Trip created by Darragh Devaney
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The epitome of an adventure challenge: this is the bike tour of a lifetime. On this bucket-list adventure, you’ll bike the Wild Atlantic Way, taking in the best of the dramatically stunning west coast of Ireland.
On this point to point bike trip from Ireland’s southernmost to northernmost points, traverse wild mountain passes, find secret beaches, admire steep cliffs, stroll through adorable villages and discover vast bogs as you witness the dramatic coasts from one end to the other. You’ll traverse all of Ireland by bike, barring a quick transfer in and out of Galway city for a chance to explore one of Ireland’s most beloved cities.
In Ireland, history and culture are everywhere, varying from one landscape to the next. Biking 875 km (543 miles) over 14 days, we’ll explore the best Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way has to offer on two wheels. On this unique itinerary, you’ll bike nearly every step of the way of this cross-country trip – though whenever your bike gets tired, remember you can always hop in the support van.
While our expert guides interpret this wild place, you can focus on the challenge of biking the Wild Atlantic Way. Expect breath-taking biking, fantastic food and cosy accommodations. Without doubt, biking the Wild Atlantic Way is an epic ride you’ll remember for years to come.
Our journey biking the Wild Atlantic Way begins at Mizen Head, Ireland’s southernmost point, after meeting at Cork Train Station. We’ll start with a scenic ride past rocky coves and fishing villages at the following beautiful coastline of southern Ireland before finishing at the snug village of Bantry. (L,D)
Distance: 45km/28 miles
Our first full day, we’ll cross three rugged peninsulas and one mountain pass. Enjoy lush valleys and foothills in the Caha Mountains, as well as kicking off our first big climb. At the summit, we traverse a tunnel to reach the spectacular views over Kenmare Bay on the far side. We traverse the beautiful and iconic Moll’s Gap before arriving in the bustling and colourful town of Killarney. (B, L)
Distance: 70km/44 miles
There’s a reason why Kerry is renowned throughout the world. From the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula (also known as the Ring of Kerry) to the rolling farmlands of north Kerry, enjoy a range of beautiful scenery in this little-visited corner of Kerry. Arriving in Ballybunion, leave the bikes behind to walk along the dramatic Bromore Cliffs, falling almost 200 feet into the Atlantic. Marvel at sea stacks, natural arches and medieval towers, and keep your eye out for nesting seabirds, or seals and dolphins in the ocean below. (B,L)
Distance: 65km/40 miles
Give the legs a bit of a rest as we bike through the fairly flat farmland of northern Kerry towards the mouth of Ireland’s biggest river – the Shannon. A ferry takes us across the estuary and into County Clare. Crossing the quiet landscapes of Clare, we finish up on the Wild Atlantic coast in the charming seaside village of Doolin, close to another coastal cliff, the famous Cliffs of Moher. (B,L)
Distance: 80km/50 miles
Head into the other-worldly limestone landscape of the Burren National Park, globally renowned as having one of the highest diversities of wildflowers in Europe. In spring and summer, the Burren transforms into a myriad of colour with flowers from the Arctic all the way to the Mediterranean. Our ride includes short climbs and rolling terrain, including one of the best descents of the whole tour, Corkscrew Hill. Today, we have the transfer of the trip to take us safely into Galway city, where we’ll get to spend the night in what is the west coast’s liveliest city. (B,L)
Distance: 64km/40 miles
This morning, we transfer out of Galway city to the lovely wee village of Oughterard on the shores of Lough Corrib. We head deeper into Connemara, crossing the region’s wild hills and vast bogs. This is what the Wild Atlantic Way is all about: shimmering mountains, remote coastal communities and idyllic biking routes. Tucked between land and sea, Connemara is one of Ireland’s most spectacular regions offering great vistas and wild landscapes. Perhaps with the option to bike the aptly-named Sky Road, one of Ireland’s most iconic routes, we head into Clifden for the night, one of Connemara’s iconic villages. (B,L)
Distance: 80km/50 miles
Explore tiny villages on a backdrop of majestic mountains before drinking in Killary Fjord (one of Ireland’s three glacial fjords). Bike through rolling hills past Ireland’s holiest mountain, known for annual pilgrimages paying homage to St Patrick, before ending your day at the bustling coastal town of Westport. (B,L,D)
One week of biking the Wild Atlantic Way completed! You’ve just spent seven days biking some of Ireland’s wildest routes so you enjoy a bit of a break! Spend your day relaxing in lively market town of Westport where there are quirky shops, great pubs and other eateries as well as intriguing local history. Or, kick back and relax at your comfortable accommodation. (B,L)
Leaving the hubbub of Westport behind, we head into the quiet wilds of north Mayo. We pedal through unspoilt hills and open bogland in a corner of Ireland that few venture. Our route passes via Lough Feeagh as we skirt the edge of the Nephin wilderness. One of the last truly wild places in Ireland, the Nephin wilderness has taken its cue from the US version of a ‘wild area’ – setting aside tracts of land protected from human habitation and activity. Keeping a lookout for flora and fauna in this protected space, our route follows winding lanes that traverse this rugged little-travelled terrain, finishing up in the adorable town of Ballina. (B,L)
Heading back towards the coast, we enter into Co Sligo, another of Ireland’s hidden gems. Beautiful beaches, coastal villages, castles, lakes and bogs await us as we travel along the Sligo coast. Stopping off at Easkey village, admire the medieval tower and listen to the crash of waves popular with surfers. Bordered by the Ox Mountains on the other side, delve into the myths and legends of these beautiful mountains. As we head into Sligo town, we’ll stop by one of the region’s most important (and beautiful) holy wells before we arrive into the lovely town of Sligo. Perhaps you’ll get a chance to hear some traditional Irish music at one of Sligo’s many pubs! (B,L)
Back on our bikes, we ride along quiet back lanes of Yeats Country – Sligo’s stunning, windswept landscapes inspired much of the famous poet’s writing. Follow narrow lanes through the low foothills of the Dartry Mountains to pass ancient ruins and visit the chilled-out, picturesque surf beaches of Sligo and Donegal for a quiet afternoon. (B, L)
Taking a break from biking the Wild Atlantic Way’s coast, we bike the only passage through the Bluestack Mountains, to explore Donegal, named Coolest Place on Earth by National Geographic Traveller. Enjoy the rugged Donegal landscapes – vast bogland crowned by distant mountains – before reaching Lough Swilly, one of Ireland’s three glacial fords, where you’ll drink in heart-stopping views over the fjord! (B, L)
Distance: 83km/52 miles
Start the morning off with a relaxing boat ride across Lough Swilly Fjord before starting the final leg biking the Wild Atlantic Way! A bit of steep climbing takes you around the coast to end at Malin Head, Ireland’s northernmost point, a rocky headland so alien that it features in the 2017 Star Wars: Episode VIII. At Malin Head, you’re privy to a nearly 360-degree view of the Atlantic, as well as intriguing natural features with names such as Hell’s Hole and the Devil’s Bridge. After biking the Wild Atlantic Way’s most scenic and intriguing sections, you couldn’t finish this challenge-of-a-lifetime biking adventure at a more epic location! Tonight, enjoy a very well-earned celebratory dinner with your fellow cyclists. (B, L, D)
Distance: 51km/31 miles
After a well-earned breakfast at your accommodation, your epic adventure biking the Wild Atlantic Way ends with a short transfer to Sligo Railway Station. From here, there are regular trains from Sligo to Dublin, and buses to Dublin Airport. See more here about travel in Ireland. (B)
This trip features accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service and comfort. All accommodations provide breakfast. All the accommodations we use on the Wild Atlantic Way Bike Tour are comfortable, unique and part of the adventure! Known for their high quality of service, they are a great place to kick back after a long day biking the wilds of Ireland.
Each day, lunch is either a Wilderness Picnic in the great outdoors or taken at a local cafe/pub. Drinks and snacks are provided throughout the day. Evening meals are included on the first and last nights only. For the other evenings your Wilderness Guide can provide expert recommendations.
We do not charge single person supplements to people booking on their own. However, you will be expected to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you specifically require a single room you will have to pay the single supplement charge of €250 but this is subject to availability.
Breakfast is provided each morning, as well as lunch and snacks throughout the trip. Dinner is provided on the first, seventh and final nights. Local pubs and restaurants offer a wide choice of local dishes.
On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.
You will be met by your Wilderness Ireland Guide at Cork Kent Train Station at 11pm on Day 1 of your trip. We’ll drop you off at Sligo Train Station by 1 pm on the last day of the trip. For full details on how to get to there, please see the travel page of our website.
One of our team members, Darragh is Wilderness Ireland’s Operations Manager. As the team’s resident bike expert, Darragh has helped research, design and even guide nearly all of Wilderness Ireland’s bike trips. When not in the office, Darragh can usually be found exploring a little-known corner of Ireland on two wheels or camping in the countryside with his family.
- Darragh DevaneyAsk Darragh a Question
Our Red Grades 7-9
The road cycling trips that we offer are graded to take into account a combination of the general level of fitness required and the number of miles cover as well as the daily ascent and estimated saddle time.
Our red graded trips would involve some longer days with some taxing climbs and descents, there are still breaks throughout the day but overall daily distance will be longer. These trips are designed for road cyclist enthusiast who loves cycling and spends many weekends beach year in the saddle. The prospect of testing climbs and speedy descents brings a grin to your face.
The red graded trips may involve several challenging days in a row and a significant amount of climbing, sometimes exposed to the elements. Distances typically range for 40-70 miles each day through hilly and often mountainous landscapes, meaning that there are regular ascents and descents. These trips include some of the most testing road climbs in the Ireland – but our support vehicle is always in the background if required!
Before joining this trip, the questions you should be asking yourself are:
Are you happy being on your bike for between 6-8 hours each day for several consecutive days?
Do you ride your road bike most weekends during the summer and take on occasional longer multi day trips?
Do you look forward to testing climbs and fast descents?
Rated 4.60 out of 5 based on 5 review(s) of Bike Tour – The Wild Atlantic Way
Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made vacation with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.
That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your vacations truly memorable.
Reviewed on 04/10/2018
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Geoff dealt with staff but all the information was great & payment processes were smooth. Staff tried very hard to sort Garmin maps.
Both guides were great- knowledgeable, witty, very competent in lots of ways.
The route was great but seriously needs Garmin maps as there are many little roads that aren’t covered by paper maps without very extensive writing; bikes need fully packed back packs with tubes, levers, pumps etc even if guides are there to change tyres; daily debrief and briefing for next day would mean riders could be better prepared to leave on time. With such a small group it would be easy to facilitate. Route maps provided the day before ( we really appreciated that Andrew spent a lot of energy redoing them each night as they were incorrect) but for next time this should not be an issue. Drop the boat ride to Arran island. Weather can be dodgy and we didn’t see anyth8ng as so much time was spent in the crossing. It also meant that we didn’t really ride the whole way from Mizzen to Mallen. The support vehicle needs to carry a better supply of munchies such as energy bars, nuts, tablets for water bottles - long rides need food along the way. Lunch venues were really wonderful. Absolutely recommend the trip to anybody with sound riding strength. Thanks for wonderful trip
Reviewed on 28/09/2018
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
There was lots of information available though the exact route was not there until a week before - but this was because it was the first time that it had run. The payment information from Australia was confusing. The information was more applicable to EU/UK/USA and there were things there that Australian banks do not use. They are are particular to the US. The fees to pay you were quite expensive and it would have been good to get information on the best way to pay right at the start. Eg Fees for my first credit card deposit were about 50 Euros - there was a cheaper way to pay through a transfer and this should have been in the information.
Ok here are the things that needed to be reviewed in my opinion: 1. The bikes were delivered in pretty ordinary condition. The chains and gearing were extremely dirty - this affected performance with chains slipping. Guides repaired them on the run but they needed to have a mechanic go over them before delivery. Especially for a longer ride. 2. Once bikes were cleaned and repaired they were great. 3. Bikes need a full puncture repair kit including pump and tubes and levers. I had three punctures which is to be expected and I could have fixed them myself in no time and been on the road but there was no equipment on the bike and I had to wait for guide with the equipment. This took the guide away from supporting the whole group or others who needed someone to change the tyre when they had a puncture. We should have the option of changing it ourselves. 4. The map notes were useless. I followed the gpx supplied by Wilderness Ireland on my garmin and that was much more effective. The only time I went off course was when the gpx was wrong. We spent a lot of time with people going in the wrong direction. For such a long and complex trip the only way to go is with a touring gps system on each bike with the route. There is no way on longer rides like this the group will stay together. All power to the guides they way they chased us around and fixed up the navigation problems. 5. The trip is supposed to be from south to north. I was disappointed by the two transfers on the bus as I wanted to cycle the whole way. This was the general consensus of the group. The trip to the Aran Islands was a waste of time as the only thing there was shops if you weren't staying. It would have been better to have an optional ride or transfer on this day. I understand that there were problems with one section where we were in the bus because of a lack of accommodation options. I think this should be looked at even if it means one extra day on the trip. But having said the above I think these were minor compared to the value and how fabulous the trip was. I also think you should thank the guides - they went above and beyond to fix and smooth over the navigation and bike mechanical problems. This and the fact that the group were laid back and experienced cyclists meant that what could have been a major problem was more an irritant or embraced as a bit of a laugh that didn't detract from the day.
run with what you had and recommendations for food from the guides were great.
Went above and beyond. Both guides were outstanding and we have done a lot of guided bike trips but never with your company.
The whole concept of south to north and along the Wild Atlantic Way was excellent. Accommodation was outstanding. Guides and personnel were fabulous. In general I would highly recommend this trip to others provided a few glitches were sorted.
Reviewed on 05/09/2018
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
The first night accommodation in Scull had no soap or shampoo nor drying racks in the room. most others were fine and great in Rathmullen
Loved them both! Went out of their way to extreme on the one day we thought one member got lost. Drove an extra 300kms that day. Kudos to both!!!
Great trip routing and scenery and guides but needs work on the other areas. I mentioned. Would only recommend this trip to others providing the bikes and trip routing get a lot better. I know it takes a few years to get it right from talking with Craig last year. I told others on the trip the same. TEAM WILDERNESS RESPONSE: Many thanks Gerry for the valuable feedback. As you know we're working constantly to make sure every aspect of our trips is at the highest possible quality. For 2019, we will have a brand new and even higher spec bike fleet in Ireland (and Scotland).
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