Along the Wild Atlantic Way
Self-guided bicycle tours in Ireland along outstanding coastal scenery
There is a lot to take in along the Wild Atlantic Way. The route stretches for over 2,500km, with 160 discovery points, 15 signature points, 26 islands to discover and 140 hidden gems! Not to worry though, you are not expected to cycle it all in one go. This self guided bicycle tour in Ireland will let you cycle along some of the most fantastic stretches of the Wild Atlantic Way. Cycle around peninsulas that overlook the sea, into majestic valley adorned with castle ruins, stone walls and sheep studded fields. Also visit one of the Aran islands and immerse yourself in the Gaelic culture, language, and traditions.
Arrive in Ennis, there are regular buses from Shannon and Dublin Airports, there are also trains from Dublin). Stay the night in guesthouse/B&B. We will meet you in the evening or first thing the following morning (depending on arrival time) to adjust the bicycles for you and talk you through the days ahead.
You are leaving Ennis to cycle along quiet backroads to Kilkee, located directly on the Atlantic Coast. During Victorian times Kilkee was a favoured holiday location thanks to its 2km long sandy beach offering safe swimming.
Spend the next 2 nights in Kilkee (58km/37mls climb 386m)
There is a beautiful bicycle ride around Loop Head. The tip of the head is occupied by a graceful lighthouse, the land is level and bright with wild flowers, pink thrift, yellow vetch and white campion. You can climb the Loop Head Lighthouse for panoramic views – from Kerry to the Cliffs of Moher. The cycling is on quiet backroads, along you can visit Carrigaholt Castle, a typical Norman towerhouse. (36km/23mls climb 256m or 64km/40mls climb 354m)
The route continues along the wonderful coastline heading northwards to the village of Lahinch, renowned as a surfing destination but also as having one of the must-play golf courses in Ireland.
(51km/32mls climb 397m)
The Cliffs of Moher one of Ireland’s most visited natural attractions. They stretch for 8km (5miles), as the crow flies, along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland and reach 214m (702 feet) at their highest point.
There is a short option of 10mls allowing you plenty of time to walk along the Cliffs. The longer cycle option will bring you to Kilfenora with it’s Abbey and Highcrosses before you get back to the sea close to the Cliffs of Moher. Target today is the seaside village of Doolin, famous for the traditional music that is played nightly in its pubs.
(16km/10mls climb 203m or 41km/26mls 465m)
A most beautiful day that will bring you along the wonderful coastline and into the Burren National Reserve, your first glimpse of this very unusual and unique region. Ballyvaughan is the ideal lunch stop. The you are cycling past the Burren Perfumery with its informational visitor centre, entertaining you on the unusual botany of the region.
(51km/32mls climb: 397m or 63km/39mls 660m)
Cycle along the backroads to Galway, the main city of the West of Ireland. It is a bustling university city, with plenty of history to explore as well as great entertainment venues and restaurants. The route will bring you past impressive castle ruins near Kilgolgan, and again near Oranmore, from where it will become increasingly sub-urban.
(39km/25mls climb 225m)
Cycle to the pier in Rossaveal to take the ferry (ticket not included) to the island of Inishmore (the biggest of the 3 Aran Islands). The island is very rich in historic and pre-historic sites and highlights include the cliff top fort of Dun Angheos, the Seven Churches and the coast road to the west of the port village of Kilronan. The island is famous for the knitwear that bears the Aran name. Spend the night on the island to get a feel for island life.
(38km/24mls climb 189m – additional cycling on the island)
After a morning spent exploring the island further and perhaps visit the fantastically located Black Fort (a 3,000 year old promontory fort), you take the ferry back to Rossaveal at noon. You will be heading north into Connemara proper. There are great views towards the Twelve Bens (the 12 mountains at the centre of the Connemara National Park). Turning west you ride along the indented coastline of South Connemara, passing through the village of Kilkieran before reaching Carna. This area boasts beautiful sandy beaches.
(44km/28mls climb 277m)
Continue your cycle along the coast via Roundstone where you can see traditional musical instruments being made by hand. On the way you come past the village of Ballyconneely and the site where Alcock and Brown crash landed their biplane after completing the first transatlantic flight in 1919. There are some very beautiful beaches here. If you still feel energetic there is a wonderful a ride out along the Sky Road to enjoy some sublime coastal scenery. The shorter route will bring you over a wonderful bog road. Stay the night in Clifden, this colourful small town is often labelled the metropole of Connemara and you may enjoy traditional Irish music in its pubs.
(42km/26mls climb 284m or 59km/37mls climb 436m)
Enjoy a day out of the saddle perhaps go horseback riding or deep sea fishing, or head for Inishboffin Island. But if you do want to go cycling there is a wonderful a ride out along the Sky Road to enjoy some sublime coastal scenery. Along the way walk to the ruin of Clifden Castle. For the more enthusiastic rider you then continue along more coastal scenery to Claddaghduff and Aughrusbeg.
(48km/30mls climb 507m)
Breakfast, followed by farewell and departure for your onward journey. There are direct buses back to Galway from where there are trains to Dublin.
luggage transfers can be added for €800 (Total)
gentle, some occasional climb, options available on most days
Starting Dates 2023
depending on travel restrictions – normally April – Oct
Stevens or Trek hybrid bicycle; upgrade to road bicycles or E-bikes available
Accommodation & Meals
11 nights guesthouses, B&Bs, and hotels inclusive of 11 breakfasts
Detailed daily route notes, maps, and route notes, gpx files, personal meet and greet, emergency support
luggage transfers can be booked separately for total of €800
Ennis (25min from Shannon airport)
Clifden (there are regular busses to Galway)
This self-guided bicycle tour is designed to stay in comfortable, friendly, wonderful guesthouses and small hotels such as underneath. Accommodations could be upgraded in certain locations if you prefer.
Nolan’s is a long established family run B&B offering our guests a friendly welcome and the hospitality for which Ireland is so famous for. Ann was nominated for the Irish welcome Award by Failte Ireland! You will feel at home the minute you arrive! The safe bicycle storage and washing and drying facilities are an added plus for cyclists.
A beautifully restored 18th century farmhouse, Kilmurvey is located at the bottom of Dun Aenghus, the biggest of the ring-forts on the island. It is run by the family who are farming on this side of the island for centuries, and Treasa’s home-baked breads and scones are to die for. Close by is Kilmurvey Beach, beautifully sandy and safe for swimming.
Gallery of Tour Pictures