Duration: 6 night(s) From €1,350
Trip created by Darragh Devaney
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Two of the most wild and iconic regions of Ireland are that of the Burren and Connemara. Exotic and desolate, the Burren is a place of exposed limestone hills, brilliantly exploding with vibrant colour every spring upon the arrival of its famed wildflowers. Connemara is a remote, rural place made up of mountains and bogs. Tiny country lanes weave amongst its rugged heather-cloaked peaks, winding between quaint villages.
Home to many of Ireland’s Gaeltacht communities, you’ll surely get the chance to hear the Irish language spoken amongst the inhabitants. The best way to explore these two regions is by bike – go at your own pace as you soak up the region’s raw beauty. Biking along the coast of the Wild Atlantic Way is a fantastic way to experience the unspoilt beauty of Ireland!
This is a self guided+ supported cycling tour. You will have a soigneur (trip assistant) to transport you to/from the start/end of your day’s bike ride, deliver your luggage each day and a mechanic on call if you require assistance. This means you can enjoy linear routes and more flexibility. Ride at your own pace with lots of support but without a guide on the road with you while you’re cycling.
Meeting you at Shannon Airport or Galway Train Station, depending on your preference, your soigneur for the week will whisk you into the wild. After checking in at your hotel, meet your bike for the week – one of our top-class Trek bikes. After a quick fitting, it’s time to hit the road! Following an ocean-side route along the swirling Atlantic Coast, this afternoon loop will sweep you past the mystical Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most iconic sites. The picturesque Doolin village is your home for the next few days. Famous throughout Ireland for its traditional pubs, fantastic trad music and colourful facades. The best way to recover after your afternoon ride is by a roaring fire with a pint in hand, while your soigneur takes care of the bikes. (B)
Bike Distance: 28km/ 17 miles
Having explored the coastline yesterday, today’s route takes in the wild rolling interior of the Burren National Park. It’s easy to see how this exposed limestone landscape fed inspired JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth in his fantasy masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. As you pedal along quiet roads lined with quaint limestone walls that weave through this limestone expanse, marvel at the stony crevices dotted with pockets of rare wildflowers. There are holy well sites here as well as mysterious neolithic tombs including one of Ireland’s largest dolmens. Want to learn more about this unique region? We recommend making time stop at a perfumery that uses the landscape to inspire their fragrances as well as creating the most delicious freshly-baked organic goodies. After all that cycling, you’ve earned a treat! (B)
Bike Distance: 59km/ 36 miles
One of our favourite biking routes in the west of Ireland takes you from the village of Doolin along winding coastal roads and past the wild and windswept headland of Black Head. Here, the highest peaks of the Burren flank one side and the crashing waves of the Atlantic fall off to the other. For some of the Wild Atlantic Way’s best and uninterrupted views, stop at the historical lighthouse, manned until the 1970s. The village of Ballyvaughan is a perfect spot for a cosy picnic lunch with a view and after taking on the switchbacks at the short, but accurately named ‘corkscrew hill,’ your day finishes with a long and gentle descent into Doolin town. Wrap up your day with a traditional music session at one of the local pubs for which Doolin is famous for. (B)
Bike Distance: 55km/ 34 miles
This morning, your soigneur will transfer you northwards along the Wild Atlantic Way. If you’re looking for a little cosmopolitan liveliness, you have the option to stop in the famous west coast city of Galway. Soak up its vibrant atmosphere and spend a few hours wandering Galway’s cobbled streets. Part of the magic of Ireland is the sheer variety of landscapes – north of Galway, you’ll leave the windswept rocky expanses of the Burren behind for the heather-clad hills and craggy granite peaks of Connemara. Today’s route is a short local classic that is a favourite with cyclists. Cycling along the Sky Road, expect a blast of fresh air and stunning sea views as you follow this rewarding loop. You’ll finish up back in the fantastic village of Clifden, your home for the next few nights. (B)
Bike Distance: 17km/ 10 miles
A bike route around Connemara’s most picturesque coastline awaits you today. Pedal along the beautiful Coral Beach and Dog’s Bay and into the picturesque fishing village of Roundstone. Enjoy amazing views and a seaside lunch in Roundstone before heading back towards Clifden town via the ‘bog road’ – a long stretch that traverses the heart of the blanket boglands that are an ever-present feature of the Connemara landscape. In the distance, the peaks of the Twelve Bens and the Mamturks make an evocative backdrop to your Connemara route. We recommend dinner in one of Ireland’s best seafood spots that sources some of the best local Connemara produce. (B)
Bike Distance: 43km/ 26 miles
Circumnavigating Connemara National Park, wild and empty scenery awaits. History lovers may like to stop at the dramatic Kylemore Abbey to admire its fantastic neo-Gothic facade, dazzling interior and idyllic Victorian walled gardens. Continuing onwards, pedal along Connemara’s myriad of tiny lakes, heading for the pass between the region’s two prominent mountain ranges. Turn for home through the picturesque Inagh Valley where a Victorian fishing lodge makes for an epic rest stop. Sheep and the occasional fly fisherman are usually all you have for company on this stretch but keep an eye out for golden eagles that are enjoying a resurgence here. Finish the day with a final pint of Guinness in one of Clifden’s lively pubs. (B)
Bike Distance: 65km/ 40 miles
This morning, your soigneur will get you to your chosen end point – Knock Airport is the closest option but you could choose to extend your stay with a final night in Galway or head to Dublin by train. (B)
This self guided cycling trip features accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service and comfort. Expect small, comfortable and characterful lodgings. You will have the choice between cosy B&Bs or 3-star family-run hotels or guesthouses, with options in towns or rural communities. Accommodation rooming is a choice of double or twin rooms, which are en-suite with a shower.
For those who wish, it is possible to upgrade to Deluxe standard accommodations on this trip, but not luxury, due to the availability of the accommodations in the region.
Each morning, enjoy a homemade breakfast of your choice at your accommodation. We will provide local suggestions for lunches and dinners, to be taken according to your own preferences.
One of our expert 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
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