Discover the Coolest Place on the Planet and make lifelong memories.
DONEGAL truly is one of Ireland’s gems, so much so that National Geographic Traveller named it as “The World’s Coolest Destination for 2017.” Choose this Highlands of the Highlands bike tour in Donegal and you will savor what we believe is the best scenery in the country, along with meeting some of the friendliest and warmest people. This is the tour that has everything; amazing coast, stunning national parks, ancient history, pleasant villages and legendary hospitality.
Day 1: Arrive Donegal.
This self-guided bike tour of Ireland’s North West starts in Historic Donegal Town. You might like to explore the town or even go for a short cycle. Donegal Town is steeped in history, with its imposing 15th century castle and ruined abbey. It also has a great selection of lively pubs and cafés.
Day 2: Donegal to Killybegs. 38 km
We will meet you at your Bed & Breakfast at 9:30 a.m. for your welcome meeting. This morning you will cycle westwards, along Donegal Bay. The smell of the sea will soon be all around as you pass quiet bays and inlets. Cycle along the narrow Peninsula of St. John’s Point, where you will have the Atlantic Ocean on both your left and right. View the remains of Rahan Castle and the Killaghtee Cross. Continue to your overnight destination in the bustling fishing village of Killybegs.
Day 3: Killybegs to Glencolmcille. 47 km
Your bike tour takes you further west from Killybegs. Here the scenery becomes ever more dramatic. Towering cliffs, golden sandy beaches and rocky headlands create a magnificent panorama. Visit the cliffs at Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) – one of Ireland’s greatest attractions. In the evening, make your way to the valley of Glencolmcille. Ancient history, the thriving Gaelic culture, vibrant traditional music and the wonderful natural beauty form a truly unique location for your overnight stop.
Day 4: Glencolmcille to Glenties. 40 km
Today the remoteness of the landscape dominates. You can visit the deserted fishing hamlet of Port before cycling through one of the most sparsely populated areas in Ireland. Descend through dramatic Granny Valley to Maghera where a pristine beach, a series of caves, and dramatic Assarancagh Waterfall await. Cycle on to the heritage town of Ardara. Your overnight stop is in the pretty village of Glenties.
Day 5: Glenties to Portnoo and back to Glenties, or have a rest. 0 – 52 km
You can choose how much or how little cycling to do today — depending on your mood! The stunning area west of Glenties around the villages of Portnoo and Rossbeg is just waiting to be explored. Here you can also visit mystical Doon Lough Fort and the late stone age dolmen at Kilclooney. Alternatively you can simply relax.
Day 6: Glenties to Annagry. 48 km
The early part of today’s cycle allows you to experience the unique splendour of Ireland’s blanket bogs. Heathers, mosses, lichens and rough grasses create an artist’s dream landscape. Further on you have the chance to visit one of the many inhabited islands off the Donegal Coast. Arranmore is a 20 minute ferry trip from Burtonport. The trip itself makes the journey worthwhile! Spend some time exploring the island before making your way back to the mainland. Cycle past beautiful golden beaches to the village of Annagry.
Day 7: Annagry to Churchill/Letterkenny. 48 km
The unique beauty of the Donegal Highlands is all around during today’s cycle. Pass beneath the peak of majestic Mount Errigal. Further along is the hauntingly beautiful Poisoned Glen. Your cycling tour then takes you to Glenveagh National Park. Red deer and golden eagles live here among the pristine lakes and mountains. Follow the paths through the park to the shore of Lough Gartan. Spend the night in the lush farming area around Churchill.
Day 8: Churchill/Letterkenny to Glenties. 45 km
Heading south from Churchill you cycle along the southern edge of Glenveagh National Park. Climb gradually to the viewing point at the end of Glenveagh with its lake nestled in the mountains. From there descend along a beautiful quiet valley, with the Glendowan Mountains on your left and Slieve Snacht on your right. You’ll need no reminding here why bike tours in Ireland are simply the best way to see the country! Follow peaceful roads overlooking the Gweebarra Estuary, then it’s back once again to Glenties.
Day 9: Glenties to Donegal. 34 km
The final cycle of your bike adventure brings you back to your starting point in Donegal Town. From Glenties you pass through more boglands as you climb above the town. Great views of Donegal Bay with its many inlets and islands open before you. Pass through the village of Mountcharles, and back to Donegal Town. You may also decide to include the cycle around Lough Eske today. Spend your final night in this very pleasant town.
Day 10: Departure
After breakfast it is time to leave your Donegal cycling holiday behind. Bring with you your memories of a tour around one of the most beautiful and friendly regions in the world.
Highlights Of The Highlands — 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 — which 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, triple 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 you can check out the local entertainment!
Highlights of the Highlands — Getting Here
This cycling tour starts and finishes in Donegal Town. It is easily accessible from Dublin, Ireland West (Knock) and Belfast airports. Use the links below to check the bus timetables. It is also possible to start this tour at Donegal Airport.
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.
From Dublin Airport and Dublin City
By Bus: Direct buses run to Donegal Town from Dublin Airport and City every 90 minutes. Timetable
From Ireland West (Knock) Airport
By Bus: Frequent buses run to Donegal Town direct from the Airport. Timetable
Tours available: 05 April 2021 – 27 Sept. 2021 Peak Season: 31 May 2021– 30 Aug. 2021
Price per person sharing: €945 Peak Season: €1,035 Single occupancy: €245 Bicycle: €125 E-bike: €215
Self-Guided bike tour price includes:
• Bed and breakfast accommodation in carefully selected B&B’s and small hotels
• Welcome meeting and bike set up on arrival evening or first morning
• Luggage transfers
• Emergency support
• Comprehensive guide booklet
• All maps and guide notes
• GPS unit with all routes pre-programmed (one per room)
Not included in price:
• Travel to and from start/finish of tour (Donegal Town)
• Meals other than breakfast
We will happily put together self-guided cycling holidays lasting longer than 9 Days. Contact us for itineraries and prices.
If you wish to avail of an extra day’s accommodation and bicycle hire at any location during your tour, this can be arranged at a cost of €80 per night/person sharing. Single supplement – €15
Highlights Of The Highlands – Shorter Bike Tour Options.
The 10 day/9 night bike tour is the ideal amount of time needed to appreciate the area at its best. We understand though that this is not always possible. With that in mind we offer the following as shorter tour options. Details of each day can be found in the main “Highlights of the Highlands” bike tour itinerary.
9 Day/8 Night Bike Tour:
Day 1: Arrive Donegal Day 2: Donegal to Killybegs Day 3: Killybegs to Glencolmcille Day 4: Glencolmcille to Glenties Day 5: Glenties to Annagry Day 6: Annagry to Churchill Day 7: Churchill to Glenties Day 8:Glenties to Donegal Day 9: Depart Price:Off-peak – €895, Peak – €975, Single supplement – €220, Bicycle – €115, E-Bike – €195
8 Day/7 Night Bike Tour:
Day 1: Arrive Donegal Day 2: Donegal to Killybegs Day 3: Killybegs to Glencolmcille Day 4: Glencolmcille to Glenties Day 5: Glenties – Portnoo – Rossbeg – Glenties Day 6: Glenties to Annagry Day 7: Annagry to Letterkenny Day 8: Depart Price:Off-peak – €825, Peak – €895, Single supplement – €195, Bicycle – €105, E-Bike – €175
7 Day/6 Night Bike Tour:
Day 1: Arrive Donegal. Day 2: Donegal to Killybegs Day 3: Killybegs to Glencolmcille Day 4: Glencolmcille to Glenties Day 5: Glenties – Annagry Day 6: Annagry to Letterkenny Day 7: Depart Price:Off-peak – €740, Peak – €800, Single supplement – €170, Bicycle – €95, E-Bike – €155
6 Day/ 5 Night Bike Tour:
Day 1: Arrive Donegal. Day 2: Donegal to Killybegs Day 3: Killybegs to Glencolmcille Day 4: Glencolmcille to Glenties Day 5: Glenties to Donegal Day 6: Depart Price:Off-peak – €645, Peak – €695, Single supplement – €145, Bicycle – €83, E-Bike – €133
5 Day/4 Night Bike Tour
Day 1: Arrive Killybegs
Day 2: Killybegs to Glencolmcille
Day 3: Glencolmcille to Glenties
Day 4: Glenties to Killybegs
Day 5: Depart Price:Off-peak – €545, Peak – €585, Single supplement – €120, Bicycle – €70, E-Bike – €110
We can also offer moderate self-guided bike tours of Ireland’s North West up to 14 nights duration. Contact us for itineraries and prices.
Highlights Of The Highlands, Self-guided bike tour of Ireland – Photo Gallery
Highlights Of The Highlands – Booking a Tour
To book a self-guided cycling tour with Ireland by Bike:
Please fill out the Enquiry Form giving details of group size, dates, etc.
Once we have received your enquiry we will get back to you letting you know if the dates you requested are available. We will then ask you to enter full tour and group details on a Booking Request Form. Once we have received this we will send you confirmation of pricing etc.
2: Pay Deposit
If you are happy with our proposal you can proceed to pay the deposit using the secure link we will send you. The deposit required is €100 per person for all tours.
Once we have received your deposit we will send you confirmation of your booking along with an invoice for the balance.
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 cycling holiday accommodation list, along with the full guide notes for your cycling tour.
If you are just making a general enquiry, and would like to ask some questions, then simply contact us.
“From 1 to 12th of August my friend Christina and I cycled this tour which we enjoyed very much. For us Dutch people the quiet, the hills, the friendly people were a great comfort. We want to thank you for the excellent organisation.” – Greet Kuipers & Christina Vierboom. August 2019
“One of our most enjoyable holidays ever. The scenery is spectacular. We loved the quiet roads. The local people in the cities, towns and villages were so friendly and hospitable.” – Ed and Karen Dillon, Ontario, Canada. August 2018
“This was my first time on a cycling vacation, and prior to training for this trip, I hadn’t been on a bike in close to 10 years. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by how sm oothly everything went. I gave excellent marks for the value for the money because of how nice it was to have the entire trip essentially planned out for us. To not have to deal with the hassle of booking, logistics, and hauling around gear and luggage was wonderful.
On the whole, I had a most amazing time, especially as we were blessed with gorgeous weather for most of the trip. All the B&Bs we stayed at were well kept, with wonderful hosts. Seamus and Nora were wonderfully responsive to any requests or concerns we had during the trip. The views were gorgeous at every turn, from the breath taking seaside cliffs at Port to the simple joy of seeing and smelling the gorse brightening all the roadsides and hillsides.” – Clara Ni, Virginia, USA. June 2018
“The accommodations were top; better than I expected. It was nice meeting Seamus and Nora. The transfer of luggage was flawless. It was a tour to be remembered for life.” – Victor Carreño, Puerto Rico, USA. July 2018
“I would absolutely recommend Ireland by Bike to anyone cycling in Ireland and if I ever return to Ireland for any reason I would go cycling just because it was so great and easy with Ireland by Bike.” – Stuart and Abby Zangwill, California, USA. June 2018
“This tour was perfect for exploring the Atlantic coast. The small towns and restaurants had the best seafood ever! Biking allowed us to meet and talk with many people who were unbelievably friendly. Seamus was delightful and even tracked us down the second day when it was extremely rainy and windy to make sure that we did not want a ride to the next B&B. We would highly recommend this trip to both experienced and relatively novice bike riders.” – John and Vickie Hornbeck, Oregon, U.S.A. June 2017
“This trip is magical, one of my best so far! My expectations were pretty high and it was even better than anticipated. I felt safe on the road with the combination of small road + GPS + map + Odometer. The bike was in good shape and I felt reassured that if I needed support you would be there for us. I feel this was a very high quality tour, nothing cheap or cheesy about the choices you made for us. You must love what you do and it clearly shows. Thank you so much!” –Marie-Ève Ouellette, Québec, Canada. September 2017
“Everything from booking over the internet to meeting Nora on the morning of our departure, we were very impressed with everything. Although it was biking a self guided tour, it was great knowing that Seamus and Nora would help out if needed, checking in with us at the end of the first day to make sure that everything was good. Would definitely recommend to friends or family. Well organized, well done. Thank you!” – Gary and Lene Mohle, Ontario, Canada. June 2017
“It was a really great way to experience Ireland’s beautiful landscapes. Despite the rainy weather I enjoyed it a lot. Thank you for everything.” – Roland Meyer, Switzerland. June 2017
“This was our first adventure vacation and I cannot imagine a better planned or better supported one. You did everything and more than what was advertised and we came away feeling it was worth every penny. The personal service, attention to detail, and willingness to help every customer is clear, excellent, and appreciated. We enjoyed meeting the other customers at the B&B’s or on the road, noting that they were all equally impressed with the experience.” – Derek and Cindy Olinger, Florida USA. May 2017
“We were so very sad to see it end—wonderful sights and even more, the people we met were a joy! We would recommend Ireland by Bike to anyone who wants to experience the best that Ireland has to offer. The logistics and information provided were practically seamless, the equipment top notch, and Seamus was only a text/call away if we needed support. This tour allowed us to see the landscape up close and at our own pace, enabling us to enjoy the things that mean the most to us. We are grateful for the opportunity to take an excursion such as this—thank you so much!” –Maureen, Ohio, U.S.A. May 2017
“Perfect organisation, spectacular routes and great selection of B&B’s. I enjoyed my cycling trip very much and would do it all over again!!.”– Christian Rupp, Switzerland. May 2017
“Un’esperienza meravigliosa. Nonostante abbia fatto questo viaggio in solitaria, non mi sono mai sentita sola poiché ho incontrato così tante persone amichevoli – e anche animali! – lungo tutto il percorso e anche perché sapevo che voi, Nóra e Seamus, eravate sempre pronti ad assistermi. La pedalata è stata a tratti faticosa ma mi ha dato l’incredibile opportunità di visitare posti remoti e incantevoli con il mio ritmo. Ultimo ma non meno importante, avere avuto qualcuno che trasportasse la mia pesante valigia è stato impagabile!”
An amazing experience. Despite having done it solo, I never felt alone both because I met so many friendly people (and animals too!) all along the way, and because I knew that you Nora and Seamus were always there to support me. The ride was at times hard but that has given me the incredible opportunity to visit mesmerising spots and remote areas at my own pace. Last but not least, having you carry my heavy suitcase was priceless! – Federica, Italy. August 2016
“Art and I had a most wonderful adventure on our recent (April 1-8) “Highlights of the Highlands” holiday in Ireland. From stunning scenery to quiet roads and a variety of climbing challenges, from lovely B&B’s and gracious hosts/hostesses to charming villages, from dependable bikes to near-perfect cue sheets and maps, Seamus Gallagher, owner of Ireland by Bike, has planned an experience we will remember for years to come. We were lucky that the weather was ideal (cool and dry, mostly—of course, good clothing and rain gear helped) and that we arrived in the middle of lambing season—sweet singles and twins were thriving all along the Wild Atlantic Way!
We have recommended this tour to all of our cycling friends—anyone who chooses this tour will not be disappointed!” – Julane and Art Anderson. Maryland, U.S.A. Highlights of the Highlands. April 2016.
“I really enjoyed the combination of landscape, scenery, sports and travelling. I will absolutely recommend it to anyone who is interested in this kind of holiday. And I’m also quite sure, it won’t be the last one for me. Thanks again!” – Metin Kisa, Vienna, Austria. May 2016
“Due to our time with you we’ve proceeded to recommend the tour to our friends who might be interested. This is, for us, the highest form of praise. We felt well supported, which was of course important knowing you were never far off. Your knowledge with the landscape was perfect. It felt like a personalized experience, yet we had plenty of leeway to explore whatever we wanted. Also appreciated your understanding of us, the aging foreign biker people, and your sense of humor throughout. And your choice of places to stay was terrific as well. You guys totally rocked this thing. Thank you, and the best of success to you in the future. Best wishes, Steve and Jenny…” – Steve Weingarten and Jenny Otter, CA, USA. September 2015
“We thank you for a wonderful trip with my family. You provided a very well put together service with wonderful accommodation selections and excellent response times to any issues we requested assistance with. I will not hesitate to recommend you to friends. Thank you again Seamus and Nora for everything.” – L. Shannonhouse, Utah, U.S.A. August 2015
“Kathy and I just want to let you know how fondly we remember our bike trip with you in County Donegal. You were both terrific and gracious hosts. The B&B people were most warm and helpful. The rain, the wind and the hills all added to the experience. We had a blast. County Donegal was everything we had hoped it would be.” – Tim and Cathy Rancourt, RI, U.S.A. September 2015
“The service, friendliness and availability of the owners far surpassed the other European self guided bike tours we have taken.” – Randy and Sheila Marshall, BC Canada. June 2015
“A fantastic summer getaway.” I would definitely recommend Ireland by Bike to friends as a first choice because of the Sat nav, the friendly owners, the professionalism of the guidebook, and the quality of the cycles. Thanks!” – Evan and Anna Horn, WY, USA. June 2015
“Perfect. We would recommend the tour to everybody who is interested in biking, nature and Ireland.” – Anton Meyer + Family. Dachau, Germany
“Absolutely perfect. Right from the website being tasteful and concise and prompt email replies, all the way through to the end of the trip. The attention to details such as the cell phone with all the numbers and the handlebar bag with the shoulder strap. The personal touches as well, like getting the bike to me a few days early as it was the end of the season and not too busy and deducting the cost of the first accommodation as I was already in the Hostel. I loved that the tours were self-guided, I could go at my own pace and spend time at the attractions that most interested me. Thanks again for everything Seamus, I have so many great memories of my trip. Keep up the good work!!!” – Kelly Newsholm, Hudsons Hope, BC, Canada
“Overall we loved the trip. We certainly had a sense of achievement at the end. Your routes are terrific – back roads that we would not have found ourselves with very little traffic. That was great. We loved Ireland, especially the friendly welcoming people in Co. Donegal. The real find, though, was the Ti Linn Cafe and Shop. They brewed the best coffee of the whole trip – and the home made cakes!! Yum! And they were so friendly and nice! I almost don’t want anyone else to know about the place. Anyway, all the best with future trips. We hope to be back in Ireland soon, as we have great memories of our trip.” – Margaret Carkeet, Lexington, MA, USA
“The self-guided Highlands tour was an excellent route with a bit of everything, including the weather. Organisation was first rate and Seamus accommodated our last minute change of plan without fuss. Bikes, instructions, accommodation and backup were all good. This was a better put-together package than one we did in Europe a few years ago and for us it has lifted the bar in terms of what to expect. We would recommend Ireland by Bike to anyone thinking of biking in NW Ireland.” –Bruce and Kristin Munday, Mount Torrens, Australia
“I have cycled the west coast from south to north using different companies, and Ireland by Bike was by far the best I have traveled with. Seamus & Nora will go to any lengths to make sure their customers have the best of times.” – Peter Boone, Oostakker, Belgium
“An exceptional experience. I have biked in the Cotswolds, Provence and Sicily, but the Ireland by Bike trip was the best ever. I think it was because of the accommodations, the wonderful people and the remoteness of the trails/roads, and because it was selfguided. The bikes were perfect for the terrain. Thank you so much for the wonderful trip.” – Gretchen and Ron Annan, Fruita, CO, USA
“Just great, even better than we expected. The county is marvellous. All types of green hills, fields and woods, sunny white beaches, sturdy rocks and the desolate emptiness of most parts of Donegal amazed us every single day. Cycling certainly is the best way to explore and admire them. Living in Holland, we think the Irish should wake up happy every morning living in such a country. Because of the more than complete itinerary and descriptions, finding our way was easy. It’s great to look forward to every village, hill or view that surprises you past the next corner. It’s easy to tell that Seamus is proud of Donegal and is an experienced cyclist himself. He did everything to make sure our journey would be a great experience. From the first contact by email to the briefing on day 1, to the ‘taxi service’ to the airport at the end, we had nothing to worry about.” – Joop Van Den Berg, Haastrecht, Holland
Had a great time despite being pounded by rain and wind a few times. Well researched. Really appreciated the historical details in the guide: enriched the overall experience. Thanks a lot. We appreciated your friendliness and the planning that you put into providing the tour. We will recommend Ireland By Bike to our friends.” – Andrew and Karen Larcombe, Vancouver, Canada.
“We really enjoyed our trip, we got to see the real Ireland with its beautiful landscape, hills, sheep on the streets, etc. We had a great time, thank you so much!” – Susan Glowka, Frankfurt, Germany
“All four of us found the cycling to be a tremendous exercise in fun. The bikes are great for both occupying the daytime, but also as a boost to our egos in terms of our ability to complete cycling challenges. Seamus, your contribution was helpful, fun and showed masterful timing in terms of being there when most needed. A truly wonderful holiday amongst lovely people.” – Martin McMahon, Airdrie, Scotland
“I woke up one morning and had an impulse to take a bike vacation in Ireland for my 30th wedding anniversary. I am 57 years old and my wife is older but prettier. It was simply the best vacation we have ever had. I saw the most beautiful sights, heard the most beautiful music, visited with some of the most wonderful people on earth, all while getting some of the healthiest exercise my body has ever known. Our trip was safe, clear and free of anxiety. If I could have Ireland by Bike design every vacation from now till the end of my days I would”… – Mandy Patinkin, New York
“When my husband asked if I would join him on a 9 day bike ride in Ireland, my immediate response was “absolutely not.” I had not ridden a bicycle in 15 years, didn’t remember that experience fondly, and we had been away from home for two months and I was homesick. However, he is a persistent fellow, and he encouraged me to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary by trying something daring in mid-life as it were…and I am so grateful that I listened to him. It was an amazing journey. The coast of Donegal is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and I have been lucky enough to see a lot of the world. It was full of challenges and surprises and spectacular landscapes, each day a different kind of beauty. I recommend Ireland by bike for anyone who thinks their adventurous times might be over, so that they discover they are anything but…” – Kathryn Grody, New York
“The tour is well organized and the bikes were super. We could climb nearly every hill with them even when you are above the age of fifty and used to a flat country. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery (sea and hill views), the friendly Irish, the difficult to understand Gaelic language, the sheep on the road, the excellent B&B’s with their warm welcome (and once with a super dinner). Even the Irish weather (with only a few rain spells) was good for cycling. So when we went back to Holland, our heads were empty and we had a lot of new energy to start work again. Definitely we will come back and recommend this tour to friends.” – Maria Meekes and Michel Nielen, Arnhem, The Netherlands
“We were very pleased with everything to do with this tour from the early planning stages and the customizing of the itinerary to the personal and friendly service we received throughout the tour.” – Eamonn and Rhonda Ryan, Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
“You simply could not have done any more to make the tour more enjoyable” – Marian and Ray Fagan, Dublin, Ireland
“This tour was perfect for exploring the Atlantic coast. The small towns and restaurants had the best seafood ever! Biking allowed us to meet and talk with many people who were unbelievably friendly. Seamus was delightful and even tracked us down the second day when it was extremely rainy and windy to make sure that we did not want a ride to the next B&B. We would highly recommend this trip to both experienced and relatively novice bike riders.”
John and Vickie Hornbeck, Oregon, U.S.A.
Newsletter Sign up
Amuigh Faoin Aer Teo. T/A Ireland By Bike Teelin Rd, Carrick, Co Donegal, Republic of Ireland
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.