With its dramatic coastline, lush green hills, and charming villages, Ireland is a cyclist’s dream destination (weather permitting!). Get ready to push yourself to new limits as you pedal through rugged landscapes, tackle challenging climbs, or slow down to soak up the stunning scenery that surrounds you.
From the breathtaking Wild Atlantic Way to the mystical beauty of the Ancient East, Ireland offers an abundance of cycling routes!
In this guide we:
- Talk you through the ten most incredible cycling routes across Ireland
- Review some of the tour companies offering services for those who may not want to arrange it all themselves
- Finish up by answering some common questions around logistics.
Ireland’s Top 10 Cycling Routes
Wild Atlantic Way
2,500km | Coastal Route | 2-4 weeks
If you’re looking for an epic cycling adventure, the Wild Atlantic Way is the ultimate challenge. Stretching along Ireland’s west coast for 2,500km, this stunning coastal route takes you through some of the country’s most rugged and picturesque landscapes.
Starting in Kinsale, County Cork, the route winds its way through charming coastal towns, past dramatic cliffs and beaches, and through the stunning Connemara region before ending at Ireland’s northernmost point, Malin Head.
The Wild Atlantic Way is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s an incredibly rewarding journey for those who take on the challenge. With a mix of flat sections and steep climbs, the route is suitable for experienced cyclists with good fitness levels.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to some of the most breathtaking scenery Ireland has to offer, including the iconic Cliffs of Moher, the windswept Aran Islands, and the rugged beauty of Donegal. You’ll also have the chance to explore charming fishing villages, historic sites, and indulge in delicious local cuisine.
If you’re planning to tackle the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s recommended to take 2-4 weeks to complete the full route, although shorter sections can be done as day trips or weekend breaks.
Great Western Greenway
42km | Greenway | 3-5 hours
The Great Western Greenway is a must-see for anyone visiting County Mayo, and it’s the perfect place to take a leisurely bike ride through stunning countryside. The 42km route follows the path of an old railway line from Westport to Achill Island, passing through beautiful coastal and countryside scenery along the way.
Start your journey in Westport, a charming town known for its colourful streets and lively music scene. Fuel up for the day ahead with a hearty breakfast at the Creel Coffee House, and pick up rental bikes at Clew Bay Bike Hire.
The Greenway itself is a mostly flat, traffic-free route, making it suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Along the way, you’ll pass through quaint villages, lush forests, and enjoy stunning views of Clew Bay and the surrounding mountains.
Halfway through the journey, you’ll come across the picturesque town of Newport, a great place to stop for a break and grab a bite to eat. As you continue on, you’ll cross the stunning Mulranny Causeway before arriving at the charming village of Achill Sound.
The Ring of Kerry
179km | Scenic | 2-3 days
The Ring of Kerry is a world-famous scenic drive, but it’s also a popular cycling route that allows you to take in the stunning beauty of County Kerry at a leisurely pace. The 179km route takes you along the coast, through rolling hills, and past charming villages, making it an unforgettable cycling experience that can be completed in 2-3 days.
Starting in the town of Killarney, the route takes you through the Killarney National Park, where you can see the beautiful Muckross House and Gardens. From there, you’ll head out onto the famous Ring of Kerry road, where you’ll experience breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Skellig Islands, and the rugged landscape of the Iveragh Peninsula.
Along the way, you’ll pass through traditional Irish villages like Cahersiveen, Waterville, and Sneem, where you can stop for a bite to eat and a pint of Guinness in a local pub. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit ancient monastic sites, such as the Skellig Michael UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Derrynane House and Gardens.
46km one way | Greenway | 2-6 hours
The Waterford Greenway is a popular cycling route that’s perfect for a family day out or a weekend cycling adventure. Starting in the heart of Waterford City, you can pick up rental bikes from Waterford Greenway Bike Hire and grab a bite to eat at The Granary Café before setting off on the 46km journey through the scenic countryside and along the coast to Dungarvan.
The route is mostly flat and easy-going, making it suitable for cyclists of all abilities. Along the way, you’ll pass through picturesque villages, ancient woodlands, and over viaducts with stunning views of the Comeragh Mountains.
One of the highlights of the route is the Durrow Tunnel, a 400m-long tunnel that’s sure to thrill cyclists of all ages. You’ll also pass by the charming village of Kilmacthomas, a great place to stop for a bite to eat at the Coach House Coffee café.
As you near the end of the route, you’ll cycle alongside the beautiful Clonea Strand beach before reaching the charming harbour town of Dungarvan. Here, you can enjoy a well-deserved pint at one of the many traditional Irish pubs, or sample some of the delicious seafood at one of the local restaurants.
The Boyne Valley Cycle Route
80km | Historic | 1-2 days
The Boyne Valley Cycle Route is a unique cycling experience that takes you through some of Ireland’s most historic and culturally rich landscapes. Starting in the town of Navan, the 80km route meanders through the stunning Boyne Valley, passing by ancient monuments, historic sites, and picturesque villages.
The route takes you through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne, where you can visit the ancient passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, which are older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. You’ll also cycle through the historic town of Trim, where you can see the imposing Trim Castle, one of the best-preserved Norman castles in Ireland.
Along the way, you’ll pass through charming villages like Slane, where you can sample some of the world-famous Slane Irish whiskey at the Slane Distillery. You’ll also cycle along the banks of the River Boyne, where you can enjoy the peaceful surroundings and watch out for wildlife.
The Boyne Valley Cycle Route is a moderate route that’s suitable for most cyclists, but there are a few challenging hills that offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
The Burren Cycle Route
118km | Scenic | 1-2 days
The Burren Cycle Route is a spectacular cycling route that takes you through one of Ireland’s most unique and stunning landscapes. Starting in the town of Ennis, the 118km route takes you through the Burren National Park, a vast karst landscape of limestone pavements, cliffs, and rock formations that are over 300 million years old.
As you cycle through the Burren, you’ll be surrounded by rare and endangered flora and fauna, including the iconic Arctic-alpine flowers that thrive in this harsh environment. You’ll also pass by ancient monuments, such as the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a Neolithic portal tomb that dates back over 5,000 years.
Along the way, you’ll cycle through charming villages like Ballyvaughan, where you can stop for a bite to eat and a pint of Guinness in a local pub. You’ll also cycle along the stunning coastline of Galway Bay, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Aran Islands.
The Burren Cycle Route is a challenging route that’s suitable for experienced cyclists, but it’s also a rewarding journey that offers breathtaking scenery and unique experiences.
The Royal Canal Greenway, Dublin to Longford
130km | Canal | 2-3 days
The Royal Canal Greenway is a stunning cycle route that follows the Royal Canal from Dublin to Longford. The 130km route takes you through beautiful Irish countryside, past quaint towns and villages, and alongside the historic canal that once transported goods and passengers across the country.
Starting in Dublin, the route takes you through the Phoenix Park, one of the largest enclosed city parks in Europe, and past the impressive 18th-century aqueduct at Leixlip. From there, the route winds its way through the stunning countryside of County Kildare and County Meath, passing through charming towns such as Maynooth and Enfield.
As you cycle along the Royal Canal Greenway, you’ll have the chance to explore some of Ireland’s fascinating history, such as the ancient monastic settlement at Clonmacnoise, which dates back to the 6th century, and the beautiful 18th-century Carton House, which was once home to the Duke of Leinster.
The highlight of the Royal Canal Greenway is the chance to cycle alongside the beautiful Royal Canal, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including otters, kingfishers, and dragonflies. The canal also features a number of beautiful locks, bridges, and aqueducts, which offer stunning views and photo opportunities along the way.
The Royal Canal Greenway is a relatively easy cycle route that’s suitable for all levels of cyclists, from families with children to experienced cyclists looking for a scenic and relaxing ride.
The Copper Coast Cycle Route
25km | Scenic | 2-3 hours
The Copper Coast Cycle Route is a stunning coastal route that takes you through some of Ireland’s most breathtaking scenery. Starting in the seaside town of Dungarvan, the 25km route takes you along the Copper Coast, a UNESCO Global Geopark that’s famous for its dramatic cliffs, coves, and beaches.
As you cycle along the Copper Coast Cycle Route, you’ll pass by charming fishing villages like Bunmahon and Annestown, where you can stop for a bite to eat and take in the views of the sea. You’ll also cycle through scenic countryside, where you can see historic landmarks such as the 19th-century Tankardstown engine house.
The highlight of the Copper Coast Cycle Route is the chance to see the stunning coastal scenery, which is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare wildflowers, seabirds, and even dolphins and whales. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit attractions like the Copper Coast Mini-Farm, a working farm where you can meet animals like donkeys, goats, and pigs.
The Copper Coast Cycle Route is a gentle route that’s suitable for all levels of cyclists, from families with children to experienced riders.
The Green Heartlands Cycle Route
200km | Countryside | 3-4 days
The Green Heartlands Cycle Route is a stunning cycle route that takes you through the heart of Ireland’s countryside. Starting in the historic town of Portlaoise, the 200km route takes you through the counties of Laois and Offaly, passing through charming villages, rolling farmland, and scenic countryside.
As you cycle along the Green Heartlands Cycle Route, you’ll pass by attractions such as the Slieve Bloom Mountains, which are known for their stunning scenery and abundance of wildlife. You’ll also cycle through the towns of Tullamore and Birr, where you can learn about Ireland’s rich history and culture.
One of the highlights of the Green Heartlands Cycle Route is the chance to see the stunning landscapes of Ireland’s countryside, which is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including wildflowers, birds, and even wild deer. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit attractions like the Birr Castle and Gardens, which is home to one of the world’s largest telescopes and an award-winning garden.
The Green Heartlands Cycle Route is a moderate route that’s suitable for experienced cyclists who are looking for a challenging but rewarding journey through Ireland’s heartland.
The South East Coastal Cycle Route
120km | Coastal | 2-3 days
The South East Coastal Cycle Route is a stunning coastal route that takes you through some of Ireland’s most beautiful coastal scenery. Starting in the historic town of Wexford, the 120km route takes you along the stunning coastline of County Wexford and County Waterford, passing through charming fishing villages, picturesque towns, and scenic countryside.
As you cycle along the South East Coastal Cycle Route, you’ll pass by attractions such as Hook Lighthouse, the oldest working lighthouse in the world, and the stunning sandy beaches of Curracloe and Duncannon. You’ll also cycle through the town of Waterford, where you can visit the famous Waterford Crystal Factory and learn about the art of glassmaking.
The highlight of the South East Coastal Cycle Route is the chance to see the stunning coastal scenery, which is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare wildflowers, seabirds, and even dolphins and whales. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit attractions like the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a replica of a 19th-century famine ship that tells the story of Ireland’s Great Famine.
The South East Coastal Cycle Route is a moderate route that’s suitable for experienced cyclists who are looking for a challenging but rewarding journey along Ireland’s stunning coastline.
Cycling Tour Agencies
There are many tour agencies offering either fully guided tours to self guided tours with bike rental. The prices vary hugely, as you can see from some of the examples we have gathered below. Note that we have no business relationship with any of the companies mentioned here and do not make any money from listing them on our website.
Offers 5 different bike tours, handling all the logistics. One example itinerary is a 7 day/ 6 night trip across the West Coast (Connemara, The Burren and Aran Islands). Prices for this tour start at €2,830.
Ireland By Bike
Offers a range of self guided and shorter tours. One example is a 1 day E-bike tour on the Donegal Coast. Prices for this start at €45.
Q: What should I pack for an Irish cycling holiday?
A: Make sure to pack appropriate cycling gear, including a helmet, gloves, padded shorts, and comfortable shoes. Layers are key in Ireland’s unpredictable weather, so bring a rain jacket, windproof jacket, and warmer layers to wear as needed. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and a water bottle.
Q: Should I bring my own bike or rent one in Ireland?
A: It’s up to personal preference, but renting a bike in Ireland can save you the hassle of traveling with your own bike. Many towns and cities throughout Ireland have bike rental shops, and there are several companies that specialize in cycling holidays, such as Irish Cycling Safaris and Green Marble Tours, that provide rental bikes and organize all logistics.
Q: How do I transport my bike to Ireland?
A: If you decide to bring your own bike, you can typically transport it as checked luggage on your flight to Ireland, but be sure to check with your airline for their specific rules and fees. Alternatively, you can use a bike shipping service, such as BikeFlights or SendMyBag, which will pick up and deliver your bike to your destination in Ireland.
Q: Do I need to book accommodations in advance?
A: It’s recommended to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Many cycling holidays in Ireland offer pre-planned itineraries with accommodations included, but if you’re planning a DIY cycling trip, websites like Booking.com and Airbnb are great resources for finding places to stay along your route.
Q: How do I plan my route and navigate while cycling in Ireland?
A: There are several resources for planning your cycling route in Ireland, including guidebooks, online maps, and mobile apps. Many paid cycling holidays also provide detailed route information and maps. It’s also a good idea to bring a physical map or GPS device, as mobile phone service can be spotty in more remote areas.