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Donegal fourth best region in the world to visit in 2024 according to Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024 has listed Ireland’s wild and rugged County Donegal as the fourth best region in the world to visit. Highlighting its stunning coastline, unspoilt landscapes, rich heritage and musical traditions, the bestselling travel guidebook ranks Ireland’s northernmost county as a top destination for travellers.

Malin_Head_Inishowen_Peninsula_County_Donegal.jpgMalin Head, Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal

County Donegal has the longest coastline in Ireland with over 100 golden beaches and boasts the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League. It’s a hiker’s heaven with miles of trails along the Wild Atlantic Way as well as inland at Glenveagh National Park and at imposing Errigal, one of Ireland’s most photographed mountains.

Hailing its 'wildness but with a big heart and a neighbourly feel', Lonely Planet calls out some of the county’s best-kept secrets: the blushing sands of Ballymastocker Bay, rugged Kinnagoe Bay in Inishowen, beautiful Silver Strand near Glencolmcille and Ards Forest Park where trees grow right to the water’s edge.

Slieve_League_County_Donegal.jpgSlieve League, County Donegal

It also concludes that 'no visit to Donegal is complete without a trip to Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head, a rocky cape where the northern lights may sometimes be seen'.

Alice Mansergh, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: "It’s really great news that Donegal has been named the fourth-best region in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024. It will surely help inspire international travellers to put Donegal and Ireland on their holiday wish-list."

Fintra_Beach_County_Donegal.jpgFintra Beach, County Donegal

Donegal has become a centre of slow tourism on the island of Ireland and sustainable and mindful activity opportunities abound. From kayaking tours of Lough Swilly to slow and scenic electric ‘fat bike’ tours and sea safari and maritime heritage tours, the focus is on respecting the landscape and the wildlife and taking time to appreciate the gorgeous scenery and special ambiance of the place.

Donegal is also the surf capital of Ireland and Lonely Planet spotlights the 'wide expanse of Rossnowlagh Beach', which is renowned as one of the island’s best surfing beaches. Further down the coast, Bundoran is surfing central, attracting surfers from all over the world to ride its Atlantic swells.

Fanad_Head_Lighthouse_County_Donegal.jpgFanad Head Lighthouse, County Donegal

But it’s not all about the great outdoors; Donegal also serves up a raft of excellent eateries 'with a focus on local produce and affordability with a homespun feel'. Among these is the Olde Glen Bar near Carrigart. Dating from the 1760s, it’s Donegal’s oldest bar and restaurant and recently won a place in the Michelin guide. Lonely Planet also namechecks Fisk Seafood Bar in Downings and Nancy’s Barn bistro in Ballyliffin on the Inishowen Peninsula, where award-winning seafood chowder served with wheaten bread is a true taste of Donegal.

Silver_Strand_Malin_Beg_County_Donegal.jpgSilver Strand, Malin Beg, County Donegal

Parts of County Donegal are Gaeltacht areas, where Irish is spoken as a first language and the traditions of Irish song, dance and culture are thriving. This, says Lonely Planet, provides 'an immersive experience for the curious visitor'.

Curious visitors will also enjoy exploring archaeological gems such as portal tombs, castles, round towers and Celtic crosses that dot the Donegal landscape.

Mount_Errigal_County_Donegal.jpgMount Errigal, County Donegal

Janet Redler, Managing Director of Janet Redler Travel, said: “It’s great news that Lonely Planet has recognised Donegal as a top region to visit in 2024. Donegal really is a beautiful part of Ireland with something for everyone, whether it’s enjoying the great outdoors, sitting beside an open fire with an Irish coffee, listening to live music or experiencing delicious local produce.”

In addition, the Far North of Scotland was named by Lonely Planet as the tenth best region in the world to visit in 2024. Lonely Planet describes 2024 as ’the perfect time to make a trip to the far north of Scotland, exploring both its unsung boggy interior and a coastline of heartbreaking beauty’. 

If you or your group would like to enjoy a tailor-made tour of Ireland, including a visit to County Donegal, or if you would like to explore the Far North of Scotland, please do contact our friendly team today.

Tags: Ireland  Lonely Planet  Donegal  

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