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Cycling the Beara Way 59

Cycling the Beara Way

Overview

Cycle the Beara Way, a 196-km route circumnavigating the dramatic Beara peninsula located in Ireland’s south-west corner and one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Beara is quieter than its northern neighbour, the famed Kerry Way, but is equally beautiful and offers superb cycling. It is a largely undiscovered area, hilly but not mountainous, with some good open sections.

The route travels along the entire Beara peninsula passing through all towns and villages along the way. The principal town Castletownbere is blessed with a safe sheltered anchorage of one of the largest natural harbours in the world. The picturesque villages of Eyeries and Allihies are famous for their rows of brightly contrasting houses featuring every shade of the rainbow.

At the head of Bantry Bay is the village of Glengarriff, from where you can take a short boat trip to Garinish Island. Its unique micro climate allows an amazing range of exotic species to flourish. At the tip of the peninsula is Dursey Island, now home to only five people, and connected to the mainland by Ireland’s only cable car. There is a chance your fellow passenger bleats to you as sheep are travelling to Dursey Island with the cable car as well. Enjoy the view and you might be lucky enough to see a dolphin wandering around beneath you.

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Killarney

Arrive in Killarney and check into your accommodation for the night. If you have time, take the short circular cycle to Killarney National Park. Admire the 15th century Muckross Abbey and the 19th century Muckross house with its wonderful gardens. Enjoy this iconic landscape as you cycle around Muckross lake, one of Killarney’s three lakes, famed worldwide for their splendour and beauty.

Day 2: Killarney to Kenmare | 42 km

Follow the cycle path through the Killarney National Park, which brings you to a quiet country road. Explore the Gap of Dunloe – one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of County Kerry. Stretching through the MacGuillicuddy Reeks mountain range, this beautiful glacial valley simply must be experienced to be appreciated. Descend into the Black Valley for a marvellous ride through some remote countryside, with nothing but sheep for company. Then climb up out of the valley before going downhill into Kenmare. Kenmare is an interesting and colourful market town on the Roughty River banks where it opens up into Kenmare Bay.

Day 3: Kenmare to Lauragh | 42 km

Take the road that hugs the coast of Kenmare Bay. Enjoy the amazing views across the water before turning inland to follow a country lane into Gleninchaquinn valley. Optional visit of the ancient Uragh Stone Circle. Beautifully situated on a small hillock between lough Cloonee Upper and Lough Inchiquinn, the monument consists of a five-stone circle with a huge outlier nearby. Continue along the road to reach Gleninchaquin Nature Park, where you can choose from several walking routes in the park and view the beautiful waterfall’s cascading waters, which is the centrepiece of the park. Leave the valley by the same road and take another winding coastal road to the sleepy village of Lauragh.

  • Cycling for the day: 42 km / 26 mi
  • Accommodation: Mourlin Lodge (Lauragh) or similar

Day 4: Lauragh to Allihies | 39 km

Continue along the northern shores your cycle today takes you through the picturesque village of Eyeries famous for its colourful houses. From there, you continue to Allihies. Visit the Allihies Copper Mining Museum and visit its exhibition which covers all aspects of the history of copper mining in the area, from prehistoric times all the way up to the nineteenth century and the Industrial Revolution.

  • Cycling for the day: From 39 km / 24.5 mi to 44 km / 27 mi depending on the chosen route
  • Accommodation: Seaview B&B (Allihies) or similar

Day 5: Allihies to Castletownbere | 38 km

The route travels out to Dursey Sound overlooking Black Ball Head and will take you to the Beara peninsula’s most western point. The Dursey Island Cable Car is a unique experience itself (ticket not included, c. EUR 10-15 pp). Keep your eyes open and walk along the wild and remote island track or the stunning cliffs at the far end of the island. From the island’s furthest tip, Dursey Head, there are three little islands: The Bull, The Cow, and The Calf. The Bull has the largest gannet colony in Ireland, and both it and The Cow have been designated as areas of wild-life protection. 

Back to the mainland continue cycling east to finish in the fishing port of Castletownbare, the Peninsula’s principal town and the largest whitefish port in Ireland. Next to the remains of the older O’Sullivan Bere Castle stands Dunboy Castle, the impressive ruins of a vast 19th Century castle in a bewildering mixture of styles, including French chateaux and Italian villa. The edifice was built by the Puxley family, who made their fortune from the copper mines in Allihies. Dunboy woods are open to the public with picnic areas and walks. Do not miss the opportunity to visit the world-famous MacCarthy’s pub as well for a well-deserved pint of Guinness.

Note that the cable car is closed for maintenance (expected to be reopened in November 2022).

  • Cycling for the day: 38 km / 24 mi
  • Accommodation: Seabreeze B&B (Castletownbere) or similar

Day 6: Castletownbere to Glengarriff | 38 km

Today you have the option to take your bike over to Bere Island for a cycle around this beautiful place. From Castletownbere cycle east through Adrigole hugging the coastline. Adrigole is the gateway to the Ring of Beara. The highest Waterfall in Ireland is located on the famous Hungry Hill. The Healy Pass road is a scenic mountain route linking both sides of the Peninsula – take the Healy Pass or follow the route to Castletownbere along the main road, overlooking Berehaven harbour. Finish your cycle in the quaint village of Glengarriff which has for many years been a popular and renowned holiday resort. Glengarriff nestles in a glen in the midst of rocks, cliffs, and mountains, at the head of a tiny inlet, in Bantry Bay’s north-eastern corner.

  • Cycling for the day: 38 km / 24 mi
  • Accommodation: Island View B&B (Glengarriff) or similar

Day 7: Glengarriff to Kenmare | 48 km

This stunning inland route brings you through rugged countryside which this region is known for. With stunning mountains and valleys in all directions, you are never far from another impressive vista. Cycle the quiet country roads with some good uphill sections before descending to the riverside route. Back to the town of Kenmare for your last overnight.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast you officially finish the trip and will be transferred along with your bike back to Killarney.

What to Expect

Accommodation

We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*Note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation!

Meals

Full Irish breakfast each day. When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Evening meals can be enjoyed in the charming restaurants along the way.

Difficulty & terrain

The cycling is not hard, still, in order to enjoy the trip to the maximum, it is recommendable to have some cycling experience and be in a good physical shape. You will be cycling on most parts on country roads and close to the coastline. (read more about difficulty grades). The route is well sign-posted with a logo and a bicycle symbol. We will email you the essential pre-departure info. Upon arrival, you will receive detailed travel information with route maps, route description and access to our exclusive GPS Navigation App.

When to go

This trip is available from April until October. Weather is best in June – August. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Dublin (DUB), Kerry (KIR), Cork (ORK) or Shannon (SNN).

By train or bus
  • Kerry airport: Outside the main terminal is a Bus Terminus with bus services available directly from Kerry Airport to Killarney. Ryanair offers flights to Kerry from London and Manchester.
  • Dublin Airport: Take the bus (best option is the direct shuttle bus 747) or taxi to Huston station. Train to Killarney (every two hours). Bus services via Limerick also available. Aer Lingus offers direct flights from Dublin to Kerry twice daily.
  • Cork airport: Local bus service to Cork city bus station (Parnell Place). From there take the bus to Killarney (every two hours).
  • Shannon airport: Bus services via Limerick to Killarney.
  • For train schedules, visit Irish Rail. For bus schedules, see Bus Éireann, Dublin Coach or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation in en-suite rooms (guesthouses and B&Bs)
  • Full Irish Breakfast each morning
  • Welcome briefing
  • Luggage transfer between the accommodations on cycling days (max. 2 bags per person – keeping the combined weight to 15 kg)
  • Detailed travel documents with cycling descriptions and maps of each cycling day (Please note that the info pack is emailed to you prior to departure and no printed documents are mailed or provided on-site)
  • Access to our exclusive GPS Navigation App
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

Rental Bikes

  • Specialised Sirrus Sport Hybrid: The Sirrus Sport Disc with fitness geometry provides flat bar handling so you can ride faster on longer rides with stability and comfort. The hydraulic disc brakes mean you’ll have the confidence to ride regardless of the weather or what you are carrying on your racks, perfect for Ireland where you get 4 seasons in one day. The Body Geometry Targa Sport saddle makes for a sporty and comfortable cycle.
  • BMC City Streamer: With its more upright riding position this is a very comfortable bike to ride and with 30 gears to choose from and hydraulic disc brakes so you can go down to granny gear and save your knees, and you won’t have any problem on any climb or descent. The Fizik Rondine saddle has extra padding for a very comfy ride.
  • E-bike: You can tackle anything with the Giant Twist, no more groaning as hills are flattened, assisted pedal power is the future of uncomplicated mobility. The all-new Twist Lite features a new slimmer front hub motor, an ALUXX aluminium frame and internal power cable routing, control, speed and safety are quite literally no sweat.

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