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Our Trip Grading Explained

Find the Perfect Trip for You

If you’re looking for an active but relaxed vacation, a challenging journey or anything in between, we have a trip that suits your needs.

To help you chose the trip that’s just right for you, we’ve developed a comprehensive grading system. This allows you to consider the balance of physical activity, skills required and accommodation comfort.

Trip Grades

Our trips are graded either Green, Blue or Red with green trips being the most accessible and red trips being the most difficult. Within each of the colour grades, there are numbered sub-grades with 1 being easiest and 9 being the most challenging.

The grades are worked out using a number of factors, including elevation, ascent, trail type and of course the level of physical challenge being the most significant. Technical skills and experience required are also important contributors.

Keep scrolling below to get a sense of our trip grades for each activity. 

Hiking

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Biking

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Self Drive

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Hiking

Green Graded: Difficulty 1-3

Our green graded hiking trips are suitable for reasonably fit and active travellers who enjoy moderate hikes. Green trips include shorter hikes (distances typically 8-10km with the odd longer day), a few ascents and climbs as well as rolling terrain.

We hike over generally smoother (but usually not paved) terrain. Hikes are usually in flatter coastal areas or valleys and include more cultural stops along the way. Expect to be out 5-6 hours a day with ascents up to a max of approx 1,500 feet/450m. Hiking is interspersed with cultural/historical visits. 

Blue Graded: Difficulty 4-6

Blue-graded hiking trips are suitable for fit and experienced hikers. We hike at a good pace – expect to be out for 6-8 hours a day. Blue trips will include some steeper climbs and summits, with some daily hikes involving ascents of over 3000ft/900m. 

You will not always be on a path and the terrain underfoot may be rough and boggy. Blue hikes may include boulder fields and mountain tops. Harder hiking days are generally followed by an easier, more relaxed day which would include some cultural highlights along the way. Distances will generally be up to 16km a day, with the occasional longer day.

Red Graded: Difficulty 7-9

For more of a challenge, our red-graded hiking trips mean longer hikes from 15-25km every day, with rougher, steeper terrain including rough hill tracks, boggy ground, boulder fields and mountain tops. There may be ridge walks or short non-technical scrambling so a good head for heights is useful. 

Red hiking trips are suitable for very fit and experienced hikers used to more challenging days and routes. Expect to be out hiking nearly all day, interspersed with short breaks. Red trips are only for very active hikers who are used to hiking long distances regularly. 

Biking

Green Graded: Difficulty 1-3

Our green-graded biking trips usually include shorter days with less ascents and more stops along the way. Green graded trips are suitable for people with a reasonable level of fitness who enjoy biking and want an active but relaxed trip and for active people new to multi-day bike trips wanting a new way to explore rural Ireland.

Daily distances are generally 25 – 40 miles (40 – 65km), biking at an average speed of 12mph (19kph). We’ll cycle mostly rolling terrain with one or two notable climbs, with the option of riding in the support vehicle if you need a break. We will be on our bikes for 4-6 hours each day plus the odd longer day, with plenty of time for breaks, lunches and visits to sites of interest.

Blue Graded: Difficulty 4-6

Our blue graded road biking trips are suitable for people with a fairly good level of bike fitness, who bike regularly and may have done a multi-day bike trip before. Daily distances range from 35 – 45 miles (55 – 70km), including the occasional steeper climb interspersed with opportunities to stop and admire the view.

Blue trips usually have a much easier day following the more difficult ones, and include plenty of breaks throughout the day. As for pace, expect to cycle at around 12/13mph (19-21kph). Expect to be on the bikes for  5 – 7 hours each day plus the odd longer day; there is also time each day for breaks, lunches and visits to sites of interest.

Red Graded: Difficulty 7-9

Our red graded trips are suitable only for very fit and experienced riders who love biking and enjoy the challenge of longer days in the saddle, riding for more consecutive days. Daily distances are generally from 45 – 60 miles (70 – 95km) on a variety of terrain from rolling countryside to hilly and mountainous areas, at a pace of 12mph (19kph).

Most days will be challenging and the trip will include some of the more testing climbs in Ireland including high mountain passes. These harder climbs are rewarded with fast and exhilarating descents. We will often be on the bikes for 7 hours each day plus the odd longer day. There is also time each day for breaks and lunches plus visits to some sites of interest.

Self Drive and Family Adventures

Self Drive Itineraries

Discovery journeys are self-drive trips with activities and experiences tailored to your own group’s ability level. Self drive trips allow you to experience Ireland at your own pace, meeting local guides and experts who’ll lead you through activities at your own pace. Self drive trips include the best local 4 and 5 star accommodations.

Active experiences can be tailored to meet green, blue or red graded levels depending on your group’s preferences. For self-guided days, we’ll provide suggested points of interest to visit, places to eat, local recommendations, and things to see along with maps and directions.

See our Self Drive Journeys here.

 

Family Adventures

Our fully-guided Family Trips work in much the same way – personal activities and experiences are tailored to your family’s personal activity level. This allows your family to experience Ireland at your own pace – local guides and experts will lead you through activities such as hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and paddling at a pace comfortable for the whole family.

Expect top-notch hotels and guesthouses that are family-friendly and include child services, as well as activities catered for children and adults. In addition to active experiences, each itinerary allow plenty of time for cultural activities.

Check out our Family Adventure

So to help you decide if you are fit enough for these kinds of trip, ask yourself:

  1. Are you and your family or group generally active and happy to hike for several miles, including some ascent, with rough ground in places?
  2. Are you up for a challenge and trying new activities such as sea kayaking, biking, foraging or boat trips?
  3. Are you looking for an active trip which involves more than simply sitting in a car or bus?

Still Have Questions?

So there you have it. Hopefully our guide gives you a better idea of what to activity levels to expect and how to choose your dream trip. If you still have questions, it could be helpful to chat with our friendly sales team who can give you more info on our trips.

Feel free to contact our friendly adventure consultants who’ll be able to answer questions you have. Feel free to ring our office at: +353 (0)91 457 898, or toll free from North America at: 1-844-235-6240 during office hours (9-5.30 BST).

Our vacations reviewed
in your own words

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.

Geoff Hastings
Bike Tour - Wild Atlantic Way
Reviewed on 28/09/2018

Rated 4.94 out of 5 based on 173 reviews

Read More Reviews

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