Discover the rich history of West Cork and the Beara Peninsula on a self-guided 8-day bike tour. Cycle through a virtual open-air museum of cultural curiosities. Follow in the footsteps of Ireland’s ancient peoples as the heritage is brought to life.
What to Expect
Discover the breathtaking landscapes of West Cork and the Beara Peninsula on an 8-day self-guided bike tour with route options. Visit small villages to experience local life, and cycle through forests, along the coast, and into glacial valleys. Bike at your own pace and according to your own schedule. Enjoy the challenge of uphill rides, and much more. Your luggage will be sent ahead from stop-to-stop, so you only need worry about the pedaling!
Day 1: Cork
Check into your accommodation in Cork city and collect your bike for the self-guided tour. You will be provided with maps and information about each day’s route to help you explore at your own pace.
Day 2: Cork to Kinsale (Distance: 26 or 48 kilometers, depending on the route you choose)
Depart from Cork city center and visit the beautiful fishing village of Kinsale. Sections of today’s route are on relatively busy roads and you will want to exercise caution. Encounter some nice climbs and less road traffic once you pass Cork Airport. There are a variety of shops and pubs along the way where you can stop for refreshments.
Day 3: Kinsale to Clonakilty (Distance: 44 kilometers or longer if you add the option to cycle to Courtmacsherry)
The first half of today’s route takes you along the impressive coast to the “Olde Head of Kinsale.” From there, cycle inland through forest and open countryside. It is a terrific farming region with glorious views. Enjoy the challenge of some uphill cycling, but generally it is a well paced day. You are advised to buy drinks in Kinsale as the shops along the route are a little unpredictable in their opening hours!
Day 4: Clonakilty to Skibbereen (Distance: 63 or 49 kilometers, depending on the route your choose)
Depart Clonakilty and cycle to the town of Skibbereen. There is a direct route along busy roads, so you should follow the longer suggestion that passes the coast, cycling through forest and inland scenery. There are some steep climbs, but they are achievable if you take today’s route at a relaxed pace. Bike through the beautiful villages of Glandore and Unionhall to see typical West Cork villages. There are pubs and shops in the main villages with excellent food available.
Day 5: Skibbereen to Bantry (Distance: 47 or 52 kilometers, depending on the route you choose)
Today you have two routes to choose from. The first involves taking the ferry from the village of Baltimore to beautiful Cape Clear Island. From there a second ferry will take you to the stunning fishing village of Schull. From Schull, cycle to Bantry. The ferry cost is not included and should be paid direct to the ferry company. You will need to ring ahead and book in advance. The second option is to go by road via Ballydehob. The cycle distance is nearly the same, but please allow 4 hours if you take the ferry (allowing for the ferry crossing and visiting Baltimore and Schull).
Day 6: Bantry to Kenmare (Distance: 72 kilometers via the Healy Pass, or 48 kilometers via the Borlin Valley)
Today is one of the most impressive and picturesque cycle rides you could wish for, and whichever option you decide to take the scenery is stunning. The longer option takes you on an amazing journey over the Healy Pass through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland. This route is challenging, so please only take this route if you are in good health and reasonably fit. The alternate route is through the glorious Borlin Valley, which is less well known and quieter. Both routes have places along the way for refreshments, but you are advised to bring some food and plenty to drink.
Day 7: Kenmare to Killarney (Distance: 45 or 32 kilometers, depending on the route you choose)
This is probably the “must-do” cycle ride of your trip; a wonderful route with glorious views over the famous Lakes of Killarney. Enjoy plenty of downhill time to give your legs a rest. Again you have the option to take a longer route through the impressive glaciated valley of the Gap of Dunloe. Whichever route you choose, you will be spoilt for scenery and views, with plenty of refreshment stops along the routes.
Depart Killarney by bus or train, and return to Cork, or according to your travel plans.
- 7 nights bed and breakfast accommodation with private bathrooms and full Irish breakfast
- High quality hybrid bikes (21 gears), available for men and women, with full back-up service
- Luggage porterage on each cycling day
- Full cycling details and maps of the area, with full cycling descriptions of each cycling day
- 24-hour emergency and information contact number
- Airport transfers (arranged and booked if required)
- Full pre-departure information pack to allow you to fully plan your trip and get the most from the experience
What's Not Included
- Personal expenses (drinks, medical, gratuities etc.)
- Lunch and dinner
- Extra days/nights
- Cycle repair costs due to bad care of the bikes