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Hiking the Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

  • Hike iconic Irish landscapes including UNESCO site the Giant’s Causeway, Slieve League Cliffs & Glenveagh National Park
  • Walk Ireland’s most northernly peninsula and Star Wars filming location, Malin Head, where mountains meet sea
  • Discover Donegal, voted National Geographic’s Coolest Place on Earth
  • Island hopping to Rathlin Island, in search of myths and puffins
  • 6 nights accommodation in unique and cosy guest houses and hotels
  • Most meals during the trip (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • The services of an experienced and knowledgeable hiking guide/driver throughout
  • Pickup and transport throughout the trip, starting in Belfast and finishing in Sligo
  • 6 days of hiking along the dramatic coastline and landscapes of Northern Ireland and Donegal
  • Entrance and admission fees as stated in the itinerary

Green Grades 1-3

Our hiking trips range from very straightforward low-level hikes to trips that include more challenging itineraries which will take you to a new mountain top each day.

Our green graded trips include shorter hikes, with few ascents, and are generally over smoother (but usually not paved) terrain. We include more cultural stops along the way and walk at a leisurely pace.

Often our green graded trips include hikes in flatter coastal areas or in valleys, and will last around 2-4 hours each day. To help you decide if you are fit enough for this trip, ask yourself:

Can you comfortably hike for 6 miles (10km), including some ascents, over generally good terrain?

 

This trip features accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service and comfort. All accommodations provide breakfast. Whether you’re looking for the liveliness of a traditional Irish music or the sound of the crashing waves, all the accommodations we use on the Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal Hiking Trip play an exciting part in your journey through the northern part of the Emerald Isle!

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.

You will be met by your Wilderness Ireland Guide at the Great Victoria Street Train Station in downtown Belfast at 12 pm on Day 1 of your trip. You will be dropped off at Sligo Train Station by 1.00pm on the last day of your trip, where there are regular train and bus connections with Dublin. For full details on how to get to Great Victoria Street Train Station, please see our travel section here.

 

Customer Kudos

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday 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 holidays truly memorable.

5 star 31

4 star 0

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by Kathleen Leonard 09/08/2019

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Very attentive and helpful office staff!
Trip Comments
Fun and friendly guides and beautiful locations to see and walk through.
Accommodation and Food
Some accommodations had very small rooms but in exchange the location on the beach made up for it!
Your Guide
Fun, friendly and knowledgeable.
The Bottom Line
The guides are friendly, fun and knowledgeable of the area. They are accommodating and make sure that everybody is comfortable. The food and lodging are first-rate. I especially like the cap of groups at 8 which makes getting around and making new friends easy.

by Sarah Leonard 08/08/2019

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Erin and Louise were so helpful re the logistics of our riding back from Belfast to Sligo with our guide. This saved us time to be ready for trip 2 on next day.
Trip Comments
Shane was a great guide, patient and full of interesting information. Especially fun for me was the walk through Glenveagh Park with waterfalls streaming down. It was nice to walk at my own pace and not feel rushed. The gardens afterwards were also beautiful. Rathlin Island was also a nice hike.
Accommodation and Food
Carnaween B & B had a great view but the rooms were too tiny to move in.
Food was ok/ understaffed though. Sonia at The Glen B & B was wonderful, food great, room nice, cake for us on arrival. She even did a tiny bit of washing for me and then would not charge me.
Your Guide
John we only had for a brief time. He guided us well day 1 (when it poured on Slieve League Cliffs) Shane, guiding us longer, had more time to show us his diplomatic and guiding skills. He was so patient and did nice things (like getting chips because the Americans wanted chips w/ sandwiches) for lunch. We really appreciated all of his help and information.
The Bottom Line
Love Wilderness Ireland. Your guides are fantastic, hiking sites well chosen, office support efficient and timely. Thx for a great trip (again)

by Phil Risdale 07/08/2019

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Our trip was reversed due to the Portrush Open Golf event. Given that this would have been known about for months in advance, I think that you could have added a comment about this on your website.
This didn't cause me a big problem, but not finding out until I'd booked and paid my deposit was a bit frustrating given the research I'd done with ref. to travel plans.
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation needs addressing separately as the three guest houses are so different. First the good, Glen House in Clonmany, absolutely fabulous, we could not fault this B&B.

Secondly the bad, the hotel in Portnoo, lovely location but apart from that, the place is a disaster. The rooms are ridiculously small for two people with luggage, with no storage/hanging space and very badly maintained. Our room (I counted!) had 7 lights in total of which 4 did not work (we managed to get just 1 repaired during out stay) there were also 4 clothes hooks on the wall, 2 of which were broken off and unusable. Add to this the chaotic atmosphere in the restaurant/bar, not to mention the very noisy wedding party!!! This place, whilst in a very nice location, lets this trip down badly in my opinion.

MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Further to your and other clients' input as well as feedback from our guides, we have removed this hotel from all future trips.

Thirdly, the Causeway Hotel, another very nice place to stay. Very hard to find any faults.
Food - throughout the entire trip, food was plentiful, varied and very good. If was to criticise anything then I would say that personally, some of the lunch stops took too long and were unnecessary, coming sometimes just a couple of hours after a substantial breakfast.
Your Guide
Both guides we had were absolutely lovely. Both John and Shane were polite, personable, knowledgeable and helpful in every way needed.
The Bottom Line
Final verdict - a couple of the walks on this trip are not very exciting to be honest, especially the 3 miles on a tarmac road on Rathlin Island. Maybe there's more to explore on the Antrim coast?

Overall experience was very nice, we will certainly be looking at your other trips for the future.

by Jennifer Belcher 03/08/2019

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Both John and Shane were excellent guides with great personalities. They were fun and helpful which made for a great tour!
Accommodation and Food
All the food was incredible!!!! The Carnaween hotel wasn’t quite as nice as the other two hotels but we still really enjoyed our trip. The Causeway Hotel was incredible! our trip was reversed because Of British Open. It would have been very disappointing to stay at Carnaween hotel after staying at The Causeway. Overall the accommodations and food were fantastic everywhere we went!
Your Guide
John was super knowledgeable and fun. We were sorry he only did 2 days of our tour. Shane was a blast. He helped me find an adapter as I had brought the wrong kind. Very easy to talk to and fun as well. Both major assets to Wilderness Ireland!
The Bottom Line
It was an absolutely magnificent tour! I thoroughly enjoyed it. The scenery was astoundingly beautiful and the pace was perfect. The week was made even more special by the personalities of our two awesome guides. I would absolutely use your company again and I will recommended it to all my friends!!!

by Annie Lord 02/08/2019

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I was trying to line up 2 trips and Erin made some suggestions that were better than what I had come up with... and I chose to do my tours her way!
Trip Comments
This was my 2nd week: the Causeway Coastal route and Donegal in reverse direction. Great guides - John and Shane. Both are very personable and fun to chat with as well as proficient with the logistics of herding tourists gently. Good variety of hikes. 2 of the 3 hotels were excellent. More on the other one shortly.
Accommodation and Food
Glen House and Causeway Hotel were excellent, both in lodging and food.

Carnaween House: no. It was like a student hostel with no one in charge. It was dirty inside and trash-strewn outside. I had to ask for towels and the 2nd night, had to ask for hot water. Apparently the hot water system is part of the heating system and because the weather was so hot, the heat was off and therefore the hot water was too. Strange for a hotel. The walls are paper thin and John may have related the ruckus that went on for about an hour starting at 3:30 a.m. the 1st night we were there: hysterical sobbing, screaming and swearing from the room next to mine. At breakfast, no explanation, no apology. No one was managing the place and the college-age kids seemed to be running it. And they were befuddled most of the time. It's a great location on the beach but the beach walking isn't worth the lack of sleep and other amenities. Find another hotel, maybe in Ardara.

My one recommendation for hotels you choose is that they have some sort of drying facility for boots since rain is quite likely in Ireland. Greenmount House in Dingle (my 1st week) was perfect: they put our wet boots in a warm utility room and they were dry overnight.
Your Guide
As said previously, both John and Shane were great. We were a very non-cohesive group of hikers and John did his "border collie" best on our aborted climb up Slieve League. Similarly, Shane was a good wrangler and good company. Both were remarkably patient and gracious.
The Bottom Line
With the exception of the nights at Carnaween House, this trip went very well. The difficulty grade was spot on. There was good variety in hiking places. The guides were good fun and good people.

by Erin Pawlicki 29/07/2019

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Erin was extremely helpful
Trip Comments
It was easy, every thing was set up for me so I didn't have to worry about anything. The scenery, walks and food were amazing.
Accommodation and Food
Every meal was amazing. Glen house and the causeway hotel were excellent. The caranwen was a little disorganized.
Your Guide
Shane was excellent. He was friendly, kind, well prepared. John was our guide for two days and he was also excellent.
The Bottom Line
I couldn't have asked for a better trip. Thank you

by Molly Selsby 01/07/2019

3Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Overall clearer info upfront. The what to pack was really helpful but the info on meals wasn’t quite clear. We definitely did not need to bring all the energy bars we did as we weren’t responsible for rounding up the packed lunch - that was arranged. Similar with reservations on the nights we buy dinner - super helpful and would rather know up front. Minor stuff that helps clarify what to expect and what to plan.
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Cold shower at one spot; a bit dirty and a worn at another (offset by the great views), but overall we weren’t bothered because we were having a lot of fun. Tartine restaurant a fav, one of the pubs I wouldn’t do again though the name we can’t recall.
Your Guide
Where do we begin. Liam was fabulous. Full of history and facts, full of laughs, good at knowing our energy levels and pacing even without asking. Working dynamics of a very small group can be tricky- by 1 day in the 4 of us felt like old friends. We wanted Liam in all our group pics.
The Bottom Line
We’ll be back. May need to bring our kids next. Would love to have Liam.

by George Fitzpatrick 20/05/2019

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Our planning was easy after we were contacted by Louise, who gave us the information we needed. She promptly answered our questions. As a result, we brought the clothing and gear to make the hikes enjoyable, including the backpack rain covers.
Trip Comments
The hikes ranged from easy to moderately hard, in part because of the good weather. With more rain they could have been harder. The scenery along all trails was striking. The hikes had frequent pauses to point out specific features or history as mentioned above. Heaven was removing boots and taking a barefoot walk on the spongy, cool plant surfaces at Malin Head.

Georgia made frequent ‘amuse-bouche’ stops while traveling between locations. A notable one was the Doagh Famine Village, which provided an insight to life in Ireland during the famine, during the Troubles, and in more recent times. The host also provided a sample of poitín aka uisce beatha.

A major component of our trip enjoyment was our traveling companions Bob, Trisha and Ciersten (Gaelic spelling). We enjoyed an informative, imaginative and often humorous forum to discuss everything from our backgrounds to evil pillow cat faeries.
Accommodation and Food
The lodgings ranged from the unusual to sublime. Our favorite was the Glen House B&B. The most memorable stay was at the Carnaween House. All had wifi, some more reliable than others.
Your Guide
And we repeat:

Georgia our guide was prepared and knowledgable on a wide variety of subjects pertaining to the tour as well as Ireland in general. She provided context for the locations we visited and made it more enjoyable. Topics included geography, geology, Gaelic language, history, literature, music, film, food, drink, flora and fauna. We were also lucky to have Liam, new to this company, who was shadowing for 3 days.
The Bottom Line
Our Wilderness Ireland trip (Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal) was remarkable, approaching magical.

by Robert Flynn 13/05/2019

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
The Caraween house had some issues with internet and maintenance issues with in the rooms. Our shower door didn’t stay closed. Someone’s door handle came off, another guest had troubles opening their door.
Other accommodations were excellent. Food was excellent everywhere.
Your Guide
Both Georgia and Liem were great.
The Bottom Line
I think as an advertised hiking holiday there should be a bit more hiking. We seldom did the mileage on our itinerary. In fact our itinerary was partially wrong. I know they changed the itinerary and accommodations from the previous year. Some of the listed itinerary didn’t work with this years trip. Georgia had to make adjustments. We still had a good time, but some days our hike was only 2 hours of a 8-10 hour day.

by Patricia Flynn 13/05/2019

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line
100% satisfaction guarantee - We beleive our tours are world class. To back that up, we are the only Irish travel company to offer a no strings attached, 100% satisfaction guarantee

Trip Details

The rugged and beautiful wilderness of Northern Ireland and County Donegal is a corner of Europe that the rush of the modern world  has overlooked.

Our route takes us along the Causeway Coastal Route and the iconic Giant’s Causeway, collectively rated world’s best region to visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet, along the northern edge of Ireland to the dramatic mountains and glens of the Donegal, finishing at some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe.

After exploring the wild Causeway Coast culminating in the Giant’s Causeway, we head into National Geographic’s Coolest Place on Earth, County Donegal. With its rolling mountains, soaring cliffs, white sand beaches, infinite bogs and tiny villages left to their own devices, Donegal is as romantically remote today as ever before. We’ll explore tiny islands and coastal headlands rich in wildlife, hike through vast mountains awash with myths and legends, experience the freshest of seafood, walk along the other-worldly coast and retire to comfortable, characterful lodgings each evening.

Hiking the Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

Day 1 – The Giant’s Causeway & Causeway Coastal Route 

Meeting in Belfast, we travel north to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway. Legend has it that a Scottish giant hurled abuses across at the Irish giant, Finn MacCool. To have a proper fight, Finn built a causeway over to Scotland – what we call the Giant’s Causeway. Today, you’ll hike along majestic clifftops of the Causeway Coastal Route to finish at this fascinating geological phenomena. Watch as the Causeway Coast becomes wilder as we approach the fascinating geological phenomena of the Giant’s Causeway. Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Giant’s Causeway region has attracted visitors for centuries. (L, D)

Distance 3 miles/5km, approx 2hrs.

Day 2 – Rathlin Island 

Many tales of myth and mystery surround Rathlin Island, though the most famous tells of Robert the Bruce. In 1306, the Scottish King was driven from Scotland by Edward I of England and took refuge on Rathlin where he watched a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. Eventually it succeeded. Taking heart from the spider’s efforts, he returned to Scotland and eventually regained his crown. Ferrying to the island today, our loop takes in the bird sanctuary, home to an adorable resident puffin colony in season, and the stunning west lighthouse. (B,L)

Distance 5.5 miles/9 km, approx 4hrs.

Day 3 – Inishowen Peninsula

The ancient territory (The Land of the O’ Doherty’s), of Co. Donegal is the most northerly part of Ireland. Its northern shore is on the restless Atlantic Ocean with Lough Swilly forming its western boundary and Lough Foyle to the east. This is the undiscovered Ireland, a world apart, a timeless place. Our day starts with a ferry across Lough Swilly fjord for beautiful panoramas to the start point of our hike, a World War II-era look out tower. A gradual climb takes us to the shoulder of Crocknasmug Hill for magical coastal views. (B,L)

Distance 5 miles/8km, approx 3hrs.

Day 4 – Malin Head – Ireland’s Northernmost point

We head into rugged Donegal to stand at Malin Head, the northernmost point of Ireland. A wild and windswept landscape peppered with ancient archaeological remains, Malin Head served as the backdrop for the 2017 Star Wars film. Our hike climbs over rugged hills and past dramatic coastal cliffs . (B,L)

Distance 4 miles/7km, approx 3hrs.

Day 5 –  Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh National Park is a hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls and enchanted native oak woodland. Wander along the quiet shores of the lake to the mystical Glenveagh Castle, idyllically set amongst the mountains. Here we get the opportunity to explore the gardens before continuing our walk beyond the castle walls, passing abandoned settlements on a winding path through the Derryveagh Mountains.  (B,L)

Distance: 5 miles/8km, approx. 4hrs

Day 6 – Slieve League Cliffs

Our final hike along the Slieve League Cliffs is possibly the most impressive. Some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, hike in the footsteps of pilgrims of yesteryears by following the ancient Pilgrim’s Path. Impressive from a historic perspective, you’ll also drink in terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the mountains of Sligo and the shimmering Donegal Bay. Meet locals such as tweed-makers still practising their craft on a traditional handloom. After saying goodbye to the windy Slieve League cliffs, enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Distance 4 miles/6km, approx 4hrs.

Day 7 – Yeats Country & Departure 

This morning, we shall say goodbye to the Wild Atlantic Way coast in Donegal to transfer to County Sligo, nicknamed “Yeats Country” named for WB Yeats, Ireland’s national poet who was greatly inspired by Sligo’s landscapes and natural beauty. Along the way, we will stop at Yeats’ grave, tucked under the shadow of Ben Bulben Mountain, Sligo’s iconic table mountain, before making our way to Sligo town in time to catch regular train connections to Dublin. (B)

*This itinerary is subject to changes and improvements. 

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Prices and Dates

2019 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
31st Aug - 6th Sep 2019
€1,710
Trip Full
14th Sep - 20th Sep 2019
€1,710
4 place(s) left

2020 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
25th Apr - 1st May 2020
€1,710
8 place(s) left
9th May - 15th May 2020
€1,710
6 place(s) left
20th Jun - 26th Jun 2020
€1,710
8 place(s) left
4th Jul - 10th Jul 2020
€1,710
8 place(s) left
18th Jul - 24th Jul 2020
€1,710
8 place(s) left
1st Aug - 7th Aug 2020
€1,710
8 place(s) left
29th Aug - 4th Sep 2020
€1,710
8 place(s) left
12th Sep - 18th Sep 2020
€1,710
8 place(s) left
Get a group of friends together and make this trip private
100% satisfaction guarantee - We beleive our tours are world class. To back that up, we are the only Irish travel company to offer a no strings attached, 100% satisfaction guarantee

Price from: €1,710

Next trip: 31st August

Duration: 6 night(s)

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Location: Northern Ireland – Giants Causeway & Belfast

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 3

31 review(s)

Trip Photos

Giants CausewayDSC_9696_optBushmill’s DistilleryCauseway Coastal RouteHiking along Causeway coast_optMalin Head hikingHiking behind Malin HeadCliffs at Horn Head DonegalHorn head cliffs in DonegalGlenveagh Castle from the hillMount ErrigalMount ErrigalPilgrim’s Path at Slieve LeagueSlieve LeagueSlieve League
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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
The guides are friendly, fun and knowledgeable of the area. They are accommodating and make sure that everybody is comfortable. The food and lodging are first-rate. I especially like the cap of groups at 8 which makes getting around and making new friends easy.

Kathleen Leonard
09/08/2019

5

Love Wilderness Ireland. Your guides are fantastic, hiking sites well chosen, office support efficient and timely. Thx for a great trip (again)

Sarah Leonard
08/08/2019

5

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 31 review(s) of Hiking the Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

5 star 31

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