If you are looking for an “epic” road trip look no further than the Wild Atlantic Way or the Causeway Coastal Route, according to Lonely Planet’s list of 50 ‘Epic Drives of the World’.
The travel journal dubbed the 2,575km route from Kinsale to Derry at the tip of the country as “untamed and utterly divine”.
“Ireland’s west coast is a dramatic procession of deserted beaches and towering cliffs where traditional music and ancient castles abound,” said the new travel book, Epic Drives of the World.
Lonely Planet borrows the famous Oscar Wilde quote of “savage beauty” to describe the Irish scenery.
“Ireland’s west coast is battered by Atlantic rollers, strewn with jagged cliffs and littered with wide beaches and sandy coves”, said Lonely Planet. “It’s a place where inky lakes shelter between mountains, sinewy stone walls clamber across hillsides and trees are frequently bent double by the wind.
“The roads here are narrow and winding, grass often grows along a hump in their middle and a herd of sheep can easily scupper all plans.” Donegal’s “gloriously deserted beaches” also get a mention.
The other Irish route named among the top 50 road trips is the North of Ireland’s Coastal Causeway Route.
“Often overlooked for the classic cliffs and laughs of the Irish Republic, the lonely shores of Northern Ireland might just be the perfect day-tripping antidote to Belfast’s urban core,” said Lonely Planet.
The chapter outlines a trip along the route from Belfast to the north coast and back again.
It alludes to the huge tourism boon of Game of Thrones, with visitors from all over the world trekking to the route to see various locations from the popular TV show.
Unsurprisingly, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD welcomed the inclusion of the Wild Atlantic Way on the Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s greatest drives.
“The inclusion of the Wild Atlantic Way on the Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s greatest drives illustrates the great success of this tourism initiative and everyone involved deserves congratulations. However I would caution against any complacency creeping in in relation to the roll out of this scheme”, he said.
Adding, “There is still a huge amount of work to be done to bring this project to fruition and local authorities, local communities, the Government and Fáilte Ireland can’t lose sight of this. It’s important to remember that the rollout of this vast project was always scheduled to take place over ten years and we are only five years into it”.
Epic Drives of the World also features wilder driving routes from across the world such as a trip across the salt flats of Bolivia. Each entry includes a first-hand account of exploring the route with advice for planning a short or long driving adventure.
The Lonely Planet tome also has 200 more trip ideas, from coastal roads and desert drives to wine trails and cultural cruises.