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Walking Ireland's West Coast

7 Days & 6 Nights 4.6 Read 5 reviews
  • Discover the natural beauty of the Burren on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Coast
  • Puffin spotting at the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most iconic views
  • Listen to live trad sessions in Doolin, Ireland’s music capital
  • Island hopping and coastal walking on the remote Aran Islands
  • Enjoy locally caught fresh mussels, seafood chowder and North Atlantic prawns
The Burren region in Ireland is a unique lunar-like landscape that stretches across the west coast to the shores of Galway Bay. We believe that this windswept and wonderfully remote landscape is best explored on foot, at your own pace. Local walking trails and so-called ‘green roads’ lead you to some of Ireland’s most iconic sights, such as the Cliffs of Moher, the desolate beauty of the Aran Islands and two-million-year-old Aillwee Cave. Ancient sites can be found here, with ring forts, stone structures and tombs scattered throughout the Burren. County Clare seamlessly combines a rocky and barren moonscape with Irish culture. Local pubs serve freshly caught mussels, Atlantic seafood chowder and classic fish and chips. Immerse yourself in old traditions and join in with the locals during a trad session in one of Doolin’s famous music pubs. Strap on your walking boots and don’t forget your camera, this is a trip for the senses!
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If you are looking to explore the iconic sights of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Coast combined with some gentle walks in one of Europe's most distinctive moon-like landscapes, then this is the trip for you. This tour offers an extremely warm welcome from friendly hosts in charming small accommodations, lively musical traditions, and places of historical significance. The walks are rated easy to moderate and are suited to most regular walkers of average fitness. A free day in Doolin allows you to be creative with your time, visiting the other two "Arans", admiring the staggering Cliffs of Moher from up close or exploring on two wheels.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent tour.

Activity:

Multi Center Walking | You will spend multiple nights in one or more of the locations on this walking tour

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travelers, Families, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, Groups > 10, First Timers

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 11 Years

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Coastal & Island
  • National Parks & Trails

Inspiration:

Activity Level & Terrain

This walking trip is graded easy to moderate with gentle walks that can be completed at your own pace. The daily distances range from 10.5 to 15.5 km (7 to 10 mi). It is advisable to build up your fitness before setting off, we recommend taking walks that are similar in duration to what you will be doing on this holiday to make the most of your time and walks in Ireland. If you would like to have some flexibility it is possible to add some additional rest days. 

The walks largely take place on the official Burren Way national trail which uses a variety of routes, from forest tracks, green roads, and paths through the barren landscape of the Burren. Some short sections of the route follow minor country roads (also known as bitumen), typically when leaving or entering local towns and villages. This reflects the fact that rights of way are almost non-existent in Ireland. The road walking is scenic and mostly along quiet lanes with little traffic. Always take extra care and be mindful of other road users.

Keep in mind that the trail towards the Cliffs of Moher encompasses some slightly narrow and more exposed cliff paths and windy conditions may slow down your progress along the route. That being said, this is a true highlight of this trip and the views over the Aran Islands and Connemara on a clear day are more than worth it. 

If you are thinking of travelling solo, please consider that mobile phone coverage may be patchy in remote areas along the trail. We also welcome small groups on the trail, ideally no bigger than 8-10 travellers due to accommodation limitations. Booking in advance is a must!

Navigation

This is a low-level route that is well waymarked for the most part and easy to follow. Navigation is straightforward as you can use the Macs Adventure Smartphone App which has maps, GPS tracks, and daily route information. Simply download the GPS tracks for offline use and follow the route on your phone with the assurance that navigation will be simple, and you can’t get lost. You will find more information on downloading the app in your Macs Adventure Account.

Please note that depending on the time of year and recent weather, the trail may be boggy in places which could reduce your average walking speed.

Accommodations

You will be spending one night in Liscannor, three nights in Doolin and two nights in Ballyvaughan. We have carefully selected hotels, B&B's and guest houses that we know you're going to love. You can expect a warm welcome from friendly hosts, a good night's rest, traditional hospitality and delicious full Irish breakfasts.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested, and this trip is also available to solo walkers.

Meals

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 be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival (payable locally). Alternatively, you can buy lunch in local shops or cafes. For dinner, there are nearby pubs and restaurants in each location.

Included
  • 7 Nights in B&B's, guest houses and hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Luggage Transfers
  • Transfers as detailed in your itinerary
  • A detailed information pack
  • Access to routes and maps on the Macs Adventure Smartphone App
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our office
Excluded
  • Travel to Liscannor
  • Travel from Ballyvaughan
  • Lunches & dinners
  • Snacks & drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Equipment
  • Ferry to/from Inishmore Island
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
Extras
  • Extra nights before, after or during your walk

When To Go

This walking tour through the Burren is available between mid-April to the start of October. You have the flexibility to start on any date, subject to availability. Please note that the coastal section between the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and Doolin is currently closed due to safety issues. Work is being done to re-open which means that your first walk will be a combination of coastal walking between Moher Tower and the visitor centre followed by a re-route which takes you away from the cliff edge. We believe that the overall experience and views are one of the highlights of this trip.

In our opinion, one of the most beautiful times to visit this region is in spring when colourful wildflowers burst through the cracks of the landscape, forming a beautiful contrast. Travel between May and June to be in the best chance of seeing puffins on the Cliffs of Moher. Puffin nesting season is from late May to Mid-July when they return to shore. July and August are the busiest months and accommodations tend to fill up fast. For a quieter experience, the ideal months are May/June and September. We recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment, especially when travelling in a group.

Weather and Climate

Irish weather is typically unpredictable year-round so be prepared for any conditions and you will be pleasantly surprised. At the start and towards the end of the season the conditions may be wet and windy. It is important that you check the local weather forecast before setting off each day.

Getting to the Start

Shannon Airport is the most convenient airport to fly in and out of to reach the Burren. There are local buses that take you from Shannon Airport to Liscannor (2hr25min).

If you are flying into Dublin Airport or travelling from Dublin, there are a few options. The most budget-friendly option would be to board a local bus to Galway (2hr30min), then catch a bus from Galway to Liscannor (2hr30min). It is also possible to take a train from Galway to Ennis (approx 1hr20min) and then catch a bus from Ennis to Liscannor (30min). The most convenient option would be to book a taxi transfer from Galway to Liscannor (prices on request).

The following websites have more information on timetables and prices: Bus Eireann and Irish Rail. Another popular travel planner that we find useful is Rome2Rio.

There is a bus stop right outside the Cliffs of Moher Hotel and Vaughan’s Anchor Inn, our preferred accommodation options in Liscannor.

Getting from the End

Ballyvaughan is a one-hour bus ride away from Galway. There are just 2 buses per day to Galway and once you are here, you can take another bus to Shannon Airport (1hr40min).

There are buses from Galway to Dublin Airport and the city centre too (2hr30min). Please check the following websites which have more information on timetables and prices: Bus Eireann and Irish Rail. Another popular travel planner that we find useful is Rome2Rio.

Luggage Transfer

Enjoy the ease of having your bags moved between accommodations, allowing you to set off each day with a light backpack and a packed lunch. Please note that we do ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

General Information

Ferry Information

The ferry from Doolin Pier to the Aran Island of Inishmore takes approximately 1hr20min (not included in the tour cost).

Please check out the website of Doolin 2 Aran Ferries for accurate information about the ferries to the Aran Islands. There is one ferry per day that leaves at approximately 10:00 am. The return ferry leaves Inishmore at approximately 4:00 pm. We recommend buying your return ticket (approx €25) in advance to secure your place. 

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.

Equipment

Along with your usual gear for a day of walking, you should consider packing gaiters, poles, and an extra layer along with a solid good-quality pair of waterproof boots of course. Always take plenty of water, especially in sunny weather and wear sun protective clothing and sun cream. Your information pack will have a detailed equipment list to help you prepare for your holiday.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
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When is the best time of year?
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How far in advance do I need to book?
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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Liscannor Day 2 Walk to Doolin via the Cliffs of Moher 8 miles / 12.5 km Day 3 Visit the Aran Island of Inishmore 10 miles / 15.5 km Day 4 Free day of exploration Day 5 Walk from Fanore through the Burren 7 miles / 11.5 km Day 6 Loop Walk via Aillwee Cave 7 miles / 10.5 km Day 7 Onward Travel

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