspirational Gardens at Griffins Garden Centre and have a beautiful view overlooking the banks of Dripsey River
  • Hike the Martin Valley trail to Waterloo
  • Visit the largest industrial archeological site in Ireland, the Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills

Best B&B in Blarney: The White House B&B

Straight out a fairytale, the White House is a lovely B&B only a 5-minute walk from Blarney Village and a 10-minute drive from Cork city center.

In the village, you can enjoy plenty of excellent pubs with live music and hearty food, as well as the surrounding green areas.

With views over Blarney Castle, a spacious living area, and well-maintained gardens, the White House is one of the most luxurious accommodations in Cork.

All of that, together with a traditional and complete Irish breakfast being served every morning, make it a perfect stay for couples and families with kids.

Best hotel in Blarney: Blarney Castle Hotel

Nearly at the entrance of Blarney Castle, this hotel is conveniently located near most venues in the village, including the Blarney Stone and a golf course.

While the hotel is near many eating venues in the village, the onsite restaurant Lemon Tree and pub Johnny’s Bar serve a delicious traditional menu. It’s a lovely place to enjoy an Irish drink or two while listening to live music.

The spacious rooms feature TV, safe, desk, free WiFi, and a bathroom with complimentary toiletries. All of these features make the Blarney Castle Hotel one of the best Cork hotels.

Final words on where to stay in Cork

As a good ol Irish city, Cork is lively and offers a ton of things to do for all kinds of travelers.

And that is also true for the accommodation options in the city–there are plenty of excellent Cork hotels for all needs.

From families traveling with kids to couples to solo travelers, tourists can certainly find a good hotel in Cork for their taste.

But as a quick recap, our top picks are the Shandon Bells Guest House and Maldron Hotel. Both properties are well located and have friendly staff.

While the guest house is in the calm University College area, the hotel is right in the heart of Cork–and both are very convenient locations.

Ireland travel resources

We want you to have a perfect trip to Ireland. To help you with that, we wrote plenty of practical guides.

For instance, if you’re traveling to Ireland, chances are your trip begins in the capital, see the map of Ireland for reference.

Therefore, you will want to read our guide to 2 days in Dublin, as well as this article on where to stay in Dublin. We also have a step-by-step guide on how to get to the city center from Dublin Airport.

Alternatively, you could also stay a night in a castle hotel in Ireland. Clontarf Castle, near Dublin, is an affordable luxury hotel.

If you want to visit other Irish cities and get a better understanding of the local culture, you might want to read this comparison of the best day tours from Dublin. It includes trips to the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, and Galway.

Not to mention that Galway is an excellent base if you want to spend a few days on the western coast. In that case, be sure to read our guide to where to stay in Galway.

Done with the practical stuff? Then you will want to read these interesting facts about Ireland as well as this post about the flag of Ireland.

Don’t forget about travel insurance!

Before you leave for your trip make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy because accidents happen on the road. We have been paying for Safety Wing travel insurance for a little over a year, and we happily recommend them to our family and friends.

If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what it was stollen.

Because, for just a couple dollars a day (depending on how long your policy is for), you’re going to get lots of things covered. Be smart and get travel insurance.

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