5 MOST beautiful beaches in Donegal in 2024

Heading north and looking for some beach time? Check out our list of the most beautiful beaches in Donegal below. 

Rain or sunshine, the Irish love their beaches – so don’t be surprised to see sports enthusiasts windsurfing and kayaking in the middle of a storm, or going for a quick dip in December. 

And while there are great beaches all around the island, most locals and visitors will agree that the ones in Donegal really stand out. Even the Brits had to admit that the county is home to some of the best beaches around the globe (see number 3!).

Donegal has 1.235 kilometres of coastline and boasts a total of 13 Blue Flag beaches. While we love the facts, it gave us a bit of a headache to narrow our list down to the five most beautiful beaches in Donegal.

If we missed out on your favourite one, please let us know, and we will keep it in mind for next time!

IB4UD’s top tips for visiting beautiful beaches in Donegal

  • Be aware of the tide times for the beach you plan to visit. Low tide offers more extensive stretches of sand and better, safer conditions for activities.
  • Keep an eye on the sunset time, especially if you want to witness the beauty of the beach at Golden Hour.
  • Pay attention to beach safety guidelines. Check for any warnings or flags indicating dangerous conditions. Be cautious of strong currents or riptides to ensure you are swimming safely in Ireland.
  • Donegal’s beaches provide stunning photo opportunities. Bring a camera or use your smartphone to capture the beauty of breakers, sunsets, and rock formations.
  • Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal with a view. Many beaches in Donegal have picnic areas or benches where you can relax and savour the stunning coastal scenery while enjoying your food.
Looking amazing sand dunes, this is the destination for you!

This beach, close to a tiny village with the same name and just a short drive from the better-known Glencomcille, is a family-friendly place to recharge your batteries and enjoy the sunshine.

Surrounded by sand dunes, Dooey is a beach in the north-west of the county which boasts three kilometres of sandy beach and crystal-clear water, making it not only one of the most beautiful beaches in Donegal but also an excellent spot for swimming and water sports. 

There’s a surfing school on-site offering courses for all abilities, as well as board rentals and kids surf camps during school holidays. Simply put: if you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Donegal, this is it!

Address: Dooey, Co. Donegal, Ireland

READ ALSO: Ireland’s top 10 seaside towns, villages, and beaches

4. Silver Strand Beach – a family-friendly spot for swimming all year round

A family friendly spot, Silver Strand is another of the top most beautiful beaches in Donegal.

Many visitors to the area drive straight to the famous Slieve League Cliffs. Still, few make the extra 30-kilometre journey to Silver Strand Beach, meaning they miss out on one of the most beautiful beaches in Donegal.

Silver Strand Beach is a picture-perfect crescent-shaped sand beach, and – thanks to the pleasant water temperatures and calm sea – one of the best (and most family-friendly) places to swim in the area.

The best views of the beach are from the water, so if you are after some stunning pictures, bring a board or small boat. 

The beach can be accessed via a stairway path from the car park above and is well worth a visit all year round – the cliffs on either side are a perfect natural shelter from the wind. 

Address: Malin Beg, Glencolumbkille, Co. Donegal, Ireland

RELATED: The 5 Most Unusual Yet Stunning Beaches in Ireland You Need To Experience

3. Ballymastocker Beach – the second-best beach in the world according to the Brits

Ballymastocker, also known as Portsalon Beach, is one of the best beaches in Donegal – and one of the best blue flag ones on the whole of Ireland

Located on the western shore of Lough Swilly, the sandy beach stretches over two kilometres from the seaside town of Portsalon to the Knockalla Hills, with the latter providing stunning views over the bay and the ocean. 

Ballymastocker Beach is safe for swimming and great for walks and picnics, too.

It has been voted second place for the most beautiful beaches in the world (!) by readers of the British Observer. A trip here in the early morning will give you that fresh sea air, which is one of the most distinctive smells that will remind you of Ireland.

Address: R268, Magherawardan, Co. Donegal, Ireland

2. Five Fingers Strand – a beautiful beach surrounded by Europe’s highest sand dunes

Five Fingers Strand is another of the top most beautiful beaches in Donegal.

Considered to be the unofficial starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way by some, this stunning sand beach can be found on the Inishowen Peninsula, about six kilometres north-west of Malin.

Five Fingers Strand is surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in Europe (up to 30 metres!) and has striking views towards Glashedy Island, making it one of the most beautiful beaches in Donegal. 

The beach’s name comes from five narrow sea stacks on the north side of the beach, protruding from the water and resembling fingers. 

It is an excellent place for a seaside walk, for fishing, or bird watching. Swimming, unfortunately, is not advised due to very dangerous rip tides.

Five Fingers Strand is a popular tourist stop, so if you are travelling in the summer months, come early in the day or towards sunset to avoid the crowds. 

Address: Lag, Co. Donegal, Ireland

1. Murder Hole Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in Donegal

Murder Hole Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Donegal.

Don’t be fooled by the name, there’s nothing gruesome about this small and isolated beach on Rosguill Peninsula – in fact, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Donegal, if not THE most beautiful one, proving stiff competition against the best beaches in Colombia.

Murder Hole Beach, also known as Boyeeghter Strand, is surrounded by cliffs and dunes and dotted with small caves, all making great photo opportunities.

While swimming, unfortunately, is not recommended due to the rip currents in the water (one of many possible explanations of the name!), the beach is a great spot to be explored on foot. 

If time allows, come at low tide as it’s the only time when you can access the cave at the south side of the beach. And if you are after some genuinely stunning Instagram pictures, the best view is from the cliffs on the north end.

Address: Sheephaven Bay, Ireland

READ ALSO: 10 Of The Most Instagrammable Places in Ireland

Your questions answered about visiting beaches in Donegal

If you want to know more about beaches in Donegal, we’ve got you covered! In the section below, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions about this topic.

How far is Donegal Town from the beach?

The closest beach to Donegal town is Murvagh Beach which lies about 5 kilometres from the town.

What is the biggest beach in Donegal?

The biggest beach in Donegal is Rossnowlagh Beach which stretches approximately 4 Kilometres in length.

Which beach in Donegal is best for families?

Generally, Bundoran Beach is considered to be one of the best beaches in Donegal for families. The beach has a lifeguard station and is small enough to easily keep track of your kids. There is also a Playpark and outdoor amusements right beside the beach.

More useful info on Irish beaches

The 10 best and most beautiful beaches in Ireland

Top 5 beaches in Dublin you need to visit before you die

Top 10 best beaches in Northern Ireland, ranked

Top 5 best beaches in Wicklow,

The 5 best-known nudist beaches in Ireland, ranked

Top 5 most beautiful beaches in Donegal

The 3 best beaches in County Meath

Top 5 best beaches in Sligo

The 5 best beaches in County Mayo

Top 5 best beaches in County Wexford

Top 5 best beaches near Limerick

Benone Beach: when to visit, what to see, and things to know

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