If cycling is your sport and wonderful views along the way are your desire, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the five best and most scenic cycle routes in Donegal for you to try.
County Donegal is renowned across the Emerald Isle and indeed the globe for the wonderful natural beauty that permeates every inch of ground that makes up the Tir Chonaill county.
Situated in the northwest corner of Ireland, Donegal, Ireland’s fourth-largest county, is teeming with rugged mountains, watered by lovely lakes, bordered by pristine coastlines, and bound by its endless hills.
As such, you might be forgiven for wanting to take in the scenery of the hills of Donegal, and perhaps one of the best ways to do so is by bike.
If you fancy a spin, here are the top five best and most scenic cycle routes in Donegal, ranked!
5. Lough Eske Loop from Donegal – magnificent lake views for an hour of your time
Kicking off our list of the top five best and most scenic cycle routes in Donegal is the Lough Eske Loop, beginning in Donegal Town and encircling the beautiful Lough Eske.
This is good for the beginner or for those seeking a leisurely cycle. It takes in and around 24 km (15 miles) of groundwork for the cyclist.
Take an hour out of your next Sunday to give this route a go. On your way, you will pass the outstanding Lough Eske Castle before you blissfully breeze past the silent lake bordered by green all around it.
Starting point: Lough Eske, Donegal, Ireland
4. Glenveagh National Park Gravel Loop – surround yourself with rugged Donegal mountains
Glenveagh National Park is one of the best national parks across the Emerald Isle. Enclosed by rugged mountains and home to a castle, it is also saturated with a lake of its own.
This will be a more challenging route than the previous entry due to the gravel lanes you will traverse. Still, with the surrounding beauty, it is a must on our list of the best and most scenic cycle routes in Donegal.
You will need a good level of fitness and around two to three hours to complete this loop. So, we advise you take a few practice spins first before you challenge this head-on.
Begin at the Glenveagh Valley, pass the castle, and continue onwards through the Lough Insagh Walk and Gartan Lough.
Starting point: Glenveagh National Park, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
3. Mamore Gap Loop from Malin – one of the best and most scenic cycle routes in Donegal
The difficulty increases again with this entry, but once more, the endless natural beauty along your route ensures its admission to our list of the best and most scenic cycle routes in Donegal.
Moving to the north of the county, this track will take you on a journey of around 61 km (38 miles), taking around four hours to complete. This is not for the faint-hearted!
Excellent fitness and experience in cycling will be required on this route. Begin at Doagh Strand before taking in the breathtaking and boundless beauty of the Mamore Gap.
To finish, you will return to your starting point. Ireland’s most northerly point is not to be missed.
Starting point: 8M68+G6, Lagacurry, Doaghmore, Co. Donegal, Ireland
2. Mount Errigal Loop from Gaoth Dobhair – for endless views of Donegal’s most famous mountain
Donegal is almost synonymous with Mount Errigal. So, it would be remiss of us to leave out a cycling route that encompasses the famous mountain and all its surrounding features and attractions.
This will be a fairly easy cycle and will only require an hour of your time. If you begin at the popular An Chuirt Hotel, you will see Errigal already staring you in the face and spurring you on.
A loop around the Poisoned Glen and back to the hotel ensures a never-ending picturesque view of Errigal, whose majesty motivates you to continue your journey.
Starting point: Meenderrygamph, Gweedore, Co. Donegal, F92 AP60, Ireland
1. The Donegal Cycle Route – from town to town and village to village
Taking the number one spot on our list of the best and most scenic cycle routes in Donegal is the aptly named Donegal Cycle Route. This route begins in Donegal Town and finishes in Letterkenny, the county’s busiest town.
On your journey, you will travel along the west of Donegal, passing through beautiful towns and villages, such as Inver, Ardara, Dungloe, Crolly, Dunlewey, Creeslough, and Ramelton, among others.
The journey is arduous, long, and perhaps best suited to the experienced cyclist. However, it is punctuated with all that makes Donegal great.
You’ll see coastal cliff views, scenic landscapes, views of the majestic Errigal mountain, quaint towns and villages, and, of course, the coast.
Most of the journey will cover country roads, although some aspects will require you to cycle on main roads. So, again, we emphasise this is a route better suited to those with experience.
Starting point: Donegal, Ireland
Donegal from Cliffs to Coast: This intense seven-day cycle route will take you along some of the most scenic routes in Donegal. You will enjoy dramatic views and pass famous sights, such as Lough Swilly, the Slieve League Cliffs, Lough Eske Castle, and Bluestack Mountains, before passing Benbulben Mountain and entering Sligo.
Mamore Pass Loop: Starting in Ballyliffin, the Mamore Pass Loop is one of the most scenic cycle loops in Donegal. Taking in some spectacular landscapes, you will travel down beautiful country roads on this 31.7 km (19.7 miles) bike route.
The Inis Eoghain Cycleway: Connecting the River Foyle in Derry to Lough Swilly in Donegal, the Inis Eoghain Cycleway is a 58 km loop (36-mile loop) and one of the most beautiful cycle trails in Ireland.
FAQs about the most scenic cycle routes in Donegal
Is there a greenway in Donegal?
Yes, the Foyle Valley Greenway takes in parts of Donegal.
What are the best cycle routes in Letterkenny?
The 108.5 km (67 miles) Letterkenny Cycle Route is one of the most well-known in this area. There are a wide variety of other scenic cycling routes here. These include the Letterkenny to Falcarragh Loop and the Letterkenny to St Eunan’s Court Loop.
Are there any cycle routes in Bundoran?
Yes, there are plenty of cycle routes in Bundoran. Check out the Lough Melvin Cycle Loop and the Mullaghmore Head Cycle Loop.