Waterford Town Tourism And Travel Guide
6.5° C / 43.7° F
May to September
2 to 3 Days
Cork Airport (127 kms)
Plunkett Railway Station
Waterford is a city located in the province of Munster in the southeast part of Ireland. Founded by the Vikings more than 1000 years ago, the city’s name has been taken from the Old Norse word ‘vedrarfjord’, which can roughly be translated to ‘windy harbour’. Waterford was later invaded by the Anglo-Normans, and the city still retains a fascinating mix of its Viking and Norman past that is evident in its culture and architecture. Waterford has also made a name for itself in the exquisite craft of handmade crystal, with the Waterford Crystal brand now being one of the biggest contributors to the city’s economy. While history lovers have a particular affinity to the Waterford’s exciting and turbulent past, there is also an immense wealth of natural beauty in the city that makes it one of Ireland’s most prized tourism hotspots. Check out our travel guide to know more about this hidden gem of a city, Waterford.
How to Reach
Waterford Airport is located 10 km away from the city centre but is currently not operating any scheduled flights. Travellers coming in via long-distance flights will find it more convenient to fly into either Cork or Dublin airports, and then catch a train, bus or cab to Waterford, which is ideally located between the two cities. Cork Airport is located about an hour and a half away, while Dublin Airport is roughly two hours away from Waterford.
Irish Rail operates the railway services in the region. Waterford’s Plunkett Railway Station has 8 daily services to and from Dublin. An inter-city service runs from Mondays to Saturdays between Waterford and Galway, Limerick, Cork, Athenry, Ennis and Killarney.
Waterford can be reached via both buses and taxis from most major cities and smaller towns across Ireland. The M9 motorway connects Waterford to Dublin, the N24 connects it to Limerick, and the N25 connects it to Cork. Bus Eireann operates buses from all over Ireland, while private bus companies like Eurolines operates services from destinations like London etc.
Ferries are available from Pembroke and Fishguard in South Wales to Rosslare Harbour. From the harbour, travellers can reach Waterford via route 370 of Bus Eireann. Rosslare Harbour is situated just a short distance ahead from Waterford, going eastwards through the River Suir Bridge.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Summer (June – August):
Summers are peak tourist season in Waterford. The warm and pleasant afternoons, long hours of daylight, and clear skies with temperatures averaging around 18-20⁰C make summers the perfect time to visit Waterford. The sun usually stays out till 10 pm, which allows visitors to explore the city’s highlights until late in the day. While the weather is perfect for a trip, the atmosphere might not be the most pleasant for those who don’t enjoy large tourist crowds. It is advised to make advance bookings for accommodation and expect high rates as well.
Spring (April – May) & Autumn (September – October):
Spring and autumn are reasonably milder seasons in Waterford and are often considered a better time to plan a trip than summers. The temperature averages around 15-18⁰C during springtime and around 13⁰C during autumn. The afternoons of both shoulder seasons are warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, with the highlight of these months being the lesser crowds and reasonable rates in hotels and other accommodations.
Winter (November – March):
Winters of Waterford are long and chilly. The temperatures range between 6-7⁰C and rarely ever reach freezing levels. Snow and frost are also not very common. Winters are generally off-season in Waterford and you won’t find many tourists in the city at this time. Most of the hotels remain closed, but the few that are open often have great deals on offer. The highlight of visiting during the winters is the Christmas festivities and holiday sales that make up for the cold, gloomy weather.
Things to Do
Tour the Viking Triangle:
The Viking Triangle is a district in Waterford with the city’s top concentration of sights and attractions. Within an area of just one square mile, you can find the majestic Bishop’s Palace, the ancient Reginald’s Tower, the historical Medieval Museum, the world-famous House of Waterford Crystal and the Theatre Royal. In 2018, the Viking Triangle also became the venue for the city’s first annual Viking Festival.
Tour of the House of Waterford Crystal:
The manufacturing facility for the House of Waterford Crystal allows visitors to witness the craft of crystal-making and glass-blowing while interacting with the crystal-makers on this hour-long tour, where they get to learn first-hand about the ancient techniques used in the crystal-making process. The tour ends with a visit to the store where visitors can purchase crystal items of their choice and take them back as souvenirs.
Cycle through the Waterford Greenway:
The Waterford Greenway is an old railway line that was laid down in 1872 between Waterford and Mallow. It was converted into an off-road trail for walkers and cyclists in 1987 after being shut down and is now one of the most scenic routes worth enjoying in the county. There are lots of shops around where you can rent your own pair of e-bikes for this 46-km track, along with a bunch of places on the way where you can stop for a drink or an ice-cream.
Where to Shop
Waterford has a unique persona when it comes to its shopping districts. The town has a great mix of high-end stores, independent boutiques and shopping centres to provide you with the very best in retail therapy. Merchant’s Quarter is Waterford’s main shopping hub and has plenty of stores in one place. The city’s two main shopping centres are George’s Court Shopping Centre and City Square Shopping Centre; places that can compete with any major city’s shopping hotspot in terms of trends and versatility. Waterford’s main highlight is the Waterford Crystal brand, and leaving the city without purchasing a few items of this regional craft is truly unnegotiable.
Where to Eat
Visitors to Waterford are welcomed to a food scene that will suit all palates and pockets. Some of the best places worth trying are the French restaurant L’Atmosphere with hearty food in a cosy setting, the Mediterranean establishment Bodega known for its fresh ingredients and seafood options, and The Granary Café with its tasty dessert and pastry items that pair brilliantly with their tea or coffee. Visit Emiliano’s for a high-end fine dining experience with the finest local Irish ingredients, and McLeary’s for its amazing food served at super affordable prices.