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The 10 best things to do in Donegal
Visit some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League.
From rugged mountains to wave-hewn sea cliffs, Donegal is one of Ireland’s most memorable counties. Donegal has 1,134km of sandy beaches, cliffs and craggy inlets to explore, but its highlands and mountain valleys are just as impressive and a welcome escape if you're looking for a wild adventure.

Here are ten of the best places to visit in Donegal.

1Slieve League (Sliabh Liag)

Blow away the cobwebs with a visit to some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League (Sliabh Liag). This holy mountain was a Christian pilgrimage site for over 1,000 years and it's easy to see why it was regarded as a sacred place. 

Rising 600m above the waves, enjoy unrivalled views of the Donegal and Sligo coastlines. Or take a trip with Sliabh Boat Tours from Teelin Pier and experience the cliffs from the sea on a bracing voyage. Local favourite, the Rusty Mackerel, is the perfect spot to warm up after. 

Two friends sitting on a table at Slieve League in Co. Donegal.
Enjoy the view from the top of the Slieve League cliffs in Donegal.
2Fanad Head Lighthouse

One of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world, a visit to Fanad Lighthouse is a perfect way to finish off a trip to Fanad Head where the views are unbeatable. Perched on a rocky outcrop at the mouth of Lough Swilly, the lighthouse has helped seafarers to negotiate the local waters since 1817. Take a tour to follow in the footsteps of lightkeepers past and climb the 76 granite steps to the top of the tower.

Fanad Head Lighthouse in County Donegal on a sunny day
Soak up stunning views at Fanad Head Lighthouse.
3Tory Island

Steeped in ancient myths and legends, Tory Island is a magical place with a rich heritage, deep culture and a real sense of community. The island's remote location has probably helped the locals to preserve old Gaelic customs, such as the appointment of an island king. From its renowned trad musicians to the catch-your-breath scenery, a trip to Tory is a chance to experience a unique way of life.

Blue water and golden sand at Tory Island, Co. Donegal
See the turquoise water surrounding Tory Island in Donegal.
4Ards Forest Park

With over 481 hectares of woodland and beaches, the lush green reserve at Ards Forest Park is a perfect place for a romantic walk or a fun day out with the family. This biodiverse park offers a rare combination of landscapes and habitats teeming with all sorts of local wildlife. There are lots of relaxing walks to choose from and plenty of picnic and play areas in this oasis of tranquillity.

Two horse riders wading out into the water in Ards Forest, Donegal
Experience the beauty of Ards Forest on horseback.
5Doagh Famine Village

A visit to the Doagh Famine Village is a chance to step back in time and get a real sense of what life was like in Donegal from the Famine up until a couple of generations ago. Using historical artefacts, an authentic thatched cottage and newer reconstructions, it transports you into a bygone age and tells the story of who we used to be. 

The village is open daily during spring and summer

Doagh Famine Village
6An Grianán of Aileach

One of Ireland’s most distinctive megalithic sites, the stone ringfort of Grianán of Aileach dates back to 1700BC and it's said to have been built by the Tuatha de Danann. The hilltop structure has been very well-preserved, and you can climb up on its walls to take in glorious, panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

People walking towards the ruins of Grianan of Aileach, Donegal
Explore megalithic structures on your next stay in Donegal
7Errigal

Close to the Gaeltacht area of Gaoth Dobhair, the tallest peak in County Donegal is one of the county's most recognisable landmarks. Climbing the magnificent Errigal is a rite of passage for Donegal natives and visitors can join their ranks with a couple of hours of effort. 

The narrow pass that connects its twin summits might test your head for heights but once on top, you'll be rewarded with incredible views of Dunlewey Lough (or Lough Dunlewy) and across the Poisoned Glen.

Errigal in County Donegal at dusk under a full moon
Errigal is a highlight of any trip to Donegal.
8Glenveagh National Park and Castle

In the shadow of Errigal deep in the Derryveagh Mountains, the 16,000 hectares of Glenveagh National Park are a haven for wildlife and visitors should keep an eye out for its large herd of red deer. The huge park takes in mountains, lakes, valleys and woods and you can explore it on foot or bike. 

Don't forget to take a tour of Glenveagh Castle, with its famous gardens full of meticulously planned arrangements that are in stark contrast to the wilder surrounds.

A group of friends walking through Glenveagh National Park, Co. Donegal
Plan a walk with your friends through the stunning Glenveagh National Park.
9Narin-Portnoo Strand

Where else but Donegal would you find such a ravishing coastline as the one at Narin-Portnoo? This beautiful beach is manned by a lifeguard from June to August so it's a great place to take the family on a warm summer's day. This super-sized, white sand beach seems to go on forever and it's just as spectacular in the winter.

Narin and Portnoo Strand
10Arranmore Island

Combining the peace of its outdoor attractions with buzzing nightlife, the Gaeltacht island of Arranmore near Burtonport Harbour is the largest inhabited island in Donegal. A trip to Arranmore is a chance to immerse yourself in local culture and relax at a different pace in nature. From diving and dolphin watching to angling or simply enjoying an impromptu trad session in one of its local pubs, there are so many reasons to visit Arranmore.

A cloudy sky and the lighthouse at Arranmore, Co Donegal
Experience life as an islander on Arranmore.


Start planning your trip to Donegal now

Once you get a taste for life in Donegal, you’ll want to keep coming back. The good news is that picking ten totally different things to do here on your next visit is never a problem. 

From towering sea cliffs to incredible islands, our Donegal destination page includes even more inspiration for the places you just have to see.

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