Walking the Wild Atlantic Way

For 2,500km of unspoilt coastline, where better to head than the Wild Atlantic Way? If you fancy really immersing yourself in the salty sea air, try walking the Wild Atlantic Way instead of driving. Whether you choose to stick to the coastal paths or decide to head inland to explore the intriguing towns and villages, you won’t regret adventuring through this magical region of Ireland. But where does the Wild Atlantic Way start? And what are the different walking routes you can hike? Find out the answers to these questions and more in our Wild Atlantic Way guide.

Wild Atlantic Way Walking Routes

While you can’t technically set about walking the Wild Atlantic Way in its entirety, there is an abundance of hiking trails you can explore along the way. Whether you’re looking for a gentle, circular route or something a bit more exhilarating, find the best Wild Atlantic Way walking routes below.

1. Sheep’s Head, Co. Cork

If you’re walking the Wild Atlantic Way and starting in Cork, you won’t want to miss this hiking trail. Tucked right in the corner of the country, this is a great place to start your adventure. For rugged coastal views and the sound of crashing waves as the backdrop to your trek, head to Bantry trailhead to start walking the Wild Atlantic Way.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Length: 93km
Route type: Loop or out-and-back
Start: Bantry trailhead

2. The North Kerry Way, Co. Kerry

Less busy than the popular Dingle Way, the North Kerry Way offers the same breathtaking views, but without the crowds. Explore the beautiful sandy beaches and varying coastal paths as you make your way along this trek.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Length: 48km
Route type: Out-and-back
Start: Tralee

3. The Burren Way Walk, Co. Clare

Following the Clare coastline, the Burren Way is a moderate walk that will take you approximately three to four days to complete. From Liscannor to Ballyvaughan, take in the quiet rural lifestyle as you progress along the trail.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Length: 45km
Route type: Out-and-back
Start: Corofin

4. Killary Harbour Coastal Walk, Co. Galway/Mayo

Get a taste of Norway when walking the Wild Atlantic Way. Witness what has been described as ‘Ireland’s only fjord’ on the Killary Harbour coastal walk. Perfect for hikers looking for a gentler adventure (without compromising on views), this walk will take you along the edge of the fjord overlooking the dramatic coastline – and if you’re lucky you might even spot a dolphin!

Difficulty: Easy
Length: 8km
Route type: Out-and-back
Start: N59 Junction (Bonowen)

5. Mullaghmore Head Walk, Co. Sligo

For a gentle beach walk along the Sligo coastline, look no further than the Mullaghmore Head Walk. As a popular tourist destination, you can soak up the sunny rays and the summer atmosphere along this trail. Ideal if you’re nearing the end of your walk along the Wild Atlantic Way, don’t forget to treat yourself to a snack at the local shop for an extra boost of energy.

Difficulty: Easy
Length: 8km
Route type: Loop
Start: Mullaghmore Carpark

Best Places To Stay Along The Wild Atlantic Way

Wondering where the best places to stay along the Wild Atlantic Way are? We’ve picked out some highlights that are perfect for resting your head after a long day walking around these idyllic locations.

• Cork – choose Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa for a beautiful four-star hotel overlooking the coast.
• Kerry – for a real luxury experience in Kerry, treat yourself and stay at the Killarney Park during your walking holiday.
• Clare – perfect for a day walking the Burren, rest your head at Gregans Castle Hotel.
• Galway – experience the works and four-star luxuriousness at Galway Bay Hotel.
• Sligo –check yourself in at Riverside hotel – ideal for resting your head after you’ve made your way along the Wild Atlantic Way.

And that concludes our guide to walking the Wild Atlantic Way. Fancy exploring the country by car instead? Check out our blog on the best road trips around Ireland.


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