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"Breathtaking coastal landscapes and hidden beaches"

In the remote northwestern corner of Ireland lies Donegal, a land of breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, which remains one of the best-kept secrets of the Emerald Isle. With its dramatic coastal cliffs, golden, unspoiled beaches, and green hills dotted with ancient castles and traditional Irish pubs, Donegal offers an authentic glimpse into Irish life far from the crowded tourist trails.

The nickname "The Forgotten County" is due to Donegal's geographical location and its historical and sociopolitical context. Donegal is located in the northwest of Ireland and borders the Atlantic Ocean. The county often lay physically and metaphorically on the edge of the Irish public's awareness. Historically, Donegal was less accessible due to its remote location, which led to it being less known and less developed compared to other Irish counties.

Whether you're a nature lover longing for peaceful hikes, a history buff eager to explore remnants of past eras, or a culture enthusiast looking to immerse yourself in Gaelic traditions, Donegal is a destination that will capture your heart. With its dramatic coastlines, wild landscapes, and the warm hospitality of the locals, Donegal offers an adventure you won't soon forget.

Donegal wild and beautiful: 9 spectacular places

Slieve League Cliffs
Five Fingers Strand
Glenveagh National Park
Malin Head
Silver Strand
Trá na Rossan
Five Fingers Strand
‘Bád Eddie’ (Eddie’s Boat)
The Maghera Caves

The natural wonders of Donegal

Donegal offers a wealth of natural wonders, dramatic coastlines, and spectacular spots.

Slieve League Cliffs

Als ich das erste Mal von diesem Ort hörte, konnte ich mir kaum vorstellen, dass es irgendwo in Irland Klippen gibt, die noch beeindruckender sein könnten als die berühmten Cliffs of Moher. Doch Slieve League, oder auf Irisch Sliabh Liag, gelegen in der Grafschaft Donegal im Nordwesten Irlands, gehören zu den höchsten und beeindruckendsten Meeresklippen in Europa. Mit einer Höhe von fast 600 Metern bieten sie eine spektakuläre Aussicht, die bei Besuchern Ehrfurcht und Staunen hervorruft. Doch es ist nicht nur ihre Höhe, die die Klippen so besonders macht, sondern auch die tiefe kulturelle und historische Bedeutung, die sie umgibt.

The area around the Slieve League cliffs is steeped in rich history, dating back to prehistoric times. Numerous archaeological finds, including ancient stone forts and holy wells, testify to the long history of settlement in this place. The cliffs themselves were once part of important pilgrimage routes and are intertwined with many legends and myths of Irish folklore.

Slieve League Donegal

Slieve League (Sliabh Liag)

The raw, untouched nature around the Slieve League Cliffs is breathtaking. The cliffs offer a panoramic view of the vast Atlantic, Donegal Bay, and the distant Sligo Mountains. On clear days, you can even see as far as the Connemara Mountains in Galway. The play of colors in the water, sky, and rocks, which change with the seasons and daylight, offers a constantly shifting, fascinating spectacle.

For those planning to visit the Slieve League cliffs, there are some important things to keep in mind. Access to the cliffs is free, but caution is advised as the paths are not secured everywhere. Visitors should wear sturdy footwear and dress appropriately for the weather. It's also advisable to bring enough provisions, as there are no shopping facilities in the immediate vicinity. A visitor center nearby offers information about the history and geology of the cliffs, as well as hiking trails and safety tips.

Five Fingers Strand: Ein verstecktes Juwel in Donegal

The Five Fingers Strand, hidden in the wild landscape of Donegal, is a breathtaking example of Ireland's untouched beauty. This beach, named after the five rocky outcrops that jut into the sea like fingers, offers a unique backdrop that attracts visitors from all over the world. The combination of white sandy beach, the turquoise waters of the Atlantic, and the majestic dunes makes this place one of the most beautiful photo spots in Ireland.

A Landscape Full of Contrasts
One of the most striking aspects of Five Fingers Strand is the contrast between the rugged beauty of the rocks and the softness of the sand. The dunes, which are among the highest in Europe, form a natural barrier between the land and the sea, creating an ecosystem that is both fascinating and worth protecting. This unique landscape provides a habitat for a variety of plants and animals, including rare bird species and the characteristic flora of the dune landscape.

Five Fingers Strand, Inishowen Pensinula

Five Fingers Strand

Aussicht Five Fingers Strand, Inishowen Pensinula

Five Fingers Strand, Inishowen Pensinula

A paradise for nature lovers and adventurers
For nature lovers and adventurers, Five Fingers Strand offers countless opportunities for exploration. Whether it's a relaxing walk on the beach, bird watching, or surfing, the natural beauty and tranquility of this place make every visit an unforgettable experience. The remote location of the beach also means it is never crowded, allowing visitors to enjoy nature in its purest form.

The challenge of accessibility
One of the unique features of Five Fingers Strand is its remote location, making it a hidden gem. Access to the beach requires a bit of effort and a sense of adventure, as it is not directly reachable by car. Visitors must take a small hiking trail through the dunes, adding a touch of adventure to the visit. This relative seclusion helps preserve the beach's pristine beauty.

Visitor information
For those planning to visit Five Fingers Strand, it's important to know that the infrastructure is minimal. There are no lifeguards, and the strong currents of the Atlantic can be dangerous, so visitors should exercise caution when swimming or surfing. It is recommended to bring food and water, as there are no supply facilities nearby. Despite these challenges, a visit to Five Fingers Strand is an experience not to be missed, offering a rare opportunity to lose oneself in the wilderness and beauty of the Irish coast.

Five Fingers Strand is a testament to the powerful and unspoiled nature of Donegal. A visit here is a must for anyone seeking the true beauty of Ireland off the beaten track.

Glenveagh National Park: a green paradise in Donegal

The Glenveagh National Park, located in the heart of County Donegal, is the second-largest national park in Ireland and a true natural paradise. Covering an area of over 16,000 hectares, the park encompasses an impressive variety of landscapes, from high mountains and deep valleys to crystal-clear lakes and dense forests. This diversity makes the park a popular destination for nature lovers, hikers, and anyone who wants to experience the beauty of the Irish landscape.

Glenveagh Castle: The Heart of the Park
Nestled within the national park, the picturesque Glenveagh Castle is surrounded by some of Ireland's most spectacular gardens. Built in the late 19th century, the castle is not only architecturally appealing but also offers insights into the region's history and culture. Visitors can join guided tours of the castle or explore the surrounding gardens on their surrounded by some of Ireland's most spectacular gardens. Built in the late 19th century, the castle is not only architecturally appealing but also offers insights into the region's history and culture. Visitors can join guided tours of the castle or explore the surrounding gardens on their own.

A Biodiversity Oasis
Glenveagh National Park is a biodiversity hotspot, home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Rare plant species thrive in the park's pristine bogs, heathlands, and forests. The wildlife is equally diverse: red deer, foxes, and numerous bird species, including the majestic golden eagle, which has been successfully reintroduced here, can be spotted with a bit of luck.

Glenveagh National Park County Donegal

Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal

Burg Glenveagh National Park

The majestic Gleneveagh Castle

Hiking Paradise Glenveagh
For hiking enthusiasts, Glenveagh National Park offers a variety of trails and paths that lead through some of Ireland's most impressive landscapes. From easy walks around Glenveagh Lake to more challenging hikes up the surrounding mountain peaks, there's something for every fitness level. The trails provide breathtaking views and allow you to immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of nature. Glenveagh-See bis hin zu anspruchsvolleren Wanderungen auf die Gipfel der umliegenden Berge – für jeden Fitnesslevel ist etwas dabei. Die Wanderwege ermöglichen atemberaubende Aussichten und in die Stille und Schönheit der Natur einzutauchen.

Visitor Information
Admission to Glenveagh National Park is free, and the park is open year-round. A visitor center provides extensive information about the park, its history, and the plant and animal species that live there. It's recommended to wear sturdy footwear and bring weather-appropriate clothing, as the weather in Ireland can change quickly. For visitors who want to explore the park in more detail, maps and information about the various hiking trails are available at the visitor center.

A Gem in Donegal
Glenveagh National Park is a must-visit for anyone in Donegal. It offers not only the chance to experience Ireland's breathtaking landscape but also to connect with nature and enjoy the peace and beauty of one of the country's most spectacular places. Whether you're interested in the region's rich history, want to observe local wildlife, or simply want to take in the scenery, Glenveagh is a place that will leave a lasting impression.


Malin Head, the northernmost point of the Irish island, located in County Donegal, is a place of rugged beauty and dramatic landscapes. This remote area offers not only breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean but is also rich in history and culture. The wild and unspoiled nature makes Malin Head a special experience for every visitor.

A Gateway to History Malin Head is not only known for its natural beauty but also as a historical site. During World War II, Malin Head was a crucial strategic point for the Allied forces. Here, you can see the word "ÉIRE" laid out in huge stone letters in front of the remains of the lookout tower of the Irish Defence Forces. This signaled to German planes during WWII that they were now flying over neutral territory. The remains of watch posts and bunkers can still be found in the landscape, testifying to the military significance of this place. Additionally, you can find older historical sites here, like the tower Banba’s Crown, named after the mythical queen of Ireland, which is considered one of the best places to observe the Northern Lights.

A Natural Paradise
The landscape around Malin Head is characterized by steep cliffs, rocky beaches, and rich biodiversity. The area is a paradise for bird watchers, as many rare bird species can be found here. Dolphins, seals, and with a bit of luck, whales can also be spotted from the cliffs. The flora and fauna in this part of Ireland are unique and offer nature lovers countless opportunities for discovery.

Malin Head Donegal

Malin Head, the most northerly point in Ireland

Hiking and Exploring
For the adventurous, Malin Head offers numerous hiking routes that lead through the spectacular landscape. One of the most popular routes is the path along the cliffs to Hell’s Hole, an impressive sea cave known for its thundering echo. The hiking trails not only provide spectacular views but also allow you to enjoy the tranquility and vastness of the landscape.

Visitor Information
Malin Head is accessible year-round and there are no entrance fees. However, visitors should keep an eye on the changing weather and dress accordingly. Sturdy footwear is essential for the hikes. Nearby, there are some cafes and inns offering local specialties where you can warm up after a day full of discoveries. Or you can have a pint of Guinness at Ireland’s northernmost pub, "Farren’s Bar."

An Unforgettable Experience
A visit to Malin Head is an unforgettable experience that showcases the beauty and wildness of Irish nature in all its glory. Whether you are interested in history, want to observe wildlife, or simply enjoy the breathtaking landscape, Malin Head offers something for everyone. It is a place that touches the hearts of visitors and remains long in memory.

Small Side Note: Farren’s Bar (pictured), Ireland’s northernmost pub, plays a role in one of the greatest film stories of all time.

Silver Strand: a breathtaking beach in Donegal

In the heart of County Donegal lies a breathtaking beach: the Silver Strand in Malin Beg, located on the southwestern coast of Donegal. This secluded beach is a crescent-shaped natural wonder, surrounded by high cliffs that form a natural protective wall, offering an incredibly idyllic refuge and tranquility away from the crowded tourist spots. The unique charm of the Silver Strand lies in its isolation and untouched beauty. Access to the beach is via a series of steps that lead down from the cliffs, offering a stunning panoramic view of the Atlantic and the pristine white sandy beach. This secluded cove gives the feeling of being in a world of its own.

Silver Strand Donegal

The stairs down to Silver Strand

Silver Strand in Donegal

Silver Strand (Malin Beg) Donegal

Access to the Beachd
Access to Silver Strand is via a very steep staircase that leads down from the cliffs. This somewhat arduous descent and the even more arduous climb back to the parking lot 😉 help ensure that the beach is never crowded and retains its special, unspoiled character. Visitors should note that due to the remote location of the beach, there are no lifeguards on site and amenities are very limited.

So, if you are looking for a special place that not only enchants you with its natural beauty but also brings you closer to a piece of culture and film history, then Silver Strand in Malin Beg is just the right place for you. Silver Strand in Malin Beg genau das Richtige für euch.

Tipp: A visit to the nearby Glencolmcille is definitely worth it! Glencolmcille is known for its cultural heritage, the traditional Irish language, and more recently, through the film "In the Land of Saints and Sinners" with Liam Neeson.

Magheraclogher Beach und ‘Bád Eddie’ (Eddie’s Boat)

Magheraclogher Beach, another breathtaking beach on the northwest coast of Ireland. It is located in the picturesque village of Bunbeg, which belongs to County Donegal. This beach is famous for its stunning natural beauty and, of course, for the iconic shipwreck, ‘Bád Eddie’ (Eddie’s Boat), also known as Cara Na Mara (‘Friend of the Sea’), a fishing boat that ran aground here in the early 1970s and has since rested in the sand, slowly succumbing to the elements. Bono (U2) along with “Clannad” filmed the music video for “In A Lifetime” here.

The beach offers a wide view over Gweedore and the Derryveagh Mountains behind it, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and, not just because of "Bád Eddie," photographers.

Magheraclogher Beach isn't just a paradise for those looking to relax; it's also a popular spot for water sports. Even though the waters here can seem calm, you need to be careful because there are no lifeguards. The area is perfect for long walks on the beach, where you can enjoy the fresh sea air and admire the spectacular view of the Atlantic.

Eddie’s Boat in Bunbeg, Donegal

‘Bád Eddie’ (Eddie’s Boat)

Magheraclogher Strand in Donegal

Magheraclogher Strand

Moreover, the beach plays a central role in the Bunbeg community and serves as a meeting point for families, friends, and visitors. In the summer, there are occasionally small festivals and music events that highlight the cultural significance of the place.

For those interested in the history and culture of Ireland, Magheraclogher Beach offers a glimpse into the maritime heritage of the region. The famous shipwreck is a constant reminder of the impermanence of things and tells a story of adventures, mysteries, and the relentless battle against the forces of nature.

Besides its natural beauty and historical significance, Magheraclogher Beach is also a symbol of Donegal's untouched and wild landscape. The region is known for its hospitality and invites visitors to explore its unique culture, warm community, and unparalleled scenery.

Overall, Magheraclogher Beach is a must-visit for anyone coming to Donegal. It offers a perfect mix of natural beauty, cultural richness, and the chance to immerse yourself in the peaceful tranquility of Ireland.

Maghera beach and caves: A hidden natural wonder

The Maghera Strand is located on the wild and beautiful coast of Donegal, not far from the small town of Ardara. This secluded beach is characterized by its expansive white sand and the crystal-clear, refreshing waters of the Atlantic. But what truly makes Maghera a unique travel destination are the numerous caves and grottos embedded in the limestone cliffs along the beach.

The Maghera Caves, partially accessible only at low tide, tell stories from long-forgotten times. Shaped by the power of the sea over centuries, they offer a rare glimpse into Ireland's natural history and geology. The size and shape of these natural wonders vary greatly, from small crevices just big enough to crawl through to huge caverns where you can hear the echo of your own voice.

Der Maghera Beach in Donegal

The beach and caves of Maghera

A Refuge for Wildlife
Besides its geological significance, the area around Maghera Beach and its caves is an important habitat for wildlife. The pristine dune landscapes and the nearby Assaranca Waterfall area provide a variety of habitats for rare plants and animals.

Maghera Beach offers a wealth of activities for visitors. Brave souls can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters of the Atlantic, while the caves and grottos invite exploration. The natural beauty of the surroundings is also a popular subject for photographers, especially during the golden hour when the light bathes the landscape in a magical glow.

Important Tips for Visitors
Visitors who want to explore the caves should be aware of the tides to avoid being caught off guard. Safety should always come first, especially in the larger caves where sudden rises in water levels can occur. There are no direct facilities at the beach, so it's advisable to bring water, food, and possibly a change of clothes.

Access to Maghera Beach is via a country road branching off from Ardara . There is a small car park nearby, from which you can easily walk to the beach. Visitors are asked to leave no trace and to keep the beach and caves in their natural state to preserve this extraordinary natural heritage for future generations.

Donegal Map - Places to visit

Donegal, this vast and beautiful part of Ireland, is a true gem for any traveler looking to experience the real, untouched Ireland. With its dramatic coastlines, wild landscapes, and the warm hospitality of the locals, Donegal offers an adventure you won't soon forget. Based on my own experiences, I'd like to share some tipps to make your visit to Donegal unforgettable.

Take your time – Donegal is huge, and its beauty lies in the hidden corners and vast landscapes. Don’t try to see everything at once. Pick a few highlights and take your time to really experience them. Whether it’s the cliffs of Slieve League, Glenveagh National Park, or the Inishowen Peninsula – each place has its own charm that you can only truly appreciate by exploring slowly.

Rent a car – The best way to explore Donegal is definitely by car. Many of the most spectacular spots are only accessible by car, and the freedom to stop wherever you like is priceless. The roads can be narrow and winding, but driving through this stunning landscape is part of the adventure.

Pack for all weather – The weather in Donegal can be unpredictable. Sunshine, rain, and wind can all happen within hours. So, pack clothes that you can easily layer and a good waterproof jacket. But don’t let the weather stop you from exploring the beauty of Donegal.

Be open to encounters – The people in Donegal are known for their friendliness and openness. Don’t hesitate to start a conversation, whether it’s in a pub, a shop, or during a hike. Often, it’s the encounters with locals that make a trip special. You’ll be surprised by the stories and tips you’ll get.

Explore the beaches – Donegal has some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland, from vast white sandy stretches to hidden coves. Many of these beaches are barely known even to locals, so go explore and find your own perfect beach.

Hike off the beaten path – While places like the Slieve League cliffs and Glenveagh National Park are rightfully popular, Donegal has so much more to offer. Dare to hike off the well-known trails.

Respect nature – Donegal is a place of wild beauty, and it’s up to all of us to preserve it. Don’t leave any trash behind, stick to the hiking trails, and respect the local wildlife.

Donegal has captured my heart with its untouched nature, warm hospitality, and countless adventures it has to offer. I hope these tips help you create your own magical experience in this beautiful part of Ireland.

What Can I Expect from Donegal?

The north of Ireland, and especially Donegal, where rugged, untouched nature, breathtaking coastal landscapes, and wild cliffs come together, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland, in my opinion. The combination of dramatic coastlines and stunning beaches is incredibly impressive every time. Donegal is a land of contrasts and unspoiled beauty that attracts visitors from all over the world. Each of the natural wonders presented here offers unique experiences and stories waiting to be discovered and told. Whether you're seeking the tranquility of nature, adventurous hikes, or simply want to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Ireland, Donegal offers something for everyone with its impressive nature.

Frequently Asked Questions About Donegal (FAQs)


Most beaches in Donegal are accessible year-round, but it's important to note that the weather in Ireland can change quickly, and strong tides can play a role. This can affect accessibility and safety at the beach at certain times. It's always a good idea to check the local weather forecast and tide information before visiting a beach.


The Slieve League Cliffs are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe and offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic that are hard to beat anywhere else in Ireland. Their history goes back thousands of years, and they are a testament to the natural forces and human history of Ireland. The cliffs are freely accessible, but visitors should be cautious due to the steep drops. There are two parking lots. You can try to pass the first one. If you're lucky, you can use the second upper parking lot and save yourself a long walk.


Yes, Glenveagh National Park offers numerous hiking trails for all difficulty levels, from easy walks to challenging hikes through the wilderness. Visitors can tour the historic Glenveagh Castle, hike various routes, and observe the local wildlife. The park is open year-round, although some areas have seasonal opening hours.


Malin Head is "relatively easy" to reach by car, which is also recommended since it's difficult to get to the northernmost point of the island by public transport, and the journey requires some planning. As far as I know, there are no direct public bus connections to the very tip of Malin Head, but the official Bus Éireann website might provide more information. I haven't seen a bus up there myself. 😉


Silver Strand is a secluded, almost circular bay with a beautiful white sandy beach surrounded by high cliffs. Its remote location makes it a peaceful retreat. Access is via a steep staircase, which requires a certain level of mobility from visitors.


When visiting the Maghera Caves, you should definitely pay attention to the tides, as the caves are only safely accessible at low tide, and the water level rises rapidly at high tide. The beach is accessible by car, and there is a parking lot nearby. A farmer offers parking on his property for 3 EUR.


Getting There: Donegal is best explored by car, as many of the natural wonders are very remote. There are bus connections to larger towns and attractions, but the most beautiful beaches are only accessible by car and on foot.
Best Time to Visit:
The months of May to September offer the most pleasant weather, but Donegal is also charming outside of this period, especially for hikers and nature lovers.
Sturdy footwear and weatherproof clothing are recommended, as the weather in Donegal (like all of Ireland) can change quickly.