Driving the Wild Atlantic Way!


If you are planning on driving the Wild Atlantic Way I have some general tips for you! At the end of March I drove part of the Wild Atlantic Way with my girlfriend and it was breathtaking…

Before I moved to Ireland a couple of months ago I always saw green hills, a lot of grass, trees and sheep in my head when I thought of Ireland. On my trip along the west coast, Ireland surprised me in every way possible!

sheep on the road

We had 9 days to cover the trip from Dublin to Cork, all the way to county Donegal and back to Dublin again. 8 overnight stays in hostels were arranged and our route was planned. It was maybe a bit much to fit in 9 days, if you want the chance to get out of the car and have some nice hikes or just some fresh air. So here are some tips for you to make it a less stressful trip for yourself!

Tip one!

A lesson we learned really quickly on the road. Don’t over-plan! We had all our routes planned, but you’ll definitely end up driving a different way because you want to see this or that… And accept that that’s fine! (Tip 1.1)

Tip two!

That first tip kind of includes the second tip… and maybe the most important one of all: Give up the need to see it all! Unless you have a couple of weeks time to cover the whole west coast, in that case: Go for it! If you’re doing it in a week or so, just make sure you see the things you really want to see and for the rest of the time: just relax and see what comes in your way.

That really worked for us, and we end up seeing more than we had planned to see! The Wild Atlantic Way signs also have directions for highlights along the route. Every once in a while you’ll see directions to a nice viewpoint, waterfall, landmark, castle, or something else that is worth paying a visit! You always get directions back to the normal route, so getting lost is pretty hard on the Wild Atlantic Way!

we in front of wild atlantic way sign

For us, two girls who just moved to Ireland from the Netherlands, our list of to do’s was endless. We wanted to see everything Ireland has to offer, and off course all the main attractions as well like the Cliffs of Moher and Slieve League. Given the face that we’re more a fan of remote and quiet places we also wanted to have enough time to do some nice hikes in the National Parks we would pass.

Tip three!

Try to arrange you accommodation before you take off, there is nothing worse than eventually arriving at a hostel at the end of a long day full of adventures and finding out that there is no room left. Another benefit of doing that is that you’ll have some fixed points along your route and you can start planning around or between them.

map showing the route along the wild atlantic way from dublin

Before we took off we had a hard time calculating how much time each trip would take, and how much time we would have left for hikes and sightseeing. Everywhere on the magical World Wide Web we read that the roads are really narrow sometimes and 100 km can take a really long time, so we were kind of afraid that we would have to spend a lot of time in the car. But we did not! We had an amazing routine to let it feel like we spend the whole day at our destination. We woke up quite early and always planned to be on the road between 9 and 10. We would drive for about two hours and then we had the whole afternoon to do activities!

I can imagine that if you would go for the Wild Atlantic Way, and you want to drive the whole thing that you have a really different trip then we had. For the both of us this was the perfect combination of amazing sights from the car in the morning and breathtaking views from the top of the mountains in the afternoon.

cliff route

Tip four!

Make sure you know what you want on your trip! If you want to drive the whole Wild Atlantic Way make sure you have enough time, or be okay with the fact that you won’t spend a lot of time outside the car. It’s up to you! If you want some more time to discover the locations along the Wild Atlantic Way like us, then you could decide to drive the most beautiful parts and take a faster way for the rest.

Tip five!

We discovered that we were really lucky with the way we drove the Wild Atlantic Way! Before we took off we wanted to drive it from the north to the south but end up driving it the other way because of a couple of hostels that weren’t open yet. Driving from South to North means that the driver is on the right side of the road, and the one that is taking pictures is on the left side of the road. This means that the passenger can take awesome pictures of the cliffs and ocean views, and you don’t have to stop every time you see something beautiful (which happens every 5 minutes…)

There are so many beautiful spots along the Wild Atlantic Way, you can arrange your whole planning yourself and contact our hostels directly. Or you can book our Wild Atlantic Way package! In that case you only have to arrange a car and we arrange the rest for you!

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