Moderate
Difficulty level
Hiking/Walking
Activity (Hike)
6 Night, 7 Day
Duration

Ireland: Donegal Hike

Six nights; five days of moderate hiking on Donegal’s coastal paths on the Wild Atlantic Way, including Glenveagh National Park and the majestic cliffs of the Slieve League.


“One of the best hikes I have ever done…and I have done some pretty good ones in the Alberta Rockies! The views on all our hikes were exceptional…what a hidden gem Donegal is!” – Donalda M.


WHY THIS TRIP?

  • Exploring verdant valleys and windswept headlands.
  • Wildly sublime beauty.
  • Slieve League – the highest sea cliffs in Europe.
  • Comfortable lodging to rest your legs by evening.
  • Good chances for 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.


Moderate, 4-6 hour hikes each day along craggy picturesque coastlines, lush glens, towering sea-cliffs and secluded sandy beaches. With few paved exceptions, these are hilly walks on rugged footpaths. Hiking boots are essential to handle sometimes damp and often uneven surfaces. Enjoy a more flexible schedule if you choose to explore the incredible ambience of the sights closer to your inn at a more leisurely pace.


Daily Distance:

  • DAY 1: Introductions
  • DAY 2: ~4-5 h
  • DAY 3: ~4 h + optional 2 h
  • DAY 4: ~6 h
  • DAY 5: ~3-4 h
  • DAY 6: ~4-5 h
  • DAY 7: Farewells

Ireland: Donegal Hike – Elevation Profile

(Click image to enlarge)

 

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

 

Start: Donegal airport, 17:00, day one. There are usually two flights daily between Dublin and Donegal, operated by Aer Lingus. Buses are also available (www.buseireann.ie) from Dublin or Glasgow.

Finish: Donegal airport, 09:00, day seven.

Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.

1

Introductions

Arrive at Donegal airport (domestic flights only, operated by Aer Lingus). You will be collected from the airport and transferred a short distance to your waterfront hotel. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips only; self guided tours include breakfast only.)

Arnold’s Hotel, Dunfanaghy

2

Horn Head, ~11km (4-5 h)

Starting from your hotel, today’s introduction to the Donegal coast takes you from Tramore Beach to the magnificent heather-topped sea cliffs at Horn Head. You will pass Two Pistols, McSwyney’s Gun and Marble Arch. Additional or alternative afternoon options include golfing on the Harry Vardon designed links across the road from your hotel, as well as horse riding, surf lessons, sea kayaking, and angling. BL

Same lodging

3

Glenveagh National Park, ~15km (4-5 h)

Morning transfer 25 minutes to Glebe Gallery, where Derek Hill’s portraits are a result of study with Monet and Picasso. Your hike takes you into Glenveagh National Park where you can visit the castle before following the lakeshore and climbing the riverside path past waterfalls to the top of the glen from where you will transfer back to the village of Ardara. If you have extra energy, there is a two-hour hike along Blue Stack Way and the Owenea River from Glenties to your comfy inn Ardara. For dinner tonight, you can choose between fine dining at your inn or pub options a short walk away. Nancy’s Bar is one of the coziest and most popular. BL

Woodhill House, Ardara

4

Ardara to Carrick, ~13km (5-6 h)

This is a spectacular day! Your walk begins with a warm up on paved lanes past Assarancagh Waterfall to Maghery Starnd where the beach is huge and sea caves beckon. You may be surprised at the warmth of the water here, but swimmers must be exceptionally careful to avoid rip currents. Leaving the sand behind, you will climb up through the Granny Pass toward Carrick, and marvel at the expansive moorlands that cap this most spectacular peninsula along the way. BLD

Teelin Bay House, or, Inishduff House, or, Slieve League Lodge, Carrick

5

Slieve League, ~14km (3-4 h)

Following breakfast, you’ll head directly to the dramatic Slieve League, the highest sea-cliffs in Europe. Hike along the ridge top and One Man’s Pass, enjoy the phenomenal view and return via the bog tracks to the viewpoint. BL

Same lodging

6

Malin Beg to Port, ~14km (4-5 h)

A 15 minute transfer will take you to the start of your walk at the magically situated beach of Malin Beg. Walk to Glencolmcille to visit the folk village and craft shops in “the Glen”, and then take the path over the hills and along the wild coast to the abandoned village of Port. Transfer about 90 minutes to your lodge near the beach at Bunbeg. Your guides will bid you farewell this evening following dinner. BLD

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

7

Farewells

You will be transferred about 20 minutes to the Donegal airport; flights to Dublin usually depart twice daily. B

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


Guided: C 3745 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners, ground transportation, full-time guide assistance, maps, trail notes, taxes

Self-Guided: C 3395 (per person, double occupancy)

Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, luggage transfers, maps and route notes, essential shuttles, emergency support, taxes


Single Occupancy: 625


All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.


2022 Guided dates:

  • May 29-Jun 4
  • Sep 18-24

2023 Guided dates:

  • May 28-Jun 3
  • Sep 17-23

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. If this is not provided by your credit card or elsewhere, please let us know and we can provide recommendations.

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.