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North West Grand Tour

8 Day/7 Night Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating:   4.5/5     Average daily distance – 80 km.     Terrain – Hilly

Tour Overview

From the Yeats Country around Sligo Town to the rugged Highlands of Donegal, Ireland’s North West is a perfect area for Ireland cycling tours.  In this tour, Ireland reveals its wonderful landscapes at their best. Cycle through verdant valleys. Slip off your shoes for an invigorating foot massage  –  courtesy of the fine sand and crystal clear water at one of the many beautiful beaches! Cycle through wide open expanses of quiet and peaceful bog lands. Breathe the sea air at the top of vertigo inducing cliffs. Stop in welcoming little villages and savoir the laid-back atmosphere and the warm local hospitality. Hear the vibrant traditional music for which the area is famous. Travel through time as you discover stone age, bronze age and Celtic tombs and forts.

This, the most challenging of our Ireland cycling tours, starts in the “Yeats Country” in Sligo Town. From here you wind your way north, sometimes along the coast, sometimes inland. You complete a circle of the Donegal coast and highlands, before finishing in Donegal Town.

If you are inspired by wonderful landscapes, and love to get off the beaten track then this is one of the best cycling tours you will ever experience. On most days you cycle between 80 and 90 km (50 – 60, miles) making this bike tour ideal for the cycling enthusiast. Book this tour online to really get away from it all.

Highlights of this self-guided cycling tour include:

  • Glencar valley, lake and waterfall
  • The beautiful Donegal Coast
  • Slieve League Cliffs
  • Ancient history at Glencolmcille
  • Mount Errigal and the Donegal Highlands
  • Historic towns: Donegal, Belleek, Ardara and Ramelton
  • Glenveagh National Park and Castle

8 Day/7 Night Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating:   4.5/5     Average daily distance – 80 km.     Terrain – Hilly

Itinerary

NWGT Ireland Cycling Tours Yeats

WB Yeats Statue, Sligo

Day 1:   Arrive in Sligo

On your arrival in Sligo we will meet you from the train or bus. If you arrive early in the day it will give you a chance to explore this town – forever associated with the poet W. B. Yeats. If you like we can recommend a short cycle route that will allow you to familiarize yourself with your surroundings and bicycle.

NWGT Ireland Cycling Tours Glencar

Glencar

Day 2:   Sligo to Donegal Town – 83 km

Your bike tour takes you north from Sligo. The beautiful valley of Glencar, with its lake and waterfall, beckons. Cycle on through peaceful countryside, past lakes and farmland. Briefly cross the border into Northern Ireland. Visit the lakeside village of Belleek, famous for its pottery. Continue into County Donegal, rejoining the coast at your overnight stop in historic Donegal Town.

NWGT Ireland Cycling Tours Bunglass

Lookout tower at Bunglass

Day 3:   Donegal to Carrick – 60 – 75 km

Today you cycle west along Donegal Bay. You’ll pass inlets, beaches and small peninsulas. Pass through the bustling fishing village of Killybegs. As you cycle west from Killybegs the coastal views become ever more dramatic. Staggering cliffs tower above secluded beaches on your refreshing journey to your overnight destination is the village of Carrick – the base for exploring Slieve League. No trip to Donegal would be complete without a visit here!

NWGT Ireland Cycling Tours Maghera Beach

Maghera Beach

Day 4:   Carrick to Glenties – 77 km

If you really want to see Ireland cycling tours are simply the best way. Today you’ll really see why. Cycle along a stretch of coast with few equals. View nature at its best as you bike past cliffs, sea stacks, unspoiled fishing hamlets, wild bogs, pristine beaches, remote Gaelic speaking communities, and historic monuments from every era since the stone age. Today’s route has it all! Later in the evening make your way to the pleasant village of Glenties, for your overnight stop.

NWGT Ireland Cycling Tours Glenveagh Castle

Glenveagh Castle

Day 5:   Glenties to Gweedore – 80 km

Cycle north from Glenties on quiet roads overlooking the Gweebarra Estuary. Climb gradually along a beautiful peaceful valley, towards Glenveagh National Park. Here golden eagles and red deer live, and hopefully you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one of them!  Continue past stately Mount Errigal to your overnight stop in the Gaelic speaking area of Gweedore (Gaoth Dobhair). This area has a history of producing internationally acclaimed folk acts such as Clannad, Altan and Skara Brae. A visit to the local pubs will let you see why.

NWGT Ireland Cycling Tours Horn Head

Horn Head

Day 6:   Gweedore to Ramelton – 73km

Glorious golden strands stretch along the section of coast you follow on today’s part of your North West Ireland cycling tour. Out to sea the islands of Inishbofin and the Kingdom of Tory are clearly visible. Head inland, passing pleasant lakes, at the foot of heather clad mountains. Rejoin the coast at the historic town of Ramelton. This picturesque town was once a Trans-Atlantic port. That was in the 18th century however. These days it’s a much more laid-back place, and a very pleasant town to explore.

NWGT Ireland Cycling Tours Fanad

Ballymastocker Beach, Fanad

Day 7:   Ramelton – 0 – 85 km 

Cycle anything from 0 to 85 kilometres today. A short distance away is the historic village of Rathmullan – forever associated with the “Flight of The Earls” – one of the pivotal events in Irish History. If you simply can’t get enough of biking the dramatic Donegal coastline, a cycle around Fanad Peninsula should satisfy you completely!  With the sea all around, Fanad is not lacking in dramatic and ever-changing coastline. A full circuit of the peninsula could be anything up to 85 km.

NWGT Irealnd Cycling Tours Island View B&B

Island View, Donegal Town

Day 8:   Depart after Breakfast

Following breakfast we will transfer you to Letterkenny bus station where you will find easy connections to all parts of Ireland including the main airports.  Take with you your memories of your cycling holiday around Ireland’s beautiful and friendly North West.

Getting Here

This cycling tour starts in Sligo. It is easily accessable from Dublin, Ireland West and Belfast airports. Use the links below to check the bus and rail timetables.

If you are arriving in Ireland at a different location to those listed below and would like advice on how to get here let us know and we will help you to plan your journey.


From Dublin Airport

By Bus: Direct buses (Route Number 23) run to Sligo from Dublin Airport. Timetable


From Dublin City

By Bus: Direct buses (Route Number 23) Timetable

By Train: From Connolly Station, Dublin Timetable


From Ireland West (Knock) Airport

By Bus: Frequent buses (Route Number 64) run to Sligo direct from the Airport. Timetable


From Belfast City and Airports

By Bus: To Enniskillen (Route No. 261) Timetable and then change for Sligo (Route No. 458) Timetable


 

 

8 Day/7 Night Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating:   4.5/5     Average daily distance – 80 km.     Terrain – Hilly

Prices 2017

      Off Peak              Peak         Single Supplement  Electric Bike  
   8 Day/7 Night€840€890€160€95

North West Grand Tour:  Short Cycling Tours

7 Day/6 Night€760€810€110€80
6 Day/5 Night€690€740€90€65
5 Day/4 Night€610€650€70€50
4 Day/3 Night€520€550€50€35

Dates

Tours Available:  01 April 2017 – 15 October 2017
Peak Season: Tours starting, 18 June 2017 – 26 August 2017

Longer Tours

We will happily put together self-guided bike tours lasting longer than 8 Days. Contact us for itineraries and prices.

Self-Guided bike tour price includes:

•  Bed and breakfast accommodation in carefully selected guest houses and B&B’s
•  Quality, 24 speed, hybrid bicycle hire
•  Welcome meeting on arrival
•  Daily luggage transfers
•  Full support
•  Comprehensive guide booklet
•  All maps and guide notes
• GPS unit (Garmin Edge 200) – One per room

Not included in price:

•  Travel to and from start/finish of tour
•  Meals other than breakfast

Extra Days

If you wish to avail of an extra day’s accommodation and bicycle hire at any location during your tour, this can be arranged at a cost of €80 per night/person sharing. Single supplement – €15

8 Day/7 Night Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating:   4.5/5     Average daily distance – 80 km.     Terrain – Hilly

Short Tours

To get a good appreciation of the beauty and culture of Ireland’s North West we recommend that you spend at least one week cycling in the area. If, however, time does not allow you to do this, then we offer the following shorter bike tour options. All of the itineraries listed here are part of the “North West Grand Tour”. To find details of what each day of the shorter tours involves see the “North West Grand Tour” itinerary.

7 Day/6 Night Bike Tour

Day 1:   Arrive Donegal.
Day 2:   Donegal to Carrick
Day 3:   Carrick to Glenties
Day 4:   Glenties to Gweedore
Day 5:   Gweedore to Ramelton
Day 6:   Around the Fanad Peninsula
Day 7:   Depart after breakfast

Price:   Off-peak – €760,  Peak – €810,  Single supplement – €110,  E-Bike – €130

6 Day/ 5 Night Bike Tour

Day 1:   Arrive Donegal.
Day 2:   Donegal to Carrick
Day 3:   Carrick to Glenties
Day 4:   Glenties to Gweedore
Day 5:   Gweedore to Ramelton
Day 6:   Depart after breakfast

Price:   Off-peak – €690,  Peak – €740,  Single supplement – €90,  E-Bike – €115

5 Day/4 Night Bike Tour

Day 1:   Arrive Donegal.
Day 2:   Donegal to Carrick
Day 3:   Carrick to Glenties
Day 4:   Glenties to Ramelton
Day 5:   Depart after breakfast

Price:   Off-peak – €610,  Peak – €650,  Single supplement – €70,  E-Bike – €100

4 Day/3 Night Bike Tour

Day 1:   Arrive Donegal
Day 2:   Donegal to Carrick
Day 3:   Carrick to Glenties
Day 4:   Depart after breakfast

Price:   Off-peak – €520,  Peak – €550,  Single supplement – €50,  E-Bike – €85

Bikes and Equipment

It may sound obvious, but in order to enjoy a bike tour, you will need a good bicycle!  We give you a choice of a high quality hybrid or electric bike.

Hybrid BikesIreland by bike Kellys Axis

The bicycle we use on our tours is the Kellys Axis (men’s frame) and Kellys Omega (women’s frame), or an equivalent model. These high quality 24 speed hybrid models combine the best features of road and mountain bikes, making them the perfect choice for touring the type of terrain in North West Ireland.

 

 

Electric Bikes

 

Electric bike tours Ireland. Kalkhoff agattu impulse

Kalkhoff agattu

We use the high quality Kalkhoff Agattu Impulse.  This bike combines an excellent battery life lasting up to 180 km with the comfort and versatility of an all terrain bike.  Perfect for bike touring in the hilly terrain of North West Ireland.

 

Equipment

As well as the bicycle the following are also provided.Bike touring equipment

  • Helmet
  • Front carrier bag with map holder
  • Mudguards
  • Rear luggage carrier
  • Lock
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Pump
  • Spare inner tube

We do not normally provide rear pannier bags as these tend to slow the bicycles down. Our daily luggage transfers should mean that the front carrier bag easily holds day to day needs. However if you require rear panniers we can provide them at no extra cost.

If you would like to use your own pedals and saddle we will be more than happy to fit these to our bikes. We are also quite happy for you to use your own helmet if you would prefer.

Booking Online

To book this self-guided cycling holiday on line please go to our booking page.  Once you have filled out the booking form you will then be asked to pay a deposit of €100 per person using PayPal.  If you would like to pay using an alternative method contact us and we will gladly make alternative arrangements.   Once you have paid the deposit your booking is secure.  We will respond to your booking within 2 working days.

Terms and Conditions.