Bike Tour Reviews: Highlights Of The Highlands  Donegal By E-bike


Highlights of the Highlands: Donegal by E-bike

COUNTRY: Ireland

7 nights
4.3/5 (10)
Rider Level: Active Electric bike tours
Rider Level: Active Electric bike tours

4.3/5 (10)
7 nights

Self guided from EUR € 1340

Self-guided:
Fridays: Apr 26-Sep 20, 2024 (additional dates available for groups of 5 or more)

Description:
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…

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  • Highlights of the Highlands
    (5/5) John Maxfield 7 months ago

    Beautiful Irish coast and fabulous cycling roads

    This was an outstanding tour! The coast of County Donegal was breathtaking, and the roads / routes well chosen, with clear directions using both maps and GPS. I would suggest adding a longer mileage option for the circuit ride (Day 4) from Glenties; I did part of the circuit twice to get in a full day of cycling while my wife enjoyed the beach, waiting for the tide to go out for our walk to the island.

    What was the date of your tour?
    August 2023
    How many tours have you completed?
    2
    Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
    As expected
    Who is this tour suitable for?
    First-time bike tourists, Solo travelers, Families with teens
    Do you recommend this tour?
    Yes
    • Cliffs at Sliabh Liag (photo by John Maxfield)
    • Over the boglands (photo by John Maxfield)
    •  (photo by John Maxfield)
    •  (photo by John Maxfield)
    • Above Poisoned Glen (photo by John Maxfield)
    • 5/5 Value
    • 5/5 Included meals
    • 4/5 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
  • (5/5) Katya Spielberg 8 months ago

    Fantastic Introduction to Ireland Countryside

    A wonderful way to experience Donegal County in Ireland!! In spite of high winds 2 days and some rain most days, the beauty of the landscape and the loveliness of the Irish people made it one of my all-time favorite bike trips. Moreover, the customer service provided by Ireland by Bike was top notch -- from the maps and GPS to the history and daily recommendations provided, everything was made easy and accessible. Definitely appreciated the e-bikes given the number of hills and strong breezes on the coastline!! The quality of the B&B's did vary by location, but all were clean and hosts were friendly and helpful. Would definitely recommend to my friends and family!!

  • (4/5) joseph eberly 8 months ago

    Amazing scenery and people

    The North West coast of Ireland is breathtaking. For the most part, quiet country roads or bike paths. Our B&Bs were very nice and the hosts even nicer. There are some areas that were quite challenging and we were very happy to have e-bikes. A little rain but nothing that kept us from riding. We had a fun and challenging ride through the national park with a dirt path and a steep climb on a gravel path. We had some equipment issues that slowed us down but operator got us going again. The Garman GPS was amazing. We made plenty of wrong turns, but it always got us back on track. All in all, this is the most beautiful part of Ireland and we had great food at every stop.

    What was the date of your tour?
    June 2023
    How many tours have you completed?
    This is our second trip with Bike Tours
    Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
    Somewhat harder
    Who is this tour suitable for?
    First-time bike tourists
    Do you recommend this tour?
    Yes
    • 5/5 Value
    • 5/5 Included meals
    • 2/5 Bikes + equipment
    • 5/5 Hotels or boat
    • 5/5 Scenery
    • 5/5 Ease of navigation
    • 5/5 Tour documents
    • 4/5 Local tour company services
    • 5/5 Route selection
  • (3/5) Marge Anderson October 5, 2022

    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
  • (2/5) David Anderson October 4, 2022

    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.  SHOW MORE 

    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
  • (5/5) 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
  • (4/5) 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
  • (5/5) 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
  • (5/5) 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
  • (5/5) 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