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Walk the best of the Burren Way on Ireland’s rugged Atlantic west coast exploring the impressive Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.
Take a ferry to Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands and stay in the village of Doolin, Ireland’s traditional music capital. Enjoy a pint of Guinness, the ‘black stuff’, as you listen to the ‘seisiúns’. Traverse the distinctive, moon-like landscapes of The Burren that were created over 330 million years ago and consist of vast limestone pavements.
In just a few days you can really get a feel for life on these wild western shores of Ireland. Walking along rural roads and "greenways" there will always be a friendly wave from a local. Nowhere on earth will you feel more welcome than here in the heart of Galway.
The village of Liscannor on the Ireland’s west coast is a 2H20 minute bus ride from Shannon Airport and overlooks Liscannor Bay and takes its name from its old castle. “Lis” being Irish for fort and “cannor” a variation of the name Connor. Many of the local buildings, walls and pavements are built from the striking local flagstone called Liscannor Stone.
Settle into your small hotel or inn before embarking on your first walk tomorrow.
Follow coastal and countryside routes towards the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. Upon reaching these stunning cliffs which are a member of the European Geoparks network, you will be in awe as they rise to a height of over 200m. On a clear day you can see over to the Aran Islands and the waters of Galway Bay and even over to the hills of Connemara.
Here there are over 30 species of birds that nest on the cliff faces, including kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and even puffins at the right time of year. Be sure to bring your binoculars.
Tonight make the most of the fact that Doolin is the traditional music capital of Ireland with music being played in the local pubs almost every night. It will certainly be a highlight of your stay here.
Walk: 19 km
Today take a ferry (payable locally and takes 1H15) over to Inishmore Island, one of the 3 Aran Islands that have been standing guard over Galway Bay for centuries. The inspiration of many a poet, writer and musician from around the world, Inishmore, the “big island” has a population of approximately 900 people.
Your walk initially takes you along a coastal route and past a local seal colony. You then continue along this northern route close to the Stone Age round Fort of Dun Aonghasa. If you wish you can take the short, steep ascent to the fort itself (adding about 1km to today’s walk) and to its spectacular cliff top location. It is now a semi-circle as half of it has been swept into the sea.
Then make your way along a rural road/track along the southern trail and back to the village of Kilronan, where the ferry awaits. Here why not treat yourself to a traditional Aran jumper.
Alternately to shorten your walk you can take a hop on hop off bus close to the fort and walk back to Kilronan from there.
Walk: 8 or 16km
Today you will follow rural Irish roads called “boreens” through quiet farmland with panoramic views over the Aran Islands. You will also be walking through "The Burren", one of Europe's most distinctive landscapes. It is a vast cracked landscape of karsts or fissures in the rock. Covering an area of 160 square kilometres, it is certainly unique terrain and has a moonscape appearance.
Walk into the seaside village of Fanore. It has a fine sandy beach, just 1 pub and the friendliest people you will ever meet. Alternately you will stay in Craggagh a bit further down the coast, which will increase your walk by about 1km.
Walk: 20 km
Today you will be walking around the coast and past Blackhead, the most northern part of The Burren. Follow the route along grassy and green paths with fantastic views over the Aran Islands and Connemara.
The word 'Burren' is derived from Gaelic meaning 'stoney place'. It is about 200-300 metres above sea level at the north and about 100 metres in the south. Man has settled here since the Stone Age and evidence of this appears all around you, with massive dolmens and stone forts, called cahers.
After some rural country road walking arrive in the village of Ballyvaughan.
The trailhead for today’s walk is in the village itself and as you walk out of Ballyvaughan there will be panoramic views and the chance to see many wildflowers, ring forts, and a lake. Take a slight detour to Ailwee Cave, one of the oldest caves in Ireland. Its fascinating passages weave for more than 1km and features areas of great geological significance.
There are bus connections to Galway from Ballyvaughan (1H). Macs Adventure can also offer a private transfer (extra cost involved). Please ask your Destination & Adventure Specialist for more details.
The accommodations on this tour are hand-picked hotels, B&B’s and guest houses. All offer a particularly warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious full Irish breakfasts.
We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested, and a single supplement applies. This trip is also available to solo walkers, and a supplement is again payable (as some costs are not shared). Please note that singles may not be of the same standard as twins/doubles.
A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options.
Most of your accommodations will more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively you can buy lunch in local shops/cafés. For dinner there are nearby pubs and restaurants in each location.
We regularly use the following properties but may accommodate you elsewhere if these are not available.
The Cliffs of Moher Hotel has very spacious rooms, some of which have a balcony. A full Irish breakfast is provided in its restaurant.
Located in the heart of the picturesque village of Doolin, this family run, 4 star B & B offers you a very memorable breakfast and the six, spacious bedrooms provide you with comfort and wonderful views.
Orchid House is a well-insulated, energy efficient home. Guests have a sustainable and eco-friendly environment in which to relax, the rooms are very comfortable and the breakfasts are exceptional.
This guesthouse has 11 ensuite bedrooms, all individually and elegantly decorated, and equipped with all modern conveniences. You will receive a very warm welcome.
This walking tour is available between mid-April to mid-October. You can start on any date subject to availability.
You will find up to date availability on our website. The walk is very popular so it is best to book as far in advance as you are able to.
Many of our clients choose to add or remove nights along the walk. For example if you want to simply walk the Burren Way from inn to inn, changing accommodation every night, you can reduce the tour to 5 days by excluding Days 3 (trip to Inishmore) and Day 6 (extra night in Ballyvaughan) Alternately it can also be a longer itinerary of 8 days should you choose to add extra nights in any of the overnight stops. Please contact our team should you wish to add or remove nights along the way.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
This itinerary is graded moderate and is suitable for regular walkers. However the day when you walk via the Cliffs of Moher is more moderate to strenuous as the path undulates and there are many elevation gains and losses. However on the other walks there is no more than around 300m of elevation gain and loss and often it is less than this.It is important not to stray too close to the edge when walking along the Cliffs of Moher as there are no barriers and it can get very windy, especially if you have vertigo.
You will be walking along green roads (old cattle drover’s roads), pathways, forestry tracks and minor tarmac roads.
As there are no “public rights of way” in Ireland these itineraries do involve some road walking. Overall there is around 50% of walking on rural roads. However the roads are generally very quiet and pleasant to walk on with great views with always a wave from the locals. At times though you may have to look out for traffic.
This route is way-marked but at times the way marking will be a bit intermittent and sometimes we may follow a different route to avoid a busy road, for example. However we provide you with route notes and maps which will help you find your way. You may also use the Macs Adventure App.
The ferry from Doolin pier to the Aran Island of Inishmore takes approximately 1H20. For ferry information see Doolin 2 Aran Ferries. There is one ferry per day that leaves at approximately 10:00am. The return ferry leaves Inishmor at approximately 4:00pm. We recommend buying your return ticket (approx €25) on the Doolin2Aran website in advance.
Please note that schedules may change according to the tide and weather conditions and the ferry company also reserves the right to cancel ferries if the weather is extreme.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and descents / ascents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necesssary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/ cycling gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
Shannon Airport is the most convenient airport to fly in and out of. There are buses available from Shannon Airport to Liscannor (2H25). You can also fly into Dublin Airport and board a Citylink bus to Galway (2H30 to 3H). Buses are available from Galway to Liscannor (2H20). You can also take a train from Galway to Ennis (approx 1H20) and then a bus from Ennis to Liscannor. The following websites have schedules and fares. Bus Eireann and Irish Rail. Another useful website is Citylink.
The bus stop is right outside the Cliffs of Moher Hotel and Vaughan’s Anchor Inn, both accommodation options in Liscannor.
Ballyvaughan is a one hour bus ride away from Galway. See website links above for information. There are just 2 buses per day to Galway. Once you are in Galway you can take a bus to Shannon Airport (1H40). As mentioned above Galway is also accessible to Dublin Airport (2H30) by Citylink bus.
This itinerary is graded moderate and is suitable for regular walkers. However the day when you walk via the Cliffs of Moher is more moderate to strenuous as the path undulates and there are many elevation gains and losses. However on the other walks there is no more than around 300m of elevation gain and loss and often it is less than this.
Your baggage will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this area of Ireland is extremely popular from May all the way through to October. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
We operate the tour to coincide with accommodations being open and weather being more conducive to walking. However, this is the west coast of Ireland, so it could be beautiful sunny days or there could be rain and wind. It's unpredictable so booking with this knowledge the correct gear will ensure that you have a wonderful time. July and August will be busier than at other times. Spring is early here so the spring flowers will definitely be out by April and by May trees and shrubs will all be blossoming.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.