Donegal travel guide

Donegal Tourism | Donegal Guide

You're Going to Love Donegal

Ireland is most famous for its rolling green countryside, quaint village towns and welcoming pubs. Donegal, located in the northern part of the Republic of Ireland, is popular among tourists for its close access to hiking, ancient castles and jagged coastline views.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Donegal

1. Glenveagh

This vegetative area features lakes, castles and mountains and is the second largest national park in Ireland.

2. Doagh Famine Village

Tour guides lead you around historic 19th century buildings recounting Irish history and traditions along the way.

3. Wild Atlantic Way

This scenic 2,500km driving route takes you along the Atlantic coast of Ireland down through Galway to County Cork.

4. Donegal Castle

The ancient castle was fully restored in the 1990s and is located in the center of Donegal town.

5. Malin Head

This small hike offers beautiful ocean views and is the northernmost point in the Republic of Ireland.

What to do in Donegal

1. Breathtaking Natural Beauty

County Donegal is well-known for its natural wonders but none are as emblematic of the beautiful wilds of the Emerald Isle as Glenveagh National Park. Located at the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains, the park's 16,000 hectares is dedicated entirely to trails, deer, pristine lakes, rugged mountains as backdrops and magical oak woodland. Of course, no Irish national park is complete without its own haunting and majestic castle. And this is no ordinary castle: with its four-story, rectangular keep and nearly 40,873 acres of mountains, lakes, glens and woods abounding with red deer, the property is nearly on par with the park.

2. At The Edge Of The World

Climb to the top of the highest cliffs in Europe and you'll be rewarded with a dizzying, haunting and almost seductive view of a churning Atlantic Ocean below. With their 1,988 foot drop, these cliffs give any and all who scale them a just reward; a view of the vastness of an ocean that makes you feel you're at the edge of the world. And you are: from here, Western Europe drops away and it's a journey to the shores of the Americas. To embark on a challenging trail, use the a narrower pathway to One Man's Pass. For an easier time, take the trail from Bunglas to Malinbeg.

3. Purely Irish

People who think "Irish" is just an accent are prone to be in for a rude awakening. Where do you think their lilt comes from? Head to the picturesque and strange island of Tory and you'll find that most of the inhabitants speak only Irish Gaelic. It's no surprise that this isolated island has perfectly preserved its history, culture and sense of the wilderness. Many artists and musicians flock here for the tranquility and connection to nature that it offers. This tiny community of 130 Gaelic people are led by a "king" -- but fret not because pubs are still in fashion.

4. Because Who Needs One More Castle?

Donegal Castle might be a popular draw but once you've seen Glenveagh Castle, you can safely bet its majesty sets the standard for castles in Donegal. Instead, head to see how the "other 99%" lived in the old days. This quaint Irish village is still kept alive as a monument and contrast to the ways of life nearly 200 to 300 years ago. The museum consists of perfectly preserved houses perched on hills known as "clachan", complete with artifacts and utensils, as well as pub-grocers and a reconstructed school house.

5. See How Donegal Has Evolved

Once you've had your fill of the wild, get back to the city and see how Donegal has evolved. The Donegal Railway Heritage Centre is a museum that commemorates the old station house. It's packed with rolling stock, historical artifacts and even movies on the way the railways transformed Ireland.

1. Breathtaking Natural Beauty

County Donegal is well-known for its natural wonders but none are as emblematic of the beautiful wilds of the Emerald Isle as Glenveagh National Park. Located at the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains, the park's 16,000 hectares is dedicated entirely to trails, deer, pristine lakes, rugged mountains as backdrops and magical oak woodland. Of course, no Irish national park is complete without its own haunting and majestic castle. And this is no ordinary castle: with its four-story, rectangular keep and nearly 40,873 acres of mountains, lakes, glens and woods abounding with red deer, the property is nearly on par with the park.

2. At The Edge Of The World

Climb to the top of the highest cliffs in Europe and you'll be rewarded with a dizzying, haunting and almost seductive view of a churning Atlantic Ocean below. With their 1,988 foot drop, these cliffs give any and all who scale them a just reward; a view of the vastness of an ocean that makes you feel you're at the edge of the world. And you are: from here, Western Europe drops away and it's a journey to the shores of the Americas. To embark on a challenging trail, use the a narrower pathway to One Man's Pass. For an easier time, take the trail from Bunglas to Malinbeg.

3. Purely Irish

People who think "Irish" is just an accent are prone to be in for a rude awakening. Where do you think their lilt comes from? Head to the picturesque and strange island of Tory and you'll find that most of the inhabitants speak only Irish Gaelic. It's no surprise that this isolated island has perfectly preserved its history, culture and sense of the wilderness. Many artists and musicians flock here for the tranquility and connection to nature that it offers. This tiny community of 130 Gaelic people are led by a "king" -- but fret not because pubs are still in fashion.

4. Because Who Needs One More Castle?

Donegal Castle might be a popular draw but once you've seen Glenveagh Castle, you can safely bet its majesty sets the standard for castles in Donegal. Instead, head to see how the "other 99%" lived in the old days. This quaint Irish village is still kept alive as a monument and contrast to the ways of life nearly 200 to 300 years ago. The museum consists of perfectly preserved houses perched on hills known as "clachan", complete with artifacts and utensils, as well as pub-grocers and a reconstructed school house.

5. See How Donegal Has Evolved

Once you've had your fill of the wild, get back to the city and see how Donegal has evolved. The Donegal Railway Heritage Centre is a museum that commemorates the old station house. It's packed with rolling stock, historical artifacts and even movies on the way the railways transformed Ireland.

Top activities & attractions in Donegal

Where to Eat in Donegal

The Olde Castle Bar is a quaint stone restaurant serving traditional Irish food and beers. Meal prices are between 15-20 euros.

When to visit Donegal

Donegal in June
Estimated hotel price
$92
1 night at 3-star hotel
Donegal in June
Estimated hotel price
$92
1 night at 3-star hotel

Ireland is famous for its rainy weather, which makes the summer months between June-September the most popular time to visit and take in the idyllic green countryside.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Donegal

Plane

Donegal airport is located 2km in Carrickfinn in Northwest County Donegal. AerLingus and Ryanair flights from London to Donegal are around 65 euros one way.

Train

The Donegal Railway Station has been closed for use since 1960 and is now a railway museum.

Car

The journey from Dublin takes around 3 hours and crosses through Northern Ireland through the N3 and N15 motorways.

Bus

Bus Éireann and Euroline buses offer connections to Donegal from other Irish cities, with prices around 60 euros one way.

Airports near Donegal

Airlines serving Donegal

British Airways
Good (1,088 reviews)
Ryanair
Good (1,331 reviews)
Aer Lingus
Good (370 reviews)

Where to stay in Donegal

The Diamond - This area is the poetic, musical and cultural center of the city, with lots of events and performances throughout the year.

Popular Neighborhoods in Donegal

Letterkenny - There are more shopping malls, cinemas and modern activities in this nearby northern city.

Murvagh - The sandy beaches and surfing opportunities of this area make it a popular destination for water sport enthusiasts.

Where to stay in popular areas of Donegal

Most booked hotels in Donegal

Harvey's Point
Excellent (9.5, 670 reviews)
$241+
Mill Park Hotel
Excellent (9, 1986 reviews)
$147+
Teac Campbell Guesthouse
Excellent (9.3, 60 reviews)
$66+
Lough Eske Castle
Excellent (9, 675 reviews)
$237+
Teac Jack
Excellent (8.6, 477 reviews)
$65+
Jackson's Hotel & Leisure Centre
Excellent (8.2, 674 reviews)
$73+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Donegal

Public Transportation

The small city does not offer any metro or regular bus servies. However, long-distance buses are the most common way of exploring this northern Irish region.

Taxi

Tariffs start at 4.5 euros and cost around 13 euros for a ride around the city center.

Car

Rental vehicle prices start at 100 euros a day and can be picked up at either of the airport or downtown branch locations.

The Cost of Living in Donegal

Shopping Streets

The Courtyard Shopping Center Letterkenny is the biggest modern shopping mall with standard worldwide brands. The Donegal Craft Village sells more boutique paintings, glassware and crafts from local artisans.

Groceries and Other

The main food shopping markets are Aldi, Mace and SuperValu. A dozen eggs costs 2.3 euros.

Cheap meal
$13.33
A pair of jeans
$66.64
Cappuccino
$2.78
Other popular cities in Donegal