The Wild Atlantic Way is one of the best coastal drives in the world. Running along the west coast of Ireland, 2,500km of winding road takes you from one breathtaking landscape to the next.
JKGO’s top tips for driving the Wild Atlantic Way
1. The drive is truly one of a kind.
Are you a confident driver? The Wild Atlantic Way has some exhilarating moments. At any given moment you might find yourself on a narrow, single track road, precariously close to a sheer drop off the side of a mountain; going round hairpin bends with no idea what is on the other side; or driving through fog so thick you can’t see more than a few feet ahead of you. The route is not for the faint of heart.
Top tip: Drive slowly and safely and you will be rewarded with the experience of a lifetime.
2. It is a long route, and you don’t have to do all of it at once.
At 2,500km in length, the Wild Atlantic Way is one of the longest defined coastal routes in the world. You could spend weeks or even months on the road and not get to see everything. We opted to start our journey from Galway and explore the southern half of the route in seven days, and we definitely would have been happy to stay longer.
The driving will also take longer than expected. Whether due to navigating carefully, taking it slow around corners, getting stuck behind a tractor or group of cyclists, avoiding sheep in the road, or pulling over every few minutes to admire the beautiful scenery, the days will go by faster than you think.
Top tip: Leave plenty of extra time to make it to all your destinations and be patient on the roads.
3. You will need to book some things in advance.
Many of the stops along the way are small fishing towns and villages, with limited options for places to stay. We recommend booking your accommodation in advance, especially at weekends and during the high season. There are also some activities that we recommend booking in advance, such as the Dingle Distillery tour and the Skellig Islands boat tour.
Top tip: We always use Booking.com to find the best deals on accommodation, and most places offer free cancellation too – perfect when you are still finalising your plans.
4. Look out for the Wild Atlantic Way signposts.
We used Google Maps to help us navigate some of the way, but often the Wild Atlantic Way is not the fastest or recommended route. Fortunately, the road is well signposted with a distinctive logo on a blue background and is relatively easy to follow.
Top tip: Familiarise yourself with Irish road signs before your journey. They are not always easy to figure out on the road.
5. Prepare for all weather possibilities.
The weather in Ireland can be vastly unpredictable, and all four seasons can be experienced in a day. Our drive was in March, and we were very lucky to have good weather for most of the trip. It was only the final day when the rain and fog made it impossible to see anything, putting our sightseeing to an end for that afternoon. Make sure you have warm and waterproof clothes, as you do not want to let bad weather impede your activities.
Top tip: Try to keep your schedule as flexible as possible, and keep an eye on the weather forecast. We visited the Cliffs of Moher a couple of days earlier than originally planned to make sure that we got to see them in good weather.
6. Ireland may be in the EU, but they use UK plug sockets.
We made the mistake of taking the wrong adapters for some of our gear, but fortunately we could make it work. If you have an international adapter you’ll be fine wherever you go.
Top tip: Take plenty of cables so that you will be able to charge in the car as you drive.
7. The currency is the Euro.
Top tip: Many places will take card, but some won’t so make sure you have some cash with you.
8. There is good mobile phone signal.
Handy for navigating, checking in with your grandma, and posting pictures on Instagram. (Tag us @jkgo.co so we can see them!)
Top tip: It is worth having an offline document with the address and contact info for where you are heading each day just in case. You might want to save an offline map too, or take an old school physical map.
9. You’re gonna love every second of it.
There’s something for everyone along the Wild Atlantic Way. Stunning drives, gorgeous scenery, long hikes, cosy pubs, and fantastic food; there is no doubt you will create memories that last a lifetime.
Are you ready to start planning your Wild Atlantic Way adventure? Check out our full travel guide for the perfect seven day road trip.
Do you have any top tips for driving the Wild Atlantic Way? Let us know in the comments!
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