Glamping pods, luxury five-star resorts, coastal hotels and Airbnbs with private beaches, check out my top places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Not only do Irish people consider the Wild Atlantic Way one of Ireland’s top attractions, but recently Lonely Planet rated it the 21st best experience in the world, on it’s Ultimate Travel List. When I think of ultimate travel experiences, Galapagos Islands, Antartica, Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu spring to mind, so if one of these ultimate travel experiences is on our own doorstep – isn’t it about time we explored it?
I, like many Irish natives, have driven a part of the 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way trail, but I know we have so much more to explore. The Wild Atlantic Way stretches from Donegal as far as Cork and passes through nine counties. I have listed some of my favourite places to stay along the Wild Atlantic Way below.
I have chosen hotels and Airbnbs with stunning coastal views, luxury five star hotels, as well as top glamping sites – all great places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way. I hope they will help plan an epic adventure soon.
Donegal is not only the starting point for the Wild Atlantic Way, but it is also the county with the longest coastline in Ireland. It is home to some of Ireland’s best beaches, one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, The Slieve League Cliffs and Ireland’s second largest National Park, Glenveagh National Park.
There are so many accommodation options to choose from. Lively towns like Bundoran will offer a completely different experience to quiet villages on the Inishowen Peninsula. Here are my top picks:
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Best hotel in Donegal for Wild Atlantic Way views: The Shandon Hotel
It is difficult to choose just one beach hotel in Donegal, as there are several great places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way. The Sandhouse Hotel is superbly located right on the beach and is a great alternative, but I have chosen the Shandon Hotel & Spa because it has a swimming pool, leisure centre, and spa on site, just in case the weather is not in your favour.
The Shandon Hotel overlooks the beautiful Sheephaven Bay and is within walking distance of the beach. This reasonably new Donegal Hotel (opened in 2016) boasts sea views from almost every bedroom. The outdoor Canadian hot-tub is a firm favourite with guests and also boasts stunning sea views. Check out the great reviews on TripAdvisor here.Check prices here
Best luxury hotel in Donegal: Lough Eske Castle
Lough Eske Castle is steeped in history and romance. Dating back to the 15th century and set within 43 acres of native woodland on the shores of Lough Eske, it certainly has the wow factor. It blends its historic past with modern luxury beautifully, and has a luxury spa with a swimming pool for the ultimate relaxing break.
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Best Airbnb in Donegal with sea views: 5-star Cottage with private beach
If isolation is what you seek, this Donegal stone cottage will fit the bill perfectly. Located on its own private beach, surrounded by seven acres of land, it is surely one of the most secluded beachfront Airbnbs on the Wild Atlantic Way – the public can only access this beach via a boat.
The cottage is over 100 years old, and retains its original thatch, overlaid with a modern roof. It is now equipped with all mod cons, even Netflix, if you fancy a cosy night in. With two large bedrooms, it is ideal for a family or group of friends and you can even bring your pet along with you.Check prices here
Best glamping in Donegal: Portsalon Luxury Camping
Portsalon campsite is home to five luxurious yurts, with king sized beds, wood burning stoves and carpeted floors. The outdoor decking comes with a hammock, firepit and barbecue area, as well as stunning sea views over one of Donegal’s best beaches. Communal bathrooms and kitchen facilities are available beside the yurts and there is 24-hour complimentary wifi available.
Check prices here
Sligo / Leitrim:
As well as a rugged coastline and stunning beaches, Sligo is also home to the iconic flat-topped Benbulben mountain. Ireland’s answer to Table Mountain dominates the landscape, and is visible throughout the west of the county. Don’t miss Drumcliffe Church too, the final resting place of WB Yeates which is located at its foothills.
Mullaghmore Head is one of Ireland’s best surfing locations, and Coney Island is another hidden gem that shouldn’t be overlooked – you can drive or walk across the 5km causeway from Rosses Point, if you are there at low tide.
Best hotel in Sligo for Wild Atlantic Way views: Diamond Coast, Enniscrone
The Blue Flag Enniscrone beach is renowned as one of the safest beaches on Ireland’s west coast. Its golden sand stretches for 5km, making it popular with families and water sports enthusiasts.
The Diamond Coast Hotel is just a short walk from Enniscrone beach and is very popular with couples and families. There is a choice of dining options and large rooms with kids facilities for families.
Best glamping in Leitrim / Sligo: Teapot Lane, Leitrim
You may not be aware of this, but Leitrim has 2.4 miles of coastline on the Wild Atlantic Way. I have chosen Teapot Lane, as not only is it one of Ireland best glamping sites, but it is also just a short drive from the coast. In fact Mullaghmore beach in Sligo is just a ten-minute drive away.
Teapot Lane offers a wide selection of accommodation including yurts, a vintage caravan, and even a treehouse. The treehouse boasts a king sized bed, a wine fridge, and a swing chair to relax and enjoy the view.
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Best Airbnb in Sligo with sea views: Three-bedroom home on the beach in Enniscrone
This three-bedroom beach house offers panoramic views of the beach, and the sun sets right in front of the living room. Located in heart of Enniscrone, with direct access to the beach, the location couldn’t be better. The house is very well equipped, with two bikes, a surf board, body boards, buckets and spades and a fishing rod.
Can you think of a better way to explore the Wild Atlantic Way than by bicycle? Mayo’s Great Western Greenway is a 42km cycle track from Westport to Achill exploring Mayo’s beautiful coastline. If you are feeling even more energetic you can climb the Holy mountain, Croagh Patrick.
Many of you may know that I visited Mayo this summer, and I was blown away by its stunning beaches. Don’t miss Achill Island, Ireland’s largest island, and home to some of the best beaches on the Wild Atlantic Way. The Erris Peninsula has some of Ireland’s best kept secrets, including Claggan Island. DownPatrick Head is also a must see – I could go on on on, best check out my blog posts below:
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Best hotel in Mayo for Wild Atlantic Way views: Mulranny Park Hotel
The Mulranny Park Hotel boasts an idyllic location overlooking Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick Mountain, and also happens to be located on most scenic section of Great Western Greenway. You can swim in the Blue Flag Mulranny Beach, cycle on the Greenway or enjoy the hotel’s indoor leisure centre. As well as standard and deluxe rooms, its also boasts two-bedroom apartment suites which are very popular with families.
Best luxury hotel in Mayo: Ashford Castle
Can you think of anything better than staying in a 13th century castle? I recall driving across the moat and seeing Ashford Castle for the first time – it was like being inside a fairytale. Awarded the accolade as a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, Ashford castle is undoubtedly one of the best places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way.
As well as lavish interiors and a choice of dining options, you can enjoy a host of sporting activities or relax in the stunning spa.
Best glamping in Mayo: Belmullet Coastguard Station, Claggan Island
I spotted these luxurious glamping pods recently and I can’t wait to see them first hand. They are located on Claggan Island – which was only officially declared an island in 1991. Claggan Island is about 12km from Belmullet and is linked to the mainland by a narrow, sandy causeway, and is surrounded by stunning beaches.
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The luxury Pods can sleep up to four adults and have a toilet and washbasin, with full access to the dedicated kitchen and shower area. Tents can be pitched beside the pods for additional €15 per day.
Best Airbnb in Mayo with seaviews: Achill Atlantic House
You only have to look at the image below to see the unobstructed views that lay in store if you stay at the Achill Atlantic House in Mayo. You will also have private access to Cloughmore Beach, which is just 50 meters away, Achill’s Atlantic Drive is just five minutes walk from the house and you can find your own ‘catch of the day’ at the local harbour.
With one of Ireland’s most vibrant cities, a stunning coastline, and some of Ireland’s top tourist attractions, it is no surprise that Galway is one of the most popular places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Connemara coast boasts stunning beaches, superb dining options, and is home to the fjord of Killary Harbour. Don’t miss the drive through Killary Harbour and Doolough Valley, which connects Galway to its neighbouring county, Mayo. Kylemore Abbey is another top attraction that shouldn’t be missed.
Best hotel in Galway for Wild Atlantic Way views: Connemara Sands Hotel & Spa
With private access to the Blue Flag Mannin Bay beach, the Connemara Sands Hotel is one of the best beach hotels on the Wild Atlantic Way. With crystal clear waters, fine food, chic interiors and a Voya seaweed spa, it is not surprising that it has received excellent reviews on Tripadvisor.
Best luxury hotel in Galway: Glenlo Abbey Hotel
Glenlo Abbey is located on an 138-acre estate on Lough Corrib, and has been welcoming guests since 1740. The on site facilities are impressive, and include Falconry, archery, fishing, golf, and the Abbey movie theatre.
However, the pièce de résistance is the Pullman Restaurant, which is two former carriages that once served on the Orient Express. Who needs overseas travel when you can dine in the Orient Express on the Wild Atlantic Way?
Best glamping in Galway: Podumna Glamping Village
The Podumna Glamping Village have a selection of pods, huts and cabins, some sleeping up to six people. All pods are fully insulated and come with bedding, heating, and a deck with barbecue, table and chairs.
If you wish to have a large family gathering or group event, you can hire the exclusive use of Podumna Village for your party.
Best Airbnb in Galway with sea views: Folan’s Stone Cottage, Roundstone
Folan’s Cottage is located just metres from a quiet sandy beach in Connemara. Rebuilt in 2010 from two ruined stone cottages, it is your picture perfect Irish hideaway. With three bedrooms, a large kitchen, underfloor heating throughout, and a south facing terrace with sea views, it is surely one of the best Airbnbs on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Cliffs of Moher is arguably one of the most iconic attractions on the Wild Altantic Way, but Clare is also home to to the Loop Head Peninsula, which should not be overlooked. The stunning Bridges of Ross and the lively town of Kilkee are popular tourist spots, as are the beach towns of Spanish Point and Lahinch.
The Burren and the traditional much town of Doolin are also unmissable if visiting Clare.
Best hotel in Clare for Wild Atlantic Way views: Armada Hotel, Spanish Point
With the Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands and the Burren on your doorstep, as well as the traditional Johnny Burke’s Irish pub on site, its no surprise that the Armada Hotel is one of Clare’s most popular hotels. I recommend booking a sea view room or suite, which offer stunning Wild Atlantic Way views.
Best luxury hotel in Clare: Dromoland Castle
Dromoland Castle has been welcoming guests since the 16th century. I stayed here many years ago with my husband and enjoyed a wonderful weekend. This luxurious five-star hotel is full of history, grandeur and romance – a royal stay is guaranteed.
Best for glamping in Kerry: Purecamping, Kilkee
Purecamping was my first experience of glamping in Ireland and I loved it. Located in Loop Head, just 7 kilometers from Kilkee, it has all the feels of a retreat, but with great amenities close by.
You can choose to stay in one of the 5-metre bell tents which sleep up to four people, complete with its own deck and fire pit, or one of their wooden cabins, some of which can accommodate families of six.
Best Airbnb in Clare for sea views: Modern apartment with sea views, Lahinch
If you are looking for the holy grail of sea side holiday homes along the Wild Atlantic Way, look no further. This modern 2-bedroomed home has a 270 degree view of the sea, with stunning floor to ceiling windows overlooking Liscannor bay and the Cliffs of Moher.
The open plan living area has polished concrete floors and there is a rotating stove in the middle of the living area. This has to be one of the best Airbnbs in Ireland, and it is one that is firmly on my own Irish bucket list!
‘The Kingdom’ as Kerry is widely known, is home to some of Ireland’s top attractions. Kilarney National Park, the Ring of Kerry Drive, and the Gap of Dunloe are just some of its must-sees, but its coastline which includes the Dingle Peninsula, Valentia Island and the colourful town of Kenmare are all great places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Best hotel in Kerry for Wild Atlantic Way views: Dingle Skellig Hotel
The Dingle Skellig Hotel is superbly situated overlooking Dingle Bay. The hotel also has a leisure club, swimming pool, spa, and outdoor hot tub – so if you just want to relax, you can do that too! Rated excellent on TripAdvisor, this is one of the most popular places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Best luxury hotel in Kerry: Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare
Sheen Falls Lodge enjoys an idyllic location overlooking Sheen Waterfalls, as well as being within walking distance to the picturesque town of Kenmare, and located on the Ring of Kerry and Wild Atlantic Way. A Relais & Chateaux Hotel, it boasts fine food and wine and a host of activities, as well as spa and indoor heated pool.
Best Airbnb in Kerry with seaviews: Skellig Rest Cottage, Waterville
Skellig Rest is a beautiful 100 year old cottage, that offers stunning views of the Skellig Rocks. Located between Waterville and Caherdaniel and just 5km from Derrynane beach, it is not surprising that it is listed as one of the top Airbnbs in Ireland.
The Kerry Way walking trail is at the end of the garden, and you can enjoy sunset views from your own private hot tub or garden hammock.
As well as superb facilities including a hot tub and sauna, you will find Skellig Rest equipped with robes and slippers, a telescope and binoculars, perfect for star gazing at Kerry’s International Dark Sky Reserve.
Best glamping in Kerry: The Hideaway at Dromquinna Manor
For couples looking for the ultimate luxurious retreat, The Hideaway is the place to go. You will be staying in a custom made African safari tent, over looking the lake on the grounds of Dromquinna Manor. A delicious breakfast basket will be delivered to your tent every morning and you can enjoy dinner in The Boathouse in the evening. This is one of the most unique places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Ireland’s largest county sure packs a few punches. As well as having a vibrant city, it is home to some of my favourite coastal towns in Ireland. West Cork has so much to offer, there are so many highlights, including colourful towns like Kinsale and Skibbereen as well as smaller villages like Baltimore and Glandore.
Don’t miss the Beara Peninsula drive, take the cable car to Dursey Island and cross the famous footbridge at Mizen Head.
Best Cork hotel for Wild Atlantic Way views: Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa
The multi award-winning Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa Hotel is located on a stunning Blue Flag beach which has been voted Ireland’s best beach by Tripadvisor for the last three years. The spa boasts unique seawater therapies and it has been voted Ireland’s Leading Spa Resort at the World Travel Awards seven times!
However, it would be remiss of me not to give a special mention to Eccles Hotel in Glengarrif. This landmark hotel is located close to Garnish Island and Gougane Barra, two places that are unmissable if visiting the Wild Atlantic Way.
Best luxury hotel in Cork: Hayfield Manor
The prestigious five-star Hayfield Manor hotel has all the charm of a country house, yet is located just a short stroll from Cork City, and a half hour drive from the Wild Atlantic Way. However, with two award-winning restaurants and the Beautique Spa with indoor heated pool, you may find it difficult to leave.
Best for glamping in Cork: Ballyvolane House
If you want to try a luxury glamping experience but are not too keen on cooking, then Ballyvolane House is the place to go. You will enjoy a full-service glamping experience, with all meals, drinks and afternoon tea provided in the main house, as well as a ‘glamping box’ provided with essentials.
There are different glamping options to choose from. The ‘glamping ark’ is ideal for couples, while bell tents sleep up to two adults and two children.
Best Holiday Home in Cork with sea views: The Boat House, Baltimore.
The Boat House location in West Cork is idyllic. This four-bedroomed house is one of ten properties on an island estate, reached by a stone bridge. It is ideal for a large family, or if there are a group of families or friends who wish to travel together, you can rent more of the properties on Inis Beg estate.
It is also located close to Baltimore and Skibbereen, so if you fancy a change of scene, you don’t have too far to go. You will also have access to an indoor heated swimming pool during your stay.
I hope this post on the best places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way will help you plan a trip to the west coast of Ireland soon. It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed may not be operating to full capacity – please check with individual hotels and holiday home owners for clarification.
I always recommend booking accommodation with free cancellation in case there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you.