Day 1: Arrival
In Dublin your hotel welcomes you. At 6:00pm we meet in the hotel lobby for a guided city tour through the lively Irish capital. The evening is yours to enjoy.
Overnight in Dublin
Day 2: Dublin – Lisdoonvarna (18 miles/28 km)
After having our first Irish breakfast, a bus takes us to the West coast of Ireland (a three-hour drive). At the gates of the Burren region, we get on our bikes and cycle the first kilometers on the Wild Atlantic Way. One of Oliver Cromwell’s trusted friends described the Burren region somewhat macabre in the 17th century: No tree to hang a man, no pond to drown him, no soil to bury him.
In the late afternoon, we reach Lisdoonvarna with almost 750 inhabitants capital of the region and famous for the only health spa of the country and especially for the biggest marriage market of Europe, the Matchmaking Festival, which takes place in September. The hotel awaits us. For dinner we meet in the Michelin-rated hotel restaurant.
Overnight in Lisdoonvarna
Day 3: Burren region loop (38 miles/60 km)
After breakfast, we cycle through the Burren region, a primal karst landscape with an unexpected opulent flora. Our bikes take us on steady rolling hills, almost without any traffic, through a stone desert of exceptional fascination. We visit the Poulnabrone Dolmen, an impressive sign of settlements in the Neolithic Age.
Our first destination is Kilfenora, known for its cathedral, a partly restored ruin of the 12th century. Nearby there are three richly ornamented Celtic high crosses, among them the famous Doorty Cross. In the afternoon, we reach one of the tour's highlights: the Cliffs of Moher, fighting incessantly against powerful breakers. After a walk along the impressive rock formations, we go back to our hotel, either by bus or by bike. We have dinner again at the hotel owned restaurant.
Overnight in Lisdoonvarna
Day 4: Lisdoonvarna – Aran Islands – Clifden (6 miles/10 km + 2 miles/3 km hiking)
After having breakfast we cycle to a jetty in Doolin and take a ferry to Inishmore, the biggest of the three Aran Islands (in bad weather conditions the ferry services might be canceled). A never-ending tangle of low stone walls covers the island in order to protect it against erosions. We walk across the flat limestones, the geological continuation of the Burren.
Our day's destination is Dún Aengus, an over three-thousand-year-old stone fort with a breathtaking view. Today, the Aran Islands are famous for its high-quality knitwear. Hardly any visitor leaves the island without a well-filled bag from the Aran Sweater Market. In the late afternoon, a ferry takes us back to the mainland. From there we take a bus through Connemara's mystical landscape to Clifden. For dinner, we meet in the excellent hotel restaurant.
Overnight in Recess
Day 5: Clifden round trip (31 miles/50 km)
After an ample breakfast, we cycle through one of Ireland's most beautiful landscapes of peat bogs and countless lakes. Only once in a while, on coastal stretches, we come across some traffic. In Roundstone, a sleepy fishing village, we enjoy a Guinness or an Irish Coffee in a typical local pub.
On our ride back to Clifden, lovely beaches brighten up the wild vegetation. Given that lunch is included in the tour package on Thursday, the evening is yours to enjoy. We highly recommend a stroll through town and a visit to one of the Irish Pubs presenting Irish live music at its best. A must for anyone, as there is a good chance to enter into conversation with some fun-loving Irish.
Overnight in Clifden
Day 6: Clifden – Letterfreck (28 miles/44 km)
With a last look at Connemara's secret capital, we follow the beautiful Skyroad to its highest point, where a breathtaking panorama awaits us: bays, islands and white sandy beaches appear in magic colors and light. Past Claggadhduff, where every cave is said to have served as a smuggling location in former times, our route leads to Cleggan. From the little harbor, numerous fishing boats still head to sea day in day out. An ideal place to invite you for lunch in a special restaurant.
We continue our tour and reach the Connemara National Park near Letterfreck. The park extends from the ocean to the peak of the Benbaun (729 m). In total, 2000 hectares of uncomparable nature are protected since 1980. In the early afternoon, we are welcomed at our hotel in a beautiful setting next to the Atlantic (two nights). For dinner we will be regaled by the Chef de Cuisine.
Overnight in Letterfreck
Day 7: Connemara loop (27 miles/42 km)
Today's route might be the most impressive of the tour as it leads through the heart of Connemara. Passing by Letterfleck across Tully Cross, we follow the Connemara Loop, part of the Wild Atlantic Way. Majestic mountains and spectacular beaches alternate with the marshy highland of Lough Fee.
We reach the only fjord of Ireland with a length of 15km: Killary Harbour, flanked by peaks of up to 800m height. It is well-known for its numerous mussel beds. Here Joe Joyce awaits us with his brilliantly trained sheepdogs. After his demonstration we cycle to Kylemore Abbey, the oldest Irish Benedictine abbey, with beautiful gardens. After a visit we head back to our hotel, where we enjoy our farewell dinner.
Overnight in Letterfreck
Day 8: Departure
In the morning, a bus takes us to the airport in Dublin (a 3 1/2 hour drive).