Wild Atlantic Way Route Map and Guide, Scenic Drive, West of Ireland

County: ,

Jan 23, 2014 at 8:59 am in Driving, Scenic Drives by ActiveME

See bottom of this page to get GPS directions, add your review and see local tour guides, businesses and other things to do.

Info

County: , Route Length (km): 2,750
Nearest town:OS Map: Click Here
Route shape: Linear One-wayRoute type: General
Grade/difficulty: EasyDuration:
Parking: RoadsideWheelchair friendly?: Yes
Family/child friendly?: YesDog friendly?: Yes
Grid ref. (start):Grid ref. (finish):

Summary

Enjoy our free Wild Atlantic Way travel guide, route map and GPS info for this scenic coastal drive, walk or cycle along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Coastline.  This signposted route stretches 2,750 km (1,700 miles) along the remote winding west coast of Ireland from Kinsale in Co. Cork in the south to Co. Donegal in the north where it connects to the Causeway Coastal Drive and onto Belfast. Use our guide below to plan and book your perfect holiday itinerary.

The overall route map including discovery points is shown below and scroll down to the end of the page to see our google route map, directions and to download the GPS route. You can also view and follow the Wild Atlantic Way route on our Free ActiveMe App on iPhone and Android now. Photos by the great Valerie O'Sullivan, Photographer with ActiveMe.

Wild Atlantic Way Route Map, Guide, Counties, Towns and Discovery Points, Ireland ActiveMe Travel Guide

The beautiful seascapes of the Wild Atlantic Way route charts the rich diversity of the precarious and intriguing Atlantic seaboard at the edge of Western Europe. The Atlantic coastline has intrigued and mystified visitors who leave in wonder of how the sea has defined and shaped Ireland and its people for over 10,000 years. From seeing this coastline for the very last time as emigrants left Ireland for a new life in the US in the 1800's to viking raids on the Skellig Islands in 823 AD, the Wild Atlantic Way can tell some of the best stories and provide some the best holiday experiences in the world. Photo: Valentia Island Lighthouse during an Atlantic storm, Co. Kerry by Valerie O'Sullivan.Cool Atlantic breeze, Valentia Island Lighthouse, Co. Kerry on the Wild Atlantic Way by Valerie O'Sullivan

To tell the story of the Wild Atlantic Way and it’s people who carved out a living on the coast, you must look at everything from coastal villages, fishing, collecting seaweed, swimming, awarding winning artisan foods, cliff top ancient forts, sport, harvesting the sea, folklore, seafood restaurants, pirates, kayaking, heritage sites, ferry boats to the islands, adventurers, artists, crab fishing, surfers, emmigration, remote island monasteries, story tellers, vikings, boat trips, seaside towns, high kings, Islanders, sailing, colourful seaside cottages, mythology, windswept lighthouses to uninhabited islands. All these experiences serve as a rite of passage on the Wild Atlantic Way. With over 180 key discovery points along the route to visit, don't forget to get out of the car, talk to the locals and find the hiddens gems which will make your holiday a life changing experience.

The Wild Atlantic Way can be enjoyed over a few 'very fast' days to several weeks, with 1,000's of attractions, scenic views, heritage sites and activities including walking, cycling, kayaking, surfing, fishing and more, over 50 Blue Flag beaches, nearly 20 long distance walks, over 120 Golf courses and over 500 festivals and events to enjoy during each year.

Below are a number of suggested itineraries for each county which you can use to plan and book your holiday in Ireland and if you need to rent a car to experience the Wild Atlantic Way then visit www.carhire.ie. If you find a better price elsewhere Carhire.ie will beat it.

carhirelogos 600x200

Wild Atlantic Way Route Maps and Guides by County 

The following are detailed route maps and guides for each county on the Wild Atlantic Way.

  1. Cork – Route Map and Guide:
  2. Kerry – Route Map and Guide:
  3. Clare – Route Map and Guide:
  4. Galway – Route Map and Guide
  5. Mayo – Route Map and Guide 
  6. Sligo and Leitrim – Route Map and Guide (coming soon)
  7. Donegal – Route Map and Guide (coming soon)

These county by county route guides contain more accommodation options, attractions, photos and hidden gems to help you plan and book your ideal holiday itinerary in greater detail.

Skellig Islands, Co. Kerry by Valerie O'Sullivan

Photo: Take the unique boat trip to the Skellig Islands UNESCO World Heritage Site and bird colony, Co. Kerry and now a Star Wars film location by Valerie O'Sullivan. Below is a list of the top attractions, things to see and do, accommodation and more for each county along the entire Wild Atlantic Way. Many more attractions, photos and hidden gems are contained in our detailed guides for each County above.

CORK Route

Ideally you need a full week or more to explore Cork's Wild Atlantic Way coastline from Kinsale to Kenmare in Co. Kerry but if you have less time available on your holiday, you can pick and choose from the suggested itinerary below or see a larger list top Attractions and Things to See and Do on the detailed Cork guide here:

County Cork Wild Atlantic Way Route Map, Discovery Points, Ireland ActiveMe Travel Guide

  1. Kinsale - Town Centre, Charles Fort, James Fort and Beach
  2. Old Head of Kinsale – Walks, Views and Golf
  3. Garretstown Beach – Surfing, swimming and walks
  4. Seven Heads Peninsula - Walks and Views
  5. Inchydoney Beach – Walks and Surfing
  6. Galley Head – Views and Fort
  7. Toe Head – Lighthouse and Fort
  8. Lough Hyne – guided night swimming with bioluminescent algae
  9. Sea Kayaking in the Atlantic
  10. Baltimore – Barbary Pirates and Whale Watching
  11. Ferry trip to Sherkin and Cape Clear Island
  12. Mizen Head and Barleycove Beach
  13. Sheeps Head Way Walking Trail and scenery
  14. Seefin Mountain and Viewpoint – Myth and Legend
  15. Whiddy and Garnish Island
  16. Beara Way Walking and Cycling Trail
  17. Hungry Hill Walk
  18. Bere Island
  19. Dursey Island and Cable Car
  20. Kenmare Bay Views, Gleninchaquin and Bonane

Photo: Mizen Head, Cork by Valerie O'Sullivan

Mizen Head Cliffs on the Wild Atlantic Way by Valerie O'Sullivan

Add your business to the AcitveMe Travel guide

Great Places to Stay along the Route (coming soon)

  • Kinsale
  • Clonakilty
  • Skibbereen
  • Mizen Head
  • Sheeps Head
  • Bantry
  • Glengarriff
  • Beara Peninsula
  • Kenmare
  • Other Places to stay on the detailed guide

Special Places to Eat and Drink along the Cork route (coming soon)

  • Kinsale
  • Clonakilty
  • Skibbereen
  • Mizen Head
  • Sheeps Head
  • Bantry
  • Glengarriff
  • Beara Peninsula
  • Kenmare

KERRY

  1. The Kerry Way walking trail (130km) – the world’s best long hike
  2. Skellig Islands boat trip
  3. Valentia Island – Bray Head, Culoo, Tetrapod Fossils, Fogher Cliffs and Beginish Island
  4. Cahergal, Leacanabuaile, Staigue and Loher Ancient Stone Forts
  5. Beaches Derrynane, Ballinskelligs, Glanleam, Rossbeigh, Inch, Banna and Ballybunnion
  6. MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountains and Irelands highest Mtn. Corrán Tuathail (1,039m)
  7. Killarney National Park, Muckross, Gap of Dunloe and Torc Waterfall
  8. Dingle town, Fungi the Dolphin, Basket Islands, Mt. Brandon and Dingle Way Walk
  9. Tralee Beaches, Rose of Tralee, Aquadome, Playdium, Wetlands Centre - family friendly

Photo: Hogs Head, Kerry by Valerie O'Sullivan

Aerial Hogs Head on the Wild Atlantic Way by Valerie O'Sullivan

CLARE

  1. Kilrush – See Dolphins in the Shannon
  2. Loop Head and Kilkee Beach – Snorkel the Pollock Holes natural swimming pool
  3. Cliffs of Moher, Coastal Walk and The Burren
  4. Doolin Ferry to the Aran Islands and Doolin Cave
  5. Lahinch Beach and Surfing

Photo: Cliffs Of Moher

Cliffs-of-Moher-Clare-pic_ccl.AlFarese

GALWAY

  1. Dunguaire Castle and Kinvarra
  2. Spanish Arch and Galway City
  3. Salthill Promenade and Carraroe Beach
  4. Ferry to the Aran Islands
  5. Derroura Mountain Bike Trails
  6. Killary Harbour
  7. Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey

Photo: Dun Aengus Fort, Aran Islands

Dun Aengus Fort, Aran Islands, Co. Galway Wild Atlantic Way - Failte Ireland Tourism Ireland

 MAYO

  1. Clare Island and Clew Bay
  2. Croagh Patrick Mountain
  3. Keem Strand
  4. Achill Island
  5. Greenway Walking and Cycling Route
  6. Ceide Fields

Photo: Clew Bay from Croagh Patrick Mountain, Co. Mayo

Clew Bay, Co Mayo, Wild Atlantic Way

 SLIGO and LEITRIM

  1. Mullaghmore Head, Beach and Surfing
  2. Queen Meaves Tomb and Benbulben Mountain

Photo: Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo by Valerie O'Sullivan

Mullaghmore on the Wild Atlantic Way by Valerie O'Sullivan

 DONEGAL

  1. Bundoran Beach and Surfing
  2. Sliabh League Cliffs
  3. Tory Island
  4. Fanad Head and Ards Forest Park
  5. Inishowen Peninsula, Malin Head and Five Fingers Strand

Photo: Dunree Strand: Co. Donegal

Dunree Strand on the Wild Atlantic Way by Valerie O'Sullivan

Check out the most recent Failte Ireland video for the Wild Atlantic Way.

In Seamus Heaney’s (1939 –2013) poem ‘Lovers on Aran’ he poses the question ‘Did sea define the land or land the sea?’ The Wild Atlantic coastline has intrigued and mystified visitors to Ireland and helped shape the people of the west of Ireland. Fishing, collecting seaweed, artisan foods, kayaking, swimming, walking, cycling, snorkelling, diving, adventuring, artists, story tellers, seaside towns, blue flag beaches, camping, myth and legend, folklore, islands, cottages and windswept lighthouses. The Wild Atlantic Way has everything you’ll need in a holiday and more.

From cliff top views to great hikes and from historic cities to picture perfect coastal villages and some of the best surfing in the world, the Wild Atlantic Way drive caters for visitors of all ages and tastes. Slow down, meet the people and experience the real Ireland.

Wild Atlantic Way Facts

- The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest signed coastal route in the world at 2,750 km (1,700 miles) in length with plenty side routes, loops and activities.

- the Wild Atlantic Way travels the entire west coast from the picturesque town of Kinsale in Cork through counties Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and ends in Donegal

- join the Wild Atlantic Way at any number of points along its length, complete it in either direction and enjoy the many shorter side loops and dozens of attractions and activities

- A map of the Wild Atlantic Way is shown below and you can also download the gpx file (GPS) for your cars Sat Nav or follow it using GPS on our FREE Travel Guide App called ActiveMe Ireland on iPhone and Android App

- The Wild Atlantic Way provides visitors with stunning scenery at every turn and letting them experience the wild nature of Irelands Atlantic shore be it glorious sunshine or the even more impressive huge Atlantic swells battering the coast during bad weather.

The Wild Atlantic Way will be Ireland’s first long-distance driving route, stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork, and offering future visitors an opportunity to truly discover the west coast.The 2,500km final route was unveiled following a comprehensive public consultation process and includes 156 strategically placed discovery points for tourists along the way.  While the route unveiled today comprises the main spine of the Wild Atlantic Way, a series of looped itineraries off the spine are also planned to further develop the experience for visitors.  - See more at: http://www.failteireland.ie/Utility/Media-Centre/Ring-unveils-final-route-for-Wild-Atlantic-Way.aspx#sthash.SIOu8OeS.dpuf

 

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Route Map

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33 responses to Wild Atlantic Way Route Map and Guide, Scenic Drive, West of Ireland

  1. travelling trev said on February 24, 2014 ReplyReport user

    Is there a guide book available?

    • ActiveME said on February 25, 2014 Reply

      Hi Trevor, Thanks for getting in touch. the Wild Atlantic Way is only being officially launched this year so unfortunately there is no official guide book yet. However, you could use our free website and App to find great things to see and do along the way. We will be adding much more information to this guide in the near future so bookmark the page and check back with us soon. Enjoy your holiday,
      Brian

  2. Denis O'Keeffe said on February 28, 2014 Reply

    Is there a detailed map available of the WAW. I’m old fashioned and still use maps to get around. Thanks

    • ActiveME said on March 19, 2014 Reply

      Hi Denis, I’m sure Failte Ireland are currently working with OSi to produce an official WAW map but for the meantime you can use our route on google maps or buy OSi road Atlas http://www.osi.ie. The route follows the coast so you can’t really go wrong once you find the west coast and follow the signs. Also don’t be afraid to venture off the signed route for even more craic and adventure 🙂 Secret Tip: Go to Valentia Island, Co. Kerry you will not be disappointed. Check our Kerry WAW guide here http://goo.gl/HRzAO5

  3. Liam Rainey said on April 4, 2014 Reply

    For attention of WAW planners only!

    Hi, To whom it concerns
    Great to see this truly magnificent venture come to fruition and hopefully benefit the West and in particular, Inishowen, which has not experienced major tourism, despite the unspoilt beauty, due to our proximity with the border and relative remoteness. Thankfully our cousins of all persuasions in the North have helped maintain a semblance of tourism over the last 40 years.

    The WAW will open a new vista economically and socially for north Donegal. On a small local note I would suggest that another WAW scenic signpost, which are evident along the southern coastal approaches to Buncrana, be situated at the Shore Front/Derry Road junction.

    This should direct visitors along the Shore Front and down Cathair O’Dohery Avenue to the viewing point at the recently re- developed park. The view from here over Lough Swilly, the Crana River and its historic castle and bridge is second to none and provides excellent photo opportunities. The area has numerous picnic tables, an Amazing Grace viewing point and car parking allows visitors to face the Lough and its famous sunsets. This area is also a starting point for the famous heritage coastal walk which stretches for 5 miles north.

    Given its redevelopment by our town council, with the help of the Tidy Towns Committee and the Amazing Grace initiative, it would be unfortunate if this Viewing Point were missed by visitors. The signage at present directs traffic away from this gem. I will mention to our council. Definitely worth looking at in these early days of the route! Good luck with the whole venture.

    Regards, Liam Rainey, Buncrana. Ps I would appreciate if you could return a copy of this comment by e mail as I can use it in contact with the Town Council. Thanks

  4. Thomas Marshall said on April 6, 2014 Reply

    Hi:
    I’d like to hike from Mizen Head to Malin Head starting this month (April 2014). Can you direct me to websites or personal contacts which have detailed advice on what to take on such a hike? Many thanks.

    Tom Marshall

    • ActiveME said on April 16, 2014 Reply

      Hi Tom,

      Interesting plan!! I have no specific information for this hike but will take a look for you. I would imagine an extra pair of shoes would be in order 🙂

      First thing that comes to mind is that walking the main roads would not be comfortable or safe due to traffic and winding roads etc. I would suggest using as many of Irelands long distance walking routes and quiet back roads to create a route from Malin to Mizen. Many people cycle this route but they can safely cycle main roads. Try searching ActiveMe.ie to find the walking routes you need. The Beara Breifne Walking Route will get you a good bit of the way. A hiking route will be longer than a cycle route but if you plan it well it could be amazing.
      Regards, Brian

  5. Andy said on July 3, 2014 Reply

    Hi,
    This is great we are trying to organise a trip on the WAW from start to Finnish ,
    Is there any information on hotels and B&B at all,?
    This would be most helpfull for us as tourists and for these businesses also.
    Best regards Andy

  6. mary mccabe said on May 3, 2015 Reply

    Hi we are going to travel the wild atlantic way this summer 2015. Is there any new books ot leaflets published for this year that will guide us and also tell us what is on. We are planning it for August.

  7. mary mccabe said on May 3, 2015 Reply

    We will be travelling by camper. Is there places we can park up. Is there any new books published about travelling the wild atlantic drive so we can take it all in and miss nothing. We will be travelling it in august 2015. what will be on at this time.

    • ActiveME said on May 11, 2015 Reply

      Hi Mary,
      They have only recently began publicising the route so there are very few Books available but you should be able to find all the best Things to See and Do right here on ActiveMe. There are campsites all along the route in addition to plenty of roadside spots. Check the failte Ireland websites for events in August as they are kept up to date. Thanks and enjoy your trip,
      Brian

  8. arthur metcalfe said on May 19, 2015 Reply

    dear sir

    Is there a walking guide book for the Wild Alantic Way.other than John merriels book?

    • ActiveME said on May 20, 2015 Reply

      Hi Arthur,
      Not that I know of but this ActiveMe Guide should help you find all the great things to see and do. Enjoy your trip
      Brian

  9. Bex said on June 2, 2015 ReplyReport user

    Hi,

    I am planning on cycling the Wild Atlantic Way but i am struggling to plan my route due to the lack of detailed maps available. Whilst your route map is useful on google maps is useful, i am looking for something that will help me to see how far i will be cycling each day so i can plan my stops. Do you have any suggestions or advice?

    Many thanks,

    Bex

    • ActiveME said on June 2, 2015 Reply

      Hi Bex,
      Are you planning to cycle the entire route? If yes, wow!!! My advice is that you use the google maps webpage itself and the directions tool to calculate distance between places along my ActiveME route. Very easy to do and you can plan how far you can go each day (i.e. 100km) so you can see all the sights and enjoy the trip. Best of luck
      Brian

      • Bex said on June 4, 2015 ReplyReport user

        Hi Brian,

        Yes i am planning on cycling the entire route – roughly 120km per day over 4 weeks! Big challenge but a beautiful route 🙂

        Thanks very much for the advice!

        Bex

  10. Frank said on November 10, 2015 Reply

    Hi,
    I’m planning on cycling this too! I’d like to know which is preferred – to cycle South to North or North to South. I’m thinking mainly of the wind.
    Any advice?
    Thanks in advance

  11. bastian said on December 2, 2015 ReplyReport user

    Hey there,

    I visited your site for the first time a few days ago. The map you are offering is great, thank you. A few days ago a could select P.O.I.’s from a huge list of options, but now I can only select between ‘Headland’, ‘Lake’, ‘Mountain’ and ‘All’. What happened to all the other options?

    Best, Bastian

    • ActiveME said on January 28, 2016 Reply

      Hi Bastian,

      I hope to get the POI back to the full list again shortly but we are trying to fix a few bugs first.

      I hope you enjoy the rest of the site

      Brian

  12. Sheila Debrito said on January 15, 2016 Reply

    Hi, we’re planning a trip to Ireland in Mar ’16 including a drive around Donegal. Can you let me know if the Wild Atlantic Way map route and guide is available yet?
    Thanks
    Sheila

    • ActiveME said on January 29, 2016 Reply

      Hi Sheila,

      The Donegal route itself can be seen on our main Wild Atlantic Way guide but we will have the separate guide available shortly.

      Thanks and enjoy your trip

      Brian

  13. Aidan Hegarty said on January 16, 2016 Reply

    im looking for a map to download to my phone for the wild atlantic way from kensale
    to derry for a cycle i am planning in june

    • ActiveME said on January 29, 2016 Reply

      Hi Aidan,

      If you download our free App you can open the route on your phone at any time.

      Thanks and enjoy your mammoth cycle…its on my bucket list

      Brian

      • DrAl said on March 1, 2016 ReplyReport user

        Brian,

        I have just downloaded the app but can’t figure out how to get the WAW onto it?

        Al

        • ActiveME said on March 2, 2016 Reply

          Hi Al,
          All you need to do is click ‘Things to See and Do’ button on the home page, then click ‘Scenic Drives’ and scroll down and click the Wild Atlantic Way Entire Route guide and you will then be able to open up the GPS enabled map, allowing you to follow the route around Ireland. There are also guides for the WAW broken down for each county if you wish to use them,

          Enjoy your trip and don’t forget the route is very very well signposted along the entire length

          Thanks

          Brian

      • Philip Cavanagh said on March 20, 2016 Reply

        Im doing it in august if you fancy it? 🙂

  14. Marie said on February 6, 2016 Reply

    Hi there

    What is best advised in terms of direction to cycle the WAW? North to south or from South to North? Hoping to do this in July

    Many Thanks

    • ActiveME said on February 8, 2016 Reply

      Hi
      Personally I would cycle South to North with the ‘fingers crossed’ southwesterly winds at your back for most of your cycle 🙂 Also I’m from Kerry so i’m biased.
      Enjoy the cycle, I would love to do it
      Brian

  15. John J Sexton said on February 22, 2016 Reply

    We are planning to travel the WAW by car. We will base ourselves in Letterkenny for 3 days and then travel to Sligo. I am assuming that the Inishowen peninsula should take a max of 4 hours.
    We are also assuming that the Fanad Peninsula down to Dunglow and back to Letterkenny is possible in 4 to 6 hours.
    On day 3 we hope to visit the national park and surrounding areas.
    On day 4 we plan to travel from Letterkenny to Dunglow and on to Sligo in 4 to 6 hours.
    Is our itinery realistic.
    I await a response.

    Thanks

    • ActiveME said on March 1, 2016 Reply

      Hi John,
      I hope i’m not too late responding 🙂 Your itinerary is fairly realistic so don’t worry too much. However, if you want to leave the car for walks and explore the area it might be a bit tight. Inishowen itself has some of the Ireland’s best beaches and heritage sites so you could realistically spend a few days here. You will have a great time but don’t underestimate the time it takes to drive on rural country roads 🙂 Have a blast, Brian

  16. sandrider said on March 24, 2016 ReplyReport user

    Thinking of doing the WAW in July 6 days on an adventure motorcycle camping as i go long any recommendations.

    jim

  17. Vaidas said on March 24, 2017 Reply

    Hello, have anyone information, did someone WAW in one go?

    • ActiveME said on March 26, 2017 Reply

      Hi, you can do it in one go no problem but you would need a month to see everything properly. Its not just the scenery, there are so many other things to do along the way like great walks, cycles, events and more. Just driving the 2500km+ route non-stop would take days and don’t underestimate how slow you must drive on the winding coastal roads. Alternatively you could pick the best spots along the route and drop the rest. Have a great time anyway, Brian

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