4.1/5 (7)
7 nights | 28 miles/day
Self guided from EUR € 1340
Bike tour in Ireland
Rider Level: Active Electric bike tours
4.1/5 (7)

Rider Level: Active Electric bike tours

7 nights | 28 miles/day
Self guided from EUR € 1340
Bike tour in Ireland

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  • Highlights of the Highlands

    Smell the wonderfully refreshing salty breezes as you cycle along one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines. Feel that wonderful sense of total freedom as your bike tour takes you across a wide open expanse of Irish bogland. Stop at a sandy beach and dip your feet in the crystal clear water. Climb to the top of a heather covered hill, and be awe-struck by the panoramic views, then feel the exhilaration as you cycle down the other side. Listen to vibrant traditional music – as unique and undiscovered as the area that inspired it. Be sure to stop for a chat with the locals – and don’t hurry – you might be there for a while!

    County Donegal is truly one of Ireland’s gems – the perfect place to experience one of Ireland’s best bike tours. Quiet roads await you as you explore one of the country’s least known regions. This self-guided cycling holiday allows you to cycle at your leisure. Use our legendary tour notes to really get to know the region. Feel secure in the knowledge that we are only a phone call away.

    We recommend our clients consider renting an electrically assisted bike for this tour to more easily accomplish the consistently hilly terrain. Of course, hybrid bikes are also available to rent.

    Escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life with one of the best bike tours you will ever experience.

    This tour is able to be extended by adding extra nights before the tour in Donegal Town or at the end of the tour in Letterkenny. See rates listed under Pricing Tab or inquire within for further details.

    • Donegal County, Ireland. K. Mitch Hodge@Usplash
    • Irish dining. Patrick Browne@Unsplash
    • Glenveagh Castle Gardens - Donegal County Ireland Highlights E-bike Tour
    • Donegal County Ireland Highlights E-bike Tour
    • Donegal County Ireland Highlights E-bike Tour
    • Donegal County Ireland Highlights E-bike Tour
    • Irish Fish & Chips. Samuel Tresch@Unsplash
    • Donegal County Ireland Highlights E-bike Tour

    View more photos

    Highlights

    • Biking North West Ireland's spectacular coastline
    • Donegal Town and Castle
    • Option to visit the cliffs at Slieve League, one of Ireland's greatest attractions
    • Biking over remote boglands
    • Mount Errigal and the Donegal Highlands
    • Glenveagh National Park
    • Ancient History at Glencolmcille
    • Traditional Irish Culture and Music

    Learn More

    Learn more about self-guided tours or see more cycling tours in Ireland.


  • Highlights of the Highlands

     Tour Description Daily Program 

  • Daily program

    Day 1: Arrival to Donegal Town
    Depending on your time of arrival, you might like to explore the town or go for a short cycle. Donegal Town is steeped in history, with its imposing castle and ruined abbey. It also has a great selection of lively pubs and cafés.
    Overnight in Donegal.

    Day 2: Donegal – Carrick (36 - 46 miles/58 - 75 km)
    In the morning, you will be met by a representative around 9:30 for a tour briefing and bike delivery. You will start your tour cycling west along Donegal Bay. The smell of the sea will soon be all around as you pass quiet bays, headlands and inlets. Cycle to the fishing port of Killybegs and on along the dramatic coastline to Carrick. If you arrive early enough a visit to the cliffs at Sliabh Liag is an unforgettable experience. If you don't have time to fit in a visit to the cliffs in the evening it is possible to do so the following morning.
    Overnight in Carrick.

    Day 3: Carrick - Glencolmcille - Port – Carrick (24 - 37 miles/38 - 59 km)
    More stunning coast, beautiful sandy beachs, remote deserted valleys and 5,000 years of history combine to make this one of the most unforgettable days of cycling you will ever do. Cycle from Carrick to the beautiful and historic valley of Glencolmcille. If you feel like a visit to one of the most stunning beaches you will ever see then don't miss the side trip to the Silver Strand. From Glencolmcille continue to the remote deserted valley and harbour at Port. Return to Carrick where you will spend your second night.
    Overnight in Carrick.

    Day 4: Carrick – Glenties (25 - 36 miles/41 - 58 km)
    Today takes you from Carrick over boglands to the top of Granny Valley. Experience the adrenalin rush of a cycle down this amazing Valley to Maghera where a pristine beach, a series of caves, and pretty Assarancagh Waterfall await. Cycle along Loughros Beag Bay to the heritage town of Ardara - a centre for traditional weaving. An option here is to cycle to the stunning headland at Loughros Point. Continue to your overnight stop in the pretty village of Glenties.
    Overnight in Glenties.

    Day 5: Glenties – Portnoo – Glenties (0 - 25 miles/0 - 40 km)
    The stunning area west of Glenties around the villages of Portnoo and Rossbeg is just waiting to be explored. A newly opened cycle path will bring you from Glenties to Portnoo. Here you can stroll along the magnificent golden strand. At low tide it is possible to walk out to tiny Inishkeel Island. Cycle along the coast at Rossbeg where you can take in the views over the bay and mountains beyond. On the way back towards Glenties the stone age dolmen at Kilclooney is not to be missed.
    Overnight in Glenties.

    Day 6: Glenties – Annagry (29 - 43 miles/46 - 70 km)
    Follow the coast north from Glenties. overlooking the many inlets, sand dunes and islands of Gweebarra Bay. If you simply can't get enough of the dramatic coasts, a cycle around Crohy Head should do nicely. From the harbour at Burtonport, you have the option to visit one of the many inhabited islands off the Donegal Coast. Arranmore is a 20 minute ferry trip from Burtonport (ferry tickets not included). The boat trip itself makes the journey worthwhile! Make your way back to the mainland where you cycle past yet more beautiful golden beaches to the village of Annagry.
    Overnight in Annagry.

    Day 7: Annagry – Letterkenny (35 - 40 miles/57 - 65 km)
    The unique beauty of the Donegal Highlands is all around during today’s cycle. Pass beneath the peak of majestic Mount Errigal. Further along is the hauntingly beautiful Poisoned Glen. Your cycling tour then takes you to Glenveagh National Park. Red deer and golden eagles live here, among the pristine lakes and mountains. Follow the paths through the park to the shore of Lough Gartan. Continue through lush farmland to the bustling town of Letterkenny.
    Overnight in Letterkenny.

    Day 8: Departure
    After breakfast it is time to leave your cycling holiday behind. Bring with you your memories of a tour around one of the most beautiful and friendly regions in the world.

    Surface and terrain

    On most days you cycle around 37-43 miles (60-70 km), on paved small secondary roads with little traffic.

    We suggest being comfortable with cycling hills consistenly for a few hours. If cycling on hilly terrain is a problem, then opt for one of the electrically-assisted bikes, where even the toughest hill becomes flat! Also, alternative route on paved road available if needed.


    Hotels

    These are sample hotels and may vary based on availability.

    The accommodations for this bike tour are carefully selected with the needs of the cyclist as a top priority. They are family run bed and breakfasts and small hotels, all of which are of a very high standard, and approved by Fáilte Ireland (Irish Tourist Board). They are a real treat and a highlight of the tour.

    Waters Edge B&B, Donegal
    www.thewatersedge.ws

    Brennans Bed and Breakfast
    https://www.brennansbnb.ie/

    The Tara Hotel, Killybegs
    https://www.tarahotel.ie/

    The Station House Hotel
    https://www.stationhouseletterkenny.com/

    Caisleáin Óir Hotel, Annagry
    www.donegalhotel.ie

    Interested in visiting other areas before or after your tour? Visit our hotels page to learn more about lodging options.


    How to get there

    Tour start and end
    Nearest airport: Dublin, Knock, and Ireland West Airport

    Flying into Dublin- There are direct buses from Dublin airport and city center, which take about 3 hours and 30 minutes.

    Flying into Knock- It's easy to get a direct bus to Donegal from Knock. It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

    Another option is to fly into Ireland West airport.

    Tips on getting to and from your tour


    Highlights of the Highlands

     Tour Photos Dates & Prices 

  • Dates

    Fridays: May 5-Sep 22, 2023 (additional dates available for groups of 5 or more)

    Standard season: May 5, 2023 - Jun 1, 2023, Sep 1, 2023 - Sep 29, 2023

    Peak season: Jun 2, 2023 - Aug 31, 2023

    Prices

    Tour package

    Standard Season Peak Season
    Per person, double occupancy €1340 €1390
    Single use room (1 person/1 room) €1600 €1650

    Extra Nights, Donegal Town or Letterkenny*

    Per person, double occupancy €90
    Single use room (1 person/1 room) €120

    *Rooms are not reserved in advance for extra nights, subject to availability when booking.*

    Bike Rentals

    Hybrid touring bike, 27-speed €100
    Electrically assisted bike €230

    Included services

    • 7 nights accommodation with breakfast in carefully selected Bed and Breakfasts and small hotels.
    • Daily breakfast
    • Daily luggage transfers
    • Detailed maps and guide notes (including recommendations on bars, restaurants and sights along the way)
    • Hotline and emergency support
    • GPS unit with all routes pre-programmed (one per group)
    • Welcome meeting and bike setup on first morning

    GPS tracks are available for downloading to your own device, if desired please request prior to departure.


    Bike rentals

    Bikes available to be rented on this tour (reserved in advance at time of booking):

    • Hybrid touring bike, 27-speed
    • Electrically assisted bikes*

    *More about electrically-assisted bikes >

    All the above bike rentals will be equipped with:

    • Helmet
    • Front carrier bag with map holder
    • Mudguards
    • Rear luggage carrier
    • Lock
    • Puncture repair kit
    • Pump
    • Spare inner tube
    • Rear saddle bag 

    One rear saddle bag provided, second saddle bag available free of charge upon request.  Please note this on your booking form.

    Additional specifications about the hybrid touring bikes:

    The hybrid touring bikes available are 27 speed with all Shimano components including Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes.  These hybrid models,  combine the best features of road and mountain bikes, making them the perfect choice for touring the type of terrain in North West Ireland.

    Additional specifications about the electrically assisted bikes:

    The e-bikes available are Thompson Enigma or equivalent.   This bike features the Bosch Active + motor with 500 wh battery.  Perfect for providing extra assistance on the hilly terrain of North West Ireland.

    Pedals and Saddles:
    If you would like to bring your own pedals (and shoes) and saddles, please feel free to do so. The tour company can assist you with fitting to the bikes.

    Helmets:
    Helmets are included in the tour package price. If you do plan to bring your own helmet, please let us know.

    Bike Protection:
    Bike protection can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE. 


    Tour Company


    Highlights of the Highlands

     Daily program Route Map 

  • Route Map

    Maps are for information purposes only and reflect typical routes between overnight locations. They may not reflect your actual route.


    Highlights of the Highlands

     Dates & Prices Tour Reviews 

    • Marge Anderson 2 months ago

      Lots of friendly people

      We had beautiful weather. This helped make the trip really nice. We had very nice hosts at our accommodations. Some of the places were much nicer than others. The Brennan B&B was excellent. Other places had some problems like plumbing, but in general the accommodations were fine. We did arrive in one town (Glencolmcille) to find there weren't any restaurants open. We thought this wasn't very good planning on the part of the bike company.
      The roads were ok. Some of the roads were a bit busy. Some were very nice country roads. There was a section that was gravel that was a bit tricky. The scenery was lovely.
      There were some errors in directions that should be fixed.
      I've been on a few other biking trips. This was my least favorite.

      What was the date of your tour?
      September 2022
      How many tours have you completed?
      5
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Do you recommend this tour?
      No
      • BikeTours.com staff reply from JV October 6, 2022

        Thanks for sharing this feedback with us. We are working on improving the directions to make them more clear and fix errors. We hope you travel with us again.

      • 3/5 Value
      • 3/5 Included meals
      • 4/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 3/5 Hotels or boat
      • 4/5 Scenery
      • 3/5 Ease of navigation
      • 3/5 Tour documents
      • 2/5 Local tour company services
      • 3/5 Route selection
    • David Anderson 2 months ago

      Pretty location, ok organization

      In general, it was a great experience. I'd never been on a bike tour, and this was a load of fun. My wife and I plan to do more bike tours. However, if I had to choose between bike tours, I wouldn't recommend this specific one.

      Going over this bike tour's organization.

      GPS / Directions.

      A few things here to complain about.

      1. The printed directions were inconsistent between people on the tour. Some printed directions said left at an intersection, others said right. They were simply out of date, and the tour didn't re-print everything. Old printouts = old directions.

      2. The printed directions were inconsistent with the web directions. We were sent PDFs of directions. Those didn't match up with the printouts. Again, likely because they were older or newer (we couldn't figure out which). Different roads sometimes, different turns.

      3. The printed and web directions were inconsistent with the GPS tracks. This was super annoying, because we were biking along listening to the GPS directions (on the unit provided), and the GPS would say "turn here!" and the printed directions indicated we should go another few blocks.

      4. The printed / web / GPS directions were out of date for actual road conditions. In two different locations, the road was literally closed, and we had to detour around an area using Google maps. In one place, the GPS road literally had grass growing on it, and had obviously moved at least 5+ years before. These directions are *very* out of date at times.

      These direction inconsistencies didn't mean we got lost, but it did mean *daily* stops to consult our map, Google maps, GPS directions, and try to figure out where the tour intended us to go, regardless of all the inconsistencies. I'd highly suggest having offline Google maps if you're going to take the tour.

      Lodging.

      Some places were outstanding and high quality. Other places were lower quality. One place in particular stank heavily of peat smoke, with smoke literally billowing in through our windows. I don't know how often the tour company inspects the places they're sending people.

      Food.

      The tour included breakfast. It was sometimes great, mostly fine, but sometimes a bit low quality. Again, perhaps a lack of inspection on exactly what they're paying for.

      While the tour didn't provide dinner, we sometimes had trouble finding any place which was open. In one town, we got *lucky* that there was a food truck open, because otherwise every single restaurant in town was closed down. The locals all said that it made no sense that we hadn't planned on dinner, because their town didn't have restaurants open in this season. Many locations only had a single restaurant option. I think if you're going to operate a tour this late in the season, you need to scout out restaurants which will actually be open.

      Bikes.

      The bikes on average worked fine. Few specific issues.

      1. The batteries were inconsistent power. Both in size (different models) and in age we suspect (as the power ran down more quickly). We absolutely used full power rarely, and most often had it at 1 or 2 out of 4 power. Still, on the longer days, we ran quite low on power. We had a battery die once, which was annoying. Thankfully we had young people on our tour who were able to power their way the last distance without a battery. For the distances available, I think the bike batteries are inadequate for anyone who isn't in good shape. When the tour operator was asked about this before the tour started, he insisted that the batteries "never" run out. Can't be true, we heard from other people on the tour that they also ran out of batteries.

      2. We had a bike which repeatedly had the chain fall off. Looking at the chain, it was *covered* in grease. Looked like it hadn't been cleaned in years / forever. Thankfully we could put the chain back on ourselves, but if we were older / less competent with a bike, this would have been an issue.

      General interactions.

      In general, the tour operator was nice, but didn't seem overly concerned with the feedback we provided him.

      1. "The GPS tracks are out of date." - "Well yeah that happens."

      2. "There were no restaurants available." - "Yeah, it's late in the season"

      3. "The bike kept losing the chain." - "Yup, bikes do that sometimes."

      In general, we didn't feel like our concerns were being heard.

      Again, overall it was a fun place to go, and we liked bike touring in general. The operator just could have done better.

      What was the date of your tour?
      September 2022
      How many tours have you completed?
      1
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Do you recommend this tour?
      No
      • BikeTours.com staff reply from Bike Tours Team Member October 19, 2022

        Hi David,
        Thank you for taking the time to leave us feedback - we really appreciate it! For future bike tours, I do recommend following GPS tracks OR printed instructions. They can sometimes vary depending on updates but do not necessarily mean one or the other is wrong (I recommend GPS over printed instructions). It's a fair assessment that all hotels are not equal (i.e. breakfasts, amenities), sometimes our options are limited in certain towns. Unfortunately the same goes for restaurant options in certain towns. I would agree that an e-bike battery should never run out if it is properly charged. However, if the battery is being heavily used or is getting too old, it can run out and should be replaced. Although we know you can't fully inspect the ebike battery, we do recommend you do a good inspection of your bicycle before starting the tour, so we can try to address any issues before you get cycling. In the 2023 season we will offer 24/7 hotline to our local office so that we may be able to assist you immediately when any issues arise. I hope you had a great trip despite the the issues.

      • 3/5 Value
      • 3/5 Included meals
      • 1/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 3/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 2/5 Ease of navigation
      • 1/5 Tour documents
      • 1/5 Local tour company services
      • 2/5 Route selection
    • erinling May 27, 2019

      Just Get the E-bike

      Amazing way of seeing the countryside. County Donegal is gorgeous. Killybegs to Glencolmcille to Glenties were my favorite rides. I began day 1 of my journey on a hybrid bike thinking "I'm in shape, I can do this." WRONG. The terrain is very hilly and the hybrids heavy, so just go ahead and get that e-bike. Seamus was incredibly friendly and helpful and worked with me if a problem arose. All of the B&B hosts were great, though Letterkenny's was certainly my least favorite. My only regret is being too concerned about making good time and not taking more opportunities to hop off and hike around more.

      What was the date of your tour?
      30/04/19 - 05/05/19
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      Somewhat harder
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 5/5 Included meals
      • 4/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 5/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 4/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
    • Faye October 2, 2017

      A very good trip

      The trip was generally great, as we were lucky with the weather. The B&B's were generally very good, particularly the one in Glenties. All of the B&B owners were helpful and friendly and the breakfasts were great. The B&B that we stayed at in Donegal was not as good- the bed was uncomfortable, the curtains didn't block out the light, and the toilet didn't flush very well.

      Great to have an electric bike for those hills, and a GPS to navigate!

      What was the date of your tour?
      September 15 to 22nd, 2017
      How many tours have you completed?
      8
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 4/5 Value
      • 5/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 4/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 5/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
    • cdreby July 25, 2016

      Our first bike tour

      It was harder than expected with many more steep hills than described but the B&B's at the end of each day were a welcome reward. We had wet weather for most of our tour however, the beauty and the variety of the landscape came through the clouds and damp weather. Seamus was very helpful and fixed any problem we had right away.

      What was the date of your tour?
      July 10-17 2016
      How many tours have you completed?
      0
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      Somewhat harder
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      Solo travelers
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 4/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 5/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 4/5 Ease of navigation
      • 4/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
    • Julane April 28, 2016

      A Most Excellent Adventure in Donegal County

      From stunning scenery to quiet roads and a variety of climbing challenges, from lovely B&B’s and gracious hosts/hostesses to charming villages, from dependable bikes to near-perfect cue sheets and maps, Seamus Gallagher, owner of Ireland by Bike, has planned an adventure we will remember for years to come.

      How many tours have you completed?
      Europe-16; USA-7; Canada-1
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      Families with teens, Solo travelers
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 5/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 5/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 5/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
    • Alpskier November 14, 2015

      The Rugged Beauty of the Emerald Isle

      Highlights of the Highlands was one of my favorite trips. The affable local tour operator met us at our b&b in Donegal Town and told us what to expect. Bikes were great and the b&b lodgings were solid, including a satisfying breakfast. To be sure, the ride has parts that are truly rigorous, including a couple of long, steady inclines. And most of the ride follows low-trafficked roads, first along the rocky coast and later inland through national parks. The Irish were most welcoming and so were the pubs. But the beauty is in the land, resplendent vistas, hours of riding through glacial valleys. It was a pretty cool thing to ride through a pack of sheep. We road in the summer. Expect changeable weather, a bit chilly and rainy. Needless to say, bring a camera!

      How many tours have you completed?
      8
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      Solo travelers
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 4/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 4/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 4/5 Ease of navigation
      • 4/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection

    Highlights of the Highlands

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