The 10 BEST TOWNS in Donegal for a BREAK in 2024

Located on the northwest corner of Ireland, Donegal is home to epic landscapes, breathtaking coastlines, and plenty of lively towns that are well worth a visit.

The 10 BEST TOWNS in Donegal for a BREAK in 2024.

Planning a trip to Donegal? Whether you’re starting or ending your Wild Atlantic Way adventure or just want to see what the northwest county has to offer, we’re here to reveal the best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024 that you just can’t miss.

With sprawling stretches of coastline, some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland, epic cliff faces, and amazing hikes and national parks, there is so much to see and do all across Donegal.

Maybe you’re looking for the perfect base from which to explore, or you just want to embrace the local feel of the county’s small and friendly towns. Whatever brought you here, read on to discover the top ten best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024.

10. Buncrana – a stunning spot on the Inishowen Peninsula

A shot of the Victoria Bridge in Buncrana on a bright day.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Martin Fleming

The main town of the Inishowen Peninsula in north Donegal, Buncrana is undoubtedly one of the best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024. 

A popular seaside resort set on the edge of Lough Swilly, Buncrana sees visitors from all across Ireland during the summer months. Home to a beautiful beach and lots of friendly local businesses, there’s lots to see and do here.

Address: Buncrana, Co. Donegal, Ireland

9. Killybegs – one of Ireland’s most important fishing ports

The view of Killybegs from the harbour Killybegs is one of the best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Gareth Wray

A bustling town and fishing harbour, there are plenty of reasons to visit the town of Killybegs. From lively pubs with flowing drinks and live music to friendly local cafes and restaurants serving fresh, local food, you’ll have plenty to see and do here. 

Located in the southwest of the county, Killybegs is the perfect base for exploring famous sites such as the Slieve League Cliffs, the beautiful Blue Flag Fintra Beach, and the (not so) Secret Waterfall.

Address: Killybegs, Co. Donegal, Ireland

8. Glencolmcille – for a true taste of Ireland

A row of bicycles leaning against a wall in front of a cottage in Glencolmcille.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Martin Fleming

A small town on the southwest coast of Donegal, Glencolmcille offers a wild and rural feel that truly makes you feel like you’ve ventured off the beaten track.

Rugged and beautiful, this area is home to epic cliffs, crashing waves, and rolling green hills. Everything for which Ireland is globally known and loved.

Address: Glencolmcille, Cashel, Co. Donegal, Ireland

7. Portsalon – a favourite spot of one well-known singer-songwriter

The view of Portsalon from afar, including the sea and surroundings. Portsalon is one of the best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Gareth Wray Photography

Located on the shores of the beautiful Lough Swilly, you can find Portsalon on the Inishowen Peninsula in the north of the county. 

Arguably one of the most beautiful towns in the northwest county, Portsalon is home to the famous Blue Flag Ballymastocker Bay, of which Taylor Swift is said to be a fan.

Address: Portsalon, Drum, Co. Donegal, Ireland

6. Donegal Town – the capital of the county 

Cars parked in front of the Olde Castle Bar and Restaurant in Donegal Town.

Now, you can’t think of towns to visit in County Donegal without considering the county capital. Small and quaint yet lively and full of life, there are lots of great shops, pubs, and restaurants to enjoy in Donegal Town.

Home to Donegal Castle, this town is also a must-visit for any history buffs planning a trip to the area.

Address: Donegal, Co. Donegal, Ireland

5. Letterkenny – one of the best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024

A row of eight terrace houses on an empty street in Letterkenny. Letterkenny is one of the best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Martin Fleming

Located in the heart of the county, Letterkenny is one of the largest and busiest towns in County Donegal. With plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to see and do here.

Grianan of Aileach, Glenveagh National Park, and the Inishowen Peninsula are also nearby for those who want to get out and explore.

Address: Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland

4. Downings – perfect for a break by the beach

A rainbow over the beach in Downings on a gloomy day.
Credit: Tourism Ireland / Fáilte Ireland

Set on the scenic Sheephaven Bay and Rosguill Peninsula in the north of the county, Downings is a beautiful coastal town that attracts visitors from all across Ireland and further afield every year.

Home to stunning scenery, plenty of watersports, and friendly local pubs and restaurants such as the famous Singing Pub, there’s a never-ending list of reasons to visit this cute Irish town.

Address: Downings, Crocknamurleog, Co. Donegal, Ireland

3. Ardara – a quaint rural town

The town centre of Ardara on a bright day. Ardara is one of the best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Martin Fleming

Having been previously named the best village to live in Ireland, Ardara is a quaint rural town in the heart of Donegal that you simply can’t miss.

With a friendly local feel, breathtaking surroundings, and some fantastic places to eat and drink, Ardara offers a truly authentic Irish experience.

While you’re here, we highly recommend heading for a drink and a bite to eat at Nancy’s Bar, undoubtedly one of Donegal’s best!

Address: Ardara, Co. Donegal, Ireland

2. Bundoran – surfers’ paradise

A man cycling to the beach in Bundoran carrying a white surfboard under his arm.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ John Carver

Located on the southwest coast of Donegal, Bundoran is a popular holiday resort among families and surfers looking to catch a wave. Believe it or not, the town has actually been named among the top 20 places to surf in the world.

With a thriving coffee shop scene, plenty of fun activities for all ages, and a laid-back atmosphere, this is the perfect place to enjoy a break by the coast.

Address: Bundoran, Drumacrin, Co. Donegal, Ireland

1. Dunfanaghy – a must-visit

A view from the distance of Dunfanaghy across the water. Dunfanaghy is one of the best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Fáilte Ireland

Topping our list of the best towns in Donegal for a break in 2024 is the stunning coastal town of Dunfanaghy. A former fishing village, Dunfanaghy is overlooked by the majestic Derryveagh Mountains.

Home to various Blue Flag Beaches, including Tramore Beach and Marble Hill, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to make the most of the great outdoors. After a day of activities, we highly recommend warming up with a tasty pizza from the Rusty Oven!

Address: Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend