Silver Strand Beach / Malin Beg is one of the most magnificent beaches in Donegal.
Located at the tip of the Slieve League Peninsula, just past Glencolmcille, it’s one of the more off-the-beaten-path beaches in the county.
However, while it may be a bit of a drive, depending on where you’re staying, it’s well worth any effort spent reaching it.
Below, you’ll find info on everything from parking at Malin Beg and swimming to what to see close by.
Some quick need-to-knows before you visit Malin Beg in Donegal
Now, although a visit to Silver Strand Beach in Donegal is pretty straightforward, there’s a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit all the more enjoyable:
You’ll find Silver Strand Beach just past the town of Glencolmcille on the Slieve League Peninsula. It’s a 20-minute drive from Carrick, a 35-minute drive from Killybegs and a 40-minute drive from Ardara.
There is room for around 30 cars at Malin Beg (here on Google Maps). This may not sound like much, but outside of the peak summer months it rarely fills up and you’ll have no hassle grabbing a spot.
Silver Strand is a popular spot for a swim when they conditions are safe. However, please note that there are no lifeguards on duty here, so you should only enter the water if you’re a capable swimmer.
4. There’s 174 steps
Malin Beg Beach will likely be a no-go for those of you with limited mobility. There’s around 174 steps leading down the steep cliff face to the sand. However, you can admire the beach from above right from the car park.
5. Water safety (please read)
About Silver Strand Beach in Donegal
Malin Beg Beach (or Malainn Bhig in Irish) is a stunningly secluded bay that looks like something you’d see in the likes of South East Asia.
The magic of Silver Strand first greets you as you pull into the little car park which faces right out onto the wild Atlantic.
The horseshoe-shaped cliffs at Silver Strand are impressive from above, but it’s only when you ease yourself down the 174 steps that the really start to impress.
As you saunter along the sand the cliffs envelope you, and it’s a wonderful experience especially if you arrive for sunrise or sunset.
Views and forts
Over on the Western side of the bay, the headland hosts the ruins of fortifications beyond which Rathlinn O’Birne Island can be made out.
To the south east, headlands soar up alongside the coast all the way to the summit of Slieve League Mountain, making for some stunning vistas from the Discovery Point.
Scuba-divers and sunsets
As the water at Malin Beg is so clear, it’s a favourite amongst local and visiting scubadivers, some of which you’ll be able to spot when you’re stood near the view point.
Although stunning all year round, Silver Strand Beach is undoubtedly best seen at either sunrise or sunset, in our opinion.
As the beach looks west, sunset is particularly stunning. Grab a picnic and a blanket and chill on the grassy hill above the beach and soak up the views.
Things to see near Silver Strand Beach in Donegal
One of the beauties about Silver Strand Beach in Donegal is that it’s a stones-throw from an endless number of places to visit.
From some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe to a hidden waterfall, you’ll find ample places to visit near Malin Beg below!
1. Glengesh Pass (30-minute drive)
The bendy road at Glengesh Pass is one of the more impressive attractions nearby. You can pause and admire it from the top and then take the bendy road through the valley.
2. Slieve League (30-minute drive)
3. Donegal’s ‘Secret Waterfall’ (30-minute drive)
Located at Largy, Donegal’s Secret Waterfall is a stunning site of natural beauty. However, it can be tricky to get to and should only be visited if you understand how to read tide times.
4. Assaranca Waterfall (40-minute drive)
FAQs about visiting Malin Beg Beach
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Can you swim here?’ to ‘How many steps are there?’.
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.
Can you swim at Silver Strand Beach in Donegal?
If you’re a capable swimmer, yes. However, keep in mind that the beach is isolated and that there are no lifeguards on duty.
How many steps are there at Malin Beg Beach?
There’s around 174 steps leading down to Silver Strand Beach, which means that you’ll need a moderate level of fitness to access it.
I was born in a quiet corner of a Gaeltacht on the Dingle Peninsula. Over the years, I’ve explored Ireland far and wide, from the wilds of West Clare to the shores of Sherkin. Particularly fond of heritage, history and hikes (and words beginning with ‘H’, apparently…).