As you all know, we love a good road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way. We have often rented a car from Europcar for our adventures(especially for our Wild Atlantic Way series 1 and series 2) so we are delighted to collaborate with them on this post to share with you our top things to do along the Wild Atlantic Way. There are so many things to do and obviously we couldn’t mention them all but we have put together a full list of our top recommendations from our own experiences – Places to stay, places to eat, activities to do and scenery to admire. Here are our favourite spots along the Wild Atlantic Way.
- Harbour Queen Ferries, Glengarriff: In Glengarriff you can hop aboard the Harbour Queen Ferry to Garnish Island. You can take in the breath taking scenery and spot the magnificent wildlife all around you on your trip. (We even saw a family of seals!).
- Model Railway Village, Clonakilty: Located just outside Clonakilty town on the Inchydoney road, is the Model Railway Village! Stepping into this magical model village is like stepping back in time! The models and figures are all individually handmade and paint a picture of what life was like in West Cork in the 1940’s! Each model is made at a scale of 1:24 real life size, and you could spend hours picking out different areas and buildings that are still standing in West Cork today! The attention to detail, and artwork on these life-like figures is simply astounding!
- Star Outdoors, Kenmare: A trip to Star Outdoors in Kenmare is a must! Banana boating, pedal boating, wake boarding, water trampolining.. you name it they’ve got it! You’ll be sure to have an adventurous time on the water! We were petrified on the banana boat, we then jumped in off the trampoline for a refreshing swim before hopping on a pedal boat back to shore!
- Derrynane Sea Sports, Kerry: Derrynane Sea Sports has it all. We would highly recommend sailing and stand up paddle boarding with the friendly team at Derrynane Sea Sposts. With a range of different water sports to choose from you’ll be sure to find something you like!
- Sunfish Explorer: In Sneem we tried out motorised kayaking at sunfish explorer. With only two companies of this kind in the entire world, it was most certainly a unique experience exploring the nearby islands!
- Baltimore Sea Safari: We would highly recommend a trip with Micheal from Baltimore Sea Safari . Micheal was very informative, and full of knowledge about the fascinating history and wildlife of the area! He pointed out a myriad of sea birds and seal colonies, as well as local land marks around the West Cork coast line! Micheal knew the surrounding waters so well… he knew exactly where to go in search of dolphins! We could barely contain our excitement when we saw them swimming next to us! Not just one….multiple dolphins swam alongside the boat right in front of our eyes! We couldn’t believe it… such a magical moment and one we would highly recommend.
- Tralee Bay Wetlands: Tralee Bay Wetlands is such a fun stop on the trip – a watersports & rock climbing centre with a wildlife exhibition and a nature boat trip! From rock climbing to pedal boating.. and even zorbing. Such a fun place!
- Collins Seaweed Bath: A trip to Collins Seaweed baths on ladies beach is such a great experience! These baths have most certainly stood the test of time having been in operation for the past 85 years! The hot baths are an excellent way to ease aches and pains and boost your general wellbeing.
- Ocean Scene Surf School: Lahinch is like the surfing capital of Ireland so surfing at Ocean Scene surf school is a must! We have a great friendly instructor Ollie who showed us how to surf! Under his excellence guidance we even managed to stand up! We would highly recommend it and you even get to use a sauna and jacuzzi afterwards to heat up!
- Galway Atlantaquaria: The National aquarium is a great spot for little kids. Irelands largest aquarium with over 60 exhibits and hundreds of Atlantic sea life species.
- Dingle Dolphin: When in Dingle, a trip to see the famous Fungie is a must!! We went on a fab trip with Dingle Dolphin Tours. He even showed off doing flips and turns for us! It was amazing! We even got to jump in and go swimming with him!
- Escape Rooms Galway: We would highly recommend a fun trip to the escape rooms in Galway! With a selection of different rooms to choose from…. You must work together, using clues, and sheer concentration to solve the coded mysteries and escape!
- Pedal Power, Galway: Such a unique way to explore the city! Catering for groups of friends, we hopped aboard the novelty bike and cycled around the city stopping off in a few bars along the way!
- Doolin Caves: We would highly recommend an adventure to the Doolin Caves!. Travel underground to visit the Great Stalactite. At 7.3 metres this is the longest free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere! It was simply spectacular! With a mini farm, pottery, beautiful gardens and a delicious cafe… the caves are most certainly worth a visit!
Molly Gallivans: Stepping into Molly Gallivans traditional Irish cottage was like stepping 200 years back in time! Watch home made bread being made from scratch and baked over the fire before exploring the farm yard and tasting some poitin… A great day out for young and old!
- TurfnSurf: TurfnSurf is a family run hostel and activity provider in Bundoran, Donegal on the north-west surf coast. It is definitely worth stopping off at.
- Longs Horseriding & Trekking Centre: What could be better then trekking along Ventry beach! Such an idyllic location, a gaeltacht area surrounded by mountains and alongside the beach. The horses at the stables were all very well cared for by the wonderful team of girls working there… they helped us onto the horses and gave us a few instructions before we followed them down onto the sand! The horses were so well behaved as they took us along the beach with their hoofs splashing into the water! We would highly recommend it as it was most certainly a trip to remember!
- The Beacon, Baltimore: You can’t leave Baltimore without a trip to the Beacon. Located at the entrance to Baltimore harbour, the iconic Beacon is a sight that has warmed the hearts of many sailors and fishermen returning to shore! You can admire the spectacular views of Sherkin Island, Cape Clear and the deep blue Atlantic Ocean!
- Lough Hyne: A swim was an absolute must during your trip! Nestled in a fold of hills, 5km south west of Skibereen in West Cork, Lough Hyne is Europe’s first marine reserve, a saltwater lake connected to the sea by rapids! The perfect swimming spot!
- The Old Head of Kinsale: The will be the very first stop we made on your Wild Atlantic Way trip. Sprawling out into the Atlantic Ocean the jagged edges of Ireland are clearly defined here, and really and truly remind you of what a beautiful island we live on!
- The Strand: You can actually drive onto the beach in your car. It is such a fun pitstop along the Wild Atlantic Way. You can even pop in for a swim if you are brave enough!!
- Shannon Ferries: Of course you can drive from Kerry to Clare along the WAW route… but why drive when you could get the ferry with Shannon Ferries and enjoy a wonderful crossing across the Atlantic Ocean! With frequent services, reasonable prices, and a very enjoyable experience, it’s a no brainer!
- Explore Galway: Galway – a city bursting to the brim with culture, arts, music and fun! Be sure to leave some time for wandering through the pretty streets, the Latin Quarter and trying out some local cuisine whilst admiring the sights!
- Malin Head: Malin Head is a must on this road trip – The most northerly point in Ireland. Bundoran in Co. Donegal is known as the surf capital of Ireland and has lots of amazing surf. Also, Glenveagh National Park is a great place to stop is one of six national parks in Ireland. It’s beauty lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains.
- Strawberry Fields Pancake Cottage: Drive over Molls Gap and take a pit stop at the absolutely amazing Strawberry Fields Pancake cottage… whether you prefer sweet or savoury, these tasty dishes will exceed all your expectations! Simply amazing! We will most certainly be returning!
- Skellig Chocolate Factory: Overlooking St. Finians Bay, and stocked to the brim with every type of handmade chocolate you could possibly imagine, a trip here for some tasty treats is an absolute must!
- Jacks’ Coastguard Restaurant: Jacks’ coastguard restaurant is one of the top seafood speciality restaurants in Kerry. Known for its award-winning dining experience. With freshly caught seafood prepared to absolute perfection… it is an experience to remember!
- Oyster Tavern: The Oyster Tavern is nestled in the heart of Tralee Bay beneath the Slieve Mish mountains. This award-winning bar & restaurant has built up and excellent reputation for freshly prepared local seafood.
- The Skipper Restaurant: A stop at the delicious Skipper Restaurant in Ventry. Just up from Ventry beach, this restaurant specialises in local seafood.. …with a French twist! We were served tasty mussels, and succulent crab claws paired with the perfect white wine! With a stunning view and reasonable prices for top notch dishes…this hidden gem it is most certainly worth a trip.
- Doolin Cafe: A true local gem, the Doolin cafe! A cosy interior, idioms hanging on the walls, a library bursting with books and delicious home made treats makes it one of our favourite stops along the Wild Atlantic Way.
- Byrnes Restaurant: Be sure to stop off at the family run Byrnes restaurant in Ennistymon – a true local gem! With beautiful paintings from local artists hanging across the 4 walls, trendy décor, and a delicious menu.. what more could you want!
- Sol Y Sombra: Located in Killorglin is Sol Y Sombra, a very unique and quirky tapas bar located in an old church…. what a spectacular venue! Sample the finest of local ingredients with a Spanish twist combined with some craft beer and fine wines… trust us, it is the perfect food fusion!
- Pie, Dingle: Whilst on our Wild Atlantic Way adventure exploring Dingle we discovered a beautiful café called Pie! Tucked in at the back of a courtyard, with signposts to follow the pink flower pots upstairs we were intrigued to see what we would find! An excellent breakfast choice!
- farm, Clonakilty: The “farm” restaurant in Clonakilty, Co. Cork is a must on your trip. A chic, yet vintage character is clearly defined with different gadgets and artefacts scattered around the place, colourful bunting hanging on the walls, handmade menus, and miniature bunches of wild flowers on every table! Black and white movie are projected onto the wall for customers to watch as they wait for the delicious meal! It was a mouth-watering dining experience!
- Hylands Burren Hotel: This family run Hylands Burren hotel is the perfect spot to stop for a bite to eat before continuing on your road trip! Only recently re-opened right in the centre of the town with a fabulous decor, extensive menu and very reasonable prices we had a wonderful trip here!
- Hotel Meyrick: The perfect hotel in Galway city centre. It genuinely felt as though we had walked right into a life-size dolls house! The interior design was simply gorgeous!
- Lahinch Golf & Leisure Hotel: Be sure to check into the beautiful Lahinch Golf & Leisure Hotel for a night! Right in the centre of the town you couldn’t have asked for a better location! Treat yourself to a trip to the swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi… the perfect way to relax and unwind!
- Fernhill House Hotel, Clonakilty: Fernhill house hotel is a true hidden gem, overlooking the beautiful West Cork town of Clonakilty. Wandered over little wooden bridges past the water features, admired the sculptured hedges, and even discovered the culinary vegetable patch! The gardens are the perfect place to get lost, read your book, unwind and relax whilst staying at the hotel! The food at Fernhill House is sourced locally where possible and we enjoyed a spiced beef salad.
- Chleire Haven, Cape Clear: If you are looking for accommodation which is a little different, this is for you! Cape Clear – (Oileán Chléire) the southernmost inhabited part of Ireland, which has a population of just over 100 people, and it is an official Gaeltacht area! Get the boat to the island and book into Chleire Haven Glamping, a campsite, which overlooks the glittering bay. Beautiful bathrooms, showers, a utensils area that had plenty sauce pans, pans, cups, bowls, and everything else you could possibly imagine needing for an evening meal! The yurts themselves are gorgeously decorated wooden doors which opened into a spacious area with facilities to include; a bed, blankets a cooker, even hot chocolate supplies!
- The Waterfront, Baltimore: A great hotel in the heart of Baltimore is the Waterfront Hotel. Overlooking the harbour, just off the pier you couldn’t ask for a more ideal location! A fab spot to watch the sun setting and reminisce about your wonderful day!