West Galway and Connemara, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is a superb location for cycling. This is a Gaelic-speaking wonderland full of jaw-dropping scenery, ancient low stone walls and pretty, rural villages. Many visitors and locals agree that this remote wonderland is best explored by bike. We were up for the challenge, so that morning we decided to jump in the saddle and go bike-riding as one of our optional extra activities on our Shackleton Tour.
We had a quick chat with our guide. Weather conditions were good – bright, dry and breezy. We found the best option was to start and finish in the same spot (Clifden) on a loop tour. There are loads of routes to choose from depending on the time you have and your appetite for the saddle.
Some popular loop tours include Errislannan Loop (14km), Sky Road Loop (16km), Ballyconneely and Roundstone Loop (40km). Ranging from 1 to 3+ hours, there is something for everyone. Experienced riders can tackle a monster 150km route around Connemara National Park, but we wanted a more relaxing experience.
We opted for Cleggan Loop, an easy-going ride of 33km from Clifden pedalling north around the rocky Connemara coastline. This route usually takes about two hours on average, but we stopped a few times for photos and refreshments. That’s the beauty of cycling – you can suit yourself and “tip away around at your ease” as the locals might say.
The winding road followed the outline of Streamstown Bay on the Aughrus Peninsula. We passed Omey Island to the west – apparently, you can visit this beautiful spot on foot when the tide is out. As we stopped off in the rocky seaside fishing village of Cleggan, a few trawlers bobbed around by the pier as we wheeled into this picturesque spot. We parked the bikes and got some lunch.
We took a stroll on Cleggan Beach, one of several sandy beaches along the route that you can visit if the mood takes you. You are really spoiled for choice. From Cleggan, a mountain road climbs gradually through a small forest before a relaxing freewheel downhill back to Clifden town.
Cycling is truly a fantastic way to combine exercise and sightseeing in wild Connemara. Check out the link below to book your ideal tour with Irish Experience Tours today.
Why choose Irish Experience Tours?
It’s the trip of a lifetime, and it’s important to select the right tour company – one that makes sure you leave with special memories, incredible stories and life long friends.
So, here’s a little list that shows why you should choose us, and not someone else.
Our core belief is that smaller groups make for a far better experience. We have an average of 8-12 people on each tour. The result is that your journey feels more like a road trip with your mates, rather than a bus ride with 50 strangers. To understand our philosophy about small groups click here.
We’re number one
We have extremely high customer satisfaction and referrals because we offer travellers more of what they want – down-to-earth, real Ireland with an awesome crew and a greater emphasis on your needs. See HERE, HERE & HERE.
The best tour guides that money can buy
Our guides have been travelling the length and breadth of Ireland for many years; as well as being your local “guidebook” they provide commentary, book activities and meals, and provide information on anything from Irish history and culture… to the best watering hole. Like you, we all have an adventurous streak and our travellers always love our enthusiasm for our country!
IRISH Owned + Operated
Support the locals! Founded in 2010, we are Irish and proud of it. We know our country and we’re proud to show it off! We are not a big corporate, selling you tours from a flash office. We don’t rent expensive retail space and we don’t pay marketing experts thousands of euros to define us – we already know who we are. We are a small team that loves this country and loves what we do. We really do get a buzz when we see our customers having a unique experience.
Outstanding customer service
If you have any problem or question, we don’t muck about, we just sort it out. Your email won’t get forwarded, your call won’t get transferred. The person you speak to is the person who will help you. Even after you book, we will keep in touch with you regularly until you start your tour.
A fully immersive tour
With us, you don’t just see Ireland, you experience it. We’re all about spontaneous exploration, immersing you in Irish life and giving you more than just a handful of happy memories. We promise you will leave having made a great group of friends from all around the world, and played a role in a thousand stories to amaze the folks back home.
More than a bus pass
Some bus companies will take you straight from A to B with barely a toilet break in between! We are Irish Experience and want to take you away from all the hustle and bustle. That means with us you will experience great stops and inclusions en route. A typical travel day can see you stop off for a short walk to a waterfall, numerous beautiful photo opportunities, pausing at Castles and early Christian relics close to the roadside, an opportunity to taste local wine/craft beer or seafood, stumbling across local festivals and events or even checking out some colourful sheep and other wildlife!
We have our own preferred accommodation dotted throughout Ireland, where you will spend plenty of tour nights. Ireland is lucky to have a high standard of accommodation. You have the chance to stay in a variety of Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, hostels, wilderness lodges and cabins. Where possible, we choose family-owned and run accommodation with a reputation for hospitality and eco-friendliness.
We are the only company that lets you pre-book activities. We want to get you further off the beaten track in Ireland, immersing you in the places and activities that will, quite simply, blow you away. To name a few… climbing Irelands ‘Holy Mountain’, trekking from Doolin to The Cliffs of Moher, staying in small coastal fishing villages along the Wild Atlantic Way, catching and eating Atlantic seafood, seeing local craftsmen at work, biking around old Gaelic islands and kayaking with dolphins. However, nothing is compulsory and if you want to relax and enjoy the tour without walking a few miles, your guide will always have plenty of alternatives.