If you’re in search of loads of things to do in Bundoran in Donegal, you’ve landed in the right place!
For a small seaside town with a population less than 2,000, Bundoran has a pretty big reputation (see our Bundoran Holiday Homes guide if you want a place to stay with great reviews!).
There’s even a song about it called “Beautiful Bundoran”, a catchy wee tune for all you hardcore Irish country enthusiasts to check out.
Now, don’t let the town’s small size dissuade you – this place packs a mighty punch, you just need to know where to go and what to look for .
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The best things to do in Bundoran in Donegal
In the guide below, you’ll discover a tonne of different things to do in Bundoran, from the obvious, like surfing, to things to keep you going when it’s raining.
You’ll also discover a handful of things to do nearby (there are heaps of great places to visit in Donegal near Bundoran, after all!).
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.
Surfing is so big in Bundoran that there are even a few surf schools and shops. Two well-known companies, Bundoran Surf Co. and Bundoran Surfworld both offer private lessons as well as gear for renting or buying.
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 use 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. One of the most popular spots for food is Carolines Café, the interior looks and feels like a home and the super friendly staff only amplify this.
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, Hardybaker is your go-to café, it’s great for hot chocolate and cake.
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 (you should definitely see others heading in the same direction, too!).
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 (one of our favourite things to do in Bundoran)
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.
The portions are really big too so maybe think twice about ordering sides but then again you are on holiday so go wild.
7. Seek out a bit of magic at the Fairy Bridges
If you’re looking for 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 – I guess it’s like an Irish version of the Game of Thrones chair. Many famous visitors have sat on the chair 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!
8. 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 The 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 of exploring Bundoran.
9. Grab a 360 view of Bundoran and Donegal from the sky
Close to the main beach is Adventure Park, which is honestly impossible to miss. The park boasts a huge range of rides and attractions such as Bumper Cars, Go Karts and the Candy Shack.
There is something for every age and it’s a lot of fun too. However, if you want to get a 360 view of the seaside town from the sky, then it’s the view wheel that you will want to go on.
The encapsulating view will allow you to see the surrounding town and on towards Donegal Bay. You’ll have plenty of great photo opportunities from the top!
10. 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 all of Ireland.
It’s also up there with the most scenic, what with all the views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Dartry mountains serving as a wonderful backdrop.
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!
11. Plan your trip around Sea Sessions Surf Music Festival
If you’re looking for things 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. If you ever dreamed of being a surfer or pretend to be one, this is your chance.
The festival has had some impressive line-ups over the years, with everyone from Dizzie Rascal to Dermot Kennedy taking to the stage here.
12. 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.
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 16 min drive from Bundoran via the N15, the Gleniff Horseshoe Drive really emphasises tranquillity with a great woodland walk at the Mill Site close to the start of the horseshoe.
As you venture further into the Horseshoe walk, you will see lots of waterfalls and mountain streams that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped straight into a Lord of The Rings movie.
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 33-minute drive from Bundoran, the 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 something straight out of a Hollywood movie. Twice the size of the Eiffel Tower, the sea cliffs reach a height of 1972 feet/602 meters.
In fact, they are even three times the height of the infamous Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.
A 1-hour and 30 minute drive from Bundoran will land you here and once you hike to the top of the cliffs, you can gaze into the Atlantic Ocean, Donegal Bay and Sligo Mountains.
4. Explore Mullaghmore Head on the coastal walk
This coastal walk is a mix of trails, footpaths and public roads, it feels like a real adventure exploring it.
A 15-minute drive from Bundoran, the route gives you some pretty awe-inspiring views of Donegal Bay and Slieve League.
Mullaghmore means “the great summit” and it’s easy to understand why. Mullaghmore Head is full of photo opportunities and you will feel like you have travelled back in time.
On the west coast of Mullaghmore Head, you can find a range of rocks which were once sediments from 300 million years ago. You’ll also get an eyeful of Classiebawn Castle!
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.
If you ever wanted to feel like a celebrity or treat your significant other to something they won’t forget then a meal at Lough Eske Castle is one to remember.
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 get a lot of emails from people planning a trip to Bundoran. Below, we’ve done our best to answer some of the most FAQ.
If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to help.
What are the best things to do in Bundoran this weekend?
If it was me, and I was only visiting for a day, I’d get up early and head off on one of the walks mentioned above. I’d follow it up with a bite to eat in Caroline’s.
After the food settled (during the warmer months!) I’d head for a swim on one of the Blue Flag Beaches. And I’d round it off with dinner and a pint in the Chasin’ Bull!
Can you recommend any walks in or near Bundoran?
The Rougey Walk and the West End Cliff Walk (both in Bundoran) are both well worth doing. For walks near Bundoran, the walk from the first car park at Slieve League up to the viewing point is both challenging and rewarding!
I’m wondering what to do in Bundoran with kids?
There’s a good range of things to do in Bundoran with kids. You could take them to see the fairy bridges, and tell them the folklore behind them.
Or, you could take them to Adventure Park. Depending on their age, you could take them for surfing or horse riding lessons, too!