48 Glorious Hours in Sligo: Hiking, Eating, Surfing, Drinking And Having The Craic (Detailed Guide)

A full 2-day Sligo itinerary that you can steal

We’ve received a solid increase in emails over the past month from people looking for advice on the best things to do in Sligo.

Instead of just giving you a list, we’ve created the 2-day Sligo road trip guide that you’ll find below.

What you’ll get from reading this guide

  • A detailed 2-day itinerary packed with the best things to do in Sligo over two days
  • Advice on where to stay on both nights
  • Advice on lovely pubs to visit for a pint or three
  • A guide on where to eat and grab coffee

Sound good? Let’s get cracking!

Here’s where we’ll be going over the 2 days

Day 1 – Surfin’ and hikin’ with a lot of eatin’ and a bitta drinkin’

The first day of our 2-day Sligo itinerary is packed from start to finish.

You’ll have to leave wherever you’re living early enough, as we want to make the most out of the day.

Try to arrive in Strandhill before 10.

Day 1 Stop 1 – Learning to hit the waves out on Strandhill

// Aim to start your lesson as early in the day as possible. Let’s say that you’ll start at 10 and finish at 12:30 //

surfing in sligo
Via Strandhill Surf School

We’re going to kick start our road trip with arguably one of the best things to do in Sligo – learning to surf.

We’re heading to the bustling seaside village and holiday resort of Strandhill, situated on the Coolera peninsula and around 7km from Sligo town.

Sligo and surfing go hand-in-hand and Strandhill, and Sligo in general, has almost become a mecca for surfers the world over.

We’re going to recommend that you visit the lads at Strandhill Surf School and head out on one of the lessons, which will take you a little over 2 and a half hours (times may vary).

You’ll join a lesson with a fully qualified surf instructor who’ll work in the water with you throughout the lesson, which takes place in waist-deep water. They’ll ensure that you are in the best and safest location on the beach with quality waves.

Day 1 Stop 2 – Fish, chips and lots of coffee in Shell’s Cafe to warm the bones

Strandhill Beach to Shell’s Cafe – 1-minute stroll (arrive to the Shell’s for around 12:35)

shells cafe sligo strandhill
Photo via Go Strandhill

The chances are you’ll be pretty damn cold after your surf lesson, so we’re going to head for food and coffee straight after.

Fish and chips by the sea at Shell’s Café is a little slice of magic.

Eat up, grab and coffee (and a cake, if you like) and walk outside to soak up a lungful of sea air after.

Day 1 Stop 3 – Walking the Knocknarea Queen Maeve Trail

Shell’s Cafe to Knocknarea – 11-minute drive (arrive at Knocknarea for around 14:00)

As you’ll gather by the end of day 1, many of the best things to do in Sligo revolve around the outdoors.

So, it’s probably no surprise that the next activity on our Sligo road trip is a hike.

We’re going to take the Queen Maeve Trail up Knocknarea Mountain, which should take us around 1 and a half hours to complete.

Knocknarea queen maeve trail
Photo Via Go Strandhill

This mountain dominates the Sligo skyline from many angles, so you should get a good look at from the distance as you approach.

When you leave the car park at Knocknarea, follow the path along the bog bridge all the way until you reach the summit.

You’ll be treated to panoramic views of Sligo from the top.

Day 1 Stop 4 – Check into your room for the night and chill

// Knocknarea to By the Sea b&b – 8-minute drive (arrive for around 16:30) //

strandhill b&b

At this stage you should be well and truly knackered after your surf and hike combo.

We’re going to check into a B&B, chill for a couple of hours, and then head out for food and pints.

I’m going to recommend that you stay in the ‘By the Sea‘ B&B. It’s asmall family run Bed & Breakfast nestled in the beautiful Strandhill Landscape beneath Knocknarea Mountain and over-looking the ocean.

It’s also a handy 12-minute walk to where we’re heading for the evening.

Day 1 Stop 5 – The Strand Bar for food… and a pint with a view

// By the Sea b&b to the Strand Bar – 12-minute stroll (arrive for around 18:40) //

strand bar sligo

You’ll find the Strand Bar in the heart of Strandhill.

It’s a long established family run business with a tradition of warm hospitality dating back to 1913.

You’ll have your choice of visiting the restaurant, or taking it handy with bar food or stone baked pizzas.

When you’ve finished eating, spend the evening nursing pints, listening to live music, and having the buzz after what was a solid day of adventure.

Day 2 – More hiking, a lovely drive and, of course, lots of food and more pints

We’ve another solid day in store for you, so hopefully the muscles aren’t too sore from day 1.

Day 2 Stop 1 – Glencar Waterfall (Leitrim)

// Your B&B to Glencar Waterfall – 27-minute drive (arrive for 10:30) //

Yep, stop 1 actually takes us momentarily outside of Sligo into Leitrim.

If you’re familiar with the work of W.B. Yeats, then you may recall mention of a line in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’ that goes, ‘Where the wandering water gushes From the hills above Glen-Car’.

The place he referenced was none other than Glencar Waterfall, stop 1 for today.

This is the perfect place to spend some time and heal a pounding head by listening to the music of the water as it tumbles into the water from above.

Day 2 Stop 2 – The highest waterfall in Ireland

// Glencar Waterfall to Sruth in Aghaidh an Aird, or ‘the Devil’s Chimney’, 3-minute drive – (arrive for 11:30) //

higher waterfall in ireland

At 150m Sruth in Aghaidh an Aird, or ‘the Devil’s Chimney’ as it’s sometimes referred to, is Ireland’s highest waterfall.

The name ‘the Devil’s Chimney’ comes from when the waterfall gushes upwards following rainfall when the wind blows from the south.

We’re going to head off on the 45-minute walk that’ll take us up to see it (note, it doesn’t flow during dry weather. Your best bet is to visit if there has been rainfall).

You’ll find the entrance on the road towards Glencar Waterfall. Parking is reasonably limited, however, so you may need to park at Glencar and walk back (takes about 22 minutes).

The hike up to the Devil’s Chimney is moderately strenuous, and you’ll be treated to views of the surrounding valley and Glencar lake on your way.

Day 2 Stop 3 – The Gleniff Horseshoe Drive

// The Devil’s Chimney to the Gleniff Hotseshore Drive – 30-minutes (arrive for 13:00)

Our next stop takes us to one of the best things to do in Sligo for those of you that fancy giving the active stuff a miss.

We’re heading off on a lovely little drive that’ll take you through a part of Sligo that has graced many an Instagram feed.

gleniff horseshoe sligo
Photo taken by @erinleighnixon

Pop ‘Gleniff Horseshoe Drive’ into your phone or sat nav and start making your way there.

The Gleniff Horseshoe Drive is a roughly six-mile loop of single lane road enveloped by spectacular mountain views.

Take your time on this drive. Get out of the car at will and bask in the beauty that inspired one of Ireland’s most celebrated poets.

Day 2 Stop 4 – Lunch and a stroll at Mullaghmore Head

// The Gleniff Hotseshore Drive to Mullaghmore – 15-minutes (arrive for 14:30)

mullaghmore head
Via Failte Ireland

Mullaghmore is a small village filled located in County Sligo that boasts sandy beaches, ocean views and a skyline dominated by Ben Bulben mountain.

Right, first things first – lets eat.

Head to the Pier Head Hotel and grab a bite to eat first.

When you’ve had you’re fill, it’s time to head off for a stroll along the stunning coastline of Mullaghmore. Set off from Bunduff strand and follow the coastline around to Mullaghmore head. You’ll catch the view above along the way.

If it’s a clear day, you’ll also be treated to gorgeous views of Donegal Bay and Slieve League, along with Benbulben and the Dartry Mountains.

Day 2 Stop 5 – Enjoying Benbulben from your Bed

// Mullaghmore to Benbulben Farmhouse – 20-minute drive (arrive around 17:00) //

Tonight, we’re staying in a place that featured in our guide of the best 20 places to stay in Ireland if you’re looking for an out-of-this-world view – Benbulben Farmhouse b&b.

benbulben farmhouse bed and breakfast
Photo via Benbulben Farmhouse Bed & Breakdast

Check in and chill for a little bit.

Look at the view that you’ll be waking up to the following morning…

Day 2 Stop 6 – Dinner and drinks in Sligo

Hargadon Bros sligo

So, as we’re staying a little outside of Sligo town (18-minute drive), you’ll need to make one of the group your designated driver for the evening.

Or try and arrange a taxi to come and collect you.

We’re heading to Hargadons for the evening for food, pints and craic.

When you enter Hargadons for the first time, it’ll feel a little like you’ve just taken a step back in time. An excellent spot to round off our two day Sligo road trip.

Kick-back, chill and have the craic until the early hours.

And that’s a wrap

I’ve tried to pack in as many of the best things to do in Sligo into two days as physically possible.

Would you have added in anything? Let me know in the comments below.

Howaya!The purpose of this site is to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories.No spam. Clickbait. Or boll*x. Ever.Keith

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