Although there’s only a handful of things to do in Killybegs, there’s endless places to visit a short spin away.
Which is why the busy fishing town can make a good base to explore from (the fact that there’s some great pubs and restaurants in Killybegs also helps!).
However, you can ramble along the harbour, take a boat tour out under Slieve League and visit heaps of nearby attractions, as you’ll discover below.
Our favourite things to do in Killybegs (and nearby)
The first section of our guide is packed with our favourite things to do in Killybegs along with plenty of nearby attractions.
Below, you’ll find everything from breakfast options and walks to unique tours and much more.
1. Kick-start your visit with coffee (or something sweet) at Ahoy Cafe
Right on the harbour, the Ahoy Cafe specialises in breakfast and brunch. It’s a great place to start the day with a mouthwatering full Irish breakfast to fuel up for the day ahead.
They also do a menu of speciality teas and coffee and some tempting scones, sandwiches and cakes to go with your steaming hot beverage. See our Killybegs food guide for more places to eat.
2. Then see the Slieve League Cliffs from the sea
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Killybegs, climb aboard this boat tour (affiliate link) and see the Donegal coastline like never before from just €30 per person.
The cruise lasts for just under 3 hours and it takes in everything from the stunning Slieve League Cliffs to lighthouses, beaches and plenty more.
You’ll also see plenty of wildlife along the way along with Muckross Head, Carrigan Head, Donegal Bay and plenty more.
3. Or keep your feet firmly on dry ground on the Killybegs Walk and Talk Tour
Don’t miss out on the history and highlights of Killybegs by taking the 1¾ hour Killybegs Walk and Talk Tour. The circular route provides lots of interesting facts about Killybegs’ fishing and carpet-making industries.
Visit many significant medieval sites such as the 16th century grave slab of the Chief Neil Mor MacSuibhne.
Historic buildings include St. Mary’s Church of the Visitation, “Bruach na Mara” home of the late Bishop Mc Ginley, the 18th century Corn Store, St Catherine’s Well and the remains of St. Catherine’s Church and Graveyard.
4. Spend a fine day at nearby Fintra Beach (5 minutes away)
The curving light golden sands of Fintra Bay are just 2.5km west of the town. It’s a beautiful beach with plenty of space for sandcastles, ball games and walking. It is backed by rolling dunes that are home to nesting birds, flora and wildlife.
Rock pools provide more fun with their miniature marine-life. Fintra Bay has clean Blue Flag waters and there are showers and a lifeguard service in summer. There’s a handy car park with easy access to the gently sloping beach.
5. Or visit the breath-taking secret waterfall (5 minutes away)
Access to Largy Waterfall, aka “Donegal’s secret waterfall” is just a 5-minute drive from Killybegs. It’s on a narrow road with very limited parking and it gets very busy during the summer (only park in the designated area!).
It’s a bit of a walk along the coast and it’s only accessible at low tide. The walk to it is also very slippery so great caution is needed. This is one for those with good mobility and that know how to read tide times.
6. Or the beautiful Malin Beg Beach (35 minutes away)
Also known as Silver Strand Beach, Malin Beg is a sheltered horseshoe-shaped cove with turquoise waters and a sweep of light golden sand.
It has limited parking and is accessed down 174 steps carved into the cliff. The headland rises up steadily to the summit of Slieve League Mountain (601m) with stunning views from the Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Other things to do in Killybegs (and nearby)
Now that we have our favourite things to do in Killybegs and nearby attractions out of the way, it’s time to see what else this corner of the county has to offer.
Below, you’ll find everything from scenic drives and historic sites to areas of outstanding natural beauty. Dive on in!
1. Take a spin out to Muckross Head (15 minutes away)
Muckross Head is a mecca for rock climbers with many overhangs. There are 12 mapped ascents up the rugged cliffs which boast unforgettable names such as Morning Glory, Tandoori Chicken and The Cabbage.
The headland is flanked by two beaches and there’s also a viewpoint along the road leading away from the beach that offers some stunning aerial views.
There’s also the old Eire sign, some gorgeous coastal scenery and you’ll often have the whole place to yourself.
2. Drive the bendy road at Glengesh Pass (20 minutes away)
Described as a “mad and magical road through the mountains of Donegal”, the snaking route through the lush Glengesh Pass is amazing whether you’re walking, cycling or snaking around the bends in a car.
Connecting Glencolmcille with Ardara, the Glengesh Pass is one of the highlights of Donegal. Stop at the coffee cart at the top of the pass and then proceed slowly through this scenic high mountain pass.
There’s a small car park and viewing point near Ardara that’s a great place for a photo or two.
3. And then pull over to gaze up at Assaranca Waterfall (25 minutes away)
After navigating through the awesome Glengesh Pass towards Ardara, make a stop at the Assaranca Waterfall. It’s one of the most beautiful in Donegal with its torrent of white water cascading down the rocks to the pool below.
The waterfall is located close to the road and there’s a handy free lay-by for parking about 10 vehicles. You can views the falls from the car park before continuing on for two minutes to reach Maghera Beach.
4. Visit the magnificent Slieve League Cliffs (30 minutes away)
Forget the Cliffs of Moher; the Slieve League Cliffs are very impressive and almost three times higher! View the cliffs from the viewpoint or hike the Pilgrim’s Path to the summit (hiking experience needed!).
From the clifftop it’s a vertiginous drop down to the Atlantic waves breaking on the rocks far, far below. It gives you a sensation of standing in the clouds, and sometimes you are!
Reaching a height of 1,9782 feet/601 metres above sea level, it’s not surprising that the Slieve League Cliffs are the highest accessible sea cliffs in Europe.
5. Or stroll along the stunning Maghera Beach (30 minutes away)
Maghera Beach and caves are just beyond the Assaranca Waterfall along a single track road. There’s access to the impressive beach from the private car park (€3) and it’s a 200-metre walk to the caves.
You need to visit at low tide and be aware of strong currents and riptides which make it unsuitable for swimming. The sandy beach stretches for 5km and is edged with 20 caves, 8 arches and 5 tunnels carved out by the sea.
6. See the often-missed Glencolumbkille cliffs (25 minutes away)
Don’t be in too much of a rush to get from one beautiful Donegal attraction to the next. Many visitors rush past some the best spots such as the majestic Glencolumbkille Cliffs.
Located on the narrow headland known as Sturrall Ridge, it’s in a remote rural spot reached along a 2.5km clifftop walk from Glencolumbkille village.
The peninsula reaches out into the surf at a height of 750m but wave erosion has whittled it down to just one metre wide in places. Topped with a Napoleonic watchtower, it’s an incredible spot to stand in awe and watch the powerful surf on the rocks.
7. Or explore the buzzy Donegal Town (25 minutes away)
Known as the largest little village in northwest Ireland, Donegal Town is a nice spot for a wander if you’ve ticked off the various things to do in Killybegs.
Once the seat of the ruling O’Donnell clan from the 15th to 17th centuries, it sits at the head of Donegal Bay. It’s home to Donegal Castle along with a mix of shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels.
What places to visit in Killybegs have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant things to do in Killybegs from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about Killybegs attractions
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What is there to do when it’s raining?’ to ‘Where’s good to visit nearby?’.
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 Killybegs?
There aren’t many things to do in the town itself, aside from the boat tour. There’s plenty of great restaurants though and lots of attractions nearby.
What are some good things to do near Killybegs?
You’ve Slieve League, the hidden waterfall, Muckross Head, Glengesh Pass, Assaranca Waterfall and more (see our guide above).
Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.