Headwater - Cycling the Loughs and Lanes of Connemara, Self-Guided

8 days
2'092 CHF
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Trip code: 
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
New Cycling Holidays
Min age:

This 7-night cycling holiday takes you through the stunning wild countryside of the Galway and Mayo regions in western Ireland, where high mountains plunge into clear blue loughs and the British Isle's only true fjord.

Along the way, pass sparkling running rivers and the famous Irish bogs, whilst on the coast, the crisp blue Atlantic breaks on white sandy undeveloped beaches.This is a rural, idyllic land, where not much has changed over the centuries. Tiny hamlets scatter the way, with a warm welcome afforded anywhere you stop. Connemara, or 'Inlets of the Sea', is a stunning peninsula with a haunting natural beauty.


  • The stunning, wild Connemara peninsula
  • Scenic routes shadowed by stunning mountains
  • Killary Harbour, Ireland's only true fjord
  • Fresh seafood and famous Connemara lamb
  • Spectacular views of the Nephin mountain range

Key information

  • 7 Nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • 6 Days cycling
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Countries visited: Ireland

What's included

  • All breakfasts and three evening meals
  • High quality bike with panniers
  • Route directions and maps
  • Luggage transfers

What's not included

  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplements
Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Cycling

The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads and lanes.

Day by day breakdown
Day 240.0km/25.0miles
Day 342.0km/26.0miles
Day 439.0km/24.5miles
Day 544.0km/27.5miles
Day 635.0km/22.0miles
Day 741.0km/26.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Arrive in Ballina

    After checking in, you will be greeted with a cead mele failte, a cup of tea and some homemade treats from Marjorie's kitchen.Your host will discuss the week's itinerary and prepare the bikes so you are ready for the fun week of adventure that lies ahead. It's just a two-minute stroll to the local pub for dinner and a pint of Guinness where you can also enjoy some live music and soak up the atmosphere with the locals. (Staying at Brigown Bed and Breakfast, Breakfast only)

  • Day 2

    Ballina to Castlebar

    Wake up your taste buds with Marjorie’s delicious wholesome breakfast whilst overlooking the River Moy and Belleek Woods. From the hotel, follow the path along the famous River Moy and watch the salmon jump before stopping off at Belleek castle for a tour of the castle and dungeons. It’s then a short cycle to follow the Lough Conn route to Castlebar. Here you will pass by the famous fishing lakes of Lough Conn and Lough Cullin and enjoy spectacular views of the Nephin mountain range. Arriving into Castlebar, you will have time to take a short detour to visit the Turlough National Country Life Museum and discover the history of Irish culture and traditions. After settling into your accommodation, explore the streets of Castlebar and choose from one of the many renowned restaurants for dinner. (Staying at Carragh House Bed and Breakfast, Breakfast only)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Castlebar to Westport

    Leaving Castlebar, it's into country roads along the unspoilt spectacular winding valleys of the natural heritage region on Glenhest, where you will pass by the picturesque Beltra Lough. You will then arrive in the lovely town of Newport, which is rich in history and culture and is also the perfect place to stop off for a coffee and homemade treat in Kelly's Cafe. From Newport you will follow the greenway for 11km into colourful Westport town, enjoying idyllic views of Clew Bay and the Irish countryside (the greenway is a 45km designated cycle route that continues from Westport to Achill Island; up until 1937 it was a train line). This afternoon you could choose from a variety of activities or cultural visits such as visiting Westport House, kayaking around Clew Bay and its 365 islands or taking a tour of one of the local breweries. In the evening, you can wander around the bustling streets and enjoy live traditional music in one of the many pubs. There is no shortage of restaurants to choose from, whether you want tasty local pub food, vegan food or to treat yourself to an upmarket specialised gourmet menu. (Staying at Clew Bay Hotel, Breakfast only)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Westport to Leenane

    Heading out of Westport you soon find yourselves on quiet country roads passing wonderful countryside. Green meadows soon turn to bogs as Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain, looms overhead. Pass the tiny hamlet of Liscarney, and fields of sheep. Cross the Owenmore River at aptly titled Owenmore Bridge, before cycling the stunning Tawnyard Lough and through Tawnyard Forest. Drop down to Leenane on the Killary Fjord to your hotel. At Leenane, relax in the village, walk along the Western Way, or cycle or take a boat ride along the fjord. (Staying at Leenane Hotel, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Leenane to Lough Inagh

    From Leenane you take a wonderful quiet road that meanders through the mountains, isolated countryside, passing bogs and loughs. You'll enjoy stunning views of the Big Bens (12 local peaks). Maams village is great stop-off point, a tiny hamlet on Broch river, with just the one pub! Crossing the Failmore River, you descend to Maams Cross, a crossroads that is slightly bigger than the village, before passing the entrance to Mamean (a local pilgrimage path) and arriving at Lough Inagh. (Staying at Lough Inagh Lodge, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Lough Inagh to Delphi

    We head along a wonderful road along Lough Inagh with views of the Connemara National Park, heading back through Leenane you circle the Killary fjord before picking up the Sky Road and onto Fin Lough and your hotel. (Staying at Delphi Resort, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Delphi to Westport

    You continue on the stunning Sky Road, passing the shores of Doo and Glencullen loughs, before a lovely freewheel into Louisburgh on the coast. Then, following the coast road, you'll enjoy great views of Crough Patrick back into Westport (it's a 4km climb there and back). (Staying at Clew Bay Hotel, Breakfast Only)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Leave Westport

    Leave Westport, or perhaps have a couple of extra nights in the lively town.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




No vaccinations are obligatory.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and three evening meals included.



The climate on the West Coast of Ireland is mild due to its location and the influence of the Gulf Stream. The weather, however, is temperamental and proves quite hard to predict, therefore it is important to be prepared for all weather. The warmer months tend to be the summer months, July and August, with an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. Temperatures rarely fall below 0 during the year. The wettest months tend to be from October through to March. April is often the driest month. Rain can be expected at any time of the year. 

Is this trip for you?

Cycling Conditions

Classification: Self-Guided
Average daily distance on move on days: 45km (28 miles). 
No. of days cycling: 6  (including 1 optional ride)
Terrain and route: The suggested cycling mainly follows quiet tarmac roads and lanes.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Self-guided cycling holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you. We have suggested the minimum age for this trip is 12yrs as we feel they will be able to ride the bikes we have to offer and complete the route. However our local partner is able to offer child seats for children aged 2-4yrs (max. weight 22 kg, hills will be tricky). These are all subject to availability, and therefore we ask that you enquire about these on booking. As a guide we have suggested that 12yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each days cycling so you have a good idea of what to expect. However, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities. Please bear in mind the weather when choosing to book, temperatures can be high in the middle of summer and the child seats provided do not have any shade.

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts

On this holiday you stay in a mix of 3 and 4 star hotels, lodges and Bed & Breakfasts, from the cosy Brigown B&B in Ballina and the stunning scenery around Lough Inagh Lodge to the delightful Leenane Hotel looking out over Killary Harbour and the 4 star Delphi Resort & Spa.

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]