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The Backroads and Beyond

12 Day/11 Night Cycling and Walking Tour

Difficulty Rating:  Moderate

Tour Overview

Bike Tour in Donegal IrelandCounty Donegal is a cyclists’ paradise, but it is equally as attractive for anyone who is willing to step off the bike and see what lies over the crest of a hill or at the top of a cliff.  This 11 day adventure combines the best of both worlds.  Savour the wonderful backroads, villages and views of a bike tour and the undiscovered secrets of a walking tour.  The tour is similar to our “Highlights of the Highlands” self-guided bike tour, but with 3 extra days of walking, to bring you, as the tour name suggests,  beyond the backroads.

This tour starts and finishes in Donegal Town – with easy connections to both Dublin and Ireland West Airports. On this adventure you complete a loop around the most scenic parts of the coast and highlands of County Donegal.  You will be awe-struck by the majestic landscape, and charmed by the local hospitality.



Tour Highlights Includecycling and walking tour BAB

  • Donegal Town and Castle
  • Glenveagh National Park
  • Sliabh Liag (Slieve League)
  • Hiking the stunning coast near Glencolmcille
  • 5,000 years of history in Glencolmcille
  • The Irish (Gaelic) speaking areas along the coast
  • Cycling through the Donegal Highlands


Book online

12 Day/11 Night Cycling and Walking Tour

Difficulty Rating:  Moderate

Tour Itinerary

Cycling and Walking Tours Ireland, Donegal

Day 1:  Arrive Donegal Town.
Donegal Town – ancient seat of the O’ Donnell chieftains, from where they ruled over much of Ireland, is where the tour begins. Depending on your arrival time you might like to explore the town or go for a cycle. The town is steeped in history, with its imposing castle and ruined Abbey. It also has a great selection of lively pubs and cafés.



Cycling and Walking tour Ireland at Killaghtee church Donegal Day 2: Donegal to Killybegs – 39 km
Cycle west along Donegal Bay. The salty smell of the sea will soon be all around. Pass quiet bays and inlets. Cycle along the narrow peninsula of St. John’s Point where you will have the Atlantic Ocean on both your left and right. Take in the wonderful views of the mountains further west and across the bay to Sligo. View the remains of Rahan Castle and the Killaghtee Cross. Continue to your overnight destination in the bustling fishing village of Killybegs.


Cycling Holiday in Donegal, Irelnad near Sliabh LiagDay 3: Killybegs to Glencolmcille – 37 km
As you follow the coast west from Killybegs the scenery becomes ever more dramatic. Towering cliffs, golden sandy beaches and rocky headlands create a magnificent panorama. As you cycle past Slieve League you can see the summit of where tomorrow’s hike will bring you. Continue to Glencolmcille, passing some of the most photogenic coastal views you will ever see. Ancient history, the thriving Gaelic culture, vibrant traditional music and the wonderful natural beauty make this valley a must see destination.


Hiking on Sliabh Liag, Donegal, IrelandDay 4: Hike Slieve League
Today you hike one of Ireland’s iconic landmarks. The cliffs at Slieve League rise almost 600 metres above the Atlantic. In the morning we will bring you to the start of the hike. We will give you details of either a loop walk –  taking you to the highest point, along the cliffs and back by the pilgrims path (approx 5 hours walking) – or a linear route along the full length of the cliffs (approx 8 hours walking). We will pick you up on completion of the walk and take you back to your accommodation in Glencolmcille.


Hiking near Glencolmcille, Ireland Day 5: Hike Glencolmcille to Port.
The coast between Glencolmcille and the deserted fishing hamlet of Port is among Ireland’s most stunningly beautiful spots. Yet you will almost certainly find yourself alone here among the towering rocks and sea stacks. This is a hike that we promise you will never forget.  Return to Glencolmcille, again taking in more of the Early- Christian historic sites.



Cycling from Glencolmcille to ArdaraDay 6: Glencolmcille to Glenties – 39 km
Today the remoteness of the landscape dominates. You cycle through one of the most sparsely populated areas in Ireland. Descend through dramatic Granny Valley to Maghera where a pristine beach, a series of caves, and dramatic Assarancagh Waterfall await. Cycle on to the heritage town of Ardara, a centre for traditional Donegal tweed and wool crafts. Continue to your overnight stop in the pretty village of Glenties.



Cycling beautiful coast near Glenties, Donegal Day 7: Glenties to Annagary – 45 km
The early part of today’s cycle allows you to experience the unique splendor of Ireland’s blanket bogs. Heathers, mosses, lichens and rough grasses create an artist’s dream landscape. Further on you have the chance to visit one of the many inhabited islands off the Donegal Coast. Arranmore is a 20 minute ferry trip from Burtonport. The trip itself makes the journey worthwhile. Spend some time exploring the island, or if you prefer explore the numerous golden sandy beaches on the way to Annagry.


Cycling route, in Donegal past the Poisoned GlenDay 8: Annagry to Churchill – 52 km
The unique beauty of the Donegal Highlands is all around during today’s cycle. Pass beneath the peak of majestic Mount Errigal. If you fancy a hike, the trip to the top will take you around 45 minutes, where the views will richly reward your efforts. Further along is the hauntingly beautiful Poisoned Glen. Your cycle then takes you along Glenveagh National Park and past Gartan Lake on your way to your overnight destination, among the lush farmland around Churchill.


Hiking in Glenveagh National ParkDay 9: Hiking Glenveagh National Park.
Spend the day walking in the magnificent surroundings of Glenveagh. The valley, with its pristine lake and cascading waterfalls, as well as the surrounding mountains, are just waiting to be explored. You can choose from a 10 km trek along the valley floor or a more challenging route through the valley and mountains. Return in the evening to the quiet surroundings of Churchill.



Glenveagh, Donegal on Backroads and Beyond cycling and walking tour. Day 10:  Glendowan to Glenties – 44 km
As you leave Glendowan you gradually climb along the southern edge of Glenveagh National Park. From there descend along a beautiful quiet valley, with the Glendowan Mountains on your left and Slieve Snacht on your right. You’ll need no reminding here why bike tours in Ireland are simply the best way to see the country. Cycle on to Fintown Lake and village, where a restored vintage railway runs along the lake shore. Then it’s back once again to Glenties.


Roadside blackberries for cycling holidaysDay 11: Glenties to Donegal – 32 km
The final day of your biking and walking adventures brings you back to your starting point in Donegal Town. Climb from the town of Glenties over expanses of open bogland.  Further on magnificent panoramas over Donegal Bay open up before you.  Pass through the village of Mountcharles and back again to Donegal.  If time allows you can also cycle around tranquil Lough Eske.



Resting on the roadside during Irish cycling holiday Day 12: Depart after Breakfast
After one more great Irish breakfast  it’s time to depart, taking with you treasured memories of the natural wonders and friendly people of Donegal.





The following short option is also available for this tour.

8 day/7 night Cycling and Walking Tour

Day 1: Arrive Donegal
Day 2: Donegal to Killybegs
Day 3: Killybegs to Glencolmcille
Day 4: Hike Sliabh Liag (Slieve League)
Day 5: Hike Glencolmcille – Port – Glencolmcille
Day 6: Glencolmcille to Glenties
Day 7: Glenties to Donegal
Day 8: Depart after breakfast


The Backroads and Beyond 

12 Day/11 Night Cycling and Walking Tour

2020 Prices

      Off Peak              Peak        Single SupplementBike Hire  Electric Bike  
   12 Day/11 Night€1,223€1,333€325€145€255

Short Tour – 8 day/7 night cycling and walking tour

8 Day/7 Night€825€895€195€105€175


Tours Available:  01 April 2019 – 06 October 2020
Peak Season:  01 June 2020 – 31 August 2020

Self-Guided cycling and walking tour price includes:

• Bed and breakfast accommodation in carefully selected guest houses and B&B’s
• Welcome meeting on arrival
• Daily luggage transfers
• Emergency support
• Comprehensive guide booklet
• All maps and guide notes and use of GPS units for cycling routes (one per group)
• Mobile phone with all necessary numbers pre-programmed

Not included in price:

• Travel to and from start/finish of tour (Donegal Town)
• 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

Getting Here

This cycling tour starts and finshes in Donegal Town. It is easily accessable from Dublin, Ireland West and Belfast airports. Use the links below to check the bus timetables. It is also possible to start this tour at Donegal Airport.

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

From Dublin Airport and Dublin City

By Bus: Direct buses run to Donegal Town from Dublin Airport and City every 90 minutes. Timetable

From Ireland West (Knock) Airport

By Bus: Frequent buses run to Donegal Town direct from the Airport. Timetable

From Belfast City and Airports

By Bus:

From Belfast Airport to Derry/Londonderry Timetable and then change for Donegal Timetable

From Belfast City to Derry Timetable