Ireland:

Donegal Bike Tour


Six nights; six days of bicycle touring on the paved roads of Donegal's coast, through Glenveagh National Park, and on the Donegal Cycleway.

“Something surprising around every corner... and there are a lot of corners!” - Pauline S.








Itinerary


Start: 17:00, day one, at your hotel in Annagry, Donegal. Daily flights (www.aerlingus.com) and buses (www.buseireann.ie) available from Dublin or Glasgow.


Finish: Early afternoon, Annagry, Co. Donegal.


Day 1:

Arrival

Fly into the Donegal airport (CFN) at Annagry, from where you can do extra day trips before starting this adventure. You will need a short transfer (4km) to your hotel to meet your tour mates and/or guides/driver, and for dinner. D
Danny Minnie's, or Caisleain Oir Hotel, Annagry

Day 2:

Annagry to Ardara 46km or 80km

Follow tiny lanes around the perimeter of several peninsulas, one of which has the largest migratory bird preserve in the British Isles. Continue toward Lettermacaward, a Gaeltacht village with two shops and three pubs; the short ride finishes here with a transfer, while energetic cyclists can pedal the final 32km to their inn at Ardara. Traditional Irish music is heard on many nights in some of the 13 unique pubs here, and it is well situated to explore some of the most unspoilt scenery in Europe. BLD
Woodhill House, Ardara

Day 3:

Ardara to Glencolmcille and Slieve League; 38km to 62km

This is a spectacular day! Ride out to the end of the Donegal Peninsula, following Loughross Bay to Assarancagh Waterfall and the unspoiled expansive sandy strand of Maghera, then through the little-travelled Granny Pass to Glencolmcille. Visit the folk village and craft shops in "the Glen", then head to the viewpoint for the dramatic Slieve League, the highest sea-cliffs in Europe. Hike along the ridge top and enjoy the phenomenal view. Return to Ardara via the challenging Glengesh Pass from where stunning views of Loughros Beg Bay are framed between the steep sides of Glengesh and Mulmosog mountains. Leisurely cyclists can opt to transfer by vehicle from the Slieve League back to Ardara. BL
Same lodging

Day 4:

Ardara to Glenveagh 69 km, then transfer to Ramelton

Morning ride to the top of Glenveagh National Park. The Glebe Gallery, where Derek Hill's portraits are a result of study with Monet and Picasso, is a fine spot for lunch. Then it’s an afternoon ride into Glenveagh National Park where you can walk along the bridal path to the Castle and gardens. An afternoon transfer (35 minutes) will bring you to your comfy estate near the Cathedral town of Letterkenny. BD
Castle Grove Hotel, Ramelton, or Rathmullan House Rathmullan (shoulder season only)
Self-guided: Frewin House, Ramelton

Day 5:

Ramelton to Doe Castle 80km, then transfer to Dunfanaghy

Ride past what is often referred to as the prettiest beach in the world at Magherwarden, also known as Portsalon, to the spectacularly located lighthouse and abandoned barracks at Fanad Head Light Station. Ride from there along tiny coastal roads and across the new bridge to Carrickart for a lunch on Main Street before continuing along the Doe Castle where your guides will transfer you 20 minutes to your inn at Dunfanaghy. BD
Arnold's Hotel, Dunfanaghy
Self guided: Rockhaven House B&B, Dunfanaghy


Day 6:

Bike and hike options from Dunfanaghy; 12km bike, or 3-4hour hike, or both.

A short ride takes you to overlook the magnificent heather-topped sea cliffs at Horn Head. You can also hike to Two Pistols, McSwyney's Gun, magnificent Tramore Beach, and Marble Arch. The walk between Creeslough and Falcarragh is a two hour trek back in time along an old bog road to Lough Naboll at the base of Muckish Mountain. Alternatives includes golfing on the Harry Vardon designed links across the road from your hotel, as well as horse riding, surf lessons, sea kayaking, and angling.  B
Same lodging

Day 7:

Dunfanaghy to Dunlewey 38km, then transfer to Annagry

Ride south from Dunfanaghy toward Dunlewey and the Poisoned Glen. Its name was a cartographer's mistake - confusion between the Gaelic words for heaven and poison. The glen is a beautiful place for a walk, and is the pickup point for the short transfer to Donegal airport in time for flights to Dublin or Glasgow. For those with afternoon flights, or otherwise not inclined to finish, explore the ride along the carefully-selected and signposted roads of the Donegal Cycle way. BL





Description




Note about the route:

Paved roads through changing, sometimes hilly terrain. There is a short, optional stretch on a smooth, gravel surface, and the paved roads are often uneven enough that a hybrid is recommended over a racing bike unless you are comfortable with bumpy paved surfaces. Variable distances available most days, with brief van transfers for those preferring the condensed option.






This is debatably Ireland's most beautiful corner. Gorgeous sand beaches interrupt heather-clad sea cliffs, and beautifully-paved tiny roads carry you between places of outstanding beauty. The quiet beauty of County Donegal is sandwiched between the border with Northern Ireland and the surf-ringed headlands of the open Atlantic. You will begin riding south from the Donegal airport along quiet peninsular roads, past beaches and dunelands preserved as a migratory bird sanctuary. You will spend two nights in Ardara, with a foray to the Slieve League - the highest seacliffs in Europe, near the folk village of Glencolmcille. You will climb into Glenveagh, and descend to a formerly-private majestic castle and gardens of the same name. The northern reaches of Donegal boast more fantastic beaches, and impressive headlands. Fanad Lighthouse adorns one of these, as a stark and beautiful beacon to mankind's habitation of the land/sea boundary. The ride from there to the similarly imposing headlands near Dunfanaghy takes you to the wonderful village of the same name, where, again, the interface provides fabulous active exploration. If you prefer, you can replace the heady hikes we have planned with golfing on truly remarkable links, surfing, sea-kayaking, horse-riding, fishing, or shopping and simply basking in the appealing ambience of another remote, beautiful seafront village.


The hardest part of this not-too-challenging ride will be leaving all of the wildly sublime beauty behind.





Maps & Elevations






Learn more

Continue your tour of Ireland with our Connemara trip.

Explore nearby Scotland or Wales.





Costs

Guided

US 2995 C 3395

(per person, includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners, ferries, van support, full-time guide, luggage handling, maps and route notes, taxes)

Self-Guided

US 2695 C 3095

(per person, includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, ferries, luggage transfers, maps and route notes, essential shuttles, emergency support, taxes)

Single Occupancy

US 425 C 475

Bicycle Rental

Hybrid: US 195 C 225
Racing: US 265 C 295

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.

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Custom or Private Tours

Want to go but on different dates?
Want to make a change to the itinerary?
We can adapt for you!



Here are some terms:

Bring your friends. We will run most of these trips for you whenever you want, at the advertised price for a group of four or more on a guided trip, or two if it's self-guided! We reserve the right to make changes if the original inns, etc. are already booked. If you cannot find others, let us advertise the trip for you! Give us a commitment as far in advance as you can. As long as we have the minimum number of guests at the start, the price will be as advertised. The catch is that if it is just two of you and you want a guided trip, you must be willing to pay a 20% premium in the event that others do not join you. The bright side is that, once reserved, you can count on the trip, whether it remains private or becomes a larger group. Ask for changes to the itinerary.

We are very flexible, and given enough time, can create a new itinerary to match your desires.