A self-guided bike tour along the world’s most beautiful coastline.
One of the best cycling holidays Ireland has to offer. Dramatic sea views greet you at every turn as you cycle past small bays, golden sandy beaches, towering cliffs and headlands. Visit historic sites from the stone age to the present and every age in between. In the evenings stroll around welcoming towns like Donegal, Killybegs and Glenties.
Day 1: Arrive Donegal Town.
Your cycling holiday begins in historic Donegal Town. It was from here that the O’Donnell Chieftains once ruled over much of the northern half of Ireland. Their impressive castle still stands in the town centre. Donegal has direct bus services from both Dublin and Ireland West airports, making travelling to your bike tour start point easy. On your arrival you can spend the evening relaxing in this very pleasant town with its many great pubs and restaurants.
Day 2: Around Lough Eske. 26 km
After breakfast, we will meet you to provide you with everything you need for your upcoming bike tour and to answer any questions you may have. You will then be set to begin your new cycling adventure. Your first day of cycling takes you around tranquil Lough Eske, nestled at the foot of the Bluestack Mountains. Back in Donegal you can visit the 15th Century Donegal Castle, or you can take a trip on the Donegal Bay Waterbus. Alternatively, you can spend the evening relaxing (or shopping if you like!)
Day 3: Donegal to Killybegs. 38/ 53 km
Today you cycle along the ever-changing coastline between Donegal and Killybegs. You’ll pass quiet bays, beaches and inlets. An option here is to bike along St. John’s Point, where the Atlantic Ocean lies on both your left and right. The views in all directions are magnificent. Continue west to your overnight destination in the bustling fishing village of Killybegs, where much of Ireland’s Atlantic catch is landed.
Day 4: Killybegs to Carrick. 21/24/35 km
West of Killybegs you follow one of the most memorable stretches of coastline you will ever see. A short side-trip will take you to beautiful Muckross Head. Cycle through Kilcar Village, a centre for traditional tweed production, and then cycle on past more magnificent coast to your overnight destination of Carrick. A short bike trip from Carrick brings you to the stunning Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) Cliffs – one of Ireland’s greatest treasures, (and a sight not to be missed!) Here you also have the opportunity to view the cliffs from below, with a boat trip from nearby Teelin Pier.
Day 5: Carrick – Glencolmcille – Carrick. 25/33 km
Today your cycling holiday brings you through 5,000 years of Irish History. The title of a book about the area, “5,000 Years in Stone” says it all. Stone age court tombs, dolmens from the bronze age, early Christian standing stones and Celtic ring forts are overlooked by a watchtower from the Napoleonic era. But it’s not only the history that’s special. The area around Glencolmcille (Gleann Cholm Cille) is one of the most beautiful places you will ever visit. There could hardly be a better place to explore by bike.
Day 6: Carrick to Glenties. 38 km
Cycle over wild boglands as you climb gradually to emerge at the head of dramatic Granny Valley. The bike ride down the valley will be one to remember. At the bottom of the valley, you will find pristine Maghera beach with its caves that can be explored at low tide. Nearby is dramatic Assarancagh waterfall. Stop in the heritage town of Ardara, before continuing to your overnight stop in the pleasant village of Glenties.
Day 7: Around Glenties. 18/40 km
Leaving Glenties along a newly constructed cycle path, follow a beautiful loop around by Portnoo and Rossbeg. Once again, the coastal views are magnificent and ever-changing. Stop at the impressive Kilclooney Dolmen, dating from the early Bronze Age. If you fancy a dip in the Atlantic Ocean there are several beautiful sandy beaches to choose from. If you would prefer a shorter route, an 18 km loop will bring you to some wonderful viewing points over the coast. Return to Glenties for the last night of your tour.
Day 8: Depart
Time to leave. A local bus service or a taxi will bring you to Donegal where you can catch connections to the main airports or other parts of Ireland.
Donegal Coastal Treasures Bike Tour — Accommodation
One of the great things about travelling by bicycle or by foot in Ireland is the chance to meet local people, and one of the best places to do this is at your accommodation. There is no better type of accommodation to suit cyclists and walkers than the type we use — the traditional Irish bed and breakfast (and occasionally small hotels). Here you will be guaranteed a warm welcome. The owners cater much more to the needs of the adventure traveller than the larger hotels.
Your host will serve you a delicious breakfast in the morning that will set you up perfectly for the day ahead. All of the accommodations we work with cater for people with special dietary requirements.
Choose a single, double, twin, or family room. Rooms have their own private bathroom.
We choose locations as close as possible to the village or town centre, so that you will be able to stroll out in the evenings to have a meal and then afterwards check out the local entertainment!
Donegal Coastal Treasures Bike Tour – Getting Here
This cycling tour starts and finishes in Donegal Town. It is easily accessible from Dublin and Ireland West (Knock) airports. If you are flying Trans-Atlantic it is worth noting that most flights are overnight – arriving in Ireland in the early morning so you may want to consider a “recovery day” before starting to cycle.
Use the links below to check the bus timetables.
If you are arriving in Ireland at a different location and would like advice on how to get here, let us know and we will help you to plan your journey.
Donegal Coastal Treasures Bike Tour – 2023 Dates and Prices
Arrival Day: Monday Tours available: Monday 01 May 2023 – Monday 25 September 2023 Peak Season: Monday 05 June 2023 – Monday 21 August 2023
Price per person sharing: €1,230 Peak Season: €1,290 Single occupancy: €260 27 Speed Bicycle (Ladies or Gents available): €100 Unisex E-bike: €230
Self-Guided bike tour price includes:
• Bed and breakfast accommodation in B&B’s or small hotels
• Welcome meeting and bike set up on first morning
• Hotel to hotel luggage transfers
• Comprehensive guide booklet
• Maps and turn by turn directions
• GPS unit with all routes pre-programmed (one per room)
• GPX tracks available on request (If you would like to use your own GPS device)
• Emergency support
Not included in price:
• Travel to and from start/finish of tour (Donegal Town)
• Meals other than breakfast
• Entry to sites and attractions not included as part of the tour
Donegal Coastal Treasures Bike Tour – Photo Gallery
Donegal Coastal Treasures Bike Tour — Booking the Tour
To book the Donegal Coastal Treasures self-guided bike tour with Ireland by Bike:
1: Make a Booking Request
Please use the Book Now button.
Once you have completed the booking form we will contact you confirming availability. You will then be asked to pay a deposit of €100 per person. Please note that this deposit is non returnable so it is important that you have all your travel details correct before proceeding to book. Once we have received your deposit your booking is secure.
3: Pay Balance
Full payment is required at least 4 weeks before your arrival date.
Once we have received full payment we will email you your bike tour accommodation list, along with your bike tour guide notes and any other essential information. If you would like the GPX tracks we will send them to you at this stage.
4: Enjoy Your Adventure
We will meet you on the morning of your first cycle and get you set up with your bike, notes, GPS etc. Time to let the adventure begin.
Donegal Coastal Treasures Bike Tour — Customer Reviews
“We both really enjoyed the adventure! We especially liked Glengesh Pass on the ride to Ardara…….amazing beauty. Everyone needs to take the sea tour of Slieve League with captain Paddy! This trip was so exciting and we will always remember it. Finally, the Guinness really does taste better in Ireland!”Jaymie and Rick Caster, Texas, U.S.A. – April 2019
“Every one of our group of 4 had a ball, from the breakfasts to the Guinness in the pubs at night. The rides each day were stunning. The ride along the coast after leaving Killybegs being our favourite. Great experience. We’ll be back” J Rathborn, BC Canada – July 2019
“We really like Donegal County. Compared to the other places we went (Galway, Ring of Kerry, Dublin) it was much less crowded with tourists (ironic, coming from a tourist).” Richard Johnson, Seattle, USA. – April 2018
“It was fabulous, and we have recommended to many.”The Tilles family. CA, U.S.A. – August 2017
“I would recommend Ireland by Bike to ANYONE. If you are not an avid cyclist, get the electric bike. It does take some getting used to but it was a lifesaver on the hills for me. This route thru Donegal County was the perfect length and difficulty for us, and we did do every extra route that was provided. I would encourage everyone to do all the extra routes if you are able.”Susan Boyer, U.S.A.- May 2017
“Ci congratuliamo con voi per la vostra brillante organizzazione del giro in bicletta. E’ la sesta volta che trascorriamo le vacanze in bicletta senza guida nel Nord Europa e la vostra agenzia è stata di gran lunga la migliore a cui ci siamo mai appoggiati, dalla gestione dei dettagli prima della partenza sino ai saluti finali. Abbiamo sinceramente apprezzato la vostra assistenza durante il giro, i suggerimenti circa i locali in cui mangiare e tutte le sistemazioni per dormire. Per cortesia, ringraziate tutti i nostri ospiti per la loro calorosa ospitalità. Uno speciale ringraziamento a Mary della cittadina di Carrick per le colazioni spettacolari e a Barbara ad Ardara per la sua stupenda energia e il suo entusiasmo (e per la sua nuova bellissima casa).”
(“I would like to congratulate you on your brilliant organization of the bike tour. It is the sixth time that we spend our holidays on self-guided bike tours in Northern Europe and your company is by far the most efficient we have ever used, from the pre-tour details to the final greetings. We have truly appreciated your assistance during the tour, the suggestions about where to eat and all the accommodations. Please, say thanks to all our hosts for their lovely hospitality. A special mention to Mary in Carrick for the fabulous breakfasts and to Barbara in Ardara for her wonderful energy and spirit (and for her beautiful new house.”) Simona and Marco, Italy. – July 2016
“If you like to ride a bike and want to see a beautiful country, take this tour. It was my favourite vacation that I have ever taken. I highly recommend it!”Ron Pauley, Ohio, U.S.A. – June 2016
“We were a little surprised by the terrain the first couple of days. Enjoyed all the sites and just really took our time each day so that we could take it all in. Thank you for a wonderful experience that we will never forget.” Susanne Wolf and Scott Silker, MN, U.S.A.
“We are back in Evanston and sad to be gone from Ireland. We had the trip of a lifetime and most of it was due to our bike trip. It was such a wonderful way to experience the friendliness of the people of your country, the incredible beauty and ruggedness of the landscape and keep up our appetites for the brown bread and guinness (not to mention the Irish breakfasts) which were staples of the trip. Thank you for all your help and enthusiasm. I hope we meet again somewhere – let me know if you are ever in the states and need a guiding or helping hand. I would love that.”– Katie Brady, Evanston, IL, USA
“I was so impressed with how meticulously Seamus had everything planned and organized. From the moment we got off the bus, he made sure we had the best experience we could have. The accommodations were beautiful, the breakfasts superb and everyone was so friendly. That Seamus went the extra mile to show us authentic music at a session, make special arrangements for our last night – all of these things were incredible. I have travelled to many countries in Europe and planned a number of tours myself and this was the best overall experience I have ever had. It was a perfect mix of activity – from biking and hiking, historical site seeing, shopping, relaxing and enjoying the food, beer and music ( and the craic, of course) from restaurants and pubs. It was all really amazing!” – Katrina and Matthew Dallamann, Osceola, Wisconsin, USA
“Just to let you know that we are now back in London, with thighs of steel, a lot of (very smelly) wet clothes, and having had a great time. We enjoyed our holiday with Ireland by Bike immensely. It was well organised, the distances we had to cover were about right for our level – not so much that we didn’t have time to stop and look at standing stones or beaches, but enough that we felt we had achieved something by the end of the day. The booklet describing the routes was clear, and the only times we got lost were when we didn’t follow your instructions! The scenery is stunning, and even the fact that it rained heavily at least once on each of the days we were on the road didn’t spoil our trip.” – John Elmes, London, England
Donegal Coastal Treasures Bike Tour – FAQ’s
Below you will find the answer to some of the most commonly asked questions about this tour. For other more general FAQ’s please visit our FAQ page.
Who is this tour suitable for?
This tour is suitable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. The distances you cycle each day are relatively short. Typically 30 – 40 km with some extra options. However it is important to note that the routes are very hilly. For this reason we recommend using and electric bike.
Do I need to be a regular cyclist?
It is important the you are competent cyclist (as distinct from a fit cyclist) with adequate bicycle handling ability and a proper knowledge of the rules of the road. It is not recommended that you book a cycling holiday unless you have cycled at least occasionally before you arrive.
Will I be cycling along with others?
Possibly – but this is not guaranteed. At busy times of the year June/July/August is is quite likely (but again not guaranteed) that others will be following the same routes as you. In the quieter months when numbers are smaller it is quite possible that yours will be the only group on the road at that time.
Is this tour on cycle paths or public roads?
For the vast majority of this tour you are on roads that are also open to traffic. However as we focus on small back roads the traffic is almost non-existent in most places. There are some short stretches on roads with moderate traffic. However even here cycling is not difficult.
Are the routes hilly?
The routes on this bike tour are VERY hilly. (This is partly why it is so beautiful) The gradient varies constantly from gentle to very steep. On an average day of cycling 40 km you can expect an elevation gain of approximately 400 metres (1,300 ft). For this reason we recommend using an electric bike for this tour.
How do I get to the start?
This bike tour starts in Donegal Town. It has regular direct bus connections to Dublin Airport where most people arrive into Ireland. There are also direct connections to Ireland West (Knock) Airport. Belfast Airport has bus connections with one change. To see links to websites with more information and timetables click on the “Getting Here” tab above.
How do I get from the end of the tour?
The tour finishes in the village of Glenties. There are a number of local bus connections to Donegal where you will find bus connections to the major airports and other parts of Ireland. It is also possible to take a taxi. The journey will take approximately 30 minutes. We provide a list of contact numbers in our tour notes.
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