Phoenix Park is one of the best places to relax around Dublin

It might be surprising to learn that Dublin, the capital of Ireland, has some of the country’s most beautiful and picturesque natural areas. Despite being a huge city Dublin has some great areas for you to sit down and relax. I visited Dublin a few weeks back to review some of the city’s best sights, giving you a couple of low cost suggestions for fun things to do when you’re looking to relax around Dublin.

I started off from the Phoenix Park Travelodge Dublin Hotel, saving money while staying just next to the first big natural attraction in the city. Phoenix Park is one of Dublin’s most popular natural areas for a few very good reasons.

Founded back in 1662, the park was designed as a Royal Hunting Park, but thankfully now the only sign of that which remains is a huge herd of wild deer that live around the park. A royal degree cut out around 7 square kilometres of natural pasture, with a wall installed around the area to keep in the deer and pheasants.

Over the years, the park has combined historical areas like the President of Ireland’s house and some former military installations with the very best in verdant Irish scenery. Taking a trip around you’ll find some truly varied attractions. Families taking to Dublin are sure to love the attractions of Dublin Zoo (while a visit wasn’t quite in my budget, it’s one of the most popular sights in the country), while specially designed gardens, jogging paths and picnic areas all combine for a truly varied bit of natural paradise.

While it’s perfect for an hour or two of relaxation or exploration, Phoenix Park is definitely not somewhere you can spend the whole day. There’s a whole lot more things to see around Dublin. The other parks around don’t really compare to Phoenix in size or scope, but there’s a fair few places more centrally located (particularly Stephen’s Green, right in the centre of Dublin) for anyone who’s just taking a little break during the day.

I would definitely suggest a trip over to the National Botanic Gardens. Despite having completely free entry, the gardens have more to offer than many more expensive Dublin attractions. Built centuries ago, the gardens have long been one of Dublin’s most popular destinations, containing thousands upon thousands of plants across a whole series of greenhouses and arranged gardens. From Irish fauna to more international installations, the gardens really take visitors around the world in a unique fashion.

If you’re looking for something cheap that isn’t just about nature, Dublin has some of the world’s most impressive galleries and museums. From the three Dublin branches of the National Museum (I only had the time to check out the archaeology museum – definitely worth a visit) to more artsy attractions like the Irish Museum of Modern Art (absolutely loved it, but it really depends what exhibitions are on during your stay).

There’s a few budget Dublin hotels around, so you can save money whether you’re staying by the Phoenix Park or going for some more central accommodation. Unsurprisingly, Dublin can get pretty pricey round the centre and wasn’t particularly difficult to get around from my cheap Phoenix Park hotel, so I’d recommend saving your money to explore Dublin’s most impressive pubs and restaurants.