Ireland hands down has some of the best road trip routes in the world. During our visit in October, we had six days to see as much of Ireland and Northern Ireland as we could – with two of these days dedicated to driving along the famous Wild Atlantic Way.
As this is one of the longest coastal touring routes in the world, we knew we wouldn’t see it all, but we did our best at finding some unique, hidden gems you may not have thought of when planning your next Wild Atlantic Way road trip.
We recommend watching our YouTube video below to see everything we got up to here in the northwest of Ireland, and keen scrolling to learn more about this breathtaking coastal experience.
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WHAT IS THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY?
The Wild Atlantic Way is possibly one of the world’s most epic road trips, spanning over 2,750km beginning in Derry in the north, down through Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Claire, Limerick, Kerry and Cork. The Wild Atlantic Way is the said to be the longest coastal touring route in the world!
As we only had two days, we only had time to explore parts of the north, including Derry, Donegal, Sligo and Mayo – before turning back into Dublin. Here are five spots we highly recommend you check out during your next Ireland road trip…
1. Voya Seaweed Baths
If you are looking for a unique way to wind down after a long day of exploring and driving, I think we have found it. Located in Strandhill, Voya Seaweed Baths do seaweed bath treatments, using hand harvested wild seaweed straight from Ireland. These baths have a number of health benefits, including regulating your body’s metabolism and having natural anti-ageing properties.
You simply relax in a steaming, hot bath full of seaweed for around an hour while you detoxify and destress.
Check out Voya Seaweed Baths here.
Location: Strandhill, Carrowbunnaun, Sligo, Ireland
One of our favourite stops during our time exploring the Wild Atlantic Way was a place called Strandhill in County Sligo. This town has a beachy, surfer vibe which we weren’t expecting to find here in Ireland and I think that is why we loved it so much. Both coming from Australia, we find ourselves missing the beach, and our small coastal town back home. Arriving in Strandhill felt like we had arrived at a Irish version of Australia.
The beach was filled with surfers and the waters lined with hipster cafes and surf shops – we loved it so much we ended up staying the night at a the beautiful Strandhill Lodge & Suites, with our room having a view of the ocean.
If you are looking for a place to eat, we highly recommend checking out Shells Cafe. We went here for dinner and breakfast .. and the food, coffee and staff here are all amazing! It is located right across from the beach, so make sure you grab a table next to a window.
Glencolmcille in County Donegal is where we started our Wild Atlantic Way road trip, and ended up being one of our favourite spots on the trip. When we drove into the area we were taken back by its beauty. We were greeted to green rolling hills, impressive cliffs, quiet roads and stunning beaches all within the space of a 20 minute drive.
We stayed at a cute, family run bed and breakfast called Aras BnB which you must stay at when you come out here! The owners are so friendly and happy to give you advice on things to do and see in the area.
4. Slieve League Cliffs
When planning a trip along the Wild Atlantic Way, most people will suggest to visit the Cliffs of Moher, but many forget about the just as impressive Slieve League Cliffs. These cliffs are among the highest in all of Europe and a sight that needs to be seen!
Here there are a number of coastal walks that you can take, all with breathtaking views. On a clear day you can see right across to Sligo and Leitrim and all the way to the mountains of the Mayo coast.
5. Downpatrick Head Sea Stack
Just north of Ballycastle village in County Mayo, is the windswept sea stack of Downpatrick Head. This is the perfect place to park and go for a beautiful coastal walk.
The name Downpatrick came from a time when St Patrick himself founded a church here. You can actually still see the ruins of the church building, a stone cross and holy well here today. However, the main reason to come is to take in the site of this magnific sea stack, towering out of the ocean.
A massive thank you to Tourism Ireland or inviting us to come and explore the Wild Atlantic Way. As always, all opinions are our own!