Going on walks in the Isle of Man is one of the best ways to explore this beautiful island. From scenic coastal walks and plantation walks to challenging hikes amongst the hilly landscapes, there’s a realm of natural beauty to be discovered. In this article, I’ll be sharing my 15 favourite Isle of Man walking trails and routes to help you plan your trip.
For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, the Isle of Man is a dream come true. I’ve been living here for almost two years now, and I’m constantly blown away by the islands diverse natural world and ever-changing landscapes.
Undoubtedly the best way to discover the island is on foot. While many of the popular IOM attractions are accessible by car, the real gems of the island are tucked away.
Hidden within the various Isle of Man walking routes are majestic waterfalls, enchanting glens, secret beaches, and the remains of ancient buildings.
Each time I go out walking in the Isle of Man, it feels like an adventure. And I’m excited to be able to share with you one of the most exciting activities that’s on offer here.
In this guide, you’ll find 15 IOM walking trails that are suitable for a range of capabilities and fitness levels. So whether you’re looking for strenuous hikes, easy family walks, dog-friendly routes, or organised walking tours, there’s something for everyone.
Now, with all that out of the way, let’s jump right into it. Here’s my top 15 Isle of Man Walking Trails & Routes.
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Isle of Man Coastal Path Walks
The ‘Raad Ny Foillan’ Manx Gaelic for The Way of the Gull is the Isle of Man’s coastal path. At almost 100 miles in length, the trail circulates the entire island encountering a variety of landscapes along the way.
Not only does the path allow spectacular views of the rugged coastline, but it explores thrilling clifftop footpaths, secret sandy beaches, charming glens and scenic farmland. It’s also not uncommon to come across a variety of wildlife, including seals, dolphins, birds, and livestock.
Isle of Man coastal walks can be as challenging or gentle as you’d like. Some visitors make a walking holiday out of it, working their way along the entire route over a period of 4-12 days. Or you can break it up into shorter trails like the ones I have suggested.
Either way, look out for the blue arrows like the one pictured above. These arrows will guide you in the right direction along the coastal path.
Safety Information: Be aware that some sections of the IOM coastal path are steep and narrow in places. Take extra care in strong winds, which can make some routes dangerous. Sensible walking shoes and clothing is a must. Also, check tide timetables before setting off as access may be restricted at high tide.
1. Douglas to Port Soderick
Time: 1-2 hours
I’ll start with what’s one of my favourite walks on the Isle of Man. I live in Douglas, so it’s a walk I do pretty often. But, it never gets boring as it boasts some of the most picturesque coastal views on the island.
Starting in Douglas, the walk leads you along the promenade. Follow my map below, and you’ll reach one of my favourite secret beaches before working your way past the famous lighthouse and up to Douglas Head.
From here, look back for spectacular views over Douglas and continue on to Marine Drive. Things start to get interesting from here as the undulating path leads you along the craggy coastline. Sheer drops loom over the cliff face, where remote bays and interesting rock formations lay dormant.
This section of the Raad Ny Foillan offers a contrast of scenery with sea views to the left and countryside to the right. Look out for hidden footpaths that lead you down to remote beaches.
When you reach Port Soderick Beach, follow my route through the glen and catch a bus back to Douglas from the main road. Or, if you’d prefer, you can make this a circular walk by walking back to Douglas.
Douglas to Port Soderick Coastal Path Map
2. Douglas to Groudle Glen
Time: 1-2 hours
This next section of the Raad Ny Foillan is another regular route of ours. Although slightly less challenging than the first, the terrains are no less breathtaking. You’ll also get to visit Groudle Glen, which is one of my favourite glens on the island.
Again, this route begins in Douglas and leads you North along the promenade. It’s around a 1.5-mile stretch, allowing you plenty of time to take in the views of Douglas bay and the Tower of Refuge.
At the end of the promenade, you’ll follow the coastal road up to Onchan, winding through a residential area before taking a narrow footpath along the cliffside. By this point, you’ll get to enjoy sweeping views of the dramatic cliffs beneath you, all the way across the bay to Douglas Head.
Eventually, you’ll detour back to the coastal road, where you’ll find Groudle Glen at the bottom of the hill. Prepare to be enchanted as you navigate dazzling streams, dense woodland, and wizard sculptures.
When you reach Groudle Beach at the bottom of the glen, you have a few options. You can ride the Groudle Railway, which can be a fun thing to do with the family. You can continue along the coastal path to Laxey. Or make your way back to the main road where you can take the electric railway back to Douglas.
Douglas to Groudle Glen Coastal Path Map
3. Port St Mary to The Sound Cafe
Time: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Fairly Difficult
On the slightly more adventurous end of the scale, we have this exciting 5 mile stretch between Port St Mary and The Sound. Honestly, this isn’t just one of the most astonishing walks I’ve done on the Isle of Man, but in the whole of the UK.
I’ll start by saying that this section of the coastal path is a little sketchy in parts. Perhaps even treacherous at times depending on the weather. With that in mind, it’s certainly not a hike to do with little ones.
Unfortunately, dogs are also not permitted within certain areas of the route. This is a new thing as we’ve walked it with Ronnie in the past. I believe it’s because owners were letting their dogs off leashes around the livestock.
For those fit and able to experience this IOM coastal walk, however, you’re in for a treat. Starting in the picturesque beachside village of Port St Mary, you’ll advance through grassy footpaths and open moorland before winding up on towering cliffs.
Experience cinematic views and stomach-churning drops as you traverse the cliff edge. Feel the adrenaline peak as every twist and turn presents a new challenge.
And finally, as you reach The Sound Cafe, look forward to some well-deserved food and drink. This cafe is one of our favourite places to eat on the Isle of Man and flaunts panoramic views of one of the island’s most beautiful areas.
Port St Mary to The Sound Coastal Path Map
4. Port Erin Beach to Milners Tower
Time: 1 hour
If you’re short for time but want to experience the astonishing views that our coastal path has to offer, this IOM walking trail is for you.
When you look out from Port Erin Beach (one of the best beaches on the Isle of Man, by the way), you can’t miss Milner’s Tower. The mysterious-looking structure dominates the view, enticing all who see it to want a closer look.
There are various footpaths to reach the tower; some are slightly easier to navigate than others. But all of them will get you there in around 45-60 minutes. It’s a strenuous walk up, but worth it for the views.
So long as it isn’t too windy, I recommend following the cliff path up and returning through Bradda Glen. That way, you can reward yourself with cake at Bradda Glen Cafe on the way down, which is a must.
Another thing I’d say is to save this hike for a clear day when you can see all the way over to Ireland. Also, be sure to check the wind levels, as high winds can make walking here tricky and dangerous.
Port Erin Beach to Milners Tower Coastal Path Map
5. Ramsey to the Point of Ayre
Time: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Fairly Easy
Another fairly easy trail that’s accessible for all the family is the route between Ramsey and the Point of Ayre. This section is mostly flat. So the only thing you really need to be aware of is the tide. Some spots may be impassable during high waters.
That aside, this coastal route allows you to experience one of the most remote and unspoiled regions of the Isle of Man. While Ramsey is the islands second biggest town, you’ll notice a vast shift in landscapes the further North you go.
You can expect some of the astonishing coastal views in these parts before landing at the Point of Ayre – the islands most northern point.
There’s not a lot to see here, other than an iconic lighthouse. But that’s kind of the point. It’s a secluded coastal area that attracts a wide variety of birdlife and the occasional seal. Nature lovers will be in their element.
Ramsey to Point of Ayre Coastal Path Map
6. Niarbyl to Peel
Time: 2-3 hours
This next section of the Raad Ny Foillan is especially picturesque. From winding footpaths and clifftop views to magical woodland walks, you’ll encounter a variety of terrains in just a short space of time.
The trail begins at Niarbyl cafe, which I highly recommend for some pre-fuel ahead of your hike. For the first mile or so, you’ll be on a road which admittedly is nothing special, but hold tight as it gets far more interesting after that.
At around the 1.5-mile point, a narrow footpath leads you down towards the enchanting Glen Maye. If you can, I would spend some time here discovering the majestic waterfalls and rivers before continuing along the route.
From this point, it’s all undulating clifftop footpaths and mesmerising sea views that stretch as far as the eye can see. Eventually, you’ll reach Peel Hill, which descends into Peel while providing jaw-dropping vistas of the Peel Castle ruins and Fenella Beach along the way.
Niarby to Peel Coastal Path Map
Isle of Man Plantation Walks
One of many interesting facts about the Isle of Man is our diverse natural world. On those days when you want to swap coastline for wilderness, the Isle of Man plantation walks provide an opportunity to do just that.
Journey just a few miles inland, and you’ll find the dramatic clifftops replaced by rolling hills and the endless ocean with towering trees.
I imagine you’ll find our local plantations quite staggering. I know that I still do after all this time. With their colossal pine trees and dense foliage, they wouldn’t look out of place in the likes of Canada or Switzerland.
Walking amongst them is as equally mind-blowing as looking at them. It’s easy to forget that the rest of the world exists.
So much so, we’ve ended up lost on a few occasions, which I do not recommend. But so long as you can read a map, you’ll be just fine.
Safety Information: Be aware that some sections of the IOM plantation walks are steep and slippery in places. Take extra care after it’s been raining. Sensible walking shoes and clothing is a must. You will not have a phone signal, so be sure you know your route before you set off.
7. Tholt-y-Will Plantation (Circular Walk)
Time: 1-2 hours
Among the most picturesque plantation walks in the Isle of Man is Tholt-y-Will. Hidden beneath the shadows of Snaefell mountain, this is a steep-sided plantation with a variety of footpaths. Each trail is challenging and rewarding in equal measure.
From the car park, the winding footpath ascends up amongst the trees offering views of the Sulby river and the adjacent glen. It’s not unusual to encounter a few obstacles along the path, so be sure to take care as there are some steep drop-offs.
As I say, the rewards are worth the efforts. You’ll experience a peace and tranquillity that only nature can provide. And once you reach the top, a jaw-dropping vista over the surrounding scenery awaits.
To complete a circular walk of the plantation will likely take you around 1-2hrs. However, you can easily extend it by adding on Tholt-y-Will glen, the Sulby Reservoir, or one of the other nearby plantations.
8. Ballaugh Plantation (Circular Walk)
Time: 1-2 hours
To the west of Tholty-y-Will, there is the Ballaugh plantation. With its intrepid trails and steep inclines, this one is a favourite amongst hikers and mountain bikers alike.
A popular walk to do in this area is the Ballaugh mountain warden walk. It’s not exactly a mountain, though; I’d say it’s more of a steep hill.
Nevertheless, the walk involves a steady climb through the plantation until you reach the very top. At this point, you’ll see the peak of Tholt-y-Will directly in front, so you could easily cover both plantations at the same time.
To complete the circular walk of Ballaugh, however, you’ll take a leisurely walk across the plateau, where you’ll discover some epic scenery and the ruins of some Manx tholtans.
Eventually, so long as you don’t get lost as we did, you’ll re-enter the plantation. It finishes with a descent through the forest to where you started.
9. Archallagan Plantation (Circular Walk)
Time: 1 hours
One of the easier plantation walks in the Isle of Man is through Archallagan. At almost 150 years old, Archallagan is one of the oldest plantations on the island. It’s home to a staggering 2000 species of trees.
Due to its good network of trails and child-friendly footpaths, Archallagan is a popular choice with dog walkers and families. Unless it’s wet and boggy, young children should be able to walk here quite easily.
There are some nice features within this plantation, such as picnic areas, viewpoints and ponds. The largest of the ponds is quite a highlight, attracting plenty of wildlife, and it’s also a great spot to watch the sunset during the summer months.
Isle of Man Glen Walks
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the Isle of Man national glens are a blessing to this island. Each one is unique and magnificent in its own right, and I’d even go as far as to say magical.
Home to charming woodland walks, tumbling waterfalls, pretty streams and other natural wonders, they are the epitome of enchantment. It’s impossible not to fall for their charm, regardless of your age. They also make for fun dog walks – Our Ronnie loves them!
For such a small island, it’s hard to believe that there’s 18 coastal and mountain glen walks on the Isle of Man. But to go through them, all is a whole other article. So, for now, I’ll leave you with a handful of my favourites.
10. Dhoon Glen (Circular Walk)
Time: 1-2 hours
Dhoon Glen is by far one of the most exciting glen walks on the Isle of Man. Its rugged landscapes and lush vegetation feels almost tropical, and you can almost imagine yourself in Bali or Thailand.
An impressive waterfall lies halfway down the valley known as ‘Big Girl’. With a drop of over 40-metres, it’s one of the tallest waterfalls on the island.
As you continue to the very bottom of the glen, it opens up to a stunning secluded beach. It’s the perfect spot to sit and relax a while before attempting the strenuous climb back up to the top.
This is one of the tougher glens to explore as the trail is steep and can be slippery when wet. I wouldn’t recommend it with small children or those who have difficulty walking.
11. Glen Maye (Circular Walk)
Time: 1 hours
I briefly mentioned this glen walk earlier on in the article. You can get to it by the Raad Ny Foillan in the section between Niarbyl and Peel. Alternatively, you can drive as there is a free car park at the top of the glen.
Either way, I would say that Glen Maye is one of the most scenic glen walks on the island. The highlight being a spectacular waterfall and a striking bridged gorge that allows you to look right down into the valley.
As you’d expect, there’s a fair few steps down into the glen which eventually, leads you to the beach. However, it’s a short circular walk on a relatively well-maintained footpath. So for the majority of you, it should be reasonably doable.
For those less able on their feet, however, you have the option of admiring the scenery from the bridge. It isn’t too many steps to get to this point, so that’s a more manageable alternative.
12. Ballaglass Glen (Circular Walk)
Time: 1-2 hours
On the island’s northeast coast lies one of the most outstanding glen walks on the Isle of Man. Ballaglass Glen is an adventurous and well-maintained glen fit for all of the family.
A series of woodland footpaths lead you on an adventure through the glen, where a stream cascades down various waterfalls and gorges. Look out for the mysterious sculptures and fairy houses that bring a touch of magic for the little ones.
Also throughout the glen are the ruins of old Manx buildings – Some dating back as early as the 18th century. Unsurprisingly, it’s a hotspot for photographers, especially during the Spring when bluebells adorn the landscapes.
As you follow the river down to the valley, you’ll eventually reach Port Cornaa beach. The Railway Ramble is a popular walk in the area as it takes you through Ballaglass Glen, Port Cornaa, and Glen Mona.
Other Unmissable Walks in the Isle of Man
To round off this list of walking trails on the Isle of Man, I will share a few more that I consider a must for all keen walkers and hikers.
I’d say these are some of the more strenuous and long-distance routes that I’ve covered in the article. But you know what they say, the harder the climb, the better view.
If you’re planning a walking holiday to the Isle of Man, you’ll want to add these suggestions to your itinerary.
13. The Millennium Way (Circular Walk)
Time: 9-12 hours
Not for the faint-hearted, The Millennium Way hiking trail takes walkers on a mammoth adventure through the heart of the island.
Starting at Sky Hill in Ramsey, you’ll experience some of the best scenery the island has to offer. You’ll need strong legs as you navigate the hilly landscapes of the North, passing through the slopes of Snaefell before descending into Crosby.
Look forward to a wide variety of terrains as you follow the Silverburn River into Ballasalla. Eventually, after almost a marathon distance, you’ll arrive at the Medieval Castle Rushen in Castletown.
Interestingly, The Millennium Way is an ancient route once known as ‘Via Regia’. According to 13th-century history books, former Kings of the island travelled this exact route.
Of course, it’s possible to jump on the Millennium Way at different points to make the route shorter. However, if you’re up the challenge, it’s an exciting trail not to be missed!
14. Snaefell Mountain Hike (Circular Walk)
Time: 9-11 hours
Standing at over 2000-feet high, Snaefell Mountain is the islands tallest point. That might sound like a strenuous effort to summit the peak, but it’s actually fairly doable.
Depending on how in shape you are, the hike up is around 30-45 minutes. It starts off as a steady incline and gets gradually steeper as you reach the top. So long as you’re not afraid of a little workout, it’s a manageable climb.
I highly recommend adding the Snaefell hike to your list of things to do in the Isle of Man. However, if you’d prefer not to hike, you can take the Snaefell Mountain Railway, which departs from Laxey periodically between April & September.
Either way, the views are astonishing. On a clear day, it’s the only place in the British Isles where you can see the ‘seven kingdoms‘ (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Heaven and the Sea.) There’s even a little cafe at the top, which is a nice spot to relax and take it all in.
15. The Heritage Trail
Time: 6 hours
As you’ve probably gathered by now, there aren’t many walking routes in the Isle of Man that don’t involve a fair few inclines. Honestly, I’m surprised I don’t have legs like Arnold Schwarzenegger by now with all the runs and walks I do around here.
Saying that, one relatively flat trail stands out to me, and that’s The Heritage Trail. This is a straightforward trail that follows the old steam railway line from Douglas to Peel. It’s a nature trail for the most part and suitable for all ages and capabilities.
Of course, you don’t have to walk the entire length of the trail. But if you do, you can expect some incredible countryside views. Especially as you leave Douglas and get into Strang and Crosby territory.
Walking Tours in the Isle of Man
If you’re new to the island and would like to explore some of our more obscure or challenging walking trails, it would be wise to do so with an experienced guide.
I can personally recommend Go-Mann adventures who provide a variety of walking tours here in the Isle of Man.
From the standard trails to off-the-beaten-path adventures, Andrew, the owner, will show you all the best walking routes that the Isle of Man has to offer.
As a local, he’s also very knowledgeable about our island. You’ll get to learn about the culture, history, and natural world that makes the Isle of Man so special.
Full-day tours last anywhere from 6-8 hours, and the shortest treks are 2-3. With options including coastal walks, mountain walks, history walks and more, there’s something for everyone.
Enjoy these Trails & Routes in the Isle of Man
Well, that concludes my list of favourite walks on the Isle of Man. I hope I’ve inspired you to explore this beautiful island on foot.
Which walk are you looking forward to the most? Do you have any other questions or feedback? Let us know! We love hearing from you. You can reach out to us in the comment section below.
Stay Adventurous & Happy Travels,