Welcome to Donegal, one of the prettiest counties of Ireland! And what’s more: it’s one of the most remote ones as well! Despite the Wild Atlantic Way ( a 2600km coastal route along the West of Ireland) running through it, most tourists still seem to leave this part of the country untouched. More space and less crowds for the few that do venture there!
And by all means, go! Amazing beaches, traditional thatched cottages and of course the friendly locals are reasons enough to spend a few days there! Donegal is +/- 4800 km², so you’ll be spoilt for choice, but there are a few spots you can not miss under any circumstances! These are the best places to visit in Donegal:
1. Malin Head
The official start of the “Wild Atlantic Way”, Malin Head is also the most northern point of Ireland. Take in the views over the remote country side and the Atlantic Ocean, feel the howling wind and look out for the thriving birdlife and historical plaques that are scattered around the site.
2. Portsalon Beach
Choosing your favourite beach in Donegal is like choosing your favourite child: impossible! Well, nearly… Portsalon would definitely be in my Top 3. It is situated on scenic Lough Swilly and is probably Donegal’s most famous beach. Bigger crowds in summer and a few holiday homes, but still very low-key compared to any other beach resort in the world!
3. Assarancagh waterfall
Out of the way, but my oh my, does it deserve the detour! This is the place I chose to set up my tent for the night: BEST decision ever! Situated near the town of Ardara and close to Maghera beach, this is one hell of a place to wake up!
4. Malin Beg Beach
Yes another beach, but look at the pictures and tell me you don’t want to visit it, I dare you! Portsalon A series of steps brings you to a picture-perfect beach and if the sun is shining (yes, that does happen occasionally in Ireland) you could easily be forgiven for thinking you’re in southern Europe!
5. Slieve League
At 600m, Slieve League is one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe! Amazing scenery, astonishing panoramas and countless sheep are awaiting you! You can drive up to the main viewing point, but it would be a shame to end there. Get out of your car and set off on one of the trails for ever better views and that “I’m on top of the world”-feeling!
6. Glenveagh National Park
Donegal is not only about beaches. Did you know it also has its own national park? Glenveagh is a mixture of mountains, lakes and valleys and deserves a daytrip. Walk up to the castle or along the lake and enjoy Irish nature at its best!
Have you been to Donegal? What remote areas did you discover on your travels?