From the romantic Blue Stack Mountains to the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, and from the lively craic of Galway to the beautiful, empty beaches of Sligo, exploring Ireland’s west coast makes for a wonderful fly-drive break.
However, the Wild Atlantic Way is one of the longest coastal road trips in the world: the entire route spans more than 1,500 miles.
That’s why we’ve broken it down into easy-to-enjoy sections. So whether you have a weekend, a week or a full fortnight to spend on the road, a glorious adventure lies ahead.
1. Derry to Donegal
Distance: 230 miles – set aside seven hours.
Wow factor: This north-western tip is the remotest part of Ireland with towering cliffs, hidden bays and secluded beaches. From the clifftop at Slieve League, look down on crashing Atlantic waves from almost 2,000ft.
Pitstop: Take the coast road from Malin Head to see the sand dunes – some of the biggest in Europe – around Five Fingers Strand. Then find the white-washed St Mary’s chapel among the dunes.
Overnight: Try a full Irish breakfast at the smart Castle Murray Hotel (castlemurray.com), watching waves batter the ruins of McSwyne’s Castle. Double B&B from £123. McGrory’s of Culdaff (mcgrorys.ie) – Ulster Gastropub of the Year – has two live Irish music bars, and the food’s not bad either.