Donegal is the Coolest Place on the Planet

Donegal is the coolest place to visit in 2017, according to National Geographic Traveller. The northwest county topped 'The Cool List', which also featured destinations such as Peru, Helsinki and New Zealand (see the full list at the bottom).

"With a weather-nibbled coast spotted with sea stacks, Blue Flag beaches and offshore islands, Donegal is a land that feels undiscovered. Last summer, scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII were filmed on the Inishowen Peninsula. But this area of Ireland is also expecting 2017 to be a big year; there’s an array of reasons to visit, from surfing beaches in Magheroarty and Ballyhiernan Bay to Horn Head — a driving, walking or cycling loop that squeezes the 1,600-mile Wild Atlantic Way into a 4.5-mile nutshell." - Nat Geo Traveller.

As the number one destination to visit next year, here are some of the top things to do in Donegal.

Sea Stack Climbing

Photo:  Bren Whelan .

Photo: Bren Whelan.

Donegal is the most mountainous in Ulster consisting chiefly of two ranges of low mountains; the Derryveagh Mountains in the north and the Blue Stack Mountains in the south, with Mount Errigal at 749 metres (2,457 ft) the highest peak. It has a deeply indented coastline forming natural sea loughs, of which both Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle are the most notable. There are lots of amazing climbs to be had.

Walk, Hike or Bike

Photo: Cycle Inishowen.

Photo: Cycle Inishowen.

Donegal is blessed with interesting and dramatic landscape, which makes for a very enjoyable walk, hike or bike trip

Surf the Wild Atlantic Waves

Donegal has some of the best surf in Europe and there's lots of opportunity to get into the water, with some great surf schools dotted around the county; from Bundoran and Rossnowlagh in the south, right around to Rathmullan in the north.

The Northern Lights at Malin Head

Photo:  Michael Gill .

Photo: Michael Gill.

The Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) is a stunningly colourful light show in the sky caused by collisions between electrically charged particles released from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere and collide with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen. The lights are seen around the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres, and if you want to see for yourself, North Donegal is the place to go.

Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh is the second largest national park in Ireland, covering 170 square kilometres of hillside above Glenveagh Castle on the shore of Lough Veagh. 
The park hosts a multitude of exotic and delicate plants from as far afield as Chile, Madeira and Tasmania, all sheltered by windbreaks of pine trees and ornamental rhododendrons. It is also home to the largest herd of red deer in Ireland and the formerly extinct golden eagle were reintroduced into the park in 2000.
Admission to the park is free, where you can enjoy the beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls and enchanted native oak woodland. Or you can rent a bike, do a castle tour or enjoy afternoon tea at the Glenveagh Restaurant. Click here for more information.

Sliabh Liag Boat Cruise

Photo: Sinead McCarthy.

Photo: Sinead McCarthy.

Sliabh Liag (or Slieve League) are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe at 601 metres (1,972 feet), almost three times higher that the Cliffs of Moher in Clare. You can enjoy a hike up to the top of the cliffs and enjoy the stunning views and fresh Atlantic winds, or better still, do the Sliabh Liag Boat Trip, where you'll get a fantastic view of the cliffs and you may be joined by some wildlife such as dolphins, seals, whales and basking sharks.

The Cool List: 17 for 2017

 1. Donegal, Ireland
 2. Santiago, Chile
 3. Helsinki, Finland
 4. Greenland
 5. Peru
 6. Aarhus, Denmark
 7. Canada
 8. Portland, USA
 9. India
10. South Africa
11. Iran
12. New Zealand
13. Seoul, South Korea
14. Sudan
15. Düsseldorf, Germany
16. Sicily
17. USA

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Sean BushellComment