The Wild Atlantic Way is the ultimate journey to explore the rugged western Irish coast. Dramatic cliffs, white-sand beaches, colorful villages, and captivating wildlife await on this 2,500-kilometer expedition.
Whether you wish to tackle Ireland’s wild side by car or bike, you will gain an entirely new perspective of the striking beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. During your picturesque ride down the coast, get to know the locals at every pit stop and experience that famous Irish hospitality.
Finding the Right Starting Point for Your Ride
This world famous coastal route passes through nine Irish counties that all have a unique personality and stunning landscapes to explore. It can be tough deciding the right place to begin your journey but there is no wrong choice.
The starting points of the Wild Atlantic Way reside in the rugged Northern Headlands of Donegal and the picturesque beaches of the Haven Coast.
The serpentine roadways of this inspiring route will give you an intimate look at the Irish way of life and will bring you closer to the magic of Mother Nature.
Unforgettable Highlights of the Wild Atlantic Way
This life-changing joy ride is divided into six distinct regions and we will take a closer look at one must-see treasure of each area.
Malin Head (Northern Headlands)
Malin Head Ireland – credit:shawnwil23/Shutterstock.com
The northernmost part of Ireland, this section of the Inishowen Peninsula will make your heart race with its jagged coastline and desolate beaches. The fierce waves of the Atlantic Ocean have carved the fissures into the landscape for millions of years and many pockets have been hidden from human discovery.
Tackle this isolated section of Ireland’s rugged cliffs and get a sneak peak into authentic Irish life at its finest.
Streedagh Beach (The Surf Coast)
Streedagh Point – credit: jonashanspach/Shutterstock.com
The western coast is teeming with dozens of gems for surfers to catch a gnarly wave. This gorgeous 3-kilometer beach is a goldmine for those looking to spend the day in the water. The sandy shore is full of astonishing discoveries for those who would rather take a leisurely stroll. Ancient fossils and remnants of shipwrecks are among the treasures you may find.
Connemara (The Bay Coast)
Roundstone & Connemara Ireland – credit:mbrand85/Shutterstock.com
You can really appreciate the beauty of the natural world when you ride through the eerie, mountainous landscapes of the Connemara region. Take in the diverse scenery of rugged hills, serene lakes, and alluring bog lands that are constantly transforming before your eyes.
The isolated valleys and lush woodlands that accompany this piece of unspoiled magic create a picturesque escape from reality.
Just watch out for the herds of sheep that routinely cross the road!
Cliffs of Moher (The Cliff Coast)
The Cliffs of Moher – credit:PeterKrocha/Shutterstock.com
One of the most iconic images of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher provide some of the most dramatic views of the Atlantic from above. Towering upwards of 214-meters, you will have sweeping imagery of the Aran Islands in the distance and an up close look at swarms of seabirds creating their nests. The coastal walk along the cliffside will take your breath away as waves crash against the jagged rocks. Meander along the walkway to witness jaw-dropping angles of the cliffs, vibrant flora growing beneath your feet, and the overwhelming power of the ocean.
Dingle Peninsula (Southern Peninsulas)
Dingle Peninsula – credit: JoeDunckley/Shutterstock.com
Highlighted by marvelous beaches, fields of every shade of green, turqoise waters, and authentic Irish culture, the Dingle Peninsula will steal your heart upon arrival.
Once dubbed by National Geographic magazine as the ‘most beautiful place on Earth,’ the mountainous terrain has enthralled locals and visitors for generations. The idyllic shores, steep hills, rocky cliffs, and archaeological remains have fascinated artists, explorers, movie makers, nature lovers, and everything in between.
The pristine landscapes have even made appearances on the big screen as the cast and crew of Star Wars: The Last Jedi filmed scenes for the Hollywood blockbuster.
Old Head of Kinsale (The Haven Coast)
Old Head of Kinsale – credit: hughoconnor/Shutterstock.com
When you reach the magnificent lighthouse, it will feel like you have arrived at the end of the world. Surrounding the green fields and sharp cliffs of this narrow strip of land is nothing but the ocean blue.
Taste the salty air of the sea and watch the boats sailing in the distance at one of Ireland’s most spellbinding coastal viewpoints.
Three Irish Culinary Treats to Try
Enjoy a pot of traditional Irish stew for a filling and delicious meal.
Taste fresh catches of smoked salmon straight off the boat.
Sample one of the innovative uses of potatoes with a hefty plate of boxty.