Moderate
Difficulty level
Cycling
Activity (Bike)
6 Night, 7 Day
Duration

Ireland: Donegal Bike

Six nights; six days of bicycle touring on the quiet roads of County Donegal coast, through Glenveagh National Park, along the Wild Atlantic Way and on the Donegal Cycleway.

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



WHY THIS TRIP?

  • Ireland’s wildest – and debatably loveliest – corner.
  • Quiet roads across moorlands and valleys.
  • Unspoilt scenery. Sand beaches and sea cliffs abound.
  • Slieve League’s highest sea cliffs in Europe.
  • Options to hike.
  • Traditional Irish music.

 

ROUTE EXPECTATIONS:

Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.


Mostly paved roads across moderately hilly terrain. There are occasional short stretches on unpaved surfaces and the paved sections can be uneven at times; hybrids are recommended unless you are comfortable/experienced riding racing bikes on mixed surfaces. Variable distances available most days, with brief van transfers for those preferring the condensed options.


Daily Distance:

  • DAY 1: Introductions
  • DAY 2: ~46 km or ~80 km
  • DAY 3: ~38 km or ~62 km
  • DAY 4: ~69 km
  • DAY 5: ~80 km
  • DAY 6: ~12 km and/or 3-4 h hike
  • DAY 7: ~38 km

Elevation Profile:

(Click image to enlarge)

 

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

 

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

Finish: Early afternoon, Annagry or Donegal airport, Co. Donegal.

Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

1

Introductions

Fly into the Donegal airport (CFN) at Annagry, from where you can do extra day trips before starting this adventure. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)

Caisleain Oir Hotel, or, Danny Minnie’s, Annagry

2

Annagry to Ardara, ~47km 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

3

Ardara to Glencolmcille and Slieve League, ~38km or ~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 will transfer by vehicle from the Slieve League back to Ardara. BL

Same lodging

4

Ardara to Glenveagh, ~70km 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, or, Rathmullan House (shoulder season only), or, Frewin House (self-guided only), Ramelton

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. B

Arnold’s Hotel, or, Rockhaven House B&B (self-guided only), Dunfanaghy

6

Bike & hike options from Dunfanaghy, ~14km and/or 3-4 h hike

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. BD

Same lodging

7

Dunfanaghy to Dunlewey, ~38km

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

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR TRIP?

Not sure about difficulties, and support level? Check out our What to Expect page!

Guided: C 3875 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners, full-time guide and vehicle support, luggage handling, maps, route instructions, taxes

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, and guide(s) gratuities.


Self-Guided: C 3475 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, inn to inn luggage transfers, maps and route instructions, essential transfers as outlined in the itinerary, on-call emergency support, taxes

Does not include bike rentals & single supplement charges (pricing can be found in next booking step), airfare to/from tour, all lunches, all dinners, and driver gratuities.

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


2022 Guided dates:

  • Jun 5-11
  • Aug 14-20
  • Sep 11-17

2023 Guided dates:

  • Jun 4-10
  • Aug 13-19
  • Sep 10-16

Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.

Interested in custom or private departures?


Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.

1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.

2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.

 
PLEASE NOTE: Trip Cancellation Insurance is highly recommended. Please ask us for a no-obligation quote from our insurance providers: Century Insurance, or CSA Travel Protection.

More Reading:


This is debatably Ireland’s loveliest corner. Gorgeous sand beaches interrupt heather-clad sea cliffs, and quiet pathways carry you between places of outstanding beauty. County Donegal is sandwiched between the border with Northern Ireland and the surf-ringed headlands of the open Atlantic. You will hike around Horn Head near the delightful village of Dunfanaghy, and make your way from the Glebe Gallery to the formerly private estate of Glenveagh Castle, through the wild Glenveagh National park, before visiting the musical and pub-peppered town of Ardara. You will hike past waterfalls and beaches from Ardara toward the Slieve League – the highest seacliffs in Europe, near the folk village of Glencolmcille. From there, you will finish with a hike to an abandoned village on an astounding coast. After a heady mix of gentle walks and challenging hikes, the hardest part will be leaving all of the wildly sublime beauty behind.