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Wild Atlantic Way — day hikes for your road trip along Ireland's coastline

© Tourism Ireland

Wild Atlantic Way — day hikes for your road trip along Ireland's coastline

Hiking Collection by Irland

21

Tours

72:41 h

146 mi

22,650 ft

A road trip is the epitome of freedom. You’re completely free to decide where you want to go, where you want to stop and where you want to stay longer. The Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland is a wonderful route for your trip to the Emerald Isle. It’s an extraordinary road trip with plenty of day hikes. What you can't reach by car, you absolutely can on foot.

The Wild Atlantic Way takes you 2,600 kilometres (1616 mi) along the Atlantic coast from County Donegal in the far north of the island to County Cork in the south. In this Collection, we suggest beautiful day walks along this breathtaking route. Ireland’s many bays, islands and peninsulas make the coast particularly exciting. Rough cliffs with ocean waves, paradisiacal coves with sandy beaches and exciting mountain peaks all await you. You'll discover quaint fishing villages, green hills populated by sheep, and historical sights, some of which have seen thousands of years of history. Isolated and with only a few larger towns, the population here maintains its traditions and the Irish language.

Dublin is the easiest airport to reach from abroad but there are individual connections to the regional airports of Kerry, Shannon and Cork. You can find a current flight schedule at ireland.com/plan-your-trip/travel/getting-to-ireland. From Dublin, you can easily take the train to the starting point of your road trip. Once you're there, simply hire a car and set off to explore.

You can spend the night in cosy bed & breakfasts, hotels or campsites. At lunchtime, you can stop at a tea room or treat yourself to fresh local seafood at harbourside cafes. In the evening, you can enjoy yourself in the island's sociable pubs.

Best of all, the climate on the west coast is quite mild. That's why you can discover the beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way all year round.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Inishowen Head Loop (Wild Atlantic Way) – Wandern in Irland

    Intermediate
    03:06
    6.46 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,050 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Inishowen peninsula is located in the very north of the Republic of Ireland in County Donegal, a county that with its wild landscape and high cliffs is a true paradise for outdoor fans. At the eastern tip of Inishowen you can take a nice half-day tour to a scenic summit directly on the coast.

    

    You

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  • Easy
    00:16
    0.56 mi
    2.2 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On this short walk you will explore the northernmost tip of the Republic of Ireland. From the parking lot at a tower from the Second World War, you can take a small lap over the rocky terrain that rises out of the sea here.

    

    You can expect great views over the coast and an endless view to the north. In

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  • Intermediate
    02:13
    5.14 mi
    2.3 mph
    325 ft
    350 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This leisurely hike leads over dirt roads and an old railway line. It gets by with just a few meters of altitude and is wonderfully suitable for stretching your legs for a few kilometers. On the way you pass two lakes and can enjoy great views over the barren landscape with Muckish Mountain in the background

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  • Difficult
    05:27
    12.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,275 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Arranmore, Donegal's largest island, is wonderful to explore on foot. A ferry will take you over from Burtonport. It runs daily and only needs a promising 15 minutes for the crossing. You can then start your hike directly at the port. You can expect great sea views, a beautiful coastal landscape and

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  • Intermediate
    03:06
    6.43 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,050 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This round is historically interesting: you walk past Celtic steles, a watchtower over 200 years old and can then visit a village museum. It starts at a church just outside the village of Glencolmcille (also Glencolumbkille).

    

    You hike to the coast, where a historic watchtower from the time of the Napoleonic

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  • Intermediate
    03:52
    5.80 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Cliffs of Moher tell you what? The cliffs of Slieve League may not be as well known, but the cliffs here are three times as high. Reason enough for a hike! The views are so fantastic that you could stop all the time to just enjoy the view. To top it off, the trails are exciting and rocky.

    

    At the upper

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  • Intermediate
    03:57
    7.96 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,350 ft
    1,375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    A well-rounded affair: the Knocknarea west of Sligo is quite evenly round. Millennia-old stone mounds are located on its summit. This hike combines climbing the summit with a relaxing walk on the beach.

    

    From the parking lot in Strandhill you hike straight up the mountain that rises out of the otherwise

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  • Intermediate
    03:14
    8.02 mi
    2.5 mph
    1,550 ft
    1,550 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This hike takes you over the rugged and hilly Clare Island, which lies in Clew Bay. You can get there by ferry from Roonagh Pier west of Louisburgh or from Achill Island, which is north.

    

    From the island harbor you walk north past the Knocknaveen and then start the ascent to the Knockmore. Once at the

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  • Difficult
    01:20
    2.75 mi
    2.1 mph
    375 ft
    375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Between Westport Bay and Croagh Patrick, the summit of which is the destination of thousands of pilgrims and hikers every year, you can take this relaxing circuit, which gives you beautiful views over the mountains and the bay. It starts at the parking lot at the foot of Croagh Patrick, whose mighty

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  • Difficult
    04:20
    4.48 mi
    1.0 mph
    2,200 ft
    2,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Croagh Patrick is an important mountain in Ireland - and has been for thousands of years. Pagan celebrations are said to have taken place on its summit as early as 3000 BC. St. Patrick finally made the mountain a Christian place of pilgrimage. The Irish national saint brought Christianity to the island

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  • Intermediate
    02:19
    4.29 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Breathtaking views are certain on this round - provided the Irish weather is kind to you. The Connemara National Park on the west coast of Ireland awaits you with spectacular nature. The 442 meter high Diamond Hill rises directly on a bay. During a hike to the summit you can therefore enjoy wonderful

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  • Difficult
    06:20
    14.8 mi
    2.3 mph
    825 ft
    825 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Stone walls and cliffs are the protagonists of this hike on Inishmore Island, the largest of the three Aran Islands west of Galway. There are regular ferries from Rossaveal or Doolin. You can start walking straight from the harbor. The whole island is littered with stone walls that give the hike a special

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  • Intermediate
    03:38
    7.80 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,050 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Expansive views of the lush green landscape await you on this circular hike through the 12 O'Clock Hills in County Clare. The nature here is less harsh than in other parts of Ireland. Through an extensive forest you climb the main summit of the group of hills, the Knockanuarha. On the way you will pass

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  • Intermediate
    04:14
    8.67 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    In the north of the Dingle Peninsula you will find breathtaking cliffs that rise around 400 meters from the sea. A hike through this spectacular landscape can be combined with a relaxing break in the small village of Brandon.

    

    The route begins at the parking lot of Brandon Point, where you can enjoy the

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  • Difficult
    05:15
    11.3 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,675 ft
    1,175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This pilgrimage route, called the Way of the Saints, has spectacular views over the Dingle Peninsula. You start on the sandy beach at Ventry and walk past Christian ruins, stone crosses and structures over a thousand years old at the foot of Mount Brandon.

    

    It starts in the small town of Ventry, which

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  • Difficult
    06:09
    11.1 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,050 ft
    2,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This hike in Killarney National Park is packed with sights and fantastic views. It starts with a wonderful waterfall, then a promising summit is on the program, from which you can marvel at the beautiful lakes, on the banks of which you then hike to the magnificent Muckross House.

    

    There are several parking

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  • Intermediate
    02:16
    4.56 mi
    2.0 mph
    800 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    A small coastal road takes you to a hiking and viewing car park directly on the Atlantic. As soon as you get off you will be amazed: The imposing cliffs are tossed by waves and far out on the sea you can see the Skellig Islands on the horizon. This is a very promising introduction to the circular hike

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  • Intermediate
    02:28
    5.28 mi
    2.1 mph
    725 ft
    725 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Bere Island is at the entrance to Bantry Bay. The island is easy to get to as it is just off the Irish coast. A ferry crossing takes only 15 minutes from Castletownbere. So you are quickly ferried, but you can still enjoy the remote island atmosphere. The ship docks where the hike begins.

    

    From the pier

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  • Difficult
    03:26
    6.85 mi
    2.0 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This hike in West Cork takes you over a ridge to the top of Caher Mountain. This is located on the Sheep’s Head peninsula, which stretches out into the sea quite narrowly. That is why the mountain rises almost directly from the sea in the north and south and promises wonderful views.

    

    The hiking parking

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  • Intermediate
    04:16
    7.93 mi
    1.9 mph
    975 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You can explore the westernmost part of the Sheep’s Head peninsula on this varied hike. On the narrow headland you always have the sea in view and walk past lakes and cliffs to a photogenic lighthouse.

    

    Most of the hike you follow the Sheep's Head Way, which once circles the entire peninsula. As a start

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    21
  • Highlights
    8
  • Distance
    146 mi
  • Duration
    72:41 h
  • Elevation
    22,650 ft

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