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THE BACKROADS AND BEYOND

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  • The Backroads and Beyond

    Moderate Cycling and Hiking Tour: Overview

    Tour Type: Self-Guided

    Experience a wonderful sense of freedom as you cycle along an ever-changing coastline.  Climb to the top of a hill where dramatic views reward your senses.  Breathe the air scented by wild flowers and sea breezes.  At night experience the “criac” for which Ireland is famous.

    County 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. You can savor the wonderful backroads, villages and views of a bike tour and explore the undiscovered secrets that only a walking tour will bring you to.

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

    Hiking and Biking in Donegal, Ireland

    Hike and bike Ireland

  • The Backroads and Beyond

    Moderate Cycling and Hiking Tour: Itinerary

    Tour Type: Self-Guided

    Hiking and cycling tour at the Waters Edge, Donegal, IrelandDay 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. We will meet you on arrival for a chat about your upcoming adventure. We will provide you with everything that you will need for the next 10 days. Depending on your time of arrival, you might like to explore the town or go for a cycle. Donegal Town is steeped in history, with its imposing castle and ruined Abbey. It also has a great selection of lively pubs and cafés.

     

    Meet the Locals on Irish Cycling and Hiking tourDay 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 through Boglands near Glencolmcille on Irish cycling and hiking tour. Day 3: Killybegs to Glencolmcille – 37 km

    As you follow the coast west from Killybegs the scenery becomes evermore 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 to Slieve league cliffs in 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 pilgrim’s path (approx 4-5 hours walking) – or a linear route along the full length of the cliffs (approx 6-8 hours walking). We will pick you up on completion of the walk and take you back to your accommodation in Glencolmcille.

     

    Hiking Near Port, Donegal Day 5: Hike to Port

    A truly unforgettable day of hiking.  The coast between Glencolmcille and Port is unquestionably one of the most dramatic to be found anywhere.  Yet you may well find yourself alone in this natural paradise.  You hike from you overnight accommodation to the lookout tower on Glen Head, before following the coast to the deserted fishing hamlet of Port.  Take “Slí Cholmcille” (the way of St. Colmcille) back to Glencolmcille.

     

     

    Bike tour in dramatic Granny Valley, Donegal, IrealndDay 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.

     

     

    Ruined cottage near Burtonport, 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 before making your way back to the mainland. Cycle through the unique lake and boglands typical of this area, to your overnight destination in the seaside village of Annagry.

     

    Mount Errigal, Donegal, Ireland. Day 8: Annagry to Churchill – 47 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. Further on you follow Gartan Lake to your overnight destination in the quiet area around Churchill.

     

     

    Hiking near Glenveagh CaslteDay 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 Glendowan.

     

     

    Cycling near Glendowan, Donegal, IrelandDay 10: Glendowan to Churchill – 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.

     

     

    Traditional Music in Donegal, IrelandDay 11: Glenties to Donegal – 32 km

    Day 11: Glenties to Donegal – 32 km
    The final day of your biking and walking adventure 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.

     

    Hiking past roadside flowers, Ireland hiking adventure.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.

     

     

     

     

    Itinerary 7 Night Tour

    Day 1: Arrive Donegal

    Day 2: Donegal to Killybegs (Cycling)

    Day 3: Killybegs to Glencolmcille (Cycling)

    Day 4: Hiking Slieve League (Hiking)

    Day 5: Glencolmcille – Port – Glencolmcille (Hiking)

    Day 6: Glencolmcille to Glenties (Cycling)

    Day 7: Glenties to Donegal (Cycling)

    Day 8:  Depart after Breakfast

  • The Backroads and Beyond

    Moderate Cycling and Hiking Tour: Difficulty/Fitness Level

    Tour Type: Self-Guided

    This tours involves cycling approximatley 45 km per day.  The terrain is hilly so expect to cycle over constantly varying terrain.

    The hiking parts of this tour take you over a large variety of surfaces and terrains.  Surfaces include open mountain and boglands – often uneven and sometimes wet. On most days you can expect to be walking for up to 6 hours, although there are shorter options.  Walks in the tour will involve quite a bit of climbing.

    If you can answer yes to the following questions you should have no difficulty with this tour.

    Can you comfortably cycle 50km (30 miles) in a day?
    Can you comfortably walk 12km (7 miles)?
    Can you climb hills/mountains up to 600 metres (2,000 feet)?
    Can you comfortably walk over a variety of underfoot conditions including wet boggy ground and rough rocky terrain?

    Cycling and Walking tour, Donegal, Ireland Hiking near Glencolmcille, Donegal Ireland

  • The Backroads and Beyond

    Moderate Cycling and Hiking Tour:  Accommodation

    After a day cycling or hiking in the hills you will need the comfort of knowing that a friendly welcome and a comfortable bed awaits.

    With this in mind we have carefully chosen your accommodation with the needs of the active traveller in mind. For the most part we use traditional family run Bed and Breakfasts, where you will always be made welcome. These establishments tend to cater much more to the needs of the adventure traveller than the larger hotels. Before long you will feel at home.

    All of the rooms we book have their own bathroom.

    In the morning you’ll get a hearty Irish breakfast that will keep you going for most of the day.

  • The Backroads and Beyond

    Moderate 12 Day/11 Night Cycling and Hiking Tour:  Prices 2018

    Tour Type: Self-Guided

    Price Per Person Sharing:   Off Peak – €1,140.      Peak – €1,230

    Single Occupancy:   Off Peak – €1,370.    Peak – €1,460

    Electric assist bike:   €155

    Moderate 8 Day/7 Night Cycling and Hiking Tour:  Prices 2018

    Price per person sharing:   Off Peak – €770.    Peak – €820

    Single Occupancy:   Off Peak – €900.    Peak – €950

    Electric Bike:        €95

    Peak Season: Tours starting between 01 June 2018 and 31 August 2018

    Prices Include:

    • 11 or 7 nights Bed and Breakfast in family run B&B’s
    • 24 speed hybrid bicycle
    • Welcome meeting on arrival
    • Luggage transfers
    • Detailed maps and guide notes
    • Waterproof map cover
    • Emergency support

    Not Included:

    • Travel to and from Donegal Town or Donegal Airport
    • Meals other than Breakfast
    • Drinks/ extra events or entertainment
    Cycling at Glendowan, Donegal

  • The Backroads and Beyond

    Moderate Cycling and Hiking Tour:  Photo Gallery

    Photo Gallery To Follow