Beginner’s Guide to the Wild Atlantic Way

wild atlantic way


The Wild Atlantic Way is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions (besides Dublin and those pints of Guinness, of course!) If you’ve been doing your research properly for your upcoming trip to our wonderful island, you’ll most definitely have heard it mentioned many times.

But do you really know what the fuss is about?

And is it really worth a look? Here’s our beginner’s guide.

What is the Wild Atlantic Way?

The Wild Atlantic Way is the beautiful and breath-taking stretch of coastline that runs down the rugged and wild west coast of Ireland. At over 1600 miles (2600km), it’s one of the longest defined coastal roads in the entire world and an absolute must-see.

This awesome place combines the raw, wild power of the Atlantic Ocean with endless beaches, ancient monuments, historical and picturesque towns, mythical islands, soaring mountains, amazing cliffs, and lush green forests that can’t fail to capture your imagination and give you the ‘real Ireland’ that you crave.

Don’t miss out on this magical and captivating part of the world.

Why would you want to visit?

If you love to surf, adore riding horses, want to take part in water sports, learn more about Irish traditions and history, hang out on award-winning beaches, soak up the atmosphere or watch local wildlife you’ll be a very happy traveller here. There’s something for absolutely everyone, including the young and the old, groups or individuals and everyone inbetween.

Besides there are so many must-see locations along the way, you can’t fail to fall in love with something here.

It’s also perfect if you’re a fan of doing longer (internationally-recognised) road trips and epic journeys (keep reading to find out why).

Which are the best bits? (aka. must-see locations)

It’s almost impossible to see absolutely everything that the Wild Atlantic Way has to offer, although we definitely can try to get the very most out of our trip and see all the best parts. Here are our top recommendations:

Portsalon Beach, Co Donegal: this stunning beach was voted 2nd most beautiful beach in the world by The Observer newspaper. Why don’t you go and find out for yourself? 😉

Mullaghmore Head, Co Sligo: If you’re into watersports and surfing, make sure you add this awesome place to your list. Surfers come from thousands of miles to visit Prowlers- a very famous spot where the waves can read 15m! Its sandy beach is also a lovely place to take a leisurely summer swim.

Achill Island: This historical island lies off County Mayo and is known for its tall sea cliffs, clean beaches, winds that are perfect for watersports and miles of Blue Flag beaches. Another must-see location includes the megalithic tomb on Slievemore, Achill.

sdp10_cliffs-of-moher_bgCliffs of Moher, Co Clare: Just four words- Look. At. The. Photos!! The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most popular natural tourist attractions, rising to a majestic 214 metres high and stretching for 8 km along the coast.

Dursey Island, Co Cork: Looking for a tiny unspoilt island with just a handful of inhabitants, wonderful views and picturesque villages? Dursey Island is your place! This place is great for birdwatching and doesn’t have a single shop on the island.

Mizen Head, Co Cork: At the very south-west of Ireland we have Mizen Head and its lighthouse and signal station. This area was the last landfall seen by emigrants to America and is rich in wildlife including dolphins, whales, seals, gannets, and other birds.

Kinsale, Co Cork: This historic port and fishing town forms the start/end point of the Wild Atlantic Way. It’s the most picturesque, popular and historic towns in Ireland and boasts narrow winding streets, brightly painted houses and a beautiful waterfront filled with yachts.
Don’t miss it.

Passport-Front-Cover_newTop Tip- Get your hands on a Wild Atlantic Way Passport

If you’re serious about exploring this part of Ireland, make sure you get your hands on a Wild Atlantic Way passport. (available at Tourist Information Centres and Post Offices). With a stamp for every moment along the way, this book serves a proof of your amazing adventures on the emerald island. Once you’ve completed it, you’ll receive a certificate of your travels. And who knows, you might even win the annual draw for the holiday of a lifetime.

Where should you stay?

Silly question! There are tons of warm, comfortable and welcoming hostels you can stay at along the way that will be add to your Irish experience and also be kind to your wallet too. Make sure you check out our hostels page to find your perfect place to stay in Ireland.


The Wild Atlantic Way is absolutely, mind-bogglingly beautiful and you must put it at the top of your Irish itinerary. Even if you can’t travel the entire length, you can still experience a piece of the beauty Ireland really has to offer.