There are heaps of incredible scenic drives/cycles in Donegal.
From spins that hug the coast to road trips that cut through the mountains (like the one at Glengesh Pass) there are plenty of gorgeous drives to choose from.
Today, we’re going to show you one of the best – the mighty Inishowen scenic drive (aka the Inishowen 100).
Below, you’ll find a route to follow along with advice on places where you’ll catch an out-of-this-world-view.
The Inishowen Scenic Drive
The Inishowen Scenic Drive (often referred to as the ‘Inishowen 100’) is a 160km (100 mile – hence the name) scenic drive or cycle that loops around the windswept Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal.
The route takes in many of the peninsulas top natural attractions and it’ll have you ooohing and ahhing from start to finish.
You’ll want to allow at least 4 to 5 hours (with stops… lots of stops) to complete the Inishowen scenic drive.
The Inishowen Road Trip Route
So, where you start the Inishowen 100 is going to depend on where you’re leaving from (no sh*t, I know!).
What I mean is, if you’ve been visiting Fanad or Portsalon, start your drive from Bridge End. If you’re approaching from Derry, kick it off from Muff.
If it was me, I’d aim to start from the Bridge End side, as you can take a handy detour up to see Grianan of Aileach, if you fancy.
If you kick your drive off from Bridge End, you’ll want to head to the coast. You’ll spin along Lough Swilly (keep an eye out for Inch Island off in the distance) and head on towards Fahan.
There’s a little beach here (Lisfannon Beach) where you can hop out and head for a ramble if you like.
Suggested Stop #1: Dunree Head
Keep hugging the coast and continue towards Buncrana Town and then on to Dunree Head. There’s plenty to see and do here.
You can hop out for a saunter along the sand at Dunree Beach or nip into Dunree Fort (a military museum) for a nosey around.
Suggested Stop #2: Mamore Gap
From Dunree, the drive moves inland to arguably the most impressive stretch of the Inishowen 100 – Mamore Gap. The Mamore Gap is a twisty and narrow road that spins along the side of the beautiful Urris Hills.
There’s a ‘Discovery Point’ here (a handy place to stop and soak up the view). You’ll catch some serious views as you start to descend towards Leenan (pictured above).
Suggested Stop #3: Glenevin Waterfall
As you continue out towards Tullagh Strand, you’ve the option to take a little detour (3-minute drive/6-minute cycle) to see Glenevin Waterfall.
Make. This. Detour. Glenevin Waterfall is mighty. I’ve been here a handfull of times over the last couple of years and we had the whole place to ourselves on both occassions.
Suggested Stop #4: Ballyfinn Strand
When you leave Glenevin Waterfall you’re a handy spin away from Ballyfinn Strand. This is another fine spot to hop out and gulp down a bit of sea air.
If you fancy getting out of the car/off the bike for a bit, the nearby Doagh Famine Village (note: they close for the winter) is well worth a visit.
Here you’ll get an insight into the story of Irish life from the Great Famine of the 1840s up until the present day. The reviews online for this place are excellent.
Suggested Stop #5: Five Finger Strand and Knockamany Viewpoint
Head out towards Five Finger Strand next. A visit here really is one of the best things to do in Donegal.
Maybe it’s down to how secluded the beach is. Or it could be the views out to the mountains off in the distance. All I know is that you’ll remember your visit here long after you leave Donegal.
When you leave Five Finger Strand head for the nearby Knockamany Viewpoint. There’s plenty of space to park here and the views are sensational.
Suggested Stop #6: Malin Head
We’re off to the most northerly point in Ireland next – Malin Head (Banba’s Crown is the most northerly point here).
Malin is known the island over for its rugged landscape. This is the perfect point to hop out for a walk (there are some great walks here – see our guide to the best hikes in Ireland for more info).
If you’re heading for a walk here during the colder months, come prepared – it gets wild around Malin!
Suggested Stop #7: Kinnagoe Bay
When you leave Malin Head, continue along the coast to the magnificent Kinnagoe Bay. There’s a gorgeous viewpoint here where you can soak up the view above.
Aside from its immense beauty, Kinnagoe is known as being the location of the Armada shipwreck, which took place in 1588.
Places like Kinnagoe Bay make me question why I live in Dublin. Imagine having a place like this on your doorstep?!
From here the Inishowen scenic drive continues on to Greencastle, Quigley’s Point and then on to the town of Muff.
A mighty Irish drive to say the very least. Have you done this drive in the past? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.