The west coast of Ireland is the perfect escape, especially for outdoor enthusiasts! We love the unique combination of wild rugged nature and vibrant cities and towns. It really sums up Ireland wonderfully!
If you plan on doing a road trip as part of your Ireland travel holiday, then you should really spend some time on the Wild Atlantic Way. This coastal driving route runs from Malin Head in Donegal, to Kinsale in the south of the country, just a short distance from Cork City.
The entire route spans over 2500 km (1550 miles) and meanders the west coast taking in stunning headlands, superb surfing spots, towering cliffs and wild national parks.
Some of the scenery may even seem somewhat familiar to you. The beauty of the isolated Irish landscapes has caught the attention of filming location scouts from some of Hollywood’s biggest movies including Star Wars and Harry Potter.
A visit to Galway city should be included in everyone’s itinerary, if possible. This charismatic city offers a rich history of arts and culture that will delight visitors. Check out one of the city’s many hotels, great restaurants and stroll the streets enjoying the entertaining street performers.
From Galway, it is also easy to do day trips by car and take part in organized bus tours to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren in County Clare, the Aran islands, as well as the scenic Kylemore Abbey in Connemara.
Outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and water sport are especially well catered for along the west coast of Ireland. Some of my favorite hikes are in Connemara National Park, where the views over Connemara and beyond are absolutely breathtaking. Achill Island also has fantastic hiking routes.
The Great Western Greenway is a 42 km (26 miles) traffic-free trail for walkers and cyclists that takes visitors along the route of a 19th century Midlands Great Western Railway.
Water enthusiasts will be kept busy with the ample surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and kayaking opportunities, particularly along the stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal town to Erris.
It is easy to reach the western Ireland, either directly from Dublin city, where the majority of tourists start their Ireland vacation. Alternatively, there are also airports in the west of Ireland, such as Shannon Airport near Limerick or Knock Airport in County Mayo.
Check out our post on the Wild Atlantic Way to learn more about why you should visit this fabulous area of Ireland.
Ireland Destination Guides
Find our guides for each destination in Ireland by clicking on the images below.