If you’re in search of worthwhile things to do in Bundoran in Donegal, you’ve landed in the right place!
Arguably best known for its surf, Bundoran is a lively spot for a weekend away and there’s something for families, groups of friends and solo travellers.
In the guide below, you’ll discover what to do in Bundoran at any time of the year, from mighty coastal walks and trad pubs to unique attractions and more.
What we think are the best things to do in Bundoran
The first section of our guide is packed with our favourite Bundoran activities – these are things that one or more of our team has done over the years and enjoyed.
Below, you’ll find everything from surfing and cliff walks to a couple of the more popular things to do in Donegal.
1. Give surfing a lash
Let’s start the list with surfing, which is arguably one of the most popular things to do in Bundoran. Mainly thanks to Bundoran being one of the best places to go surfing in Ireland!
Tullan Strand is one of the more popular beaches in Donegal, and for good reason! Surfers flock to Tullan since it’s always been reliable in producing wicked waves over the years.
There are several surf schools operating in the area, like Bundoran Surf Co. and Bundoran Surfworld), each of which offers private lessons as well as gear you can rent.
2. Or brave the water in one of the outdoor pools
Next up is one of the more unique things to do in Bundoran – a visit to the outdoor pools (you can take for granted it’ll be nice and cold!).
There are two main outdoor pools in Bundoran, the West End (Nun’s) Pool which you can get to from the West End Walk and also the Thrupenny Pool which is located below Waterworld.
The Thrupenny got its name because that used to be the price of admission (3 old pennies). Fortunately, the pools are now free and are filled by fresh seawater from the tide.
3. Warm your bones with a cup of something hot from Carolines
If you’ve just spent a day in the water surfing and swimming, the chances are you’ll be in need of a big aul feed. Although there’s plenty of restaurants in Bundoran, it’s hard to beat Carolines Café for a feed.
The menu has something for even the fussiest foodie. Some popular dishes include the all-day Irish breakfast, cod and chips and hand-made sandwiches.
Another great spot is Waves Surf Café which is decorated in surf memorabilia and is very popular for its gluten-free toasted sandwiches and soup.
For anyone with a sweet tooth, get yourself to Hardybaker – it’s great for hot chocolate and baked bits.
4. And then head off on the West End Cliff Walk
After a good feed, it’s time to burn it all off and what better way than with a walk along the cliff top and seashore of Bundoran’s West End.
The route starts from the Tourist Information Office and then you head west towards the River Bradog which brings you into the West End.
There are signs too so don’t worry about getting lost. The walk is full of visual delights and on a good day, you can see the Slieve League Cliffs which are just across the bay.
5. Or stretch your legs on the Rougey Walk
Another lovely route is the Rougey Walk which also starts at the Tourist Office. This circular walk will take you along the promenade passing the funfair, Thrupenny pool and the Waterworld Complex.
The promenade ends at Blue Flag Beach so you then need to follow the path left of the beach which brings you around the headland where the Atlantic Ocean is on one side and the Gold course on the other side.
The highest point of the walk is at Aughrus Point where you can take in a lungful of fresh air as well as incredible views. You will also come across the Fairy Bridges and the Wishing Chair!
6. Grab a post-walk feed at Maddens Bridge Bar & Restaurant
After tackling either the Rougey Walk or West End Cliff Walk or both, you’ll be in dire need of a recharge, so it’s time for a feed (see our guide to the best restaurants in Bundoran).
For a really good hearty meal, head to the Maddens Bridge Bar and Restaurant. It’s a family run business that specialises in Irish lamb and steak as well the classics, like fish and chips.
More popular Bundoran activities
Now that we have our favourite Bundoran activities out of the way, it’s time to see what else the town has to offer.
Below, you’ll find everything from the Fairy Bridges and the Adventure Park to some popular things to do in Bundoran for families.
1. Seek out a bit of magic at the Fairy Bridges
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Bundoran with hard to amuse kids, this next attraction should be right up your street (just be careful near the edges!).
The beautiful Fairy Bridges were Bundoran’s original tourist attraction and they date back to the 1800s. Some believed that the sea stacks were haunted by fairies which is how they got their quirky name.
Close to the Fairy Bridges is the Wishing Chair – many famous visitors have sat here including Surfer Kelly Slater and poet William Allingham.
Legend has it that you must approach the chair cautiously or the chair’s powers will be disrupted. “Wishers” are encouraged to sit down slowly while holding both arms of the chair and sit for at least 15 seconds to absorb the scenery.
Then make a wish in silence and tap the seat twice as you get up to prove your wish is a genuine one. Definitely one of the more unique attractions Bundoran has to offer!
2. Grab a 360 view of Bundoran and Donegal from the sky
Close to the main beach is Adventure Park, which is impossible to miss. The park boasts a huge range of rides and attractions such as Bumper Cars, Go Karts and the Candy Shack.
However, if you want to get a 360 view of the seaside town from the sky, then you’ll want to head off in the direction of the big wheel.
From the top, you’ll be treated to views of the surrounding town and Donegal Bay.
3. Try horse riding on Tullan Strand
Next up is arguably one of the best things to do in Bundoran with kids. If you’re in search of a slightly alternative experience that’ll make your visit all the more memorable, give horse riding on Tullan Strand a go!
You will get to ride along the beach and up the dunes where you take your horses back to the stables for lunchtime. During lunch, you will go to a local pub or café before becoming a cowboy or cowgirl again with a refreshing gallop around the Erne estuary.
Depending on weather conditions, you might even get to take your horse into the water to cool down.
4. Plan your trip around Sea Sessions Surf Music Festival
If you’re wondering what to do in Bundoran with a big group of friends, plan your visit around the Sea Sessions festival.
Located slap bang on the beach, the 3-day festival has grown to become of the top music festivals in Ireland.
The festival has had some impressive line-ups over the years, with everyone from Dizzie Rascal to Dermot Kennedy taking to the stage here.
Related read: Check out our guide to the finest holiday homes in Bundoran (a mix of fancy rentals and good spots for big groups)
5. Play a round at Bundoran Golf Club
It’s crazy to think that the Bundoran Golf Club was established in 1894, making it one of the oldest courses in Ireland.
It’s also up there with the most scenic, boasting views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Dartry Mountains as you saunter around the course.
The course here has racked up a lot of good reviews and, if you get the weather, it’s the perfect spot for a round!
6. Kick-back with a post-adventure pint in The Chasin’ Bull
There are few pubs as fine for a post-adventure pint (or Baileys!) than the mighty Chasin’ Bull in Bundoran.
This award-winning pub and restaurant has a clatter of big TV screens as well as an acoustic stage if you want to listen to some live music (of course you do).
While there’s a lot of comfort food and cocktails on offer here, it’s a lovely wee pint of the black stuff that we’d be sippin’ on after a day spent tackling the many things to do in Bundoran.
Things to do near Bundoran
OK, so we’ve tackled things to do in Bundoran in Donegal – now it’s time to take a look at the many things to do near Bundoran.
Bundoran is a solid little base to explore bits of both Donegal and Sligo. Below, you’ll find attractions within reasonable driving distance.
1. Head off on the Gleniff Horseshoe walk or drive
A 15-minute drive from Bundoran via the N15, the Gleniff Horseshoe Drive really emphasises tranquillity. Now, you don’t have to drive it – you could walk or cycle it, either.
As you venture further into the Horseshoe, you’ll get the sense that you’ve stepped straight into a Lord of The Rings movie – raw, unspoiled beauty envelopes you on all sides.
The walk can take up to an hour and a half to complete with traffic being practically non-existent, if you want peace, you’ll find it here.
2. Listen to the water crash at Glencar Waterfall
A 35-minute drive from Bundoran, Glencar Waterfall is celebrated for being the inspiration for one of the greatest poets in Ireland, William Butler Yeats.
He even wrote a poem about the waterfall called ‘The Stolen Child’. If you can, try and angle your visit after heavy rainfall.
The water will thunder down into the pool below! If you fancy a ramble, given the reasonably handy Glencar Waterfall Walk a shot!
3. Soak up the views at the Sliabh Liag Cliffs
Considered one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets, the Sliabh Liag Cliffs are, at 1,972 feet/602 meters, twice the size of the Eiffel Tower.
In fact, they are three times the height of the famous Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. A 1-hour and 30 minute drive from Bundoran will land you here and the views on a clear day are sensational.
4. Explore Mullaghmore Head on the coastal walk
The coastal walk around Mullaghmore is a mix of rough trails, footpaths and public roads and it’s a handy 15-minute spin from Bundoran.
This is one of the more unique things to do near Bundoran and it’s well worth a visit.
5. Have a wander around Donegal Castle
Built in the fifteenth century by Red Hugh O’Donnell, legend has it that the castle was set on fire to prevent it from falling into English hands.
Unfortunately for O’Donnell, English captain Sir Basil Brooke became the new lord back in 1616. Brooke decided to make improvements to the castle and built a manor house next to the tower.
The building complex has been in ruin for many years until it was restored in the 1990s. It’s now one of the finest castles in Donegal.
6. Chomp down on lunch in a very unique setting at Lough Eske Castle
If you ever wanted to experience fine dining combined with beautiful scenery and incredible hospitality then look no further than Lough Eske Castle Hotel.
The ingredients for the dishes are sourced locally which adds a little bit of magic to the meals and the reviews are top-notch.
What to do in Bundoran: What have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally missed out on some other brilliant things to do in Bundoran in Donegal.
If you have a recommendation, let us know in the comments section below! Cheers!
FAQs about things to do in Bundoran
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are some good things to do in Bundoran for families?’ to ‘When’s good for surfing?’.
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 things to do in Bundoran today?
Give one of the walks mentioned above a go, first, then get breakfast from Caroline’s. Follow this up with either a walk along the beach or a bit of surfing.
What are good things to do near Bundoran?
You’ve the Gleniff Horseshoe, Glencar Waterfall, Donegal Town, Mullaghmore, Classiebawn Castle and plenty more (see guide above).
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…).