Exploring County Donegal has been an experience beyond words and living nearby has allowed us to continuously roam around this amazingly scenic corner of the world.
If there is one thing that we discovered while touring trough perfect forest settings and taking photos of fields scattered with sunkissed flowers – there’s never a good reason to go inside.
Our first visit to County Donegal, where we stayed in Bundoran, visited Slieve League Cliffs and went surfing with TurfnSurf Surf school, felt like a rushed trip with way too much crammed into it.
Various attractions and little villages we longed to finally see in County Donegal were connected by narrow country roads, and it took us much much longer to reach them than initially planned. We ended up spending most of the time in the car and had no room to relax and enjoy the spots we travelled to.
That’s why, over the last few years, we took a different approach, made countless return trips and were able to capture incredible moments and see many beautiful places.
We had the fortune to watch the tides come in, take photos of pine trees gently swaying in the morning breeze and wait for purple heather to burst into life.
We were able to feel and to see its magical effect while scrambling down steep slopes and while looking for seashells trough tangled seaweeds.
But even after countless visits, we were left thinking that there’s so much more to see – the more we explore it, the longer our wish list gets.
That’s why with a new year looming over the horizon, we have put a County Donegal Bucket List as an essential travel inspiration source for the next year that includes straightforward stunning places we still want to see – best surf beaches, iconic mountains, waterfalls and more.
The essential County Donegal bucket list for adventure travellers
If your spirit is longing for scenic coastal drives and if you love to be introduced to new sensory experiences, then Donegal is a place for you.
Visiting Donegal can’t be that easily crossed off your wishlist, because as far as sightseeing goes, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Conversing with the lovely locals, sampling fresh foods, hitting the trails, surfing, and exploring pretty villages – there’s so much to see and do. It’s a large county so don’t try to squeeze in too much.
Below is the ultimate bucket list that we put together for ourselves to motivate us to explore even more of our backyard and we hope this will inspire you too.
Let tomorrow worry about itself, pack your bags, dust off your walking boots and come to visit Donegal, it’s a place of hundred thousand welcomes.
#1. Visit Ards Forest Park
Take in the coastal views around Ards Forest Park, visit nearby Dunfanaghy Town, drive out to Horn Head Peninsula and marvel at the sheer size of the cliffs.
#2. Explore Glenveagh National Park
Visit Irelands second largest National Park, which offers plenty of fresh air and plenty of scenic backdrops for photos, see beautiful Glenveagh Castle and its blooming gardens and go on a hike.
#3. Go on a road trip around Inishowen Peninsula
Drive Inishowen 100 scenic route, stop at Irelands most northerly point – Malin Head, visit Glenevin Waterfall, stop at Gap of Mamore and see as many of its stunning beaches.
#4. Take a road trip through Southwest Donegal
Visit Deserted Village of Port, drive trough Glencolumbkille region, see St. John’s point lighthouse, Slieve League cliffs and amazing Maghera Caves.
#5. Climb iconic Mount Errigal
Go hiking around Poisonous Glen, see Dunlewey Church and climb Donegals highest peak – Mount Errigal.
#6. Sail to Tory Island
Take a ferry to Irelands most remote island, see the puffins and meet the island’s artisans.
#7. Visit Donegals beautiful beaches
- Narin & Portnoo beaches
- Portsalon and Murder Hole beaches
- Trá Mór Beach near Dunfanaghy
- Silver Strand beach and Dunree Bay
#8. Marvel at Fanad Head Lighthouse
Explore Mulroy Bay and see the most beautiful lighthouse on the island of Ireland – Fanad Head Lighthouse.
#9. Explore Donegals dramatic coastline
And be amazed by places like Crohy Head and Great Polled Sea Arch.
#10. Learn to surf in Bundoran
Book a surf lesson, relax at Seaweed Baths and make a wish at the Fairy Bridges in Bundoran.
#11. Visit Donegal town
Visit Donegal town and different seasons and explore its beautiful castle and Abbey Ruins, wander around the town and go on Donegal town Waterbus to learn about history and geology of the Donegal Bay.
#12. See the Northern lights
Catch a glimpse of jaw-dropping Northern Lights! Best places to look out for them – Malin Head, Dunree and Mamore Gap.
#13. Visit Slieve League cliffs
Visit Slieve League cliffs, embrace the spectacular views and the Pilgrim’s Path.
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Now, over to you!
Where are you going next year?
Do you have anything on your own County Donegal bucket list?