The essential 2020 County Donegal bucket list for adventure travellers

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.

Incredible ocean views in Bundoran, Donegal.
Wild butterflies and summer vibes in Ards Forest Park.


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. 

Fanad Head Lighthouse, Donegal.


#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.



…    …    …    …    …    …    …    …     …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …    …

Now, over to you!

Where are you going next year?

Do you have anything on your own County Donegal bucket list?

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Our Crossings follows the daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

34 thoughts on “The essential 2020 County Donegal bucket list for adventure travellers

  1. Actually, Donegal is actually on my list of places to visit this year, along with Galway. Although my early life was spent in Ireland I never made it to Galway even on later visits when I was no longer living in Ireland, so this is a priority. I spent a few weeks in Donegal as a just-teenager, but I was sent there to learn the Irish language at a rather harsh school so the beauty of my surroundings was lost on me. I shall make up for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get to go back to Donegal one day. There are many reasons to explore it next year- from visiting Inishowen and standing at the most northerly point to seeing one of Donegal’s most historic attractions -the ancient stone fort of Grianán of Aileach. Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend.

      May the spirit of the season of, New year fill your heart, with serenity and peace, Wish you a Happy New Year! Aiva


  2. We visited in 2017 and would like to go back. Donegal town is worth a much more in depth look than we had time for. The scenery on our travel was stunning and we enjoyed stops in Killybegs and Glencolmbkille, before taking the narrow roads over the hills and through to Letterkenny and Derry. There is so much more to see. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Allan. I’m glad you had a great time exploring Donegal and looks like you managed to see a good few places. Donegal is a vast county with so much to offer with an impressive coastline and many picturesque towns. Thanks for stopping by and reading. Your support over the last year is very much appreciated. Wishing you and your family good health, happiness, success and prosperity in the coming year! Aiva


    1. Thank you very much, Francisco. We live within driving distances of world-class beaches and beautiful mountains and exploring our backyard awarded us with so much more than we initially expected. That’s why we wanted to continue on with seeing what else there is to see and do nearby. Wishing you a prosperous New Year. Thanks for your encouragements, comments and support. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We are yet to see the Northern Lights in Donegal or anywhere else in Ireland! Imagine, we don’t even have to travel to Iceland or Norway, when conditions are right, we get to see them here on the Emerald Isle! Donegal is everything adventure traveller could ask for – you can spend days exploring its stunning coastline, or you can head north where you’ll find Glenveagh National Park. Thanks for stopping by! Wishing you a very Happy New Year! Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Donegal is perfect for hiking, either your desire is to explore coastal walks or climb a mountain. Although we love travelling the world we equally love exploring our backyard – it forces us to be more creative, it slows us down, and we don’t have to be money conscious all the time because staycations are more affordable. Thanks for stopping by and wishing you a very Happy New Year. I hope the new year brings lots of memorable adventures and lots of fun. Aiva


    1. We love Donegal too, and your comment reminds me that we need to finally visit Derry too. From what I’ve heard, it’s a city that leaves a lasting impression. I want to see the Peace Bridge and walk the walls of Derry. Thanks for stopping by. Aiva


    1. Thank you very much, guys! Donegal is a fantastic place, perfect for walking, cycling and surfing holidays!

      May the New Year be a year of great success, great achievements. Good luck, good health, and peace. Wishing you a joyful New Year. Aiva


    1. Thanks so much! Wishing you a very Happy New Year too! Aiva

      “Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true.”- Sarah Ban Breathnach


    1. Thanks so much and right back at you – I hope the next year brings lots of incredible adventures. I hope you get to visit County Donegal and if you do – I look forward to reading all about it. Safe travels and thanks for stopping by. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! This year, we are still planning on exploring our backyard and living in such proximity to places like Donegal makes me appreciate even more how beautiful Ireland is. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva


    1. Thanks so much. The world is full of beautiful places with gorgeous landscapes, and stunning coastal views and County Donegal is one such a place. We are so proud to call Ireland our home. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are enjoying your adventures! Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Vanessa! We can easily spend weeks exploring Donegal and never get tired of it. Can’t wait for spring to arrive so we can get back on the road. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva


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