Although there’s no beach in Clifden, there’s heaps of beaches near Clifden!
Known as the capital of Connemara, one of Ireland’s most spectacular coastal regions, Clifden is a bustling town.
However, while Clifden Castle and the Sky Road tend to get much of the attention, there’s some breath-taking beaches near Clifden (many a short spin away).
The closest beaches to Clifden (under 25 minutes away)
The first section of our Clifden beaches guide looks at sandy spots between 10 and 25 minutes away.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from Coral Strand and Omey to some often missed beaches near Clifden.
1. The Coral Strand (10-minute drive)
Rugged, wild, and gorgeous, the Coral Strand is just a stone’s throw from the village of Ballyconneely.
The small but spectacular beach is part of the Mannin Bay Blueway and it’s one of the best spots for snorkelling and kayaking in the country.
You can also glimpse a rich variety of marine life in the various rock pools scattered about the area.
From a distance, the sublime white sands look like any other sandy beach, but get up close and you’ll see that it’s actually made from crushed calcified seaweed and the skeletal remains of molluscs, barnacles, and sponges.
2. Fountainhill Public Beach (15-minute drive)
Arguably one of the trickiest beaches near Clifden to get to by car, this is a proper hidden gem.
You’ll find it up the road from Clifden Beach Eco Campsite where it looks like something from South East Asia.
The tricky bit with this spot is that there’s absolutely no parking, so you’ll have to try and walk or cycle if you fancy a visit.
However, the advantage with this is it tends to be quiet, which is why it’s one of our favourite Clifden beaches.
3. Omey Strand (15-minute drive)
This glorious sandy beach seems to stretch out for miles when the tide is out. In fact, it stretches all the way to Omey Island, allowing you to walk or even drive to the island once the tide has retreated sufficiently.
Be sure to check the tide times to make sure you don’t get stranded on the island, as it can come in surprisingly quick if you’re not prepared!
Omey Strand is a fantastic place for kitesurfing, while the long stretches of sand make it a popular area for horse riding as well.
The magical surroundings take in rolling hills and moody mountains, while fishing boats skip along the vibrant blue sea. You’ll find a small car park, but no other facilities at the beach itself.
4. Eyrephort Beach (15-minute drive)
For pure, natural beauty, you can’t find much better than Eyrephort Beach. Just a short drive from Clifden, it’s on the western tip of the peninsula, offering amazing views way out to the open ocean.
A number of offshore islands dot the scene, with Inishturk at the forefront. For incredible sunsets and views of marine life such as dolphins and maybe even whales, this is an unrivalled choice.
Soft white sands meet gorgeously clear turquoise waters, and the short stretch of beach is bordered by rounded rocks, worn smooth by the tide over thousands of years.
The road down is narrow, but there’s a moderate car park at the end, right at the tip of the beach. It’s worth the drive and it tends to be one of the quieter of the many beaches near Clifden.
5. Dunlaughin Beach (20-minute drive)
Known as one of the finest surfing spots in Connemara, this gorgeous sandy beach is slightly hidden away and therefore normally pretty quiet.
It’s most popular with locals who are in the know, though you won’t find any surf schools or rental kiosks here. But, if you have your own board and wetsuit, it’s well worth checking out.
Even if you’re not into surfing, there’s plenty to love about Dunlaughin Beach. It boasts spectacular views out to the open ocean, with some amazing opportunities to catch a glorious sunset.
Ideal for lazing in the sand, a nice paddle, or making sandcastles, it makes for a great day out away from the crowds. There’s a small car park, but no other facilities.
6. Connemara Bay Beach (20-minute drive)
Sitting next to Dunlaughin Beach, Connemara Bay Beach is one of the more popular beaches near Clifden, and it gets busy on warm summer days.
This one enjoys the same soft sands, but also sections of pebbles and rocks. It’s a great place for walking, with lovely grasslands backing the beach, awash with colourful wildflowers.
Looking out to sea you can enjoy the sight of waves crashing over the rocks.
As the tide retreats, a wealth of rock pools become visible, begging to be explored and home to a rich community of marine life.
A great place for gazing out to the ocean and into the skies, you can witness dolphins, sea birds, and the occasional hand glider.
More beaches near Clifden (over 25 minutes away)
The second section of our Clifden beaches guide looks at sandy spots between 25 and 30 minutes away.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from Dog’s Bay and Gurteen to some of the most popular beaches near Clifden.
1. Dog’s Bay (25-minute drive)
A visit to the glorious Dog’s Bay will convince you that you don’t need to travel to exotic locations to indulge in pristine white sands, crystal clear seas, and the tranquillity of a secluded cove.
The bay consists of a mile of horseshoe-shaped coastland that takes in amazing views and sunsets, enjoying calm, sheltered waters.
The bright white sand isn’t like regular sand, and instead of being comprised of crushed rock, the sand at Dog’s Bay is made from crushed seashells, lending it a unique texture and appearance.
The bay backs onto a thin ridge of sand dunes and grasslands, before reaching another bay that forms the other edge of this thin spit of land jutting out from the mainland.
2. Gurteen Beach (25-minute drive)
It’s a slightly longer horseshoe-shaped beach, comprised of the same incredible crushed seashell sand. The waters here are also sheltered and calm, and are also popular for bathing and windsurfing.
The surrounding scenery is stunning, with beautiful views over the water to the island of Inishlacken. If you’re up for an early start, it’s a great place to catch the sunrise.
With a larger car park, plus a nearby campsite, it’s slightly busier than Dog’s Bay, but both can easily be enjoyed on the same day.
3. Renvyle Beach (25-minute drive)
Take a scenic drive on the Connemara Loop, until you eventually arrive at the gorgeous Renvyle Beach. A relatively secluded bay, it boasts fantastic scenery that takes in mountains, islands, and the crashing ocean.
You’ll see Inishturk and Clare islands from the sandy beach and it’s a joy to see the sunset from here, casting the entire scene in a glorious golden glow.
The beach enjoys pristine white sands and cool blue waters, backed up by moody mountains that change with the seasons.
From the snow-capped peak of winter to the vibrant green of summer, it’d be easy to lose yourself in the natural beauty all around you at this remote bay. You’ll find a small car park at the top of the beach, though there’s not much else in terms of facilities.
4. Lettergesh Beach (30-minute drive)
Another one for setting up your easel and capturing the stunning beauty of your surroundings, Lettergesh Beach enjoys a backdrop of mountains.
As the tide retreats, a long stretch of golden sand is revealed, creating plenty of room for sandcastles and sunbathing. Meanwhile, the shallow water is crystal clear and ideal for paddling.
This gorgeous cove is bordered by craggy cliffs and intrepid explorers can enjoy a day of poking around rock pools and discovering caves.
There’s only a small car park and no other facilities. Not to worry though, you’ll find some great pubs in the nearby village of Tully Cross.
5. Glassilaun Beach (30-minute drive)
Last but by no means least in our Clifden beaches guide is Glassilaun Beach, and you’ll find it sitting at the foot of the mighty Mweelrea Mountain.
Cows graze in the fields behind the beach, while the wild Atlantic Ocean laps at the shore at your feet.
In the distance, you’ll see a scattering of islands behind which the sun sinks into the sea to create an amazing display of colours and shadows.
The horseshoe-shaped bay enjoys soft sands, running into craggy cliffs and rock pools at one end, providing plenty of space to explore.
What Clifden beaches have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant beaches near Clifden from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
Clifden beach FAQs
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is there a beach in Clifden?’ (there isn’t) to ‘What Clifden beaches are good for a swim?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best beaches near Clifden?
In out opinion, it’s hard to beat Coral Strand (10-minute drive) and Fountainhill Public Beach (15-minute drive).
Are there any beaches in Clifden?
No. However, people tend to refer to Fountainhill as ‘Clifden Beach’, but it’s actually located in Leagun, not far away.
Andy was once on a glorious worldwide trip on his equally glorious motorcycle. After 4 years, he’d still only made it as far as Eastern Europe, before falling in love with his surroundings and deciding to settle down a while. Nowadays, he spends his time writing about traveling through the places he once explored, normally while sipping a pint.