Our 6 Day/5 Night Galway Bay Explorer itinerary is unique in that it is the very first mountain biking tour of the Burren and Aran Islands. It features 5 days of superb riding, taking in some of Ireland’s most magnificent and ancient sites. Our pioneering route covers 150km, offering a variety of explosive and awe-inspiring singletrack and cross-country trails, perfectly suited for both the intermediate rider and beginner looking for a challenge.
Knock one off your bucket list and take the ride of your life!
- Ride some stunning singletrack and cross country trails through the unique, and ancient landscape of the Burren Global Geopark
- 150 km of magnificent tracks and trails in the spectacular West of Ireland
- Relax after a day’s ride in the hometown of traditional Irish music
- Enjoy some local, artisan food in your daily provided lunches, including winners of the Eden Award (European-wide food initiative award, awarded to the Burren region in 2015)
- Explore the beauty of the Aran Islands, including the prehistoric fort of Dun Aonghasa (also home to the Red Bull Cliff Diving)
- Discover the world famous Cliffs of Moher for yourself
- Uncover local haunts, off the beaten track
START POINT – Doolin, Co Clare
END POINT – Galway City or Doolin, Co Clare (choice is yours)
Day One - Arrive on the Wild Atlantic Way, Meet & Greet
Today is your arrival day! We will get you settled into your accommodation in Doolin, home to traditional Irish music and our home for the next three nights. You will have a chance to explore the quaint village until the evening, when we will have our Meet & Greet at 830pm at our prearranged location. Our Meet & Greet is a great way to get everyone acquainted and to also go over the routes for the next 5 days.
Day Two - Cliffs, Caves, Subs & Traditional Irish Music
We start our first day of cycling at Liscannor Harbour (home to the man that invented the submarine) located at the North West corner of Liscannor Bay, on the wild Atlantic Ocean. After our brief, we head North, following double track along the shoreline, climbing up to Hags Head the most Southerly point of the world-famous Cliffs of Moher. Here, the rock formation resembling a woman’s head looking out to sea. We have a chance to explore the area around the Hags Head by foot and it’s a great opportunity to take in the spectacular views of Loop Head to the South, the Aran Islands to the West and Galway Bay to the North. From here we will be able to visually trace out our route for the upcoming days.
Lunch can be found at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, where you will have the opportunity to explore this Signature Highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way. (Local tip - check out the trails that run both North and South from the Visitor Centre, while these can only be explored by foot, fewer visitors mean better views).
Back on the bikes, it’s all downhill back into the seaside village of Doolin, and back into our accommodation for a quick shower and change before a leisurely cycle down to the local pier to join a ferry cruise to the Cliffs of Moher. This is a great opportunity to see the cliffs from a different angle as well as the vast array of seabirds that inhabit the sheer cliffs, including puffins.
After the cruise, the night is yours! Dine as a group, or on your own, there is plenty of options in Doolin, then sit back and enjoy some traditional music to round off your first day in the saddle.
Distance: 30 km + hiking
Day Three - Over the Hills & Far Away in the Burren
Our second full day of cycling starts after a hearty breakfast in Doolin, heading further North into the very remote and wild terrain of the Burren. Today you will get to experience some of the best single and cross-country tracks Ireland has to offer, with some challenging climbs and technical downhills, this is the Burren like you never expected. Recently named as a Global Geopark, the unique limestone landscape of the region is like something you’ve never seen before, let alone ridden before! It’s rocky and barren yet lush with incredibly rich soil - alpine flowers, ancient stone walls, cattle, horses, wild goats - there are surprises around every bend. What was once an ocean floor (ancient sea shells and fossils are easily spotted) now provides some fantastic and adrenalin producing runs.
We wind our way through the landscape taking in the vistas of the lush Caher Valley, the rocky headland of Black Head, and into Galway Bay.
We finish the cycle in the quaint village of Ballyvaughan, before enjoying the coastal drive back to Doolin for the evening.
Distance: 45 km
Day Four - Connemara & the Aran Islands
This morning we give our muscles a bit of a rest as we travel by four wheels instead of two up to Connemara, taking in the coastal drive and the Wild Atlantic Way route North. The dramatic shift of landscape will mesmerize you as we continue on past Galway City and straight into the heart of Connemara. Here we will get back on two wheels for a spin on the Derroura Mountain Bike Trail Network, which is over 16 km in length. The trails here will offer you expansive views North into the Maam Valley and Westwards to the Twelve Bens (a sharp-peaked mountain range). Derroura has some incredible mountain biking in some of the most spectacular scenery in Connemara. You will face long climbs and thrilling descents with great views overlooking the entire of Lough Corrib from the halfway point of the trails.
From here we head straight to the ferry port at Rossaveal where we will catch our late afternoon ferry to Inishmor and our accommodation for the night.
The evening is the perfect opportunity to pick your spot in a local watering hole and relax with some Irish tunes, a bit of banter, and an opportunity to learn a bit of Irish with the Irish-speaking locals.
Distance: 25 km
Day Five - Inishmor - West Island, Dun Aonghasa and Ancient Sites
We start our very first morning on the Island with a hearty breakfast, before jumping on the bikes to explore the magnificent West side of Inishmor, the biggest of the three Aran Islands.
Inishmor is home to some of the oldest, and most important sites in Ireland. Todays cross-country ride will bring you past many megalithic tombs, church ruins, ring forts and sandy beaches.
Some of the most stunning ruins include the Seven Churches of Aran, a complex of churches and other buildings dedicated to the 5th-century Saint Brecan, once a popular destination for pilgrims, and the well-known Dun Aonghasa, which is located on a 300ft sheer cliff. Dun Aonghasa is a semi circular stone fort set on 14 acres, over looking the Atlantic with daunting and dramatic views that stretch the length of the Island. Dun Aonghasa is deemed to be one of the best examples of its kind in Europe.
Today we get to really explore each track and trail crisscrossing the Island, and discover the history of the area - a truly unforgettable experience.
We finish the day back in Kilronan for a celebratory last meal together, with some great tunes and maybe a pint or two!
Distance: 25 km + hiking
Day Six - Inishmor - East Island, Galway City
Today is our last day on tour, so it’s up and about after breakfast to get in our final ride before getting the ferry back to the mainland.
The Eastern side of the Island offers up Kilmurvey beach, known to some as heaven on earth, as well as quiet harbours and bays, views to Inishmann (the middle Island) and further East to the Cliffs of Moher. The tranquility of the quiet countryside coupled with restless sea, make for a memorable- if not spiritual - ride. Hand-built limestone walls frame the lush green fields, with ancient crosses and ruins springing up from the ground at nearly every turn, Inishmor is a place you will not forget.
Finally we have to say our goodbyes to the Island and it’s friendly people and head back to the mainland. From here we travel back East to Galway City where you will depart for your next adventure, be it a further journey around Ireland or heading back home, we hope you leave feeling a bit like a local, with some epic memories and some unbelievable stories. We hope you can now put a big fat check mark beside that box on your bucket list! And most of all, we hope you had the ride of your life!
Distance: 25 km