Ultimate Guide to Wild Atlantic Way Route

Your Ultimate Guide to the Wild Atlantic Way Route 

Did you know that the Wild Atlantic Way holds the title for the longest signed coastal route in the world, spanning a whopping 2,750 kilometers? The sheer length of the route assures you that there will be something you’d enjoy. 

But this legendary route offers more than just long open roads. All along the way, you will find the Wild Atlantic Way dotted with beautiful sights and fun activities to try from exploring its rugged cliffs to visiting some. 

Whether you’re a nature lover who loves to get your hands dirty, or if you prefer to watch and relax with nature as your view, then the Wild Atlantic Way is a must try. So, grab your map and uncover the wonders of the Wild Atlantic Way with us.

Things to Know about the Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way is a driving route spanning the entire western coast of Ireland. It stretches for over 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) from County Donegal in the north to County Cork in the south.

The Wild Atlantic Way Route is subdivided into 14 stages:

  • Muff to Letterkenny: Distance of 197 km
  • Letterkenny to Bunbeg: Distance of 163 km
  • Bunbeg to Donegal Town: Distance of 170 km
  • Donegal Town to Ballina: Distance of 192 km
  • Ballina to Belmullet: Distance of 213 km
  • Belmullet to Westport: Distance of 238 km
  • Westport to Clifden: Distance of 165 km
  • Clifden to Galway: Distance of 176 km
  • Galway to Kilkee: Distance of 164 km
  • Kilkee to Tralee: Distance of 216 km
  • Tralee to Castlemaine: Distance of 150 km
  • Castlemaine to Kenmare: Distance of 175 km
  • Kenmare to Durrus: Distance of 210 km
  • Durrus to Kinsale: Distance of 207 km

It was officially launched in 2014. Its creation was spurred by a desire to showcase and celebrate the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unique character of the Atlantic coastline. 

This ambitious project was envisioned as a means to promote sustainable tourism and economic development in the region, while also encouraging visitors to explore lesser-known areas and support local communities along the route. 

The Wild Atlantic Way was designed to provide travelers with a scenic and immersive journey through some of Ireland’s most breathtaking landscapes, from windswept cliffs and rugged headlands to pristine beaches and quaint coastal villages.

One of the defining features of the Wild Atlantic Way is its diversity. Each stretch of coastline offers its own distinct attractions and experiences. 

These range from outdoor activities like surfing, hiking, and whale watching to cultural pursuits such as traditional music sessions, artisan craft workshops, and visits to historic sites and archaeological ruins.

Along the route, travelers can expect to encounter a rich tapestry of natural wonders, including remote islands, ancient forests, and wild Atlantic beaches.

10 Must-Visit Spots along the Wild Atlantic Way 

Clew Bay 

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If you’re the kind of adventurer who wants a whole lot of variety in one place, then the area of Clew Bay in Mayo is a great place to drop by and explore while on your Wild Atlantic Way adventure. This place has it all from water activities to sea animals. 

The first thing you’ll see are the seals that are lying out on the shores of the haul outs where they molt and mate. Within the waters of Clew Bay, there are also shipwrecks with 2 notable ones, the San Nicolas Prodaneli and the El Gran Grin that you can see. 

For a deeper dive into history, Clew Bay was  also the last stronghold of the O’Malley Clan, most notably Granuaile the Pirate Queen who is said to be buried in the island. 

If you need more peace and quiet, then Clew Bay is home to an island dedicated to that. Maharishi Island of World Peace is the location for the Peace Palace where you can go to experience Transcendental Meditation. 


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Connemara in County Galway is famous for its landscape and the experiences that the area offers. The diamond hill is one of the most popular attractions here. It’s a quartzite ridge filled with shiny rocks that look like diamonds. 

Further into the area is Omey Island filled with mountains and large green fields filled with wild bunnies and flowers. The drive to Omey Island is a sight in itself. It’s only accessible during low tide, when the receding waters reveal a singular sand path. 

For a trip down memory lane, Kylemore Abbey is also located in Connemara. You can sign up for guided tours to the castle and abbey or you can opt to explore them yourselves. The Victorian walled gardens there are also worth a visit. 

The last stop on Connemara is Killary, which is a glacial fjord spanning across 10 miles. It’s primed and perfect for those who want to explore the waters by kayaking or riding a canoe. The crystal clear waters and the reflection of the mountains in them is amazing. 

Dingle Peninsula

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Dingle Peninsula offers a seamless and deep dive into Irish culture. Dingle Town is a must visit, partially for the visuals that make it look like a village from a Disney fairytale, but also because of the things to try while you’re there. 

One of the things we loved the most here is the Food Festival which is held on the first weekend of October every year. Over 50 stalls are set up on the market square where you can find cooking classes, wine tastings, and produce to buy. 

The Dingle Whiskey Distillery is also a must visit while you’re here. This is the very first purpose-built distillery in the country in over 2 centuries. They produce unique and award winning whiskey, gin, and vodka. Take a bottle or 2 with you as a souvenir. 

To end your trip here with a bang, you can head to O’Flaherty’s where you can join a trad session. There’s live music, friendly and chatty locals, and great food and even greater pints!

Downpatrick Head 

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The Downpatrick Head is one of the most iconic stops along the Wild Atlantic Way. Perched 45 meters above the turbulent waters of the Atlantic in Mayo, Downpatrick Head was used to be tethered to the mainland. 

Now, this sea stack is home to puffins, cormorants, and kittiwakes. Apart from the wild life you can spot here, the Downpatrick Head is made with layers of rock that you can visually make out. 

As you gaze upon it from afar, you can take note of the distinct layers of rock, each layer bearing witness to millions of years of Earth’s evolution. 


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Nestled along the picturesque coastline of Sligo, Mullaghmore is the perfect stopover for adventurers who love the water. The most popular thing to do here is surf, and once you see some of the waves this place churns out, you’ll understand why. 

The best months to catch big ones are during winter on the opposite side of the headland right before the huge cliffs. 

After a day out in the sun and seas, you can head to the town center where you will find a 19th century harbor. Just beyond the town is the Classiebawn Castle where you will find the Benbulben Mountain as its backdrop. 

Best Time to Go

Since the weather will heavily dictate how much of the scenery you get to enjoy, we recommend setting out on the Wild Atlantic Route in the summer months anywhere from June to August. These months give you clear skies and minimal issues. 

But, June and July are peak months, so if you want to avoid crowds, August is the way to go! 

Places to Eat Nearby 

Eat at One of Ireland’s Oldest Restaurants at Ard Bia

Address: Spanish Arch, The Long Walk, Galway, H91 E9XA, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 91 561 114



  • Open on Monday from 10 am to 3 pm 
  • Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm and from 6 pm to 10 pm 

Ard Bia is located inside Nimmos which is one of the country’s most well known restaurant spaces. Ard Bia itself is one of the oldest in the country. They serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. 

For dinner, we usually start with their roast pumpkin with burrata and basil, followed by their pan roasted hake with leeks, fennel orzo, smoked bacon, and clams. 

For brunch, the Andarl farm pork belly with spinach, eggs, and kimchi aioli is the perfect meal. For sweets lovers, their buttermilk and orange pancakes with berry compote and vanilla mascarpone is to die for. 

Enjoy a Michelin Star Meal at Bastion

Address: Junction of Market St & Main St, Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 21 470 9696


Hours: Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 5 pm to 11 pm 

Bastion was awarded a Michelin Star in 2020 and they have maintained if not exceeded that standard ever since. They offer their signature tasting menus which feature dishes made from seasonal ingredients and paired with a specific choice of wine. 

 Each tasting menu has 7 to 8 courses which start with some light snacks like fruits and vegetables, followed by a bread course. After that, you get 2 appetizers and 2 mains which range from meat dishes to seafood plates. ,

The entire meal ends with chocolate, coffee, and sweet snacks, as well as some cheese and crackers.

Enjoy Turkish and Irish Flavors at Dede

Address: Customs House, Baltimore, Co. Cork, P81 K291, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 28 48248



  • Open from Thursday to Friday from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm 
  • Open on Saturday form 12:30 pm to 8:30 pm 
  • Open on Sunday from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm 

 For a more exotic meal after exploring the Wild Atlantic Way, Dede features a tasting menu that combines elements from dishes rooted in Ireland and in Turkey. 

They were awarded 2 Michelin Stars in 2023 and for good reason too. Sample dishes from one of their old menus are smoked labneh, haddock Lakarde, adana kebab, lamb manti, barbecue duck, and cheese Gofret. 

Their dessert options are also tasty like the Turkish Red Mulberry with pomegranate and rhubarb, as well as the blood orange and cardamom Turkish delight. 

Get the Best of Both Land and Sea at the Harrow 

Address: 27 High Street, Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93 K164, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 64 663 0766



  • Open from Thursday to Saturday from 5 pm to 9:30 pm 
  • Open on Sunday from 1 pm to 6:45 pm 

Harrow is a wonderful place to go if meats and seafood hold equal ranking in your preferences. The best sellers here are the dry aged prime cuts of Irish beef and the daily fresh seafood that they source locally. 

From their mains, the pan fried wild Atlantic hake with mussels, red pepper, chorizo, and squid is an absolute winner. The 24 hour beef featherblade in Bourguignon sauce and dried onion crumble is a must-taste for meat lovers like me. 

We never leave Harrow without closing the meal with one of their desserts whether that’s a classic creme brulee or their caramel nougatine. 

Enjoy Cakes and Coffee at Pota Cafe

Address: An Tulach, Cartron, Baile na hAbhann, Co. Galway, H91 A9W8, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 85 756 6963


Hours: Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm 

For a more relaxed dining experience, Pota Coffee is a great place to stop by for a quick meal to fuel up. Their breakfast options are extensive and feature granola, egg dishes, French toast, mushrooms, eggs benedict, and full Irish breakfasts. 

For lunch, you can get their roasted free range chicken with sundried tomatoes or the warm seafood chowder with smoked fish. On the side, you can add an order of their hand cut chips with specialty seaweed salt for an extra crunch. 

Don’t forget to grab one or two of their freshly baked pastries and breads to go to snack on later if you get hungry along the way. 

Places to Stay Nearby 

Acton’s Hotel 

Address: Pier Rd, Dromderrig, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 21 477 9900


Rating: 4 Star Hotel 

Pricing: $ $ $

Built in 1946, the Actons Hotel has become a heritage hotel located on the coastline of Kinsale in Cork County. If you’re looking for a place to stay after your adventures along the Wild Atlantic Way, then the Actons Hotel might be the best place to book. 

The rooms of these hotels are all lavish and luxurious. All of them come with harbor views and are decorated with stylish decor. The bathrooms even come with claw foot bathtubs, while the kitchen area comes with Nespresso machines for you to use. 

For fitness lovers, you can extend your workout at their 2 storey fitness center with a gym, a pool, saunas, a steam room, and even a jacuzzi. 

Choose between Hotel Rooms, Lodges, and Cottages at Casey’s Baltimore Hotel

Address: Baltimore, Co. Cork, P81 YW66, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 28 20197


Rating: 3 Star Hotel 

Pricing: $ $ $

Casey’s Baltimore Hotel family run and the homey feel you get when staying here proves it. There are 3 types of lodging to choose from while you’re here. There’s a hotel with its own swimming pool and comfy rooms. 

If you need a more private setting, the Baltimore Lodge has bigger rooms that offer more space. With less rooms than the hotel, you get way more privacy and quiet. 

They also have cottages which are apartments with one bedroom that you can have all to yourself. These are perfect for big friend groups and families who prefer to have their own place to stay and wide open sharing spaces. 

Get Comfortable Rooms and Great Eats at Eccles Hotel and Spa

Address: Harbour, Reenmeen West, Glengarriff, Co. Cork, P75 A072, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 27 63003


Rating: 4 Star Hotel 

Pricing: $ $ $

The Eccles Hotel and Spa in Glengarriff is one of our favorite places to stay when we’re taking on the Wild Atlantic Way. The main selling point of this place for us is the food at the Garnish Restaurant which is located on site and is run by Chef Edward Attwell. 

Everything here is sourced fresh and locally to make artisan dishes. The menu mainly focuses on seafood to celebrate its location.

Food aside, the rooms at the Eccles Hotel and Spa are also great. You can choose rooms with a view of the bay or the forests. Each room has its own bathroom, TV, appliances, and tall windows to sightsee from. 

Parknasilla Resort and Spa

Address: Derryquin, Co. Kerry, V93 EK71, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 64 667 5600


Rating: 4 Star Hotel 

Pricing: $ $ $

Parknasilla Resort and Spa is located just beyond the Kerry Mountains with easy access to many beaches, inlets, and islands. It’s also right along the Wild Atlantic Way, so it doesn’t get more convenient than that. 

The staff here are always warm and friendly, and that might be because of the 126 years they have in the industry. 

You can choose to stay in one of their hotel rooms or at the courtyard lodges that have 2 bedrooms each and are all self catering. All lodges share a common area with a working kitchen, dining room, and open space for relaxing. 

Enjoy the Views of Lough Atalia at The Galmont Hotel and Spa

Address: Lough Atalia Rd, Galway, H91 CYN3, Ireland 

Phone Number: +353 91 538 300


Rating: 4 Star Hotel 

Pricing: $ $ $

The Galmont Hotel and Spa is a great option for accommodation while exploring the Wild Atlantic Way. They have a variety of rooms to choose from depending on price point or the number of people who will be staying there. 

They all come with everything you will need for a comfortable stay. They have an award winning spa on site, the Spirit One Spa where you can get massages, manicure, pedicures, and facials. 

But the real treat is the outdoor terrace where guests can spend the afternoon or early evenings looking out into Lough Atalia and Galway.