By Jessica Colley—
A single €20 note can be stretched pretty far in Dublin. Unlike other European cities where transport can be a drain on your budget, Dublin is a compact, walkable city. As long as you have an umbrella for those impromptu showers, it is easy to spend an entire day in Dublin without using public transport.
The key to sticking to your budget is finding affordable places to eat and free things to do. Keep reading for a full itinerary on a 20-euro Dublin day.
Start your day at Queen of Tarts, one of the best known bakeries in Dublin. You will have many choices for €5 or less here, including homemade apple scones with raspberry preserves (€2.95) or hot oatmeal with apple compote and maple syrup (€4.50).
Order at the counter and you won’t have to worry about leaving a tip (read more about tipping in Dublin).
Breakfast at Queen of Tarts will place you right at the far edge of Temple Bar. While this district is known for its rowdy tourist pubs, it is re-identifying itself as the cultural quarter of Dublin. Explore during the day when you will encounter street performers and markets full of €1 books and records.
Finish wandering through Temple Bar at Curved Street, home to the Curved Street Café. This 2nd floor café is a cozy space serving up filling lunch options like hearty soups and sandwiches. The best value is the soups for €4 (served with a hunk of bread) while sandwiches cost about €6.
Once again, because you order at the counter, don’t worry about a tip. If you have a sweet tooth, all cakes here (€2 to €3) are made at the excellent local Cake Café. Free Wi-Fi is also available here.
After lunch, leave Temple Bar behind and cross the River Liffey over the whimsical Ha’Penney Bridge. Stroll along the Quays towards Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, and head north towards Parnell Square. Step down into the Garden of Remembrance, a peaceful outdoor space that serves as a memorial to all those people who gave their lives seeking Irish independence from British rule.
Right nearby on Parnell Square is the Hugh Lane Gallery. Entrance here is free, and the gallery is home to one extremely popular exhibit: Francis Bacon’s studio. Here the artist’s studio has been recreated exactly as it was found on the day of his death. Several of his paintings are also on display.
This area on the north side is well known for being home to many of Dublin’s best ethnic eateries. One of my favorites is the cozy Hop House, a restaurant serving Korean and Japanese food. All orders come with a free cup of steaming miso soup to warm you up when you step off the street.
All of the noodle dishes – such as Japanese noodles with tempura prawns – are priced around €11. There are a few sushi options for under €10 and teriyaki chicken wings (€8.90) are another local favorite. One trick is if you arrive before 5 p.m., you get to order off the lunch menu which is very similar to the dinner menu, only with cheaper prices.
Any coins left?
If you have any coins left in your budget, head to the attached pub next door to enjoy a Korean or Japanese beer and some live music.
Also in our guide: Heading to Dublin and looking to keep it cheap? Be sure to check out our reviews of the best cheap hotels in Dublin, all of them visited, inspected and photographed by our editors. Read more in our Dublin guide.